Inspired by a keynote given by a colleague and friend, I recently joined Twitter and followed a whole bunch of smart people to help me become a better school leader. In my reading, I came across the picture above and fell in love with it as it encapsulates what I hope this year will be about for me as a fourth year principal.

More and more, I want to be seen as one of them…

A teacher…

I want my teachers to see me as a teacher…

A fellow educator…

Someone who walks in their shoes, even if it is for only a few periods a week…

I want to have more influence…

I want to inspire…

I want my teachers to take risks and to revel in operating outside of their comfort zones because it is here where I think they have and will continue to shine the brightest.

However, I can’t ask them to do that if I am not willing to do it myself.

Enter the idea of Close Reading… With the implementation of the EngageNY modules on the horizon and the CCLS’s emphasis on higher level text, our staff developer, Chris Lehman, and my instructional cabinet, led by Jennifer DeHayes and Jane Wind, decided to dedicate our final professional development meeting of the 2012-2013 school year to the concept of Close Reading. In the sessions Chris facilitated, he defined Close Reading as he did here:


The three lessons he taught were among the most influential and thought provoking I have ever witnessed and they reminded me of what I loved most about teaching reading. To paraphrase his work, I have come to think of Close Reading as “The Three P’s” – Purpose, Patterns and Perspectives (New)… Together with their students, teachers engage in multiple readings of text – each with their own purpose. During the readings, students look for patterns in the text and then work independently, in partnerships or in small groups to develop new perspectives or insights about what they have read.

In my practice, I hope to combine this work with what Sarah Daunis and Maria Cassiani Iams discuss in their book Text Saavy when they write about the genre sophistication instruction they embed into the first of their multiple readings of a text. In the posts that follow, I will document the lessons that I have taught in my teachers’ classrooms – grades 3 – 5. I am planning to work with one class per week and maintain a structure where one piece of text is read at least three times.

I am most grateful to my staff for this opportunity and for their understanding that what they are going to observe me do will not be perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I look forward to their feedback and hope that in some small way, my work will have a positive impact in what they will do with their students. Here’s to a great year!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s