Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Yesterday, as I studied up on orthography and spelling instruction, I thought about all the new things I need to learn in making the transition from classroom teacher to instructional paraprofessional. The difference is greater than I anticipated. Working one to one or with a small group is all about individualization and spending time on the small parts that make up the whole, something that is very hard to do when faced with an entire classroom.

To tell the truth, I wasn't 100% sure what it meant to be a writing interventionist when I took this job. I thought it would be something like being a tutor, just helping students with specific pieces of writing. But I've discovered that it is really about helping students master the building blocks of good writing. For example, I'm studying up on orthography because I have a student who has real spelling issues that get in the way of effective communication. It's exciting for me to create a plan just for this student and be able to spend twenty minutes with her just on one skill, something I was never able to do as a classroom teacher.

As this year comes to a close, I look back and marvel at where I was this time last year, home with the kids and feeling anxious about becoming professionally irrelevant, and thinking about going back to work, but in a very abstract kind of way. And now here I am, with a job that is pretty much fits the picture of what I thought I'd want to do instead of returning to the classroom. As the year comes to a close, I continue to reflect on my transition and think about ways to grow into this new chapter of my professional life.

Happy holidays!

{Read more slices here!: http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/write-share-give-its-sol-time-15/}

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Yesterday, I sat down to write a model paragraph for my writing intervention students. I couldn't think of anything to write but then I remembered that Friday night, I had kind of an epiphany. It wasn't life-affirming or groundbreaking, and it was probably knowledge that already existed somewhere deep in the recesses of my cave-like mind. But I digress.

Me and the kids were driving home from Shabbat services. It was cold and dark, but as I approached the light at Main Street, Town Hall rose up in front of me, with a Christmas tree ablaze in colored lights on the front lawn. All up and down Main Street, the trees were wrapped in white fairy lights, throwing light onto an otherwise dark Main Street. Storefront windows were trimmed in lights, adding to the festive air.

Having been raised Jewish, our house was never decorated in holiday lights. I enjoyed the neighbors' spectacle instead. And I always wondered, why does everyone love the holiday lights so much? Why is it so important to the season? They're nice to look at, sure and they make everything feel festive but where did the tradition come from?

Sitting there at the stop light, looking at the lights of Main Streets, it suddenly dawned on me. Of course! Holiday lights bring warmth and life to a season that is dark and cold. We hunker down, we hibernate, we gather around the hearth (so to speak). What an uplifting sight to go out and see your town lit up in a festive spirit. Now it all makes sense, and like I said, it probably always made sense but I never really thought about the emotional significance of holiday lights. I love coming home in the dark and being welcomed by my little white bungalow, surrounded by a vast country darkness,  trimmed in white lights.

{See more Slices here: http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/write-share-give-its-sol-time-14/}