Talkin’ Shop #sol16 30 of 31


Tonight’s plan was to head to The Montrose for some Mexican food (I was totally craving it!), do a bit of work, blog, and come home early-ish. The atmosphere at The Montrose is laid back and very conducive to writing, which I was hoping would get the creative juices flowing. After scarfing down my quesadilla, I got to work on some paperwork for school. I was taking a break from work, trying to think about what I wanted to write, when a colleague and friend of mine walked in the door.

He walked over, and I invited him to join me. He and I started talking about blogging, and I shared my experiences with the SOL challenge over the years. This led to discussions about teaching, specifically reading and writing. He happens to teach middle school language and literature, so it was right up his alley. Being a primary-only experienced educator, I was unfamiliar with what reading and writing looks like in middle school. My only assumption was that it typically looked quite different from primary. Shortly into our conversation, however, he mentioned that he taught using reading and writing workshops. Say what?!? My ears perked up, and my literacy hat came on!

From there, he and I discussed the learning happening in his classroom, the energy for writing palpable. What followed was a back and forth exchange of ideas, comparing writing workshop in primary to how it’s done in secondary. His students just finished a memoir unit (swoon!), and have just begun a persuasive writing unit. I jumped in, telling him I have some teaching resources (that just so happen to be for grades 3-8) that I can lend him. “Bring it on!” he said. That discussion led to his last unit of the school year, which is poetry. We have a shared philosophy for teaching poetry, in that we both believe it’s not effective to teach form poetry, but rather provide students with ample mentor texts to learn from and tools to use in their own writing. At this point, I shared a few mentor poems as well as my own poetry from my blog, and we realized that we’d both had the privilege of attending PD from Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger. Small world!

Anyway, our conversation continued for hours, meandering from swapping teaching ideas to ways in which we document our travels to other school stuff to travel plans in the future. Despite getting home 3 hours after I had planned, and just now getting to blogging, I am so grateful that he walked in the door. It’s been a long time since I’ve geeked out about literacy, and I was so energized by it! Spontaneous shop talks are always welcome. 🙂

14 thoughts on “Talkin’ Shop #sol16 30 of 31

  1. Lisa R

    What a great encounter! As a former (23 year veteran) middle school language arts teacher, I’m glad to hear other teachers teaching writing workshop in middle school. Now that I’m an ELA coach, I get to help my own crew of middle school teachers in this work. Loved hearing this.

  2. elsie

    Awesome chance encounter for both of you! Ideas seem to flow when you have someone to bounce ideas around. I’m a fan of Holbrook and Salinger too. I’ve seen them a couple of time and they always show their work from Asia.

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      They really are great, aren’t they? I recently went to their website for something, and I was surprised to see a picture of me from the workshop in Hong Kong on their professional development page. I was front and center with my hand raised…so like me! haha 🙂

  3. bbutler627

    It’s been a long time since I geeked out about literature as well. I probably would have held him hostage! JK, I love the energy of this slice. It really speaks to how you two connected over shared instruction and love for the subject. I’m happiest when I geek and connect like that. Great slice. Esp love the little fun nuggets of your fun voice – swoon! That made me laugh!


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