Top Ten Lessons Learned: 2011-2012 Edition

1.  Blogging is the perfect vehicle for leading students to write for an audience that goes far beyond their classroom.

2.  A good strategy to help young writers close the gap between what it says on the page and what they see in their minds is to add specific sensory details, especially sound images.

3.  English teachers have an important new responsibility: Helping student writers use their knowledge of technology to enhance the way they communicate ideas.

4.  When teachers share their reading lives with students, they foster richer reading lives for those students.

5.  Communities of readers will generate their own icons. Writers can be rock stars to students (and teachers).

6.  Teachers will embrace technology when they see personal or professional value in it. (There is a moral for school decision-makers in this one: The only things you need to mandate are the irrelevant ideas.)

7.  Successful schools don’t need big changes. That’s why they’re successful schools.

8.  Mandated professional development for teachers leads to morale problems. Learner-centered professional development leads to increased expertise and improved motivation.

9.  When an obstacle or distraction comes along, rise above it. Concentrate on the good stuff. What’s not wrong? (Thanks to Jim Wyman for reminding me about this one.)

10.  During my last two years in Illinois public school employment I will focus on making the most of my time with students, and helping English teachers do their jobs with success, productivity, energy, and satisfaction. I don’t want to waste one grain of the sand left in my hourglass.

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5 Responses to Top Ten Lessons Learned: 2011-2012 Edition

  1. This warms my English major, educator, blogger, writer, student-invested heart. 🙂


  2. jaclynderose says:

    Rise above it…. rise above it… I think that needs to be made into a mobile so I can have it hang above my desk. Thanks again for your great words and your fresh perspective, Gary. I’ll return to this often throughout the school year.


  3. Two years? There’s something extremely wrong about that. I don’t know what I’ll do without another Anderson in the department. Thank you for your perspectives on teachers, students, administration, and everything education. Reading your blog always helps me focus on the positives and what’s important.


  4. teachcmb56 says:

    We went to an Ed Camp model (#8) for professional development, and that changed our entire district attitude towards professional development for the better.
    I also agree with #3, although this is a responsibility I want to share with other disciplines (just like I want them to share treading and writing across the curriculum!)


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