As the first month of a new school year comes to a close, I offer some food for thought about nourishing our teachers. Literally and figuratively. Years ago when I was working on my administrator’s license I discovered a gem of a book called If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students! Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers by Neila Connors. In a nutshell, this playful tome suggests that serving teachers with a steady diet of appreciation, encouragement, and acknowledgement is a recipe for success in any school community. Simply put, teachers have a lot on their plates which explains why they are hungry for support.
It isn’t always an easy-as-pie endeavor. However, one of my goals as an instructional coach is to make sure my hard-working and dedicated colleagues know how much their effort and commitment to kids, learning, and teaching are valued. I also strive to help teachers grow professionally. I believe the recipe for success includes two essential ingredients; first, you must reach the heart before you can reach the head and second, one way to the heart is through the stomach.
As I visited classrooms during the opening weeks of the new school year to deliver some tasty little treats, I was fortunate to be able to feed some hearts and minds with book suggestions. Teachers were eager to fill their pantries with exceptional read aloud books that would contribute to creating positive classroom communities. They were also searching for professional books that might make the difference between engaged and disengaged learners.
In addition to sharing some sweet treat ideas, here are a few titles to digest!
Week One Menu:
- Back to school pencils made from a Hershey kiss and a roll of Rolos
- Read-aloud recommendation: One Plastic Bag by Isatou Ceesay, a great choice for teaching responsibility
- Professional book suggestion: Teaching Talk: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation, by Kara Pranikoff
Week Two Menu:
- Lunch on me, “hamburgers” made from Nilla wafers and chocolate mint cookies (with lettuce, ketchup and mustard frosting)
- Read-aloud recommendation: The Prince Who Wrote a Letter by Ann Love, a perfect pick for teaching “Again and Again” and “Aha Moments,” signposts (from Notice and Note)
- Professional book suggestion: Notice and Note, Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst
Week Three Menu:
- Bacon and egg for Breakfast, aka pretzels, white chocolate and yellow M&M
- Read-aloud recommendation: Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, offers a terrific math tie-in
- Professional book suggestion: Math Workshop in Action by Nikki Newton
And to cap off this month of thought-provoking and appreciative food:
Week Four Menu:
- ABC cut out cookies
- Read-aloud recommendation: Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, a delightful story about the importance of individuality and punctuation.
- Professional book suggestion: Of Primary Importance by Anne Marie Corgill
My hope is that this month’s article will provide you with a buffet of ideas when it comes to feeding your teaching and literacy soul so you can walk away feeling satiated.