#sol Mentors


July 26, 2016


I started working in my classroom yesterday. As I consulted our schedule for the week of teacher work days that begin next Tuesday I saw that a lot of time was taken up by meetings, so I made a decision to work short days this week. I like to have a slow start to the school year, because I want to take the time to really think about the new year.

This summer I was fortunate enough to attend lots of professional development, both live and virtual. I also made a point to do plenty of professional reading. As I tried to synthesize it all in my head I decided it came down to passionate mentors. Wherever I was this summer I was inspired by passion.

As I sat in my classroom this morning I was looking at new ways to set up the room and I kept asking myself what these mentors would suggest. As I typed up the text from the first mentor text we will study in our narrative writing unit I heard Stacey Shubitz’s voice in my head-pushing me to find the power moves the author is making that I can teach to my future students. As I pull ideas to use in the first days of the new school year I really feel these mentors in the room with me. I love having the time to let all the ideas swirl around before the busy days of actually teaching start. I printed out book covers of books that I read this summer to create the first book door of the year- authors and illustrators are powerful mentors.  I have yet to unearth last year’s plan book-the nitty gritty of planning will come soon enough, for now I am enjooying hearing the voices of others in the room with me.

Tomorrow I get to meet up with more mentors- students from my last year’s class are coming in to help clean up and organize the classroom. From them I will get to learn what books they loved this summer and how they had fun. Their energy and enthusiasm will inspire me to make this year the best one yet. Counting down the days until I get to meet my new class!


10 thoughts on “#sol Mentors

  1. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione)

    I was lucky enough to have many mentors this summer, too. I like the idea that they will all be in the room with me. I love the idea of printing out the book covers of the books you read this summer. I think I will steal that idea!

  2. franmcveigh

    The voices that we continue to hear are always the best – especially when they include students. So love that you will be hearing from your students about their summer literacy experiences! Enjoy your short days! Also back at work . . know that feeling! Summer is gone!

  3. Amy Warntz

    It will be great to hear what books your mentors enjoyed over the summer. I always prefer a personal book recommendation. Have fun with your classroom. I always enjoy setting mine up at the beginning of the school year. ~Amy

  4. mbhmaine

    What a great post! I love the idea of you working in your classroom with all those mentor voices supporting you and guiding you. What fun to have your students come in and help and share–such a wonderful way to kick off the year and get your mind back in gear!

  5. sallydonnelly11

    Sounds like you had the perfect summer break – more learning – and now are ready to use all you learned. A few years ago I printed out a picture of Lucy and placed this quote under it – “Writing can change the world” and hung it in my classroom up high to remind ME of all I learned from her. Now it is a gallery of mentors including Cornelius Minor and Ellin Keene and Carl Anderson. I need these mentors to remind me of my learning!
    I just got my August assignment at TC:
    *Using Learning Progressions and Performance Assessments to Increase Students’ Skills and Independence (3-5) Kelly Boland Hohne
    *Falling in Love with Close Reading of Nonfiction (and Learning Transferable Skills) (4-8) Kate Roberts
    I expect I’ll be adding Kate and Kelly’s picture to my gallery this year!!
    Enjoy your quiet week back at school and keep those voices in your head. We are strong because of the shoulders we are standing on!!

  6. Brian Rozinsky

    I appreciate the approach you describe here, Erika, gradually shifting gears and getting your teaching motor back up to speed. (Though it never stopped — which is cool — it did deservedly throttle back for a while.) Best to you as things get busy!

  7. cmargocs

    I love the imagery of the mentors present in the room with you, through your reflective thinking. I appreciate those quiet first workdays in my space, too. The library gets busy very quickly, and I don’t often have time to reflect in it during the school year.

  8. Ramona

    I always loved a slow start to the school year too! These words in your slice are so powerful!
    ” . . . time to let all the ideas swirl around before the busy days of actually teaching start.” Here’s to a slow beginning and happy times with those former students.


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