Making the usual New Year resolutions to “do better” can bring out her “inner Scrooge” says veteran middle grades teacher Mary Tarashuk. After reflecting on nearly two decades of classroom wonder and success, she decides to opt for her “inner Frosty” instead.
Category: Kids on the Cusp
Once again it’s fall and the read-aloud rug in Mary Tarashuk’s 4T classroom is drawing new kids and characters closer together. First up: Fish in a Tree’s Ally Nickerson. Coming soon, another Global Read Aloud choice, Amal Unbound. Two girls with differences to share.
After 17 years Mary Tarashuk finds her memory-laden purple bookshelf can no longer carry the load. As she moves her read aloud novels to a brightly lit window shelf, she checks in with her collection to determine which 4th grade favorites will star in the new school year.
Mary Tarashuk’s fourth graders dedicate a large part of their end-of-year together looking back at where they began and how far they have come, not only as individuals, but as a classroom community. The Workshop journaling model helps everyone share their conclusions.
Mary Tarashuk just finished a required teacher self-assessment, using a large array of rubrics designed for her state by a former principal and leadership consultant. It has her wondering if top education and corporate leaders might benefit from a rubric, too? She offers a 1st draft.
How do we help our learners apply fiction to real life challenges like school shootings? Maybe, writes Mary Tarashuk, by sharing our own experiences and helping them see that, as Pax’s author says, “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.”
Middle grades teacher Mary Tarashuk confronts the line between preserving childhood innocence and honestly exploring the real world. Are her sudden tears during the daily real aloud of The One and Only Ivan encroaching uncomfortably on that unidentifiable boundary?
Mary Tarashuk’s fourth graders are immersed in Wonder this semester. As they view the new film based on R.J. Palacio’s novel, they are also embracing Auggie Pullman’s story in class. Mary shares resources she is using to enrich their experience in understanding kindness.
When Mary Tarashuk opens herself to the teaching that matters most and invites the “kairos” into her 4th grade class, the learning is deep and lasting. Join her as she reflects on why and how to keep the “chronos” – the task lists and schedules – from nagging too loudly.
As she introduces the idea of symbolism with their first read-aloud of the year, Mary Tarashuk finds a new way to teach her fourth graders about choices. She’s calling this discovery “harnessing the power of paper airplanes.” It’s a great formative assessment tool, too.