There is something to be said about high quality professional development. When you participate in a good one, you can walk away with immediate ideas and an implementation strategy to try out the very next day. You know the PD was worth your time when you learn something new that blows your mind a bit and makes you excited to try it out. This was how I felt after a PD led by one of my colleagues recently on “close reading”. I had been struggling with teaching my students how to read independently AND gain useful information from their reading. None of my students in Brooklyn were reading at grade level and I never really knew how to teach them reading comprehension strategies. Of course I took a literacy class in my credential program, but that was more theory and not at all practical applications of teaching literacy.  At most, I annotated for/with them and hoped that things stuck after some questioning and discussion. Here in Denver, some of my honors kids are reading at or above grade level, but I still have a majority who will read fluently, but without full understanding. It’s refreshing to have a short PD that teaches you something concrete, useful and simple to implement the very next lesson. In addition, it’s super helpful to have somewhat of a safety net in the form of a fellow teacher right at your school to help clarify routines, and give you tips.  If you want more information on close reading, check this out (though it’s much more useful to see it in action).

fallin fallin2 fallin3

glasses: warby parker – cardigan: madewell – tank: banana republic – pants: urban outfitters – boots: steve madden

This outfit is from the day I incorporated close reading into my lesson on Potential and Kinetic Energy.  I know these pants aren’t the most flattering for my body type with it’s slouchy look.  But hot damn, they’re comfortable.  They were also just $15 from the sale section at Urban Outfitters.  They’re still on the website (but for $30 – I got them at an extra 50% off), the Silence and Noise Winston Trousers.  They’re thick and warm for this freezing weather in Denver, and have I mentioned how comfy they are yet??

5 thoughts on “Fallin for a Safety Net

  1. Hi Erika, I have not checked out the site you mentioned, but I am wondering if whatever the method is can be used with very young kids? I ask because I volunteer at an elementary school in Oakland, CA in a 2nd-grade class; mostly I work with kids who read very poorly and comprehend even less. If these kids cannot turn things around, I foresee a dismal future. What do you think?


  2. Hello Erika,
    I had a similar experience with close reading PD at my school this past week as well. I wish most faculty meetings could be more like that effective PD: short and actionable and from someone with experience! My students had a much better understanding of the atmosphere than they have in past years without the close reading strategy. I wanted to mention that Edcamp Denver is coming up in a couple of weeks and might be something you are interested in: I went to 2 of these events last year and they were a great way to learn and meet other teachers in the Denver area, maybe I’ll see you there!


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