Thursday, May 1, 2014

Finding Inspiration in the Classroom: Jessica Crawford

After my inspiring visit to Sarah Andersen's classroom last week, I was happy to keep the momentum going by visiting my friend Jessica Crawford's 10th grade English classroom yesterday.

From the moment I met Jessica three years ago, her love of books and sharing that love of literacy with her students was almost palpable. Being in her classroom yesterday was an absolute treat for me. I had the opportunity, in one short school day, to bear witness to book talks, sustained silent reading, reading conferences, and class book discussions. But above all the books and the required content,
Jessica's class
Jessica confers with a student
what really stood out from my visit to Jessica's classroom was her genuine concern and love for her students. Teenagers are not always the easiest age group to share a classroom with, but even when things go awry as they sometimes do in a classroom full of 15-16 year olds, through it all Jessica still maintains her smile and composure. I witnessed a true joy and heart beating in her classroom yesterday and as a result, my heart continues to beat towards the hope of getting back into my own classroom next year.

Like last week in Sarah's classroom, I also had the chance to do a book talk for Jessica's students yesterday. I talked about the book Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and as I talked about my love for this book and also the reasons for why Sepetys wrote the book, that feeling came back to me: the one where I'm in my element, sharing my passion for books with students. And the fact that Jess's students didn't just sit there and listen, but responded to my questions and as well as asked their own, made me feel like I was riding a bike: I may have been off of it for a while, but I never forgot how.

So thank you Jessica and Sarah for helping me to get back on the bike.

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