Teachers are Learners: My Thoughts on Disrupting Thinking

Don't get me wrong: I love Target runs, naps, and working on my tan during the summer as much as the next teacher. I do, however, try to make sure to fit in time to learn ways to improve my teaching practice even more, so that I'm ready in the fall with some new ideas! Since I'm always on my students to make sure they are actively seeking out new knowledge, I should practice what I preach, right?

This summer's hot PD read is Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. Let me tell you, this book lives up to the hype, and then some. It's the kind of book where you read and nod along, murmuring to yourself, "Yep...mm-hmm" every 30 seconds, and the people around you look at you as though you've lost your mind...not that I'm speaking from personal experience.

There are so many students that think reading is just something we do because we have to take a test, and that mindset is so wrong. So. Wrong. I want my students to feel like reading is the same as breathing, it is necessary for our survival! That we read to learn more about others, and in turn learn about ourselves! I am so passionate about this subject, and this book just spoke to my heart.

I've been sharing some of my thoughts about the book on my Insta page, and I thought I'd compile them here with some additional commentary:

I pink-puffy-paint LOVE this quote. I try very hard in my classroom to promote an environment where "ordinary" is not part of our vocabulary. We need to think in new and creative ways, not just regurgitate the answers the textbook wants us to give. Unfortunately, students are programmed not to think. As teachers, we need to try to give this power back to them. Even if we want to pull all our hair out. Even if it's easier to just guide them to the right answer. Let them explore!

"Why are you reading this book?"

"Because I need AR points."

"Because I need to fill out my reading log."


As I reflect on myself as an educator, this is an area I need to improve in. I'm looking forward to amping up my book talks, reading aloud every single day (no matter what) and having real one-on-one conversations with my students about what they are reading. And you can bet this question will be at the top of my list!

Grades. Grades. Grades.

"Is this for a grade?"

"What can he do to bring up his grades?"

I don't know about you, but I think one of the biggest challenges of growth mindset is getting students (and their parents!) to forget about their grades and focus on their growth. I'd love to get rid of grades altogether, but I don't live in Magical Unicorn Fairyland, so I know that isn't happening anytime soon. It is essential that we get parents on board with the growth mindset philosophy. These arbitrary letters and numbers we call grades rarely tell the whole story of a student's growth.

This quote hit me like a ton of bricks. Why, why, WHY are we setting our students up to fail with developmentally inappropriate passages that textbook companies deem "rigorous"? Why are we making 3rd graders feel like failures because they can't comprehend texts that are way over their heads. The concept of rigor is important; but the way the word "rigor" is used in education is dangerous!

Every principal in the world needs to read this quote, and then read it again. I hear of so many schools (thankfully not mine) where independent reading time is viewed as wasted time. It's the complete opposite of wasted time! Students must have time to read...and by "read" I mean reading books they want to read for uninterrupted periods of time, just for the enjoyment of reading. My morning work is and will always be "come in and start reading." Are there kids who don't use the time as wisely as they should? Of course! But you know what? Eventually they find a book that is the perfect match for them, and they settle down and READ. It's a process to get students to read on their own, but it's so important!

If you have not read this book yet, it is a GAME CHANGER. I highly suggest anyone who teaches reading to check out this book! I was so inspired by this book, I created a set of classroom posters based on some of the takeaways I talked about in this post. You can grab the posters for FREE in my TpT store:

Also, before you go, I've teamed up with some other great teacher sellers for a $25 TpT Gift Card Giveaway! It's almost Back to School time and I'm sure there are items on your Wish List that you'd love to purchase with this card. You can enter via the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on July 24th. Good luck!

Have you read Disrupting Thinking Yet? What did you think?

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