Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Review: Best of 2010

With the final days of the first decade of the new millennium ticking away, it felt like the perfect time to reflect on the past year. As I reread my weekly posts from 2010, I was glad to find certain posts safely buried in the eternal depths of cyberspace but others, I realized, ignited the feeling I get when I see an old friend—excited at the opportunity to reconnect.

Of the 51 Literacy Builders’ blog posts during 2010, the following rank on my list of top ten favorites for the year. If you’ve been busy and haven’t read them, take a moment and share your thoughts. If you’ve read them and are like me, needing a “boost” to energize the beginning of 2011, enjoy the reread!

10. Rescuing Picture Books from Extinction: Nothing was more appalling to me than the thought that the next casualty of standardized testing could be something as sacred as the picture book.

9. Magic? Or Just Reflective Teaching? Lessons from a Nine Year Old: I learn a lot from observing my own children play. In this particular post, my older son, Matthew, recognized when his own teaching wasn’t working and revised his approach to make it better.

8. Teach them Well: When learning fails, who’s responsible? This is a big question that I find I revisit often.

7. What Would Harry Potter Do?: More lessons from my fifth grade son and Harry Potter. A post about using literature as “imaginative rehearsal” for real life. Is there a better reason for reading?

6. Rethinking Curriculum Refuse: First of all, I like the title but more than that, if you are feeling overwhelmed, this post is great for putting things into perspective.

5. Forgiveness for Going Off the Diet: And as you continue to deal with the overwhelmed feeling brought on by the overflowing plate of Balanced Literacy, this post will help focus the lens to give you still a clearer perspective.

4. Better than the Best: What do Tiger Woods and teaching have in common? This post urges teachers to reflect on their practices and think about what we could do to be better. With resolutions being a big part of the new year, a great piece for jumpstarting conversations about change.

3. How do YOU Peel a Banana?: A favorite because it was the most controversial post on the site this year. Also great for rethinking things that we do “just because.”

2. Education’s Greatest Foe: Complacency: The title says it best, but what I really like about this post is that it ends with questions to help us reflect on and rethink the things we see as best practice.

1. The Reading Checklist Manifesto: It surprises me that this is the post that I selected as my favorite. The beginning is a little bogged down with scholarly quotes from Dr. Atul Gawande, but his whole idea of creating checklists prompted me to come up with a checklist for daily reading instruction that I really like. It’s comprehensive and research-based. In my mind, it sums up what good reading instruction is all about and that is why it earned the title of Best Literacy Builders Blog Post 2010!

In honor of this year’s Best of 2010 post, I created a replica of the checklist to be downloaded and pinned to your bulletin board as a daily reminder to be the best reading teacher you can be! Enjoy!

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