Throughout the past few years at Trinity, we’ve been sending our teachers to Columbia Teachers College to learn from Lucy Calkins about the methods and structure of teaching reading and writing through a workshop approach. Since I was hired, I became very curious about all of this since we “talked” about it often, yet never put it into play collectively. I knew that our original writing curriculum was based on the work of Lucy Calkins, but over the years, teachers began to organically create their own units and forgot about the dusty resources in their closets…well, they’ve been dusted off!
Part of my goal this year was to work to continue aligning our reading and writing curriculum and instruction so that all faculty understood research based, best practices in this area. Over and over again, the Units of Study program came across my desk as the best reading and writing program available. But most importantly, we wanted to ensure that however we chose to teach reading and writing, we looked beyond a program and really investigated what BEST suited our students and teachers. What do we want our students to learn? How do we want them to be able to communicate effectively through writing? How can we best foster a love for literacy?
We began to identify key teacher leaders in the school who would be willing to learn about this and begin to implement this work in their classroom. Throughout the year, at team meetings, in committee meetings and in the dining hall, I received feedback about how impactful this program was and that it was changing the culture of their classroom of readers and writers.
Slowly and carefully, we are beginning to pilot this in 1st-6th classrooms. Next year, everyone will have the opportunity to learn and teach through the Units of Study. We are very excited about moving forward with this, and starting this summer, we are creating a robust professional development plan to support our teachers that will take us through the year as we grow our young readers and writers.