We can consider the way our students have learned over the first half of the school year as sort of river: a river’s water moves in a powerful way in its deepest parts, but at the river’s edges, the water recirculates and even moves backward until it joins the faster current once more. Similarly, most of our students are in the main channel of the curriculum, ready to move forward after having demonstrated they meet or exceed the standards we have set for them. Some of our students, however, need more time at the curriculum’s edge—recirculating and even moving backward to learn what was missed—before they can join the stronger current of our curriculum and move downstream toward new standards with purpose.
Joshua Curnett is a National Board Certified Teacher of English Language Arts and currently teaches high school English at Singapore American School in Singapore. The former NCTE High School Teacher of Excellence for the State of Colorado (2008), Joshua has led staff development courses in both American (local, state, and national) and international settings.
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While reading over fall break, I kept finding ideas about collaboration and success when I wasn’t really looking for them. I dog-eared a few pages in a few books to save the places because the passages make sense for us. After all, at their core, professional learning communities depend on our ability to successfully collaborate, learn from each other, and trust each other.