professornana (professornana) wrote,

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The UNprogram, Part Two

Almost as soon as yesterday's post hit Twitter and Facebook, responses came blazing in. Of course, my friend and colleague and all-around smart person, Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) pointed out that reading/writing workshop was an UNprogram. Yep, that's what I'm talking about.

And then I had a wonderful phone call with friend and fellow past Morris Committee member, Ed Spicer, which just seemed to connect to the UNprogram concept as well (and was part of the reason for the call though we talk regularly about books we have read and loved or not loved). He talked about a recent question he had fielded about AR. Suddenly, I knew the thrust of this posting: the key difference between pre-packaged programs and the UNprogram is the TEACHER.

In an UNprogram, first and foremost, the teacher is a MODEL of the behaviors, skills, lessons, nature, etc. she or her wishes to instill in kids. Want kids to read? Well, you need to be a reader. Kids need to see you read. Kids need to listen to you talk about books; they need to see your passion. I still flash back to the beginning of the school year and this video: (I just watched it again and it made me smile and wish EVERY kids could have Colby as a teacher at some point in his or her life). And then there is John Schu's video of his summer reading road trip:P Is there any doubt that these guys love books? Would you be surprised to know the kids with whom they interact love books as well?

Not only does the teacher read, but the teacher writes as well. Look at the blog postings by Donalyn Miller at Education Week: and her new home at the Nerdy Book Club: Or take a look at the blogs kept by hundreds and thousands of teachers and librarians here at LiveJournal and other platforms. Include in your reading blogs like Teach Mentor Texts ( and A Year of Reading with Mary Lee Hahn and Frank Sibberson (

So, the foundation of the UNprogram is the "unprogrammed teacher." Tomorrow we will add more to this UNprogram.
Tags: blogs, books, passion, reading, teachers, videos
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