Friday Focus

Friday, October 9, 2015

Florence Chadwick

In 1952, young Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She’d already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways. The weather was foggy and chilly; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away.

At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog.…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

(excerpt from

Helping Our Students Out of the Fog

I'm convinced that many of our students feel like they are in a fog in their education. They're frustrated, tired, and feeling a little hopeless when it comes to understanding what their peers seem to always understand. They've grown accustomed to the fog and the longer they stay in the fog, the farther they get from the shore. You can imagine how discouraging that must be. I'd like to suggest a few things to help the fog to begin to dissipate.

1. Set small, attainable goals for struggling students based on their current level.

2. Celebrate the move from one reading level to the next. I would love to award points to your pod by making some of your struggling readers the hero of their homeroom.

3. When you tutor students, whether it be before/after school or at tier time, focus on individual deficits. While it is incredibly tempting to try and force them to understand what you're doing in class - it's almost always futile if they are missing foundational skills. Start where they are.

Keep fighting the good fight.


10/12 ELAR meetings with Janie during conferences

10/12 6th Grade Math Data Chats

10/13 6th Grade GT Classroom Instruction

10/13 5th Grade Math Data Chats

10/14 5th Grade GT Classroom Instruction

10/14 Science Planning

10/14 5th Grade ELAR Data Chats

10/15 Math Planning

10/19 - 10/23 Book Fair

10/19 Literacy Night

10/20 6TH Grade ELAR Data Chats

10/21 5th/6th GT Field Trip

10/21 Social Studies Planning

10/21 5th Grade Science Data Chats

10/22 ELAR Planning