Is It Time For All Of Us To Find Our Inner Snails?

As a reading specialist, I support 11 different classes at our school. Since all educators and kids are different, my support looks slightly different in each of the classrooms. In some of the kindergarten classes, I support by entering play and providing direct and targeted literacy instruction as part of this play. This is not a case of coming with a game or activity already designed to play with students, but instead, trying to make some authentic literacy links to their play. As a former kindergarten educator — and one who has not been out of the classroom for very long — this is the kind of instruction that brings me joy, and I love having these moments where play and learning converge throughout the day.

One thing that I do notice though as part of my current position is that my time in each classroom is short. Usually, I’m only with one group of kids for between 20-30 minutes. While I know the value of settling into play and giving lots of time for kids to explore, my time limits make this harder. Sometimes I worry that I move too quickly to my instructional plan without necessarily honouring where the student is going with the play.

This morning, I was looking at a few of the Twitter stories, where I shared a little student learning with others.

These stories really got me thinking about documentation. Maybe I don’t always need to get to the point of instruction. If I come in, observe closely, listen closely, capture, and share with educator teams, could our conversations that evolve from this sharing, allow for the classroom educators to extend this learning with literacy links throughout the day? Could I then pick up and extend this play more the next day? Maybe this is a way for us to further team as part of our instructional practices. I’m beginning to wonder if documentation might be the key here to building capacity.

Recently, I saw this great Instagram post, which highlights the Pedagogy of the Snail.

I knew that I loved snails. πŸ™‚ In all seriousness though, as educators, we’re constantly looking at expectations, year-end-targets, and where we need to get kids to be next, but would slowing down allow us to ultimately go faster? Maybe the answer here is not speed, but time, reflection, teaming, and purpose. What do you think? I might need to find my inner snail a little more often.


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