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BMS Teachers Practice What They Preach

Written by BMS Early Learning and Forest Kindergarten teacher, Jenni Heartway.

One of the exciting things about being a teacher is that by pursuing our own interests, we are actually being reflective practitioners.  In other words, we are practicing what we preach.   

Encouraging our students to follow their own passions would be hypocritical if we, as lifelong learners, didn't follow our own interests.

Recently, Tammie (BMS Early Childhood co-teacher) and I had the opportunity to hear one of our favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, speak at an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of her book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.  Both of us adore being in the woods and making friends with creatures and plants there, and we were pleased to learn that we share a favorite author whose writing is infused with interactions with the natural world.

Creating a culture of readers and writers is an essential part of all the classrooms at Blue Mountain School. We do this in casual conversation and through more formal ways like BookShare (an oral book presentation) in my Early Learning class and the Writing Center in Tammie's Early Childhood class. You can see it during Writer's Workshop in the Middle Elementary class, and it was very evident on "Poem in your Pocket Day" when the Upper Elementary students shared poetry with their younger friends.

The culture of reading at BMS is also very obvious in staff interactions. We pass books to each other after school and often share snippets of essays and poems via email. Teachers are writing and publishing books and articles and drafting presentations to share with wider circles. "Living the writerly life," as Lucy Calkins says, is a part of our everyday and will hopefully become part of our students' everyday, as well.

I enjoyed telling our students about my experience meeting Barbara Kingsolver during my turn at BookShare.They were interested to hear about how star struck Tammie and I were when we met our favorite author. It is important for our students to not just hear us encouraging reading at school but also to hear about reading taking place outside of school and about adults getting so much pleasure from wonderful books.

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