Book Report: Teaching With Intention

As you may have noticed, I’m on a nonfiction kick, and I’m trying to get through a small stack of teaching-related books before school starts.

I read bits and pieces of another book by Debbie Miller during the school year, at the recommendation of the literacy coach I work with.  I enjoyed Debbie Miller’s deep understanding coupled with her method of taking the reader into her classroom and into her thinking as she makes decisions.  So when I saw Teaching With Intention at Half Price Books, I decided to pick it up and see what else she had to say.

The information Ms. Miller shares in Teaching With Intention is old news to me, since I’m lucky enough to work for a district that promotes the gradual release of responsibility model within a workshop setting.  It was fun to read about the teachers she worked with and the lessons that happened in those classrooms, and I found some good reminders throughout.  Some chapters I marked up with notes and highlighting, and others I just sat back and enjoyed watching what happened in the classrooms.

The important message can be summed up by a quote the author included from To Understand by Ellin Keene (a book I now would like to add to my stack…I’m going to run out of time before I run out of books…):

“If we return to the conclusion that we learn most effectively when we learn a few important concepts at a time, taught in depth over a long period, and apply them in a variety of texts and contexts, then it becomes clear that we must be very clear about these concepts.”

In other words, from Ms. Miller:  “Slow down, determine what’s essential, and teach those things deeply and well.”

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