Friday, September 25, 2009

An Old Favorite

I pulled Donald Graves' How to Catch a Shark off my bookshelf two days ago.  I love his stories of learning (and life).  If you want to illustrate the gradual release of responsibility, there are no better stories than "Shoe Tying" and "Shaving."  Don truly embodies the soul of a lifelong learner.  I first met Don my first year of teaching when he did a workshop in my district in (gulp) 1987.  When I was writing Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop, I referenced a letter he wrote to the participants over twenty years ago; it was as apropos then as it is today.  The stories in this book represent endless possibilities of thinking about life, learning, and writing.  Teachers of my generation hold Don's words in esteem, but I'm always sad and surprised when I talk to "younger" teachers who say, "Donald who?"...  
     Writing: Teachers and Children at Work was the first book I read about teaching.  I was majoring in communication disorders (speech/language pathology) and my wife (then girlfriend) brought home his book and said, "You have to read this... it's the best book I've ever read."  She is the one who nudged me to become a teacher (along with Don's book).
     I've worked with Donald Graves several times over the years... I think it behooves us all to reread his work and to encourage the new generation of teachers to do the same!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. You are so lucky to have had the opportunity to observe Donald Graves in person!