Throughout Glenda Smiley’s 15-year career as a teacher in New Jersey, she has taught pre-K to 3rd grade and 5th grade. Glenda also has had the unique opportunity of looping with her students (following them to the next grade) twice in her career. A 2nd grade teacher last year, Glenda followed most of her students to 3rd grade for the 2016-2017 school year. This year, Glenda’s goal is to focus on “developing enthusiastic writers” as well as helping her students discover the joy of reading.
What were your initial expectations about CLI?
I was excited to be working with CLI, since I was familiar with the initiative from my previous school district. I was thrilled to learn that new components were added and was eager to work with my coach, utilize CLI, and see results. I was also ready to learn a new and better way to teach literacy.
How did you feel about CLI after receiving professional development services from them?
I felt more confident teaching reading after receiving professional development from CLI. My reading block became more effective through balanced literacy (a program that uses both whole language and phonics and includes read aloud, guided reading, etc.). I was actually teaching my students to become better readers and teaching strategies to my students as individual learners.
How has CLI’s trainings and one-on-one and small group coaching transformed your literacy instruction?
Besides, helping me to be more confident in teaching literacy, it has provided more opportunities for me to act more as a facilitator and encourage independent learners in a student-led classroom. I have more opportunities to work one-on-one and in small groups with my students. My mini-lessons, conferences, and overall instruction has become more meaningful. In turn, students are becoming better readers and writers.
CLI’s goal is to create a “sustainable, school-wide culture of literacy that introduces students to the joys of reading, writing, and life-long reading.” How have you seen this develop in your classroom?
I have recently seen this develop in my classroom the first full week of school. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to loop with most of my students from the previous school year. We have spent the first week establishing procedures and routines. During my first introduction of Reader’s Workshop, a student has already shared her love of reading. She now doesn’t want to put the book down and loves to read, and she feels successful at it. This was coming from a student who did not have a desire to read for a sustained period of time at the beginning of the previous school year. My students love reading! Through Read Alouds, Reader’s Workshop, and Guided Reading, my students have already begun the journey of life-long reading in just one school year. I am overjoyed to see the progress they have made and the progress they will continue to make in the current school year
How has your use of CLI best practices helped your students’ learning improve? What changes have you seen due to your use of CLI practices?
Due to the use of CLI best practices, I have seen students advance in reading levels, build stamina, have a passion to be life-long readers, and find the joy in reading and writing. I am blessed to have traveled with most of my students to the next grade level and can witness the results of using the CLI best practices!
What is your literacy goal for yourself and your students during the 2016-2017 school year?
My goal for the 2016-2017 school year is to continue with the CLI best practices (balanced literacy), focus more on developing enthusiastic writers, help students to continue to find the joy in reading, and for them to be successful at it.
Anything else you’d like to add about your experiences with CLI?
I love CLI! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to receive professional development and coaching from CLI. It has been beneficial to my career as an educator and has caused me to change the way I teach literacy to the advantage of my students. I have become more confident in teaching literacy. My coach was very helpful, encouraging, and always willing to share. The one-on-one and small group sessions were great!
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