Tuesday’s Teaching Tip – Debbie Miller’s Literacy Attendance Idea

Don’t you just love all of the great literacy resources available from the amazing teacher experts?  If we haven’t said it enough, (but pretty sure we have), Debbie Miller is the best and one of our favorites!  Here is another wonderful idea from her.  It is called “Literacy Attendance.”  If you’ve ever seen any of the videos of Debbie in action, you know that she has the kindest, most welcoming way with her students. Starting the day with Literacy Attendance, gets that great feeling going first thing each day, and helps Debbie gain information about her students, and her students to widen their understanding of their own learning. 

So what is it? Instead of checking off the attendance list, or quickly clicking through attendance on the computer, Debbie gathers her students on the carpet and uses attendance to invite them to share an example of their learning from home.  First, she teaches students the ways we learn things at home, like counting out silverware for setting the table, reading the cereal box in the morning, reading at night, having a dream and writing a story based on it…and so much more.  She teaches them that they should share the important learning stuff, and that they each won’t always be sharing every day. Then, as she reads the names of her students for attendance, the students have an opportunity to share something they learned at home.  Just think of the possibilities!

Why does she do it?  It sets the tone for the day.  It gives her insight into the children’s thinking about their learning, their support at home, and their comfort level and skill at communicating their thoughts and ideas. It also helps the students understand that learning isn’t something that happens just at school. It happens everywhere!  Debbie and the children get all of these benefits in about 5 minutes of sharing a day.  Now, isn’t that a great idea?  

If you’d like to know more, to see it in action, and to hear Debbie explain it herself, check out her video “Literacy Attendance” at Stenhouse.com, and excerpts on YouTube.  

Happy teaching!


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