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A Quick Guide to Making Your Teaching Stick, K–5
There is good reason for this question. As teachers, we gather children together each day, teach them a clear and concise strategy, give them a concrete example of that teaching, often drawing on stories from our own or their lives, and watch them nod their heads and smile—only to later find them oblivious to that day's teaching point, blithely repeating what they've done the day before.
Somehow, though we carefully plan our teaching, though we practice and revise it with our colleagues, it often doesn't transfer to children's independent work. We teach and children get it, but they do not hold onto what they've learned. And we're left wishing we had a way to pin the lesson to children's shirts and make it stay forever.
It is for this reason that even the most successful teachers always want to know, "How do I make my teaching stick?"
This book stands on the shoulders of the TCRWP. It is an extension of Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Primary Writing (Calkins et al. 2003). It reflects our newest thinking about how we can get the teaching we do with our youngest learners to last. We at the TCRWP not only continually outgrow our own best thinking but also draw on the thinking of the authors, teachers, coaches, and educational leaders with whom we work. The ideas about "stickiness" here draw from the writing and thinking of many authors: Lev Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, Donald Graves, Gravity Goldberg and Jennifer Serravallo, Stephanie Parsons, and Georgia Heard.
This book gathers that collective thinking in one place and clearly lays out principles and practices that underlie stickiness. It explores how to tweak our teaching so that it has a more lasting impact on our writers.
This book also stands on the shoulders of a best-selling book that is not traditionally cited in the field of education: Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point (2002). In this momentous book, Gladwell talks about how some things in the world have amazing spreading and staying power. These things have what he names the "stickiness factor." To write his book, Gladwell scoured the world, finding examples from all walks of life. He discovered that much of what makes one thing stick also makes another stick; in short, there is universality to stickiness.
It's not surprising, then, that much of what makes good teaching stick is the same as what makes anything stick. Naming these principles, laying them out in one guide on how to make our teaching endure, is the goal of this book. The text draws on the ideas of teachers and theorists alike. From this information, I have delineated four stickiness principles, which inform the practical teaching methods offered throughout this book.
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