Welcome to Read – Write – Connect, Inc.

the Internet home of Leah Mermelstein.

Best Writing consultant 002 copyLeah is an internationally recognized literacy consultant who specializes in K-5 Reading and Writing Workshop. She is the President and CEO of Read-Write-Connect, INC. She is also the author of Reading/​​Writing Connections in the K-2 Classroom, (Allyn & Bacon), Don’t Forget to Share (Heinemann) and the co-author of Launching the Writing Workshop (with Lucy Calkins) (Heinemann).


Selected Works

DVD

Quality Writing Instruction
This brand new DVD will assist teachers with high quality writing instruction.

Non-fiction

Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop
This brand new book will show you how to make your share sessions more instructional.

Nonfiction

Reading/Writing Connections in the K-2 Classroom: Find the Clarity and Then Blur the Lines
This book demonstrates how through careful, explicit assessing, planning, and teaching every student can understand and use the reading/writing connection to become stronger readers and writers at the same time.

Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum: Launching the Writing Workshop
This book shows teachers how to launch a joyful and rigorous Writing Workshop in their classrooms.

QUICK LINKS

E-mail the author

Authors Guild

findauthors

Leah Mermelstein
536 Grand Street, Ste. 501,
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(917) 503-1947

leahmermelstein@earthlink.net

1Leah best writing consultant 1.4 copy

Blog Posts are Below:

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It’s the end of the school year and Ariana is 6 months old: What I have learned from both parenting and teaching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I plan on taking a break from blogging this summer to enjoy my sweet little girl! I hope all of you have a wonderful summer filled with rest, relaxation and/or fun!

I will however let you know when my book comes out (mid to end of August).

If you haven’t seen the cover yet, here it is!  9780325048000-1

My final blog for this school year is a list of what I have learned in my first 6 months of parenting. Being a new parent, I know that I am at the start of this journey and will learn so much more as time goes on (and will probably revise what I presently think).

I share these lessons because they are good reminders for our teaching as well.

As always, I hope you will comment and/or add what you have learned this year to the list.

1.  Work as  a team:  I want to be Ariana’s everything, but the reality is different people can bring different things to her life.  I rarely make her laugh like this  Ariana laughing!  Isn’t that the same in teaching? You don’t have to be everything to your students.  Find the teachers and the resources (books included) that can help!

2.  Be in the moment:  Being a mom has helped me to stop thinking and worrying about what is ahead.  I just don’t have time!. Yesterday for example,  I took Ariana to a friend’s baby shower. Before Ariana was born, I would have worried about bringing a baby with me, but again I had no time to worry: I had a little girl to interact with all day.    As a matter of fact, the party started at 12:30 and by that point Ariana and I  had already gone to the park two times, played in her bedroom and taken a nap (Well, she did and I didn’t!)     It’s important also to be in the moment with your students and not think ahead too much.

3.  On the other hand planning ahead is key as well!  You might be thinking that I just previously said be in the moment and now I am saying the exact opposite of that.  In my opinion, anything meaningful is not as simple as one way or the other.  I often struggle with taking a stance on a topic (for example, Common Core Standards)  because I can see the pros and cons and never think it’s as simple as: I love this or hate this.  So, yes, be in the moment and plan ahead at the same time :))))

4.  Don’t just assess surface understanding: Go deeper!  Ariana has recently become scared of strangers or at least that’s what my initial assessment was.  As I went deeper, I could see that she usually loves children, especially girls in the 2-5 year range…go figure.  She also likes adults, as long as I am holding her.  When I went even deeper, I saw that if I walk out of the room even for a second these days, she goes into panic mode.  So I have revised what I think. It’s not that she is scared of strangers. She is scared of me leaving.  In teaching, we also need to go beyond our initial assessments and keep studying our students until we reach a more in-depth and more accurate assessment.

5.  Look at everything as an adventure.  For awhile I was trying to make Ariana laugh, funny faces, silly noises, tickling everything but she just wouldn’t.  And I think I’m a pretty funny person!!!!  She finally laughed a great belly laugh in Dunkin Donuts during a break on the long trip home from Boston.  I was so tired and wished I could just keep driving, but I had to stop and feed her. The stop and her laughter reminded me that I need to slow down and revel in the small stuff, just like she does!   A  stop at Dunkin Donuts in a middle of a long trip doesn’t have to a bad thing…it can be a hilarious adventure.  What is fun for our kids in school depends largely on what we think of it and how we present it to them.

6.  Read Aloud is Key:  I started reading aloud to Ariana at 6 weeks: Read Aloud  Looking at that video now, I can see just how much Ariana has changed as a reader now that she is 6 months.  She is much more focused and clearly lets me know which books she likes and which ones she doesn’t like. These days, she turns the pages and clearly lets me know when she comes to a favorite page. No matter what happens in our schools, we can’t forget the power that Read Aloud has in helping readers of all ages grow.

7.  Routine is Key:  I have watched Ariana strive on routine.  We have a nighttime routine that she can count on and it helps her to feel safe and happy. Our students feel happy and safe when we give them routines that they can count on.

8.  Oh the other hand getting out of routine can lead to huge growth as well. We just returned from a trip to Boston where almost all of Ariana’s routines were impossible to keep. I was able to see that she was just fine. As a matter of fact, she became more comfortable when I wasn’t around and fell even more in love with her cousins.  As a teacher don’t hang onto routines so much that you miss the growth that happens when you do something completely out of routine!

9.  ……..I would love to hear your thoughts on what you have learned this year. Have a wonderful summer and I will let you know when my book is out!

 

Until next time,

Leah

Copyright, 2013

12 Responses to It’s the end of the school year and Ariana is 6 months old: What I have learned from both parenting and teaching
  1. Vicki Bokser
    June 24, 2013 | 6:40 pm

    Loved this. As she is learning to grow into this world, you are learning also. It’s a new adventure and you and she will make mistakes. So those contradictions you mention above are just that – you both learning what works for your child. And I like that you are keeping an open mind. She will appreciate it also.

    • Leah Mermelstein
      June 24, 2013 | 6:47 pm

      Thanks, Vicki! I can’t wait until August when you join me on this adventure :))) Ariana adores you…xoxo

  2. Donna
    June 24, 2013 | 7:50 pm

    I just love reading your comparisons. I’m learning these things just 3 months behind you. There’s so much to learn! One thing I’ve learned is that tomorrow us another day. As a teacher I remember a lesson going longer than I planned, or not getting to a lesson that certain day, maybe because of a teachable moment or a good extended discussion. Same for a workshop for my staff. It’s okay. The same with Tanner. As he sleeps on me and I sometimes think of all of the things I could do if I put him down, I catch myself and say – those things can wait – this is important now. Sometimes we have to remember that as teachers and administrators too.

    • Mary Murphy
      June 25, 2013 | 12:33 am

      I always enjoy your blogs but this one is so perfectly written. Being prepared helps you live in the moment so I dont think they contradict each other at all. As long as you see parenthood as an adventure, sweet little Ariana will grow up to expect the safey of routine but delight in the unexpected. The same is true of teaching. Have a fabulous summer!

      • Leah Mermelstein
        June 25, 2013 | 10:17 am

        Hi Mary, You’re right…the reason we do plan both in life and in teaching is so we can be in the moment! I never thought of it quite that way before and it’s so true! Have a wonderful summer, Mary and I can’t wait to work together once again next year. 🙂

    • Leah Mermelstein
      June 25, 2013 | 10:21 am

      Yes, tomorrow is another day and just like you parenting has taught me to prioritize! In teaching and in parenting it seems like it’s important to know WHY you are not getting to something at home or your conversation with staff has taken a different turn. If it’s because something more important came up then you know it was the right thing to do. Have a great summer, Donna and I’ll see you soon.

  3. Laura Dyer
    June 25, 2013 | 10:48 am

    Leah,
    I have enjoyed your workshops and they have really shaped my beginning years of teaching (this was year six!). I have been off for most of this year on maternity leave with my second daughter (now 8 months). I have loved reading your blog posts this year and find myself both reflecting on my teaching and laughing out loud at the parenting things I can connect so strongly with right now. Thank you for sharing your insights, it is always a pleasure!
    Laura
    Williston, Vermont

    • Leah Mermelstein
      June 25, 2013 | 2:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Laura! Congratulations on your somewhat new daughter. I hope you are enjoying every moment with your kids.

  4. Kirsten Belrose
    June 25, 2013 | 11:03 pm

    Well, Leah, I can honestly say that the lessons you have been learning as a new mother hold true as an experienced mother of 2 (20, 17, and 10). Congratulations on “putting your blogging on hold” for the summer. It can be hard to do, but it is so essential for your relationship with your daughter. I sometimes have difficulty with this, and am trying to do so (leaving my laptop at home) as I get ready to leave on a trip out West with my children. It can be hard as I feel that pull to start planning for my next loop of students, but I know that taking time to focus on my own children during this time will make me a better teacher for my students. Have fun this summer!

  5. Diane Joyce
    June 27, 2013 | 12:22 pm

    Leah, I enjoy reading your blog and watching Ariana grow (and watching you grow as a parent). Your connections from parenting to teaching are so logical and practical! Enjoy summer with the love of your life!

    Diane

    • Leah Mermelstein
      July 3, 2013 | 5:47 pm

      Thanks , Diane! I hope that you had a great year and have a great summer. I really hope we get to work together once again in the future!
      Leah

  6. Patricia Schulze
    July 13, 2013 | 1:43 pm

    As a retired teacher I have always known how read alouds can change students reading level as well as give them a life long love of books. Now as a Grandma of a 17 month old grandson I delight in seeing him pick out a book and bring it to me to read. I have read to him since he was born and he loves certain pages, kisses his favorite characters, and giggles when I give each one a different voice. It is pure joy!

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