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Day 13: Bring In Captain Obvious

Captain Obvious is the spokesperson for which is the site I like to use for booking my hotels, but not because of Captain Obvious, still, it's a good site and I don't have complaints. The thing about that service, though, is that yes they obviously have good intel, but it also helps to check other websites to find out more information. In the end, I usually go with the prices on

Education is like that. Sometimes educators do their own action research and find that hey, this intel is obvious, but it's true. Still, even if it matches my own gut reaction, it is nice to hear other people say a rock is a rock. 

P. Ripp (2016, June 2). The one thing that made the biggest difference (according to my students). [Weblog]. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
This teacher is a scaled down version of Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer. Donalyn Miller is a product of Linda Reif and Nancie Atwell. If you are planning to teach middle school language arts and you do not know these names, get yourself to a library. Invest. Basically what all these women say is let them read. Let them choose their reading. Give them time. Read when they read. This post does not go into the writing when they write or letting them talk about their reading, but it seems to be in the same vein.

Ripp, who gives her students 10 minutes at the beginning of each class to read a book of their choosing, surveyed her students as she goes on a Captain Obvious speaking tour across the country and here is what one of her students said:
Please tell them to give us time to read. Please allow us at least 10 minutes. Please tell us to read. Tell us to read only great books. Give us the time so we can fall back in love.
So the one thing is let them read a book of their choosing.

Connections to Current/Future Work:
I am also a product of Linda Reif, Nancie Atwell, Louise Rosenblatt, National Writing Project so really, a rock is a rock. I know letting students read of their own choosing and giving them time to read during class works. I have seen it work in my own classrooms from grades 6-12. However, I also know how difficult it is to even spare 10 minutes. 10 minutes of free reading takes away time from my 5 - 10 minutes of free writing, takes away time from read aloud, seminar, writing workshop, Elbow group, literature circles. . .all rocks in creating literate, critical readers and writers who can make meaning of the world outside of the classroom.

I am a parent who has seen a good idea used incorrectly - giving students time to read but forcing genres on them so they have a choice, but not really - or forcing them to read in their RIT scores. Do you know how boring the books in your RIT score are if you are a 7th grader who is so advanced that your RIT score books are college textbooks? Or letting them read, but only from a list like Newbery even if they are in the 8th grade. Ugh!!!!

So I left the classroom to coach teachers, but I needed to do more so I am in higher education and actually teaching language arts methods courses and reading and writing across the curriculum so that I can introduce students to my own mentors. The obvious needs to be taught so that the rock can be used as a step up and not as a tool to crush and destroy.


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