Saturday Sayings

My dear blogging friend Tammy at Forever in First has a great meme called
She's asked me to link to hers this week and I couldn't be more pleased.

“Only careful monitoring will assure me that the child is not becoming confused and practicing inappropriate behaviors…..(A child) may practice behaviors day after day for a year, and that will handicap his subsequent progress.” -Marie Clay
There is much to be learned from Marie Clay as we all know, but I love the thought that we can use her ideas as the foundation for other great ideas as well. We work hard to create centers where kids can be independent, but that doesn't mean they are being independent effectively. We try to set out material for kids to practice what they have already learned. We try to teach them how each center should work. When they head to centers, we hope to fit a few guided reading groups in. However, this may not be the time to do that.

I think this is the time to take out a notebook, iPad, or clipboard with index cards labeled with names and wander around the room noting how children are practicing. I think a teacher who is wandering around gently guiding and noting what she sees, will gather much more child data than one who is doing guided reading groups or catching up on paperwork or waiting for formal assessment time.

At times I have felt like children learned without me. When others asked how my first graders were all reading at or above grade level, I would rack my brain and say, "I'm not sure. I didn't really teach them." I never felt like I was teaching the way I thought I was going to when I was in college. Rather I guided them and brought excellent materials and shared my love for books and reading. Then I watched them like a hawk. I knew what each child loved and how each struggled. I brought them other materials depending on what I saw. I think Marie Clay would have loved that.


  1. I think Marie Clay would want her children in your classroom! I'm so busy trying to get my owlets to stay on task at what ever they are doing that my guided readers suffer! Call me dumb, but I never thought about not "teaching" during center or Daily Five time. Thank you for this light bulb moment!

    1. I love that you shared your learning here. Thank you.

  2. Kimberly,

    You have captured the "art of teaching" in your blog post. It's the combination of watching, guiding, monitoring, teaching and sharing your own passion for literacy that "grows readers."

    Marie Clay's quote was the perfect way for me to start the day! THANKS!


  3. It seems like much of what I believe is somehow linked to Marie Clay. When I was trained in Reading Recovery 17 years ago, her views affected my pedagogy tremendously. Thank you for sharing your pedagogy this morning too. It's good stuff!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  4. I must be living under a rock, but I've never heard of Marie Clay - I'm going to have to look her up now. I totally agree with what you are saying. My district doesn't though - I think they expect me to be glued to the Guided Reading table. But as I was reading this post, I wondered if I could do a quick wander every so often to do a check on kids. Because practice makes perfect and I want to make sure what they are practicing! Thanks for the thoughts. Sara

    1. She is the Da Vinci of the running record and observational surveys. You'll find much and be grateful you did.

      Debbie Diller has done research to support your idea of a quick wander. She calls it the Eye Wander. She suggests deciding on one center and keeps checking on the progress there.

  5. Wise words from Marie Clay & repeated by you! Knowing our students inside and out and just where they struggle plus using that data to drive our instruction is just what they need. :)
    Conversations in Literacy

  6. Oh Marie I heart her. Every time someone brings up DIBELS or Progress Monitoring, I think she cringes:-)

    Chickadee Jubilee

  7. Great thoughts. Kristi and I have been discussing this, what benefits our kids most and how to make it happen.

    Teaching Little Miracles

  8. Wise words, Kimberley!
    Marie Clay has been my "goddess" for at least 22 years :)
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  9. "Rather I guided them and brought excellent materials and shared my love for books and reading. Then I watched them like a hawk. " To me that sounds like the essence of assisted discovery - and isn't that how deep learning occurs.

    rubberboots and elf shoes