Last week I had the privileged of observing Christy Rush-Levine with her eighth grade language arts classes. Deb Gaby, the reading coach in my district, along with two middle school teachers went with me to check out Christy’s approach to remediation. At the heart of her work is reading and writing workshop. I began a list a few moments after entering her classroom and continued to add to it over the course of our time together. I think the best way for you to get a glimpse of my experience is through this list.
- Intentional. Every minute of class is purposeful. Her classroom is designed with the intent to sway readers. Ideas connect.
- Thoughtful. She considers the heart of the reader. She considers students interests. She makes people feel valued. In less than 24 hours, Christy went from stranger to friend for the three educators who came with me. She notices and remembers small details. Christy knows the power of caring.
- Quiet. She is bold in a quiet way. Sometimes I think this is the best way to be bold.
- Calm. She’s not rattled. She takes the time to be reflective and chooses to respond with grace and peace.
- Believing everyone can learn to enjoy reading. She wasn’t behind her computer. She talked with readers. We went to the bookstore and she picked up books, saying, “I’ve been wanting to add this to our library.” Her room is a collection of inspiration to read and write. I loved finding the hidden treasures as I looked and looked again.
- Specific. Her feedback is specific. Her instruction is specific. Christy doesn’t speak in generalities, instead she strives for specificity.
- A role model. She shares her reading life so her students know how to be readers. She shares her writing life so her students know how to be writers.
- A mentor. She is trusted by students and colleagues to guide and lead when it comes to literacy instruction.
- Knowledgeable. Christy studies reading and writing workshop. She attends professional development. She reads blogs. She talks with other educators. She reads and writes herself. In addition, she reflects on her practice. She is constantly questioning and growing as a teacher of readers and writers.
- Responsive. Christy teaches people, not texts, not skills. People. The reason she is so successful is because she responds to individual needs and preferences.
- Kind. She extends goodwill, thinking the best of people.
- Reflective. Christy thinks about her practices. She thinks about her students’ needs. She considers what to do next and what to do differently. Constantly.
- Patient. Christie waits patiently. She gives kids time to respond. She trusts her core beliefs and workshop teaching. She believes kids will grow as readers and writers, but she knows it takes time.
13 thoughts on “Christy Is…”
Just as Tara said, I would not have imagined it being any other way in Christy’s classroom! Amazing experience for all I am sure…
Ah…just as I thought, Christy is as awesome as I imagined. What a wonderful experience for everyone.
And other pictured rock stars continue to grow–I can hear and feel the music! What an opportunity for all of you. Rock on.
Way cool. I’m so glad you shared your side of the visit. You described Christy just as I imagine her. It makes me smile that I seem to be right….
Christy is an amazing teacher…someone I wish everyone could see. I had the privilege to know her when she was starting out by visiting her rooms to do booktalks and I came to enjoy the visits to her class so much because I learned much more than I brought to them. Christy, still wish I could work with you every day!
It is surreal to see myself through your eyes, Ruth. Thank you for working with our teachers, for joining me for dinner and the bookshop, for bringing great people to visit, for making my students feel special, for inspiring me and helping shape who I am as a professional, and, tonight, for making me feel like a rock star.
Just wonderful to hear about Ruth, and I’m not surprised at all that Christy is all those things. I hope someday to get to meet Christy & have a real talk with her, not just a virtual one. Yeh, Christy!
What a great testament to all the great work that Christy is doing. Thanks for celebrating her here!
I got the chance to see Christy briefly at Anderson’s Bookshop Friday night and she shared your visit. What an amazing chance to get to observe another teacher. I’m sure you all came away with new ideas.
What a special day you had! You have confirmed my thinking of what life is like in
Christy’s class. One day I hope to meet her too.
Christy sounds like someone I’d like to learn from and be a friend to.
While I’ve never seen Christy teach, I can imagine from meeting her, reading her writing, and through correspondence, I know all of these things are true. Thoughtful is one of the biggest things that makes Christy, Christy.
Thanks for sharing about your visit, Ruth.
This sounds like an amazing, inspiring experience! I’m craving this for myself right now! Thanks for sharing!
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