Years ago, I started skiing. Initially I didn't take any lessons. I muscled my way down the mountain ending the day exhausted and drained. There was no joy in this. One day as I got off the lift I noticed in front of me two young skiers full of enthusiasm. They flew off the lift and clicked their ski poles together overhead and yodeled a "Yee Haw" as they flew down the mountain. I turned to my husband and I said, " I need that! I want a Yee Haw day"
"Perhaps a lesson would help", my husband suggested. I agreed that that would be a good idea. The next day I met up with my instructor. He was a wizened Austrian who lived for the snow and the winter. When I explained my difficulties he concluded that what I needed was a technique that would make me feel confident getting down the mountain. Yes, that is exactly what I needed. I needed instruction so that I could get down the mountain with confidence. He started where I was and added a few things so by the time the hour was over I felt confident on different terrain and steepness.
Since then, I have taken many lessons and have enjoyed many amazing days of happiness skiing down the mountain and yes, every once in a while I have a "Yee Haw Day" where I click my ski poles together in joy.
As I have been incorporating Common Core and PSSA prep into my ELA classes this story came to mind. When teaching reading comprehension I first have to teach the students how to get through the text with some joy. This has to start with where the students are and then I can add on to their technique so there is confidence and some ease. I hope that this approach serves my students as it has for me. Happy skiing and reading!