Welcome to the HPL Community Blog

A place for HPL educators to learn and share our stories

What’s New at HPL?

I love the work we do in schools!  I love working with students. I love working with teachers and coaches and principals. I love watching kids work things out on their own. I love watching faces light up when they figure things out and connect the dots on their own. I...

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Learning to Student in HPL

Most of us would agree that we learn best through experience—by doing ourselves what we are trying to learn to do. We know that to learn how to do anything, you have to actually do it. To learn to swim, you have to get in the water, pick up your feet, and move your...

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Just Reading

Just Reading…Seriously?

Several years ago, I interviewed for a job. A couple of people on the interview panel asked me about a state-wide reading initiative that I had been involved in in the early 2000’s. Typical of these interviews, they wanted to know how that work did or did not support the job for which I was interviewing.

Atypical of these interviews, instead of asking me the question, they asked one another, and discussed their own (very similar) opinions among themselves. They agreed that the initiative that I had been involved in was about “just reading,” and furthermore, that “just reading” had little to do with anything that mattered much to them.

It was truly a moment to remember.

I listened quietly to all of this, completely taken aback by the whole exchange. I decided to listen and try to learn something. Because frankly, I didn’t know what they were talking about.

Just reading? Seriously?

What is that?

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“You Coming in my Room Today?”

He was sort of holding up the wall, waiting in a loosely-formed line to go into his sixth-grade classroom. As I walked by, he spoke to me without moving his head off the wall.

“You coming in my room today?”

I stopped and turned toward him. His head still propped against the wall, his dreads framing his beautiful face, his eyes straight ahead. “No, not this time,” I said. “I guess you’re off the hook until next month.” I grinned at him, fairly sure that he would be relieved.

As the line started to move, he pushed off the wall with the side of his head and moved his feet forward. I thought I heard him say, “I like it when you come. It helps me.”

I stopped. What?

And followed him into class.

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