1st Edition

Teaching with Intention Defining Beliefs, Aligning Practice, Taking Action, K-5

By Debbie Miller Copyright 2008

    Effective, intentional teaching begins with a strong set of beliefs, but even the best teachers -- including author Debbie Miller -- struggle to make sure that their classroom practice consistently reflects their core convictions. In Teaching with Intention: Defining Beliefs, Aligning Practice, Taking Action, K-5, Miller defines her actions to ensure that children are the true beneficiaries of her teaching. As Peter Johnston writes, Through this book we have Debbie's teaching mind on loan. She engages us in the details of a teaching life from inside her mind, showing the thinking behind her teaching and the consequences of her actions.Teaching with Intention brings us into classrooms of teachers and children Miller has met over the last five years in her work as a literacy consultant. From setting up the classroom environment to the intentional use of language, from comprehension instruction to lesson design, Miller is explicit about what she does and why. At the same time, she encourages teachers to develop their own belief statements concerning teaching and learning and includes key questions to guide them in this important process.In an environment where the handing down of scripted programs and foolproof curricula is increasingly the norm, Teaching with Intention offers a compelling reminder that truly transformative teaching is built from the ground up, and is rebuilt every year, by every teacher, in every classroom, with every new group of students.

    Introduction: Welcome, Reader!; Part I: Defining Beliefs and Aligning Practices; Chapter 1: Picture Perfect: How Does Your Ideal Classroom Look, Sound, and Feel?; Chapter 2: Defining Beliefs and Aligning Practices; Part II: Taking Action; Chapter 3: Environment, Environment, Environment; Chapter 4: Creating Classroom Cultures That Support and Promote Student Thinking; Chapter 5: Swimming with Sharks: Teaching for Understanding and Engagement; Chapter 6: Lesson Design: Creating Lessons Based on Principles and Practices You; Chapter 7: Assessment, Reflections, and Next Steps; Chapter 8: The Thoughtful Use of Time; And Remember . . .


    Debbie has been a national consultant since 2000, but still has those back to school dreams in the fall. After playing school in the basement of her childhood home in Lititz, Pennsylvania, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Millersville University and Temple University and spent the next four decades as an educator. She's worked as a classroom teacher, migrant education teacher, Title I reading teacher, and literacy coach in Pre-K through grade 10 in diverse public school settings. Her love of teaching stems from her love of learning. I have always loved learning. Becoming a teacher was a way I could share that love of learning with children and eventually, with adults. A big part of her learning is listening to teachers and their professional development needs. When I work with teachers, I try to understand their needs by finding out what they know and listening to their questions. Then I begin where they are and work with them to help them take the next steps toward where they (and/or their school systems) want (them) to be. I believe in professional reading and professional learning communities, and support teachers in their quest to best meet the needs of all students in their classrooms. Debbie's ideas for her books also come from her work with teachers. She listens for frequently asked questions, patterns, teachers' needs, and keeps a writer's notebook to collect ideas, thoughts, and notes. Often, the old joke comes to mind: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That's how I write: Bit by bit, on planes, in hotel rooms, in my office on a rare day. Teachers' questions and comments spur me on through my daily, ongoing work in classrooms, which sustains my craft. Debbie's family has changed and grown in recent years. Her son, Jon, and daughter, Jessica, are both married, and she now has a granddaughter, Chloe, with another on the way. Debbie's husband, Tom, passed away in 2012.