#SOLSC23: Choices

Drive time Sunday gave me time to think, organize, and ready my brain for blogging this week on the downhill side of the Slice of Life Challenge.

What can I write about?

  • Lady Hawkeyes win and advancement to the Sweet Sixteen
  • Driviing Conundrums
  • My uncle’s story about the river flooding so quickly that he had to watch his brother dive underwater to unhitch the horse from the wagon so it wouldn’t die stuck in the river bed. Literally watching his brother risk his life for the horse.
  • Current quilting projects
  • Formatting issues with my blog posts
  • “Response-ability”

Each of these bulleted items could be a slice or two or three. What to do? Start writing and see what surfaces? Take a walk and narrow down the topics to just two or three?

So I started typing. And here is my draft.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Saturday I spent five hours in Zoom PD. Willingly. By choice. In years past I’ve wished for Saturday Reunions to have remote access to save time, $ and resources required to travel. Saturday I was grateful for the learning! There was a theme across the sessions whether it was Lucy, Amanda, Brooke, Rachael, Janet, Phillip, Gene or any of the other sessions I attended.

Response – ability

That was the theme! Not to be confused with “responsibility”. In education, responsibility typically deals with accountability and fidelity. Responsibility makes me think of more of a teaming, “We are in this together approach as we work on common goals in similar ways.”

Response – ability

This word conjures up possibilities. Possibilities in the way I respond to students. In the way I respond to parents, teachers, community, and administrators. It also conjures up choices. I’m thinking that this is “freeing” as I can be “responsive” both to and for students.

Responsive to students is a common discussion thread in our #CuriosityCrew group from #G2Great. Our roles deal with students, teachers, and administrators from PK – college. We collectively believe (like many others) that our fidelity is to the students sitting in front of us, first and foremost. Our goal is learning. Students learning.

So what does it take for students to be learning?

Instruction needs to meet student needs. It’s not “everyone on page 40”. Instruction is explicit. Instruction is differentiated. Instruction is designed to move at a pace that ensures students learn and also close gaps where necessary. This is instruction that is “response-ability” for teachers. Teachers are expected to as well as able to “respond” to students. If 75% of the class doesn’t understand concept x, we can reteach and check for understanding again. We make sure that learning and not “coverage of content” is the focus.

Response – ability

New concept

Old belief

Values students.

Values learning.

Embedded in a sense of urgency

But not limited to a pacing guide.


To students.

Response – ability.

Additional Resources:

“Recall that response-ability, in its most succinct iteration, is “an ability to respond, to respond to the world beyond oneself, as well as a willingness to recognize its existence” (Kuokkanen, 2007, p. 39).”

link – https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-61299-3_7#:~:text=Recall%20that%20response%2Dability%2C%20in,39)

Poetry: “Response-ability” https://powerpoetry.org/poems/response-ability

What does response-ability mean to you? How does it fit into your life?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum in March. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

15 responses

  1. It’s so interesting to ponder the layers to the word response-ability. I was way too busy for the TC Reunion this weekend, but I did regret that more than once. I’m glad you had a chance to participate. Sounds like it was rewarding!

  2. I love this, Fran. I was also at several sessions, and yes, there was a pulse, for sure. I love the term– it wraps itself with taking notice of my effectiveness and having some sorts of systems and structures for doing that… and then adjusting!

  3. I too was there and you do a lovely job here of distilling the big idea. I am feeling more empowered today after Sat. I do have the ability to respond in the BEST way for each of my students. Best lines: Instruction needs to meet student needs. It’s not “everyone on page 40”. Looking forward to reading ALL the other stories on your list HERE soon!

    1. Sally,
      So many stories. Some days it is hard to focus on just one!

  4. Fran, you’ve effectively captured why teaching is challenging! I agree that focusing on learning and differentiating are the keys to effective teaching. Super excited for Sweet Sixteen! Go Hawks!

    1. Barb,
      This is so true – Teaching is challenging because it is both the art and the science!

  5. “Response-ability” what a great word. It brings to mind that not only is what we say important but so is how we say it.

  6. So much here, Fran, I hope I can revisit later. I like the concept of response – ability. I think our students should always come first. I think a key idea that is interconnected with reslonse- ability is making sure we are operating in the present – being present when we are with our students and our colleagues.

    1. I agree – students first ALWAYS and we must be present!

  7. Wow, I love the variations that make up your slice from brainstorming to selecting to fleshing out a draft to action items to inviting your reader’s thoughts. Thank you for this thinking!

    1. Britt,
      This post looked linear but it had already circled around my brain several times!

  8. You packed so much into this post, Fran. I agree with this list and hope I checked off those boxes in my teaching days. I loved those Reunion Saturdays and have attended on Zoom, too. Sorry to have missed this. I didn’t know about it.

    1. Rita, It seems like the timing of Saturday Reunions is just when I need a huge dose of HOPE!

  9. I loved reading this! I like the idea of response ability.

    1. Me too! Still thinking about it!

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