Teaching, Reading, and Learning: The Reading League Podcast

When asked to describe Anita Archer, people use the words talented, beloved, pragmatic, and delightful. Anita and her work resonate deeply with teachers, and this is no surprise. Throughout her 50+ years in education Anita considers herself first and foremost a teacher. Her contributions to the field are prolific; she is well-known in particular for enriching our understanding of explicit instruction. “How well you teach= how well they learn” and “Teach with passion. Manage with compassion” are just two of the many memorable truths that Anita shares during this lively and lovely discussion.

Show Notes

Anita L. Archer, PhD, is an educational consultant to school districts on explicit instruction, the design and delivery of instruction, behavior management, and literacy instruction. She has taught elementary and middle school students and is the recipient of 10 awards honoring her excellence in teaching and contributions to the field of education. Dr. Archer has served on the faculties of San Diego State University, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Oregon in Eugene. She is nationally known for her professional development activities, having presented in every state over the course of her 50-year career. Dr. Archer is coauthor, with Dr. Mary Gleason, of numerous curriculum materials addressing reading, writing, and study skills.  Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Anita’s primary home is in Portland, Oregon where she enjoys entertaining friends, attending symphony and opera performances, and practicing her cello.

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Mount St. Joseph University. Mount St. Joseph University offers a number of programs for educators interested in graduate or doctoral work focused on the Science of Reading. To learn more visit msj.edu/reading-science.

Further Reading and Exploration
Anita’s Picks

What is Teaching, Reading, and Learning: The Reading League Podcast?

Teaching, Reading & Learning: The Podcast elevates important contributions to the educational community, with the goal of inspiring teachers, informing practice, and celebrating people in the community who have influenced teaching and literacy to the betterment of children. The podcast features guests whose life stories are compelling and rich in ways that are instructive to us all. The podcast focuses on literacy as we know it (reading and writing) but will also connect to other “literacies” that impact children’s learning; for example, emotional, physical, and social literacies as they apply to teachers and children.

[00:00:00.730] - Speaker 1
This episode is being brought to you by Mount St. Joseph University. Mount St. Joseph University offers a number of programs for educators interested in graduate or doctoral work focused on the science of reading. We are accredited by the International Dyslexia Association and offer a fully online reading science certificate, Dyslexia certificate, and Master's degree. The doctoral program is fully online during the school year with an annual Oncampus Summer Institute. To learn more, visit our website. Msj.edu. Readingscience Hi and welcome to Teaching, Reading and Learning the TRL Podcast The focus of this podcast is to elevate important conversations in the educational community in order to inspire, inform, and celebrate contributions to teaching and learning. Our guest today is Dr. Anita Archer. I am delighted to be with her today. She has been an influence on so many of us with her tremendous contributions to the field enriching our understanding of explicit instruction. And I know Anita is very well known to most of us in the educational community, but if you aren't familiar with her, let me share a little bit more about her. So Anita Archer, PhD, is an educational consultant to school districts on explicit instruction, design and delivery of instruction, behavior management, and literacy instruction.

[00:01:49.720] - Speaker 1
She has taught elementary and middle school students and is a recipient of ten awards honoring her excellence in teaching and contributions to the field of education. Dr. Archer has served on the faculties of San Diego State University, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Oregon in Eugene. She is nationally known for her professional development activities, having presented in every state over the course of her 50 year career. Dr. Archer is coauthor, with Dr. Mary Gleason of numerous curriculum materials addressing reading, writing, and study skills raised in the Pacific Northwest, Anita's primary home is in Portland, Oregon, where she enjoys entertaining friends, attending Symphony and opera performances, and practicing her cello, which, by the way, she notes in her biography that she's a beginner, but more on that later. So this conversation is really going to bring to light Anita's beautiful vision for our students and teachers and her relentless commitment to teaching. And we'll also learn how it all began with a fourth grade teacher who wore holiday hair nets and practiced kindness. You don't want to miss this one. Welcome Anita Archer to our podcast today. I'm just so delighted that I have the opportunity to talk with you.

[00:03:26.230] - Speaker 1
I know that you're a big traveler, and now you're tuning in from your home in Portland. Am I right about that?

[00:03:32.960] - Speaker 2
Life has changed.

[00:03:34.250] - Speaker 1
Yes, life has changed. Well, it's lovely to see you today, so I'd like to just jump right in because I know our listeners just are so curious and interested to hear more from you. I know you've been in education now for 40 years, and you started out as how many?

[00:03:53.440] - Speaker 2

[00:03:54.730] - Speaker 1
54? Did you say 54? Wow. Bravo.

[00:03:59.850] - Speaker 2
No, isn't it?

[00:04:01.130] - Speaker 1
Bravo. Bravo. You was teaching your first career?

[00:04:08.410] - Speaker 2
Teaching was my only career.

[00:04:10.990] - Speaker 1

[00:04:12.020] - Speaker 2
All I've done is education.

[00:04:13.540] - Speaker 1
Yeah. Were you a classroom teacher first?

[00:04:17.220] - Speaker 2
I was a classroom teacher first, and I was a special Ed teacher at hisacal Valley Elementary School. So, yes, that was definitely the beginning of my career.

[00:04:29.070] - Speaker 1

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Do you want to hear more about.

[00:04:32.980] - Speaker 1
Yeah. What made you go into teaching?

[00:04:37.790] - Speaker 2
It's hard to pinpoint the moment when you decide to do something, but there was all kinds of things leading up to it. My family, I grew up in the state of Washington on the Eastern side, which is mostly farming and rural, and we live in seven different communities and 14 houses before I was 18.

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[00:05:00.600] - Speaker 2
An experience most people don't have. I'm going to be a Nomad consultant later on.

[00:05:07.730] - Speaker 1
Good training ground.

[00:05:08.930] - Speaker 2
Very good training ground. And so many years I would be coming in mid year to a school. It was sort of my sacred place to be. And it was these gracious teachers who invited me into their classrooms and supported me. And so I began there. But then I think the seed was planted in fourth grade very intentionally by Mrs. Finkel. My favorite teacher was in her last year of teaching, and she was a miraculous woman. But she wore hair nets over her Gray hair, which I've not gone to tell when it was a holiday, because then she would put on her Christmas net, her Easter net or just it's somebody's birthday net. Well, when I first came to her, it was the third school that I had that year in fourth grade. And so I was really reluctant to be in a new school again, a new class again. And I had just read a book about a selective mute. So I took a little piece of paper after my parents had left, and I had talked to her, and I wrote down, I am a selective mute. And I wrapped it up and handed it to her.

[00:06:47.390] - Speaker 2
Can you imagine what happened in the coffee room over that note? But she honored it. She didn't force me to talk for a few weeks, and then I couldn't hold back. Finally, it was too much trouble. And so she never forced it, though that was very interesting. So one day in the winter, it was in the winter, it was snowing, snowing, snowing. And we were putting on our garb to go outside, as did Mrs. Sinkle. And she caught her net in this Inn. That's a heart. And she said across the room, Anita, come help me. And so I came over and she said, help me get this out. And then she put it on my coach, and she said, Someday you'll be a teacher and give children your heart. Now, don't you think that his destiny? I think I had an option.

[00:07:51.870] - Speaker 1
What a beautiful story.

[00:07:57.090] - Speaker 2
And she retired a year, but it was just the care she gave me, the fact that she believed that if you were going to be a teacher, you should teach well, but you should also be kind. And so it was like the perfect seed planting.

[00:08:20.730] - Speaker 1
That is a beautiful story. And the fact that you still have that heart.

[00:08:26.290] - Speaker 2
I have that heart. Absolutely.

[00:08:29.250] - Speaker 1
I can see why that inspired you to go into teaching. What a great story.

[00:08:34.020] - Speaker 2
I don't think I thought about it later. Like you got to be a teacher. You have to be a teacher. I think my life has been filled with total goodness of people and total opportunities. And I've learned over time that you also have to be very present and work hard wherever you are, do your best wherever you are. And so then I went to College after I graduated from high school, and in my family, everyone went to the University of Washington. So it wasn't even like a decision. Well, you're just going there. Okay. So I went there, but I got early on as a sophomore, I got a research assistant as an undergraduate for one of the best researchers and writers in special Ed, Tom Lovett. And so I hadn't really considered it as a career at that time. I was in sociology and psychology. But that planted the seed again because I took all the data as he was doing research studies. So, you know, you sort of sometimes you have opportunities that are given to you. So I finished. I went right from undergraduate to a graduate degree in special Ed. And there Joe Jenkins, who was another, as well as Tom Levitt, continued to be mentors.

[00:10:08.910] - Speaker 2
And they were brilliant managers in terms of education. And then I got a job teaching in Istiko, which is a school district right outside of Seattle. And it was a wonderful school and a wonderful job. I got teacher of the year and three years into it from the state group. But it was so interesting. My sister just recently sent me the picture. She found a newspaper picture of me getting this. And they said that it was supposed to be a man, but we had to make from our national we had to ask, could it be a woman? Things have changed. So there it was. They had to say we had to get special permission to give the young Award to a woman. Okay.

[00:11:12.630] - Speaker 1
Isn't that interesting? I mean, to think that that was so unusual.

[00:11:16.250] - Speaker 2

[00:11:16.570] - Speaker 1
That you had to get dispensation to be able to give it to a woman.

[00:11:21.090] - Speaker 2

[00:11:21.440] - Speaker 1
Because it was it was just expected.

[00:11:24.710] - Speaker 2
Yes, it was. Young man in education, the young man in many different fields. So anyway, it was quite a delight. So I just had this abundant opportunity. And then I've just been blessed. I had an early opportunity to be an acting assistant professor at University of Washington. Only I was 26 and a faculty person died. And so they asked if I would come teach classes well, not too many people get that kind of opportunity, but opportunity is born. You did a really good job at what you're currently doing. Opens up the doors to opportunities.

[00:12:08.530] - Speaker 1

[00:12:10.950] - Speaker 2

[00:12:11.400] - Speaker 1
Go ahead. Sorry.

[00:12:12.470] - Speaker 2
But I have to tell you, you told me you were going to ask that question, and I had to get out like a little history my Vita, because 54 years later, some of these things, in terms of the sequence and so forth, are less visible. Thank you for making me do that.

[00:12:29.410] - Speaker 1
Oh, my gosh. Well, it's such a what a great story. And I think people, especially teachers, always want to hear from people that they really admire. What were your humble beginnings in education and what are some lessons you've learned? And it sounds like one of the big lessons that you're bringing forward here for us is this idea of mentorship and how you were nurtured by mentors. And I was having a wonderful conversation with Parker Palmer, and he was talking about the power of mentorship and how he felt the blessings of the gifts of mentors through most of his adult life. And then all of a sudden he mentioned how the mentors just kind of disappeared, and he thought, where are my mentors? And he realized it was that arc of life when now he is designed to be the mentor. And I wonder if you had an experience like that.

[00:13:27.270] - Speaker 2
Well, much of my career was spent at three universities, and so I had students, and you're an automatic mentor if you connect with them. And I did, probably after University of Washington and University of Oregon, the Ducks. I had remarkable years at that beautiful University. And many of the people that I still work with, my co author, Dr. Mary Gleason, was my student, the most brilliant person I've ever known in education, and treat to work with people like Ann Watnabi, who is now a leader in Hawaiian education as a consultant. And so mentoring going on, and then other mentors today mentees. Yes. But there is not a body of knowledge that doesn't have a history. And sometimes we forget that people present knowledge as if it was their new vision, and that's never true. I have had the gift of learning from Tom Lovett and from Joe Jenkins going to University of Oregon at that time, Ingleman was there, my really good friend and collaborator Doug Carne, learning from them. And so it is accumulation all of us have, that all knowledge has deep roots. We have to honor those deep roots.

[00:15:09.150] - Speaker 1
Yeah, I really appreciate that. And the people that you're naming are people that I think, like you, I consider them groundbreaking groundbreakers in our profession.

[00:15:22.050] - Speaker 2
And it was a fertile field. The field was already set and they were groundbreakers. But on a very fertile field.

[00:15:31.120] - Speaker 1
Yeah. For sure. One of your mottos that I've heard you use over and over again is how well you teach is how well they learn. And I love that motto because there's simplicity and truth in that. And I wonder if that simplicity and truth is one reason why so many educators you resonate with so many educators. Why do you think your work has struck such a deep chord with all of us?

[00:16:05.760] - Speaker 2
Well, I think that you hit a big point. So my work, which at least in the books I've written and in what I've incorporated in curriculum materials that I've written and I train across the country, is under the umbrella of explicit instruction. And explicit instruction, basically is looking at what does our research tell us about what we can do in the classroom that will lead to learning. So it looks at what do we know about content that is critical and broken down? What do we know about design? Do we tell the objective? Do we do consistent review? Do we do demonstration guidelines, checking for understanding? Do we deliver it with high active participation, frequent responses? Do we deliver it where we are monitoring and giving feedback? These are just very basic things that have huge amount of research and excellent effect sizes no matter what research you look at. And one of the things that I've done is over time, I've often utilized outages or mottos to summarize. And I think that one is one that I learned as a teacher. How well you teach equals how well they learn. My lack of clarity leads to their lack of clarity.

[00:17:35.390] - Speaker 2
Why not? Breaking it down to obtain the pieces reduces their ability to process it cognitively. One of the highlights of my career was getting a word from the state that I'm in Oregon as an educator. And my former students from three different universities sent in adages that they remembered adages for content like teach the stuff and cut the fluff. Okay. So that anything that wasn't particularly for students that are struggling. One is for the design of a lesson, which would be things such as, I do it, we do it, you do it. Demonstration, guided practice, checking for understanding, ones for the delivery such as learning is not a spectator sport. Okay. Do you remember that? Big idea and management. My favorite management is avoid the void for they will fill it.

[00:18:44.830] - Speaker 1
I love that. What's interesting is that you went back to your students and asked them what they remembered, and these just came up for them because these are these truths that are presented in a very memorable way. One of my other favorites from you is teach with passion, manage with compassion.

[00:19:07.110] - Speaker 2
That's the only one that was given to me by a child.

[00:19:10.790] - Speaker 1
I love that story. Tell us that story about the child.

[00:19:16.290] - Speaker 2
I was in Selena's, California, doing demonstrations quite a long time ago. One of the ways that I maintain my teaching skills is that often when I work with districts, I will do demonstration lessons. I taught a demonstration lesson and then the beauty of California is when kids go out to recess, it's beautiful. And so I went out with them. I wanted to check and see if they played the same games that other schools played. And so I'm standing there and there's this boy running across the field, and he came to me, I said Hi. And he said I was in class. He said if there was a teaching contest, you'd win. Now, that could make your whole career.

[00:20:06.290] - Speaker 1
That is a victory right there.

[00:20:08.020] - Speaker 2
Right. But he said, why did you say that? And he said, with this intelligence of a fourth grader, you teach with passion and you manage with compassion. Now, given that gift, how could you not follow that for rest of your career?

[00:20:29.010] - Speaker 1
You can't. What's interesting, he was a fourth grader. And I think back to the story you told about Mrs. Finkel in fourth grade and how she brought kinds this to the classroom. So interesting intersection of fourth grade. Right there. Lessons, lessons from fourth grade.

[00:20:53.710] - Speaker 2
That really does summarize. I watch teachers all the time now because one of the things I've been doing virtually is training principals, administrators, literacy teams on observations and feedback to teachers. And it is so clear to me that a teacher who's totally present a teacher who is passionate about teaching, a teacher who is passionate about the content and then follows the pathway of explicit instruction, that they have an objective, that they review, that they do demonstration, guided practice, and active visualization, that it is so critical that those things be in place for learning to occur. And I think sometimes we forget our outcome. Our outcome is learning. I always say this, if you were a corporate President and you were in charge of that company, your outcome is profit. Our outcome is learning. And sometimes we have our attention taken away with an activity forgetting the importance of learning. And so I watch this and I can see how critical again, how well you teach equals how well you learn, how well they learn.

[00:22:28.090] - Speaker 1
I think about my own coming up as a teacher, and there was a lot of I always say this, there was a lot of teaching around reading, and I own that. I mean, I taught around reading, but I don't think I really taught them to read. Right. It was more just like activities surrounding reading. And from that reading would come what you talk about is so resonant for me. I love what you just said. Maybe you've got another little adage here, the three P's, presence, passion and pathway for learning to occur.

[00:23:08.950] - Speaker 2
Add those because you add passion. And yeah, you just said teachers need.

[00:23:21.250] - Speaker 1
Presence, they need passion, and they need to understand the pathway for effective instruction.

[00:23:27.790] - Speaker 2
Good job.

[00:23:28.820] - Speaker 1
Yeah. For learning to occur.

[00:23:31.800] - Speaker 2
If you've looked at John Haddy looked at credibility of teachers as viewed from their students, and one was that they had a passion for the content and passion for teaching. They believe they were credible as teachers and that they knew the content but also how to teach the content. They're pretty astute about what makes a difference. And so passion does make a difference being present. It's sort of a Zin quality, but always being present wherever you are, not letting your attention waver, not let your thoughts waver, and you can feel someone's energy when they're present. And so I think presence makes a difference in everything that I do.

[00:24:31.350] - Speaker 1
Yeah. I appreciate that so much, Anita, because it's hard to do because people I think teachers are so distracted by so many demands on their work and on their lives and maintaining that stance. It really is a stance that you go into. That stance of presence is one of the greatest gifts I think we give to the other, whether that other is our spouse or our friend or our students, it's a tremendous gift. And I believe you're right. I believe people can feel that presence as a gift. Yeah, for sure. So when I think about your work in professional development and like I said, I think your work just resonates with so many people because of the truth of what you share, just in very simple ways. But yet the concepts are not that simple.

[00:25:30.210] - Speaker 2
Not always simple.

[00:25:31.830] - Speaker 1

[00:25:32.570] - Speaker 2
I think that it works. And so when I follow the pathway that you just utilize that term, when I follow that pathway and I couple it with the appropriate amount of practice and the appropriate amount of cumulative review, and the students learn now, that is the gift that we give to children is that they would learn and that they would feel confident. And it's sort of like the research on motivation of children that we used to think we had to have a hook, something to capture attention. What we now know is that success is what breeds motivation. And, I mean, I'm taking cello lessons, and when the pandemic came, I said I should go back to cello and take more lessons because I am definitely a beginner. But I could see that at the point where I could play something that someone might recognize that seemed melodic, that felt the vibration, felt good against my body. Wow. Now I want to give it energy. Now I want to get up morning and practice. And so that just reminded me of how we must give children success so that they will be motivated to give it energy.

[00:26:50.790] - Speaker 2
The same thing is true with teachers is that when teachers are successful in their kids learn, they're significantly more motivated to do what's necessary to increase more learning. So I think that parents need to remember this, that success breeds motivation.

[00:27:13.480] - Speaker 1
Yeah. And I've heard you talk about this. I know we've talked about explicit instruction, and you've talked about the term drill and kill. And I think that that is something we've got to just erase from our thinking because you were so right. I mean, as human beings, what is the strongest motivated we have are the incremental steps of success. Right. And so when we teach explicitly, we're giving kids that gift of incremental steps of success that propel them forward toward persevering. I think we could take any learning experience we as human beings have had, and we can say, okay, what were the incremental steps that propelled you forward to challenge? Like, I think about you learning cello. I mean, that's certainly a challenging thing to do. But your steps of success are continuing to propel you forward.

[00:28:11.860] - Speaker 2
And I'm sure that it's true of your own career in mind is that I've had incremental learning and more incremental learning and never stopped. I have a webinar tomorrow and I have a whole stack of books here that I wanted to look up certain points for that webinar. And it's just so all of us have that growth, but we have to have intentionality to learn. Intentionality to grow.

[00:28:37.770] - Speaker 1
Yeah. We have to set that intention. I agree. And because we are teachers, we're educators. I hope that lifelong learning is part of our DNA, because that's something we're trying to help our students inhabit.

[00:28:53.730] - Speaker 2
Well, I would hope it is. And I think that schools can also add to that. Every time I give a webinar, I send articles. These are the follow up articles here to read so that it's easy for people to say, okay, I'll read and discuss that.

[00:29:12.310] - Speaker 1
On those slides of growing since you began your work. Do you think that as a profession we have developed and if so, what ways.

[00:29:28.550] - Speaker 2
As a profession? Yeah, that's a hard question. For this reason is that every state I work with, every country I work with, every district I work with, it varies so much from place to place and from teacher to teacher about how much are they using, what we know from science that'll make the most difference. And sometimes what's happened is we have been influenced away from what makes the most difference. For example, I'll just use your example you gave when people would say to me, well, that is just drill and kill and kill. And so then people would say, we're not going to do anymore, we're not going to practice those math backs. We're not going to do those letters to mastery. So we've had that challenge all the time. We have to look at it and say, now, let's relook at this. We have people who still believe that new material should be gained by discovery. And yet one of the most, the lowest effect sizes is discovery. If it's new material and you're teaching novices, they will gain it much better. If you like teach it, it's more efficient, more effective. So over the last 54 years, I've constantly and our field constantly has these that come in that serve as sort of a barrier of giving children the very best.

[00:31:08.850] - Speaker 2
I just keep saying, let's get back on the path to discovery once they have some knowledge, but not before they have knowledge. Right. Sometimes, as you well know, we've actually taught the wrong information. For example, one day I walked into a classroom and my beautiful niece was teaching first grade. And on the wall was a chart that said, Step number one, when you're decoding words is look at the pictures. Number two, make a guess based on the first sound. Number three, make a guess by the content. So are we going forward where we're going forward where there are little rocks in the way that needs to be removed? Because that's not what we teach. We teach students, if you are going to use the code to figure out an unknown word, that you look at the letters left to right, and you say the sounds, you bring them together. So I've had this history again and again so we can get off track of what works. Yeah. I just had a conversation with the district that said we want to now move to totally student chosen activities. Choose what they want to learn, choose the activities, learn if they learned it.

[00:32:39.430] - Speaker 2
And I said, okay, so let's just look at Patty's work and what effect size that is, zero, too close to death. And we would say zero, four, but effect size and above. We have that in the zone of behaviors that we would want to do in the classroom. But if we keep our eye on learning, that is one very important way to keep on the track, because if my students aren't learning it, many of them are making errors. We're not going to put that burden on them. We're going to put that burden on us to look at the quality of our teaching.

[00:33:25.430] - Speaker 1
And the reason I asked that question is because I think when I think about some of the people you've mentioned and some of the work that's out there that's readily available to us in our profession, I'd like to think that one of the things that we're doing as a profession is we're recognizing that there is an evidence base to our teaching. I know when I came up as a teacher and this was a long time ago, that teaching really rested a lot on your emotional connection with the kids or your emotional hunches about what would be the next best thing to do with the kids, as opposed to letting a body of evidence really guide your choices. And I'd like to think that we're recognizing that as a profession.

[00:34:18.230] - Speaker 2
Well, certainly there is more availability of knowledge, more conferences, more staff development than when I taught 54 years ago. And so that in terms of a profession having an available body of knowledge, it's there your webinars and many other and looking at books. I just got a stack of books here to review. All of them are excellent, but not all individuals have that as what's happening at their school and their Plc or what's happening at the district level to make a difference. But we need to me, I've been asked again and again recently what should we do for equity in school districts, saying we need to look at equity. And I said, well, then let us just look at equitable practice using the best teaching procedures possible so that everybody can learn. Yeah. And then removing any practices that aren't equitable. For example, the most common one is to give you an idea is I ask a question, and then I ask you to raise your hands, and the highest performing, most assertive, most proficient in English, raise your hands. So what are the other students do? This is the teachers have it pretty soon cognitively, they have totally left the place and gone and do deep cognitive floating.

[00:35:52.710] - Speaker 2
So we just need to use the very best instruction so that all students can have the ability to learn at their highest level.

[00:36:04.770] - Speaker 1
Right. So just continuing to just laser focus on what do we want kids to learn and what is the pathway of instruction that will get them there?

[00:36:14.860] - Speaker 2
This is not to say that teacher student relationship doesn't make a difference.

[00:36:18.760] - Speaker 1
No. And I don't want to imply that at all. That emotional connection is, of course, really important.

[00:36:24.870] - Speaker 2
Door. You smile at them, you care about them. You notice they have Nutan issues. You call on them after you've supported them having a correct answer that we could apply. I mean, there's much art to the teacher relationship that goes along with the structure of explicit instructional.

[00:36:45.720] - Speaker 1
Sure. That teaching with compassion. Yeah. So what do you think people get wrong about your work? You mentioned some people have come back to you and said, oh, drill and kill. Is that what people get wrong or what are some things that are misconceptions, maybe about your work?

[00:37:01.530] - Speaker 2
Okay, the first misconception is much of the research that was really well done on explicit instruction was done out of a concern for struggling students. So if you look at Tom Lovett's work or Joe Jenkins work or Doug Carne's work, they all had a desire to be certain that struggling students learned. Okay. So then people assume, well, this is good if I have struggling students but not my students. And that is a total misinterpretation because most of the research has been in general and not in special Ed. And basically what is fascinating, Laura, is that you just pick any variable, explicit instruction, let's say that it is review. Okay. Review of what we've done in the past, review of the pre skills that we're doing for today, having space review over time. Now, that would be really useful if you were an 8th grader in algebra. It would be really useful if you were a third grader learning how to do a new paragraph structure. It would be really useful if you're a kindergarten children child learning letter sound associations. It really wouldn't matter what the domain is, and it really wouldn't matter if you were in general Ed or special Ed.

[00:38:32.220] - Speaker 2
The thing is, if you're in special Ed, it means everything in terms of your growth. If you're a struggling student without it, it's really going to interfere. And so to me, this is to me the biggest challenge I've faced. And maybe it's because my initial training and teaching was in special Ed. Special Ed, my doctorate's in special Ed. But all my work for the last 30 years has been done in general Ed predominantly. And it's just like you as a learner all the time. I have to tell my cello teacher, these are the total polite. But I'll say, now, David, what we need to do here is avoid cognitive overload. And I'm a novice, and you just told me three things in a row, and I can't process all of that. And so one of my cello teachers once said, I think I've learned more about teaching than you've learned about cello constantly. It's such a great gift to me to play cello and then to think about, oh, I can see why that is so critical. Cognitive overload definitely can occur. And so he sends me beautiful. After the lesson, he sends me these reports and he says, so with this song, what you want to do is pluck it because your left hand is not strong enough.

[00:40:06.550] - Speaker 2
And this song, what you need to do is work on long bows closer to the fingerboard. Okay. And so he gives me deliberate practice. And that is a research validated practice. And explicit instruction is not just practice 30 minutes, Anita, but practice this one and focus on this. Practice this one and focus on it.

[00:40:32.990] - Speaker 1
So what a great two way lesson you got going here. Number one, for him to have Anita Archer as a student, he can learn more about how to be more explicit as a teacher. But then also for you, what he just did for you is he gave you diagnostic in his examination of you, and then he was giving you targeted practice.

[00:40:58.130] - Speaker 2

[00:40:58.830] - Speaker 1
Yeah. I think you've taught him well. Yeah.

[00:41:04.430] - Speaker 2
This is all you've thought about for 54 years, which is the truth. All you've thought about is how to teach children so that they can and have the gifts of knowledge.

[00:41:16.430] - Speaker 1
Yeah. Anita, what I love about you, too, is that you haven't just thought about it. Like when you talk about first of all, you do so much professional development for so many people, literally around the world, but you also demonstrate and you also get in the classroom and you also practice yourself as a teacher to continue to Hone your skills as a teacher. Do you think that's a really important thing that you're offering?

[00:41:44.090] - Speaker 2
Well, to me, it's really important for me. If I said 54 years ago I taught this lesson there's no credibility in that when I can say prependemic two weeks before I taught this lesson. And this is what I learned. And also because my lessons have been videoed and used so many trainings, I get feedback and learn from it. But I think that teaching, like any other area of skill, takes constant improvement and reflection. So I was reviewing some videos I had done, and I said, oh, Archer, you are consistently not giving enough think time. That's why the errors are occurring. So it's really being transparent about looking at our craft and what we may be doing that is creating learning or not. And I still have students from the University of Oregon and San Diego State who will email me and say, Can I send you a little video? I'd love some feedback. I want teachers to be at that point where they're so transparent that they would celebrate their craft and want more feedback so they can get better.

[00:43:09.110] - Speaker 1
Cool. Yeah, I think that's awesome. And they're being transparent, and they're also practicing. Humility. I haven't achieved mastery in my teaching. I'm continuing to learn as a teacher. I'm continuing to Hone my craft. I think that's a really one. And when you get those videos, you must be so gratified.

[00:43:32.790] - Speaker 2
It's fun.

[00:43:33.860] - Speaker 1
Yeah, fun.

[00:43:35.120] - Speaker 2
And then being able to talk about instruction, but it is something that we constantly get better at.

[00:43:44.320] - Speaker 1

[00:43:46.770] - Speaker 2
One thing that I tried to do is even with virtual lessons, I've been trying to include using all the teaching behaviors that I want teachers to use. And so if you came to one of my presentations live, you would be saying things. Right. Things, doing things, because that's a model for what you need to do with your own students.

[00:44:11.340] - Speaker 1
Yeah. I think that is such a critical part of why your work resonates, because A, you're continuing to Hone your craft, you're eliciting feedback. You're continuing to practice, you're continuing to learn about your own work as a teacher. And secondly, you're modeling within that professional development experience those attributes of explicit instruction and those attributes of a purposeful and productive lesson. And I'm guessing you get that feedback a lot. Thank you for not just telling us.

[00:44:52.870] - Speaker 2
But showing us as well, particularly on this. I could take back, but it's based on research. I try to be certain that people understand the support for that behavior and the research studies that have been done and who the authors of them are. But then model, watch me do it so that you would be better able to transfer that into your school and make it very pragmatic. Our profession has to serve. And so it's certain behaviors, not just theories, but certain behaviors that are very pragmatic.

[00:45:30.470] - Speaker 1
Right. So what do you think is getting in our way as a profession from continuing to advance and grow? And if anything is, what do you think it would be getting in our way?

[00:45:47.090] - Speaker 2
Okay, so one thing. I think that's getting in the way is that I'm meeting too many new teachers who come up to me and say, Dr. Archer, in this series of webinars, I have learned more than I did in my College about actually how to teach and manage. And so I think that now I honor University professors. I adored being a University Professor. I would probably someday when I'm 80, I might return to that career because it was a lovely career. But I think that we have forgotten to ask the question of what is the most powerful skills to mastery that we could give to teachers so that they are safe with children in their very first year. And that means that and some of them have no idea about management. They simply don't know about a structure of a lesson. And so I think that is a barrier to our profession is having people who don't have the foundation that they can put. Now, I will tell you, I have seen some fantastic this year since I've been doing hundreds of teachers training in different States. Some of them just like amazed. Like I say to myself, I was not that level of teacher in my first year.

[00:47:13.780] - Speaker 2
So some places are doing a very fine job on this. But they have to stop and ask the big question. If teachers are to promote learning, what do they need to know with mastery, with automaticity so that they can do that? And if they need to manage behavior, what have they taught? Now we are actually doing a little bit better, I think, in the area of management than we are in teaching because almost every University has someone there that is on positive behavioral support and intervention. And so that body of knowledge is being taught and more divergence in terms of how to teach. Even in your area, your field is reading. So they might get very good information in terms of what to teach. So they get phonemic awareness, letter sound associations. They get high frequency words, site words of instant recognition and fluency. They get the content of it. But that does not necessarily mean that you are doing the other things that make a difference in terms of learning. So the teaching part of it is the one that I see. There are some other barriers that are kind of interesting, too. And one barrier is that when I go to district so often, I ask the first question, what is the core reading program you're using?

[00:48:53.080] - Speaker 2
What anthology do you use for middle school language arts? What do you use for teaching algebra? We have professional teachers, and those professional teachers can create their own curriculum. Now, I have been a teacher, and I like curriculum. Right now I am revising a program that I vote first. It's been revised three times as the fourth time and 28 years ago, and we are spending two full years just editing and rewriting a program phonics are reading with myself, a team of five writers and an editor with the doctorate. There's no way that if I was a teacher tomorrow and I taught four different subjects that I could duplicate, that we must give teachers the best tools of the trade. There's still so much to do. You still have to present it in a deliberate, engaging manner. You still have to monitor their responses. You have to correct their ears. But to say to teachers, you're a professional, you can design your own lessons. Now here's what happens, Laura, is that maybe you have five, let's say fourth grade teachers, two of them are workaholic experts and their kids are still gay. But the other three have other things that happen outside of school so they don't have the same amount of time to prepare.

[00:50:32.250] - Speaker 2
So then the students in two classes out of five classes are really profiting. Yeah. To tell you how often I've used this analogy. So Superintendent who thinks they should do their own, let's say a physician who is a surgeon is preparing for tomorrow for surgery, would you say to them, now you're going to need a scalpel, so just formulate one and sharpen it up. You would think to give them the very best tools to carry it out. You can't think of one profession where we think they have to create all their tools.

[00:51:20.350] - Speaker 1
Yeah. I ponder this quite a bit because I totally agree with you. Not only do we have to help teachers learn how to teach, but also give them the tools to do that. Well, I think about this quite a bit because I do think that without those resources, if we say to teachers, well, you're a professional, you can figure this out. We trust you. You have autonomy. I actually think that's disempowering for teachers because I think that actually puts a roadblock for teachers asking for help and asking for resources because it's put upon them that well, no, you should be able to do this when in fact, we thrive best when we collaborate with one another. We thrive best when we do have the right scalpel in our hands.

[00:52:18.130] - Speaker 2
When we look at Don Hattie's work, which is a very good place because of the way he summarizes research studies with his team. So what is one of the highest effect sizes? It is collaborative efficacy. So we are collaborative, but we all believe that we make a difference. We all know that how well I teach leads to how well you learn. And so then teams can come together with the curriculum they can talk about. When I taught this lesson, I needed to give more review of this. It wasn't broken down enough. We need to have more accumulated review. How about space practice? And then also this definitely goes with explicit instruction, but then you're also more willing to video yourself and have your Plc look at it. The principals come in with their administrative team and do walkthroughs. But then the teachers also do walkthroughs. We need to have much more collaboration and much more transparency so that all children have the highest level of instruction to be provided now.

[00:53:29.400] - Speaker 1
Yes, I totally agree. Amen I think, again, you do such a wonderful job of modeling that considering you have a lot of experience as a teacher and you have skills as a teacher, but you're continuing to model and be transparent about yourself and about your learning as a teacher. I think that's great. Yeah. So I do want to talk about. Okay, so I did watch recently your webinar on explicit teaching in the virtual space. I thought that was excellent because I think when people started sheltering in place and when schools started moving to virtual or hybrid, so many teachers were really left with, where can I get some help? And I think that was really wonderful. And so I wondered, in addition to that, what are some things you're working on right now?

[00:54:22.770] - Speaker 2
Well, let me just go back to that experience.

[00:54:24.680] - Speaker 1

[00:54:25.950] - Speaker 2
First of all, I've done hundreds of webinars in the Pandemic virtually. Okay. So I've had to say, okay, Nita, you know, the importance of active participation. How are you going to do it? So I've had to change all of my trainings to include more active participation. But here's what I found right. As the Pandemic started, a number of people email me, said one of them was a math teacher from Michigan who was terrific. She said, Anita, I was supposed to do all virtual lessons, and I don't know anything about doing this. And I emailed her back. And then we had to Zoom together. And I said, so when you have a lesson, what do you do first? I'd read the kids at the door. Good. What do you do next? I read them, and then they have a warm up activity to do. And then what do you do next? I give them feedback on the warm up activity. All right, then what do you do next? Okay, so this person has a beautiful pathway. And I said, use the same pathway. You need to know about really good instruction. And now let's go through it.

[00:55:41.810] - Speaker 2
And we wrote lessons together just for me, it was very useful. And let's see what we need to do that would be altered because you have to do it a different way. But it was so interesting. People got so involved in the technology aspects that they forgot the good teaching. So I had to keep reminding them, good instruction is good instruction. It doesn't matter what the platform is. It's good instruction.

[00:56:11.550] - Speaker 1
And actually, I think that's really reassuring. And the way you took that teacher through that, what do you usually do? And then is this something you can do in the virtual? Yeah. You know, these things. Yeah. So what else are you working on now?

[00:56:26.630] - Speaker 2
What else am I working on Besides.

[00:56:29.130] - Speaker 1
The cello and virtual teaching, what else are you working?

[00:56:33.930] - Speaker 2
I am. So I'm doing mini series on explicit instruction for elementary and secondary, mostly because in many States people got literacy grants from the federal government that they had to carry them out even during the pandemic. So I was very blessed to work with them both on the science of reading and the science of instruction. And so that is continuous. As I said last week, it was too much, but I had 27 webinars just because everybody likes webinars in January or training, so that I'm working on every day. Next, I'm working on Phonics for Reading, which has been a very successful program for struggling students in 3rd, fourth, and fifth grade who have not yet mastered the skills that would be taught in kindergarten, first and second grade. And what's been interesting about it written 28 years ago. What has been interesting is how much we knew 28 years ago. It had an AMIC awareness. It had systematic letter sound associations taught and distributed over time. It had continuous blending of sounds into words. It immediately put the words, the sounds in single syllable words and multi syllabic words so that students would know how to approach a long word.

[00:58:16.930] - Speaker 2
It taught high frequency irregular words. It paired the encoding with decoding. So they had dispelled the words that they were learning. And it had decoded passages, quite long decodable passages. So if you looked at and it used everything we knew at that time about explicit instruction. So what's been interesting is one to have a program because it is for struggling students, it has to be dot the I's and cross the T's detail. Every detail counts. So we have to go through and we have to look at each word and then count how many words have this sound and that sound. I'll tell you what is sweet about it, Laura, though we did not have computers 28 years ago when we were first doing it.

[00:59:10.430] - Speaker 1
Interesting. Interesting with a ton of work manual labor.

[00:59:16.570] - Speaker 2
That's right. We need a multi slabic word with two close syllables. Oh, God. Then we'll have so it's easier to make changes. But the things that we are adding are also looking at the research today. So if we look at phonemic awareness, many people like David Kilpatrick would say we need to even have it stronger for struggling students that are older and use not just blending and segmenting as, which we did, but use adding subtracting, substituting. So that brand had to be altered. We have better frequency counts on what are like the most common morphographs that we might teach. So we had to alter that sequence. We did predominantly decodable text that was narrative. These are older kids. So we had to go in and edit and then take out. And then we're adding online materials for additional practice which would not have been available 20 years ago. So it's just been very exciting to do. But 28 years ago, if we all knew all that curriculum, why was it not being taught then? Why is it not being taught now? It's not like a body of knowledge that has suddenly appeared in 2021.

[01:00:48.730] - Speaker 1
Yeah, Anita, I know that when I speak with teachers and we talk about how long this body of evidence has kind of been this repertoire of evidence that has been in our field, people are so surprised by that. And they're like, this has been around for 40 plus years. And yes, it has. And so where is the disconnect between this knowledge and practice? Right. And I think you've talked so much today about the critical nature of creating that instructional pathway so that we can take the evidence and translate it to in a very pragmatic way so that teachers can be trained and supported in actually using this in their teaching, in the science and art of teaching.

[01:01:37.150] - Speaker 2
Now, when we use it, when we really use it in classrooms, the children have success. And that's all what we're about. We are about children feeling successful, celebrating their learning. And that is so rewarding to us that we are more motivated to do it. I've had an experience of a school, the lowest performing school in a fairly large district. And we've been working for four years to get more instruction present and to look at curriculum and just to do all the things we've been talking about. So in the fall, they give assessments to children, and they look at the rate of growth over time. There was one school that had 90% growth, 99% growth. That does not mean that they're all a benchmark, but they made 99% growth average lowest performing school in the district, which they're not the lowest performing school now. And now the teachers want to spend more time. They want to ask me that, well, what can we do next? What should we change next? What should we because it's just children success breeds motivation.

[01:02:54.070] - Speaker 1
Right. And it inspires you to want to just keep persevering and working harder. And that's such a rewarding thing, I'm sure, for you to be working in schools and see that kind of growth and development and then to see the eagerness with which teachers embrace continuing to learn and grow and change that's professional.

[01:03:16.870] - Speaker 2
We get to make the more difference in people's lives than any other profession that we get beautiful people to work with on every day, every school I go to, every state, every country, I see the same thing, a deep desire to make a difference and abundant kindness in doing it.

[01:03:38.530] - Speaker 1
Yeah, beautifully said. I oftentimes say, yeah, we get to do this. We get to do this work.

[01:03:45.260] - Speaker 2
We get to do this.

[01:03:46.530] - Speaker 1
We get to do this. I did want to mention that in the show notes. I will put down your website, obviously, so people can check out your work. But I'll also include information about the phonics for reading. You said that's an intermediate program, three, four, five.

[01:04:05.410] - Speaker 2
That's what it's designed for.

[01:04:06.980] - Speaker 1

[01:04:07.780] - Speaker 2
The other program is Rewards.

[01:04:10.090] - Speaker 1

[01:04:10.880] - Speaker 2
Better known that's for Rewards is a program to teach predominantly strategies for reading long words along with the meaning of prefix and suffix fluency. And it's also targeted at the intermediate rewards, 3rd, fourth and fifth grade, fourth grade, and then middle school.

[01:04:33.830] - Speaker 1
Okay. Yeah. I'll put those in the show notes for people so they can look into those. I wanted to mention, too, what you were describing about your phonics for reading those principles, both the content as well as the instructional protocols. It just seems so appropriate for all of our kids.

[01:04:55.010] - Speaker 2
It is designed for struggling students so that it has significant increased practice and more cumulative review. But basically, you're right on. Good instruction truly is good instruction. And so anything we do with struggling students, we may not need as much repetition but needs to occur at the beginning. In fact, my wish because most of my curriculum development has been collaborative and has been looking at students in 3rd, 4th, 5th grade middle school, I would love it that we would never need to use any of my materials that we taught it so well. Look at targeting's research which found that if you had a young student, like in kindergarten, they were behind, but you needed to give them like ten to 15 minutes extra every day. But when they were like in fifth grade, it's going to take like 2 hours a day to make up the differential that you'd expect based on their verbal language. Wow. So, yes, I want us to do it early on, the very best instruction so that we reduce the number of students that need intervention.

[01:06:14.150] - Speaker 1
Yeah, I completely agree. I think about how do we enact a really solid tier one program for everybody. So we cast the widest swath around the most children with the best bank the practices that deliver the best bang for the buck. So we have fewer and fewer students in those other tiers and we would always have some.

[01:06:40.610] - Speaker 2
But right now we have some students that I would say are not really learning disabled, but curriculum and teaching disabled. They just have not had the instruction. I loved one study that we did in New York City where students had huge gains. Well, that's because they had never been taught the content. So, I mean, our study looked really good because.

[01:07:05.090] - Speaker 1

[01:07:05.940] - Speaker 2
Wasn't that they were learning disabled. It's just that they had never had the opportunity to get taught in.

[01:07:11.370] - Speaker 1
So they made great gains. Yeah, right.

[01:07:17.310] - Speaker 2
Program at the moment, really history and program.

[01:07:21.220] - Speaker 1
Well, another thing I've heard you say is and forgive me if I don't have the words exactly right, but I've heard you say explicit instruction is absolutely imperative for some, but it's good for everybody.

[01:07:32.970] - Speaker 2
I think you said it perfectly. Also goes along with the new model, passion, presence and pathway. Okay.

[01:07:39.480] - Speaker 1
Our new model.

[01:07:40.370] - Speaker 2
Our new model. Absolutely. It is good for everyone and absolutely necessary for some.

[01:07:51.220] - Speaker 1
Yeah. So true. So, Anita, what are your hopes and dreams for teachers?

[01:08:00.570] - Speaker 2
Okay. My hopes and dreams for teachers. First of all, we start with a very peaceful world so that their children were coming from peaceful, supportive homes and so that they were ripe to learn. And then they were met by teachers that had excellent student teacher relationship, open hearts, and were passionate about being teachers, dedicated to being teachers, put the time into it, necessary collaborative with their other teammates, that they were in a school that had principals that were instructional leaders. And when they went into that classroom, learning was the target. Learning was what it was all about, and it was shared with them. They celebrated it, the teacher celebrated, the principal celebrated it. And we just stuffed them with knowledge so that they can make choices in their life, what they want to do, what they want to think about, what relationships they want to be in, what religions they want to study, that they would have all of the information to do that. And my good friend Doug Carne, who was a professor, well known professor at University of Oregon and in the area of reading, he now is retired, and he writes books on kindness.

[01:09:26.830] - Speaker 2
And so because we're friends, in fact, I have it here for later a discussion with them, how love Wins, one of the books he's written, love it. But I think that in addition to all of those wishes for our schools where kids could truly thrive, that there would be no practices that would be unequitable, that all students would learn at the highest level, be able to read before they go into third grade. Yes, all of that. But I would like them to be in a kinder world that they would not kindness, that they understood kindness. And so I would want them to emerge in a world that was much more supportive of human beings. We're meant to be collective. We're meant to be collaborative.

[01:10:24.250] - Speaker 1
Yeah. And I guess that kind of brings us full circle, because when you started talking about Mrs. Finkel and you use the word kindness, she filled your classroom with kindness.

[01:10:37.250] - Speaker 2
Absolutely. Well, teach.

[01:10:44.130] - Speaker 1
Well, one of my favorite words recently is flourish. And I think the vision that you just painted for us as you were describing your hopes and dreams, is a vision that allows us all to flourish as human beings. Our students as teachers does not differ.

[01:11:08.750] - Speaker 2
From the wonderful teachers I've worked with. I think that's their vision, too. And principals. And so sometimes they've just gotten off the path, need to come back on the path. It's something that would make the most difference in work.

[01:11:23.230] - Speaker 1
Absolutely wonderful.

[01:11:25.800] - Speaker 2
Aren't we blessed, though, teachers?

[01:11:28.670] - Speaker 1
Yeah. Again, we get to jump on a bed every day and do this work. Right. Yeah. Well, this has just been such a great conversation, Nita, but I can't let you go without asking you these rapid fire questions that I've been asking everybody on our podcast. And the first rapid fire question, though, you've actually already answered, which is who is your favorite teacher growing up and why? And you've already told us about the beautiful and esteemed Mrs. Finkel. I just want to personally say thank you, Mrs. Finkel, for making Anita Archer be an educator. So thank you, Mrs. Finkel. Okay. What is your favorite book or one of your favorite books, either as a child or as an adult?

[01:12:14.830] - Speaker 2
As a child. My favorite book was The Secret Garden. It is my favorite book that I just reread. And I love the whole story that went with The Secret Garden. But I also liked the message. The author of it, early 1900, author of it. Her intention was to teach children that if they thought thoughts that were joyful, thoughts that were kind that their life would be happier. And that was the message of that book. And I think it was such a bad message for someone who's almost 54.

[01:12:57.910] - Speaker 1
Exactly. Oh, I love that book, too, as an adult. Do you have kind of a favorite book as an adult?

[01:13:07.640] - Speaker 2
Adult? I sit here with my stack of books, my favorite new book to reading comprehension, Blueprint Good Woman. It's good, isn't it?

[01:13:22.290] - Speaker 1
Really good. Shout out to Nancy Hennessy right here on the podcast. Yeah, it's really good.

[01:13:29.390] - Speaker 2
So good is to see how many references she really honored the fact that anything she's saying has this long background that this study and this work and this work and this work put together in a way that you could use it. It's worth it.

[01:13:44.580] - Speaker 1
Yeah, I totally agree. I think she honors this knowledge base, but she also is very pragmatic, very.

[01:13:52.400] - Speaker 2
Pragmatic, so powerful reading another book that if you haven't read it, you should read it's about retrieval, practice. It's from cognitive science. Now, I know that you have read writes the book that is edited by Kilpatrick, reading development and difficulties and then one that is very pragmatic in the area of writing. So if you haven't.

[01:14:21.390] - Speaker 1
Oh, yes.

[01:14:22.950] - Speaker 2
See, that's what I read or read.

[01:14:28.010] - Speaker 1

[01:14:29.890] - Speaker 2
The point is you would not find in this house a novel. I have thousands of books. I have a whole library in my basement. I just had done during the pandemic new bookcase is made in my and I have a huge library of educational books. Huge thousands. So that's what I have read. And this happens to be the little stack that I have to look at today. Yeah. So what have I read? This is the book that I'm reading because I read often on Tyranny.

[01:15:15.470] - Speaker 1

[01:15:16.610] - Speaker 2
And it is what we should do to avoid insuring.

[01:15:22.130] - Speaker 1
That seems appropriate. Yeah. Well, I'm going to put your recommendations in our show notes, too, because I'm sure people will want to maybe follow up on some of those cool that.

[01:15:32.400] - Speaker 2
You had the blueprint there.

[01:15:33.800] - Speaker 1
That was isn't that funny? Yeah. Actually, I'm developing a webinar comprehension, so of course I'm going to this is a great source. I think it's just terrific.

[01:15:44.390] - Speaker 2
Also, it made a big point, Laura, and that people often ask me what was the the one strategy that will make difference for comprehension. And I just have to remind them that students have to be able to read the words, know the meaning of the words, have appropriate background and focus on the critical content. And her book basically looks at that.

[01:16:04.570] - Speaker 1
Agreed. Yeah. So I'm guessing you probably already answered this one, too. But another question I always ask people is what do you have on your desk that symbolizes you or is dear to you? Well, is it what you've already showed us, Anita, or you have something else to show us? Oh, what's that zellow bird?

[01:16:25.070] - Speaker 2
That is the blue bird of happiness. So my mother would get she has many of these and she gave me to all of her best friends. And so I give them to all my best friends. And it reminds me that friendship. We need friendship.

[01:16:42.950] - Speaker 1
Yeah. That's lovely.

[01:16:46.190] - Speaker 2
That is it. One other thing on my desk is mostly a desk filled with things to do from one of my friends because my favorite thing that I had to watch out my window during this pandemic is Woody the woodpecker. And she gave me this symbol of Woody love.

[01:17:10.330] - Speaker 1

[01:17:11.370] - Speaker 2
So I had time to watch. I watched Woody make a nest. I watched Woody Peck. I watched Woody mate. I watched Woody and partner feed little ones right out my window.

[01:17:27.660] - Speaker 1
I love it. You've watched the whole cycle of Woody's life right there, open folding in front of you.

[01:17:33.670] - Speaker 2
Oh, my show that Woody. And this may be a misinterpretation of Woody, but when I sit down, I'm certain he turned his head as if to say, good morning, Dr. Archer, but I'm not so certain about that. About Woody. But anyway, so that was given me as a reminder of the year of Woody.

[01:17:52.710] - Speaker 1
I love it.

[01:17:53.810] - Speaker 2
Not sure yet if I'm going to continue to work from this or be back traveling the world right now. I have contracts in Hawaii and I can't even go to Hawaii.

[01:18:09.130] - Speaker 1

[01:18:09.940] - Speaker 2
Work in Australia. I can't go there.

[01:18:12.340] - Speaker 1
Yeah. Well, and I know how important music is to you. And I'm sure like me, I've really longed for return to the Symphony and return to live music. And I know we're both looking all of us are looking forward to that.

[01:18:27.530] - Speaker 2
Too, to live music. But aren't we blessed? We can just I mean, I listen to cello music all day long. I took long for the podcast. But music makes a huge difference in our souls.

[01:18:40.790] - Speaker 1
Yes, it does. And you've brought up a lot of gifts that have really blessed us, especially in this time of staying home. So thank you for that. Thank you for those reminders today. I really appreciate that.

[01:18:55.450] - Speaker 2
It's sort of what kind of perception we want to take on at any moment. And so there were some deep challenges and there continues to be deep challenges, but there's also some gifts in this and so many people. I started gardening. I mean, I've never gardened.

[01:19:15.450] - Speaker 1
No, you've never been around long enough to see anything come from your gardens. Probably.

[01:19:19.410] - Speaker 2
So I planted way too much kale. I had the meal for months. But yeah, so that was a gift. Chello, you can't travel with a cello with ease. And I have a beautiful old cello and so yes, that was the gift.

[01:19:37.730] - Speaker 1
Go ahead. Sorry. I was going to say I remember one of the first times I met you and you had your little travel cello.

[01:19:43.670] - Speaker 2
Yes, for a long time I traveled with one, but then two suitcases and a cello is a little much so that's why I needed to use this time to practice.

[01:19:56.030] - Speaker 1
Well, thank you so much, Anita, for this time. And I know that our listeners are just going to just love this conversation so much. Whether you're on the road or whether you're in your beautiful home. I thank you for all the contributions that you've made and that you continue to make to our profession, to teachers and students everywhere. And thank you for the person you are and just the presence that you bring to the world. It's much appreciated.

[01:20:26.050] - Speaker 2
I feel such a gift to be a teacher.

[01:20:31.070] - Speaker 1
Amen. So I think we'll end it at that. And thanks again. I really appreciate you, Anita.

[01:20:37.510] - Speaker 2
Thank you. And I appreciate you, Laura. We've had so many good times together. We have tea again.

[01:20:43.890] - Speaker 1
Here's to many more.

[01:20:45.720] - Speaker 2
Many more. Thank you.

[01:20:47.080] - Speaker 1
Thanks, Anita. Bye bye. You know, I found that conversation with Anita deep and rich and really reassuring and I hope you did as well. We at the Reading League are proud to be able to bring these conversations to you. If you haven't done so already, please check us out at the Readingleague www.theridingleague.org. We hope that you become a member and join our community. And if you enjoy this podcast, please spread the word. We would love it if you would go to itunes and rate us. Thank you for listening listening and we'll see you next time. Bye.