The shopping is done, family has been visited, Christmas decorations are packed up, and numerous games of the board game Sorry Spin have been played. I took some time away from blogging in December to focus on giving, family, and reflecting. My mind was muddled with a myriad of thoughts about literacy instruction, reading, and inquiry. My followers know that after four years of being in a literacy coach position, I am now back in a fourth grade classroom....back to the heart of it all...and what a wonderful place to be!
Maria at Teaching 21st Century has given us a thought to ponder as we bring in the new year. She was inspired from a post by Mandy titled, Happy New Year and One Little Word. I love the idea of picking a word for the new year. I already have resolutions...a diet coke from McDonalds only three times a week, exercise goals, eating goals, family goals, but is there a common theme for the year? Is there one word that has the power to sum it all up? Yes, there is. My 2012 word will be listening.
Listening. As I read many definitions of the word, I came upon the reminder that listening is when you try to hear. Hearing is just to simply recognize with your ear. My goal this year is not to hear, but to listen. There are three ways I intend to do just that...
1. Listen to my heart- In an education world that involves assessments, state achievement tests, standards, Core Curriculum, school levies, and more...I want to make sure that I listen to my heart. I want to make sure that I listen to what my beliefs are and listen for the evidence of it in my classroom.
2. Listen to conversations- I want to focus on having more dialogue with colleagues, students, and family. I want to listen deeply and hear viewpoints. I want to listen to multiple perspectives that create aliveness and possibility in our education world. I want to make sure that in our busy lives in the classroom that I am truly listening to my students. When they are discussing/sharing, am I just hearing or am I listening?
3. Listen to reading- I don't mean one of the Daily Five routines :) I want to continue to focus in the classroom on encouraging students to listen to their reading thoughts (previous post: talking to the text). This year I have put a lot of emphasis on jotting while reading/leaving a trail of thinking, using those jots to respond to their reading, and creating own jotting plans while reading. I want to make sure that the thinking and listening that is done while reading has as much value as the thinking that is done when the book is closed.
Do you have a word for 2012? I would love to hear them! They say when you start something new that you should tell others so they can encourage and check in along the way. :) And thank you to Maria and Mandy for encouraging us to focus on one thing...and all the possibilities that one thing can bring in the new year! (Disclaimer: There is one area I might listen less...Maybe I can "listen" less to my stomach and "listen" to my head so I eat less ice cream too!)