Saturday, June 22, 2013

Using summer to get back to basics...

I decided to finally clean out my school bag from the end of the year.  I has been out for 17 days and the chore was finally happening.  To be honest...the only reason it was happening was that I needed to use the bag for a car trip!  (Perfect for holding books.)  As I was cleaning out the bag, I stumbled across my writer's notebook from when I taught fourth grade.  It was the place where I would write down thoughts from colleagues, conferences, books, articles, meetings, random thoughts when I couldn't sleep, etc...I came across a section in my notebook that reminded me to get back to basics.

I love summer....time to remember why I teach, what I believe, and what I want to promise my future students.  Everyone's teaching journey is different and we have all been touched by many reflective colleagues along the way.  Everyone's beliefs are their beliefs to own, shape, change, and share.  But the one thing I always remember to ask myself..."So that is what YOU believe Tracy...where is the evidence of it in your classroom?"  That is a very humbling question.  The answer requires honesty, vulnerability, and courage.  It is similar to when someone asks you what you believe about being healthy.  I can tell you what I believe about counting calories, low carbs, and Couch to 5K.  Now where is the evidence?  Unfortunately, the scale and my beliefs are not aligned currently in the weight department.

I like to do this fun belief exercise over the summer...when my mind is fresh, my body rested, and anticipation is the driving force into the next school year.   I say "fun" because it is to me...those of you who know me personally...yep...they would concur that I actually do find things like this FUN! I write down a belief I have in the classroom setting.  Then I write random thoughts, structures in which my belief could exist, and materials I would need.  This was how my inquiry workshop was developed last year.

Here are a few pages from my notebook...trying to get back to basics and not be consumed with things I do not have control over and to take control of the things in the classroom that I do!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Next Stack...Professional Reads...

Last year was the first time I followed and participated in CyberPD with the book, Opening Minds.  It was the best professional development!  I was able to read, reflect, reread, post, respond, and respond some more to all of the thought-provoking ideas that came from colleagues all around Ohio and the country.  Check out Cathy Mere's blog for more information on Cyber PD.

Here is my next stack:
This a reread...but always good to remind
ourselves about inquiry
and inquiry through literature groups.
Since I am a part of the RTI team for our building...
I love wondering!
Love the focus of the "How to Promote..."

I have been reading a lot about close reading.

Anyone who knows me....knows I love examining assessments...
Vocabulary impacts comprehension!

Can't wait to see what is picked!!! :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

CREATE-ing time at the end of the year....

For the first time in over a year and a half, I missed my monthly reflection on my One Little Word for the year.  During the last month of school, finding time...creating time...was not a priority.  Our to-do lists are filled with reports, inventories, conferences, packing up the room, finding distractions to avoid packing up our rooms, cum folders, and so on...I found myself losing sight of the year and the moments that were CREATEd and wonderful.

Today was our last day of school.  Through the hustle and bustle of the last day, a thank you note signed by a student I worked with this school year reminded me of why I am a teacher...why we need to slow down...why the end of the year is hard...and why they are not just kids on a class list or data projections.

Here is how this student signed their note to me...You go Bailey!  Invent something terrific!