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!


  1. Thank you for sharing parts of your writer's notebook. I am intrigued by your thinking especially the categories you chose to organize your thinking. As I begin to process Allwrite13 I am going to be borrowing several of your ideas. As always thanks for sharing.

  2. Tracy, I love this kind of reflective thinking. Especially in light of all the new reading and learning that comes when life slows down a little in the summer. I am going to devote some Brain Book pages to this type of thinking ASAP! ~Ann