Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Finding Inspiration...I Believe

Today was the second day of full day inservice meetings in our back-to-school week for teachers. One of our committees started off their presentation by sharing a video of 9-year-old Dalton Sherman's powerful keynote in 2008 for Dallas ISD. What a back-to-school message to share.

As it went on I laughed, teared up, clapped, cheered, and thought to myself, This kid is great. And, of course, I thought of my own students. I thought of how much I believe in them. I wondered if they always know that I believe in them. I was curious if they sometimes want to shout out to us, but don't. I thought of my colleagues and school staff in the room and how much I believe in them. I was reminded of how much I believe in my school and our mission and vision, and how grateful I am to be there. I immediately thought of my kids and how much I would love for them to experience the standing ovation that Dalton gets from speaking so powerfully and touching so many people emotionally. I then thought of Auggie Pullman (you know the reference, right? From the end of WONDER?).

And as it finished, and the lights were coming up, and tears were being wiped from eyes, and smiles were expanding, and the energy was increasing...I turned to my friend and said, "Now that's a mentor text to use. I'm totally going to. I want to focus on identity and community at the start of the year anyway, so I want my students to write "believe" speeches and present them (on any topic they choose)."

So one more item was added to my to-do list. Once again, I was adjusting what I was planning to do to start the year. And isn't that just how it is with teaching? Being impacted by something...seeing the connection to my students...adjusting plans to share something with them...planning lessons that will let me get to know them, let them get to know each other, give them a way to build confidence, a way to learn to communicate clearly, a way to share, a way to look inside themselves and figure out what they stand for...a way to impact others.

And who knows, maybe we'll find a way for them to get that standing ovation themselves.
Because I believe in each one of them.

(You can skip the beginning stuff from the district and start at 45 seconds)

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Start of Something New

I've contemplated this for awhile, but I've avoided doing anything about it as I've been focused on other areas, but in thinking about my plans for upcoming curriculum this year, and being especially inspired by the thinking and posts on Lea's new blog: Miss Kelley Writes, and Katherine's blog: Read, Write, Reflect, and the model set by Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle in reminding me that I need to be writing if I expect my students to be writers, I realized that a blog like this might just be the best way to go about accomplishing what I want to try...

Which is...
-having a place to publish my writing as a model for my students
-thinking through writing...about my teaching or anything else that strikes my fancy
-modeling the writing process and real-life examples for my students
-a place to keep models I write for my students in class
-to get myself writing more because we all know the more you practice, the better you get
-sharing some of the things I do in the classroom that might help others
-opening up a dialogue with other educators about practices and how to improve
-an easy way to participate in Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life challenge (which I'll be having my students do in their spring write every day challenge also)

And so it begins...

At this point, I'm not sure how active I will be out here, but I've made the first steps toward it by creating the blog and writing this post so I have a place to keep my thoughts. We'll see where it goes from here.