The summer break is finally here and I am easing my way into relaxing. Oh who are we kidding, I leaped into it with a marathon nap today! It was the perfect delicious freedom that makes summer special. Plus it is the ideal backdrop for the percolating that is coming from reflecting on my past teaching year. My brain works a lot better when rested, and I am finding this renewed energy is leading me in many different areas, most particularly deep into books.
First: Literature for kids. Today my son and I finished reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. It was beautiful and sweet and sincere. We both laughed aloud and sighed with sorrow at the antics and voices of the animals. I love books that leave an impression, and this is one my son and I will be talking about all summer long. Next on my reading list of kid books are Hound Dog True by Linda Urban and Wonder by RJ Palacio, two other books that were recommended to me by both my kids and my PLN.
Second: Professional development. Last week I had the opportunity to attend two professional development opportunities in our school district: a P-5 Math Summer Institute around the Common Core State Standards and a study of The Marzano Framework from The Art and Science of Teaching by Robert Marzano. Both of these had me reflecting on the ways in which we have transformed our classroom through choice and goal setting, and how this transformation will make it possible to successfully transition into the learning needs of the future. Of course they come with books to read and thinking about Common Core for math has me also wondering along the lines of how to move into the reading and writing standards as well. I’ve been pondering areas for growth and development within my own practice which leads to . . .
Third: Professional reading. I’m an avid reader and since adding the Kindle App to my iPad I am rarely without a book to read, honestly I love it! Most recently I finished Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker. It was excellent. It was full of key ideas around changing your own thought patterns and ensuring the “monkeys” (responsibilities, obligations, and problems) stay where they belong. Currently I am reading the book The Passion-Driven Classroom by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold. Celina sent me this recommendation and I am now forever grateful. Just reading the preface inspired my brain to start clicking with ideas and brought me back to the land of blogging after a personal low-point. I was inspired to get back out there by these questions the authors asked of themselves:
· How can we stand in front of learners like Haley and tell them to pursue their passions, to write what they know and care about, and use their gifts to change the world… if we are not willing to do the same?
· Are we worthy of such a role in our student’s and our own children’s lives if we have not done everything possible to stand up for what we believe in, defend it publicly and move forward with causes that matter most?
· Do we as leaders and learners have what it takes to pursue our passions all the way? Do we have the ambition, the instinct, self-motivation, and the drive to put passion into practice? (Maiers and Sandvold 2011)
These questions reminded me so much of why I started blogging in the first place, to reflect and connect. How can I ask that of my students if I am not willing to put myself out there as well? As I continue to delve into this book I know I will be coming away with a changed mindset, and my own mindset has made all the difference as I pursue my own passions. (Thanks Celina!)
So yes, percolating with ideas and refilling my well of positive energy at this heady start of summer. Reading and resting, reflecting and growing, plus in there somewhere I will surely find the time to tend my flowers, weed my yard, chase my kids and clean the house. For now though, there is a lawn chair and a book calling! ~Ann