Slice of Life Tuesdays: Dreaming

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                                                                            Live Your Dream!

That was the theme of the first instructional window at school this year. Teachers tell students that nothing is impossible; dreams can become reality. All you have to do is learn to read and write (and know the way the earth works, and maybe some calculus), work hard, and make an effort, no matter what. And that’s why I won’t give up. I want to live my dreams, too.

Why should children and Martin Luther King, Jr. be the only ones who have dreams? All people need dreams. Gloria Steinem said, “Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities…dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Teachers plan all the time. Why can’t teachers have dreams?

My dream is to write a book. Maybe a series (let’s not get ahead of ourselves now). Ok, one book — for now. Planning to achieve this dream gives me hope and excitement to live my life each day. Oh, the possibilities! Gloria Steinem was right.  I am currently planning the parts of the book. Each time I realize an idea floating around in my brain, I take out my Evernote app, log in to the notebook, “book,” and record my thought bubbles. Each note is one bubble that I don’t want to pop; I want the ideas to swirl around until I choose to organize them, to ground them into a page.

I love talking to my students about dreams. They have been reading and researching people who live their dreams: Ryan and Jimmy and the well in Africa…, Derek Jeter, and Samantha Larson, who climbed mountains — they all lived their dreams. Then I showed my class this quote by George Bernard Shaw: “You see things, and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were, and I say, ‘Why not?'” It was a joy to hear one student say to another recently, “Why not?” when asked about an idea.

Can you write about (insert topic)? Sure, why not?

Can you read that book in the library you have been eying? Sure, why not?

“Hey, Mrs. S, do you think you’ll really write a book?”

Why not? I’ll even dedicate it to you, my class of dreamers.

 

Sharing: Have a Reading & Writing Sort of Summer!

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I am so excited to share that my friend and colleague has started a wonderful business! Check out http://www.ANovelTime.com, featured in the community section of the South Bend Tribune (our local newspaper)! Students will be able to read, write, discuss, and share work through an online curriculum starting this summer.

What an exciting venture!

See the news story at www.southbendtribune.com/community/sbt-granger-woman-launches-online-summer-program-20130324,0,5550467.story

Curriculum Tip: March 12, 2013

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Reading aloud is one of the best ways to engage your students in reading class! Reading aloud helps students:

* to listen to fluent reading and build comprehension

* to focus on strategies of reading without having to worry about decoding (best for struggling readers)

* to enjoy reading time and bond with a great reader (you!)

Consider reading aloud to your students at least 10 – 15 minutes a day. My favorite read aloud books are picture books that students sometimes overlook because they think they are “baby books.” But look closely — these books are full of figurative language, intriguing words, and wonderful lessons about life and learning. Ask a middle school student to sit on the floor and listen to a good book. They love it!

Best read aloud recommendations: More Than Anything Else (Marie Bradby), Pink and Say (Polacco), The Tiger Rising (novel by Kate DiCamillo), and my holiday favorite, A Season of Gifts (Richard Peck).

Back to Normal

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Today was the first day of school in a long time that I could consider normal. ISTEP standardized testing is over, for now, and “real” teaching begins again.  It will be a great week, too, with a new reading unit (science fiction), new writing unit (reviews), and the Comfort Day celebration on Thursday (mix “pi” day in there, as well!).

What are you reading? Share with us.