Slice of Life Tuesdays: Lifelong Learning

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Slice of Life Small LogoLifelong Learning

Wonderful educational events happened here this week. All three girls received As for their summer school classes, two of us are reading and writing (to hopefully publish soon), and I’m leaving tomorrow for the Scholastic Reading Summit! As I continue to work on my teaching and learning goals, I signed up for the School Librarian test this week, too. I just can’t stop talking about authors and books, and to add that credential to my license will be awesome! I love being a lifelong learner, and I’m so happy that my kids are, too!

My teaching goal for the school year is set: help my students become lifelong learners. I am reading texts by other teachers about FUN in school, Genius Hour, project-based learning, and other marvelous ways to make school a better place for learners.  Teachers are spending this summer traveling to conferences and workshops to learn more, to be inspired, to plan for their students’ successes.  Wow! Amazing days are ahead of us, I can feel it!

I will use three strategies to meet my goal of building lifelong learners this year:

1) I will use time in my classes to read aloud, talk about books, and write. My students and I will read and write together, and share our processes to produce great works. We will use our favorite mentors — authors we love — to help us. Reading time will be used for reading; writing time will be used for writing. Talk is important, and sharing with each other will be fun.

2) I will allow choice in the classroom. I always have provided choice; I believe that students are more engaged and more focused when they work on what is personally meaningful to them. I will strive to offer resources from different media formats, as I am allowed. I hope to start students blogging, and I have already asked permission to upgrade our technology in the classroom. Students will choose projects that enhance everyone’s school experience.

3) I will assess my students fairly and help them to meet the school and state standards. I know that standardized testing will not vanish (I wish!), but I will also provide meaningful formative and summative assessments where students can be challenged and grow without fearing “the test” in the spring.

I want school to be fun again. I want my students to experience education that leads to a productive, successful adulthood, beyond my classroom. I want my students to be lifelong learners, like me.

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Time’s Running Out

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Slice of Life Small LogoTime’s Running Out

It’s hard to believe, but the school year is almost over. We have a few precious days left for inspiration, creativity, and learning. How will we use our time?

Of course, we will assess. It’s testing season, and the standardized tests will take up much of our time and energy. I don’t want my focus there. Testing is not inspirational or creative. I pledge to use my time on the following literacy activities:

1) Reading Aloud. I love sharing stories, poems, and articles with others — students and colleagues. I will read aloud each day. Research shows that reading aloud inspires students, encourages thinking, and helps overall achievement.

2) Talking about Reading. When students are allowed to share, students learn more. Plus, students are tired of the teacher talk. I know. I talk too much. They are sick of me! I will offer time for peers to discuss their favorite scenes from books, question each other’s choices, and reflect on their own readings. Talking about reading is a great way to provide students with a voice in the classroom. Each voice counts.

3) Writing and Sharing. Students in my classes love free writing time. No assignment, per se — just write. The most creative, inspirational stories I’ve read are from this laid-back, yet structured time. Once testing is over and assignments are completed, it’s time for students to show what they know. It always amazes me…they know a lot! And don’t forget sharing. Sharing time provides a purpose, a captivated audience, and much-needed fun.

The last days of school are stressful. As teachers, we try to get all the teaching in before time runs out. Reading aloud, talking about reading, and writing for the purpose of sharing are worthwhile ways to spend time with the kids. Time never runs out to grow life-long learners.

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Lifelong Learning

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I love being called a lifelong learner! I am extremely honored to be in the company of Carl Anderson this week at the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers summer institute. I am half jealous/half living vicariously through my pals who are attending various reading and writing summer institutes this week. We all travel to the ends of the earth for one purpose: to learn. Fabulous!

I remember the first time I went to New York to take part in a summer reading workshop — my gracious cousin invited me to Teachers College. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. My family made fun of me, saying, “It’s like you think you’re going to hang out with celebrities.” Well, yeah! Lucy Calkins, Kylene Beers, Lester Laminack, and all the other literary geniuses I met are celebrities!

Now each year, I look forward to my “vacation learning experience.” I guess I’m the literary “groupie.” I’m so happy that there are so many of you out there just like me.

Have a great time learning. And…share your notes!