Lots and lots

Just as waves come crashing constantly onto the shore, so are the millions of thoughts crashing through my head right now. I have found that my head never stops reeling with new ideas, new thoughts, new beliefs, etc. From new literacies to standardized tests, student absences and lesson plans…my mind never stops. Thus, I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but let’s just see as I reflect on the past week…

1. I’m finally taking some me time. I feel sort of hypocritical as I say this because I have encouraged so many of my colleagues to do the same (and yet I never have, ha!). I’m so used to go, go, going—that I never really think about “me” per say. And I’m my “best” when I’m on the go…but I’m slowly learning that “me time” is a necessity, too.

2. Character mandalas ROCK. Not just because I’m all about the visual, but because my students really, really liked them (which made me happy, ha!). More on this to come …

3. Up until this point, I have read about struggling/reluctant readers/writers as if these two adjectives meant the same thing, However, I think there is a big difference between struggling students and reluctant students. At least this is something I am finding out throughout my work in the classroom. Thus, our pedagogical strategies are going to look different for each “kind” of student (I think at least).

4. Tying off of #3, I have enjoyed seeing how technology incorporations have inspired reluctant students (especially through blogging). One of the best conversations my dual enrollment class has had stemmed from a blog post. The convo went off on a very GOOD tangent that I wasn’t necessarily expecting, so we didn’t “cover” all I was planning on getting to that day. BUT the main point was that students were more engaged and making meaningful connections with the material — probably more so than they would’ve if I had strictly adhered to the original plan. For this reason, I think technology (and tangents) can be very productive in the classroom. (Also, check out this to read about making good teaching better.)

5. To wrap-up, I’m going to end on a poem by Emily Dickinson that I read forever ago, and found reading through my posts on my RSS feed (again, taking “me time” and catching up on my blogs!).

By The Sea

I started early, took my dog,

And visited the sea;
The mermaids in the basement
Came out to look at me.

And frigates in the upper floor
Extended hempen hands,
Presuming me to be a mouse
Aground, upon the sands.

But no man moved me till the tide
Went past my simple shoe,
And past my apron and my belt,
And past my bodice too,

And made as he would eat me up
As wholly as a dew
Upon a dandelion’s sleeve –
And then I started too.

And he – he followed close behind;
I felt his silver heel
Upon my ankle, – then my shoes
Would overflow with pearl.

Until we met the solid town,
No man he seemed to know;
And bowing with a mighty look
At me, the sea withdrew.

Emily Dickinson


4 thoughts on “Lots and lots

  1. I am intrigued by these character mandalas…do share!

    I like your distinction between struggling & reluctant. One implies a desire to achieve but encountering difficulty in success…the other implies an apathetic attitude toward achievement. You’ve got to convince the latter it’s even worth the try! Interesting thoughts.

    • I keep a notebook and jot down random “notes” to myself throughout the day, and once I sat down and re-read them, they all added up to the struggling vs. reluctant student. It’s a really interesting distinction that I will probably find myself probing a bit more deeply to research/analyze….

      And don’t worry! As soon as I can get to a scanner, I’ll have my mandala post 🙂

  2. I am glad you are taking some “me time.” It definitely is important. I understand what you mean though. It is important to slow down, but when I get caught up in something and am really involved, I am certainly more productive and bursting with ideas. Sometimes it is hard to let go of “me time” :)…vegging can get addictive…haha

    Like Rachel, I completely agree with there being a distinction between reluctant writers and struggling writers. Interestingly, sometimes I find it more difficult to work with struggling writers. I think this is true for me only right now because it is hard to know all that they know and have been taught, specifically with student teaching in the middle of the year. I think that addressing these issues will be much easier next year in our own classrooms though it will continue to be a challenge. Also, do share about the character mandalas! I have never heard of them 🙂

    • I agree; at times it is more difficult to work with struggling readers/writers at this point because we don’t know what they’ve been taught (either by our CT or other teachers). However, for me, I think the challenge has been with reluctant readers/writers. Getting them to engage with the material/dialogue with each other/etc. has been a great challenge AND one that has (for me) especially proven why technology can work in the English classroom (*note: can you tell this is my action research focus, ha!).

      I’ll definitely describe my mandala creations soon, too! 🙂

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