Embarrassed. Disappointed. Yet, I realize I have to give myself a break and acknowledge that life happens. I never stopped writing, just stopped writing here. To be honest, I’m not sure why. I know in the past, I struggled with finding this space what I once found it to be, but I have always believed in the power of writing and reflecting. After all, reflection was my whole purpose! Through reflection is how I learn more about myself and who I am as a teacher.
Yet, what a semester. I started off focused and ready to go. It was going to be a great Fall. And it was, but a Fall full of tough times that ultimately made me realize while we may have an impact on the kids we teach, it’s their impact that is also everlasting.
I have so much to share from my short, but super busy time in Chicago for the 2011 NCTE National Convention. Lots of buzz about Common Core [which I’m currently writing curriculum for as my school is going full CCGPS next semester] and “tools” [which if you’ve followed along with my thoughts, you’ll find I love tools but have a problem when it comes to focusing on tools (if that makes sense)].
Be on the look out for my reflections on the Convention AND for some thoughts on the semester this year. I know I haven’t posted as much as I should be [I need to work on getting my handwritten notes turned to posts on here], but my goal is to write much, much more! Also, I want to share with you some notes of thanks that my students gave to me before the Thanksgiving break. These notes were a reminder that the little things truly do matter the most.
Hope you all are refreshed after your breaks and ready to head into the homestretch of the semester! Only 10 full days of school left for me! [read: where in the WORLD did this semester go?]
I am SO impressed by the creativity of two local area high schools and their students’ videos. As quoted in this Get Schooled post, these ARE examples of what the best “spirit cheers” look like today. You can check out the original video in this “battle” here and the response here.
For me, these videos show just how multiliterate our students are and all of the neat ways in which they are reading, writing, and engaging with the world around them. These videos use rhetorical strategies, rhymes, video angles, music — and this list only continues — all to help show their school spirit. And, I love the fact that they pull in lots of different members from their respective student bodies to be a part of the banter.
No matter which school wins the game, the main point is that these two videos have just under 400,000 hits (combined) in two weeks. Where these students’ voices heard? [I think so!]
As you all know, I feel very strongly about helping kids understand how to create and why to create positive digital footprints. I’ve thought about this topic a lot, and yet it’s something that is still weighing heavily on my mind. [Maybe it’s because the means in which we work digitally is constantly changing???]
Anyway, I’m seeing more and more kids not understanding what their digital footprint is all about and how it can/will affect them now and down the road. I know that I stress it a lot when I work with my students and try to emphasize it’s not about culling their creativity, but a way to push them to think critically and post information that is appropriate (and in a way that still gets their point across). So, I’m curious…how are others helping their students develop positive digital footprints? How can we keep kids motivated to produce and stress to them they can still “own” that digital space (without them not being “googled well”)?
It’s funny that I was just talking about Banned Books Week today, and then I happened to see a post from one of my former students regarding censorship. The energy I felt from this student’s writing reminded me just how important it is to value every thing (and every one for that matter).
This post reminded me that the lack of open-mindedness plays a huge role with things that get censored. When people don’t “get” things, things get censored. I also thought about how fear plays a huge role, too. When people fear things, they push them away. Out of sight…out of mind. However, some of those things that we fear might just be the light that another needs.
Though I am sad to know the confusion/anger/pain associated with this post, I am also breathing a breath of fresh air. The fact that there are kids out there who want to make a difference, who want to stand up for what is right, and who have open-minds to appreciate the diversity that surrounds us today is a beautiful thing.
Thus, in honor of the upcoming BBW (and the post I read tonight), I wanted to share with you all (again) beautiful words from the talented Ellen Hopkins. Her “Manifesto” is hanging in my office, and I hope it moves others as much as it moves me. Enjoy!
After a long day at school (it’s our benchmark testing week) and an even longer few hours at the gym (I’m just now realizing how incredibly out of shape I am…and I have a half marathon the first weekend of October, ha!), I came home to this note from a former student:
I just wanted to say thanks to you for helping me with my writing. I wasn’t aware of how much your class has helped me until I had to peer-edit essays for other students in my English class. The essays for these other students are horrible. They have problems ranging from multiple sentence fragments to not even having a thesis. I am super thankful for the education that you have given me to make me a better writer.
I finally am back up and running after moving into my new place AND moving into my new school/classroom. To be honest, I’m exhausted, ha! However, I am so incredibly excited that I cannot even begin to explain exactly how I’m feeling. Nevertheless, I’ll give it a try 🙂
My new school is one of the most positive, energizing environments I have ever seen. The support I have already received is like none other, and everyone is truly on the same page. (Did I mention that there is TONS of cross-curricular writing taking place? I love that reading and writing skills are focused on so heavily in every discipline!)
Positivity is so incredibly important in all we do as educators. It’s contagious. So, as we all begin school next week (or in the next few weeks for many of you all up north, ha!), just remember the power of positivity!
ps I wanted to share the funny video clip below with you all…it’s one we viewed in our orientation on differentiated learning. Enjoy!