Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Goals Revisited

Franki and Mary Lee at A Year of Reading tagged me for my summer goals of 2008 back in June. After a whirlwind of a summer, it is nice to take a look back and see if I happened to actually accomplish anything.....

Summer Goals 2008:
1. Stay sane on the road to getting married on July 5th
- Mission Accomplished (it was perfect!!)
2. Find a rug for my living room
- Mission Accomplished (believe it or not- thanks to walmart)
3. Revamp my Word Study Program
- In the process and I am feeling really good about it (thanks for the thoughts Katie)
4. Rearrange/organize my classroom library
- Working on it
5. READ more professionally and simply for the love of reading
- I definately read more than ever this summer (mostly for pleasure but I am anxiously awaiting Debbie Milller's new book)
6. Do not add anymore items to my goals for now as it will defeat my purpose to focus.
- ( seems as though I have an endless list- so I should have changed this to- Do not beat myself up for not getting EVERYTHING done)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My return from the Wild....

So after reading several reviews on Out of the Wild (see Year of Reading blog), I decided I had better read it! Clearly, I had to read the prequel, Into the Wild, first. I did so on the many hours in the airport on my honeymoon travels to Costa Rica. I LOVED it and can hardly wait to read the sequel. However, instead of doing a review or summary (which I am sure you can also find on Year of Reading), I decided to blog about some of my thoughts while reading. Lately, I have been drawing many analogies between life and education (idea inspired by several of my favorite blogs). In this case, I cannot help but draw the parallel between the WILD and high stakes testing/standard/prescribed curriculum. As the Wild says, everyone has their role. You know what to expect and you are expected to follow ideas set by others. Sometimes, it even feels easier to follow rules/lessons created by the Wild (high stakes testing). But it would certainly get boring and stifling- reliving the same story, reteaching the same lessons despite the desires and world changes around us. Isn't it worth being a hero and writing our own stories? It is so much more rewarding to allow children to have input in their learning, to be inspired, to take charge, to write their own happily ever afters. It can sometimes be scary to be the hero (teacher) in this scenario. There is so much left to the unknown, so many obstacles standing in the way (testing/differing points of view), especially the inevitable mis-take but I think it is worth making the wish, taking the chance and seeing what wonderful things can happen when we write our own stories. This is when authentic, meaningful, life long learning can occur for our students. We show them that taking risks (and sometimes making mis-takes) are what makes life exciting and pushes us forward.....