Tag Archives: Back to School

#SOL16 + #OLW = JOYFUL


If you’ve studied the background in my blog, you have seen that my #OneLittleWord “Joy” has been with me for quite awhile.

joyful

Where is that joy?

Yesterday, I was cocooned in joyful.

Joyful was in Voxer Posts.

Joyful was in Facebook Posts.

Joyful was in tweets.

There are days when the Alpha and Omega of joyful seems to reside in social media.  Sadly that means that the Joyful is not easily visible in some of my work days.  Sometimes the day to day trivia is wearing – mentally and physically.  It’s hard to summon laughter and truly celebrate “JOY”! But yesterday JOY surrounded me everywhere.

Joy is here in these videos  . . .

What is your hope? via #ParkwaySchools (3:14)

Who will be in your classroom this year? via Four O’Clock Faculty (2:04)

If you feel like you need a new life via Power of Positivity (0:51)

and in both versions of “The Hospital Window” here (4:20) or here (2:59).

Are you planning a “Global Welcome Back to School” this year?

Or what about “Making Joy a Reading Standard”?

How will you spread JOY this year?

How will you be Joyful?

What will it look like?  

What will it sound like?

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

What is your #OLW? Are you serving it well?

#SOL16: Back to School


Joyful Learning!

school

Depending on your geographic location,

  • you could have been in school already for over two weeks – Allison in Arizona,
  • have completed one week with students – Justin in Kentucky and Kathryn in Minnesota,
  • have students returning today – Julieanne in California or
  • even have students waiting for floodwaters to recede like Margaret in Louisiana.

Whereever you live, the calendar is marching on, and school will soon begin.

In 2015 this back to school blog post focused on relationships and learning priorities while the 2014 post here included blogs and quotes and Lucy Calkins’ challenge to “outgrow ourselves as readers”.  And more recently, this #DigiLit Sunday post was also about planning for the new school year.

Are you prepared?  And what does that mean for you?  

Is your room ready?

Have you added some alternative seating?  Additional partner seating?  How do you allow the students to have some say and choice in the room arrangement?  What does your library look like?  Are students able to easily access books in the classroom library?

Are your first instructional days planned?

How will you greet your students?  What is your first Read Aloud going to be?  Your first mini lesson for reading workshop?  Writing workshop?  Your own first demonstration writing piece?  And what about that first poem?

“The First Day of School

I wonder if my drawing will be as good as theirs
I wonder if they’ll like me, or just be full of stares
I wonder if my teacher will look like mom or gram
And I wonder if my puppy will wonder where I am.

~Aileen Fisher”

Have you set your goals for the year?

My wish is that every child will have joyful learning every day of school that will allow him or her to grow beyond belief in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, math and research (science and social studies). Each classroom will have a skilled, enthusiastic and passionate teacher who focuses on meeting the needs of the whole child!

kafele.jpg

Not sure if you are ready?  Need some more ideas?  Sarah Brown Wessling writes about her pledge to students here or check out this NEA Back to School Guide!

Are you REALLY ready?

What are your planning priorities right now?

And what about personal priorities for your very own children?  Are they starting a new school year as well?  As a student? As a teacher? As a parent?

What rituals do you share with them?

My son and I had a first day “back to school tradition” of dinner out.  Dinner out at a fancy schmantzy restaurant where we could talk about the first day of school and everything that happened away from the rush of meal prep or the stack of ever-present work.  A joyful celebration of new beginnings!

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

Beginning the School Year!


welcome

What’s your focus for the beginning of a new school year?

If your students have not yet begun:

What do you know about school, the year, your grade level, your students and yourself as you begin to plan? How do you set your priorities?  What are you planning based on your own personal belief statements?

If your students are already attending, think back to how you began the year.

the beginning

Nobody knows how much you know until they know how much you care.  Theodore Roosevelt

Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Anonymous

How important are relationships?

As an adult, how comfortable are you in those situations where you “play” icebreaker activities?  Which ones work for you?  Which ones make you think “Is this really the best use of my time?”

Dana Murphy addressed this conundrum in her post, “The Chicken and the Egg”.  Please go read her blog if you haven’t yet!  The notion of “Significant 72” is critical. Relationships are critical.  But how can relationships, fun and academics all work together during the “Significant 72”?

Obviously in upper grades, this would not mean “boring and endless reading of the classroom rules” for we know that co-constructed roles, expectations, and norms result in increased collaboration and learning.

And then Shaelynn Farnsworth’s post, “Kicking Off Back to School with Camera Fun”, caught my eye because it combined content, learning targets and building relationships within the classroom.  Of course it was also FUN! But I also loved the ideas because they involved some form of “creation”, higher level of Bloom’s or DOK, as well as a source of formative assessment for the students, if I chose to use the student products to not only tell me about the students but also to tell me what my students currently know about 6 word memoirs.

How do you make decisions about your learning priorities?

I see Dana’s thinking about how writing together can build relationships as well as Shaelynn’s “fun” and “technology” as integral parts of first days of school relationship building and setting the classroom expectations for learning.  “It’s all about the learning” would be a mantra of mine! As well as “It’s about ALL learning“. How much do my beliefs and values enter into my decisions?

what matters atwell

Tricia Ebarvia posted this on twitter on 8.15.15 and it’s a quote that I plan to hold onto.  It matches Kylene Beers keynote at TCRWP during the March Saturday reunion as well as the August Reading Institute.  A reader has to read in order to be a better reader. How do students get that time?  How do teachers provide that time?  How do systems protect that time?

Twitter has also provided other sources of inspirations and decision making.  A favorite quote of mine from Dr. Mary Howard is “Tick Tock, Every minute counts and must be designed to make the most of precious available time with students!”

tick tock

Time is finite.  Our minutes with our students are limited.  In order to teach both the reader and the writer, we must make deliberate choices about how to spend that time.

To begin the year I choose:

  1. Quality Read Alouds – where students will choose a word, phrase or sentence that captures their “ears” that they want to linger with. (Relationships will be built as we consider who has similar words and phrases as well as WHY the choice was made.)
  2. Writing about our Read Alouds – what are some of the most important things in my world?  (Relationships will be built as we talk with partners about the ideas in Margaret Wise Brown’s The Important Book.)
  3. Speed Dating with Books – Read a book and share with others in my group about who might want to read it and why. (Relationships will be built as students create To Be Read, TBR, lists.)
  4. To watch and listen (no interrogations) as students talk, read, write, and speak to capture their words and the essence of their thoughts.

 Why does it matter?

Sharon Salzberg says it best, “We learn and grow and are transformed not so much by what we do but by why and how we do it.”

Check out Tara Smith’s post “Begin the Writing Workshop Year by Writing on ‘Day One'”!  It’s fabulous!

How will you begin the year with fun, learning, literacy, AND relationship building?

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