Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The List: Specific Goals for the 2009-2010 School Year

  • Writing Workshop
  • Reading Workshop
  • Popsicle Sticks: Kids design their own (why didn't I think of this before - I always spend all this time writing all of their names. I mean, it helps me get to know their names, but I like the idea of them writing on it.)
  • Personal History of a Writer / of a Reader
  • Decide together as a group: how will we respond when someone shares their writing aloud
  • Minilessons on what kind of notebook to use
  • Minilessons on how to keep a notebook
  • Handing out a seating chart the first Friday - know all the names - kids fill in
  • Minilesson: What ways have you published in the past? What is publishing?
  • Silencing the Inner Critic
  • More one-on-one partnering. Set the expectations at the beginning: no more "it's only one activity" no more sympathizing / teach that you need to learn to get along  
  • Start with the quote on my wall, otherwise take it down. Or...maybe take it down and do a minilesson about it and then put it up...
  • Provide more writing supplies without the accompanying guilt
  • More generative starters: write off of a quote, off of a line
  • Writing Circles
  • Document camera in my room

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Catching Up

I've been coming up to school in the morning to do a little work. I got some of my classroom set up: teacher desk, classroom library. My goal is to not stress about the beginning of the school year; it's not worth it - everything works out in the end.

I'm primarily working on my presentation for Job-Alike. I have the basic gist mapped out, but now I'm playing with options, handouts, extentsions, etc. Up until now, I thought that I would go sans technology because it can be a hassel (we have to bring our own and set it up ourselves) but it's hard for me to teach without technology. So now I'm playing with bringing it and doing a PP presentation. I have a week to figure it out, so I feel good. I just want to be careful to not stray to far from the main point: accessing memories and writing about them.

I need to get out my notebook from the summer and look at my list of things I really want to do. I find so much power in making a list and then checking off the things I wanted to accomplish in my classroom. Last year my list was really short, but they were rather large items:
  1. Using film clips to teach literary techniques
  2. Service Learning Project
  3. Turning Points

I accomplished 1 and 2, but 3 never happened. In hindsight, I don't even really care about 3 because I see less and less of a need for something like that in my classroom; it doesn't fit my curriculum. So I think this year the list will be longer, but the items are smaller. My goal this year is stress less and simplicity. I make things so difficult all the time and there's no need.

I'm rereading Notebook Know How (Buckner) and Study Driven (Ray) to get ready for the first semester.

Julie and I were talking yesterday about planning and general school stuff. We talked about giving the kids choice and we were thinking about how often we do so (a lot), but I've been thinking about these opportunities, and I'm wondering if some of these were false choices. Like they seem like choices, but there's still a lot of constriction.

I'll also be updating my TeacherWeb with one of the new templates, so I'll be saying goodbye to my beloved "Ilike" icons I took from MS Word six years ago.