Monthly Archives: December 2011

Passion

Passion:  an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something.

It seems that lately the word ‘passion’ keeps coming up, especially in the world of education.  I look all around me and see teachers who clearly have no passion for what they are doing – whether they had it at one point or another I am not sure, but definitely not at the moment.  I also find teachers who are filled with passion for a number of different areas.  I’ve recently entered the world of Twitter, and on it are so many educators who are passionate about using technology in education, who are passionate about making global connections, who are passionate about literacy and so on.  It’s overwhelming how they pour their time and energy into developing and sharing these passions with others.  While I enjoy these things and find them quite interesting, I know in the back of my head that these are some of my tools, but they are not my ‘passion’.  It’s caused me to begin to reflect and question, “What am I passionate about?”

I love teaching.  It’s always been important to me to love what I do, and since I am still teaching after ten years I think it’s a good indicator that I must love it.  But I’ve begun to reflect back on why I began teaching – what started my journey in the first place – in order to find my ‘passion’ in education.  And in my reflections I’ve rediscovered what it is I love….developing character/values in children.  To see them become human beings who care about and help others, who think about their actions and consequences, who can problem solve and resolve conflicts, maintain integrity, persevere through hardships and challenges, set goals and find satisfaction in achieving them and to use their own passions to impact the world in a positive way.

In rediscovering my passion, it’s made me reflect on the purpose with which I am living it out.  I love the global perspective that the children in the international schools I have been in are able to gain.  Learning about World War 2 with fourth graders from all major countries involved – so powerful.  Children building relationships with children from other (very different) cultures – forever impacting.  Discussing what the word ‘thankful’ means and what that looks like with a group of six year olds – priceless.  I am excited about working within the PYP progam next year mostly because it incorporates many of these values within it.  At times, I do find I get so caught up in my ‘tools’ that I lose track of my passion and purpose, but every time I rediscover it, I am filled with energy and enthusiasm to continue to purposefully live out my passion in the everyday moments in and out of the classroom.

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Categories: Education | 1 Comment

Stumbling across a love for Independent Reading

Moving around here and there between grade levels and schools in different countries means I’m often a bit new to one thing or the other and figuring things out along the way.  These past nine weeks have been no exception and I thought I’d share the good things I’ve stumbled across while taking on an end-of-year maternity cover with a fun and rather angelic Grade 1/2 class.

When I came to the school I was told on day one that the Grade 1/2 level was trialing Independent Reading with the students and the next year the whole school would be implementing it.  By the way… the kids have never done it yet this year and you’ll have other teachers coming through to see an example of what it looks like in about four weeks.  Here’s some reading, have fun and do your best.  If you have any questions, feel free to pop in to other classrooms and ask.  It hasn’t been perfect, far from it (I keep finding out things I have missed doing) but by the fact that my rather angelic students almost mutinied on me the other day when we had to cut reading time short and the thinking they are coming up with, I’d say we’ve all learned a lot.  It began by reading a few chapters a week of The CAFE Book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser and trying some of their ideas out along the way (along with Reading for Meaning by Debbie Miller).

Here’s the short version:

I love that….

– you use real reading language and strategies with the students (and they do too – it is great to hear students talking about what they inferred, etc)

– they get to self-select books and learn how to choose books that are right for them – such an important skill

– you get tons of one-on-one time with the students, but also get to meet with them in small strategy groups

– they get to reflect on what they do as readers and share that with others – they’re amazing at it!

– it meets the needs of the individual student where they are at, whether that be struggling or advanced

– you get to teach little things here and there ‘in the moment’ and adapt it to your class needs instead of being the star of the show

– the kids absolutely love it

My basic program

(I may or may not be doing it right – I’m a work in progress and have only started it this term)

– Mini-lesson – 15-20 min

– Independent Reading (individually conferencing with students) – 20 min

– Tracking Time (students write down their thinking, I usually meet and work with one of the strategy groups) – 15ish min

Here’s some tracking from our work with visual images today and a few other things from this term thrown in…

Question on my mind….I try to have a variety of handwritten and typed text up around the room, but when I go into my colleagues’ classrooms they have almost all handwritten.  Our class tracking I usually type on the Smartboard as they’re telling me so I can capture it correctly.  I’ve been working with older ones for a while now, but it made me wonder what balance is best in the classroom for different ages?  Does it make a difference?  Something to ponder/look into when there’s more time…

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