Sunday, September 7, 2014

Time Keeps on Ticking...into the Future

Principal ponderings...

My Sunday morning left me thinking about the passage of time and how that relates to our job as educators.  My day started much earlier than I would have liked, but my sister was in the hospital with her new baby, Lily, and no one was around and she wanted to fill me in on my niece's first 24 hours of life.  After that conversation, I went for an early morning swim.  Of course, on a Sunday morning, the average age in the pool is about 79.  As I eased into my lane, there was an elderly man in the lane next to me, probably 84 years old, looking slightly grumpy.  He said to me, "Don't worry.  I won't get in your way."  I laughed and said, "I'm not worried."  Then he said, "It must be nice to be young."  I didn't really have a good response for him so I started to swim.

As I was swimming, I  thought about the old man's comment of it being nice to be young.  I thought about my brand new niece who was not even 48 hours old.  I was thinking about how quickly she will become a one year old. I thought about our first graders who will turn into high school students before we know it.  I thought about our 4th graders who will become us in a blink of an eye.  Yes, it is nice to be young, but unfortunately, it goes by too fast.  As everyone has been turning in their schedules, I can't help but think about how quickly time passes, making it even more important to remember that we need to make every moment count.  We have the difficult task of educating our students while only having them with us for a very short time.  You might remember this quote from the beginning of last year:
So I will remind everyone to make every moment matter for your students.  Make sure that what you have planned during your different blocks of time is something that is purposeful and meaningful for your students.  Don't let time pass too quickly for your students with meaningless activities or pointless time fillers.  Time already goes too fast, let's not make it go faster.  Every second matters, so make sure you make those seconds count for your students.  We don't have them for very long, soon they will be moving onto the next grade, graduating, starting a career, and eventually standing in the shallow end at the Y, doing underwater leg lifts.

Of course, I also thought about the old man's first comment to me: "Don't worry.  I won't get in your way."  As educators, we need to make sure we don't get in our students' ways.  At our first meeting this year, I shared a quote that I will be referring to a lot this year: 

“Students learn better when they are challenged, have choice, feel significant, receive feedback and know they matter.” @sjunkins

Not getting in the way of students seems to go along with the first part of the quote.  We need to make sure all of our students are challenged.  And that might mean that we need to step out of the role of leading our students and let them lead us through the learning process.  If we aren't challenging our students, then we are impeding their learning.

After my swim, I headed to Wegman's to do some shopping.  Well, to be honest, all that thinking about time passing made me think about the jellybean video clip I shared with you.  And Wegman's has jellybeans in bulk!  Here's the clip again in case you needed some motivation for today:

Currently reading:
This week I started reading Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder.  Interesting book about a young girl who discovers a magical bread box that grants her wishes.  She is struggling with her parents' separation and living with her grandma.  I am also listening to a new book on tape: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.  It's about underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants.  The author does a good job of challenging our thinking in regards to obstacles and disadvantages.  I also read another book in the Gooney Bird Greene series: Gooney Bird is So Absurd.  I sent a question to the author through and here is her response to me:
Liz Garden asked Lois Lowry:

What was your inspiration for creating the character of Gooney Bird Greene? Love the books and plan on encouraging my teachers to use them during writer's workshop, also good for our character development unit of study in reader's workshop!

Lois Lowry My own childhood memories inspired the GBG books. As a shy child I so envied those classmates who were self-confident and popular

Events this week:
Monday - International Literacy Day!
In 1965, UNESCO declared September 8 International Literacy Day (ILD) in an effort to focus attention on worldwide literacy needs.
"Lift Off to Literacy," IRA's theme for 2014, inspires students to reach for the stars. On September 8, 2014, launch your students' literacy habit by devoting an additional 60 seconds of literacy activities each day for 60 days. Celebrate ILD and share the message that developing a habit of reading, writing, listening, and speaking leads to lifelong literacy success.
Tuesday - Dr. Rodriguez will be visiting FloRo in the morning, Liz will meeting in Tyngsborough at 3:30 w/Scott Middlemiss & David Hill to plan for literacy collaboration, Room Parent Mtg @ 7:30
Thursday - Curriculum Night: 6-7 grades 3-4, 7-8 grades K-2 
Friday - iPass bio-verification forms due back, Dianna and Liz at SLT meeting at Prescott from 8-11, Welcome Back Party from 4:00-6:00

Great Things I Noticed Last Week:

  • Mrs. Lanctot's class was learning about their classroom community and having their first open circle.  Her class even made their own lego creation to represent their community!
  • 2nd graders in Mrs. McEvoy's class were modeling for each other how to 'turn and talk' as part of their reader's workshop launch.
  • Mrs. Benkley's 2nd graders spent some time deciding where they wanted to do their independent reading time in the classroom.
  • Mrs. Cahill's bulletin board reminds us that it's ok to make mistakes...embrace failure...remember it's what helps us learn!
Check it out:
Donalyn Miller's recent blog about no more language arts and crafts:
Ways to create a classroom of writers:
How to learn?  From clip:
And here's a funny song re-write by a teacher, good for the beginning of the year...

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