Monday, September 18, 2017

Taking Risks

Two years ago at this time of year I was going through treatment for breast cancer. I had my second chemo treatment at the end of the first week of school. Going through that changes a person in many ways, one thing that I vowed to myself was that I needed to say "yes" to things more. Take more risks, try new things. I had been invited to student birthday parties many times and always declined that invitation-I didn't want to cause any drama. That year I accepted an invitation for Ruby and I to attend a party in the park and it was amazing! The students were talking about it for days. I was proud of myself for saying yes.

I have gotten offers to do professional development trainings that would require travel before and automatically turned it down-I didn't even really consider it. This past summer I got an offer to do a training for teachers in San Antonio and because my new policy was to say "yes" that's exactly what I did! Friday night I drove 350 miles, stayed in a hotel by myself (I think that's the first time I have ever done that) and on Saturday morning I presented my ideas to sessions of teachers twice. When you are putting something like this together it's absolutely taking a risk. What if they already do all these things I'm showing them? What if they roll their eyes at these ideas?

It actually went really well. When I started my blog in 2010 I never imagined that people would actually read it. I had teachers telling me that they have tried my ideas in their classes and that they would be able to use these ideas I was sharing with them. I'm just so glad I did it.

I was not raised to be a risk-taker. When I was younger I was never a color outside the lines kind of person. It's something I have to consciously work on but I know I'm getting better at it. We need to do better for our students. We need to model for them being risk-takers ourselves and read them stories about risk-takers, teach them about people from history who might have made waves but also made history. They need to have the confidence to try new things and maybe they will find they have talents they didn't know they had.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thinking Like a Principal

Multiple Perspectives is one of the first concepts of Depth and Complexity that I teach. I read this story which is about a principal who thinks since school is so awesome, we should have school every day. That doesn't work out so well for the students. :) So they decide to just go back to the regular 5 day week.

So we talked about the job of a principal and whether that is an easy or hard job. Then I ask them to write from the perspective of a principal-what would they see, hear, feel, do if they were the principal of a school.

Here are their responses:

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Our First Divergent Art Activity

One of the goals I have for my students in the short time we are together is to help them learn how to be more creative. I truly believe that through activities where we stretch our thinking and invent we can foster innovation in our students and their responses.

I need to assess where we are when we begin the year. I do this by giving them a line and asking them to turn that line into something. I demonstrate for them with a circle-what could we make this into? And we come up with ideas of what to make-a snowman, a face, a tire. Then I give them their squiggle encouraging them to try to come up with something different from the other students.

Here is our first one this year:

a hill

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

If I Were a Parent

Our first activity using Multiple Perspectives is to think like a parent. We read the book The Kissing Hand about a raccoon who is nervous to attend school and his mom kisses his hand so he can have her with him all day. Then I ask the students to pretend they are a parent and what would they do if their child was nervous the first day.

Here are their responses (this is also our first writing assignment for the year):

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