Dear Blog Readers:
In the next while you might notice a few changes in some of my posts. While this is still a place I will continue to share a LOT of book love (including reviews, author/illustrator interviews, best of lists, weekly sharing of what I’m reading), you will now be getting a larger peek into my classroom.
What’s ahead? More student book reviews, more classroom photos interspersed into my #IMWAYR posts, sharing of student writing especially in response to what we are reading and various other classroom celebrations of learning. This fall I considered beginning a second blog for classroom related things which felt a little bit overwhelming in terms of time. I then realized that much of our learning is connected to stories and literature and thus, this blog is the ideal location to share both our adventures in learning and our love of reading. I remembered this again reading my own words in this post: Honest truths, metaphorical whales and the “in between” place
” . . . through books we find most of the answers and all of the questions and that these beloved book makers, when they share, help to illuminate both. ”
“The honest truth? I am a reading teacher. And I have important work to do.”
For those of you new to this blog, I am sharing some posts below (follow the links) that give a flavour of my teaching philosophy, my thoughts about reading and what I celebrate in the realm of teaching and learning.
Our words, after all, tell our stories.
Here is mine.
Classroom communities are pretty incredible places. We spend a LOT of time together.
“But when we experience classrooms – as in, occupy classrooms for those 6 hours x 5 days x 10 months, it is mostly about relationships. Because none of that other stuff happens without them. At least not as deeply, meaningfully and wonderfully as it could. And should.”
I believe in the importance of “kid watching” and talk more about it here: The power of observation
“I need time to watch and interact and notice. I need to trust that I know what I am looking for and that I can make decisions to best guide the learning based on what I see.”
Some of the best observations happen, when there is time for play.
“There is more and more research to support the benefits of play on the social emotional well being and cognitive development of our learners. In our quest for the most meaningful learning opportunities for our students, we need to make room for play.”
Every child matters. Every child belongs. Some children especially need us to be welcoming and patient. I feel blessed to have learned from some pretty incredible children over the years.
“When I look at Harry learning and laughing and taking more risks every day, I know that my job is not to bask in the happiness of his growth and success. My job is to pave the way for more of the same in his future.”
“I stand there and watch him for a minute.
Shining in the sunshine coming through the windows.
I see the bright energy return under those stormy eyebrows.”
“Sometimes with all of the busy and all of the rushing and all of the stuff we have to do in schools, we can forget to be gentle. Sometimes gentle is the most important choice we make.”
The more I do this work, the more I realize that there is so much I don’t know. But every so often, I celebrate what I have learned.
“Value community. We are one of many people teaching the children in our classrooms. Students come from varied, interesting and diverse backgrounds. Honour their parents. The extended families. The community that surrounds the school. Make connections to the key players – community centre staff, public library staff, recreation program staff, community health nurses, etc. We are all in this together.”
“Know that you are present everyday for the amazing of childhood. Don’t try to chase it away or shake it out. Childhood is sad with snotty sobs. Silly with contagious laughter. Angry with stomps and hiding. Wild with wonder and delight. Full with the magic of the world.”
I also need community. Last March, I wrote about realizing I was beginning to find it in my new school.
” Numerous children are nameless to me but we smile at each other each time we pass in the halls. The names will come. The connections will grow. We will make some shared stories.”
Books are my thing. I love the land of stories, words and worlds I find in them.
I believe passionately in classroom libraries and blog about this frequently.
“Classroom libraries are like a living, breathing, ever-changing creature. They reflect the interests, the questions and the passions of the readers in the room.”
When I packed up and moved schools after 21 years, books grounded me: These Books
“In those times when I look up and remember that it’s all new and not yet home, these books will help me find my balance. Let me place two solid feet in the middle of it all.”
In the month of March, I write every day. Be warned now.
“Writing steals time. While you try to capture the world, some of it passes you by. You aren’t where you started. You don’t remember arriving here.”
Happy reading! Happy writing! Happy Sunday!