I’ll go to my classroom this week with a new color ink cartridge and start printing book covers. It might be expensive–my printer’s kind of a wimp, but I think the more we talk about books, display books, show off books, the more likely we are to get kids to read books.
So far this summer I’ve read nine books. I have a week to finish one more to reach my summer reading goal. It’s a good start on my book-lover’s door.
I have three teaching books I’m reading, too. I have to read them slowly and mark the pages, so I can remember the things that made me want to read them in the first place. I will let my students know I read these books, and I’ll let them know I’m writing one. We will be readers and writers learning together. Every day.
Last spring when school was letting out, with a little help from some National Honor Society students, I finally got around to sorting and categorizing my bookshelves. I have close to 2,000 books. My daughter made me cute labels that I’ll laminate and put on my shelves this week. My friend Shana Karnes @litreader finished her library in her brand new classroom, and she’s my inspiration. My walls aren’t quite so cheery, but I hope to make my bookshelves look as inviting. Who wouldn’t want to browse here?
I “listened” in on a Twitter conversation about getting rid of the teacher’s desk to make more room in the classroom. I think that was Ms. Fountain and Mini Rench @mindi_r who bounced around the ideas, and inspired me to move some furniture. I couldn’t quite boot my desk, but I did turn it around, and I moved a table, so my personal real estate shrunk four feet. I can now wander the room, weaving between my round student tables much easier, and if I want to stop and teach the whole group, I can do it from three distinct places: front, back, and right side. The left side is loaded with bookshelves, and I just got asked if I wanted a rocking chair that will have to go there. Yeah, maybe. (I’ll take pictures soon.)
This year, besides my personal goal to do better at conferring with students and holding them accountable for their writers’ notebooks, I aim to be at peace. This is hard for me; I hang onto stress like that kitten and the frayed rope. Thanks to Erika Bogdany @erikabogdany, I now have a Zen garden on the shelf by my desk. “It will work!” she promised me. At the urging of Emily Kim @booknerdkim I also have a Woodstock Tranquility Table Chime. But my Kitras Tree of Enchantment globe is my favorite. I saw it in a shop in Maine in July and knew it would help me keep my center.
My PLN (personal learning network) on Twitter is my best source of learning. Sometimes I join chats: #engchat, #rwworkshop, #titletalk are favorites. Most often I just read what people share–and it’s an amazing thing. I’ve favorited tweets all summer and now categorized them into folders in Drive. I’ve got mentor texts for narrative, informational, and persuasive writing. I’ve got infographics, Youtube videos, and TED talks to use as quick writes and/or discussion starters. And more. All first shared on Twitter by educators like me who want to do the best by their students.
I might be ready for the new school year, and it’s a big thanks to my personal learning coaches for helping me get there. This week is inservice, and I’m actually looking forward to it: new principal and three out of four new assistant principals, 31 new staff at my large high school this fall–at the very least it has to be interesting.
I’ll slyly keep my Twitter feed open, and maybe I’ll score one or two more ideas before students show up in a week.
I’d love to know the best ideas you’ve learned this summer. Care to share?