Friday, August 27, 2010

Don't blink

Man- where the heck did my first long summer in eight years go? It is now officially a bit of vapor. Gone. I can't say I didn't like it. I did. It was the perfect way to reconnect with my April daughter who graduated from high school this year. We "road tripped" for weeks. I caught up with friends and family all across the eastern seaboard remembering there IS time. I cleaned out the black holes of my home getting reacquainted with spaces and things I'd long forgotten. Personally, summer's been good to me.

Now I'm wondering how it will affect my professional life.

First...our school year has gone from a year round schedule to the more traditional schedule and I'm already missing the "intersession" between quarters that would give us time to breathe, look at students with a fresh eye and attitude, reflect, and prepare for the next round of objectives, lessons, creative teaching, behavior plans, and general all around clearing of the head.

But mostly, as a reading teacher I'm already thinking of how much our kids might have lost over a longer summer without daily reading. Many of our kids don't get read to, have libraries at home, or get to the library often. I'm wondering about administering beginning of year baseline assessments that we previously didn't have to do because students were only away from teachers, guided reading and books for five weeks. What's twelve weeks going to do to their processing? I'm wondering what that data's going to tell us and how we will work to get kids caught up.

Anticipating our longer summer, our librarian, administration, and a cadre of teachers who know the deal opened the library over the summer to give our neighborhood kids a good place to read and get a good read. These teachers lead book clubs, book talks, read aloud stories and gave time to keep the rhythms of reading in our kids' heads. Our PTA provided book bags for those treasures students got to check out and take home. It was a good move. Kids loved it, but is it enough?

Summer has gone by in a blink. When it comes to reading skills, sometimes a blink can be too long.

Friday, August 13, 2010

getting started and getting my stuff done

I love this time of year, the weeks just before the start of school. I love thinking about the possibilities for kid and teacher learning. I love sitting at my desk, pondering the work ahead. I love looking at the books. We are going to do such good stuff this year and I am going to so manage my time, stay focused and get stuff done.

I mean geez, I've located all my books and arranged the shelves just so with children's lit (isn't it really EVERYONE lit?) so it will be readily available. I've cleared my desk. I've stacked piles of stuff that I can't get to now for future sorting and filing. I am really prioritizing. Okay, now I think I'm ready to get to work.

Well, maybe I'll just sort through those papers one more time. Hmmm, filing a few more things would make it a lot easier to focus when I'm rereading "Choice Words" by Peter H. Johnston. Actually, I could work on my calendar for the first week so I'm really organized. Should I check my email again to be sure the schedule hasn't changed? Gosh, is it lunch already?

As I was taking "ten" to refocus and get a good start I came across this.

Right after I watched it, I really did get to work.