The Third Time is a Charm

Well I have been working to relaunch this site and get myself situated to finally get this where I want it.  I’m a little anxious about how this will work.  I know that there are only good times ahead.  I think I am finally positioned to truly make this a community where we can all help problem solve the many situations we find ourselves in education today.

What do you think?


Many good things can come out of conflict.  I am currently in conflict.  I have conflict with what I am currently doing professionally and where I see what I want to be doing.  There is such a divide between the two, I’m not sure how to cross it.

My current position is teaching an ELD classroom that is full of more restrictions than it is creativity and varied opportunities for learning.  There is sooo much pressure for students to perform on AIMS there isn’t room for anything besides teaching to the test.  I hate it.  I understand where it is coming from and why, but surely there has to be a middle ground somewhere.

Where I see myself professionally (today, that is) is teaching writing to middle schoolers.  I am inspired by storytelling and the creativity and voice that we all have, if we just learn how to share it.  Which really is a place I never thought I would want to be at. I have been greatly inspired by fellow ELD teacher, Ms. Gonzalez, who is a GREAT writing teacher.  She gets it.  She is so knowledgeable about children’s literature.  What’s more important is that she honors students’ voices.  I think that technology provides an avenue for students to share their voices in a way that is natural to them.  If only we let them, monitor and advise them.

So with that, I must get to where the rubber meets the road.  What am I going to do about it?  It took me three years to get this site up and running, and I have let it just sit here.  I want to teach writing, but really have not honored it for myself.  I don’t write everyday more than a Facebook update, and even that has been sporadic lately.  I haven’t read an adult book in over a year.  REALLY!!  Yikes!  I am embarrassed to share that.  But it is what it is.  And it is where I am at.  But it is not where I want to be.

Post update(11/10): I don’t hate teaching.  I actually enjoy my class this year.  (I haven’t said that in two years.)  They are a great group.  I do hate the testing pressure.  Just felt I should clarify.

Am I Really a Writer?

Today, the ELD Instructional Coaches attended in-services presented by our own.  The writing presentation today was AWESOME!!!! I was greatly impressed and learned more in two hours than any writing training I’ve had in 7 years total.  I have always struggled with teaching writing.  I have come to realize that maybe my lack of drive in teaching writing is connected to my lack of writing here.  I never really thought about how as a teacher of writing I need to have some connection to writing myself.  I have not made writing a priority.  If I really want to improve my teaching of writing I need to give some priority to my own writing, not just here, but also my own personal writing.   All writing is not worthy of publishing, but surely I have more to say than what I have so far…

Teacher as Master Learner

I am working on my site and found some drafts that I never published.  I was hoping it would publish with the draft date, but it didn’t.  It was worthy of publishing, so here it is from December 18, 2008.  

I was listening to David Warlick’s podcast from 12/13 and he talked about the teacher as a master learner.  That makes me think about the journey that I am on now pursuing National Board Certification.  It is funny.  I can vividly remember my first or second year of teaching, there was an announcement about pursuing certification, and I thought, “Are they CRAZY??!!!  Who would want to do that???”  And here I am in the throws of it.  And I do think, “Am I CRAZY???”

Go Kagan!!

Well, today I got to implement some of the things that I learned last week in training.  It was hard to hold back and not try to teach them everything at once.  We tried 3 “new” things today.  They weren’t totally new but following more to the way Kagan has it outlined.  It went pretty well.  I hope that this continues for the rest of the week and we can add more structures to our class.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all!
It has been a while since I’ve made an entry here, and so much has happened since then. My class size was reduced because we were bursting at the seams ( and some of us still are). Our school has grown, and has well surpassed the original estimates of enrollment. My class has taken 2 fieldtrips, including a trip to the office of Hill & Usher for a Holiday celebration. They were thrilled to get to see a real business office, and the goodies were a treat too. The wonderful people at Hill & Usher donated a very nice digital camera to our classroom. Be sure to check our class blog to see the how the students are using it to enrich their learning.

As we are about to return from our winter break, I have to take some time to reflect on how great the year has been so far, and to plan how to keep the momentum and excitement going. I have truly fallen in love…with the SmartBoard. I can’t imagine going back to teaching without it. My students have started blogging, are learning keyboarding skills, and have learned how to beam information using handhelds, in addition to all of the traditional curriculum. One thing that I plan to do is to keep this blog updated to help myself, and possibly others. The other thing that I hope to do for the second half of the year is to turn over more control of the learning to the students. I have developed a science webquest, Dig It Up, for one of my classes for my Masters that I will try with the students. But most importantly, I plan on slowing down and reflecting more, and enjoying the moments.

Here we go!