Celebrate with Ruth Ayres Writes …. because we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get.
This year, I’ve decided to go old school with my plan book. I’ve been working with Google docs for the past few years, and have loved going paperless. But…some part of me has missed the old way of sharpening my pencils and actually writing down those plans, so I ordered a planbook via Etsy which would give me the layout I needed and the option to customize the cover:
This quote by Kylene Beers and picture (created from a Waterlogue photograph of my classroom and Picmonkey) has been on the wall behind my desk for a long time, but this year it felt appropriate to have it in front of me – a quote that defines my teaching spirit every day of the school year: each day is a new opportunity to affirm the hopes and dreams of the children in my classroom.
I’ve been thumbing through the blank pages of this new plan book – looking ahead to ideas I have for each day, month, and the year as a whole. I love the blankness of it all and the opportunity for a fresh start that it represents, and I love the fact that it is neatly contained with a sturdy cover and spiral, which suggests both resolve and flexibility (two necessary and key ingredients in any school year).
Every September, I choose two excerpts from my summer PD reading as new guideposts – wise words I want to live up to in my planning, in my teaching, and especially in the way I listen and guide my kids along in their sixth grade year.
From Kylene Beers and Bob Probst’s new book, Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters :
We argue that the ultimate goal of reading is to become more than we are at the moment; to become better than we are now; to become what we did not even know we wanted to become. The transactions we have with texts might enable us to do that. If we read actively, assertively, thoughtfully, responsibly, then any text we read may offer us the possibility that we can reshape ourselves…
Our students, however, too often go to reading expecting a grade not growth. So, we want to disrupt the thinking kids are doing as they read, thinking that is primarily focused on helping them extract evidence from a text. We want them aware of the possibility that reading may – perhaps should – give them the opportunity to reshape themselves. We want them to realize that reading should involve changing their understandings of the world and themselves…We want to ask students to be open to the possibility that a text might be disruptive, and that it is this disruption that gives them the opportunity to learn and grow. (pgs. 59-61)
And from Vicki Vinton’s Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading:
…it’s my hope you feel something akin to that as you emerge from this book: excited, reenergized,and eager to take this work into your classroom…It creates opportunities for us to be big-picture thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers, too. And by not tying us down to a script or a lesson plan that claims students will meet outcomes that are hard, if not impossible, to reach in a single sitting, it allows us to reclaim the status of professionals in a world that often sees us as the problem.” (pg. 216)
July has been a time of reading, reflecting, discussing, and writing. As I gaze upon my new planbook, freshly unwrapped and fragrant with “new paperness”, I celebrate fresh starts – how lucky we teachers are to have this opportunity every September!