Inspired and Grateful

Today was such a mixed bag. Great Notice and Note Lesson with my grade 7 class using Raymond’s run and practicing annotating. The discussions and the hypothesizing about if there was or was not a signpost and simply the discussions around the character were a fun peak into my students thinking. We have a long way to go but now that I have a document camera in my room (old school and I love it) I can demonstrate my thinking and the modelling and gradual release of responsibility becomes so much more real.

My 8’s are writing stories right now because we are taking a little break from the serious writing and I am grateful for their creativity, their vulnerability and their effort. I am grateful for my PLN and twitter friends who inspire me to be a better writing teacher, to give my students choice, to confer with them, talk with them and share with them. I am grateful for their insights in reading as well. We are trying new things this year. They were use to text books and questions and I am moving towards novels and discussions. Not everyday is a victory and the resistance to change is real in some of them but I am grateful for the challenge. They push me to examine my practice daily and give me the chance to learn and for that I am grateful.

I am grateful for all my teaching partners. My wife who is a constant support when she has to hear me rant about AR and other “programs” kids are forced to endure, when she gets in car and drives 6 hours with me just to go to an Edcamp, when she provides a different view and challenges me to be better, even when she doesn’t know she is. I am grateful. I am grateful for my coworkers past and most certainly present. I have grown over the past 7 years of teaching and have wonderful friends everywhere I have worked that have played a part in my teacher growth. I am grateful for my internet teacher friends, the PLN, and the countless amazing things they have done for me. Dr.Mary Howard who is a powerhouse advocate for students and her passion for teaching and teachers can’t be measured. She introduced me to the world of Twitter chats the #g2great and I am so so grateful that I can count her as my friend. Heidi Weber and amazing innovative teacher and always so quick to help me and point me in the direction of other experts that are just as willing to answer questions and give a guiding hand. I am grateful for your example of what great teachers do.

Finally I feel like it would be crazy to not set aside a paragraph to express my gratitude to the teacher who has inspired me the most to examine my practice and question what has been happening in education. Kylene Beers has given me so many tools to improve and grow as a teacher with “When Kids Can’t Read”. Tools to help my students read with more thought in “Notice and Note”. Then changing all I do as a teacher with “Disrupting Thinking”. I am grateful for every thing I have learned and will continue to learn from Kylene. Today another quote from Kylene caught my attention “I fear we have become a nation of literate illiterates – people who can read and choose not to do so.” I am grateful that she inspires not only me but so many more teachers to question our practice, to be brave and try to change what might be broken. To right the ship even if it is only our own.

Gratitude is what we make it. I can focus on the cruddy last block of the day I had today or that some things are just not working out or I can look at all the positives. Cruddy things seem so much bigger but when you think of it a single candle disrupts the darkness. Choose to focus on the candles everyone. It has made a world of difference for me this year.

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