From Many Words to One

Wow it is December 30th and snowing like crazy again and cold as all heck outside and I just want to start with the gratitude I have for having a warm home. People in the northern most part of this province are on a natural gas warning because of depleted supply so while I don’t like this snow at all I can have gratitude for the blessings of a warm house and a job that does not require me to be out and about.

I decided that  I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year as a teacher and as a “blogger” and then look forward into next year. Reading the blog Crawling out of the Classroom I was impressed by the reflection on a year of blogging. I decided to follow in this direction with my own memorable blogs, not a top ten but I did limit myself to ten 🙂

Just as a background for new followers this year has been full of a lot of changes. Changed schools, changed teaching assignments, change of mindset…changes. They have all been great for me as a teacher. I have learned the importance of student voice and choice, the importance of teacher ownership of professional development and most powerfully the importance of leadership based on trust. I am not just talking about on a school level which is important but more so in my classroom with my instruction. From last January to now I have changed my mindset on how a classroom should be run and that has lead me to so many more thoughts that help me reflect and grow.

In regards to the blog I feel like I have had a transformation from a show and tell, which serves its own purpose to more of a platform for thought and reflection. I celebrate my students work in the classroom and will happily post it here as well but in the early part of 2017 my blog was definitely more “look at this and please share and like it” to where now I care more about what people think, if my thoughts can help them with the struggles they are having or as just a voice of agreement or even a starting point for a discussion.  I liked my blog before and am sure I will be popping in posts based around class work and achievements but my goals are now more in line with growth and reflection than just celebration.

Mr.G’s top thoughts of 2017 (If you are looking for some light reading on these VERY cold days)

  1. What is your Compass? -Best Practice and We are doing what is best for students? Is it really and are we really? Who do we listen to when there are so many voices?
  2. A chance to Restart -The first of a few posts on giving students a chance to be more than a level.
  3. I am very proud of my introductory work with my students last year using picture books and more teacher directed reflection (learning that my reading journey is not theirs I have moved my focus more to individual than whole class) Here are a couple showcase posts inspired by Kylene Beers and Pernille Ripp. Disrupting Thinking The Book we need now and Hard Topics with Picture Books
  4. Refugee by Alan Gratz– Because I love it
  5. Mirrors– Still one of my favourite moments in teaching and I wasn’t the teacher. There are things you will never forget and Mrs. K and her classroom are one of those for me.
  6. Credit where it’s due– Sometimes we need to take a minute to thank those that make us better. This was one of those posts.
  7. Square Peg Round Hole– The start of my change towards more student choice and direction, inquiry and curiosity. Less labels and more honouring the whole student.
  8. Sometime Random…– A reflection on a day that random distractions took us elsewhere.
  9. The Airing of Grievances– There are a lot of posts I want to share but this is all student voice, I abandoned the things I have loved after listening to my students feedback on how those things impacted their love of reading and I am ok with it.
  10. Inspired and Grateful– This is not a top ten list just ten posts that I liked a lot when I wrote them. If this was a top ten I would likely move this to number 1. I have nothing but gratitude for those who have helped me this year, repaired the damaged confidence that I had and supported me in this journey. I have so many candles that disrupt the darkness.

Wow looking back at some of these posts I just am so grateful for the journey that 2017 has been. I look forward to 2018. I look forward to learning more with and from my students. I look forward to meeting new people in education and cultivating a powerful PLN. I look forward to learning more from my online mentors and in person from my colleagues. Most of all I just look forward to learning.

What is the best way to teach literacy skills? Is there such a thing as “best practice” if so what is it really? What does good leadership look like? How do we build life long readers? How can I help a student who thinks they are a label realize they are so much more than that? The questions I have need to be answered and I want 2018 to be the year that I explore these questions.

The current trendy little twitter hash tag is #oneword2018 one word to frame your year around. I wasn’t going to do it but then while sitting on a twitter chat last night I realized I already had one.

#oneword2018

I am curious about so much in education. I want my students to be curious about the world around them, to want to learn more about what they are questioning, about what they are passionate about. Curiosity is the word. If you are interested in joining in the journey a great place to start is the #g2great twitter chat on January 4th. I even got to submit a question for it (bucket list check)

Well that was a lot of words…now time to focus on one. I hope everyone else enjoys their 2018 journey.

 

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