Every Tuesday teachers gather at TWO WRITING TEACHERS to share slices of life. They link their blogs in the comments and then comment on at least 3 other sites. Come join us today!
The text came through at 8:50 pm yesterday. Before that hour, there had been hours of speculation. We were not the first corporation in the area to call it. To my surprise there was no two-hour delay game, it was straight to cancellation. It was not just cancellation for today…IT IS FOR 3 days! I do not go back to work until Friday.
The weather reports keep saying the Midwest is colder than Antarctica with this winter storm. I woke up this morning thinking about updating my eLearning page and heard the wind. The new house doesn’t have a fireplace and we miss it. We have found how drafty the windows are.
Earlier the actual temperature was 6 degrees with a – 13 windchill. Tomorrow the high is supposed to be -12 and a low of -22 (without the windchill). I cannot remember when it was that cold before now. I am sure it has been.
Last week I went to school two days. This week it will be only one.
We don’t celebrate winter here so most people will be hunkered down inside their house. To be fair, the weather is not consistent which makes it difficult to adjust. Yesterday afternoon it was 47 degrees before the temperature started to drop several degrees an hour again.
We kept warm in my house. We ate veggie soup with warm bread fresh from the oven.
I am thankful the snow makes everything bright.
I am thankful I do not have to commute many miles this week.
I am thankful for time to finish Slade House by David Mitchell.
I am thankful I will have time to go to the gym every day.
I am thankful I am able to work from home.
I am thankful my furnace works.
I am thankful I am with people I love.
What are your thoughts on winter? What are you thankful for today?
There was a slightly different mix of coaches at this training. I drove into the city this time which was pretty stress free and the drive was full of sunshine.
We used feedback cards after Jim established a procedure for them. Red/Yellow/Green cards can be used with students to show answers really quickly and can also build community. Jim Knight said, “There is power in a collective response.”
A lot of the conversation was around relationships.
We learned how to use several data collection measures which are awesome and actionable. I have used several over the years but these were deep and focused.
One of the specific strategies we talked about was creating a learner-friendly culture. Bill Stickland opened a school that has beautiful things everywhere you look, a building that is full of sunshine and fresh real flowers.
He believes that change can only happen if you see change, including your surroundings. I have the book on hold at the library and am looking forward to it coming in.
Many of the conversations throughout the day continually reminded me that little things matter to ALL people. The thoughtful note, the smile, the nod, the acknowledgement of you being in front of someone…and the sunlight and the flowers.
How do you make your learner space inviting? This could be a writer space or a teaching space. What are your sunlight and flowers? Enjoy them today and share with someone else.
Last Wednesday I hosted Workshop Wednesday during team times. The invitation was specifically sent out to the English teachers but everyone was welcome as always. The email informed the staff the topic was Independent Reading. This meeting is voluntary so I always let staff know ahead of time so there is no surprise. I was pleasantly surprised myself when my content teachers showed up as well. Their attendance really showcases how dedicated they are to the new reading culture in our middle school.
Last year there was not consistent Silent Sustained Reading, Independent reading, or choice reading. It doesn’t matter what the label was, but there was not enough time or support it seemed to pull it off.
It was decided with the new block scheduling this year there was time to implement Independent reading time. Now is the time where teachers have tried various components and how to differentiate for their classes and students. I am so proud that all of the teachers who keep the choice piece sacred. All the decisions made were around that central idea.
The purpose of the meeting was to celebrate reading in our building and the culture they are all perpetuating. It was also to make lists of what was the reality of the reading time and what we want to make consistent across the school. To make a school wide definition decided by the teachers – not anyone else.
It was a great discussion about conferencing, book talks, reading identity, first chapter Friday and what it looked like and sounded like in their respective classrooms.
We talked about what they needed and how to make reading spaces more inviting.
There was celebration about reading memories, students asking for more reading time, and books disappearing because the students want to read them so badly.
Taking inspiration from THE ART OF GATHERING by Priya Parker, I had my version of “15 Toasts”. I had silly plastic champagne glasses with sparkling water. Everyone had a toast to make in the area of a reading memory or the first memory they had of reading. One teacher shared she sat in the back of her third grade classroom because it was where the bookcases were and she could snatch books and read no matter what subject was being taught. There was one book that she loved so much she stole. She still has it! After the meeting she came to show me the book!
I also incorporated the Google Jamboard which I had never used before. It is designed to be used on an interactive white board but I just used the post it note function for everyone to share something exciting going on in their classrooms. I hope to foster some relationships between teachers to visit each other’s rooms and share ideas that are working.
I am excited for the conversation when I can get all the stakeholders together and make some decisions for the achievement of our teachers and the students!
The first snow descended yesterday as I drove home from work. The tiny flakes sprinkled my windshield and melted from the warmth of the car. It continued to happily come down throughout the evening. Dinner was pot roast and homemade bread which made for a perfect evening.
This morning the roads are shiny reflecting the lights of the cars as they plug along. The blue sky was light just before the sun came all the way up. The grass looks like it has powdered sugar sprinkled on it.
Snow makes me happy
Winter makes me happy and the coziness it brings.
As I pulled into the parking lot it rained leaves to remind me that we are still in fall, not yet winter.
My refrigerator masquerades as a freezer in my office. It likes to pretend. This is normally helpful for quickly making my Diet Coke cold or keeping “emergency” lunches on the days I forget to pack my sustenance.
It is not a good thing when you forget you had an extra can of DIET COKE in there overnight. When you open the fridge to enjoy the frosty beverage you find frozen coke all over the bottom and a bulging can that looks like something from a horror movie.
Then you kick yourself for being in a hurry the afternoon before and not remembering to take the can out of the fridge to avoid this situation.
Oops…I am more upset I lost a can of Coke rather than the mess!