This I Believe

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 4.43.26 PMAs I head back to school today on this second day of 2018, I go with hope and a renewed sense of purpose.  Over winter break, I had the opportunity to reflect and re-imagine.  I thought about what I want to accomplish personally in 2018 and developed my goals. And, I thought about what I believe when it comes to my work in teaching and learning.

I begin this new year with these core beliefs:

  • I believe that all children deserve to go to a school where they feel safe and secure for the six hours they are there.
  • I believe that all children deserve to feel respected and to have their voice heard.
  • I believe that learning and teaching should be fun!
  • I believe that teachers “know best” pedagogical practices; not politicians, bureaucrats, or school boards.
  • I believe that relationships come first; teaching and learning come second.
  • I believe that all children deserve to hear a book read aloud to them every day.
  • I believe that all children should have access to an abundant and diverse classroom library (and school library).
  • I believe that it is the responsibility of educators to remove barriers, so that all students have access to an equitable education.
  • I believe that all children deserve to participate in authentic learning, not canned curriculum.

This I believe.

 

 

 

 

One Little Word 2018

As on reflect on the year 2017, I recognize that it seems to have gone by in a blur.  As I began 2017, I had plans to live with more intention.  While my year certainly started off that way, it most certainly did not end that way, as evidenced by my five blog posts for the year.  What the heck??

I feel like 2017 was the year of pinning my life against the target of time.  There just never seemed to be enough of it.  But, isn’t that always the way?  So, 2018 will be the year I take my time back.

I want to make time to make memories with my family, to write regularly, to paint often (a newly discovered enjoyment), and to have clarity.

So, with all of that being said, my focus for 2018 is to CREATE.

In order to live with intention around my focus, I’ve also created a map of 18 for 2018.  Hopefully, these two visuals will help the planner in me CREATE action!    IMG_3657

 

18 for 2018

IMG_3658About 7 years ago, I made a “40 for 40” list.  My intention was to achieve all 40 items on my bucket list by the time I turned 40.  However, on my 40th birthday, I had only achieved 1/4 of my list.  But, that’s ok. I’ll just add 10 more and turn it into my “50 for 50” list.  I have seven and a half more years to accomplish those!

A few weeks ago, on the Happier podcast, someone mentioned that they had a list of 35 items they wanted to accomplish during their 35th year.  Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft, the podcast hosts, adapted that line of thinking and decided to create a list of 18 for 2018.  I have followed suit.

I am a planner. Last year, at the last minute (and therein lies the problem for a planner!), I decided to create a “one little word” post that was meant to be my focus for 2017.  However, I chose the word, but there was little follow through, because I did not have a plan.  This year, I created my 18 for 2018 vision map first.  My 18 choices led me to my one little word, which I will reveal tomorrow.

A New Year is always a time for reflection, projection, and action.  As I reflect on 2017, I realize how chaotic (in my mind) the year became.  I feel like I lost a lot of time to meaningless things.  There are certain things in my life that become time sucks and I need to change that.  I need to reframe my thinking and start projecting.  My vision map for 2018 is my projection for the year.  And having a vision will help me take action!

I hope all of you have a wonderful start to your new year, and achieve all you set out to in 2018!

Slow Down! Slooowww Down!

“Slow Down! Slooowww Down! Re-enter the pit slowly and come to a complete stop.”

We are just returning from our annual week at the beach.  While there, we took the kids to drive go-carts and when it was time to return to the pits, we heard the above automated statement repeatedly.  So much so that the kids are still repeating it days later.

Now that the statement is ingrained in my memory, I thought it was an appropriate metaphor for life.  Previously, I have written about the fact that my kiddos are moving on to middle school and high school in a couple of weeks.  I’m all too familiar with time passing very quickly.  And while I am always excited and hopeful about the possibilities the future holds for the kids, I’m also very cognizant of the fact that time is not slowing down.  And our society as a whole is on the fast track.  We are always trying to get to that next best thing. . .faster.

So, today, I’m challenging myself and you, to take a moment to slow down.  In whatever way that means to you.

 

Last Time for Everything

“Throwing the ball with the first dog you ever had
Spending all day on the lake with your grandad
Watching Glenn Frey sing “Already Gone” at the Forum in LA
There’s a last time for everything”

~Brad Paisley, “Last Time for Everything”

 

On Friday, I went with Chloe to “Muffins with Mom.”  As I was driving away from the school, I realized this was our last “Muffins with Mom” event and her elementary years are quickly coming to an end.  She is moving on to middle school next year.  In a few short weeks, my baby girl is leaving her fifth grade year behind.  And Clark is moving on to high school, leaving his middle school years behind.  I’m not sure how the years have passed by so quickly, but they have.

I am painfully aware that every day has a potential to be a “last time” day.  I no longer remember the earlier years, the last time that the kids called me Mommy and began calling me Mom, or the last time they rode a tricycle and took off on their bikes.  With each passing day, we have a “last time” moment.  And I am doing everything I can to enjoy each day with my children because I never know when it might be the “last time.” All too soon, my kiddos will no longer want to spent time with us as their friends become more important and they become increasingly more independent.  I love being their mom and I love the young adults that they are becoming.  I just want to savor each day with them, because I know all too soon these days will be a “last time” and they will be on to the next phase of their lives.

 

 

 

The Invasion of Normandy: Epic Battle of World War II by Moira Rose Donohue

The Invasion of Normandy is a fantastic nonfiction text appropriate for upper elementary and middle school readers.  Starting with the first line of the text, “The English Channel was choked with British and US warships,” Donohue shares the story of the invasion of Normandy with great description and word choice, including vivid verbs and sensory details.  The text is written in a way that makes it easy for 5th-8th graders to access the information.  This is the type of nonfiction I look for to share with children.  It is short and focused on the topic and is written in a “kid-friendly” way. You could pair this text with a more traditional, nonfiction text (text books, articles, etc.) about the invasion of Normandy, to give students a full, yet descriptive understanding of the topic.

©2017 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Anything for Professional Development

img_0005I love to learn.  I love to teach, but, I really love to learn.  I think that’s why I’m constantly busy. . . I’m always trying new things, and want to learn new things.  I just completed my Administration and Supervision certification. Boy, did I learn from those classes and my internship!  When I began teaching I had no desire to go into administration.  I still don’t, but I sure did love taking the classes and learning about the many facets of administration.  Anything for professional development.

I tell you this about me, because I may be a little late to the party, but I just recently realized that podcasts are my “new classes.”  Over the course of my drive to and from the gym/school/home, I have listened to all of The Nerdy Bookcast (a part of The Nerdy Bookclub) and all of The Yarn (by librarian Travis Jonker and teacher Colby Sharp). While I’m anxiously awaiting the new seasons of both of these podcasts, I’m listening to the likes of Simon Sinek, Gretchen Rubin, and Daniel Pink.  See. . . constantly learning.  I’m soaking in all they have to offer on my commute each morning and evening.  And.  I.  Love.  It.

I’ve learned about new authors and their books to share with students and teachers at school.  I’ve learned about the inner workings of how a book is put together — the process, the artwork, the editorial pieces, the marketing.  All so interesting to me!  Just this morning, I learned about Gretchen Rubin’s work on habits and how to use habits to create your own happiness.  Hmm. . . Sounds a lot like living with intention to me.

So, as I drive to the gym tomorrow morning, I’m going to continue on this journey I’ve started of discovery both for myself and others.  Because I love to teach, but, I really love to learn.