I want to reuse the meme from last week, because it seems so fitting for what we are still doing. But just for the sake of variety, here's a new one...
I know... right? But seriously, what if it did? What if the things you are learning actually pertained to the rest of your life? Would you believe me if I said they did?
I was skeptical when I was younger. I didn't feel like school was for me. I thought that my teachers didn't like me or any of my friend--being the skateboarder, there were a lot of stereotypes that people thought that I fell in to. But school, the work at least, was easy for me. And I think because of all this, it felt like just another hoop to jump through. I was picked on, there were too many rules, and I just wanted to disappear into my music and hoodie and go about my day. But I wasn't allowed to. I was told, continuously, to take off my hood, to quit asking questions... to just do as I'm told.
Except... there was one teacher--just one that I can remember--who challenged me to think a bit more deeply. I was taught to keep asking those questions, and to then begin seeking answers. We learned about the world around us through the literature we read and analyzed. We could begin to see what these characters thought and felt, we saw perspective. We challenged each other, fought for what we thought was right, and felt like we could make change. And I began to see school a little differently.
I found that learning things for the sake of learning them made me feel... good! Beginning to share my perspective--a perspective that I felt before to be completely unheard--felt so empowering.
I've come to a conclusion: if I can reach students in the same way my former Language Arts teacher reached me, then school is worth it. I can make school worth it.
So, I don't blame you if you don't like school right now, if you get bored, or tired of the work, or just can't wait to get out of there; I felt the same before in my life. But please know, that no matter what I say or do, I am always fighting for you. I am always going to work my hardest to reach you where you are, to help lift you above where you think you are, and help you reach heights you never knew you were capable of. That's why I teach. And that's why I am here at a place I thought I couldn't wait to leave. For you.
Let's Change the World!!!
I thought this was a good image to share with you as we begin our journey with the novel Esperanza Rising. I will for sure give you a framework of which to begin your understanding, but I really want you to be the ones who find out what is important in a story. We will focus on plot structure, on symbolism, on metaphor, on character, on Esperanza's transformation, but what that means, the impact that it has, the message it leaves, that's up to you.
We started out this story with an emphasis on character and plot, but as we progress, as we begin our literature circle discussions, what we discuss, what we deem most important, is completely up to you. When I hand over the teaching to you, you get more out of it. So, get ready to not only learn, but also to teach.
Thanks for the awesome time this week. I am so very excited to get deeper into this novel and to watch all of you learn and transform right alongside Esperanza.
We made it through week two, and we are really getting into the content now. We explored our first story out of the Collections textbook, "Rogue Wave" and are ready to apply our understanding of plot and character as this story has shown us. I was planning on having us get to work on our first poster discussion on Friday, but decided to take a detour into Google Classroom instead. This will be an app we use regularly. We will be not only turning in our work, but also going here for assignments. You'll see more of this by Friday!
We have been working hard on essential questions, and that work has been paying off. We are already starting to ask those questions that go beyond the text, which will help us when we start our poster discussions. It's important to understand what makes a question essential when we start conversations; these third level questions keep conversations going!
Next week we should be starting our first novel of the year, Esperanza Rising, and I am super excited to be teaching you this metaphor packed extravaganza. We will continue to work on theme, creating those essential questions, and exploring various literary devices. I'm also super excited about this because I didn't find time last year to teach a novel. We will get to explore this new text and what we can learn from it together.
Welcome to my blog about our weeks together. I'm just going to wrap up what we worked on, where we're headed, trends I've noticed, and maybe offer my musings for the week. So, here it goes...
The first week is always so, so busy! We got to know each other through our randomizer cards (still trying to get through all of them). We were introduced to a regular component of our class called Writing Practice. And now we are about to establish some classroom norms that we can all agree to. We need to make this first week count, because this is the week of which the rest of our year is determined.
I've heard this phrase recently regarding how we learn, and grow, and accomplish things in life. It goes like this, "Everything that I have accomplished is because I stand on the shoulders of giants."
Now, I am paraphrasing this particular saying, but I think I have the message fairly clear, despite my muddy memory. The message is that nothing we accomplish is done on our own. Any new technologies, philosophies, or ideas are born of the discoveries and achievements of those before us. We receive this work, absorb it, and from it create new things that would otherwise be impossible to even imagine.
And that is where we begin, with this foundation of community built in the first week of school. With this work, this community, this collaboration, we can accomplish any goal we set before us.
So, here is to a great week, and the great year to come. I hope you all are ready to change the world!
This is where you can check and see a brief overview of what we have done as a class each week. My intention is to keep this up to date with happenings, assignments, trends, previews of the following week, and anything else that needs to be shared with my students and their families. I may not always get something written each week, but I will do my best to be disciplined in keeping you informed.