If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.

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Moving Up….Big Changes This Year

I am anxiously preparing for the new school year with many changes. I am switching grade levels from teaching 4th/5th Language Arts to teaching Middle School Language Arts. I will have 6th, 7th, and 8th graders throughout the day, and simultaneously, I have taken on the position of the Community of Kindness (COK) Coordinator at our school. I am implementing two major programs this year in relation to the COK. I have created an Advisory Program for our 4th-8th graders. Several teachers and staff have volunteered to advise and mentor small groups of students to support this new initiative. We have strategically placed the students in groups to foster new friendships. We have mixed the age groups to allow for some strong mentoring relationships. I am looking forward to watching this program develop throughout the year. I will continue to post regularly on our progress. I am also implementing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People throughout our school. We will focus on a new habit each month. Each class will engage in a variety of lessons and activities to teach the habits while promoting daily practice.

As I take on these new responsibilities, I feel excitement and trepidation. I have read a variety of professional development books this summer to prepare myself for this new endeavor. Some of the books I read were Choice Words by Peter Johnston, I Read It, but I Don’t Get It: Comprehension Strategies by Cris Tovani, Teacher Under Construction: Things I Wish I’d Known!: A Survival Handbook for New Middle School Teachers by Jerry Parks, In the Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and Learning by Nancie Atwell, Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso, Square Peg: My Story and What It Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers by Todd Rose, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey. Each one of these books gave me valuable insight for teaching kindness and middle school language arts. I highly recommend Square Peg over all of the other books because I gained valuable tools for meeting the needs of each individual child.

I will be posting about the literature we will be reading in MS, as well as, the COK initiative at our school. If you are a MS Language Arts teacher, I would love to connect with you.  Please comment and let me know about your classroom.



Have you heard of EdJEWcon?

Currently, I am attending the EdJEWcon conference at our school, MJGDS. (follow us on twitter #edjewcon) We have educators from all over the world joining us to teach, reflect, and share.  It’s been a fabulous experience so far.  Today, I enjoyed listening to Chris Lehmann, who is the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy. I was completely amazed and inspired by everything he had to say.  His entire philosophy of education is everything I aspire to be.  So far, the highlight of the conference for me was watching seven of my students teach a session called “Speed Geeking,”  modeled after the well known “Speed Dating.” These students volunteered to become the teachers and SHARE different technology tools, answer educators’ questions and showcase their own learning. They each spoke for 5 minutes  before their group moved on to the next “Geek” station.  The educators rotated to all seven stations, and were taught tools that these students use regularly and effectively in school.

edJEWcon Day 1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!-1edJEWcon Day 1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

edJEWcon Day 1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!-3edJEWcon Day 1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!-2

edJEWcon-Day One | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Tomorrow I will be presenting with Mike Fisher on our collaborative efforts to create a book based on some kids’ poems that Mike Fisher wrote.  My students have illustrated the poems, and next, we will be  publishing them,  selling them and creating a marketing plan around our work.  This is authentic learning!  I will be sharing more soon.