i'm actually ready to go back...

I admit it: I'm ready to go back.
I know that is not a cool thing for teachers to say at the end of the summer. Understand, this is my purpose. This is what I do. Don't get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer short term jobs, hobbies, and vacations. Yet, 2 1/2 months later, I'm ready to get back into doign what I am called to do. I'm ready to make a difference and have an impact on young minds. *Granted, I will need to reread this in about 3 months as a reminder when all the other stuff from an unnamed school system starts to crawl under my skin! :) For now, I'll keep my smile on and my wheels turnin'!!! Here we go!

This year, I'm trying some different concepts in my classroom. In college, I learned the most valuable lesson: All phenomenal teachers borrow & steal! That's right, all good teachers you see borrow their best ideas from other teachers. I personally like to borrow, steal, and then modify. I have been exposed to some of the greatest this summer and will be stealing a lot from them. :)

The 1st teacher I'm stealing from is Rafe Esquith: "Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire" He's a 5th grade teacher in inner city LA and is amazing. There are things this man does that I don't think I will ever have the time or creativity to make happen, he really does it all!!! Teachers, read this book. It will inspire you to do more.

My 2nd teacher I already stole from is Beth Newingham. She is a Scholastic spotlight teacher and has several blogs. She thinks of everything!! She is extremely organized and has a chart and graph for everything. Great emphasis on reader's workshop and assessment. These are the 2 areas I want to refine in my classroom. You can print out a lot of her resources by searching her name.

So I have taken and combined some of the things I stole to implement in my room this year. (**Disclaimer: These are not my ideas or resources! That's why they're so great! )

- Moral Development

This explains why people do what they do. This is great for kids, teenagers, adults, anyone. It makes complete sense. It is from Lawrence Kohlberg and there are 6 levels. I'm going to review this concept in depth with my kids the first week of school, then revisit it constantly. You want students to achieve "Level VI" thinking where people have a "personal code of behavior and follow it." You don't want students to do something because you said so, because it's the rule, or even to please someone else. Essentially you want to model and shape quality members of society. Ah, genius.

- A classroom economic system

Both Rafe & Beth have excellent economic systems in their rooms. I want to use Rafe's "debit" system where students earn a paycheck for completing their job in the room on a monthly basis. Beth has a great table for tallying debits each week to be kept in a notebook. Rafe has students "rent" their desks and pay rent monthly. Some students are able to save money and "purchase" their own desk, along with other students' desks and collect rent. What a great way to teach kids about home ownership? It makes sense and is incredibly practical. I'm hoping I can do justice to this system and make it work for us.

- Field trippin!

Rafe is all about elaborate field trips for many reasons. Our students take a big trip at the end of the year every year, but I've always wanted to do something different and practical, I just never knew what before. Rafe suggests inviting students to meet at the school voluntarily on a weekend and teaching them how to navigate with public transportation to nearby libraries and museums. Once there, teach them what to do and how to act respectfully. This is perfect for my students. They now have a lifelong skill and a new activity for their boring weekends.

Those are my 3 goals to put in to what I am already doing. I'm hoping they will be successful, and if not, I'll change, modify, and find something else that is productive & effective! I have a feeling the '10-'11 school year is going to be a great one!