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The Best Part of Me

I’m a teacher and I use Pinterest. There, I said it. I feel like maybe there’s a 12 step program somewhere in my future, because there are times when I spend hours on that site, mostly pinning teaching ideas. It’s not that I don’t have any of my own, it’s just that there are so many good ones out there to borrow!

One that I found and liked was a writing activity that asks kids to think deeply about the best “part” of themselves. They literally write about a body part, but I wanted my young writers to go beyond the surface.

To me it’s not enough to say, “I like my eyes. They allow me to see and they’re a pretty color.” Maybe for a young child that would be fine, but these kids are eight to thirteen years old, and so bright. They are capable of so much more.

I asked them to think about why they chose that particular part. What does it do for them? How does it make them feel? Does it affect their relationships with others? Does it matter what others think about it? I wanted them to really reflect.

Then I invited each student over for a photo of their selected part, to go along with the writing. Above are a few of the parts they chose. Their reasons are wonderful.

Have you ever thought about your best part? What is it, and why?

 

 


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First Day Jitters, Again

kid writing.jpg

It happens every time. Tomorrow I start writing camp with a new group of kids, and I’ve got the jitters.

I’m prepared. My day is all mapped out, my cart is full of the necessary supplies, and today I toured the site, so I would know just where to go and how to get there. Seriously, I’m ready.

I’ve reviewed the roster, sent out a welcome email, and planned activities that I think will be both fun and enriching for my young writers. I’m bringing my A game. So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that every time I work with a new group of kids I get this way. I’m not afraid of them. I’m not afraid that I won’t know what to do with them. It isn’t fear at all. Anxiety is more like it. I suppose it’s more excitement than anything else.

I’m excited to get to know them. I’m excited to try out some new things. I’m excited to see what they can and will do. I’m excited for it all, and it all starts tomorrow.

I know it’s going to be great, now if I can just calm down enough to get a good night’s sleep I’ll be set.


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Online Learning and Procrastination

51zS47EOayL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgMy son and I are both taking online courses at the moment. His is an intense, college level math course. Mine is a self-paced book study for professional development credits. We both tend to be procrastinators. Here’s what’s happening.

My course was supposed to start during my Spring Break, back in March, but the questions weren’t ready. I thought I would read the book, answer a few questions, and be done. Not so.

I read the book (The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion), and frankly enjoyed it, but still the questions weren’t available. I read it as a digital library loan, and others were waiting for it, so naturally I had to return it. Well, then the questions were posted. By this time I was back to school, and my time was far more limited. Still, I read through the questions and was shocked to find that there were 22 of them! Oh, and some of the questions required additional reading. Hey, wait a minute… nobody said anything about that at the beginning of the book study!

I ordered a copy of the book because there was no way I could answer the questions without a paper copy of it in front of me for reference. I got the book, put it in an easily noticeable spot, and carried on with my life, forgetting all about the book study.

Fortunately for me, the moderator sent out an email not too long ago reminding everyone that the book study was wrapping up at the end of May. Yikes!

Okay, I told myself, you have the last week of May off. School is out and summer work hasn’t begun. You can do this!

Well, so far so good. Last night I stayed up until almost 3 am answering questions that I could easily recall and find support for in the text. Those requiring more careful rereading and reading additional texts are still awaiting my responses. I’m about a third of the way done, and I’m sure I’ll complete it in time. At least that’s what I say now.

Deep down, however, I know I’m a procrastinator. I know that I’ll probably get down to the wire on this one. And I’ll probably scold myself for it, too.  Sad, but true.

Anyway, I’m a fan of online learning for the flexibility it allows, but it worries me because it allows you to put off your work until you’re in a position where it’s do or die. Those deadlines come and go, and if your work isn’t submitted, too bad.

My son, fortunately, seems to have figured this out more quickly than I have. He’s really surprised me. Every day he takes over my desk with his computer and his math book and he does his work. I sometimes wonder if this is really the same kid who never seemed to do homework in high school (but really, he did, I swear it). I can’t complain, whatever he’s doing is working, so I should probably change my ways and try to be more like him.

It seems that the student has become the teacher. I’m okay with that, I really am.