Celebrating a decade with the love of our life, Hope, today! It is my daughter's tenth birthday so I will keep it short. She even got to be one of the last students to take the FCAT 2.0 Writing test as part of her celebration. Keeping my slice short so that I can enjoy the rest of the evening with her and get in our daily VIRT! (Very Important Reading Time!)
1. Modeling matters! From the hurricane-style that I keep my clothes organized to the way I respond to situations, my daughter sees, my daughters hears, my daughter does. Your students do the same, they are watching you and taking your cues, especially your cues about reading, writing, and learning. Showing vs. telling matters not just in writing! What good books have you shared lately? What well-written lines have you read to them lately? What's something new that you have learned lately and shared with them?
2. Experiences educate! Luckily we have been able to travel to some places with her such as Alaska and Washington and she understands the concept of snow. We have, however, also immersed her in local experiences not limited to Disney and Sea World, but the beaches, the springs, and scalloping to name a few. She has gone to museums, plays, and football games. These experiences build neurons and help her connect the classroom to the real world. My favorite activity is to take freshman to see one of Shakespeare's comedies. I love to sit back and watch them laugh and enjoy Billy Shakes as he was meant to be, on the stage. We can't always take our students on field trips, but we can get them connected to experiences on our campus that they wouldn't ordinary partake by choice. I set that experience up by having students do Independent Study Points, an idea I stole from a teacher a few years ago. One of the band instructors complained about their etiquette, lesson learned, but that is now a mini-lesson I will teach them in class.
3. Work and fun are not necessarily synonymous. One challenge of parenting is pushing your kids to do the necessary work. Sometimes it would be easier to do the work for my daughter, less messy, more quickly completed, but then she wouldn't understand that when work is hard, you have to be tenacious. You have to dig in and complete the task. For students, reading, writing and learning are not always fun, but we have to figure out ways to help our students navigate difficult tasks. It is wonderful though when they figure out how work can be fun, especially when it was something they thought they wouldn't like in the first place.
As a high school teacher, I am fearful of what she might teach me during her middle school years, but have loved every moment so far of her first decade.