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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Feeding my mind

This was a plaque in my aunt's office. It is a quote be Eleanore Roosevelt.
I am currently participating in three different book clubs. The first book is Essential Questions: Opening Doors to student Understanding by McTighe and G. Wiggins. It's required reading for the department chairs. I find it invigorating and am potentially upending my classroom practice. By the end of this week, after reading the first 4 chapters (way beyond what I was supposed to read), I will do a "mid semester" portfolio review in my classes and have the students (possibly working in pairs) look over all the work they have done so far and see if it aligns itself to their grades. I want them to ask themselves what they know and then...what they need to know. I see great potential for conversation and inquiry... above all: Do the students see  relevance in what they are learning? I am scared of the answer, but if I do not ask it, I will lose an opportunity to do better.
The second book I am reading is with a core of teachers who meet every two weeks after school. It is called Building (A+) Better Teacher by E. Green. So far, by chapter 4, I am impressed with the amount of reflection the teachers in the book are capable of. They take prodigious notes and even video tape their classes to review each night. they pair up with mentors and invite peers to not only sit in on the classes, but to take notes and give feedback! What is stopping us from doing such a thing... I believe it is lack of time or energy. We feel stretched thin with our workload and the extras... And really...would we feel comfortable with having our class videotaped or getting and giving real focused peer feedback? Why or why not? The third book is Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by S. Sandberg. There has been a lot of hoopla about this feminist. I am not sure what the message truly is about because I haven't started reading it yet- but I am excited about a whole other group of colleagues meeting to discuss it. It's all fodder for professional development. I am blessed to have a school as invested in our intellectual curiosity as it is. I pray I can stay above the prattle of in-school gossip.

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