I am finally, legitimately excited about this school year. It took a while because of... well, because of several different things over which I have no control. I got sucked into the whirlpool of negativity, and it took me a little while to get my head on straight and escape.
Besides remembering to let go of the negative, there are a couple of other things that have me riding the WOOO HOOOO train right into the new year. First, I have finally finished unpacking everything. That doesn't mean that my room is all ready for the new year, but it does mean that there are no more boxes stacked everywhere and the clutter is controlled to the table currently in the front of my room. Now that everything is put away, I can get down to the nitty gritty of setting up my room so it will work best for me and my students. Once I get back to school I plan on getting a post with my #10pixtour so you all can see my beautiful new home away from home!
The next thing that has me pumped up is that I revisited my Daily 5 and CAFE books, and I'm starting to think about how I really want to change things up this year. Last year was a great start, but I knew that there are things I wanted to do differently. Because others were still using the more static guided reading groups with questions and assignments, I was trying to do the same. I was happy with how I allowed the students choices for what book we read and was also pleased that my groups were somewhat fluid, but I want to do away with the "busy work" I feel like kids were doing instead of the authentic reading and writing activities. I'm also looking forward to incorporating what I learned about Words Their Way into my Daily 5 work as well. After messing with my schedule I think I may have come up with a schedule that will work really well with all of my plans. I'll share more about the schedule if it gets the thumbs up from my 3 teammates. :)
The latest spark of excitement bubbled up the last two days as I was reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. Three is my magic number so when two of my Super Twitter Peeps and one of my friends all mentioned this book within 48 hours of each other, I knew it was something I needed to check out. It confirmed my desire to do more with students' choices and their independent reading that I was pulling from Daily 5, and it gave me the idea for the schedule that I talked about above.
You'll probably think I'm going to say that the most important thing I learned from this book is that kids need to be reading, but that's not it. The most important thing I'm taking away is the reminder that while I can use other people's frameworks in my classroom, I need to make it my own, and THAT is what has me so excited. I've been so worried about squandering my opportunity to start fresh by "doing something wrong" that I totally missed the fact that that's impossible. I may do things that don't work quite as I'd hoped. But this is my classroom and I can't "do something wrong" as long as I'm doing right by the kids and teach what's in the curriculum.
So I'm on my mark. There's lot's to do to get ready for the new school year, but I'm ready for what lies ahead.