Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Slice #2 Dive In

Yep...I'm already behind on the SOLSC.  That's okay! Not giving up!

Carving out time to read.

It’s important for everyone. That’s why I carve out 20 minutes a day for my students to read, and that time is protected. When they’re at home, they are susceptible to the lure of technology. In my class, they are free from that. We call it “Dive In”. When they hear the Yo Yo Ma cd, they know it’s Dive In time. They grab their books and jump in. Hearing the “yes!” when it’s a Dive In day is justification enough that it is 20 minutes well spent. I know that if they get into their books in the 20 minutes we read in class, more likely than not, we’ll be stopping in the middle of a good part that will just make them beg for more time. After that, I know that chances are they’re more likely to reach for that book when they get home. Who wouldn’t?

As often as I can, I read with my students. I do this for many reasons. One: It’s important for students to see the adults in their lives model a reading life. Two: When I’m not shuffling papers, talking to another student, or focused on another organization activity, the class is more focused on their reading. We are like one, zoned-in reading organism. Three: I get to read! In order to keep up with my most voracious readers, I need some time to get through my stack of books as well!

Sometimes, the 20 minutes starts or ends with me talking about what I’m currently reading, what I’m excited about reading next, or new books that are available in my classroom library. I’ll even share with students that sometimes I’m reading multiple books at a time. I’m usually reading a young adult book, an adult book of interest, a professional development book, and even a staff book club pick. Some of my students can’t even believe I can read more than ONE book at a time.

On that note, I’ll sign off by sharing what I’m currently reading!

Young Adult: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (sequel to Delirium)

Adult: I Do, Now What? By Bill & Giuliana Rancic and Nemesis by Jo Nesbo

Professional Development: Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher

Staff Book Club: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

I hope you find time to Dive In soon!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Slice #1

And then there was one.

The last car in the parking lot. The last to click off the light switch. The lonely click-click-click of heels on tile. When you’re the last teacher in the building — when even the administrators have thrown in the towel — a school can be a very lonely place.

The copy machine groans as it’s turned back on. I should be sleeping, it’s thinking. (Ditto, I think.) It develops a strange moaning sound as it spits out the handouts for my presentation. Does it always make this noise? In retaliation, it leaves a single black line going across every page and runs out of staples at packet 100 of 200. That’s ok, I think. I love hand-stapling. I welcome the karma that comes to me for procrastinating on this project.

I pack up my cart, and it’s not until I’m on my way out, walking down the long empty hallway, a janitor’s supply cart peeking around the corner, that I realize the organism that IS a middle school when all the students and teachers are there. How bereft of life it becomes when we all leave and only a few rows of lights still glow, casting shadows from locker banks. Though it’s impossible to find a moment of solace from 8 to 3, when you have it like I did tonight, it’s nothing to relish. It leaves me feeling uneasy. Unsettled.

I’ll take the hustle and bustle. The whirlwind of adolescent turmoil and glee. The half-eaten lunches and snippets of teacher gossip and complaints. (Hmm..I could probably do without the latter.)

I guess I learned two lessons tonight: stop procrastinating for goodness sake, but most importantly, accept that the chaos — well, it just feels right.