As the school year screeched to a halt, I spent the last few days teaching drawing lessons, packing up the room, as finishing up paperwork. The year invariably ends abruptly and I am never quite ready. However, I like the thought of beginning fresh each year.
The bittersweet part about the conclusion of the school year is letting go of the sixth graders. I wish I could keep them a few more years. Last year's 6th graders have been my students for three years. They changed so much in those few years and I am a different person because of their influence on my life.
It is funny how much we are affected by the people with whom we choose to spend our days. My mother told me, "You are known by the company you keep." It has truly taken me decades to understand what she meant. I think it is important to spend our time with people who inspire you, believe in your dreams, recognize your weaknesses, and encourage you to be good and true. I also believe this pertains to the books we read, movies we watch, and music we listen to.
As I endeavored to pass my mother's wisdom to my students. I hope they will have happy recollections as they look back on their days in my class. The sixth graders have given me indelible memories that make me smile.
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." Marcel Proust (Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com.)
Everyone makes mistakes. Some people persevere and other people give up when they encounter failure. According to Torrance (1995), the capacity to persevere is one of the most critical components of creativity. It is also one of the most important indicators of success. Torrance (1995) also said that creativity may be a more accurate indicator of later achievement than intelligence. This short video shows the importance of making the most of mistakes. Enjoy Barney Saltzberg's book, Beautiful Oops.
When I was a little girl, my family moved every few years. I lived in Illinois, California, Arizona, Libya, Texas, Washington D.C. Libya (again), Maryland, Virginia, and Iran. By the time I graduated from high school, I had attended eight different schools. For a dreamy introverted child, this made it very difficult to make friends. My mother, an extrovert, made it easier. She made friends easily and enjoyed entertaining, so she often made sure I had friends soon after we moved to a new place. As a child, I cannot say I appreciated the rewards of her friendly nature.
When I was nine, we moved to a small subdivision in Maryland. There was a club house with a place for children to play. My mother decided it was time for me to make some friends, so she went to the club house and gathered up a few children and brought them home. When I looked out our kitchen window and saw her coming up the long driveway, I was mortified. Now I look back and realize her friendly, vibrant personality made our home a fun and happy place to live.
I look back at those halcyon days and realize that personality plays a huge role in how we perceive, feel about, and react to things that happen in our lives. As a teacher, I think it is important to understand the personalities of the children I teach. The dreamer sitting in the corner of the room may tune out all that is happening around the room. The child who talks nonstop may need the interaction to solidify what he or she learns. Please click on the link below to take the personality quiz; additionally, after you have determined your personality type, I hope you will look up your personality type. For example, if you are an INFP, do a google search "INFP personality type". You will be surprised!
Jennifer, a fellow gifted teacher from South Alabama shared a website called Tagxedo. On this site, you can type in all the words related to a topic to create a word cloud. I created one for my class. When you make a Tagxedo, you can write about all the things that are important to you. The funny thing I realized was, the more I wrote, the more I thought of words to add. Don't be surprised if I revise my Tagxedo a few times. Try it… it's fun!
I recently read about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He is a college professor at Claremont Graduate University. He came to America when he was 22 after living through the horrors of losing his childhood home during World War II. He has written many books about creativity, engagement, interest, and quality of life.
He once said: “If you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.”
This sounds like something I have told my students for years. There is a cure for boredom. The cure is curiosity; however, there is no cure for curiosity. So become curious about the things required for school. The more you learn, the more you want to know; and the more you know, the more you will realize you have much more to learn. Curiosity creates a spiral of engagement, interest, and creativity. How cool it that?
You might find Csikszentmihalyi an interesting person to study. I hope you will look at his books and some of his quotes.
I recently read the quote, "Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder." On Monday, the ABC 3rd grade students will begin their four years of "adventures". I hope they will experience the "wonder" of developing thinking skills and creativity.
When I was a little girl, I enjoyed my mother's garden. Since we lived on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, she grew lovely flowers. The leaves and petals of the flowers filled our lives with a variety of colors. I recall asking my mother why so many of the petals felt like my favorite blanket.
What do you wonder?
ABC Open House - Thursday, August 15th at 4:30
ABC Open House will occur thirty minutes prior to the time provided for you to visit your child's general education classroom. I hope you will come see the ABC classroom and hear about plans for this year.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions you would like answered during Open House.
As we slide into the end of the school year, it seems that the last days speed up considerably. As I begin to welcome my new 2nd grade students and their parents, I begin to release my precious 6th graders. How can I possibly let go of these students who have made such a profound difference in my life. They charm me with their wit and precociousness, amaze me with their intuition and talents, and challenge me with their high expectations and energy. They have certainly enriched my life.
Now after two years of spending one day each week with the 6th graders, we have shared memories to hang on to. They know me very well, they know how to make me smile (and frown). As our busy last days of school pull them, and me, in many directions, some of them even choose to spend their extra time in my room. They have helped pack up the memories, make a scrapbook, and clean a well used classroom. I feel guilty taking them from their teachers when I know they are also feeling the tug of letting them go.
Tomorrow we will honor them and then they are moving on to their next school. I hope they will remember our morning discussions, puzzles, mindbenders, the fish test, clay fish, RAFT activity, SET puzzle, Dauphin Island, Wonderworks, kites, rockets, independent study, artwork, bridges, marshmallow skyscrapers, and all the many things that made our days so busy. Most of all, I hope they remember that I truly loved and liked them.
This week we discussed the latin phrase "Ad Hominem". The students in my classes often amaze me; however, I also have respect for them. One third grader demonstrated knowledge and critical thinking when we discussed this phrase, ad hominem.
The Latin phrase simply means, "to the man". In more precise terms, it means an "argument against the person". It is not when a person makes a case against the ideas the person is presenting. Many times political advertisements and speeches reflect emotional reactions to the other candidate rather than presenting a coherent evaluation of the issues. People voting for a person based on their feelings, sometimes make uninformed choices. Ad hominem appeals, made by candidates, effectively persuade people who do not think critically.
I challenged my students to listen to the political candidates. I hope they will begin to notice the difference in appeals made ad hominem and those rationally presenting sound ideas based on reliable information.
Listen to claims made by candidates... are they stating reliable information or are they expressing ideas ad hominem?
This magnified picture shows the fine details of the the shaft and barbs on a feather. I took the picture with a "Pro-Scope". This amazing device hooks up to the computer and takes pictures in 50x magnification. I received it at a science workshop I attended. The wonderful part is that I get to keep the Pro-Scope for my classroom. Click on the picture to see some of the other images I have generated with this new tool (toy). You will be amazed.
Pearls take time to form; likewise, our words should be chosen carefully and with thought.