Thursday, June 28, 2018

Inspector Flytrap

Inspector Flytrap by husband and wife duo Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell grabbed my attention right away with their front cover.  I wanted to know more about a skateboarding, tie wearing, magnifying glass holding, big mouthed venus flytrap.  I love plants.  I know the venus flytrap has interesting eating habits.  I was intrigued.

I began browsing the book and found out there are four parts and after reading the book I would call these adventures; four separate stories within the book.  Perfect for early readers who need support with stamina and comprehending longer stories.   I enjoyed the illustration support within the stories and the color hues of gray and green.  While reflecting about my reading I discovered the illustration color choice helped me focus on the text more as a reader.  I wonder if it does for students?  Something for us to explore as readers next year.

Inspector Flytrap is a fussy detective.  He only likes to solve BIG DEAL mysteries and can turn some mysteries away if they don't meet that criteria.  His assistant is Nina the Goat.  She helps him travel, think, and sometimes eats clues.  She even ate the phone that brings them their cases.    As I was reading, I started to predict the trouble she could get into and laughed as she caused problems while they worked on a case.  Nina the Goat requires patience and close supervision.  The dialogue between these two characters will make readers smile and giggle.  

Monday, June 18, 2018

No More Culturally Irrelevant Teaching {Professional Read}

I knew I wanted to start my summer professional reading with global ideas and No More Culturally Irrelevant Teaching by Mariana South-Manning and co-authors was the perfect match for my reading goal.  I love the organization of the not this but that series by Heinemann.  They describe and identify the problem, then describe why current things aren't working, and finish with suggestions to support change.  I found myself thinking about stereotypes, surface cultural understandings, along with mirrors and doors.   I also found myself reflecting on what it means to truly understand cultures that are different than mine and pondering ways to help my own mindset and bring an awareness of the cultures within our classroom community.

These are nudges I found to try within my own work.

- explore our identities as we start the school year together in the first month
- create a class book to share the history of our names
- have the students share cultural artifacts and listen to their stories
- explore and find culturally relevant text from sources sited on p73 
- learn and talk with families about their cultures more

Here are some quotes that are sticking with me and might interest you in looking at this book more.

"Becoming "culturally competent" takes time and requires us to position ourselves as learners."

"...what they think qualifies as culturally relevant may in fact be perpetuating certain stereotypes."

"After all, culturally relevant teaching requires us to see teaching for justice as an ethical imperative we must take on and not just something we do."

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Seasons, Instagram, and Hope

There are seasons in life.  Sometimes you have to take a break, put things on hold, reprioritze and hope there will be a time and place to return with things that we do.  I just finished a season where I had to put this space on pause.  This space has been a wonderful chance for me to share things I enjoy; books, my own learning related to teaching and sometimes things I try.  It's also a space where I've connected with others and began friendships.  I'm happy to share the seasons have changed and I'll be sharing again.  I appreciate and hope you'll keep stopping by to learn along with me and join the conversation.  I enjoy a little help from my friends.

As I thought about returning to this space and the different functions of social media, I'm excited to share I've launched an Enjoy Embrace Learning Instagram account.  I often find I want to share images from my room without a lot of text.  I love Twitter but feel the purpose here for me is to connect with others about professional connect I'm sharing or reaching out to others for guidance.  With Instagram, I can collect ideas to revisit and share with you at the same time.  For example, I shared images for how I'm changing my Back to School Ice Cream Social which is really come see your room and new teacher.  If I forget my thinking today in June, I know I can scan my Instagram for help.  

You'll notice there's a new feature on the right here where you can see a small collection of my Instagram images and with just a click you can see the text for further information and images.  My One Little Word this year is hope.  I hope you'll follow my journey again and thank you for understanding seasons need to happen.

Seasons and Summer {Celebrate This Week}

This week I'm celebrating "summer - a time to do things in a different way."  This definition of summer is not my own.  It was in a podcast by Nancy Jane Smith at Happiness Hacks last month and stuck with me.  There are seasons in life.  I wanted to ease into doing summer differently and my family thought differently.  So, 36 hours after school ended we were on vacation doing life differently.  I started thinking about blogging and decided to rest a bit more.  A few months ago I had to take a break, put things on hold, re-prioritze and I hoped there will be a time and place to return.  It's here!  This space is where I write and go public.  This space is where I join communities and hope for feedback to grow as a writer.  This space is low-stakes writing; no editor, no money attached, no deadlines.  I've missed this space that has become a spot to make friends and keep connecting with others who also give writing a try.  Thank you for your support during my different seasons.

Thank you Ruth at Ruth Ayers Writes for encouraging us to find daily celebrations in our lives.