Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bringing Back The Three P's: Passion, Planning, Perseverance

Today, I made a decision. The Dreaming and Achieving Unit starts today! My students need to find their passions. They need to plan. They need to persevere. Over the last several days, I've gotten a little depressed, because all I see in my classrooms is blank stares and answers like, "I dunno." What is a passionate teacher to do?!?

Well, the only thing I can think of is to pass the fundamentals and get to the heart. Middle grades students love themselves. They love, usually, to write and discuss about their hopes and dreams. If they don't then, in my class, they are about to. It's time to wake up, boys and girls!

Today, they took a quick quiz on prefixes, they read their novels, but then I decided to bring out my Rudy Ruettigar/Homer Hickam lesson. I always find that my lower leveled readers find a spark in this unit. They wrote two paragraphs telling me their passions and how they're going to achieve them. I will read them all tonight--I must-- and respond to their dreams. They must see that I care about each of them. They must understand how reading and writing is important, but none of that will happen if I don't reach their hearts.

This matters to me. The spark of learning and imagination matters to me. Dreams and achievements matter to me. I didn't become a teacher to settle. I must be me! This begins tonight!

Tomorrow, we will study Patricia Polloco and Avi. I will get to the Coweta library with my children and check out as many books as I can by these authors tonight.

My students will know that reading and writing well is not some magical gift, but a craft that can be learned and done well despite disabilities.

That is my soapbox/revelation today. But, sometimes we need to slap ourselves to remember where we are going.

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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