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Showing posts from June, 2015

Learning By Doing

I have spent the last two weeks dwelling in lofty ideas. I attended a TEDx event, read educational books and blogs, had lively conversations about ideas with teacher friends and debriefed with my own children about their academic year. It was great! Relaxing, engaging and really fun.

Tomorrow, I have to go to work. Not the "lofty idea" type of work, either. The "all day, it is really hot, helping kids be successful and supporting other teachers" type of work that is Summer Spark. This is my second year running Summer Spark. I learned a great deal and had a wonderful time last summer. Reflecting on last summer's successes and challenges has been a fun endeavor which was heavily peppered with lofty ideas.

Lofty ideas typically inspire change, and so some of the things we did last summer needed to be altered or removed and replaced with something new. This, of course, meant work - evaluating last year, synthesizing new ideas, adapting them to meet our needs. It w…

Adapt, Migrate or Perish

I had a biology teacher in high school named Ms. Zak. She was tall, strict and austere. I remember being a little afraid of her. If she disapproved of what you said, she would say, "Oh, really?" in a way the conveyed disbelief not only in the answer, but in the thinking behind it.

She knew how to keep a class in line, but she also knew her stuff. I learned a lot from Ms. Zak, most of which I still remember (although, I never was able to locate the heart in the crayfish dissection. "Maybe it didn't have one," I said to Ms. Zak. "Oh, really?," she replied.)

Ms. Zak had a large sign on her wall above the chalkboard that said ADP. And she would often remind us that ADP applied not only in nature, but in her classroom. Adapt. Migrate. Perish. She would point it out in nature all the time. If a student was unprepared for class, she would point to the sign and say, "You must adapt to our guidelines, migrate out of this class or you shall perish."

I…

Making Time for Reflection

The last two months of school have been grueling. There were assessments to be finished, activities to be planned, trips to be taken, graduations to be rehearsed and meetings to be attended. On top of that, there were unexpected crises to be managed - like when the bus driver got lost on the way home from our trip or when the computer we needed for that one project crashed.

Another factor in all the mayhem were all the good-byes. Watching all my students graduate or leave is always hard. This year, I had to add our Head of School (who is also a very dear friend) to the list of "graduates." Both of my children graduated this year and are transitioning to new schools, which means saying good by to all of the teachers, bus drivers, administrators and secretaries we love.

All of the excitement and change happened in the blink of an eye. It seems like just last week we were returning from Spring Break and now, all of a sudden, it is over. How does that happen?

These last two days…