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Saving Summer: Creativity and Connections

A big focus and philosophy for the CTE coursework.

What a beautiful summer for learning and growing. School in-service days begin August 28, and school officially begins August 31. Most of my curriculum planning is finished for the Computer Essentials classes.  (I designed it for myself and two other teachers, and am very excited and grateful for this opportunity!) I still have some tweaks and content to create for my one, beautiful, precious ELA 8th grade class, because you know, just can’t quit you, ELA/SS. Just. Can’t. 

Trying to focus, organize, clean up and clean out is tough right now. I can’t stop watching the news: my husband is better at compartmentalizing and I am so grateful for our daily walks. This is one habit I hope to continue throughout the school year, rain or shine. My life and sanity depend on it.

This morning, my husband and younger son begin their journey (yes, with eclipse-approved eye wear and snacks) toward the east, not west, in an attempt for the best viewing of this once-in-a-lifetime event. I am sure I am going to regret not going. But this time to myself is also precious. I had better make the most of it: this post is dedicated to the details, the little things, that I will intentionally give my students next year.

I am definitely going to enhance and continue the Reading Road Trip blog based on the 40-book reading challenge.

Mrs. Love’s Summer Reading

http://nortonliterature.com/post/148403603623/if-you-cant-get-enough-villains-in-your-life

Here are some shared resources:

The “conflict” posters are directly inspired by a Book Riot post.

My Reading RoadTrip sheet:

And continue to look to my PLN for some exquisite ideas:

And thank heavens for Jackie Gernstein, John Spencer, and Philip Cummings:

Intentional Creativity

http://www.spencerauthor.com/genius-hour-reasons/

An idea from Philip Cummings!
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Saving Summer: Real world problems.

My response:

What do I post today?

Do I show an image of Heather Heyer, the young woman who was murdered on Saturday, August 12 in Charlottesville? Do I talk about the boy-man, who allegedly ran her down in the crowd of counter-protesters? Or the initial interview with his mother who had no idea what happened, or who he was?

I look at others media posts: simply trying to live their happy lives, going through transitions and life moments without any of static and noise of this angry, angry world. On one hand, I am envious of their impervious membranes, and on the other, wondering and questioning if they are part of this problem. What would happen if everyone, and I mean everyone, took a moment and denounced our current administration?

Yesterday three men told me I was crazy in different contexts. They are strangers to me.

One question that we conscientious educators consider is trying to engage students in real-world problems. And right now, I am so grateful I don’t teach at a predominately white school. It’s cowardice. To teach in a diverse, global environment, rich in cultures and perspectives, is a blessing. It’s the foundation for my personal love of humanity: we can disagree and discuss, and think of ways to solve issues without the racist baggage of willful ignorance. If you don’t know what I mean, watch the video footage of the mother whose son is accused of plowing his car and murdering Heather, and injuring over a dozen more.

Real world problems? We have many. Putting them in a frame? Harder to do.

Right now the only real-world problem that is most urgent is to understand and mind-map how our government works, how it breaks down, and how we can get things done. How do we name things correctly, and force our politicians to do the same?

As I am creating curriculum with a light touch of student-constructivism, we are all challenged to make sure we intentionally help them come to their own ideas. This is hard but important work. And I am running out of time.

Postscript: Resources

The first thing teachers should do when school starts is talk about hatred in America. Here’s help.

Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism–from Ferguson to Charleston

 

 

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Saving Summer: A dog’s life

This is a picture I took this morning of our dog, Mia:

Mia’s morning routine includes naps on my husband’s chair. His nightly routine is cleaning the hair off of it.

Mia is two years old. We have an older dog, Snickers, who is a mutt, and also very sweet, albeit he is in the old, stinky phase of his years.

If you use Twitter, I highly recommend following @XplodingUnicorn. His tweets about his children are charming and deeply funny. This particular tweet produced many commenters saying yes, dogs do have jobs–Mia herself is a “working” breed, and when we take our walks around the neighborhood we are on patrol–she is calm, focused on us, and very well trained. However, when she’s in the backyard all bets are off, and she does what she wants. In fact, she does what she wants most of the time. She’s having a pretty great life. And here is the thing: the other working dogs are having pretty great lives, too. They are truly engaged, happy, and feel purpose–they want to do their jobs and get the occasional belly rub.

How would you frame this for students? To show that yes, there is work in life, but it can be joyful? We all want this– we can learn a lot from dogs.

Cats– well, we can learn how to not give a darn. There’s time for that, too.