"Even days that are well-planned are filled with unexpected happenings."
I was reading the book Kids Deserve It...for probably the 3rd time...and wanted to think about and write about some of the chapters. Today I want to start with chapter 1; I love how Adam and Todd jumped right in and challenged educators to break out of their comfort zones right from the start. The title of the first chapter is "Go Big, Be Creative!" And in that short first chapter, Todd shares a story of how he totally transformed his classroom and created an "emotional experience" for his students. He taught the standards but he did it in a way that students would never forget, and he created an environment that they would want to keep running back to.
He tapped into his creative side and transformed his classroom into an operating room. Did this take a lot of planning and preparation? I'm sure it did. Could things have gone wrong and not been how he planned it? Absolutely. But he chose to take a chance and capitalize on the idea of the unexpected. His students never would have expected that experience to happen that day. But he went for it. He went big. He creatively planned an experience that was unlike any other lesson. He didn't let the voice in his head which sometimes tells us it's not possible or there's not enough time or it won't work...he didn't let that voice take over. He ignored the voice and went for it.
Since becoming a principal, I have certainly learned that my job is full of the unexpected. I have learned to try to live by my calendar, but every day, no matter how I planned and scheduled and mapped out my day, there's always something unexpected that happens. Personally, that's why I love my job so much. I don't know what to expect. I do know to expect the unexpected. Sometimes the unexpected makes me have to use my brain and struggle. Sometimes the unexpected makes me stop, laugh and live in the moment. Sometimes the unexpected challenges me. Sometimes the unexpected wears me out. And sometimes the unexpected lifts me up.
All of those emotions, all of those experiences, make me a better educator and a better person. Isn't that what we want to do for all of our students? Don't we want to transform all of those little humans in our care into better learners, better future leaders? Don't we want to give them these emotional experiences that will cause them to leave us each day as changed individuals? At the end of each chapter in the Kids Deserve It book, they ask us to consider some things. So now I will ask you:
How can you "go big" in your classroom? How can you embrace the unexpected and create some emotional experiences for our students? Have a crazy idea that you have been thinking of but you have been afraid to try?
What's stopping you?
I just added the book The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed to my Audible download list. I'm looking forward to listening to this book and discussing with other educators in our school who are also reading it. I also spent some time checking out Jessica Lahey's website. She has some good blog posts and you can see a sample of her speaking about The Gift of Failure on some video clips. If you get a chance, check out her site: http://www.jessicalahey.com/#home-section
I just got a recommendation for a picture book that I need to order, don't have it yet but will be adding it to my cart! Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners looks like a good one for me to read to classes. Anyone have this in their library?
Events this week:
Monday - Author Jeff Kinney visiting with 3rd and 4th graders in the PAC, 11:00-11:45
Tuesday - 4th grade cafeteria/hallway lesson @ 9:30
Wednesday - 3rd grade cafeteria/hallway lesson @ 9:30, School Committee Member Brian LeBlanc visits FloRo @ 10:45, Grade 4 chorus in the music room 2:20-3:00, Curriculum Night K-2 parents from 6:00-7:00, 3rd-4th parents from 7:00-8:00
Thursday - 2nd grade cafeteria/hallway lesson @ 9:30
Friday - District half day, 12:15 dismissal, no lunch served, SST Planning Meeting @ 8:30, 1st grade cafeteria/hallway lesson @ 9:30, Student Council applications due, Book Fair set up/Teacher preview, Multi-part series meetings and committee meetings in the afternoon
Great things I noticed last week:
- I had fun playing with these 3rd graders during recess time!
- I was very sorry that I missed this event in the library this week, but I am hoping to catch it with one of the 2nd grade classes during the upcoming week! A book tasting, how awesome! Students got to rotate around a table and "sample" each book and then rate them on how interesting they looked. And a bonus...Ann Simeone, our awesome library para, tweeted about the event! Thanks for helping tell our school story Ann.
- I happened to pop into half day K one afternoon and was able to practice the Lively Letters with them...we were working on the 'P' and 'B' sounds.
- Unfortunately, I did not get a photo but I did enjoy going into the 4th grade classrooms and talking to them about Student Council. The students had great questions about the application process and about serving on the council. I'm looking forward to all of the ways that Student Council will help make FloRo even better this year!
- I saw staff and students out and about on Saturday at the Joseph Middlemiss Superhero/RocknRoll run and walk and then also at Grotonfest. It was a hot but beautiful day to be outside!
Check it out:
In preparation for Curriculum Night, this post will most certainly make you laugh out loud: https://www.weareteachers.com/11-things-that-would-make-back-to-school-night-100-times-better/
Now that you have had a good laugh, here are some resources to read over and consider flipping curriculum night. Since it is already happening on Wednesday, maybe consider recording videos or using Flipgrid to send info home after the night of information. A lot is covered that night and parents might appreciate having something that they can go back and watch on their own time. I am going to be sending out some sort of video after the evening because I know parents will forget what I share during the 1st 15 minutes of Curriculum Night. Let me know if you are thinking of trying a new way to share info with parents.