Friday, May 6, 2016

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G

I am one of those *ahem* strange people who teach, write, sing, compose.... in their sleep. I wake up at 2:00 AM with songs, lessons, and blog posts in my head. Such was my night last night, and, as often happens on these nights, I can't get back to sleep because I keep thinking about it. And then if I don't write it down or use my phone to record me singing the song I "wake" up after falling back to sleep at 5:30 having forgotten what the heck it was that was such a great idea it woke me up at 2 AM! 
Alas, my idea came back to me...
Did you know hummingbirds nests are the size of a walnut shell?  And they lay only 2 eggs?  And the mama hummingbird wraps her head with spiders web and then pushes it against the nest before she lays her teeny tiny eggs?  Why, you ask?  So the nest will s-t-r-e-t-c-h as the babies grow. 
Just as her babies grow, so do ours; Kindergarten students become first graders, firsts become seconds, and so on, and every year I watch with equal parts giddiness and tears as my fourth graders move into middle school next year. 

Stretching. 
No, not the exercise, yoga, twist yourself into a pretzel kind of stretching... stretching goals, stretching teaching techniques, lessons, activities, songs, and stretching our abilities to fine tune our craft.  The stretching of our mind and will.
It's the end of the school year; we have 11 days left with kiddos.  Now I am a realist and know there's not going to be a whole lot of heavy-duty learning going on over the next 11 days. But I do want to stretch myself as a teacher and stretch the kids a bit and so we are continuing to shake things up; singing camp songs, sing-alongs, game songs, clapping songs, etc.  We are also stretching ourselves further with instrument play, composition activities using pieces of art, and reading complex 16 beat rhythms.  The funny thing is, my kids often remember those silly camp songs and funny game songs we sing once or twice more than they do the art pieces that I we work on for several class periods and that I so long for them to remember! 

I am also stretching as I look ahead at next school year and all that I would like to do(notice I said "I would like" and not "I will do")  over the summer to re-organize and revamp my curriculum.  Our school has begun a new chapter in "deeper learning" and so we have integration days in our schedules that provide us additional time to work with classroom teachers to integrate our subjects and theirs. This week I team taught hula dancing with the media specialist during our third graders Tour of the States celebration.  We talked about storytelling, taught a hula dance, and the students created their own hula dance. It was amazing to realize how this integration model impacts and deepens their understandings not only of geography, economics, and culture, but of the arts as well.  After each rotation through a region the children then "travelled" in small groups as airplanes, trains, boats, cars, and by foot to another region of the country for another hands-on activity with co-curricular teachers.  Integration times stretch me to think outside the box.

What are you doing to stretch yourself at the end of this school year? How are you going to stretch yourself this summer to become a better teacher next year?  I feel your mind stretching already.... August and September will be here before we know it!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that integration time sounds AMAZING! I'd love to hear more about what you've done with that time. #fermatafridays

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