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...
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.
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.
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!