Thursday, August 27, 2015

Zen. Just Zen.

Two spectacular days.  I saw my principal in the cafeteria, while working lunch duty, and he asked me how my day was.  He seemed a bit taken aback by my enthusiasm.  Usually at this point in the year, two days in, teachers are tight-lipped, with cautious optimism.  The secret to my happiness this year?

My PLN Zen.

After two consecutive days, I have met all of my assigned students in all five class sections.  My greatest challenge will be to remember which discussions took place in which class, so that I am not redundant when leading Socratic discussions.  This is an interesting time of year, as I get to see class members come together and gel as a group.

Period 2, led by White Book Lover, Taylor, BEGGED for the issuance of the magical books before I had planned to distribute them.  Can you see the Zen on Taylor's face?  It does a teacher's heart good to see such love for metacognition. 

Bare Books (aka the White Books) give exactly what we all hope for:  infinite possibilities for the school year.  Given that this is my second year using these amazing tools for learning, it was especially fuzzy-wuzzy to have the book lovers in my room introducing the newbie members to the class to the white books, without me having to convince anyone of their value or importance.

My PLN (Professional Learning Network) ,that has expanded exponentially in the last year, has led me to challenge my reservations and structure -- and all for the good.  Green chairs, "standing" tables, a stash of lap blankets in the closet, and the magical white books, all create a less than traditional classroom that welcomes learners and encourages learning, with an emphasis on the individual learners reflecting each and every day on their metacognitive process.

I'm in my happy place, in Room C108.  It's not to say that there aren't bumps in the road, or times of frustration, or times when, well, there just isn't enough time.  For some people, buns in the chair and feet in the sand is the perfect happy place.

Who would have imagined that mine is a neon green camp chair in a circle of high schoolers, talking about thinking, after a summer of thinking about thinking?