Monday, May 21, 2012

Hoping for Success

Brilliant coworkers make my job and life wonderful. Due to testing (not so wonderful) our library will be closed for more than a week. Our amazing librarian, however, will still be teaching. I snagged as much of her time as I could without shame and we met this afternoon to plan.

I've been concerned about how to help my students continue actively learning throughout the summer. I went to our librarian wanting help with this and offering only the idea that I wanted to build off of the book A Place for Wonder. Fortunately our librarian is brilliant and we planned two weeks worth of lessons with an outline for two more.

My students have used composition books as their Wonder Notebooks all year. I decided it would be great to give each student a brand new Wonder Notebook for the summer. In order to make that meaningful we're starting with practicing what we do when we wonder something. We want students to have a plan of action when they begin to wonder during the summer. Then we'll work on how to find things to wonder about throughout the summer (outside, inside, from tv or video games). We want them to be completely independent with noticing their wonders and thinking about them consciously.

I don't feel a need for my students to be practicing flashcards or answering comprehension questions or any other typical school activity during the summer. I just want to know that they are pushing themselves as thinkers and learners. Reading John T. Spencer's recent post hit home on my thinking about this. Many of my students won't be traveling, visiting museums or libraries, playing at parks, or any of the other enriching activities some kids do. I hope they will have some wonderful time with their families, relaxing together, talking, laughing, and just being a family. I also hope they will actively learn and I want to set them up for success in that area.


Dahlia said...

You are reading my mind these days! I have just been thinking about Wonder Logs and just posted a question for my students on their blogs: "What do you wonder about?"

I would LOVE to know more about how you use your Wonder Notebooks and the plans you created with your librarian!

Karen said...

Love the idea--every time I look at a geyser field I "wonder"....I wonder if you could set up your blog with pictures for the kids to wonder about--just in case they are's another summer reading idea I really liked--it's from Kevin Morris (AP at some FCPS school) Monday Teacher Tip: Send your students off for the summer with a school-wide reading challenge! Challenge students to read a book in 25 different places this summer. Examples: read under a tree, read by the pool etc. Send the students home with a sheet of poster paper. Ask them to create an image of all the places they read during the summer. In the fall, display the summer reading posters in the hallways. Learn more tried and true teacher tips by signing up for one of our free webinars:

teacherninja said...

Librarians are awesome! Oh, and I love that A Place for Wonder book. Great stuff. Sounds like a great project for your kids.

Jenny said...

Dahlia, we have to chat! Three days in I am thrilled with what we are doing (it's not perfect but most of the problems lie with me).

Karen, using pictures is brilliant. I'll have to mull over how to set that up for the summer. Love the reading challenge too. I may have to try it as well as the kids.

Jim, that book is so fabulous. And, yes, librarians are totally awesome!