We headed to my parents' Adirondack Mountains camp for the July 4th week.....to refresh, to renew. It was time for me to slow down and unplug. The beauty of the elevation is more than mountains, the lake, and the eternal search for salamanders; it's the thrill of HAVING to unplug with NO cable television, NO internet, and NO 3G services available in "never land".
This is the time where most of us do so much reflecting on the year we had and the anticipation of the one to come. It was time for me to reflect on an incredible year, simply one of the tops in sixteen years. I can't put my finger on it - Was it my quest for inquiry based learning from day 1? Was it the way that we worked so hard to become a team? Was it my "not so quiet" resistance to the big brother take over with standardized testing? Was it my vigilance to avoid numbers, but instead use words to evaluate and provide feedback?
I keep thinking that after sixteen years, maybe it's at the point that I'm "pushing back", quiet resistance....I had to take a long, hard look at previous years of complacently going along with the top down mandates. This year I really tried to shut the door, use the curriculum as a guide, and do what I know is proven to be brain/developmentally appropriate research in my classroom. I'm not a numbers kind of girl.....if you ask me how many of my kiddos passed the New York State ELA or Math tests last year, there is NO way I could even try. If you ask me how many of my kids improved fluency, mastered their multiplication facts, learned to view reading as a love and not a "have to", learned how to wonder and question and get answers, how many kiddos successfully studied a world culture and knew mind blowing facts by memory.....then I'm your girl and I proudly tell you.....E-V-E-R-Y S-I-N-G-L-E O-N-E!!!
It is an exciting time for me to think creatively, to contemplate new things, and do what I know is best for my incoming kiddos, NOT what's best for big brother. Maybe it was simply a different way to see my classroom that made everything so successful.