Jul 09 2013

Back to summer

For the past two weeks I worked as a bartender at Milwaukee’s summer music festival, Summerfest. It ended up being pretty fun and a great way for a lot of teachers to make some extra money — it’s hard to live, support a classroom, and go to grad school on under $30,000! But I am happy to report that I am back to summer and focusing on two of my favorite things: cities and schools.

I’m in Illinois visiting Juli right now, and I plan on heading down to Chicago this week to revisit a very cool exhibit on cities at the Chicago Cultural Center. It’s called “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good” and it highlights past and present innovations in cities across the world. I’m hoping that it will provide some insights for my upcoming trip to Minneapolis and St. Paul with Juli as well as things that I can see in Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee.

Of course, while I kick off my mini-Midwest tour, I’m busy preparing for next year. In addition to revamping our syllabi and assessments to match Common Core, I was able to redesign our report cards last month. Now I’m working with my Executive Director to develop a better way for her as well as my peers to provide meaningful feedback throughout the year. Last year, as a new ED, she didn’t have the time to sit and watch a single lesson in my room, let alone provide any instructional feedback. As a result we’re looking at developing some sort of schedule as well as an informal evaluation. I’m really interested in Bloomboard, a tool that someone posted about a few weeks ago.

As always, TFANet, twitter, and pinterest are invaluable tools as I think about new activities for next year. For example, Teach For America’s Early Childhood Initiative, the specific program that provided my institute experience, posted yesterday about sensory activities. I tend to neglect these activities during the year. That’s not to say that they aren’t present in my classroom, but they’re rarely my priority. Thus I’m happy that they got me thinking about that end of my students’ experience and what I need to improve upon as I’m planning for next year.

I was so in the mindset of counting down the days last year (days until school starts, days until Thanksgiving, days until winter break, spring break, etc) that I’m trying to not count down to the beginning of the school year. I’m just going to enjoy every day. I’m just going to blog, run, see the sights, go to the beach, and plan as much as I can until Labor Day! Cheers to summer! Again!

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    I'm an educator, Kalamazoo College alumnus, Democrat, and proud Detroiter! Views here are my own.


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