Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Once Upon a Passion

Many ask me where I get my passion for reading. For me, my passion started in a simple way. It started with something that maybe at the time seemed trivial or ordinary. Isn't that how the best things start sometimes? When the ordinary becomes... EXTRAORDINARY?
When four little words can make a world of difference??.....
ONCE...
              UPON.....
                              A.....
                                      TIME......

The inside cover of Journey to the Center of the Earth. 
When I was young, I looked forward to bedtime. This may have seemed strange for a six year old, yet I simply could not WAIT for the sun to go down.

Why???

Because every night, my father read illustrated classics to me. From Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Moby Dick, I was able to go on an adventure every single night. I even got to do so while safely in bed. He would read the adventures in every page, but only after I had read the line by each illustration. We would even write when we started and finished each book on the inside cover. My father did not realize it at the time, but he had just planted a seed of passion deep inside my soul.


During the day, I would see the world differently than I did at night. 

During the day:
There were rules and guidelines.
There were right and wrong answers.
There was coloring inside the lines. 
It was clear the world was not fair. 

In my nighttime stories: 
The world was a rainbow!
Anything could and most of the time would happen. 
Characters did anything they could to make the world right again. 

This was one of the things that shaped the path in my life. Literature clearly had my heart and always will! Literature gave me a ticket to places I knew I could never see out my window. It gave that little small town girl with pigs in her backyard a passport to worlds unknown. I could escape heartbreak and pain within the covers of a book for it was somewhere I knew they could never find me
 Although I didn't realize that teaching was my path until high-school, I knew these stories and the power they held in my life would shape who I was. As mentioned in an earlier post of mine,  so many of my sixth grade students come to me with ill feelings about reading and writing. I challenge each of my students every year to tell me how they feel about ELA. I then keep myself to this challenge and do my best to ignite their passion for learning the same way my father did for me when I was six.

My first year teaching, I knew that these books simply had to come with me in my new classroom. They were not only a part of me, but a part of my reading journey and I knew that I simply had to share that with my students.
One day, I saw one of my students observing those beloved books on my shelf. I walked over to him and explained how much that they meant to me. I opened one of the books and showed him the writing on the inside. A smile burst upon his face. He was not the reader type at all. In fact, he was a few grade levels behind the curve. Yet here he was, with his hand on Journey to the Center of the Earth. 
"Can I borrow this one" 
It was then that I saw it. I saw the thing that my father started with me yet never noticed....
The seed of passion was planted. 
I choked back a tear and let out a "Of course you can" 

Through the next couple weeks, I continued to check in on my little reader. 
"Hey... How is the book coming along??" 
"Oh... It is SO good... I'm at the part where..." 
I watched as his plant of reading passion continue to grow. Now does that mean that he still struggled with my content? Yes... His level of mastery was still very low. Yet he had a passion growing like a flame inside of him and that is more powerful than his ability could be. As this young boy grew into a young man, he would still come up to me and talk about the book I let him borrow. The book that started it all. I smile because although our gardens of reading passion may look very different and are tended to in varying way, they both started with a seed... a seed from one illustrated classic and a lot of love


Friday, June 1, 2018

Voicing a New Adventure

Challenges are something that both intrigue and terrify me! I think this is due to the enticing  thrill of  success against the overwhelming fear of failure. Therefore when I saw Michael Matera's (@mrmatera) five for five challenge (#five4five), I instantly felt this familiar swirl of emotion!
It might be different if I had a better challenge record under my belt. Sadly, I lack follow through on many Edu challenges that I attempt.
There was something about this concept though that continued to draw me in and with each of Michael's vlog videos, it became harder and harder to deny my desire to take a part.
Here is how it works:
You make it a point to create something each day for five days!
In racking my brain for something to tackle, I landed on a podcast. I think this was due to my comfort with Voxer and getting my voice out there and my love for podcasts as of late. So I made a goal to make a podcast a day for five days!
In this process, I learned many things about myself. I have had many issues with sharing due to the shadows of doubt within me. In this journey, the comfort of the simple conversations, in the car, in my house, or in my classroom, made the shadows scatter. With the Anchor app that I chose to work with, you can record as though you are simply talking on the phone. In this, I could just send my EDUramblings to the invisible listener on the other end of the phone.
This doesn't mean that I didn't hit any snags in the process. The first and second podcast in the challenge seemed easy enough, yet by the third recording, the instant ideas started to flee me. This caused a self reflection that occurred throughout the day, which was very positive. I became much more aware of what I did in the classroom and issues and successes around me.
By day five, I had found a method that truly worked for me and found a lost confidence as well. At the end of the challenge, I knew that this was something I just had to continue and since then EduCreativity has had two other episodes.
I cannot thank the eduheroes around me enough for pushing me and supporting me on this journey! I recently stumbled into the Voxer learning community and it has truly been life changing! I learn from my 4'OCF PLF every single day! I have never met these amazing educators in person, yet can confidently call them my friends, my family!
As I continue this journey, I know I am not alone! I have my EduArmy at my back and that is all I will ever need!