The month of May has been, well, crazy. Not only have I been trying to wrap up the school year, but I’ve also been taking care of a few family issues that have arisen. Things are better now, but I just couldn’t give blogging much attention for the past few weeks. I also had to taper much of my reading. It was THAT kind of crazy. However, there were still several articles and posts that resonated with me this past month, and I’d like to jump back into my blogging schedule by sharing them. I should be back to my regular postings on Monday. I have a couple of posts that I want to add to my “Diving into PBL” series and I’d like to write a reflection on the year and a letter to this year’s graduating class, a group I have grown to dearly love.
Anyway, here are my supremes for May 2013:
Most Needed – Marc Chernoff’s 8 Ways You Are Driving Yourself Crazy (technically from April, but this is my blog…)
“Rather than compete against others, work with them on a common goal. Use your combined insights and talents to achieve what none of you can alone. Real personal growth and learning occurs through relationships, when the competitive spirit is replaced with a collaborative one.”
Most Relatable – John Spencer’s I’m Sorry
“As I drove home, I lost it again, though this time it was in the form of tears. I felt like the worst teacher in the world. I felt like my students deserved better. I weeped over the thought that after ten years, a chatty group could still set me off.”
“For me, the opinion of any single critic is becoming less and less meaningful as I choose what to view or engage with. And the aggregate opinion of masses of anonymous critics merely tells me that the product or content is (or isn’t) mass-friendly. I’m far more moved by the insistent recommendation of a credible, raving fan than I am the snide whispering of some people who just didn’t get it.”
Most Amen-able – Pernille Ripp’s What These Kids Don’t Know
“What all my kids don’t know is that I do it for them, every single day, no matter how little sleep I got, no matter what standards are pressing on me. Every day I come to school to teach for them, every day I cannot wait to get here to be with them. That’s what these kids don’t know.”
Best Affirmation (for a 6th grade reading teacher) – Holly Korbey’s Why Reading Aloud to Older Children Is Valuable
“‘The first reason to read aloud to older kids is to consider the fact that a child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until about the eighth grade,’ said Trelease, referring to a 1984 study performed by Dr. Thomas G. Sticht showing that kids can understand books that are too hard to decode themselves if they are read aloud. ‘You have to hear it before you can speak it, and you have to speak it before you can read it. Reading at this level happens through the ear.’”
Truest – Jenny Orr’s Testing Causes Apathy
“A significant portion of their time at school is spent taking tests. State-mandated tests. District-mandated tests. Grade-level tests. Classroom tests. I would guess my daughter takes a couple of tests each week, on average. She’s nine.”
Most Honest – Justin Stortz’s Why Depression Sucks
“He told me that if someone had a physical illness that we would give them medicine. So, if someone had a mental illness, why wouldn’t we give them medicine too? I’m no more capable of thinking my way to a cure for depression than someone with the flu can think themselves healthy.”
Best Share – David Truss’ Lessons on Living Life
“Two days ago Zach Sobiech died. He was 18. It was expected.”
Best Reminder – Terry Heick’s Why The Best Teachers Change Their Minds
Best Parenting Op-Ed - Eli J. Finkel and Grainne M. Fitzsimons’ When Helping Hurts
“… our help has to be responsive to the recipient’s circumstances: it must balance their need for support with their need for competence. We should restrain our urge to help unless the recipient truly needs it, and even then, we should calibrate it to complement rather than substitute for the recipient’s efforts.”
Best Survival Tips – Brett & Kate McKay’s How to Survive a Tornado
“And if you’re a new arrival to the Midwest or Southeast, tornado survival 101 is something you should definitely take the time to learn. Also, just because you don’t live in a tornado-prone part of the country doesn’t mean this bit of lifesaving know-how doesn’t apply to you; tornados have occurred in all 50 states, and you never know when one might touch down on a 14,000-foot mountain or come roaring through the Big Apple.”
Best Leadership Tip - Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman’s I’m the Boss! Why Should I Care If You Like Me?
“You can be more likeable. Identify two of the actions from the list above that would most help you in your current situation. A great way to start would be to ask for feedback and ask team members to identify which activities would have the most value to them. Make a plan, identifying some specific steps you will take to improve, and then stick to it. Ask others for feedback on your progress.”
Best Blogging Tip – Joseph Adediji’s How Safe is Your Blog from Hackers?
“Your blog security should be a top priority to you and I can assure you that this is quite easy to do, but most of the time we neglect and overlook some of those minor security loopholes that can cost us the loss of a lifetime work (our blog).”
On My Nightstand Still – Amber McRee Turner’s Sway (really want to get back to this one), Parker Palmer’s Healing the Heart of Democracy, Grant Lichtman’s The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School
Through the Speakers in My Van – This month the boys and I have spent most of our ride time listening to The Listener’s Bible (specifically, the book of Numbers), The Coffee House, and Stax 50th: 50th Anniversary Celebration
My Most Popular Post in May 2013 - Diving Into Project-based Learning: Feedback Friends
“I needed a partner, someone with whom I could collaborate and troubleshoot. I also needed an extra set of eyes and hands. I didn’t feel I couldn’t give a group my full attention because I was so busy trying to make sure everyone was on task. Unfortunately, Alice was teaching the fifth grade at the time. Even though Alice was willing to listen and make suggestions, she couldn’t offer first-hand observations about what was happening in my room. She simply wasn’t there, and I needed someone who was.”
What about you? What have you read recently that’s left its mark on you? What’s happening on your blog?