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Yesterday, my friend/mentor, Cinda, came into my classes and made smoothies for my students.  It was her way of celebrating the nearing end of a writing unit she taught them.  The unit revolved around an article titled “Mind over Munching,” and it required that students investigate the claims that supported how our minds control the food choices we make.

While she made the smoothies, I worked with students as they completed their paragraph frames.

This writing business is tough, let me tell you.  Kids have to be taught what a topic sentence is and how to cite evidence.  This requires a lot of higher-order thinking and is the crux of Common Core standards.

After my last class, we spent some time reflecting, as we always do.

One topic led to another, and I shared with her how much it had meant for me to watch her teach.  I can see my approach to lesson planning taking a new direction as I now want to incorporate multiple strategies with single pieces of text.  I think doing this will help students deepen their thinking, make our units more relevant, and will connect more standards in a logical way.

Cinda and I continued to talk, and I told her that this is a big year for me because I don’t feel like I’m doggy paddling anymore.

She responded by saying, “You’re swimming now.”

Then, she corrected herself and said, “Actually, you’re snorkeling.”

I turned my head sideways in question, and she explained that I am doing more than swimming at the surface of the water but am taking my teaching to a deeper level.

What a wonderful visual, eh?

As I take the next step in lesson planning, not merely filling in the boxes on my lesson plan template, I will be leading my students to do more than check standards off of a long list.

Their ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and ultimately create new understanding will become the norm instead of the exception.

Teaching continues to be an exciting adventure for me, and as I grow more adventurous, my students won’t be able to help themselves as they get pulled in with me.

This is what teaching is all about!


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