I really want to be one of those teachers who is hardcore-devoted to technology. That certainly seems to be the trend now, and I want my students to have all the opportunities other students have. Technology is wonderful; it's a great way to make connections around the world and to open up learning outside of the classroom. I'm just so not practiced in it, and I don't believe it's the most important aspect of school. In my classroom, I have four student computers (though only two of them work), one iPad, and my Mac Book. I use all of those on a regular basis, but I'm struggling to find ways to make the amazing things I read about on Twitter and in blogs happen in my classroom.
I also really want to be one of those teachers who says amazing, inspiring things about play. I believe in the importance of play, and my students have over an hour of play time in my classroom each day (between center time and recess). When I taught preschool, most of the time the students spent in my classroom was devoted to play. I struggle with it though. I struggle to create play environments that encourage growth and learning. It would make me a hypocrite if I started writing about play.
My real passion is in reading. My students light up at the mention of Read to Self. I asked them why they liked it, and they said things like, "Because I get to read my new books," and "Because it's easy." (Believe me when I say this too: Read to Self has not always been easy for my kiddos. They have grown so, so much this year!) This is what every student would believe if I ran a school.
If I ran a school, students would have many, many, many opportunities to read books of their choosing. They would recommend books to each other and talk and meet with authors. Then, they would write their own books. Teachers would be reading right along with their students. They would be given a chance to recommend books to their colleagues and to share books with their students.
There would be no basal readers or systems like AR. Teachers would teach reading strategies and check in with students on how they are using them. They would conference with individuals and work with small groups of students on certain skills.
The students would use books and technology to explore content areas of their own interests and create amazing projects to share that information. If students want to learn about penguins, the teachers would connect them with books, websites, or people to learn more about penguins.
Our library would be enormous! Not only would it contain thousands and thousands of books, but it would be a cozy place for students to go to read, research, create, and collaborate. It would be a place for classes to work together and to share the joy of reading.
I have loved watching the love of reading grow in my students. They are so proud of themselves with they read a book, and many of them are really taking off as readers! It's amazing to be a part of that process. I wish every teacher had a chance to experience this. I seriously get butterflies in my stomach from all of the excitement when I think about this!