Refresh, Restart – Begin Anew


    Student  Mandala Using Classroom Materials

“I had the privilege of seeing Lucy Calkins speak recently.  She encouraged the entire audience to “hit the reset button” and remember that teaching is our life’s work. Her message, to me, was also about perspective.  When we hit the reset button we can shift our perspective and author our own meaning.  We may not have the power to change what is happening, but we do have the power to determine how we will interpret, respond to, and ultimately inspire those around us.”  Clare Landrigan,Contributor, Choice Literacy

As spring slowly descends onto our little Maine town, I find myself thinking, “reset, refresh.” Just as I was thinking about this I came across the above paragraph and thought, “Well, others are thinking the same thing. So it must be important.”

Looking out over our pool which is still covered in snow and ice I think of how it reminds me of  school this past winter. Some things are still in progress such as getting kids excited to read and write. Book talks, uncovering theme using evidence from the text. Fractions, fractions, and more fractions. But like the corner of the pool with a ripped cover peeking out from under the snow, some things “ripped”. They just didn’t work. Like the pool cover, it’s OK. They can be repaired. Restart but with a different perspective.

Maybe it’s time to bring our poetry into math class. Or weave our math into our reading. Weather unit is very late in starting but I guess who really cares? Does it really matter? Probably not. Let’s infuse some S.T.E.A.M. into it and make it soar like I want the kids exploring it to do.

Rethink, refocus, restart,shift.

We just got a handful of stars, Cynthia Lord’s new book in the mail. Inside was the simple message, “To the star readers in Mrs. Dunn’s Room –  Dream BIG! Cynthia Lord”  It brought one little girl to tears. And so of course like the sap I am, I followed along. “People do care about us.” That’s what she said.  Oh, so many people care about her and them. Why does it take so much for them to feel it? Even as I reflect on her emotional comment I realize that I can’t wait to read it. And I know I’m not alone. They begged me to start yesterday. “But we’re in the  middle of  reading, A Fish in a Tree.” I answered. Yea, they agreed. Let’s keep moving forward and get to our “stars” book after break.

Knowing when to shift. When to stop and restart. When not to stop or restart. It’s a delicate dance that takes inner reflection and the reflection with others.

Rethink, refocus, restart,shift. It’s time.

Step #1 – Ask the kids. What do they want to focus on as we begin our ending of their 5th grade year.

Step #2 – Guide them as they take ownership of this revised perspective.

Step #3 – Continue with what we must learn. Some things are not negotiable.

Step #4 – Have fun.

Step 4 is rather important. That week when we took a break from our routine and I watched them as they danced, sung, recited poetry, spoke Russian, Skyped, lead tours around our school for our Russian guests…they shone. Just like the stars Cynthia reminds them they are.

Shine on little ones. That’s really all we want, isn’t it?

Happy Spring. It’s here, so let’s celebrate with gusto!


2 thoughts on “Refresh, Restart – Begin Anew

  1. Stumbled onto your blog from a comment you left at the Progressive Poem. How did I miss you last month? I scrolled quickly through your posts, but know I’ll be back. Love the words of this post: “Rethink, restart, refocus, shift.” They are good words for me as I explore what it means to be a teacher searching for my path in retirement.

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