I found the pushes I needed to go forward in the two books above.
From Ron Clark: think big, be persistent, and make it happen. In his book The End Of Molasses Classes, my favorite chapters are: Create Moments That Will Have A Lasting Impact On Children's Lives, Make Learning Magical, Open Your Doors To The Parents, Make the Most of Every Moment! There Should be an Urgency in Education!, and Reach Out To the Community to Build a Powerful Network.
Dave Burgess in Teach Like a Pirate gave me many things to think on. This is the quote that keeps me jumping...
"Jump on creative opportunities that come your way, and then implement them! Be proactive in your pursuit of your vision for your classroom and life."
So by now you are probably wondering, "What exactly is she up to?"
Here's the plan:
I will divide my classroom into four areas. An area for animals, one for wetlands, one for vegetation and the last for humans. The area types will remain the same all year, but what is in them will change.
In the first quarter they will reflect the forest and then rainforest. In the second quarter the Arctic and Antarctic. The third quarter Australia and Safari. The last quarter we will learn about farms and life cycles.
A few more thoughts from Dave Burgess.
He has a whole chapter titled, 'Find A Crew.' I am lucky to have found many great crew members. First, is my dear husband, he listens to all my ideas, helps me develop them, and scale them down so they are workable. He also goes on many missions with me to collect objects and pictures for the classroom. We have collected turtle shells, acorns, sticks chewed by beavers, and various other items. I couldn't do this project without the blessing of my Principal, Supervisor of ESOL, and
The above two books have been my inspiration for math this year. Rather than use traditional math manipulatives I plan on using things like acorns, pinecones and stones for counting, sorting, etc.
Reading and writing will have a new look also thanks to the above 3 books. Reading all of your blog posts on Daily 5 and CAFE have helped me enormously in my planning. Thank you :)
Last, but not least I am planning a technology piece where my class will communicate with classes in all of the habitats we are studying this year. This is the piece I am currently working on. If you are interested in participating please let me know. As soon as I put this idea carefully together I will post more details.
Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you too are inspired to step outside the box and plan an innovative program for your class!