2014-15 School Year Goals: “Dive Into the River of Uncertainty”
“Dive again and again into the river of uncertainty. Create in the dark, only then can you recognize the light.”
― Jyrki Vainonen
I’ve been thinking about the upcoming school year. What our class environment needs to be, and where we need to go. To start the year, I like to anchor our vision in a quote, or theme. After a few days of discussion, the students will work with me to sharpen this vision, and make it their own.
This year, the theme is “Dive Into Uncertainty”. These three words embody much of what I believe is critical to creating a safe learning environment where we can take risks and embrace mistakes as part of the learning process.
Dive: Learning is a fun, messy endeavor. We’re not sticking our toe in the safe area, or wading in the easy shallow end.
Into: We will be fully invested. Splashing in the deep end.
Uncertainty: We’re here to learn about what we don’t know. We’re not so much looking for answers, as we are searching questions. We’re getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
As the lead learner in my class, I have a few goals.
My DIVE into uncertainty:
Discover – ways to work along side students through flipping math instruction.
Invite – PLN into my classroom to call me higher through skypes & critiques.
Validate – confirm & affirm each student’s unique talents and voice.
Engage – connect with world through “Walking for Water” project, global read-aloud, and author skypes.
Class’ DIVE into uncertainty:
Discover – new genres, authors, characters and worlds through 30 / 40 book challenge.
Invite – share our passion & compassion through “Big Idea” (genius hour) projects; kindness reflection blogs.
Validate – confirm facts, truths, and ideas through research and close reading; validate our peers through support & encouragement.
Engage – with world through kidblog, “Walking for Water” project, biography project with literary agent.
There will be other manifestations of the Dive Into Uncertainty theme this year. I lead a run club of over 100 students at our school, and a math club that is nearly the same size. Each of these groups will have their own ways to embrace the theme. I’m also trying to take a more active role in shaping the literacy philosophy in our building. I’ll be engaging students and staff in ways to push beyond their limits as they share the final weeks of preparation for my fall ultramarathon. And I will also be spending time in class working on writing my second novel, authentically modeling the entire writing process for my students.
I’m not sure how the year will go, what challenges will be awaiting for us in the murky waters, or how the students and I will find our sea legs, but that is the fun of the journey. We will dive in together, uncertain of how we will fare, but certain of the fun to be shared as a team.