25 Days

Saturday, July 18, 2015

We are just under 4 weeks away from our first day of school. Furniture is being placed in the building and teachers are gathering all over town to meet and plan for the precious children who we will greet on that Thursday morning.
I'm doing my best to continue my further understanding of project-based learning and am working with my community (my grade level team) to "re-think" what the first day and first week of school will look like the Pike Road way.
Like a lot of you, I'm also a visual learner. I write things down. I document. I take photographs and videos. I need to SEE it to understand it. I've spent my nights this week reading, watching videos, and making lists to help me mentally get to that point where I can visualize the first few weeks of our school year.
While in the parent/community informational meeting this past Thursday night, you could see the excitement in the faces of the audience. They seemed refreshed and curious about this new road we are paving. But they want more. They have questions, and all we can say is...just wait! Trust us, and trust this process. The outcome will be unlike anything you expected. As Dr. Freeman said, "We are just an ordinary group of people setting out to do extraordinary things."
I'm a big Auburn fan and I love the intro/inspirational videos they create to get the Auburn family excited about the upcoming season. With that in mind, I decided to create our own video for the Pike Road family to both help them visualize what this year could look like and to get them excited about what is coming August 13.

New Year. New Beginnings.

Friday, July 10, 2015

As of April 20, I was officially hired as a new Pike Road Patriot teacher.

After a year of transition from teaching in Decatur to now teaching in Montgomery, I knew an opportunity like this was one that I couldn't pass up. It was long-awaited, I will admit. From a "recruitment day" in January that saw more than 500 expectant teachers, to interviews in February and March, to getting the final word in April, it was an exciting and expectant time for me professionally.

On May 2, our first full day of work began. The 53 teachers hired were gathered together at town hall and hit the ground running. Instead of leaving feeling drained, I was smiling, feeling invigorated and eager to get the new school year started.

We meet for another 10 days throughout May and June. Each time, I got to know new people and further developed my own knowledge of how to be a "lead learner" and how to facilitate the learning of the young minds that would soon be gracing our halls. We spent an entire week on the AUM campus getting to delve into project-based learning with the Schlechty Center and getting to plan our first units for our 2nd grade kiddos.

Its funny...this summer has been unlike any other summer I've had preparing for a new school year. I've been reading like crazy, learning new technologies, but not stressfully sweating in an empty classroom praying it would all come together. Instead of preparing a classroom, I'm preparing my mind. I'm working with my community to prepare a curriculum. What's normally saved for the 3-5 days before school starts, the Pike Road teachers are doing the opposite. We're spending the 103-105 days before school starts preparing for what and how the students will learn and saving the last couple of weeks for getting the learning spaces ready...and I love it! These rooms will belong to the students, not us. We're focused on taking them from students who are used to having knowledge emptied into them to learners who inquire and seek to create opportunities to gain new insight into the world around them.
The front of the school

2nd grade community "lead learners"

2nd grade project room - under construction
With just over a month until school begins, there is still so much to do. The stress hasn't hit me yet, with major thanks to our terrific leader, Suzanne Freeman. She's our consummate cheerleader and has ultimate faith in our staff. I cannot wait to start off the 2015-2016 school year!