The summer months are here in Atlanta, which means high temperatures and lots of air conditioning. It also means a summer break from school during the months of June and July. (Note: I still wonder what happened to the month of August for the summer break?)
Either way, teachers love this time – it is an annual “sabbatical” from the classroom. The word sabbatical, which can be a noun or an adjective, comes from the Greek word sabatikos, which means “of the Sabbath,” the day of rest (Source: Vocabulary.com) The summer offers teachers, and students, a time of rest. What you do with it says a lot about you.
Since I became a teacher in 2006, the summers offered a special time with family and friends. Yet it also provided me with a time of rest from classroom activities. I love my classroom and I love my students, but the school year does not afford me enough time to REFLECT, a key component of good teaching!
So my summers provide me with some time to reflect on my purpose and meaning. Summers are the meaningful pursuit of new initiatives in my Literature curriculum. Last summer I purposely revamped my independent reading program and built a classroom library from books found in garage sales and used book stores.
This year, I am going to purposely re-design my curriculum with Project-Based Learning (PBL) in order to provide more meaning to my lessons. According to Buck Institute for Education (BIE), “the 21st century workplace and in college, success requires more than basic knowledge and skills. In a project, students learn how to take initiative and responsibility, build their confidence, solve problems, work in teams, communicate ideas, and manage themselves more effectively.” These sound like the skills I want for my students.
So my summer will involve the infusing of meaning and purpose in my classroom. I am excited about the possibilities of PBL along with the design-thinking and maker movements which are embraced at our school. Who knows what PBL will do for the teachers and students?