Adjust. My revised One Little Word for 2020. I had to think for a few minutes, over the weekend, trying to remember what my word was. I knew I had revised, adjusted a few weeks into the year. Then it came back to me. Adjust. Who could have predicted all of the adjustments that 2020 would bring?
It would be easy to sit here and write a list of all of the adjustments I have had to make recently. But instead, I’ve been trying to reflect on all of the positive adjustments I’ve been able to make-the moments that might have slipped by that have become new opportunities.
In an effort to keep my kids busy and possibly cut back on the number of trips to the store we have to take, we’ve been planting seeds at our house. We’ve planted sunflower seeds, zinnias, lavender, daisies, basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots. All our time at home allows for time to mist them with fresh water often and notice the changes in size and position at various times in the day. This adjustment has brought wonder awe into our home.
I’ve also had to make adjustments to my professional life. I’ve had to rethink and rewrite units to fit a distance learning environment. I found great joy revising our first grade independent writing unit, imagining what this work could look like in the homes of our students. I had time to rethink mentor texts and how kids might use them. I also had time to try the work myself, taking my learning from all of our seed growing to create my own graphic novel using the mentors I highlighted for kids. These were all things I often dreamed of having time to do back at school. Now, I’m reminded just how important these tools are and I make the time. This work feels good, not just here and now.
Every time I adjust to learn a new tool or platform, I’m left with a sense of pride and excited by the possibilities that my learning may hold. I’ve adjusted my coaching work to push into small virtual groups rather than small groups in classrooms. I watch as other teachers adjust and so do the kids.
Some of these adjustments will be good for us. They will all make us stronger. As the world continues to evolve, I’m left thinking about something I read about having the choice about what to add back to our lives. I’d like to hang onto the time and space to watch plants grow, to create units, tools, and texts to make our teaching stickier, and to take time to notice all of the good.
Here is my graphic novel that has become a mentor text for our first graders and their independent writing projects this week. The Fly by Elise Gravel was the mentor text that we studied to learn more about writing informational graphic novels.