It is dizzying to look back on this past year. Truly. When I reach back to this time last year, it feels so far away. In so many ways this past calendar year has exhausted me and in so many other ways it has energized me. These are the moments I am most grateful for this little blog. Because within the confines of my tiny corner of the internet, I have stored a year’s worth of emotion and reflection and good, good work done by children.
So for this last blog post of the year, I simply want to gather here the most read blog posts from this past year. I have reread each one as I rediscovered it and I have been moved by all that they hold. So here we go. A year in blog posts:
#10: Stories as Mirrors and Windows Part 2: Stories as Windows and Inquiry at the Start of the Year
This post describes how we used our memoir unit in order to learn how to learn from the stories that other people tell. And, more importantly, how the unjust systems of power that we are a part of allow some stories to be heard more than others and how, as readers, we can work to fix this by seeking out and amplifying those stories that have, too often, gone unheard.
#9: Turning Our Learning Into Action: Inquiry Circles Week’s #8, 9 and 10
This post details the final weeks of our inquiry circle work during our last school year. At the end of this long post is the story of one of my all time very favorite moments of teaching.
#8: Inquiry Fights Against the Notion That Kids are Not Ready to Tackle Tough Issues and Difficult Conversations: Inquiry Circles Week #1
This post actually describes the work that we did at this time last school year when students chose topics for their inquiry circle work. The post describes one of my strongest beliefs that inquiry allows us to dig deep into tough issues without the fear of others saying we are pushing our political beliefs on our students.
#7: Stories as Mirrors and Windows Part 1: Stories as Mirrors
This post describes our work with the idea of stories as mirrors and windows and a description of how Dr. Rudine Sims Bishops’s work informed the work we do in class. The end of the post describes how my students looked through our own classroom library in order to find books that allowed them to see themselves reflected in some way. It also laid the groundwork for our discussions on how some groups of people have traditionally had a much easier time seeing themselves reflected in the books they read than other groups.
#6: Storytellers Presentation From NCTE
This post includes the text from my section of the amazing NCTE session I was lucky enough to be a part of. It was an absolute highlight of my professional life.
#5: Turning Misinformation, Misunderstandings and Misconceptions Into Questions That Drive Inquiry: Inquiry Circles Weeks #2 and 3
This post describes the work we did last school year in order to learn how to combat biased news and our own limited understanding of tough topics by turning what we think we know into questions that drive us to seek out more information.
#4: We Are Only One Tile in The Entire Mosaic of a Child’s Education
This post describes my own struggles to feel as if I am “enough” as a teacher and the way I was able to reconcile my feelings of inadequacy last year.
#3: Teaching Our Students That What We Read Affects The Biases and Stereotypes We Hold
This post describes the work we did last school year as we analyzed texts in order to see how they had the power to either reinforce or push us beyond the biases and stereotypes we hold about people in this world.
#2: Helping Students Confront and Examine Their Own Biases Using the Images on the Covers of Picture Books
This post describes how we used the images on the covers of picture books in order to reveal our own biases so that we could begin to confront them, understand how they were formed and then work to break them down.
#1: How Am I Supposed to Confront White Supremacy and Racism on the First Day of School
This post was written just days before the start of this current school year and in many ways it still carries the tone of the school year thus far. Rereading it reminded me of the important work we do every day.
And one that did not make the cut of being one of the most read posts, but the one I think is most important for me to carry into this coming year…
We Work in The Service Of Children
And there you go. A year in blog posts. This year has been tough and exhausting and, at times, it has been difficult to remain hopeful. But in many ways, this year only served to show us all what we always have been here in this country. And now that we are clearer about who we are and who we have been, we are better able to rise up and fight to turn ourselves into a better version of all of that. So it is with eager anticipation that I walk into the year 2018. I am ready to join hands with my students, lock arms with fellow educators, and work to make this world a better place.
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