by Mary Buckelew
“It’s not easy but everybody should be doing it.”
Demarest, A. (2016)
Open the classroom door . . .
I’ve been exploring place-based education for 35 years. Whether taking my high school students in New Mexico on field trips to White Sands National Monument to examine flora and fauna, to write about our observations, and to have fun – Or Fast forward to West Chester University campus where my freshman students and I explore campus through the lens of sustainability, I’ve been fortunate to learn from my students as we explore places and their complexities. A seemingly simple scavenger hunt on campus, reveals the kinds of health services available or not available to university students, a poem about the sighting of a hawk at the Gordon Natural Area (GNA) on campus inspired deep learning, engaged, and empowered beyond any packet, worksheet, or video.
However, reality means we cannot always open and walk out of the classroom or building, but we can investigate our building, the people, services, and environment in its immediate vicinity. We can invite the surrounding community into the classroom and if we are connected to the internet, we can research our communities and the world and engage and empower students with place-based learning.
By Jen Greene
Professional organizations like NCTE, ILA, PCTELA, and KSLA offer a yearly conference that takes place over several days and is usually packed with inspiring presentations and amazing authors. These conferences are tremendous opportunities to grow and learn in your teaching. I have attended many of these conferences and have been so awestruck by the presentations I’ve seen and people I’ve met.
There’s just one slight problem…..
They are expensive. And many districts cannot or will not provide funding to attend a national or state conference (particularly if it involves airfare).
Fear not! There is a solution…
By Lynne R. Dorfman
A writer spends a lot of time at her desk, or in my case, her kitchen table. Staring at the screen or at a page of notes, drumming the keys of a laptop or i-pad. There are deadlines to meet. All writers have deadlines. Some of these are personal goals, and others are set by editors. Either way, writers write with a deadline in mind.
Equally important is the time that writers spend away from their desks. Writers need to spend time with their loved ones – children, grandchildren, spouses, and pets, visit friends and new places, eat out at a new restaurant, take in a movie or drive to NYC for an opera performance. Make the trip to the seashore to take a long walk on the beach and hear the ocean’s song, listen to music, plan parties, walk through their neighborhood to notice the signs of spring. The list is endless.
The point is, do stuff. The twenty hours you spend away from your computer are important. Take a summer writing course with PAWLP, go to a writers’ conference with SCBWI, take a workshop or unworkshop at Highlights Foundation in the Poconos. Join a local reading council or retired writers’ group.What about that painting or yoga class you’ve always wanted to take? Sign up for it today!