It’s been a life-boosting 10 months.
As a rule, I can highly recommend this, whatever you want to call it – a hiatus, a sabbatical, a step back. If any area of your professional life is proving detrimental to your personal relationships and mental well-being, it’s time to:
- pare down that area to what you barely need to do,
- determine when you’ll come back,
- know that it’ll be there when you get back to it.
Now, back to work. I have a million ideas after this past year. The trick will be capturing which to pursue and which to let fall by the wayside. But I’m excited to figure it out. Last spring, in my break, I published just 12 blog posts, though I do believe it was to say some very important things, like applying the new NCSSFL-ACTFL Can Do Statements. Now, after tackling writing for about 15 minutes most weekdays this summer, I have six posts scheduled just for this month. It’s a fun time to rediscover Sra. Musicuentos!
What can you expect this fall? I’ll start out by alternating some suggestions for you to consider this year in a series of posts titled “This year, consider…” I started to call them “This year you need” and then I kicked that thought out- who am I to say what you need? I’m all about talking out loud to see if you decide something fits you and your class. Some of these posts represent the most successful ideas from my classes in the last couple of years.
Interspersed with these suggestions will be a few select #authresaugust recommendations. I think it’s important to be intentional and comprehensible with authentic language resources, so there are just a few, but I stand by the ones I’ve chosen.
I’ll transition into the conference season by encouraging you to not stress out over “missing” any particular conference, but rather to be deliberate about the learning you do get involved in. Then I’ll offer some crowdsourced tips on conferences in general and also unconferences.
Somewhere in there, you’ll see a resource release we’ve been waiting 4 years for. (Yep, some of you know what this is!)
I’m traveling to Las Vegas this week and hope to share some curriculum planning tips from that contracted Camp Musicuentos workshop. I’ll be revisiting the topic of freeing ourselves from verb charts as well as the Can Do statements at KWLA next month. I get to keynote and present and facilitate unconference sessions at TFLTA in November and will share from that. That fills up my 2018, but if you want to see me outside of CSCTFL in 2019, see what I have to offer and send me an email.
I’m also excited to share what we learn in my classes this year. My high school girls will step aside from novels for a semester to do our first in-depth real project-based learning unit called “Coffee, Fair Trade, and Me.” (I feel like my unit on “Let Me Show You Around” was just getting my feet wet in teaching PBLL.) My middle grades learners will be doing what I believe has just surpassed Felipe Alou as my favorite Fluency Matters novel of all: El Ekeko. I’m so thankful one of my learners requested a unit involving Bolivia that inspired me to seek out and find this treasure of a book. I think what I like the most about it is that the parts that are real are so believable, and the parts that are fantasy are clearly fantasy. Many novels try to sell a fantastically impossible plot as realistic or have characters that are completely unrelatable. Not El Ekeko, in my opinion!
In the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to work on conference award teams. Last year I skipped my state conference altogether to take my children to a festival, and this year I’m on the planning committee! I’m one of the people in charge of trivia night (HELP! What’s trivia night?!) In all this, I can tell you, it feels good to be back. Let’s see what this year has for us all.