There is nothing more satisfying than having plans.
I believe in quiet, neat places to do thinking work. My high school son has a wooden desk near his window. Maya, our middle schooler, didn’t want a desk in her room, so we created a spot in the living area where she could work. A sturdy plastic art table sits in the corner of Ahna’s room ready for her third-grade inspirations. But here’s the thing. My children don’t ever work in these spaces.
Jamin works at the kitchen counter on the laptop with chemistry, history and calculus textbooks piled among my ingredients for dinner. Maya prefers her bed. I find pencil shavings, highlighter slashes where she missed the page, and post-it notes among her sheets. And Ahna? She works everywhere. The floor in the living room, the driveway or the dining room table becomes her creative space; if it’s a blank canvas, she’s got a project in mind to fill it.
There are countless examples in my parenting and teaching where the plan I had and the reality of “what is” don’t line up. What do we do about that? We can fight it. By explaining the purpose, rehearsing, and reinforcing, we can return to our plan. Sometimes things like organizing a classroom library are important enough for that effort.
Or we can “give some to get some” by altering our original plan a little to meet needs or compromising. Or we can surrender our plan entirely, which is what I decided to do with predetermined creative spaces in our home. A life in balance flows in all three of these categories. Sometimes we concede; sometimes we push and sometimes we barter. The secret is finding peace within each choice.
This week we’re featuring articles on summer plans for reading and professional development. Plus more as always — enjoy!
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Here are two articles from the Choice Literacy archives with different takes on summer planning.
In Lessons from My Summer Vacation, Erin Ocon reflects on the importance of slowing down and simplifying her goals at the start of the summer:
Katherine Sokolowski’s home summer reading camp has been an important part of her summer for many years:
In her latest post at the Nerdy Book Club, Donalyn Miller wonders if summer reading lists for teens do more harm than good:
Mary Lee Hahn has done the impossible. She’s captured that uniquely weary and weightless sense of accomplishment teachers feel in her lovely poem, The Day After the Last Day of School:
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Ann Marie Corgill continues her design series this week, considering the connection between classroom design and values:
Jennifer Schwanke describes the work of a music teacher who integrates literacy learning into her curriculum in Literacy in the Music Room:
We’re launching a new series this week, Recommendations for Summer Reading Fun. Meghan Rose and Ruth Shagoury have written a series of booklists for early readers, perfect for sharing with parents looking for suggestions. The first installment tackles the classic books many of us cherish from our own childhood days:
In this week’s video,Tony Keefer confers with Amanda, a fourth grader who comprehends texts well, but struggles at times with fluency, decoding, and book selection:
If your summer plans include some time catching up on Choice Literacy newsletters you may have missed this year, you can easily find them all in the Big Fresh Archives:
That’s all for this week!