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SHIFT: A year of a word

29 Dec


Last New Year’s Eve, I wrote about my One Little Word for 2016: shift. I wanted to change jobs, be a more creative teacher and embrace the instructional changes happening in my district. I was looking forward to a year of exciting work on the Morris Award. Now, two days short of a year, I want to reflect a little on the shifts I’d hoped for and the unexpected shifts that happened.

I am thrilled by my new job. I was very disappointed two years ago when I wasn’t hired to teach at either of the middle schools where I interviewed. I don’t really believe in Destiny, but it feels as though I was destined for the job I got. It is that good a fit. I work on an excellent 6th grade  team and we gather every lunch period and eat together. I share the teaching of the Humanities with another teacher (we each get half the kids on our team for a two-hour Humanities block). This could be tricky, but Nina and I work incredibly well together.

The instructional shifts that were happening in elementary are also happening in middle school. In the summer, I attended a TCRWP inservice as middle school teacher shifted how writing instruction was happening. The 6th grade teachers at my school made this our learning team project and we’ve been working through TCRWP’s Units of Study. It’s been work but we are learning how to make it fit our kids.

I am wrapping up my Morris Committee work by rereading our five finalists. I will go back to work for only four days next week, then go to Boston where we will decide on the winner. It has been an incredible year. I’ve met great authors and committee members. I’ve thought about literature in a new way. I will miss the work, but I am looking forward to some free range reading, too.

Last year I was a round 2 YA nonfiction judge for the CYBILS Award and I will repeat that again this year. The finalists will be announced on January 1st ad that’s when my work begins.


Some unexpected shifts happened. I lost my dad in late July and my dog, Fiona, in November.


I’d hoped Fiona would make it other 15th birthday in February. And you always think your parents will live forever.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year. Best wishes for 2016!

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