“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.”
If these walls could talk what would they say? I’ve ruminated over this question often. Year twenty-one teaching in this classroom. Hours of discussions logged, inquiry, questions, and projects. We’ve laughed, cried, and have even grown frustrated with each other. We are human beings in this classroom – full of frailty and potential. Hope and dread. Dreams and ambitions. I try to encourage my students to believe their stories matter. Our voices and being able to communicate clearly are vital. Hopefully, the take away has been growth, deeper understanding, and the curiosity to keep creating.
I put in over 6 hours on my classroom yesterday and several hours each day this week. I had a huge pile of boxes arrive from Donors Choose Some of the supplies for my Lunch Bunch Club (salad fixings and a snazzy new retro styled refrigerator and microwave) came in, plus, new standing desks. The tall tables are commercial grade, metal, and super sturdy. I actually ordered black ones, but they were no longer available. So I had to get red. I’m thankful – because I think the red is fabulous! The students can stand or have the option of two different stool heights (based on how tall they are). I even put the tables together myself (I didn’t dare ask my husband – who usually puts my furniture together- because he is busy building an addition on our house).
While I’m exhausted after a busy week of professional development and getting back into my school mindset, I’m excited to welcome my students into our classroom Monday.
It’s a relief to have flexible seating back after last year’s more rigid rules due to the pandemic. I had to bring in desks so all my students could face the same way. I was so happy to haul those desks out. I still have some finishing touches to add – and more boxes are on the way for our Lunch Bunch.
Donors Choose has been life changing and I am extremely grateful for the kindness of friends and strangers who help me transform my classroom into a magical and beautiful space. Not just the furniture either – books, school supplies, and all of the creative projects and opportunities I’m able to give my students. Here’s to year #21. I can’t wait to start encouraging my students to write, read, record the world, and think critically. Our words and our stories matter!
Thank you for visiting my classroom. I hope I have inspired you to check-in to Donors Choose and post a project. It’s a remarkable organization that has transformed my classroom environment and my teaching practice in so many ways – physically, emotionally, and academically. It impacts morale in ways that cannot be put into words. As a teacher, it feels empowering to know that others support my students, believe in our schools, and have faith in my classroom practice. I have been able to provide my students with resources and projects that would not have been possible without Donors Choose.
I am grateful to the kindness that has been bestowed on myself and my students from CEO founder Charles Best and his incredible team. I am grateful for the companies that provide matching grants and to family, friends, and even complete strangers that have provided us with so many resources. When I retire I plan to find a source of part time employment and all my earnings will go to fund Donors Choose teacher projects to pay it forward.
I love my students. How fortunate I am to be entrusted with their education. I’m thankful to be able to share a sacred place with them – a classroom where we can find ourselves and learn about our place in humanity. ❤
This year marks my 20th year teaching English at Gwinn High School. I have been creating content on this blog for nine. Over the years I have shared various blog posts with my students and discussed how blogging is a modern platform to publish our writing.
My final hour of the day I teach creative writing. This year my students are truly a hoot. They are as silly as they are creative and they are equally kind and exuberant. We truly are a community of writers in 7th hour and it’s a joy to end my day with such a unique and creative group of students.
Teaching during a pandemic has come with its challenges. I have been teaching both face-to-face and online since September. I had to teach 100% remotely when we were shut down for 6 weeks in November.
My goal for creative writing is to give my students the opportunity to try different genres, to be creative, and to understand that their words and voices matter. Since many of my students take creative writing multiple years (some every year) I try not to do the same assignments each year. I embrace the challenge of coming up with new curriculum.
The other day in class I asked them if they had ever seen the popular vlogger Emmymade. A couple of the students had and others had not, so we watched a few of her videos. On Emmy’s blog she shares the following statement, “Whether it’s trying to figure out if it’s really worth it to wait a hundred hours for a batch of brownies, finding out what Ranch gummies or giant centipedes taste like, making mayonnaise from a vintage gadget, or tasting desserts and dishes from around the world, I want to learn about our world through food.”
My students, just like myself, were inspired by Emmy’s relaxed delivery, her vast vocabulary, and her culinary knowledge. My students were especially intrigued by her ramen posts.
Watching Emmy’s videos with my students and learning that quite a few of them like to create gourmet meals out of instant ramen was a lightbulb moment for me. I came up with the idea that we could create a “ramen bar” in class and my students could create their own recipes. We could research Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisine and they could write about their own food experiences and share their ramen recipes on my blog.
However, this is where I need a little help. I posted a project on Donors Choose to buy ramen making supplies. I tried to include some ingredients that many of my students have not been exposed to in our rural area. In addition to these ingredients I will bring in fresh spinach and greens, vegetables, and boiled eggs (from our farm) to include in their ramen meals. These supplies would create quite a few batches of ramen, so it will be a special treat for my students who have worked so hard this year.
If you are interesting in donating, here is the project –>Using Our Noodles to Write. Every dollar helps and is tax deductible. Donors Choose has been a huge source of light for my classroom practice and I am so thankful to the generosity of friends, family, and even strangers who have helped so many of our projects come to fruition.
As we head off to spring break in a couple of days, our fingers are crossed that this project will be funded. I am excited to see what my creative students come up with and I cannot wait to share their ramen recipes with you.
Do you have a favorite ramen recipe? What tips of tricks do you have for perking up packets of instant ramen? I would love to learn from you and share your ideas with my students.