Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lessons Learned - Part 1

It's hard to believe that another school year is pretty much in the books, and what a year it has been! After teaching 6th grade for the better part of 10 years, I volunteered to change grade levels and moved to second grade. Moving to second grade was exciting and a little daunting, I wasn't sure what to expect. My first teaching position in my current building was in second grade, but that was more than a decade ago, a lot had changed. So I spent a great deal of last summer trying to prepare, but nothing could have prepared me for what lay ahead. Reflecting on the year, I have learned and re-learned some very powerful lessons. The next two or three blog posts will be devoted to these lessons.

Lots of things may have changed, but the most important thing that has not changed (at least not yet - thankfully) is the natural wonder and curiosity of second graders. The students in Room 103 love learning, and have this genuine curiosity and joy around learning. Every day has been an adventure, and their enthusiasm is infectious.

2. Students
Kids are kids. These last few weeks of June are no exception. Rather than fighting the current, I allowed myself to get caught up in it. We had June Fun Days this month with each day having its own theme. We dressed up silly, played games, had fun, and yes, a lot of learning continued to happen. But if you walked past our room it was messy and a little chaotic, and it probably would have made a few folks uncomfortable. There was a time when I would have been uncomfortable, but not now.

3. Students
Life is hard. We have seen a steady rise in the number of students severely impacted by trauma in the family, poverty, mental illness, the list goes on. For many of our students, school is their safe haven. It is a place where their bodies, minds and hearts are nourished. A teacher's job is as important today as it has ever been, and maybe more so, because we take on these additional roles, and do more than facilitate the learning of specific content. We nurture the whole-child.

The top 3 lessons learned and re-learned  were related to students, which really isn't all that surprising as they drive everything we do. I could have probably dug up more, and as I continue to process the year in the next few days I may need to add to this list, but these are my significant take-aways as far as students are concerned. The next two posts will focus on: colleagues, a PLN and being a connected educator, the global classroom and a community of learners, leadership and humility. I hope you will stay tuned, give the upcoming posts a read, and share what your own takeaways for the year have been.

This link will take you to an Animoto that I put together as a tribute to my students and their learning this year. Enjoy!


  1. Christina,
    I taught second grade for a few years and loved the gifts the kids brought to the classroom every day. It is definitely an age where they wonder about everything and that can be very exciting.
    You are absolutely right. The students are what our jobs are all about. As I write this I am getting ready to attend the 5th grade moving up ceremony at the school where I recently resigned. I'm excited to see the teachers and parents, but I'm most excited to see the students.
    Great post and I liked the Animoto.

    1. Have a wonderful time today Peter. Wonderful times and memories! Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. :)

  2. Christina - enjoyed your post and the comments on the whole child. We don't teach in a vacuum and just as we consider their individual learning styles, we need to remember each student has a life outside school that impacts not only their learning, but also impacts them socially and emotionally. As a K-6 librarian I enjoy watching them grow as Learners and individuals. Looking forward to your next post!

    1. Thank you Renee for taking the time to read the post and to respond! I think one of the most amazing parts of your unique position - being able to see how they grow year by year. :)