There have been many things that I have wanted to do in my fourth grade classroom. Some things I have been able to do, but others I have not. There is a piece of me that truly wishes that fourth grade was more developmentally appropriate. I wish my kids did not have to switch classes, and I wish that the Common Core Standards took their development more seriously when composing standards that they (and their teachers) must use as a guide.
A piece of my heart will always been in fourth grade, with 9s and 10s, but the time has come for me to take a break. The spark in the eyes of fourth graders is there. But so often, it is diminished as quickly as it arrives, by a teacher saying "hold that thought!" or "we can come back to that later," "maybe look into it at home!" I do not want to be this teacher anymore. I want to be able to run an inquiry based classroom, a tiny world filled with wonder without worrying about having to stop reading because I have to start word study.
If and when I possibly return to upper grades, I hope this new adventure will help with my own ability to cross the curriculum in more meaningful ways. My teaching life has been departmentalized from the beginning- and for seven years, I have worked in nice neat little boxes. For me to stay on my toes and keep learning in new ways- I need to get out of those tidy little boxes and find something new.
Next year, I am teaching Kindergarten. I could not be more excited about it! And I know this is an opportunity for me to truly take on a position following what I believe to be the best way that 4s, 5s and 6s learn. There are five other Kindergarten teachers in my district. They all are the experts in their classrooms, they all have been doing the same grade level for years. Only one other teacher will be new like me- and luckily for me, her and I see eye-to-eye on so much when it comes to learning and learning spaces. I am willing to learn from others around me, but also, I am willing and ready to take a chance on the learning I see in my mind. The kind I want for my own children.
There are so many great educators that I have followed and learned from for years. So many people that inspired me along the way. So many people that have encouraged me to try to implement Reggio based learning in my upper grades classrooms. I am thankful that these educators share their work, and I am eager to share my own work as I start this new journey. I understand that it will be filled with new obstacles and challenges, but I welcome them.
If you have any Kinder teachers that I must follow, please share their contact information below. I have included a slideshow of some accounts that I love so you can see the type of learning I am talking about here.
I have been finding a lot of inspiration from homeschooling accounts, educators and interior designers and the spaces they create. If you have any other recommendations, I welcome them.