This summer, I had grand plans.
I had read The Curious Classroom, Comprehension & Collaboration, Disrupting Thinking and more. I was ready to take on the world. I was inspired immensely by seeing Jessica Lifshitz speak at one of the Scholastic Reading Summits. I had brushed up on the amazingness that is Kristine Mraz. I had plans to pull it all together, but it kind of never happened.
Enter the new school year, enter new curriculum, mandates, committees and all of the other "stuff" that adds to our never-ending to-do lists. The stuff started piling up and I couldn't see over it all. The "stuff" was blocking the important stuff. The work. The work that I want to do.
This revelation I had this summer might shock you, it shocked me. The revelation I had is that my life's work has shifted from helping children love reading and writing to helping children change the world. This is what I felt in my bones. Not that the work that I have been doing, studying and living wasn't important, but that it was a stepping stone to the real work I wanted to be brave enough to do.
While the weekend workshop I just took had many books, strategies and ideas that I have already explored or read or worked on by myself, it taught me something else. Something I didn't expect to take away. I already live by the if it's a great idea, try it out tomorrow motto, but I have never been willing to completely go off the beaten path. I've never been willing to in the middle of the school year, ditch complete units and start over, but it is what I will do, starting tomorrow.
Reading and writing workshop is great. It's an entry point into workshop work for me and it has served my students well. We will continue the structure and continue with some of the work the fabulous Units of Study have laid out.
But I'm done with letting the "stuff" get in the way of the work I really want to do. The inquiry work. The work that gets messy, the work that has no clear path, the work that starts here and ends up someone totally unexpected. The work that empowers, not just engages.
Here goes nothing!