Listening to my gut

My stomach talks to me. And I've begun to rely on it over the years.
Walking onto a beach makes my stomach relax, but it screams when I have to present to a group. When I need to make a decision, I see how I am feeling before I make the pros and cons list.
Sometimes I get false readings, so I have to take care not to necessarily go with my first instinct.
I try to "sit" on whatever it is I am feeling or thinking to see if my gut still feels the same way later. (I have had one or two posts, that upon reflection, get jettisoned the next day.) But usually, my belly is right.
Today I moved my books, files, pictures, and coffee mug from the Upper School building to the Middle School building, where I will teach eighth-grade–a move about which I was somewhat ambivalent. I packed up my things, looking around the modern, bare room that housed my ninth-graders all year. The black desks weigh a ton and are hard to move around for group work. The white walls are covered with large blue cabinets so there's no space for student work or pictures. The ceiling is non-existent; the rooms were designed to see the heating and cooling pipes, creating a horrible acoustics problem. The server, which services the building, hums constantly in that room. And it's cold. Literally and figuratively.
My stomach complained constantly last year.
On this sunny day, I carted my belongings across campus, walking into my new space–pale blue walls and large windows, two-seater desks that can be moved wherever I want, and lots of bookshelves. I arranged the desks in a circle on the clean carpet, pushed a large round table to the corner, where I will keep the netbooks, and filled one of the bookshelves with my collection.
I imagined beginning my first day talking about all the books I planned to bring in for their independent reading, where they could work on the netbooks to publish and share their thoughts, and how we would create a community in this room. Our space.
I picked up the summer reading book, wondering what the students were thinking about it, hoping they would like the activity I have planned for their return.
Checking my lunch, I realized I was starved and ready for a big lunch

Yep, it's going to be ok.

Instant PD

Once again my network comes to the rescue. I am spending the day thinking about what and how I will teach next year. Of course, while I am working, I am checking Twitter, because….you never know what will pop up.
Tom, my WPMU friend from Richmond, has shared a link to a video.
I browse the site, and suddenly I am watching an 8th grade English teacher learning how to go from Good to Outstanding as he teaches a Dickens novel. The concept is like a reality TV show. The teacher teaches, then gets help from the experts. He has three weeks to come back and teach again, hoping to gain respect, votes, and a better class! Not only do they help him with how to present content, he also get advice about tone of voice, how to carry himself, and how his room looks.
In 30 minutes I learned some great techniques for making "an old dusty novel" come alive and how to modulate voice and gestures to not talk too much.
Does he make it? You'll have to watch:)
Thanks, Tom.
Ok, back to work.

Summer Begins

IMG_0713  Between visits with family (wonderful), leading a workshop (stressful), and getting over Vertigo (yuk), I feel  like summer work has only started today.
I am trying to use July to prepare for next fall (and not let the time slip away). Here's what I'm up to:

As I sip my coffee, glancing up occasionally to watch the dog roll in the grass or to enjoy the flowers scattered around the garden, I can feel my brain clearing. My body is experiencing calming, physical changes as I move to this summer mode. I have been inspired by teacher Steve Shann to focus on meaningful and connected things.

I'm off to walk the dog.