Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Here's the Plan

As part of my summer reading, I've been immersed in Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap. This is one of the few books that I've read about education that really speaks to me as a teacher, a parent, and a citizen. It's not a perfect book, especially because I'm still having trouble visualizing how the big picture will play out within the walls of my classroom, but it is an important book; it has me questioning and thinking and speculating in the direction of positive change.

As Wagner sees it, there are seven "survival skills" that students need in order to succeed as "learners, workers, and citizens" in today's rapidly changing world: (1) critical thinking and problem solving, (2) collaboration, (3) agility and adaptability, (4) initiative and entrepreneurialism, (5) effective oral and written communication, (6) accessing and analyzing information, and (7) curiosity and imagination. He is particularly focused on the high school experience, and claims that "the real purpose of high school is to produce students who will be capable citizens and participants in our democracy -- students who know how to solve problems and add value, both in their communities and in the workplace."

I am a few weeks away from beginning a new position as a high school teacher, and perhaps this is why Wagner's book is particularly resonant for me. It's even influencing my scrapbooking!

I really did scrap "scraps" on this layout. I pulled together a bunch of items and papers that remind me of school -- bits and pieces that double as telling details to capture the glory and the mess and the wonder and the STACKS that are so much a part of being a teacher. I also included a manifesto of sorts (or perhaps a benediction?) for the year ahead -- my own kind of lesson plan.
In each student, a good and worthy voice.
In each lesson, let me learn as well.
In each morning, a reason to rise.
In each afternoon, a long look back.
In each question, more questions.
In each answer, more questions.
In each moment, nothing momentary.
I repurposed some of my school supplies here as well. I used Shimmerz Vibez and Spritz over a paper clip "mask" as well as over a few pages from a daily planner. More details about the layout can be found on the Shimmerz blog.

Maybe it's a little odd to do a school-themed layout over the summer, but this one just felt right to me. Here's to the continuous process of learning and growing...and scrapping!

P.S. A special thank you to Stephanie Wheeler, for featuring me on her blog yesterday!


  1. Love the new 'school themed' LO. Your stuff is always so fabulous!

  2. That sounds like something I should read. I have struggled throughout most of my career with the nagging feeling that we really aren't preparing students for the challenges they will face as adults in the future. I now work with middle school gifted students and my biggest concern is the complacency and even laziness that is rampant among my student population.

    Love your layout too. Very creative! It's a great mantra to help keep us from getting stuck in the rut that is the day-to-day grind.

  3. I love this Jill! Super work as usual!
    I love the ideas you listed from the book. They sound exactly like the philosphies that my daughter's school goes by. It is an all girls' school from grades 4-9 and I can see the difference in her learning from that of my older boys who went to a traditional coed junior high school. I can tell already that she is more than prepared for her high school learning years already and has blossomed in every way. You can go to the school website at www.calgarygirlsschool.com
    Thanks for sharing your work-and any layout about books are always inspirational to me!!

  4. I work in a school as well. I really love your post. I'm going to try and remember these things when the school year begins.

  5. oh i LOVE this one. perhaps it resonates with me as i too am a high school teacher. what a great age. you're going to love them.

  6. I just love this, I am a teacher myself so I can really relate! Love all the layers and details.