Make it Count

As the summer winds down for teachers and students, our minds shift to the upcoming school year. If you are a teacher reading this, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Summer is a time to renew and refresh, but it also allows me to refocus. I have to ask myself a few important questions. The most important of which sounds simple: 

What do I really want my students to get out of this school year? 

I think I can narrow it down to one word. 


I can hear the outcry now, "But Maria, that's really two words, and you just crammed them together!"

Sue me, it's my blog.  

PASSION - live is drudgery without it.

It is that inner drive, that all consuming need, that helps us create our own unique place in the world. My job is to model my own passions, and to expose them to as much as possible. I'm pretty eclectic in my tastes, which is one of the reasons I love my job. Over the course of the elementary years I share with my dragonlings I can cover a lot of ground. From algebraic thinking to poetry; dolphins to dragons; comics to Shakespeare... I put it all out there.

When I start from my own passion areas, it helps students get energized about something that may not have occurred to them to try. This year I'm more excited about writing than I have been in years. I'm not the "writing teacher" (they get that in their regular classrooms), but I think my rediscovered writer's passion will be infectious. I've offered writing as enrichment topics before to limited success, but I think this is the year that it will really take off. Why? Because I am ready to jump around and shout, "I love writing!"

When you take that and add it to the overwhelming excitement I'm feeling about Mars - that's the recipe for a fabulous year. Creating an enrichment unit that focuses on Mars (or just exploration of space) will allow my students to attack this current event from any angle that makes their heart go "pitter patter". Math, science, engineering... even the vital role of social media in spreading the news... the possibilities are endless.

Passion alone doesn't make for a better world, though. For that, you need to add in a healthy dose of ...


Compassion is powerful. It is a passion - a passion for trying to understand the world from another point of view. Life, if lived properly, teaches us compassion. A judicious dose of amazing books and movies can also move students along in their journey.

You may remember that I posted earlier this year about a book called Wonder. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet you need to take some time and do it. Go ahead, I'll wait. (Umm... no, I won't. But the post will still be here when you get back). So many teachers saw the beauty in Wonder that there is a movement to connect us all in sharing the book with our peers and students. If you want in, check out the form below. Check out my Twitter Buddy David Etkin's blog post about it as well as the Choose Kind website to take the pledge to choose kind every day.

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you wil try to act a little kinder than is necessary - the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

Yes - this would be my crowning achievement. As a teacher, as a mother, as a citizen of the world. I want those around me to be inspired to find their passions, and to become compassionate members of the human race. 


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