Thursday, July 1, 2010

Journal entry #1 :Next great big idea.

For the last few years, I’ve offered mega-book talks for teachers from the 
Nellie McClung Elementary School, here in Calgary. By the end of each August, I’ve pulled a schwack of books for Kindergarten to grade 6, focused around a very specific theme selected by all the teachers the previous spring.  This theme becomes the springboard around which learning will evolve for the entire upcoming school year, as well as tie into the Alberta curriculum.  Whew!  Quite an endeavor.

I’m given the topic in June and then spend the next couple of months mulling over and reading books with this idea tucked into the back of my mind, seeing or imagining how it may tie into the big idea.

In the past some of the big ideas have been justice, change, cause and effect and identity.  This last one, identity, I turned into a mind map  and developed a series of questions and ideas around the concept and attached a bibliography. It is challenging to come up with a broad enough range of resources that tie into the big idea.  You just never know what the spark will be to get the topic launched at the top of the school year or supported later on.

This year’s challenge is ‘legacy’.  I’ve only been given the bare bones of the potential specific focal point for each grade but I’ve already got a few ideas kicking around.

Over the course of the next couple of months I’ll post an update or two about the progress (hopefully) I’m having coming up with resources that tie into the idea of legacy.  I hope this will help you see the process as I develop my book lists and inspire you to build or freshen up your own.  The word ‘process’ makes this sound like I have a set course of action. Ah, not so much.  It’s all pretty much a hodge-podge of thinking and reading and then more thinking and reading.  We’ll see if I can articulate the ‘process’ any better than that as we go along.

Maybe I’ll ask your for input too, once I start to get a better handle on the topic.

Now I need to get busy thinking and ah, reading, too, I guess.


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