"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Helen Keller

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Fran Richardson
Welcome to my blog!I'm a teacher in a beautiful, small, rural town. I moved here a few years ago, but I have taught over 20 years in this same small town that is now my home. My experience is in teaching second, third, and fourth grades with one year in sixth grade. I am always reading, learning, and reflecting on what goes on in my classroom. I love the work that I do with the parents, my fellow teachers, and most all-my students.I hope you will enjoy reading my blog.
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The Scholar, Age 5

The Scholar, Age 5

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I'm A Lifelong Learner...
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Learning Lessons

It doesn't take much for me to learn a lesson, but it often seems like I learn many things "the hard way." Such is the case of my blog.

My idea was to start this blog as a way to express myself as a teacher. I craved collaboration and cooperation, and all those warm, fuzzy feelings of sharing and having an exchange of ideas. ( Sigh).

Imagine my excitement then when I made my first post on my first blog. ( Okay, we aren't counting the blog that sat empty and waiting for a year that died from lack of attention like an unloved houseplant). However, being a visual person I didn't like the look and feel of the page. It was a template, and it didn't feel like me. It was very "cookie cutter," and while I tried to make it mine, something didn't quite fit.

I decided to go on a search for making my own template despite my limited knowledge of how to do this. After all, I am teacher, and I believe that I can read and follow directions. I read several reviews, and I decided on Aristeer's Home Edition. I downloaded the trial version, and I started playing around, and I came up with a better look that suited my style. Then came the big moment: seeing how my new creation looked.

Here's where I goofed: The trial doesn't have the back-up feature. Because I didn't read this needed information beforehand, I clicked, and everything on my blog DISAPPEARED!

I won't lie and say I didn't think of crying.

So back to work I went this time with the paid version, and a short while later, there was my new blog page which looked even better than either the lost original or the trial version. While it's not perfect, my new page does represent me better than the "cookie cutter" page. Because I was starting over, I could toss out the elements that didn't appeal to me. I had control over what became part of my new page. I was allowed to be free, creative, and expressive, and truth be told, the newness of it all made it fun.

This whole experience seems to sum up both my journey as a teacher and how I have crafted my own teaching style: I don't like "cookie cutter curriculum." I seldom use the textbooks in my classroom except as resources. I try to fill my shelves with good quality trade books. Doing without the textbook and endless workbook pages or worksheets forces me to be creative in how I teach. I know that children learn best by doing and seeing and experiencing. For those reasons, I try to use games that require movement, simulations, role- playing, and hands-on or manipulative organizers or study tools as much as possible. And like the experience of my lost blog, in the midst of it all, it becomes FUN.

See- an old dog can still learn new tricks. :)

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- Marva Collins, from her poem, "I Am Excellence."

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