Monday, September 5, 2016

Doing, Not Deciding!

Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump. How many frogs are left on the log? (cue the Final Jeopardy music...despite the error in my questioning...your answer can be in the form of an answer). Raise your hand if you said "One". Now look around to see if anyone wonders why you're talking to yourself. Actually, of course, the answer is Five. Deciding to jump is not the same as jumping. Deciding isn't doing. Doing is doing.

As we start the new school year, how many new things have you decided to do, either in your library, classroom, or school? Throughout the summer I thought about doing Orientations differently, looked on Pinterest, Twitter, etc. for inspiration for something new. But when it came right down to doing something different, I relied on the powerpoint I usually do, with a few additions for our theme, etc. and did it in the same face to face way I've done for the past few years. And it was perfect, with a couple additions. While I'd love to do the cool scavenger hunts, start the first day without any orientations, broadcast on CCTV to everyone at once (all of which I have tried) I decided to stick with what works and there's nothing wrong with that. I had to consider my population, large number of homerooms to orient, large numbers of new students, and other unique school factors that lead my decision making.

However, since I had made the decision to inject something new and exciting, mainly to stave off my own weariness in presenting basically the same info almost 60 times, I added a couple fun things. For my second graders, I met with 2 classes at once, for 45 minutes, so there'd be time for the lesson and book checkout. However having 2 classes book browsing and checking out at once is too chaotic, so one class stayed at the tables, which I'd covered with white butcher paper, gave them markers (really!) and said to write a reading message for the next class. They loved it! A great substitute for those cool whiteboard tables you actually CAN write on! After a few classes came through, they became graffiti banners that have been hanging in the media center and our windows.

The second new and exciting thing I did was create a Photo Booth. I've had a big book rack that has been "upcycled" to display poetry, twitter chat banners, reading projects and more. When I was trying to decide whether to stick it in the back or hang something on it, I pictured a frame (recycled cardboard from a western theme we did one year) with a jungle backdrop (cloth that I dug up that  is, no lie, at least 15 years old) Our theme is "Learning is an Adventure" and it would be perfect. So after students had checked out their books, they had the option of taking pictures of each other in the photo booth with appropriate handheld signs. What a crazy, spur of the moment hit! And I can't even tell you the adults who want their picture taken! I'll change the backdrop to space, underwater, and other "adventures" the students want to take this year. The possibilities are endless!

So have you started with a "To Do" list or a "To Decide" list? It's not too late to implement that cool new idea, display, lesson, etc. In fact, it's never too late! But remember, deciding isn't doing. Weight Watchers can tell you that! I've decided to go, get back on track, count points, exercise, maybe even go back to being a leader, etc. more times than I can count, but if I don't DO the program, it won't work!

What keeps us from actually doing what we've decided to do? More things than I can write about
here! But often, especially in the case of trying something new at school, it's a fear of failure, that it won't work out and then what....well, probably nothing! Even if you've done it wrong, it's better than not doing it all. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So, here I've followed up on a doing, not deciding, and resumed my blogging! I usually have too much to say that won't fit in a Tweet, so I'm doing what I love and hope it touches someone out there.
Hope your new year keeps that "new car smell" way past the honeymoon period!
Remember to Stay Grounded, Friends! (not just decide it!)