Slice of Life: The Weeding and Planting of Ideas

(This is part of the Slice of Life weekly writing at Two Writing Teachers)

I suppose my slice is similar to just about every teacher who is slicing this week, or last week, or next week … depending on when your school year begins (or has begun). I’m feeling the summer fading and my anxiety about starting the year beginning to creep into the back of head (you know, that place that keeps you up at night?). Along with leading various professional development sessions (which invades that same part of the head), I am thinking about my curriculum, and doing some weeding and planting.

One way I do that is by visiting my website where I showcase the curriculum for my sixth graders. This allows me to revisit the previous year and start thinking: does this belong? How about this? As a result, I have solidified my decision to toss out our month-long puppet unit (a difficult decision) in favor of our video game design project, adding in a digital citizenship unit, began thinking of how to teach more informational text in conjunction with our novels, and tinkered here and there with various things.

Hodgsonwriting website

What I have added early in the year is an I Search research project, so that I can teach some basic skills around research, sources and critiquing websites. These skills were lacking last year, and I normally don’t get to it until the end of the year, which now seems pretty silly since they need to know how to do those things early. Duh.

So, you can see what runs through my head in the middle of night ….

Peace (in the slice),


  1. My mind is twirling & we’ve been in school 4 days now, plus others for prep! The list grows longer… I just discovered Powtoon & will teach it in a tech tools class this fall-great program. I love the video of I-Search, & while I was writing this, the next one came up about the National Writing Project & connectivity. Fun, Kevin. Thank you!

  2. I purged piles of old syllabi and teacher handbooks last spring and I must admit that it has given me “fertile ground” to plant new seeds. A wonderful analogy to take back to school – tomorrow for me!

  3. Isn’t it fun to have the chance to come up with new ideas? That’s one of the thing that worries me most about the way education is heading right now – I’m worried about a “lock step” curriculum. I teach best when I can bring my passions to my students.

    I’m pretty eclectic, but even if there are things I don’t emphasize, other teachers who have THOSE passions will. Education is supposed to be about inspiring. Only if they are inspired will they really jump on board learning the skills they need to fulfill their dreams. Of course, it helps that I have students who do really already have the skills in place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *