We have all heard this…

The what is in the standards … the how is up to you

This is why I do what I do every day. I love the freedom in taking the standards I need to cover and making them my own, developing lessons and units that meet the needs of my students and allow me to make connections to past and future learning.

Discovering ways to help my students master the essential understandings is, for me, the most exciting part of teaching. Of course realizing that my best laid plans aren’t doing the trick is the most frustrating aspect of teaching. But, out of that frustration comes the opportunity to refine my craft. My favorite way to reexamine my efforts is to plan, brainstorm and teach with my colleagues. I love to tag team the students because two or three brains are better than one!!!

I am fortunate to work in a district where I feel that I have the freedom to take our programs, old and new, and make them work for my classroom. While keeping the spirit and integrity of the program intact, I can work with my colleagues to tailor our lessons to our kids. The results can be a custom fit worthy of Project Runway glory! And, if the look isn’t quite right, instead of hearing, Auf Wiedersehen, we can “make it work” with a new design. Ok, enough with the fashion analogies and I apologize if you’re not a Heidi Klum fan. (I wonder if I could make a connection to Real Housewives of New Jersey and Freedom in Structure? Yes, I am watching Bravo while I’m writing this)

This year we implemented the Better Answers protocol. Like most programs, you can use the book as is, but for me, using the book and its protocol to design my own PowerPoint presentations, writing activities, and mini lessons, helps me dissect and digest the information so I can get “it” and pass “it” on the best way I see how. This means using the language in the book and making the connections for my students, connections I know will help them best use their new strategies and skills. Again, I am so lucky to have a colleague who is on the same page and together, we really worked hard this year to make Better Answers work for our students. And luckily, I have several other colleagues that really share my passion for teaching and the desire to make it work (oops, there I go again) for our students. After all, freedom’s no fun if you’re in it alone.

Finally, as a New Hampshire native, I can’t help but say, Teach Free and Thrive

I know it’s corny, but I couldn’t resist 😉

Freedom in Assessment
The Relationship Between Structure and Freedom