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Ignite means to catch fire or cause to catch fire. Others have ignited a fire in me to grow, change, and evolve. My word for 2019 is 'ignite'. I want to ignite others by encouraging, celebrating, and pushing their thinking. I want to ignite a passion in my students for learning, questioning, and exploring. And I want to continue to ignite my own passion to grow and learn.

As I look for ways to ignite others and myself in 2019, I find myself looking back on 2018. Over the summer, my district sent 20+ teachers to New York City to learn more about Writing Workshop with Lucy Calkins at the Teachers College, Columbia University. I felt encouraged as my district paid for this trip and displayed confidence in sending me. This support sparked a flame in me. I was ignited as I connected with educators and learned how to be a better writing teacher. I was ignited when I met Brooke Daniels, a fellow educator who pushed my thinking and continues to contribute in my growth as a teacher. I was ignited when I joined a book study. I was ignited when I met my new 21 kindergarten students and their families. I was ignited as I saw my students develop and become increasingly empowered.

You can see that there was not one, but there were many moments that ignited me this past year. It was a range of connections and opportunities. What personal and global connections did you make this year? Twitter has helped me make more global connections this year. If you can believe it, I only joined Twitter this school year, and it has given me access to professional development, endless learning opportunities, and a spark to learn more. Personal connections are hard for me. I am an introvert, so sparking up a meaningful conversation with someone I don't know well, is a lot of work. It's scary and it takes time. I need to be better at taking the time to have deep conversations, and invest in others on a more personal level. In both my personal and professional life.

What was a moment that ignited you this past year? How can you get more of that? How can you carry that through to 2019? Below are a few ways I ignited my students curiosity and passions in 2018. Maybe it will ignite something in you.

1. Explore outside: the more we went outside, the more discovery, questions, and learning happened.

2. Invite students to bring in things they find: When I opened up the idea to bring in anything they want to share, this opened up new conversations and questions.

3. Give students ownership in their classroom: When students are in charge of their space, they feel a sense of ownership and pride.

4. Engage in what they love: When I began listening to my students more, their excitement to learn, discover new things, and find answers was unleashed!

5. Invite in experts: It was an enhanced experience listening to an expert guest on occasion rather than me giving them this information.

6. Invite families into your classroom: This simple invitation gave my families a peak into what we do and ways they can work on skills at home.

7. Integrate Technology: We have used some awesome technology this year. Merge Cubes, EPIC, Flipgrid, Canvas, iMovie, ASL Kids, Pebble Go, Google, Skype, Virtual Field Trips, Shadow Puppet, Pic Collage, and more!

8. Collaborate: We have loved reading with other classes, collaborating on projects, and connecting with other students throughout our district.

9. Make a difference in the Community: We noticed a need after the hurricanes hit the Carolinas. So we created a shoe drive and collected 702 pairs of shoes!

10. Go on a field trip: Students love field trips! Find a way to learn from someone or a place, and go!

Now, is a fire burning inside of you? What are you going to change in 2019? Can you cause something to catch fire (not literally, unless it's a safe and fun project)?


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10 Ways to IGNITE you're students

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