The thought of actually writing by hand, with a pen, is not one I relish for my hand cramps forcing the thoughts to get stuck waiting for my hand to move faster and dictating into a recording device is not my style. I like the computer, my laptop in particular. It is a comforting friend that has seen me through the tough times in my online graduate school program, the learning curve of “bill pay” and Google Documents, the excitement of learning to make movies on iMovie and iDVD, editing photos on iPhoto, exploring Facebook and iChat. I am connected, and feel like a technology wiz. All that at 80 words per minute, no wonder I am addicted. My computer is my pal and allows me to type just about as fast as I think, which means I can write with a flow that my hand no longer allows.
I understand the concept behind shaking things up to get new ideas flowing though. I do that regularly in my classroom and it is rare that I repeat my curriculum delivery two years in a row, which is how I keep it exciting and why after 30 (!) years- I still love teaching. I never know what will inspire me to veer off in a new direction but inevitably something strikes me, or serendipity presents a gift. This year, I happened to be eating lunch at one of my favorite little places The Baker, when I noticed a big thank you card posted in the restroom written by a class of kindergarten students after their field trip to bake bread. I inquired about the field trip, talked to the owner and happily arranged a trip for my class. I decided to focus on the community worker aspect and to make it a little spicier, the machines and tools of the baking business. I went in and took photos of the baking machines, ovens, scales and mixers and will develop a unit with our science teacher about simple machines to get the children excited in anticipation of their bakery visit. I have had offers from parents in my class to share other simple machines and tools with the children so they can have a first hand experience and come to their own conclusions about the importance and necessity of tools. This is a new unit for me and I love the adrenalin rush of creating something new and fun. This is the joy of teaching. This is how I “switch instruments.”