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Launching This Glorious New School Year!

Building community and relationships with your students and colleagues

This new school year is my 38th launch (because I started teaching when I was four years old). Each new school holds that wide open hope of new possibilities, growth, fresh starts, and friendships - old and emerging. It is also a time of never having enough time to do all we want to do to get ready, to linger over catch up conversations with colleagues, and to just help all our students come to know that we are really NOT Viola Swamp. In current my Auntie or Mama Bear roles of support to schools around the world, I offer words of unconditional support - Take good care of yourself in these rushed and full days. It is all like that wise plane safety announcement of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before putting it on someone else. The more you can take care of yourself - your health, your energy, your humor, your time - the more you have to give to your kids and to your colleagues.

Additionally, to honor the practical necessities of these launching days and weeks and fuel your work, I offer the following links and resources. Please know that I am thinking of you all and cheering you on!

Warmest connections and respect,


First, for a brilliant and huge collection of launching suggestions and resources, check out Larry Ferlazzo's diverse ideas via this link

As always, be sure to check out the infinite number of resources and thinkers via Choice Literacy and Edutopia. They are so often my "go to" sites when researching a question or prepping for professional collaborations.

“All serious daring begins within."

-Eudora Welty

"Learn as much as you can while you are young, since life becomes too busy later.”
- Dana Stewart Scott

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
- Albert Einstein

“You learn something every day if you pay attention.”
- Ray LeBlond

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”
- Sydney J. Harris

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”
- Tom Bodett

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
- Edmund Burke

“What is the most important thing one learns in school? Self-esteem, support, and friendship.” 
- Terry Tempest Williams

“In a school community, someone who reads a book for some secretive purpose, other than discussing it, is strange. What was she reading for?” 
- John Irving

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."  

~John Dewey

"The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives."

~Robert Maynard Hutchins

"I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework."

 ~Lily Tomlin as "Edith Ann"

"The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book."  


~Author Unknown

"Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher.  That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number."


~Author Unknown

"The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder". 

~Ralph W. Sockman

"What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child."  


~George Bernard Shaw

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin

"Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army."  


~Edward Everett

"He who opens a school door, closes a prison."


~Victor Hugo

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."  

~Malcolm S. Forbes

"Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves."  

~Abbé Dimnet, Art of Thinking, 1928

"When a subject becomes totally obsolete we make it a required course."


~Peter Drucker

"Education is the movement from darkness to light."  


~Allan Bloom

"Much education today is monumentally ineffective.  All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants."


 ~John W. Gardner

"Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire."


~William Butler Yeats

"Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know."

~Daniel J. Boorstin, Democracy and Its Discontents

"The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions". 

~Bishop Mandell Creighton

"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives."  


~Clay P. Bedford

"The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr."  


"Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere."


~Chinese Proverb

"All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind."


-Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

"The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind."

~Kahlil Gibran

(And here's one honoring our own professional and personal learning...)

"Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?"

~Erich Fromm - An inspiring TED Talk from a most brilliant child mentor shared by Angela Peery - Thank you, Angela!

Thank you to Vince Puzick of the Colorado Department of Education for these links!

Planning for Your First Day at School -

Routines and Schedules - (especially page 2)

The Value of Classroom Rituals & Routines -

Routine, Ritual, and School Community - (You will want to subscribe to Edutopia if you do not already - Excellent resources and think tanks!)

Who, What, When, and Where of Writing Rituals - (The National Writing Project is another professional source to follow closely.

Building Relationships with Students - 

A Crash Course in Building Effective Learning Relationships With Students - 

Developing Positive Teacher-Student Relations - 

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