Pushing Upstream

Sherri Spelic (@edifiedlistener on Twitter) is a wonderful educator and human being. She proposed we write #MovementMemoirs to discuss ways we move through life. This one was mine.

Movement Memoirs

Scott Bayer

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#MovementMemoirs

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Howard Zahniser, Executive Director of The Wilderness Society and primary author of the Wilderness Act of 1964

Twenty years ago, I was standing in the middle of Ramsey’s Draft, a small river rushing through central Virginia. Ramsey’s Draft, also the namesake of the Wilderness Area it inhabits, moves swiftly through the George Washington and the Jefferson National Forests. From the parking lot off of Hanky Mountain Highway to the top of Hardscrabble Knob is about 7 miles, with only about a 2000 foot rise in elevation—numbers that could not daunt the type of hiker I was back then. But a Wilderness…

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What Time is It? Notebook Time!

moving writers

We are singing Hamilton as we read today’s fantastic, deep-dive guest post from Scott Bayer, an English Language Arts (ELA) Instructional Specialist for grades 6-12 in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has taught high school English for 16 years and is passionate about creating meaningful learning experiences for students, teaching a more inclusive reading list, and developing student agency, voice, passion, and curiosity. You can find him on Twitter: @Lyricalswordz

Even though students have always written in my class, I’ve always known that they’ve needed to write more and in different ways. When I first started teaching, I was stuck in traditional modes—ones that I learned from my own experiences as a student in school: students wrote what I told them to write, and then I graded their work.

As my craft evolved, so did my classroom. I began to have kids write in various ways during class and for various…

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But What if They Don’t Read All the Words?

We put too much energy put into monitoring if students are reading all the words: reading logs, reading journals, or the worst of the lot, reading quizzes. Which of these creates life-long readers and which destroys them? From a very young age, students recognize the fact they are being asked to prove they read, and they resent us for it. And they resent books for it. What could be more sad than that?

We are All Merely Gardeners

We are only afforded a small plot of land in this life, but as Candide reminds us, even stubborn pieces of ground can yield a plentiful crop. Gardens are at times beautiful, dressing themselves in the vibrant colors of spring. Flowers bloom, leaning toward the sunlight; crops thrive, nourishing us. But gardens also suffer, languishing through the harsh realities of winter. Gardens are at times somewhere in between—like those that tend them—always trying to find a better way to flourish.