First of all, I thank you all for staying tuned in to the things we do in our classroom. I truly do consider myself to be a 'reflective practitioner' - which is why I can't seem to ever catch up on doing all I want to do in our room. I get one idea, then think of another, then another, and I just can't stop until they all get done! On top of it, I like to document it on our blog so that we can all grow and learn together, but finding time to make it all happen in our room and on here is challenging! Regardless, I've been excited to share our learning experiences with those of you who are excited to read them.
Some of you may have noticed that LifeIn4B recently underwent a little 'content reduction'. Our blog is a lot skimpier than it used to be. A few of you have emailed me saying, "I went to look for your post about ____, but I couldn't find it. Help me!"
My response to those emailing friends went something like this:
The ______ blog post you're looking for DID come from our blog. Now, the reason you aren't able to find it is because... I deleted about 150 posts. :( Why would I do such a thing? Well, I emailed a publishing company to get their input as to many of the charts you see on our blog that I created to coincide with a popular teacher's guide I use. The charts are awesome because they inspire kids to WRITE about many of the literary features and skills I teach them. I have had tons of teachers ask for these charts as a result of seeing them on our blog because the charts help students think at deeper levels, and they are also a great way to assess students' thinking when it comes to literacy. I've heard from more teachers than I can even keep up with, so... since the charts seemed so popular, I thought maybe I could get the publishing company to jump on board and we could explore the possibilities. I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask, right?
Well, instead of the publishing company thinking the charts were great, I got an email back from them saying they appreciated I was so conscientious and that I had even bothered to email them at all, but....the charts I created that were inspired by their teaching guide infringed on copyright laws, and they requested I delete everything from my blog that had to do with their teaching guide. They also told me any pictures of book covers I had on my blog broke copyright laws, too. :(
Needless to say, almost 75% of our blog is about literacy, the mentor texts we use and what we learn from them, the thinking we do together and individually, etc. I take pictures of everything because I like to share with parents AND teachers as to what we do so we can all grow and learn together. Aside from that, I'm a thinker, a talker, a problem-solver, and seeing what we do helps me grow as a professional.
My students and their learning was ALWAYS the focus when I created the charts this summer. I consider myself a very hard-working, honest, genuine person who always has good intentions, so the email I got from the publishing company last week made my heart race a mile a minute. For someone who works so hard to do everything RIGHT, I suddenly felt I had done everything wrong, even though I know it's what's best for kids.
Rather than going through every single post and taking out bits and pieces (which I had started to do but it was taking me forever to go through each post), I just decided to *hard swallow* delete most of my blog. It still makes me ill to think that in one simple click I deleted a year's worth of professional reflection and documentation of the learning we do in our room. Unfortunately, in addition to the charts, I ended up deleting everything else that was on each post - including things that WERE my own ideas. I'm allowed to use the charts in my own classroom but am not allowed to share them with other teachers. Total. Bummer.
With all that said, from now on I will be more conscientious with what I post; the last thing I need is a huge lawsuit simply because I care a ton about my kids learning and how empowering it is to network with other teachers. I still respect the publishing company that I emailed with and the author of the book I was/and still am so inspired by. It just seems twisted that what's best for our kids and for our profession is ... against the law. I mean, I get it, but .... I don't.
Needless to say, I've taken a little 'break' from posting lately, just to wrap my brain around all of this and keep my head up. I immediately wrote back to the publishing company with my sincere apologies, and they responded that I shouldn't be too hard on myself - which, for those of you who know me, is almost impossible. I promise you I will continue to blog and share, but for now what I have to blog and share is that I screwed up and wasn't aware of it until last week.
I tell my kids all the time that nobody's perfect and that everyone makes mistakes - it's just important that we learn from them. I'm definitely no exception. :)