Travels or Adventures? Thank You, Lester!

What a busy summer it has been! In June, I had the pleasure of attending the All Write conference where the closing speaker was Lester Laminack. Somehow I had never had the privilege of hearing Lester speak, but I am so glad I did. What an amazingly captivating storyteller! Lester wove an enchanting story as he took us with him on a trip to Paris. The premise of his storytelling was to talk about the difference between being a traveler and an adventurer. During this trip, Lester chose to be an adventurer. Instead of tourbooks and lists of all the tourist sites, Lester went with an open mind and a determination to be an adventurer. Because of this, he saw things and met people he might never have had his nose been buried in his tourbook and itinerary.

As I sat mesmerized by Lester’s storytelling, I began to wonder how in the world he was going to connect this to reading?! And then, oh so subtlely, he guided us to the notion that in the classroom we have a choice- we can let students experience reading as travelers or adventurers. As travelers, we require them to have passports and itineraries and tourbooks in the form of chapter questions and summaries and book reports. What we need to do is allow them to be adventurers- choose where reading will take them and forge their own journey through the texts they explore. How true! I had never thought of reading in this way. Lester challenged us as educators to create opportunities for reading adventures for our students.

In just two days I embark on a trip. I was awarded a study grant for 2 weeks at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England. I have never in my forty three years been that far from home! It will also mark the longest I have ever been away from my four boys. You see, since I’m going that far, I decided to add another week and visit Scotland and perhaps Wales, places I have always longed to visit. As a mom, when I travel with my husband and kids, I am the travel guide. I pore over the tourbooks, print maps, create itineraries and plan for every possible scenario. As I began to plan this trip, I was haunted by Lester’s admonition- traveler or adventurer? Obviously, part of my trip is planned and controlled by the study abroad program. But there are days that are not. And so…

I’m going to be an adventurer! I have a place to stay booked for the first 2 nights (so hard to go from traveler to adventurer!), but no list of places to visit, no itinerary- just an open mind and an adventuring spirit. It will be interesting to take this trip where I will be both traveler and adventurer. What will I learn about each role? What are the implications for the classroom? I’ll certainly be reflecting on my time and how each role feels. Will I feel stifled by the traveler role or find comfort in agendas and plans? Will I freak out in the adventurer role without limits? Or will I find that doors open and I learn things I might not have otherwise? Who knows…but thanks, Lester for challenging me to be an adventurer. I’m off!

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12 thoughts on “Travels or Adventures? Thank You, Lester!

  1. Excellent post–what a great point! Good luck on both your trip and in your classroom. I look forward to hearing your reflections!

    I understand that you are going to be an adventurer, but I’d like to suggest a few stops in Scotland πŸ˜‰ Scotland is my favorite place in the whole world! If you are able, try to get to Dunnottar Castle, it’s on the East side of the country. It is absolutely breathtaking! Also, the highlands are amazing (Glencoe is where Braveheart was filmed). If you really had time I would highly, highly suggest you get up to the Shetland Isles; you would be utterly amazed by the beauty and wildness of it!

    • Thanks, Kristy! I love castles, well at least the idea of castles, having never been in a real one. I will definitely look out for Dunnottar. And I am so going to the Highlands at some point! I;ve read to many highland romances not to:) If not the Shetland Isles this time, perhaps next. Will you show me around:-)?

  2. I love this analogy because it reminds us to live in the moment and be ready to embrace change. Super blogpost, Teresa. I look forward to hearing about your adventures.

    • Thanks, Mardie! I think the era of standards and high stakes testing has caused us to lose many times to opportunity to embrace that teachable moment. Here’s hoping I learn some lessons in those teachable moments.

  3. Lester’s idea really is powerful! I love the thought of children creating their own reading adventure, instead of me always being the tour guide. I’m excited to hear more about your adventure abroad!
    ~Laura Komos
    @Komos72

    • Thanks, Laura! It is powerful to think of it that way, isn’t it? I think this is the thought process behind PBL and other education efforts. How do we release the learning to kids? I’m hoping to learn as much about that as about the cultures I will visit.

  4. God bless you and your inspirational adventurous spirit. While you’re over there, i hope you eat weird food, go in the out door, talk to people whose accent is way different from yours–way different–buy tacky, fun souvenirs, make an impression on children, and look in the corners. Can’t wait for tweets, photos, and stories. Stay safe (but adventurous), my friend.

    • Weird food? I think I will stay away from the haggis (ugh!) but I’ll be sure to try something weird on your behalf:-) Thanks for always being a word of encouragement and a wonderful cheerleader!

  5. Love this post – both Lester’s message and you wanting to try some adventure for yourself. That’s how I saw parts of Europe with my daughter when she was studying abroad and I visited. Enjoy what life brings you.

    • Thanks, Karen! I’m hoping I set an example or my own boys about seeking adventure in life (in good ways!).

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