Yesterday day I turned 40.

I officially no longer eligible to win any ‘up and coming educator’ awards.

I’m ok with that.

My family and I decided to all meet up in the mountains of Virginia for a reunion of sorts. I grew up in Western NY so the geography is fairly familiar to me but its been years since I’ve been immersed,. This part of upstate Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains is wooded and has rugged peaks and deep valleys.

For almost 15 years I have been living in Coastal Carolina. We think a 10 foot grade is a steep climb.

Like I said, its been years since I have driven roads like this or taken in vast and beautiful mountain ranges. My kids are South Carolina natives so they were at first terrified of the serpentine roads and then thrilled at the roller coaster like experience. They were wowed by the mountains and have loved exploring the new wilderness.

It has really made me think of the importance of novel experiences. I grew up in yhe mountains. I didn’t see the Atlantic Beach until I was in college. It was thrilling! Now my family spends 3 or 4 days a week on the beach. It is beautiful and awe inducing but it becomes routine. It has become the new normal. The mountains are different and exciting.

Last year I was really excited to ise my Dreadsheets concept. After the few 2 or 3 units though I noticed that the students interest was waning. The excitement of the Boss Fights had become ‘old hat’. It was like the beach to my kids – the new normal. Most history classes were not gamified so it was interesting at first but I didn’t change it up quickly enough. Without new wrinkles it became normal and boring. I had forgotten the importance of novelty. Throwing some curveball or changeups to keep the students on their toes. I have some plans for this I have to fully flesh out for next year but for now I am teyimg to remember the importance of novelty.