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Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Content

Here it is...

The Content from my amazing 4 days last week. I could spend time talking about what I learned:

**Kagan Cooperative Learning versus Group Work
**PIES
**Class builders
**Team builders
**Structures
**Social skills
**Management
**Teams

I'm sure I will have plenty to say after I "experiment" on my next class. 

For now I want to read more. Talk it over with my Teammates and BTPSM (best teaching partner soul mate). And start my planning.

But I want to share a fantastic resource. Vickie @ Primary Press has several amazing blog posts about using Kagan Cooperative Learning in her kindergarten classroom. When I go to her blog I get swept away. Hopping from post to post. Be sure to find the posts with "Kagan" or "Cooperative Learning."

And maybe someday, when there is more money, my district will send me to a training in Florida. I would love to attend Kagan Structures for Little Ones, but I would also love to attend a a week-long institute

It may be summer, but I am off to learn and make some lists!
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Friday, June 10, 2016

Evolving

 I learn. I grow. I learn more, I grow again.

I am a life-long learner. I am a year-long learner.

My brain craves new knowledge.

I could write about the content from the last week (and I will get to that in a future post), but I can't even process that until I process how I feel about the week of training.

It was a 4-day training. After day 2, I felt the relationship with the presenter (and at that point, I was ready and eager to do whatever she asked), and I was ok with the other "students." If the year would have progressed like that, I would have considered it a success.

But what happened the next two days was even more amazing.

The presenter didn't let it stop there.

She kept teaching the content (which she knew very well) and she continued to have class building and team building activities. Some were for fun, and some were to review or process the content or analyze our own thinking.

And because of the class and team building I found myself changing. I have friends now that I didn't before. Friends that I will support and stand with. I have a new understanding for how different learners may experience an activity or classroom, because while I was learning the content, I was also observing the teacher and other students. Fascinating.

When I left yesterday I was sad. I will miss the 30 people in the room. Some I may not see in the future, others occasionally. Some I will work with closely, other not as much. I'm not as sad now.

Now, I'm happy that it happened. 

Those 4 days changed me. I will continue to evolve. I'm eager to see the path as it unfolds.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Break, Phase Two

You've been wondering, right?

What is Phase Two? I wrote about Phase One in May.

Phase Two is PD!

I wasn't really excited about the 4-day training that I signed up for, but now I am two days in and I am sooooo glad that I'm doing it.

What do I always worry about? Student engagement. Making learning fun. Covering standards.

These days have been chock full of all of that! And the added bonus is Social Skills!

I love the way the presenter helps our group of 30ish educators be comfortable in groups and the content, and ways to teach/incorporate social skills.

I've read the book before.


But being taught the content, processing the content with a group, and doing the structures is bringing the book alive!!!

Yep, I'm pretty excited to see how this will transform my classroom next year.

But more importantly. It's about the relationships. The interactions. These days have taught me (again) about the importance of relationships. 

Not only do I need to have good relationships with my students, I need to create an environment that fosters good relationships between the students. And now my toolbox is FILLING up with ideas on how to do this.

And the very best part?

The presenter is absolutely modeling the GREAT teaching behaviors, strategies, and structures that she is teaching us. So, not only am I learning them, I see her using them which makes a huge impression on me. I see what it could look like, and then think about how I could do it.

It's wonderful!!!!!

So, how do you create an environment that supports good relationships between students? I'd love to hear your ideas and add them to my new notebook! 
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Thursday, June 2, 2016

My Tribe

Your vibe attracts your tribe.

My tribe is local and global. I am one lucky teacher! I love that summer months lend themselves to spending time filling up my "bucket" with my tribe. 


Today's Tribe outing was to a local teacher store.


And then lunch at Panera. (I hardly talked--I was so busy eating a delicious salad, and no photos!)

Next we tried out the new drive through coffee shop.


It was a great day. We share about our personal lives. Our teacher lives. Share ideas and give counsel.


I cannot WAIT for our next outing!!!
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

New versus Update

I thought I wanted a new blog design to go with my new job. But as I started talking to my blog designer friend Barb (find her website HERE), I realized that I was not quite ready to let go of the old blog design. 

I love the colors, and the fonts. How in the world am I going to find something else that I love?

So, instead of working at trying to get an idea for a new blog design, and looking at pre-made designs, I was grateful when Barb said, "I can do that update." And she was soooo quick!

I love it!

Similar to the old, but ready for the new.

Need a blog design? I highly recommend Barb! Thanks Barb!!! You have made me very happy today. 


Grade Onederful Designs

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Big News

I'm moving schools and grades.

I couldn't be happier! Don't get me wrong...I love my old school. I grew up there. I had my undergrad teacher training there (I was there for 5 years). That school, the families, the teachers and staff, the community will always be my home.

Change is good. It challenges me. Change allows me to grow in ways that I didn't see coming. I'm looking forward to this change. 

Change is also scary. A new building, new families, new teachers and staff. Lots of new to learn.

Yesterday I visited my new room. A KINDERGARTEN classroom, in a school that is closer to my home. It is lovely! And HUGE. And the teacher is retiring, so she is basically leaving me everything. Including the mandated rocking chair. She is so sweet.



Today I finished packing my old room and moved most of it home or to my new room.

Then I went back to my old school. Looked through my closet one more time, grabbed my fish and plants, turned off the lights, locked the door, and left. 



Tomorrow I will turn in my key.


It will be a couple of months until I can get into my new space, so in the meantime, I have gathered some books and I'm ready to make some Kindergarten plans.


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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Summer Break, Phase One

I'm not on Summer Break. But Phase One is in full swing.

It is time for me to let go. But it is so hard.

These kids. My kids. We have learned together, laughed together, and cried together.

I look at each one and remember a time, a note, or a lesson. My eyes fill with tears. Soon these first graders will be second graders and have a different teacher. I will no longer be the one to accept their hugs and smiles.

I think about all the things I would want the next teacher to know: this one needs lots of hugs; this one is quiet, be patient and consistent, soon you will see her shine; this one does not want to try unless he knows he is correct, again, be patient, he will soon trust you to try, to make mistakes, to thrive; this one wants to know that you are close; this one is a true multi-tasker, watch and see; this one is insecure, water the seeds that were planted and watch out.

But I also know that next year is a new year and the next teacher will discover all this and more. 

So what is Phase One? It is me being really quiet. Soaking in every last bit of firstie goodness that I can. And trusting that everyone (the little ones and I) will be ok.


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