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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My 17th First Day

The excitement was the same. But the nerves were different.

So many good things happened today. I am thankful for so much.


1. 21 wonderful Kinder Kids (I finally have a name for them!!!)


2. A donated mini trampoline for my classroom.

3. $25 gift card for my classroom.


4. Nobody cried today (me included).

5, Leaves for my tree from a good friend.

6. Smiles and support from my tribe, BTPSM (best teaching partner soul mate), and my school.

7. Kinder Kids Parents that are kind, friendly and eager to know me.

This is going to be the best year yet!
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Saturday, August 13, 2016

And My Journey Continues

My journey began at my birth, I was living it.

My journey shifted when I started college, and again when I had my first child.

My journey is mine. I love every peak and valley, because I learn there. And each bit I learn gets me ready for the next part.

Conscious Discipline has been an influencer in the way I see my own children (and the ones I see at school). I'm thankful for the friends that have been a guide and showed me a different way.

Background knowledge is critical in learning something new. Because I have these rungs of information and years of practice I am able to grasp on to other, maybe "out there" ways of thinking.

School is an academic environment. Obvious, right? But what if the students can't learn the way I teach? That's when I employ "differentiation." But what if the student still struggles, and it goes deeper? What if the struggle is related to stress in his life. Can I differentiate for that as well?

Stress. I have to recognize my own stress, and deal with it (appropriately, thanks Conscious Discipline). And then I can begin to recognize it in my students and teach them ways to deal with it (thanks Conscious Discipline). 

But what if the stress is bigger than that. Toxic Stress? How will I help? How will I even understand it?

As part of professional development yesterday, we watched Paper Tigers. Sure, it was a documentary of a high school in Washington state, but there are so many applications for me (in kindergarten in the middle of Kansas).

*constant stress=inability to learn because of continued fight/flight response of living in the brain stem
*drugs and behaviors are possibly used to cover up the feelings, because feelings are scary and difficult to process
*look deeper, not at the behavior, but the something that is causing the behavior
*avoid judging the outward behavior, show compassion, show a different way to express feelings

I am so excited to continue this journey, my journey, to be the teacher for others that I would wish for my own children.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

On Being Enough

--What will other's think?

--Was it (whatever it may be: a lesson, a meal, a conversation) good enough?

--I want my classroom to be "just right." (AKA perfect in my mind.)

These are thoughts that I sometimes have. Not always, but sometimes. 

Summer is a season of time. So much time to see other teacher's accomplishments, projects, ideas and work (Facebook groups are good for this). It is easy to compare my life to what I see in others'. And feel not good enough.

I'm going to stop. It's going to be a journey. But I will be courageous and do my best. What I really want is connection.

And truthfully, of all the teachers that I know (near and far) no one is out to "be better than someone else." They all want to do their best, be connected with others, and maybe share/collaborate.

Here is my new goal for the year: When I start to feel "not enough" or that I am comparing, I will stop and find a way to make a connection. 

It's going to be a fantastic year!!!
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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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