Friday, June 27, 2014

Five for Friday (6-27-14)

It's the weekend! Fridays have a whole different meaning during the summer for me.

I am not wiped out. I am refreshed, because I had several naps during the lazy days.

I am not feeling sad that I didn't read for fun, because I did. 

Today I'm pleased to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five for Friday party.

Let's get started.

1. I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Jones this week.

We have created a year-at-a-glance. It is a beautiful document. 

See what I mean? It's all there! Well, maybe not everything, but what a plan. This is only quarter one, we have three more sheets with the other quarters. If we have a plan, we know where we are going. Where do we want to end? What do we need to do to get there?

Would it be ok to sleep with this next to my bed? To look at just before I go to sleep, and again when I wake up?

2. I read another book.

This is a fast read. I was expecting to sob (from what I've heard), but I didn't. I enjoyed it. But the end...I will write about that privately, don't want to spoil it for anyone who has not read it.

3. Barnes & Noble found me this afternoon.

Last summer was a Mosaic summer. With lots of thinking. It got to be too much. But I heard from some trusted friends that I should read the Debbie Miller book. I thought I would glance through it, take some notes and leave it. But I couldn't! So, next week I will read this fine book and be energized.

4. Binge watching tv on Netflix. No picture of this. I have never watched this show before, but wow! I am hooked and nearly finished with it.

5. Movie night at home.

This happens to be the same movie that I saw last summer when I discovered "thinking about my thinking." Memories. 

Thanks Kacey for hosting as always! Hop on over to her blog to read more Five for Friday posts. Happy weekend friends!!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I love my blog. (It is here that I get to write my thoughts, experiences, and ideas.)

I love the blogging community. (The friends I have made are supportive, caring, and sharing.)

Some of my currents thoughts/ramblings on teacher evaluation:

1. I don't like the word evaluation. It sounds harsh. Like I may not measure up. It comes from the outside, from others.

2. I like the word reflection. It allows me time and space to think, clarify, and make changes. It sounds supportive. It comes from within me. It is my choice.


In my district we have formal evaluations every 3 years.

And it's my turn coming up in 2014-2015.

And we have a newish (it will the 2nd year) evaluation tool called McRel.

And we need formal training on this tool before we can use it.

My day for training was yesterday.

Overall the day was good. I liked learning the "Professional Teaching Standards." 

I liked the conversations I had with other teachers who will also be evaluated this year.

I liked (or not) one of the comments from the presenter.
**If a student has an ineffective teacher for three years in a row, there is little hope that the child can catch up.**

Man--I was ineffective that first year, and the second. I'm getting better. I'm professionally developing myself. But those poor kids. I sure hope they had an effective teacher that next year!

Anyway, I'm pretty hard on myself. I expect the best of me in all lessons, in all situations. And this evaluation is meant to help me? All I see is the box marked "developing" and it means--you suck at this, better fix that soon or else...

But seriously--I know I do some things well. I know I need to improve on some things. But it is really hard for me to take constructive criticism and that's what I'm looking at for next year.

So, I am going to have to find a way to reflect (which I do all the time) on my teaching and be open to the evaluation and not go crazy or have a panic attack.

And figure out how to become a highly effective teacher. 


I love Conscious Discipline and what it has taught me. Here are some good ones:
1. I am in control (or not) of myself. No one else controls me. I choose how I react/respond in EVERY situation. -- I'm still working on this, sometimes I just want to blame someone else and not take responsibility for my behavior.
2. Choose ONE thing that I want to improve or implement. Do it. When I have a handle on that add another. Keep going by doing one at a time. If I choose more than one, I get overwhelmed and nothing changes. My friend Rachel is the best at reminding me of this--"Alyce, choose one thing."


Now think about it...

If I have multiple areas marked on my evaluation that are marked "developing" or "proficient" I am to work on ALL of those areas. By February.


Is this how my children (or students in my class) feel every time I encourage them to be or do something just a little bit better?

Like they can never measure up to what I expect of them?

That is so NOT true. My children (and students) amaze me every day.


New goal: find a way to support and encourage the people (big and little) around me that feels like "reflection" and not "evaluation."
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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Literacy Work Stations Workshop

Well, Mrs. Jones and I spent last night and today together. Along with 18 other conscientious elementary school teachers.

A college credit earning workshop was offered and we jumped. Mrs. Jones to move over, me to recertify. Wonder if I could do both...

Anyway, we went with big expectations of learning how to set up, launch and sustain literacy work stations. 

We came away with something different.

But how about a story?

Mrs. Jones and I learned to know each other because of our current teaching position. We have grown to be friends, but that came from all the time we spent collaborating last year as we both were new to first grade and we were hanging on to each other. Just to stay somewhat on top of things.

Now we are friends and teammates.

We have "first grade brain." That means without even talking about it, we wear the same clothes, have very similar ideas, and finish each other's sentences (but she says sandwiches).

Back to last night. 

As a part of last night we got in a small group with two other first grade teachers and had a share time. As we were heading back to the big group one lady (Carol) asked about us--certainly we came to the job being friends (how else could we be so close and enjoy each other?) and we must be similar in age. 


Sweet Carol (my sweet new friend) would not believe me when I told her my age. She repeatedly said "no way." I almost grabbed my license to show her, but grabbed my phone instead for a selfie.

Thanks Carol for making my day. By the way, I've been driving two years less than Mrs. Jones is old.

So on to the meat of the workshop.

We really did not have much in the nitty gritty of work stations, but we made a haul in the "materials" department.

My other new friend, Meg, said it just perfectly--"it's teacher Christmas."

Dice (sight words, and several math); a pocket chart; 4 books (3 nonfiction, 1 fiction); file folders; manilla envelopes; dry erase bubble chart; and so much more.

That does not even include the ideas that I scrawled into my notebook.

And in two weeks, Mrs. Jones, Meg and I will be back to see what this instructor has to say about Math Work Stations. 

Better buy another box!!
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Monday, June 2, 2014

June Currently

Hello Folks! This is one of my favorite parties ever. At least the virtual kind. I love parties in real life also. :)

Thanks Farley @ Oh Boy Fourth Grade for hosting this fab party every month. 

Some explanations: 

Listening: relaxing after a fun 24 hours by listening to the few songs I have downloaded to my phone. Love what I have, but may be time to add several more songs.

Loving: my husband and I went to a concert last night, in a city about 60 miles away. I talked him into getting a hotel room and staying overnight. We also went early to have a nice dinner. It was awesome. Today we drove around in the sprinkles and had a lovely time talking and window shopping.

Thinking: I have a list of projects that I want to do this summer, better prioritize and get busy!

Wanting: I have not had a teacher desk for 2 years, but I need something small. Somewhere to place my Erin Condren teacher planner (not on my teaching table) and a few other essential books. 

Lovely, isn't it?

Needing: in order to finish some of the projects, I'm going to need some more cash. Wonder if I could get a summer job?

Summer Bucket List: 1. Read-already finished one novel, started on the second. Love it! 2. Relax-started yesterday, will continue as needed. 3. Plan-I love planning with Mrs. Jones (she really needs to get a blog, so that you can know her awesomeness also). (Here is my big summer list--in case you're wondering...)

Off to piano lessons and a baseball game. LOVE summer, LOVE my boys and their activities, LOVE my life. Go visit more Currentlys at 

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