Friday, May 29, 2015

Five for Friday (May 29, 2015)

It's been a while.

But, hey, it's summer and I'm gonna do it!

Five for Friday with Kacey @ Doodle Bugs Teaching for a fun Friday non-teaching related post.

This afternoon I took my boys to a city nearby, not the big one, but the semi-big one. It was so wonderful to listen to them talk with each other. Sometimes (a lot) I just like to sit back and be amazed at who they are.

And this is what happened...

1. I used a gift card that I got 1.5 years ago to get a Chai Frappuccino.

2. The boys wanted to spend some money at GameStop and I wanted to drink my splurge. So I waited and people watched. A lot of people went in and out of Super Clips. I was surprised.

3. We dropped their instruments off at the music store for maintenance and a cleaning.

4. I introduced them to Hastings. My older son could not believe that I had not taken him to this land of wonderful before. He wants to go back on his birthday.

5. And we topped it off with some burgers at our favorite burger place.

How did you spend your Friday? Hope it was good.

Then head over to Doodle Bugs and read what my friends have to say today. 

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls

Today was Teacher Heaven.

At least one version of it.

A couple of decades ago I started my teaching career. I was fortunate to have several, more experienced teachers mentor me.

Then I moved away. Raised a family. And started teaching again.

Now, with the help of Facebook, I have connected with one of my mentors.

Mrs. Becker. She is kind, compassionate, and has a heart for teaching. And I am so blessed to have been "talking" with her this year.

Today we were finally able to talk in real life. She met me at my school. And showed up with a pan of cinnamon rolls. See? Kind and thoughtful.

We talked, shared and encouraged each other. And she got to meet Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Jones got to meet Mrs. Becker. It was so wonderful.

Ron Clark says that teachers should visit each other when they are teaching--it is the BEST kind of PD. Just like our children, we need to see, do,observe, have time to process and ask questions.

I have found that I learn so much from casual conversations. Maybe even as much as the books that I read.

Hopefully we can meet at least one more time this summer. To share more ideas. Next time, I hope to go to her school (my very first school).

Happy summer Mrs. Becker, have fun planning, and talk to you soon!!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wiggly First Graders

Many kids are wiggly. And they must wiggle to learn.

I do not personally understand this. In order for me to learn, I desire a quiet, still environment. But I am learning...

My two besties at school wiggle, doodle, hum/talk and move. All the while learning as much as (or more than) me! Can you believe that? It's true. We know not to sit by each other at "meat intensive" meetings, but at fun occasions we can be near. 

It's not them, it's me.

As I understand them, I begin to understand the 6-year olds in my classroom.

They wiggle. They move. They require these in order to learn.

Talk about drive a teacher like me CRAZY!!

"Sit still and learn."

"Put that pencil away and pay attention to this book."

"Four legs on the floor, please."

So, how about a compromise? Enter a Hokki Stool. 

These would be PERFECT for my small group meeting table. The kids can wiggle safely, and I won't be bothered by it.

I have written a proposal with Donor's Choose. It is a nonprofit organization that connects teachers' projects with philanthropists. I have requested 6 red stools (the red is a perfect size for average first graders).

Great news! I have 7 donors so far!! I am so thankful for the donations and what it means to my students. 

I do have a bit to go. However, if 49 people each donate $10, the project could be fully funded and my classroom will be wiggle ready in August.

Would you please consider and share this request with others who may be interested in making a difference for wiggly first graders?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Ahhh, Summer


This is not has rained a lot; it is cool; and the sun has stayed hidden.

But, I'm trying to make the best of it. 
**I watched four movies (in my basement, under my comfy blanket).
**I've read numerous blog posts and taken copious notes.
**I made a wishlist for next year.
**I read (which means: skim until the part I really want to know about, read it, then skim to the end of the book) Making the Most of Small Groups by Debbie Diller.
**I created my June DIY list (and it is TOTALLY school related).
**And I have bothered my TPSM (teaching partner soul mate) via text way too often.

My favorite part of summer? Research and planning for next school year. I have time to look around. Adapt what I see to fit me, my school and my students. 

Luckily, Mrs. Jones (my TPSM) and I have weekly meetings set. To visit, to share, to enjoy being together. She will definitely have to endure listening to me tell her about my newest teaching discovery. And I will be thrilled to hear about hers.

Sometimes I think I should have a garden, plant some flowers outside, do yard work. But then I sit back down and get back to my favorite summer hobby--education.

What's your favorite part of summer?
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Last Day

So many thoughts and feelings accompany the end of a school year.

1. What a neat group of kids that I got to watch transform from kindergartners into almost second graders.

2. Did I teach enough curriculum?

3. Did I love them enough?

4. Will they be ok this summer?

But the end has come and I must put those thoughts away. I must now believe that I did all that I could with what I had and that it was enough.

What I will remember:

1. Hugs from a friend that gave them when I most needed them.

2. The spark of "ahah" when a friend  finally got how to read.

3. Sand pies, pizzas and cakes at recess. Made lovingly for me. I savored each one.

Memories of today...

That is enough. I am blessed. 
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Craft, Art, and the Balancing Act

Teaching is a work of Craft. Knowing how to follow a prescribed scope and sequences, use district curriculum, and incorporate Teaching Best Practices.

It is also a work of Art. I get inspired by my coworkers and bloggy friends and then my creative juices get flowing.

So, the Balancing Act. Allowing my classroom to reflect my craft and my art.

This year has been a lot about learning a Craft. It has been challenging, and rewarding. And much of the time overwhelming. I have high expectations for myself, and this year has felt like taking a college class and not knowing how to get to the end. 

I am hopeful that I can use what I learned this year and create next year to flow smoothly. To have a classroom that is full of Craft and Art.

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