Saturday, March 15, 2014

We Never Stop Learning

Wow!  Time flies when you're having fun....right!?!  Spring break is coming to an end and I'm sad to say goodbye to sleeping in, staying up late, and hanging out with the family.  All these things are so good for our teacher spirits and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I feel like my teacher tank has been refilled.  Just like keeping our car's gas tank from being on EMPTY, we need to keep our teacher tank full.  Yes, I'm guilty of driving around with the light on and pushing it as far as I can but WE MUST REFILL.  

Since this school year began I've had a student teacher with me.  Sometimes in my shadow, sometimes taking the lead, and sometimes teaching alongside.  Her last week was the week before spring break.  As a matter of fact, the last week before spring break, I had 2 student teachers with me.  One was observing and the other was finishing her internship and saying her goodbyes.  It was a FULL class!  The students made her a goodbye, goodluck book.  Of course, their advice was priceless, because kids generally speak the truth.

 You're not truly teacher if you don't have a monogrammed "teacher bag" and monogrammed water cup (not that you will ever drink the water because you don't have the time to pee)....but it's important to have monogrammed things if you're going to be a teacher.  So I put together a little monogrammed goodie bag.  Now, she's official.

As much as I hope she learned from me, I know I learned a lot from her.  It was a great way for me to reflect on who I am as a teacher and what it is that I am doing in the classroom. There is nothing like watching someone else teach your kids.  When you love your kids that you teach you feel protective and almost motherly.  

My student teacher reminded me that:

I know my children like no one else does.  A teacher MUST KNOW her students.  Who they are, what they like, their fears and strengths in and out of the classroom.

I understand why my students are doing the things that they are doing and why they are not doing the things they are supposed to be doing.  A teacher needs to be tuned in to each student and know when to push them and know when to back off and allow them to push themselves.

I want their very best from them, ALWAYS!  A teacher must know her student's potential and help them reach just beyond.

I also understand that I must LOVE (even the unlovable) my children first before I ever think I am going to teach them anything.  A teacher must love that child first then teach.

Loving them does not mean that I will allow them to get away with things or that I will make excuses for them.  A teacher has to know the difference between loving and enabling a child.  

Teachers must never stop learning and always make sure to refill our tanks.

I'm actually feeling giddy and excited to get back in the classroom.  I have kids to hug, listeners to read to, small groups to tutor, self-esteems to build, writers to grow, and little people to challenge.  Let's get busy!!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Make it STICK!!

Well Sweet Friends, I completed my very first master's class.  Yes, I'm feeling super accomplished.  Especially, since I spent more time looking up words in the syllabus to figure out what they meant than I did actually working.  Seriously.

Good news for you..... I'm here to share!!  During my class I needed to identify a problem within my classroom and create a way to solve/or help with this problem based on my research.  I have a handful of my kids this year that were struggling with comprehension, not because of a struggle with the actual words but because they were not relating to or thinking about what they were reading.  So I'm happy to share my creation of the...........STICKY RECALL.

I created this with the intention that I would be sitting with these kids and not only allowing them to have a conversation with me and the small group but also give them the opportunity to write it out.  This gave them another opportunity to commit their story to memory, relate it to their thoughts and feelings and make predictions.  Plus, WE USED POST-IT NOTES!  Kids love post-it notes.(hint: the sticky)
 (click here)
The Sticky Recall is a guide that creates stopping points for the students while reading and gives them the opportunity to reflect on what they have just read, make predictions, and ask questions about their story.  When I used this with my group of kids it was great for me to see what they were thinking and I was truly surprised by how much they were NOT thinking about the text.  We do all these activities as a whole group but it was an eye opener for me to sit with these kids individually and allow them to write out their responses.  

I would LOVE to share my Sticky Recall with you!!  Stop by TPT and pick up one to start using with your small group.

I'm off to enjoy the weather at a baseball game.
Stay Sweet!