Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

One Teacher's Guide To Elementary School Survival

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A Reminder as to Why I Do This Everyday

What an amazing day!  Today was one of those days that reminded me as to why I LOVE my job!  Our school has adpoted the Classroom Instruction that Works model for instruction.  (more on this in another post)  I have made it my mission to incorperate as many strategies as possible in my instruction since it just makes sense.  So with that in mind, I challenged myself to create a meaningful MLK Jr. learning experience for my students.  JACKPOT!  We broke down the famous "I Have a Dream" speech then followed that up by incorperating music and movement by teaching my students how to sign the lyrics to Bob Marley's "One Love."  First of all let me tell you, I have never spent any time in a sign language class.  I learned these signs by raiding the internet.  Thank you for your beautiful video dictionary of American Sign Language signs. 

What an awesome experience. 

It's All About the Choices We Make

So I am sitting here thinking about my new years resolutions.  To eat better, excercise daily, and stay on top of things.  I am thinking that since I failed at at least 2 out of 3 of my resolutions thus far, the Chinese New Year is offering me a do over.  I can recommit to these goals.  I could name a thousand different reasons/excuses as to why I haven't been able to keep up with my resolutions during this month.  Any of them would be completely valid and reasonable.  In reality, however, it is all about the choices I have made this month.  I chose to eat the french fries for lunch and I chose to put off grading papers for a week.  This made me think about our problems with education today.  Too many people are choosing to ignore the basic problems- not enough value placed on good education, not enough parental and student buy in, too much money thrown at "magic" programs that are supposed to make it all better.  Really it all comes down to choices.  Students need to choose to be present and accounted for in thier educational journeys.  Parents need to choose to be involved and on top of things and not just the week report cards are sent out.  Those in charge need to examine what we have and how it is implemented before throwing money away on the new shinier programs out there.  We have great potential as a nation.  We need to make the choices, hard and committment demanding as they may be, to realize it.


We are in the midst of the cabin fever-seasonal blues-driving each other insane portion of the school year,  otherwise known as January, February, and March.  There is just long enough of a wait until Spring Break to make it feel like forever, and Winter Break seems like an event from the distant past.  Toss in some questionable weather and viola-  you have a classroom full of stir crazy kids and a stressed out educational professional. (Yes I am glorifying our title.  If custodians can become sanitization specialists, then teachers can be hence forth known as educational professionals.)  What to do with this volcanic combination?  Yoga.  Not only does it qualify as 30 of our required 100 minutes of teacher provided physical education, but it serves as a lesson in stress management and self awareness.  I found an amazing dvd that the kids loved.  Bonus- I got in a yoga workout on the clock.  Extra bonus- I was able to order this dvd through using the points my class has accumulated by ordering books from thier monthly catelogues!  So to recap- stress relief, phys. ed requirement, workout on the clock, and FREE!  Namaste!



It Takes a Village

 The quote I put on my website for this month is, “The first and most effective teacher in a child’s life is the parent.”  As a parent that is a scary thought!  I think to myself, am I teaching my kids what they need to know to be successful?  Will they turn out ok?  Oh no, if they eat cereal for dinner tonight have I ruined them for life?  Ok, maybe I am a tad bit neurotic, but the thought that my influence alone is the most lasting and effective on my own children is scary!  Tack on to that scary notion that I also impact the lives of my other 19 non-biological kids (aka your kids) and I am at times overwhelmed! This is why I have begun the blogging journey.  Parents need to "see" what is going on in our class.  Today's parents work full time.  They can't pop in to help out with parties or projects as much as in the good old days.  This forum plus my Twitter feed give me the opportunity to be in contact with parents when it is convenient for them.  I hate the look or tone of voice I hear when a parent starts to feel guilty that they didn't realize a project was due or that their child's grade is not where it should be.  We as parents beat ourselves up for things that at times are out of our control.  Through technology we can stay on top of our children't progress and address problems or concerns on an almost instantaneous basis.  Most school districts have students grades posted online as soon as the teachers input them.  I encourage all parents to do what they need to to get a log in and stay on top of there child's grades.  This will prevent end of marking period shocks to the system.  I encourage all teachers to create and maintain websites.  Many of us are parents too.  Maintaining an up to date website is a great way to prevent a barage of phone calls.  If parents can get the information needed from your site, it saves you hours of recommunicating the same information over and over.  It is the 21st century.  It not only takes a village to raise the child, it takes the World Wide Web! 

See what I'm up against?!  My youngest, Maren, challenging Mommy's boundaries with regards to individual fashion choices.



So Who's Ready for Spring?!

We got a glorious taste of Spring today!  Weather was beautiful, birds were chirping, and the sun was shining.  Perfect timing for a lesson on making predictions!  We researched Puxsutawney Phil and the history behind Groundhog's Day on the official Groundhog's Day website,  Which led us to making our own Phil like predictions about the outcome of tomorrow's big event.  Three quarters of my class is ready for Spring with the remaining quarter holding out hope for our first official snow day of the year.  Honestly after today's weather treat, going back to frigid temps would be nothing less then cruel and unusual.  Take a peak at our Puxsutawney Phil predictions and essays.  Special thanks to my returning best bud Becky for finding and printing out or essay hugging groundhogs to help us keep the whimsy in hopefully one of the last weeks of winter! 


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