Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Spirit of Teaching

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;” Romans 12:6-7

Let's teach then! Teaching is truly a gift. I say this not in a boastful way but all those in the field know, it takes a special gift to truly be invested and committed to not only the children's learning but to every child as an individual. Some days I think it takes a special kind of crazy ;)

As we close up the 4th week of school I reflect on what an amazing start we have had. I feel productive, successful, not stressed, enjoying the days and looking forward to the next. Not that these feelings haven't been there before but just the magnitude of them is definitely apparent.

I reflected back on past years "off days". While I am a very positive person I did hand over the control of my feelings to minimal things like; stress of trainings, others negativity, too much on my plate, guilt from not accomplishing as much as the teacher up the hall, gossip, others attitude. Pretty much a bunch of stuff my students had nothing to do with or even cared about! While I remained positive at school, the venting of it or negativity came out at home. My family was paying the price of these days. While I am thankful for a husband that always hears me out and gives me his opinion (not always what I want to hear) I am sure he enjoys hearing about my good days way more then negative stuff going on.

This year I am not sweating the little things. I am not permitting others or things to "steal my joy!" I am focused on my reason for being there and not taking my eye off the prize so to speak.

What brought on the change? This summer. This summer I had the privilege of teaching for joy. A great friend of mine and I started a summer bible group for our children and some close friends. We dived into His word and had a blast doing so. I am not completely sure if the kids took more away from it or if I did. I gained the true spirit of teaching.

While teaching is very giving, very time consuming, a huge investment it is also very-SELFISH. Selfish because as I prepared for each session; I got excited, I looked forward to it, I loved their faces as they took in His promises, I loved their reactions as we read stories, I felt dang GOOD before and after teaching them. I got the hugs, the love, the rewarding feeling. So yes, I in part felt selfish because I needed that time just as much, if not more, then them.

Why could this not translate to the classroom?
It can! His promises are still the same; our gift is still the same.  A child is a child; summer or not. While God is not allowed in my classroom, I am! I am His walking working, I am His hands and feet with these children. Why not rejoice in this?! What an amazing gift and responsibility to be given.

At the end of the day things like STAAR that seem so huge will be taken care of. If that connection and joy is there for that child, he WILL RISE UP!

Who doesn't like working hard for a joyous, giving, caring person? I definitely wouldn't want to work with a grumpy one who seems stressed half the time and doesn't really see me as the individual that I am. Why should they. Why should my students get the best and my family the rest? Happy teacher translates to a happy mommy and wife. I mean who are we kidding, we aren't' given the luxury to leave work at work 100%; our thoughts and attitude come straight home with us.

I am so blessed to be in the school I am, so thankful for my principal who is there full heartedly and sees us and the children as more then just a number or statistic. I am so thankful for co-workers I can come up to when one of those "off days" is creeping up and say "TELL me, tell me to not let anything steal my joy!" I am so serious, I have gone up to friends at work and asked them for reassurance of my purpose, a reminder to not let others/things steal my joy. Guys it works. Sometimes we just have to hear it, be told it so.....



“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Unofficial first work day.

                                                          What shall be our math supply station. Actually rearranged after this but didn't snap a pic.      
Writing tools station. All in one place, love it! Kids love feeling "teachery" with supplies available. 
Here's my sad little library as of now, I need a rug and maybe some floor pillows. Wall is a clean slate waiting for kiddos learning ot go up. There's another bookshelves with blue baskets (English books). I have past class pictures on wall behind bench and pictures of class activities behind the random pink stool. Kids will bring pictures of family at times too. I think it just makes it more comfortable of a spot, "homey" feel. 
Added more book storage/shelves at front of room. I want these children surrounded by books! :) Also that "teacher desk" is not for me. Kids LOVE using this as a writing desk or to sit and read. Board to the left is used for new words we use and want to remember. 
Rearranged desk (in a weird formation I know), they might not stay but man do I love....
alllll the space it leaves for activities!!! Haha. Ok seriously though. Perfect space for read alouds and class meetings. I'm a bit excited about this. 

Anywho, had the best little helpers today. We did what we could before someone's nap time and it could totally all change before the big day. Just wanted to share in case someones thinking "what the heck is she thinking putting that there?!" y'all please speak up. 

Now it's nap time...enjoy them while you can friends! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Teacher Binder-The Sequel

My brain is filling up with ideas for this upcoming year. I have been absolutely taken back by the love the original Teacher Binder post got. Made my teacher heart happy to know it might of helped others. Thank you guys!

Now, let's make it better.

Last year was my first year having two classes, I had been self-contained the past years. Therefore one binder was perfect. Not only did I get another class, we through some language changes in there as well. My district is implementing the Gomez and Gomez Dual Language Program. In short; I have one class for Language Arts/Science/Social Studies in Spanish, second class for Language Arts/Math in English. I had mixed feelings about it and while excited was also hesitant of the change. Like we all know, organization is key so my mind lost it for a bit. So much to keep up with!

With all of that, I just couldn't make one binder work. Trust me I tried to hold on to it as long as possible. I ended the year with three binders and somewhat of a "system". THREE?! Yeah I know. Don't freak yet. One was pretty much a stationary binder that never left my desk. Other two were data driven/planning/small group binders. Not sure yet if I can find a way to combine these somehow, seemed to work great.

Playing with ideas before setting up for  upcoming year and would love input. What worked for you from last binder that you can't imagine changing? What did you add to make it better? What would you like to see in it? What was missing? You get the idea.

Let's do this team!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Perfectly Flawed

Found this quote and absolutely loved it! Problem came when I saw the pic attached to it; I began comparing and talking to myself like I would never talk to someone else (man check out those arms, haven't been working hard enough. Dang look at her abs fatty!) 


So I replaced it with my own, no filter and insecurities showing and you know what? I am perfectly flawed, difference is I am now finding strengths in my weaknesses daily. For myself, my family and loved ones of course (happy wife, happy life right?) but most importantly for my Heavenly Father to utilize me as a tool for His work. 

As I read this week I also came across Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." 

We are never too much and we are always enough. 
You are beautiful and it's okay to feel it! Embrace that feeling. 
Do not allow expectations to rob you of your joy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Teacher Brain-Activate

Summer is far from over, at least that's what I keep telling myself. Regardless I will admit I secretly enjoy prepping for next year without feeling pressured and rocking oversized shirts, shorts and sandals.
Therefore I have begun re-reading this amazing book. So much great stuff in it! Wondering, is anyone implementing any of these concepts in their room? If so, mind sharing? Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! Soak it up ladies :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

First week success!


First week is always such a ball of emotions for all, nervousness, jitters, excitement, worried, hectic and crazy among many others. I hope everyone had a successful first week back and an amazing start to the school year :) I am already in love with my babies and I'm sure you are too. You are probably already planning and pintresting a ton of ideas for next week. Make sure and try to get some rest during this long weekend (coincidence that we get a long weekend on the first week of school?! I think not. lol) because this was just the kick off to what I'm sure will be a great year for all!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Reading Notebook-Cuaderno de Lectura

Like I've mentioned before I am a bilingual teacher, therefore I teach all of Language Arts in Spanish. Here are the photographs I promised of the reading notebook my class used this past year. Even though it's in Spanish it's easy to see what are of reading it's referring too, please let me know if you have any questions about it though.  

This notebook is simply a reference book for the students. Yes we write definitions in it, do activities and paste examples but we also take it beyond that. What we do in this notebook is just part of our learning please remember that. I try to reach those different learning styles so when we are learning a new concept I like to give them a visual, audio and hands on approach to it. 

Good ol' cheap and reliable composition book.
I'm thinking next year the kids can decorate/personalize the cover themselves rather than just a label from me.

Here we have our chart comparing characteristics of REAL reading and FALSE reading. 

Metacognition-awareness or analysis of one's own learning or thinking processes. Some of my kids refered to it as metacognition (we talked about how that was a smart word and they loved that!) while others simply referred to it as Real Reading.

Making Connections is a very important concept we refer back to ALL year. Text to world, text to text and text to self. 

Choosing a "just right" book foldable. One piece of construction paper folded in half and cut into three flaps. 
Easy-Perfect-Too Hard as headers. Characteristics and examples inside.

Five finger rule for choosing a "just right" book. I know many have seen this on pinterest, I just simply translated and made them each have their own in their notebook. 

 Ok I promised I tried numerous times to rotate this picture and I just finally gave in. Hey it'll help stretch your neck right? ;) It is "The Plot Roller Coaster" It is two pieces of manila paper folded in half and glued in their notebook. Make sure they crease is towards the outside of the notebook so it can open up properly.

*What happened in the story in order. Problem, solution and important events.
 This is that it looks like open. Couldn't fit the whole thing in one frame but you get the idea. It's a roller coaster that takes you through the story. We start by simply drawing a roller coaster. We then add our "problem" in a rising position followed by the "solution" at the other end. We talk about how the solution isn't necessarily at the end because a story can have more than one problem-solution. Hence the up and down roller coaster. We put these in little bubbles to differentiate them before adding our "important events". These events are what happens in the story that lead us to the problem and/or the solution. It's important to show that not ALL events are important. This roller coaster helped us tremendously in summarizing. Which just reminded me of a follow up activity we did for summarizing, I need to share that with you soon.

While we tried to keep our reading notebook personal and fun, sometimes you just have to get down and write definitions. This was not the norm but definitely necessary at times. Here is our list/definitions of our types of poetry.

 This activity was done closely with the "making connections" activity seen earlier. Sorry my pictures got out of order and as you can tell blogger doesn't like me when uploading pictures.

We talked about how we each have different squemas because we've each had different experiences. I printed some little file folders and allowed them to write what they have "filed" in their minds. They had a blast with these and we all enjoyed sharing ours. I also used real file folders to bring home the concept, I labeled one "shoes" and filled it with stuff (pictures, brands, why I liked them, where to buy them..." and labeled the second one "car repairs", in that one I wrote "ask my husband".
  Visualization-what I can smell, feel, hear, see, my mind! 

Point of View-who is telling the story? 

Theme-the great idea!
 Setting-No I did not make my students draw this every time we came across a setting questions but as an introduction/refresher it was perfect. From top to bottom- When? Where? Why? 
 How is the character? Describe his characteristics. We did this whole group on the board with the students name, they really enjoyed that. Then they each made on in their notebook about Thomas Edison, since we were reading about him. 

Personification-again don't judge my drawing abilities too much here, the poem was about dancing hot dogs! We each chose a short poem and wrote it in our notebook. Then they had to underline personification example(s) and draw it. We also saw clips from old drive in movies, Disney movies (beauty and the beast was great!) and commercials to introduce personification. 

 Onomatopoeia! Gosh what fun we had with this! We wrote what it meant first, found examples in our poem of the week, color coded alliteration and onomatopoeia within it but then the real fun began. They made imovies!  Each group was given an ipad and let loose. They created super hero movies with onomatopoeia. They had a blast and I'm certain they grasp what it means.

Time for another neck stretch! Nonfiction Characteristics. After we talked about and encountered these characteristics in various books/magazines each student was responsible for finding and cutting their own examples. They basically made a pictionary of them in their notebook.

 I already have some ideas of how to improve them for next year but overall my students really enjoyed them. I saw them referring back to them several times through out the year and having them make their own anchor charts in their notebooks really gave them ownership of their learning. Please let me know what you think and share any ideas for improvement! Hope you enjoyed it!