Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back To School Night

Well, it's that time again where I get to meet with a classroom full of parents eager to hear what I have to say about what their child is going to be learning in the first grade! This year I am prepared with examples and a agenda!

Here are some things on my to do list:
-discuss procedures
-weekly progress reports
-how to help their child read, yes folks I plan to do that in 10 minutes!
-how to help them with their math
-and assessments

Mostly, I just want to share how they can help their child develop the love of books! What can they do if their child is struggling? Those things will be addressed.
Back to School night, I hope will be a great success!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A New Year

Wow, can you believe that we are back at school already? That summer just flew by, it was such an awesome summer too. My girls and I spent days at the pool, we went to Disney World as a family, we took small little day trips here and there...I was sad to see it all end!

Now I'm back, in my new room, at my old school, and I have 20 of the best pumpkins you have ever met. They are eager to learn, they make me smile, they say the cutest things! And I deserve it too! Last year I left my school of 10 years to go off and create change for myself, and after the first week I thought, "what have I done?"

The class I had last year was not a group of pleasers, they didn't make me smile, and they didn't say the cutest things. We struggled all year, I thought of them constantly. I wanted throw in the towel on most days because it was not a good year. They were all needy, they struggled to learn, and they struggled to be a community. It was just one of those years. After it was through I think I was in a state of depression, I was physically beat down (I spent a month on prednizone to boost my immune system) and emotionally I was a wreck!

This summer I healed. I read whatever I wanted, I wrote whenever I felt like it, and I marveled at my own girls. Their growth, their differences, they are fantastic girls! And this year, I walked in the door, I arranged my room and I remained skeptical. But, to my liking a group of children stepped through my doorway ready to learn and I am so ready to teach them. I have so much to share with them and my enthusiasm seems to be blossoming with each day.

Think of those teachers that are struggling with their students this year. It really does seep into your daily thoughts and actions. It is hard to go to school daily when you haven't gotten them off your mind all night. Caring, thoughtful teachers are out there and they have students who struggle to gel together as a community- my thoughts are with them this year.

I'm off to go pick up my bubbly little students from lunch. Wish me luck this year! I have a lot to share!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giving in to Frustration

I haven't posted in a while... frustrating!
Last year I was invited to join a group of online book reviewers, and bloggers through Stenhouse Publishing. I joined wholeheartedly because I love to read and further myself professionally. I did pretty well for a time, reading and posting about what I was reading. I even joined the group to do some online discussing. Then, frustration took over. As I was reading, in the back of my mind I would be thinking, "this sounds wonderful, this would help my students tremendously, I can't wait to try this!"
But, also in my mind I heard, "This doesnt' follow my corporations curriculum, can I teach this and the curriculum with fidelity? (that's my corporations favorite word this year). Then why read? Oh, it's interesting, and I know it is well reseached, and would help my students tremendously with student achievement. But, it's not the basal, it's not what my corporation expects me to teach, with fidelity.
How do we as educators continue to press further? How do we swallow this educational "reform" and still want to teach? My biggest fear is that reform will be passed but at the end of it all it will not help children in any way become lifelong readers. I don't want to teach this way, I want to teach that books are so interesting that you can't put them down. I want them to know that I receive books from a publishing company to read so that I can make myself better, and because I love reading! I choose to be a reader, everyday! I want that to be my focus for children, and then if they have that love of books, the strategies, and the Venn diagrams, and the compare and contrast the characters, and the transperancies will make sense to them. I don't want to teach from a basal, I want to put real books into the hands of children who have never held the promise of a book.
Frustration took over, and it wilted me and my love for teaching, for a little while. Then I got back to my basics, I picked up books for enjoyment. I read, and read, and read. I discussed them with whoever would listen. They weren't the books from the publisher, they weren't books that I was forced to read, they were books that I wanted to read. I let them replenish me, take me away to places I had never been, and they taught me about myself as a reader. Things I wanted my students to discover about themselves.
Now I am ready, I have a whole stack of books to last me the summer. Ah, sweet summer! I'll be poolside with lots of books in hand, reading, blogging, and gathering myself for next year. I will still be met with "teaching the curriculum with fidelity." I will, but I am also going to sneak in some love of books. I'm going to make sure that frustration does not settle in and destroy my love for books, and teaching. I'll be ready, I just need the summer.