Friday, August 7, 2015

The Smorgasbord Post



I think the title of this post is fitting because I'm about to dive into different topics regarding school.  

For the past 3 out of my almost 9  years of teaching, I have decided on working on a goal for the school year.  I think the other 6 years, I was just trying to get it together, let's be honest now!!!

The first year of my change, I wanted to be more organized in my classroom, so that's what I worked on...I mean yes, I focused on other things, but if you as a teacher are not organized, trust me, there WILL BE chaos!!! 

The second year, I decided to work on math.  I HATED math as a child. I mean dreaded it.  I hate to say this, but no on really sat down with me to teach me the background knowledge and get me to love it.  Well, I decided to take matters into my own hands and give my students a chance to like/love math.  I read blog posts, did my research, created math workstations, would stay up late finding fun lessons to get the kids involved in their learning, and so much more.  My kids would beg me to do math stations, they said it was their favorite time of day.  They weren't scared of it and that was a great feeling.

Last year, I wanted to get better at teaching writing.  Now my district does require us to follow special guidelines based on Norma Jackson, the writing guru.  So, two of my teammates had taken this amazing professional development the previous year about letting kids just write.  I won't go into specifics cause that's a whole other blog post...which I can write about, if you want!  Anyway, can I just say that my students' writing was AMAZING...the stories they would create on their own...just jaw dropping.  The beauty of it, was that they were using their imaginations and schema to create these funny and entertaining books.  Give a child some manilla paper, fold it up like a book, have them draw a couple lines at the bottom and tell them to write,,,,,watch them go, it's magic folks!! 

Now we come to the present.  What are my goals for this year...well, I actually have 4...I'm crazy right?  The first two are at the top of my list because if I don't fix myself, my classroom environment won't be a happy one.

- First goal, is one that I have the most trouble with.  See, the thing is, when I'm surrounded by lots of people I tend to go into my imaginary shell and not speak up for what I truly believe in or what's best for my kids.  I want to work on being a bit more outspoken and leave my door open for other teachers to come in a learn from me or giving me feedback on how I can improve.  This will probably be my toughest one this year!!!

-Second goal, working on being more positive. I think I may have rolled my eyes or made ugly faces any time we had to do mandatory meetings or PLCs and what have you.  I don't want to be THAT teacher. I want people to be like, "wow, Judy is always so happy and welcoming..."  I want to appreciate the amazing job I have in an amazing school.  I want to be THAT teacher.  I seriously can not wait.....I didn't get my class list yet....no problem....after all these years of teaching, I've realized, ya know what....it's not a big deal!! It will get done!  So don't stress, don't eye roll....I promise...it will get done!!!!!!

Third goal, HOMEWORK change! For years, I've been assigning homework.  Some kids do it, some never get help at home..some never turn it in...ohh you know what I'm talking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, this year i've decided to do a weekly packet...I created a monthly (week by week) HW calendar with different assignments the kids can do.  They have the entire week to get it done and it's nothing that is too hard for them to do. No more stressing about the small things...more time to worry about teaching them the right things!

Fourth goal-Spelling! Our bilingual department has mandated us to use Words Their Way.  Last year was the first year I have ever used it...I had no clue what I was doing to be perfectly honest.  This year, I have a better grasp of it and do not plan on giving spelling tests EVERY single Friday.  I mean, why? I want my students to learn spelling patterns not just memorize words.  There, I said it!

Well, if you got to this point, I congratulate you.  Now, here's a few pictures of a new product  I made for my classroom.  They are shape posters, Melonheadz edition! Click on the first picture to take you to my store...or the first three comments, get it free! Please leave your e-mail address and one thing you plan on working on this school year!!! :)