Ownership

Example: Student ownership is the level of investment a learner has in learning, teaching and leadership anywhere throughout the education system.

I went on a trip to San Francisco last week to learn about schools who are actively involved in 21st Century learning and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). These schools, while still working on the common core, take education to the next level by doing more hands on activities and learning. This kind of learning also allows students to take responsibility for themselves, it teaches real life problem solving and how to interact and work in groups, as well as a variety of other things.

As I was touring the schools one common thread kept coming up, ownership.

I was pondering ownership in a variety of different ways.

First, I will apply it to school. Too often students/ parents/teachers place blame on why something isn’t working. They feel the need to justify that they are not the ones causing the concern. They need to shift blame to something that alleviates the responsibility from their shoulders. We have to be very careful in this type of thinking. We need to teach students to take ownership of their learning. I talked to a 7th grade girl who said this, “I am responsible for what I am learning. It is not the teacher’s responsibility if I don’t do my part and work hard to understand what is required of me.”  Our society has slowly been changing from taking ownership to blaming educators. It has no longer become about the students behavior but what the teacher is or is not doing. Often, I feel defensive as I try to explain what I am doing in the classroom. I also need to take ownership of why a child is struggling.

Second, I was thinking about life. I have several kiddos who blame me or John for their problems. As I as thinking about ownership, it occurred to me, they are not taking any responsibility for what they did. They are only blaming us for the end result. As a parent I feel like I take on far too much responsibility/ownership of the problems that arise in our family. I analyze and second thought my decisions all of the time. I apologize and try to be better next time. However, that in no way excuses my child’s behavior. In the course of life, we are all going to do things we regret. We are going to make mistakes of all different magnitudes. When do children begin to take ownership for their part in what has happened?

I get so tired of the blaming. There is so much of it going on in the world. It is this persons fault that I______________!  Why don’t we recognize more of the good that has gone on and continues to go on? We need to be able to take ownership of our problems and our lives. We are not being inflicted upon. We have control of our lives.

It is way too easy to lay blame than to look at ourselves and make the changes necessary in our lives. I feel like we all do this to some degree. I often look at my childhood and blame my reactions today on things that happened as a child. While yes it is true, earlier experiences have helped to wire my brain in a certain way, I am still responsible for my reactions.

Ownership can be hard.

I am going to start now. I am going to start today in teaching ownership. I am not exactly sure how to do that. (So, if you have any ideas…please share!)  I do know, it will start today.

I will no longer allow others to determine what kind of person I am.

I am me.

Mistakes and all.

I will determine who I am and what I do with my life.

Are you ready to take ownership?

The ongoing classroom saga

I have never had a whole summer to prepare a classroom. I am finding I am very overwhelmed because now I feel like things have to be perfect or just right.

I have been spending several hours a day organizing, planningand printing packets getting ready of the big first day of school.

I have to do lists all over the place. They are working well because when I drive out to my class, I just complete a few items on that list. Then, I go home. The hard part is driving the 25 minutes each way. i feel like I have to be able to stay there for an hour or two at least.

I am so excited about the changes that have been made in the class. In August, I will have a classroom reveal. I hope I can wait until then to show you the pictures!! It looks just like I pictured (so far).

A huge shout out to the 3 beautiful girls who came and helped me out today. They worked so hard I bought them lunch and a frosty. They were so happy.  I can show you a picture of the closet. I am still working hard on it but, it is coming along nicely. 🙂

I don’t know why I thought teachers actually had the summer off. Maybe next year when my routine and decorations are more established.

Now, I want to start designing my own lesson plans, hand outs etc…and put them on teachers pay teachers. See, I will probably never be done.

Lazy days of summer

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I am enjoying summertime. However, I am not sure they are really “lazy” days. My kiddos get up between 5/6 am still.

I guess I don’t have to go into work if I don’t want to and that is pretty cool. Except that I really miss “my” kiddos.

I have been into work a couple of times. I am anxious to set up my classroom. I think I will feel better when it is set up and ready for students. I have my copies made already. 🙂

I wanted to show you the state of my classroom when I shared with another teacher. What a mess!My side of the classroom is the 2 left and the middle top cupboard as well as the counter from the black phone to the left.  Our storage closet is in the next picture. Mine is from about the middle to the left. the things on my floor (on my side) are the result of having to clear of the counter tops/floors/shelves in the classroom for the summer.

The bottom picture is the last week of school. Pardon my pile of papers, they were the yearbooks the students were making.

The last photo is my half of the classroom cleaned out on the last day.

Finally, everything is removed and I have begun to hang bulletin boards.

The top picture is the beginning of my focus wall and calendar area. The bottom picture is the same thing just a different perspective.

I ended up sharing my classroom with a  wonderful teacher. She really was great. It was hard finding a common ground at first. There were things I did to annoy her and vice a versa. I am excited to start planning my own class. I have decided to do a “chalkboard theme“. If you are able to enlarge the picture, you will be able to see the really cute polka dot border I have. 🙂 (My cute daughter Lydia was the photographer.)

Anyway, it was hard sharing a classroom but now that I shared, it will be hard doing it all on my own. There are definitely perks to having 2 of you using a room.

Right now, I am working on my lesson plans for the year. this is the first year I have been hired in the spring and I have all summer to prep and get ready for the school year. It is kinda nerve wracking.

Any advice on getting it all done?

 

Half Day Kindergarten

Is this a thing of the past? I have been looking for ideas on how to fit in all of the items we need to accomplish in a day and I am coming up short by a couple of hours. Most websites that I have seen only have full day kindergarten schedules.

This is what I need to accomplish  in a day:

Literacy Block (reading to self, read to by teacher, listening center etc…, writing, small groups)

Math

Self-Start

S.T.E.A.M activity that ties to the core ( art, engineer, technology,math, science)

library, drama and or specialty

recess

sharing work

centers

calendar

Of course there are transition times as well.

It is hard being a teacher. It is also incredibly rewarding. I never realized all that kindergarten teachers had to do until I became one. I truly love kindergarten and the students. Trying to fit everything into the day is like playing a game of Tetris.

Any ideas?

*a little visit from a friend from the BYU Bean Museum.

I am addicted to…

*This post contains affiliate links. Please look at my disclosure for more information.* *click on the highlighted words to go to amazon.

CONTAINERS!

I love everything about baskets, boxes and containers. I sometimes think that is some of the allure of teaching. I love walking into office supply stores and just looking at the products. Of course, I always purchase a few things.

Anyway, I found these great storage containers on amazon. They are perfect for my classroom needs. I use them to store my monthly center activities. They stack beautifully. I just label the outside by the month with a  cute design of course. And then, I am off. They hold all of my center needs and there are organizer inserts for them too. This makes them perfect for holding math manipulatives and lots of other little items.

They are made by Sterilite and they are extremely durable. My kinders are able to carry them easily too. I love how neat and organized they look.

Happy shopping for more containers. 🙂

 

End of the Year

While it isn’t the typical Happy new Year, it is the end of the school year! So Happy End of the School Year!!

Are you like me and so tired right now you can’t even see straight?

Many people don’t understand how time consuming teaching is. Yes, I get holidays off. Yes, I get some time in the summer too. I am also very blessed to get a Christmas, Spring and Fall break as well.

However what people don’t see…

  • the testing
  • Planning
  1.      centers
  2.      lessons
  3.      holidays
  4.      decorating classroom
  5.      organizing
  • entering data
  • parent teacher conferences
  • summer trainings
  • creating weekly newsletters
  • district trainings
  • the amount of work if we need a sick day (it’s better just to go to school sick…am I right?)

I spend more hours than my contracted school hours preparing for my kinders. I only get paid for my contracted hours though.

You know what though? I absolutely love it. Oh sure, like any job there are things that aren’t so fun to deal with. But 95% I love.

It is so fun to be looking at the beginning of the year work and seeing the end of the year. It is not so fun to be doing that on a Saturday. 🙂

I am getting energized thinking that we have only a few short weeks left. I am getting worried that there is so much more I want to teach but now I don’t have enough time.

I am getting excited thinking about the hours I can spend with my family in the summer. I will have some time to lay on the trampoline with them. Watch movies, go on a picnic etc… especially when they have had to share me with my computer during my “at home hours”.

What an awesome job to have! How I love teaching! I hope you are finding joy in the end of YOUR year too. As a parent, I hope you are planning a magical fun filled summer break. Remember magic isn’t in the big stuff. It is in the time you share.

Happy May!!!!

A year of planning

So, while most people are relaxing during the holidays, I did that and planned a whole year of lessons. Well, to be totally honest, I bought lessons on the website: teacherspayteachers tpt.com . Over break, I printed them off, put them in binders and made all of my copies for January.

I have also been to my classroom twice to organize them. I will take a picture when break is over but, let me just say- It is a thing of beauty. My stress level went from ugh! to oh yeah! 

I did 9 binders for centers and 9 for guiding readers. I also did all of my copies for January. I made a guided reading binder too. Finally, I cleaned and organized my shelves with help from my beautiful, talented daughter, Katie.

So, while I celebrated my birthday, Elsie’s birthday, a dentist appointment, Christmas, New Year, Courtney’s birthday and potty training our caboose during my week break, I have also been working. I teach because I love what I do. I love these kinders so much. (A shout out to the 3 kiddos who sent me happy birthday videos on Facebook).

I have finally found my niche. I have found it in my personal life and now in my professional one as well. I am so grateful for people who share their talents too. Check out deanna jump on tpt and she has a great website too.

Now, on to my New Year celebration. This is what it looks like: we already had the “party” at 12pm 😉 Sneaky, I know.  The kids 13 and up are attending a big party together, the littles are going to bed while mom and dad watch person of interest or maybe a movie. Finally, I will do my “dirty 30” workout from 21 day fix.

Hope you have a fabulous and safe holiday night! See you in 2017!!

Glub, Glub, Glub…

The first day of kindergarten has arrived! What do I do now?

I have how many 5/6 year olds to entertain for how long?

Well, my illustrious 3 years of teaching have made me a pro. NOT! All three years, have meant last minute hirings for me.

Year 1, I graduated Dec 5 and by Dec 19 had my first job teaching 6th grade.

Year 2, I was hired to teach 6th grade a week AFTER school started. I was hired on Friday and started on Monday.

Year 3, I was hired on Friday and started on Monday.

I can’t wait to tell you I have been hired in the spring and I will have all summer to plan and prepare for that wonderful first day.

It is now December and I am just starting to feel like I can do this!

I have December planned. I am starting to work on January already.

I feel so accomplished. I also feel like there are some holes in my teaching that need to be filled. I have had to reteach some concepts. We have had to focus on routines better. (Guess what? next year, my procedures are going to ROCK!) I started with 15 kids. We went to 20. Lost one. Gained one. In November we lost and gained 5 total. December, we have gained another. All in all, I have 20 now. This number fluctuates and also interrupts the classroom cohesion. So, we have reteaching moments.

First year teaching a new grade is tough! I have so much to do, read, learn and organize. Some days, I wonder how I made it through. Some days I wonder if my kiddos will graduate kindergarten. I wonder if I am lacking some specifics that they will need. I wonder if everyone’s class acts kooky on the same days as mine? I ponder if I am what this class needs? What if I fail?

Now that I am in my 3rd year of teaching, I also have to complete an E.Y.E. binder and take a huge Praxis II test. If I fail at these…I have a chance to do again but, without these I can’t be rehired. Pressure, Pressure!

So this year, I am teaching kiddos, learning a new curriculum, preparing for my test, completing my binder and being a wife/mother. It feels overwhelming at times. It feel manageable at other times. It feels depressing at times and it feels amazing at times.

I guess this rambling is for me to realize that this is my job in life. A calling if you will. To nature, protect and help children be their best selves. Do I always do great at this? No but I do my best and no one is asking anything more from me…except me.

(what my kitchen counter looks like at any given moment of the day)

My first post about kindergarten…

After working at WinCo Foods for 7 months, I started to realize the kid at home we struggling more than usual. So, I started to pray and tied to figure out how to earn the money we need and stay home more. The idea was born that maybe I should go back to teaching for 1/2 a day. The problem was finding a teaching job that was only half day and trying to find someone that would hire me.

Well, after months of searching, I was hired for a half day kindergarten position. “Kindergarten!”, I thought. The place where we color, write our name, play, read stories, sing songs, cut and glue. I mean, what could be better? Entertain 20 kiddos for 3 hours, I am a pro at that. This will be great! I will be home with my family at night and in the morning. I will work 4 hours with a 40 min round trip drive time. This will be easy peasy.

Little did I know how kindergarten has changed. The common core changed so much about teaching. But, this isn’t a post about that. 😉 this also isn’t a post about the standards kids are supposed to know by the end of kindergarten. Suffice it to say…when I was in school (a million years ago) I think I learned most of this stuff by 2 grade.

Let me just give you a little background on what we do in kindergarten. We recognize letters and sounds. We write our name. We learn sight words. we learn how to read. We learn how to follow directions. How to listen to another adults voice, for the first time. how to interact with others. How to write sentences. How to add, subtract, count to 100….and the list goes on and on.

Who knew?

In the few short months that I have taught kindergarten I am loving it more and more each day. It is gratifying to see how hard the kinders work to learn.  They are a great group, that is for sure.

There are several things that I wish parents would know from a teacher. I am only going to share one of them today.

I am here to teach your child. I am not by any means perfect. I have flaws and I make mistakes. This is one of the things I hope to teach your child “it is okay to do your best and make a mistake. You don’t have to be perfect to succeed. You just have to keep trying and doing your best.”  More importantly than teaching your child JUST academics, I am here to teach your whole child. I am interested in their family. I care about the social and emotional growth. I am hear to listen. I am here to guide. I am here to support and strengthen your child. I want them to be the best PERSON they can be. I am concerned with the academic as well but, if they are struggling in any area the academic isn’t going to matter. I am here for them.

 

Teaching isn’t an easy job. I am sure not “off” by 4pm. I am writing emails, looking up lesson plans. Trying to find ideas to help your little learner. I am looking for gifts. Trying to find inspiration, motivation and advice.

I sure love what I do. I have many accomplishments in my life. T20160826_132814eaching is definitely one I am proud of.