Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday 5--My Week

I am joining Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!  I have been busy planning away for the 2016-2017 school year and it always starts with getting excited about a new classroom theme!   
1.  This week I joined a new TRIBE Facebook group called Lucky 2nd Grade Learners.  It has been so amazing to collaborate and share ideas with like minded educators, who also teach the same grade!  I have enjoyed getting to know people in this group and have enjoyed getting some new ideas from teachers too!  One of my takeaways was a TEACHER toolbox!  I am sure you have seen them, any many of you probably have them, but I DIDN'T, but now thanks to the group, I DO!  It's gorgeous and will fit perfectly in my classroom.  Here is a link to my Facebook page so you can see how I put it together!  
2.  Planning my NEW classroom theme is in full swing!  This year I am doing a BEACH theme and I couldn't be more excited.  Getting my room ready sets the stage for ME and my students.  When I get excited, I know it spills over into my student's engagement too.  Every summer I scour fabric stores trying to find the perfect fabric to cover my crate seats that students sit on during Guided Reading.  I fell in love with this fabric and know my kiddos will LOVE it too!  
3.  Each year, I have my husband, oh so crafty husband, build something for my classroom.  It is usually the focal point for my reading area and it really draws attention to the heart of my classroom (the library).  I am still keeping this part a secret and will reveal it in a periscope closer to when school starts, but here is a tease on what may be included.  This may not be the final look, but it is definitely an inspiration as to what is to come!  
4.  Over the summer, one of my favorite things is to BINGE watch t.v. on Netflix (as much as my own kiddos will let me).  This week I have found an old gem that is ABSOLUTELY one of my favs--Gilmore Girls.  Who doesn't love the relationship between Rory and her mom?!?  I love their witty banter and the dynamic of their relationship.  If you need something to BINGE on, do it GILMORE style!  
5.  Pokemon Go!  If you haven't jumped on this bandwagon, make sure to at least check it out!  My son and husband have been playing this past week and it has been such a joy to see them wandering the neighborhood catching Pokemon!  They are spending quality time with one another and listening to there conversations has been a JOY.  I am not saying that I necessarily understand ALL THE BUZZ, but I do appreciate what it is doing for many around the world!  People are spending time together, getting outside, and having fun.  Isn't that what summer is all about?!?
Have a great rest of your week!  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Student Teachers

When I first agreed to have a student teacher in my classroom last year, I wasn't fully prepared for how it would change my teaching life.  I thought I was doing a good deed, but what I didn't know was that my student teacher ending up changing and challenging me more than I could have imagined.  Here are 5 reasons I BELIEVE every veteran teacher should have a student teacher at some point in their teaching career:

New possibilities--man!  I still consider myself a fairly new teacher and one that prides myself on keeping up with the latest trends in education.  However, as we all know, education is CONSTANTLY changing, and unless you are scouring the latest research we can't always keep up.  Having a student teacher is a direct LENSE into the newest and greatest techniques!  

Working Hard--I worked harder.  There is something to say about having someone in your classroom 24/7 that makes you push A LOT more.  I busted my tail to ensure I was setting the best example possible.  I was more organized, graded more often, and really pushed to demonstrate what good teaching looks like.  

Tiptoes--When you have a student teacher you are not only teaching, but answering ALL of their questions.  Sometimes my student teacher would ask me a question that I really had to think about it before answering, mainly because no one has ever asked me before.  I was held accountable by my student teacher and it helped me become a better educator.  

Balance--This is the MAJOR PLUS in having a student teacher.  I have never been a more balanced teacher then when I had someone else in my classroom.  My approach to having a student teacher was to form a strong enough relationship that by the end we were co-teaching.  I was able to do just that and man did it SAVE me at times.  I trusted her enough that while she was teaching, I could grade or plan other things.  This, of course, happened after we established our co-teaching relationship.  This may take longer for others, but my student teacher was a NATURAL and it wasn't long before she was my partner in crime!

Earth--Many teachers, myself included, can get into our own heads.  We can overanalyze every move or decision we make in the classroom.  Having a student teacher showed me just how far I had come as an educator and to trust in my ability to lead and teach.  This brought me back down to a "sane" level and allowed me to enjoy my students.  

It is my belief that we owe it to our future students to nurture and mold future educators.  I think every educator should mentor at least one aspiring teacher, just one.