Monday, October 14, 2013

40 is the new 20?

Well, I made it. I didn't honestly think I would, but I did. I made it to forty.
What I've got to do now is really bang out the items on that Bucket List magnetized to my frig. I mean, I'm not getting any younger. I've got things I need to do!
Who is in this with me? Anyone? Anyone?
I've heard tell that 40 is the new 20. We'll have to see about that.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Milestones

Today marks yet another life milestone. My middle daughter is getting her senior pictures taken. She, like my oldest daughter, is going to be a rep for Little Blue Owl Photography. Thank goodness it is not raining today like it has the past two days. It is actually chilly and sunny outside. Should be good weather for pictures. I hope all goes well. We are on a week long fall break. We have much to do. Multiple college visits and more. Tomorrow we head to my stomping grounds at IU Bloomington and at the end of the week we drive to North Manchester, Indiana. I am a little nervous about that one. My hopes are that over the course of the next few weeks, Cam steps onto a campus and just feels it...feels that at home feeling like I did when I stepped out of the car in Bloomington for the first time.  That is my hope. Big milestones ahead!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Parenting

Parenting is the most difficult job in the world. Sure, teaching is a lot like parenting, but it isn't quite as difficult as parenting your own child.
I want it to be easy; I'll be quite honest with you. But, it's not.
I need a manual. I need constant support. I need sanity. Where can I find that?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kill 'Em with Kindness

So, there are always those select few students that you know are going to be squirrels. You can sense it like a dog senses fear. That's just what teachers do; it's that innate talent, that thing we're born with. Then there are always a select few who you know could cause major problems. So what to do? Kill 'em with kindness. Let them know you care for them, no matter what. That's what I'm going to do this year. I'm not going to let my buttons be pushed. I'm not going to let them see me frown.
I tried it today with a particular student whom I KNOW wants attention. She's just dying for it, either positive OR negative. So, I gave it to her. Despite me not feeling like I could trust her perhaps, I wrote her a pass and asked her to run an errand to the front office for me. And, I think it worked. Though she has already caused problems in other classes for other teachers, she isn't causing too much of a conflict for me. I think, or hope anyway, if I just keep it up, she might find that I am the ONE person she can count on to care for her even if she causes waves. I want to convey that I might dislike her behaviors if they get out of hand, but I will never dislike HER --- because she is a human being, just like me.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Dear Me Letters

ACTIVITY to do for the beginning of the year:
(I do this with my 8th grade lang. arts class every year...they LOVE it!)

Show the proper way to write a letter by having students write a letter to themselves! This letter will map out goals for their school year, fears, likes/dislikes so far, etc. After modeling how to do the letter, the teacher should collect students' letters after they seal them with a sticker. The teacher then puts them together by class period, saving them until the last week of school when the students get their letters back to read. They then write a paragraph in reaction to their DEAR ME letters. Did they accomplish their goals? Why or why not? How have they grown over the course of the year. Did their likes/dislikes change? Did they overcome their fears they had when school first started? The students love to see how much different they are in comparison to the start of the school year. It is a great activity that causes them to reflect and analyze themselves.
Have fun with this!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

First Day Activities

Tomorrow is the first day for my students! Woohoo! I am looking forward to putting on my smile and greeting them at the door. I hope to start this school year with a BANG!
A couple of first day (or so) activities:

4X4 activity:
Take a four by four square grid. Make the grid large enough for the students to write in the squares. On the left side of the grid, label each row with a category like lunch foods, things you'd find at school, girls' names, and school supplies. On the top row (across), put a letter. For instance, label the first column with an "R", the next with a C, an S, and a T. Put the students in groups of a few. The groups have to come up with words that fit the criteria. The idea of the game is to come up with something that other groups don't put down, therefore earning your group a point. The group with the most points, wins.

Toilet Paper activity:
Have a roll of toilet paper ready for the first day. After going over your policies and procedures, walk around the room to each student, telling them only, "Take as much as you need." Then, when finished, the number of squares of toilet paper that each student has is the number of comments he/she has to tell about themselves. Some take a little; some take a lot! That's the beauty of it!! It's a nice, fun way to go over introductions.

I hope all of you teachers and administrators out there have a wonderful day! Smile, because you are beautiful!!

Monday, August 05, 2013

...back to school, back to school...

Today it begins. The intense, nerve-wracking, jaw-clenching, sleepless nights lying awake worrying kind of thing called school. Being a teacher, even though one might consider me a seasoned teacher, is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Just think about it -- teachers are responsible for Every. Single. Profession. there is out there. We teach EVERYONE! Puts a lot of weight on our shoulders, doesn't it?? Yes, it does. And believe me, if a teacher is worth a darn, he/she takes that very seriously. That's why I have been tied up in knots for about the last two weeks. The start of school makes all the difference in the world. If you start off on the right foot, the year will go rather smoothly. If things get off to a rocky start, there may be no recovery from that. I worry about the first few days of school every year. You remember how you used to get butterflies the night before school started? Multiply that by a million. That's how it feels.
I try hard to be a confident person. Sometimes it just doesn't work. I think maybe that is a strength in this case, however. Because if I am not continually examining myself and my teaching practices, how can I get any better at my craft? That little twinge of lack of self-confidence might be the key to getting better and changing bad habits. I hope so, anyway.
I pray that this year is a great one! With a new textbook, I need prayers.
To all of the teachers out there -- good luck this year! I hope your year ROCKS!