December 14th, 2015
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The login is: beulahbp
The password is: brainpop
Summer is almost over...
I had a great summer! I was able to spend most of June in Europe, traveling with family. My sister and her family live and work in Central Asia. I do not get to see them often, so I was more than ready for a sister hug. Not to mention, they have blessed our family with the first grandchild....and I had to get my hands on that precious baby boy! Enjoy some if my pictures here!
Teacher Creativity and it's fib
Ooooh....did you see how cute her classroom is decorated?
WOW! Her bulletin board looks amazing.
Did she really come up with that idea for their writing assignment or did she find it on Pinterest?
Maybe she is the inventor of Pinterest.....
How does she have time to teach about life cycles, hatch chickens, tadpoles, and butterflies, create a book about each that she hand wrote and designed the pictures herself, take the class on a scavenger hunt to find all these animals in the wild, go on a field trip to the zoo and then tie it all in with her common core standards?
I mean really. Why not just fly around like the Superwoman your are....we know you're undercover.
As teacher's we've all wondered about how to fit it all in. Sometimes it can be discouraging to see how other teachers have allotted their time for creativity in the classroom. It is so important that we generate creativity and wonder in the minds of our students, but how can we do all the cute, time consuming things that seem to really stand out in the world of educators?
Then it dawned on me one day.
It's kind of silly for us to picture a "Creative Teacher" as one whose classroom reflects the elaborate pages of the all encompassing "Pinterest" (which is my total fave and will continue to be the ultimate killer of my free time). While those things are fun and definitely noteworthy, we must really stop to consider what being a creative teacher really means.
Really, the concept of creativity in the classroom includes numerous factors. Just think....have you ever thought about how much creativity is involved in differentiating effectively? Man alive! I tell you what! You seriously have to think "outside of the box" in order to cover the ever widening ability ranges in the general ed classroom. If you are differentiating....you are a CREATIVE TEACHER! We already do this is so many way, too. Guided reading, centers, grouping, partners, assignments, guided math, etc, etc, etc.
You know what else? What teacher out there has never run out of something they needed? UM....Kleenix anyone (and yes using your "sleeve" counts as a creative alternative...just kidding. Don't do it.)? Well, if you are one of those teachers finding alternative resources to use when supplies run out, well congratulations.... you're being CREATIVE!
(If you are like me, you have no glue when it comes time for Christmas crafts and students are bartering for the 2 red crayons left in the whole room....lol)
To be honest, I have not thought of myself as a creative teacher because I am not consistently able to have extraordinary lessons with tons of experiments and fancy assignments. However, creativity is actually a much broader concept than the "dog and pony show" type lesson plans. I realize that I AM more creative than I thought. And so are you.
Think about it. We find ways to assess students without always giving them a test. We use questioning to differentiate and initiate rigor. We strive to teach across cultures and promote tolerance and awareness. We encourage group and partner work to promote development of creativity and social interactions. We rattle our brains to find better ways to keep students engaged. We find ways to better communicate with and relate to parents.
We are awesome. People may not realize how creative you are....but I do. Be proud of yourself! Being a teacher demands creativity. It does not, however, demand that you do everything at an "over the top" intensity level. Meeting the needs of your students is the part that matters. If you're working toward that...then you are a CREATIVE TEACHER!
Students Track Personal Progress
Hi friends! I thought I'd share a few ways that I encourage my students to track their academic progress.
You may have noticed that children tend to approach life, at times, with an "out of sight out of mind mentality". I recognize it because I too am an old pro at this method ;)
In order to keep students accountable, we have charts on our walls. Now, these are not the typical charts we adult are used to. No. They are way more cool....if I do say so myself.
Throughout second grade, students have personal goals and academic goals to meet. Some of their academic ones include addition and subtraction fluency within 20 (mental math). So we do math challenges to complete a set number of problems in 2 minutes. When they meet their challenge they move their photo down the chart as a visual reminder and tracker of where they are and where they need to go. It works the same way with our sight word challenges.
(My two wall charts were made on Vistaprint.com)
We also track our time spent reading. For every 100 minutes the students read on their own at home they earn a bead for their chain. The class goal is to have each student read 1,000 minutes by Christmas. After Christmas we will set a new class goal! There is a complete chain that remind students where they are going. They love seeing it in real time! It also helps me keep up with progress too, and the students do a great job of encouraging and helping each other with their goals!
(Using the side of a filing cabinet. Magnet balls found at walmart, chains online somewhere, beads from Michaels)
Free Hand Painted Sign Giveaway!!
It's about to get real up in here!
I'm ready to take my blogging experience to the next level....and what better way to do that than with a GIVEAWAY!!!! That's right. It's happening.
Ok...so most teachers give away these amazing instructional and curriculum essentials. However, I am not that cool yet. I do, however, paint and would love to get more of my signs out and about.
Below are some pictures of ones I've completed recently (they are 11x14in and go for $25.00). Just click on them to see a larger picture.
Now, if you win the giveway, I will contact you to find out what your theme, colors, and/or what you want it to say. If you are not local, I will ship it to you once it is complete. You do not have to be a teacher to win! It could say anything or any name you want. Check back on TUESDAY to find the winner.
If you don't win this time but still would like a sign, check out my ETSY page to place an order (https://www.etsy.com/shop/craftyteacher2014) OR to avoid shipping, just place your order on this post's comments section. Good Luck!
Only 1 day left y'all!
Grinch Day Chaos!
Well today was grinch day at school. The very grinch himself came to our classroom and caused quite a raucous! We all went to the polar express reading only to find that the grinch had visited our room while we were away!
The kids basically had mini heart attacks as they looked around the room to see all the damage done by Mr. Grinch.
He flipped over our chairs!! He walked all over our desks getting his nasty green grinch footprints all over everything!
The kids decided to write him a note in case he returned! We had already been working on our 'ways to make the grinch laugh' projects, which made everyone feel better that they had a plan just in case!
Unfortunately, our Elf got caught up in the whole mess of it all! The grinch bound him up so he could not stop him! Oh my! But thankfully he got free eventually!
It's time for a new adventure. I will begin teaching at Brighten in August. I've only ever taught at a Title I public school, so I'm sure there will be changes coming that I can't predict. I am excited to try something new, but will miss my NDES family so very, very much. They will still be seeing a lot of me, as I plan to still help with Good News Club.
I would publicly like to thank some of the people who have had such an impact on my life as an educator at North Douglas Elementary School. I feel that I owe them much because of their support of me in my growth as a teacher. Their lives have encouraged me and given me strength to make changes.
Thank you to Mrs. Julia Reguero de Atiles for helping me achieve my goals in college. You were such a wonderful mentor and I appreciate your guidance in a time when it was desperately needed.
Thank you Ms. Fran Davis for believing in me enough to hire me straight out of college. You have been a wonderful mentor and friend. I have learned so much from you and been immeasurably encouraged through your actions as principal, including the sacrifice of honoring an "open door policy" for your office and your big heart for students and teachers.
Thank you to all the 2nd grade teachers that I have had the pleasure to work with on a team the last 6 years. I have learned so much from all of them in so many different areas: Jennifer Barker, Michelle Paden, Virginia Lak, Yvonne Bryant, Leigh Kite, Danielle Tascoe, Kym Deerman, Allison Adams, Melissa Rusho, Brandy Kirby, Callie Grimaldi, Andrea Davis, and Maryanne Sonnier.
Thank you to my lead teachers and friends for listening and going out of their way to help me grow as a teacher: Allison Morgan and Nicole Wilson.
Thank you to Katie Henry for being my inspiration and accountability partner.
Thank you to Jennifer Deckard for changing my life. Your willingness to start the Good News Club has been the greatest blessing of my life to date. I prayed for you and your cause for years before I even knew you. Your faithfulness has led so many to Christ. Thank you for including me and trusting me enough to pass the torch on to me.
Thank you to Meredith Myers for continuing with my heart's project as the new Good News Club coordinator at NDES.
Another Thank You to Michelle Paden.....for literally always being there for me....no matter what.
What a wonderful experience I've had working with such an elite staff. You are wonderful, and I love you all. I could go on, but we'd be here all night. :)
Curiosity is this teacher's life obsession. To see the wonderment in a child's eyes is addictive. A perfect example of this is our current life cycle project in our class. We ordered tiny little caterpillars and are watching their life cycle process beginning to end....and hopefully through another round with the eggs they lay. We are so excited that it is nearly unbearable....mainly because I AM so over the top to come in everyday and see what's happened over the night. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below to show the stages and our reactions to it.
What an unforeseen day yesterday was. When I left for school it was a clear and cool morning. I thought in my mind that maybe the forecasters missed the mark.
I arrived at school to a class that was missing several students. I just went on about my day as planned. Somewhere around 10:00 the snow began to fall. It was so beautiful. I think I was more excited than the kids! I just knew we'd be heading home soon!
Well, things went from beautiful to chaotic pretty quickly. The snow accumulated and the roads froze faster than anyone could have imagined. Kids were being checked out left and right! Finally we got word that we would be sending students home early and the hundreds and hundreds of phone calls began!
After several buses and vans had to bring students back to schools and parents were stuck in traffic and wrecks for hours and hours, many school staffers volunteered to stay and help with phone calls and supervising. So many parents were unable to reach the schools to pick up their children. It was nerve wracking and frustrating at so many points, but being able to spend time playing and loving on these kids was priceless. Thanks to everyone for their help and prayers!
Really, if you were going to be stranded somewhere, a school is a pretty good place to be. We had so much fun watching movies, playing games and cards, and traveling to the gym for basketball and other fun activities. We were so fortunate to have pre made salads and sandwiches in the cafeteria to make feeding everyone almost effortless.
The kids slowly were picked up throughout the evening as we would cheer for each child who's name was called for check out! We tucked the last two boys in around 10:00 pm, and by 1:00 am everyone was finally able to leave the school.
Our administration is truly amazing. They were patient and level headed. They worked through everything like Champs. The last little man whose parents were still stuck way out on the interstate, went home with our AP and everyone from our school ended up home safely.
I know it is a widely known belief that there should be a separation of church and state affairs, but praise The Lord that God does not believe that!!! He protected our students and our staff. He moved right on into that school through the hearts and love of his followers and provided for us all. God is not dead! He is alive and well and he showed up in full force yesterday as seen so promenently in the actions of his people all over this county and state.
While many people are angry at this person or that, I can only feel gratitude for good Samaritans, love for the children, sympathy for those stuck, and empathy for the decision makers who are being talked about so harshly. I know we all can agree that different decisions should have been made, but hindsight is always 20/20. We must show grace and mercy and remember that there is more to every situation and decision that most are aware. Be kind and patient. Love even when it seems impossible. And forgive as Christ forgave us!!
I'm a second grade teacher who loves teaching, singing, and crafting!