"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Helen Keller
- Fran Richardson
- Welcome to my blog!I'm a teacher of fourth graders in a beautiful, small, rural town. I moved here a few years ago, but I have taught 19 of my 24 years in this same small town that is now my home. My experience is in teaching second, third, and fourth grades with one year in sixth grade. I am always reading, learning, and reflecting on what goes on in my classroom. I love the work that I do with the parents, my fellow teachers, and most all-my students.I hope you will enjoy reading my blog.
For the past month or so, Pinterest has been inspiring me in both my home and my classroom. The ideas for my classroom are tremendous: centers, boards, lesson plans, and arts and crafts. The ideas for my home have been helpful: recipes for the crockpot, crafts, organization, and seasonal décor that is easy. Another great thing that I discovered are all the great clothing ideas that I pin for work outfits that are teacher and budget-friendly. I will admit to a clothing slump of late. My usual school unofficial school uniform is a polo or a plain tee-shirt paired with a cardigan and khaki pants with good hearty teaching shoes that are not always pretty. Pretty plain, boring stuff. Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve ventured into throwing on a vintage scarf or costume jewelry and fallen in love with a pair or two of new, stylish, and comfortable Crocs- one pair in animal prints! Jewelry and scarves were not my thing until I saw the many ways I could use the old pieces which belonged to my Mama who always seemed to be stylin’ especially before I came into her life .
My Mama had great style for the librarian she became and was always looking for a bargain.
With style and thrift in mind, I decided to try my hand at making some scarves using some old clothing or as it’s called “upcycling.” Very budget-friendly to a teacher’s salary while fun to create and more fun to wear.
Here are the results:
Proof of how easy it is to do this if I can do it! The plaid scarves I really like for everyday. The fringe scarf I would save for a jeans day or weekend although it would be very easy to make one of these for school colors or some other fun day. Every time I look at this pink and green creation I am reminded of The Lorax!
You never know what you might see and be inspired by on Pinterest. Check out my boards here: http://pinterest.com/tabkatz/
Earlier this week I posted that Sarah Emerling along with her husband Chris Emerling were both teachers in Aiken County who were voted Teachers of The Year. ( I would like to point out that this is the second time Sarah has been honored by our school). Sarah “pushes into” my social studies classes to provide her special education services to our students. And she is also technologically savvy . In my haste ( well, it was 5:00 AM), I neglected to see the other story in the Aiken Standard: Busbee Corbett Makes AYP which mentioned my former teammate Tammy Swartz. Follow the link to find out how my school Busbee Corbett made AYP because of a shared vision of literacy.
Today I will begin reading her latest book based on the blurb at Amazon:
Do the never-ending pressures of teaching drain you emotionally? Is a lack of resources and support stealing your enthusiasm? Are the small daily hassles adding up and overwhelming you? Effective teaching requires serious mental fortitude. This book will empower you to develop the resilient, flexible, positive mindset you need to:Yes, right now I do at times feel drained, emotional, and exhausted, but I am always quick to point out that often the strain of teaching comes not from the children but from the relationships from other adults we deal with- co-workers, parents, and administrators whether it is consciously done or not on their part. The beginning of school is ALWAYS an adjustment for both the families and students but also teachers. This year we have many new faculty members which means that many roles and relationships have ended or changed. I am the kind of person who loves routine in my work. I love going to the same place seeing the same faces year after year. I find comfort in this arrangement, and it's been successful and soothing to me when the past several years have been a period of great change in my personal life. It will take some time for me to adjust to what is new in a place that I am so familiar and comfortable with.
* Consciously challenge the negative thoughts that discourage you
* Raise your tolerance for frustration so you become less 'disturbable'
* Live beyond your feelings to stay motivated when you don't see results
* Change your perception of setbacks so they feel less stressful
* Let go of unrealistic expectations, standards, and comparisons
* Realize a sense of accomplishment in a job that's truly never done
Awakened provides simple steps to help you feel peaceful and energized, no matter what's happening around you. Drawing upon principles of stress management, cognitive behavioral therapy, spiritual truths, and personal experiences, Awakened helps you develop thought habits that produce an unshakeable sense of contentment, motivation, and purpose. Learn how to renew your mind and take a fresh approach to the challenges of teaching! (from Amazon.com)
I am one who is always looking for new ideas and inspiration so I will report back on my thoughts on Awakened . I am sure to be encouraged, renewed, and refreshed soon.
A poem by Taylor Mali to inspire and remind teachers of what we do. Enjoy!
My summer is almost over ( sigh). Tuesday is my first official day back at work, but already I have been very busy preparing and setting up my classroom even doing what I can from home with a few quick trips to my classroom. Last week I put my desks into a very simple arrangement while keeping the basic setup the same from last year so there was no need to move the cubbies, computer tables, or my little corner with my computer, my professional books, and files. Because I lucked up and bought two rolling carts that were used in a video store that went out of business last May, I didn’t not have to move and sort my classroom library that has over a thousand books. ( That alone has sometimes taken WEEKS for me to deal with!) My carts have my books sorted into my social studies units so they are ready to go. When I got into my classroom, I started working on what will go onto my boards based on how I can use them in instruction. Because we use anchor charts in our classrooms throughout my school which are based on a balanced literacy model for reading instruction in my district, we do not plaster out walls with store-bought displays as I used to do in years past. My room will be decorative but not finished until the students arrive in about two weeks, and learning begins.
In the meantime, I've created some items for my two bulletin boards in my classroom, my dry erase board, and my door.Here’s how the door to my classroom welcomes my students:
When my class comes in each day, they will do a warm-up based on what we did the day before as pencils are sharpened and the restroom is used by those who need to. The warm-up is part of keeping a social studies interactive notebook. I’ve decided to use the middle part of my dry erase board as the place where we post our interactive note book work each day:
I have also decided this year to have a focus wall into addition to posting my standards as we are required to do. I have posted essential questions, word walls, and rubrics before, but I like the idea that I could use the bulletin board where my trade books which are an integral part of my history lessons to serve as both a meeting area and visual reminder and focal point for what we are doing that day in class. It is also in the corner away from the door so the students will be facing me so they truly will be focused as the lesson begins. Looking at my standards, I also see how the focus wall will insure that I include elements of social studies literacy such as timelines, maps, and diagrams:
Finally, I will have what I am calling a summary wall for the end of the lesson wrap-up. I chose the bulletin board near the door for two reasons: Here will be evidence of our learning, and because it is near the door, it will be easy to add post-its as exit slips as students line up and leave for the day. I have already posted a place where the rubric will be because this is also a requirement when student work is displayed.
Because I am the type of person that I think, reflect, and redo, I am already seeing some things I can improve. I am already realizing that are some other things that are needed and better ways to use these displays. I will share those improved displays when they are ready to go.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy these last few days of our summer.
MY BELIEFS ABOUT TEACHING
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