Saturday, March 24, 2012

And the Rockstar Award Goes to...

guitar stars Pictures, Images and Photos

Photo via Photobucket

What a week!  I had a lot of so called “downtime” due to the circumstances at home, but seriously there was NO mental break.  I am ending the week actually more tired than most and I only made it to work 1.5 days out of 5.  So that is why my AMAZING, GENUINE, INSPIRATIONAL teaching partner is receiving the Rockstar Award!  Ann totally rocked the week:

·         She faced each day with resilience
·         She was calm in the face of unpredictability
·         She juggled 50 students, the needs of colleagues, and parent concerns with care
·         She welcomed 3 guest teachers into our classroom (2 of which had never subbed for us before)
·         She maintained her humor amidst the changes in routine
·         She attended 2 trainings, finding inspiration and courage
·         She assisted me in preparing for our first observation of several in the days to come
·         She put into practice a new routine to meet students social/emotional needs
·         She mentored our university student and a new teacher throughout the week
·         She mothered my daughter through the stress she was facing
·         She lesson planned on her own, creating engaging lessons and activities to meet students’ needs
…but most of all, with all of this on her plate she maintained her contact with me through texts, photos, emails, tweets, and phone conversations.  She kept me up to date, but also was a dear friend showing empathy for my personal situations. 
I am so very thankful...Everyone give her a shout out please!  She deserves it.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Counting Blessings

A few days ago I posted regarding my busy calendar.  And then the very next morning some unforseen circumstances occured and I suddenly had a free calendar in order to deal with the situations that became priority.  I have now had a few days to think about, consider, and reflect upon the blessings surrounding me. 

Everyone is okay, that was the first blessing I could count.  Life just hit a rocky road with a cloudy future.  I am a very organized person, and luckily fairly flexible, however this giant jolt has made me pause faster than I usually do.  This bumpy path I am now on has allowed me to drive a bit slower and pay attention to what is directly in front of me.  The freeway driving has ceased for a bit as I detour to handle the situations at hand.   

I am so fortunate to be surrounded by so many strong, caring, resilient individuals.  They step in and take over, immediately reacting without question or request.  I could not find success without them by my side and will always treasure the relationships I have with them.  It is difficult to find honest, trustworthy people who lift you up with constant inspiration.  But I have truly been blessed, as I have several in my life.

So, in essence, I put a question out into cyberspace regarding how to handle the incredibly overflowing plate I had before me.  In return, I was provided with time to increase my energy level and focus on the moment.  The decision I made to clear my calendar would not have happened for my own personal needs, but as I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, I am slowly learning through the week why the universe provided me with extra time.  And so I am counting my blessings and I am thankful for the opportunity to gather my thoughts.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Lots on the Agenda

So much on the calendar these next 9 school days:
> 2 after school Trauma Trainings
> Grade level meetings (not sure we can juggle 3 this time though)
> Collaboration with Mentees (amazing conversation with these women!)
> District Committee Meeting(me), Professional training(Ann)
> Team observations to support our math grant
> 3 Team Meetings for student concerns
> Mini Book Club Discussion
> Presentation to a newly forming student ASCD Chapter at a local university

All leading up to a SPRING BREAK! (Which is bound to be full of family, fun, play, books, exercise, travel, and hopefully sun & relaxation...)

Ideas to get us through??? far...
Strategy #1: Coffee in hand!
Strategy #2: Daily exercise to keep energy level up
Strategy #3: Jedi breathing
Others?? What do you do when your agenda is crammed? Inspiration welcome :)


Friday, March 16, 2012

Yoda Day!!

So excited to wear our tee shirts today! A fabulous, fantastic, fun find by Ann to inspire our inner Jedi! peace we will be.... inspire we will... excited I am...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Empowering Students: 5 Powerful Strategies

Meeting students where they are is key to their social, emotional, and academic success. A piece of this puzzle is to allow them to be empowered in the learning process. We want to ensure that we are teaching the Whole Child and providing each student a learning experience that meets their personal needs. Who knows the child better than themselves? They are aware of their likes and dislikes, their own opinions, the things that they feel confident with and the things that challenge them, as well as the dreams they have.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In Case You Missed It . . .

Yesterday, Celina and I had the opportunity to share the message of our multiage program.  Then today I took the time to catch up on all my favorite bloggers and came across the great post by Pernille Ripp, about apologies.  I instantly made a connection, because while the presentation went well as we talked a full 50 minutes about our growth and philosophy, I am finding myself thinking of the things I wish I would have said.  The things I wish I would have pointed out, those direct highlights that I hope everyone who was there took away from our presentation but am unsure that they were able to easily read between the lines since so much was shared.  So here it is, without apology (thanks Pernille for reminding me to stand tall):

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Observation Brings Inspiration

Ann and I had the luxury of spending time in the classrooms of a few colleagues outside of our building. With our busy schedules and limited financial resources it is a challenge to get out and about. But today we found a way to make it happen and we jumped at the opportunity!

We made many connections today regarding the ways our teaching practices/programs are similar. We found the following key elements refreshing:

*meet students where they are
*think outside of the box
*offer choice
*use a project-based approach
*connect with parents often
*teach with variety
*allow for exploration
*enjoy every moment of your job
*build positive relationships
*smile, laugh, joke :)

We appreciated our time away, valuing an opportunity to pursue our own personal growth. Moments like these offer insight into new perspectives and promote potential growth in ourselves.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

What a Difference!

Just reflecting on Celina's list of great things about student-led conferencing, and absolutely agreeing about the amazing interactions that we had with our students and their families.  First, our students shared a PowerPoint that they had created about themselves as learners, planners and learning community members.  Their presentations showed a depth of thought and honesty that was exciting to see.  The parents were impressed and the kids were able to celebrate and enjoy the limelight.  Following their slides we moved over to check out their report card.  Each student had the opportunity to share how their progress to targets and goals related to their standards based grades. 

Student-led conferences are new to our district at the elementary level, although our Middle School has been using the model for some time.  If I have learned anything from the experience it is that our kids can do this.  They know how to self-assess their work, articulate their learning progress and set goals for future growth. They are comfortable with sharing where they are on the learning continuum and see that their hard work and courageous efforts make it happen.  At the same time there are still students who are figuring the whole process out, that we will need to continue to support and help them recognize their potential and progress.

Student-led conferences felt like a natural complement to our multiage classroom. Plus this experience once again highlighted the power in putting the students first, meeting them where they are and helping them to shine.  What a difference this year has made for all of us. ~Ann

Friday, March 2, 2012

Inspiring Process

Student-Led Conferencing is... inspiring process.

...a celebration.

...smiles and laughter.

...honest reflection.

...sharing highlights and pride in learning.

...a time to spend with family.

...a special moment in time to shine.

...a way to express personal growth and future goals.

...the beautiful, colorful horizon after the perfect storm.