Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Keeping It Real and Finding the Balance

How do all of you working parents do it?  The stress of the beginning of the school year is so much to handle, yet that is only a piece of my life now.  How do you balance taking care of your children and family as well?!?!  As we all start to transition back to school, I can't help but think about how I want to take better care of myself this year.  I want to "find" the balance between my personal and professional lives.  We all do; don't we?  I have learned over the years that balance is not always about sitting right in the middle ALL the time.  Instead, it is about the give and take.  Yes, at the beginning of the school year my professional life is going to require more of me, but that doesn't mean that I can't carve out time for yoga, hikes, and walks at the duck pond with my family.

This year, I want us to support one another.  I want to learn from each of you on how you find balance in your life.  Each month, I will feature two educators and how they find balance in their life.   These features will allow each of us to take a piece of advice from a fellow teacher.  Any educator can participate.  All you have to do is fill this form.  I will create a feature based on the information provided.  Let's support one another and have an amazing school year!  Please let me know if you have any questions (my email button is on the top right of my webpage).

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Change Will Do You Good...I Hope

Change is not easy, we all know that, but it may be one of the greatest things for you.  This year, I am changing schools.  I will still be teaching first grade, but I will be setting up shop in a building unfamiliar to me.  I will be leaving my teaching family, my home-away-from-home.  This is a choice that I made, but it is still one that I am struggling with.  Don't get me wrong, I am beyond excited, yet at the same time, I am so nervous and overwhelmed.  The mere act of setting up a classroom from scratch is exhausting to think about.  Plus, getting to know a new staff and fitting in is scary.  Have you ever felt this way?  How did you overcome these fears?
I have decided to take all of my nervousness and turn it into excitement.  This year, I get to start over. I get to relate to my students' feelings of nervousness on the first day.  I get to be the "new kid" that everyone supports (at least I hope).  Most importantly, I get to challenge myself to be my BEST self.

Are you resisting change or embracing it?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Guided Reading Expert Groups

One of my favorite ways to utilize guided reading groups and reading conferences is to create expert groups.  By allowing students to read about a topic that they are interested in I have found that their want to read increases substantially.  This year, I used Hameray Publishing's Fables and The Real World Sets to build expertise with my students.
The nonfiction books were perfect for my reading groups.  Each group would read their text throughout the week.  We studied main ideas and details, as well as retells.  The next week, I mixed up my reading groups and students taught each other about the topics they read about.  
I can't wait to get my hands on more of Hameray's real world books.  

Do you like to switch up your reading groups?  How do you try to spark interests with your students?