Showing posts from 2014

The Executive and Judicial Branches

Students spent this week learning about the Executive and Judicial Branches. We created a Generate, Sort, Connect, and Extend concept map centering on the roles of the President and a Judicial Branch foldable. I enjoy teaching History but I really like the opportunity to teach about US Government because it's the greatest chance I have to focus on 20th Century people, places, and events. 
It's become a passion of mine--to teach about a time that my students won't formally study until they're well into High School. Many know so little about events and people that have directly impacted their lives (unless they have learned about these people and events on their own). I feel it's my duty to expose them to as much 20th Century History as I possibly can. 

Legislative Branch Research/Reflection

Student Historians researched US House and Senate leadership and committee websites in both Houses of Congress today in class. A written reflective analysis on Schoology completed their work.  
Students needed to understand the concepts of majority and minority parties, as well as the role the Vice President plays as President of the Senate in order to complete these activities. Many students wrote that they learned about the roles of the members of the Legislative Branch today and many were surprised by the work that is done in committees.

Catch Up Day

I haven't been the best #reflectiveteacher lately--my role as Mom once again took precedence. My son has been sick but seems to be on the mend. He's had a tough couple of weeks, I hope he is back to normal very soon! I want to respond to some of the posts I've missed...

The first post is about educational goals for the future. I will apply to renew my National Board Certification in 2021 and I would like to earn a Curriculum degree, as well.  Both of these goals will wait until my children are older, though. I do not want to miss out on events in their lives, they will both be in college in the blink of an eye, I want to be there for them as much as possible! I am a life-long learner, and I know I will continue to grow and learn in the meantime. This time is for them. :)

I would like to let go of negativity. We all need to treat one another and ourselves with kindness. Negativity drags everyone down and makes progress difficult. Life would be better for everyone if people …

My Attitude of Gratitude Project...

has been successful. My students and I have been pretty good about writing down three things we are grateful for almost every school day this month. Students like the fact that I'm not reading or grading their entries (not everything in school should have a grade assigned to it!) and I like the fact that they are making a commitment to appreciating all that they have.

I have already mentioned to them that we will do this for at least one more month before the end of the school year. #reflectiveteacher

Family Traditions and Gratitude

Today's TeachThought reflection is about family traditions. My 8 year old daughter, Nina, and I came up with quite a few traditions we have:
My extended family gets together on the morning of New Year's Eve and go bowling.We attend the Dearborn Memorial Day Parade every Memorial Day.Birthdays are quite festive in our house. I sewed a Birthday-patterned table runner for the dining room table and it comes out a week or so before our birthdays and a birthday cake candle holder goes on it. The order for serving birthday cake slices is as follows: the guest of honor is first and then it goes from oldest to youngest--no one starts eating until everyone has a slice. (I came up with this plan off the top of my head when my children were toddlers--it's withstood the test of time.)Every third week in June my sister and I take our children to Camp Dearborn-our kids do the same things there now that we did as kids.We also go to Crystal Mountain for a week in the summer--it's a new…

A Book That Made Me a Better Teacher...


Day 20: One Life Lesson I'm Grateful to Have Learned...

is to listen to my gut instinct. Many people are thinkers, they analyze a decision and their analysis drives their behavior. I am a thinker, too, but when it comes to major decisions I can't let my thoughts alone guide me, I have to follow my intuition, as naive as that may seem. The older I get the more I know this to be true for me.
I began college as an International Business major. I truly don't know why, other than because it sounded like a good, solid way to earn a living for myself. I was a good student in school, I liked learning and therefore a business career was the life for me. I was up to this challenge.
Did I have passion for it?  No.  Did I envision myself doing whatever it was successful business people did for the next several decades of my life?  No.  Did I even enjoy my pre-business classes?  No.
With a complete lack of vision I continued on this path, taking several History classes simply because History has always interested me. A meeting with my adviser …

One thing that is different from a year ago that I'm grateful for...

is that I have more opportunities to connect and collaborate with mentors and colleagues within my district. It means a lot to me to be able to discuss new ideas and help to implement programs that benefit students. I'm having a great start to the school year and this is definitely a reason why. There's a positive shift in the mindset in my district--I'm glad to be a part of it. #reflectiveteacher

Five Things I'm Grateful to Have Learned in My Teaching Career

I've taken a few days off of my November posts due to conferences but feel the need to try and catch up! Yesterday's post really speaks to me.
I' longer a new teacher and have grown and changed so much from my first years in the classroom. The following lessons have stuck with me, I'm grateful I've learned them because I'm a better school community member as a result.  1. Take risks. Sure they're scary but in order to grow and learn stepping out of my comfort zone is a must. I'm doing it more and more and realizing their value for both me and my students. I've started genius hour in my Effective Teens class and am organizing a three school genius hour sharing experience field trip and, truth be told, I'm pretty nervous about it. The whole idea of genius hour has been a risk but the value for my students is too great  NOT to have a sharing session for them. I have to admit sending that first email that got the ball rolling was nerve …

The Most Important Lesson I Want to Teach My Students

I think the most important lesson I want to teach my students is respect. This word is all-encompassing and has many facets.
One example is self-respect. I've said it before but Middle School. Is. Tough. Feeling comfortable with who you are can at times be challenging as an adult but it's often painfully challenging as an young adolescent.  I want my students to get to the point that they are happy and content with their uniqueness at a time in their life when fitting in means everything. Every time I see a student balk about giving their opinion on a topic we're studying I encourage them to "own it" and do the best they can at whatever it is they're uncomfortable doing or saying. Risk-taking during learning is encouraged and supported in our room. Students need to feel good about who they are and I will do what I can to assist them!
Respect for others is essential, as well. I do not tolerate put-downs or unkind actions in our room. I will, to the best of my…

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude @Teachthought Day 9

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude at home and at school takes thought and mindfulness. It is important  and I firmly believe in educating the whole student, not just academically, but behaviorally, as well. I would be doing them a disservice if I didn't practice good manners, respect, and kindness with them every chance I have. There is ALWAYS time in my classroom to teach the whole child! It's a priority.
One way that I am doing that this month is through a student gratitude journal page for November. Our wonderful school counselors started this idea last November and held gratitude seminars with staff and in each grade level--it really hit a note with our students and staff. I wanted to keep that spirit alive by giving students the time to write down 3 things/people they are grateful for each day we are in school in November. (I am emphasizing the thought that it would be great to write 3 different topics each day but it's totally up to them.) I have made a gratitude…

Memorable Moments

The #reflectiveteacher post for Day 8 is to reflect on a memorable moment and how it reminds me how much I love teaching. I am fortunate enough to have two recent moments. 
My first moment happened early in the school year. A group of girls came into our 8th Grade History class one day bubbling with excitement, the way teenage girls often do. Their excitement wasn't due to One Direction or the High School Homecoming game but was because they created song lyrics to the Lorde song, "Royals" based on what we were learning in class! I couldn't stop smiling as the girls asked to sing their creation to the class and I videoed them. They gave a terrific performance and I was so happy they were enjoying learning about American History! 
My second moment happened this week. I have frequent chats with my Effective Teens related to their Genius Hour projects. One of my students is struggling with her product--she wants to do something with fashion but doesn't know if she s…

A Quote That Inspires and Guides Me

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.  ~Mahatma Gandhi
I have only recently learned of this quote but the meaning behind it has guided me for years. 
I feel that teaching is a calling and I try to live up to this calling every day. It's one of the reasons that I push myself to learn and grow for my students. 
I also work to make sure that my students live these words, too. I co-created a service-learning opportunity for my Effective Teens students four years ago and so this quote is true for my middle schoolers, as well. I want these teens to see themselves with new eyes and to develop confidence in the leadership ability. By giving to others we gain so much and learn  so much about ourselves. 

The Nicest Gift I've Received from a Student or Parent or Colleague

Today's post is to reflect on the nicest gift I've received from a student or parent or colleague. I think that, reflecting on this school year, the gift of trust means the most to me.
I, like many of us, have a student this year that has suffered greatly in her life. She has dealt with issues that no adult should have to experience and she has struggled academically as a result. She hasn't performed well in school previously and I needed to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. 
I am very proud to say that she is slowly, cautiously, shining in my classroom. I have seen her smile, make (limited) eye contact with me and other students, show effort in class, and probably most surprising of all, speak out loud in front of the class. This year has been kind of a "two steps forward, one step back" year and I do not at all feel that her success is entirely my doing (thankfully she has a team of support) but I am grateful that she feels she can trust me. #reflec…

My Proudest Accomplishment

Today's post is to reflect on the teaching accomplishment I'm proudest of. I think I touched on this during the September blog challenge so I won't elaborate too much but I'm proudest of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. 
I put the dream aside for many years and it was exciting to take the step to even attempt certification. The process is hard and there were times I questioned continuing the journey. I had the support of my mentor and colleagues that I really look up to and their encouragement got me through. 
I was fortunate enough to achieve certification in 2011 and I realize how much I've grown as an educator because of this process. My students have greatly benefited from my experience, as well.

Smiles and Chocolate

@TeachThought is sponsoring another monthly challenge, this one based on gratitude. I am looking forward to continuing my reflections this month.
Some of the best aspects of teaching aren't tangible. It's the comfort students feel when they're in my room. They know me pretty well now and understand they can take risks in my classroom. They also know that put-downs aren't allowed. This goes a long way to making Room 902 a place to get viewpoints out in the open during discussion. I reiterate that all opinions are valued and meaningful. Students practice debate and discussion skills while using historical evidence to support their viewpoints. 
I also appreciate being appreciated. Middle School students aren't going to come out and tell me that they appreciate me but they do it subtly--a smile or a returned "I'm fine, how are you" is all that I need to tell me they value being in my classroom, too. The little things are big things when you teach teenage…

Valley Forge Acrostic Poems

Historians culminated their study of the brutal winter at Valley Forge by writing acrostic poems. Many were truly outstanding, as evidenced here...

@TeachThought Connected Educator Month Thoughtful Thursday:Week 3

I am proud to say that I completed all thirty September @TeachThought Reflective Teacher posts! Having said that, for some reason I'm struggling with completing the October reflections. The challenge for week 3 really speaks to me, though.
Week 3: Why is it important for educators to be connected?
Educators need to be connected in order to grow. 
A recent example of this for me is Twitter. I'm new to Twitter and am absolutely astounded by the opportunities for collaboration--it is like nothing I've ever experienced. I'm curious by nature (my cousins and sister share this trait) and it's simply who I am. 
A colleague started regularly tweeting me earlier this year, sending article recommendations and sites to visit. Her preferred form of communication challenged me to become more comfortable with it and, even though I have much to learn, I quickly realized I'd be missing out on so much by not jumping in and learning more about it. (I even researched tutorials a…

Saratoga and Valley Forge

Student Historians are learning about how significant the battles of Saratoga and the winter at Valley Forge were to the American Revolution. 
The Saratoga victory was a turning point because France and Spain decided that maybe the Continental Army could, in fact, win and began to send desperately needed supplies and people to train the American soldiers. Tomorrow students will analyze the impact this boost had on the outcome of the war. 
We will also begin to study the winter at Valley Forge, using a diary entry from Albigence Waldo, a surgeon that served there. Valley Forge was an incredibly challenging time for the Continental soldiers and Thomas Paine's words from one year earlier help to shed light on the difficulties for these young men: 
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman… Thomas Paine, T…

@TeachThought Day 30: What I Would Do (As A Teacher) If I Wasn't Afraid

My last Reflective Teacher TeachThought post for the month of September asks me what I would do (as a teacher) if I weren't afraid. The answer would normally be that I'm too afraid to allow students to be self-directed learners.
I'm able to cross that off of my list, however: my Effective Teens students are just beginning Genius Hour!
I've been teaching Effective Teens for six years now. I think it is an amazing character education program and I've added a lot (including a service-learning component) to enhance it. The need arose last winter, however, to revamp the curriculum this school year and that thought filled me with some anxious moments. I was worried about what I could do to (meaningfully) change the curriculum but keep the most essential elements of the class intact. After researching and thinking (and thinking) the idea hit me--the gift of time that this change precipitated allowed me to implement Genius Hour
I am so excited by the possibilities this …

@TeachThought Day 29: My Journey as a Teacher

I have been teaching for 18 years now (technically 19, I took one year off after my second child was born) and I have changed in many ways but the core of who I am as an educator has remained the same.
I began teaching during the mid-1990s, a time of prosperity in Michigan. There have been many changes in Michigan since that have directly impacted public education here and times have been tougher. I see a resiliency in educators, though, and we face these struggles knowing that our students need us now more than ever. 
One of the greatest changes for me as an educator occurred during the first ten years of my career--I became a Mom. I was a good teacher before, I am a much better teacher now. I always showed empathy for my students, it's an ingrained quality. Having my own children directly impacted me, though, because I see every young person in my classroom as someone's son or daughter. That reality was profound for me and effects my decisions, both big and small.
I now val…

@TeachThought Day 28: The Technology/Curriculum Connection

Today's post centers around the issue of whether or not technology should drive curriculum. I hadn't read all 30 daily Teach Thought topics when I answered this question earlier in the month, on September 12th. The goal should be that curriculum should drive the technology usage in the classroom, not the other way around.
Teachers should use a variety of methods to teach the standards, skills and concepts necessary for students to learn in their subject area. Technology needs to be one way to help students learn--it can't be the only way. Technology is amazing and dynamic but needs to be harnessed and filtered through the content. My district is utilizing the SAMR method to integrate technology into teaching and I feel this is a reasonable way to start slow and ultimately transform my teaching.  

I am striving toward the Redefiniton phase but needed to work in the Substitution phase just this week so that I could see what an on-line discussion (my first) would look like. …

@TeachThought Day 27: The Importance of Weekends and Holidays

I'm sure teachers everywhere are in total agreement with me when I say that weekends and holidays are vital!
Weekends during the school year are all about catch-up: I get extra sleep, a chance to grade work and plan, get up-to-date on my household chores and grocery shopping, I have longer workout sessions and make time for fun, too.  
Saturdays and Sundays also give me extra time to be a Mom and enjoy my son and daughter's soccer and basketball games. I love to watch them play and enjoy being kids! It's revitalizing and strengthens our parent/child bonds.
Holidays are critical because there is usually an event during the time off and that's a chance to make new memories with family and friends. We have traveled during some holiday vacations and when I come back to school I'm refreshed and energized.
Both weekends and holidays allow me precious time to reflect and think--this is key to making me a better person, parent, friend, and teacher.  Reflection, I've r…

@TeachThought Day 26: Three Favorite Go-To Sites

I have mentioned websites that I use often but because today's post asks for a few more go-to sites I will share three more I now refer to: the TeachTCI webinar page, the Cult of Pedagogy, and Pinterest.

I have known about TCI since I was a student teacher and their approach to social studies education is outstanding. I use the webinars to find ideas to make my teaching more exciting and relevant for my students.

I have recently learned about the Cult of Pedagogy and I really like their education articles and videos. I am frequently searching this site for explanations of buzz-worthy topics.

Pinterest is an absolute go-to site for education. When I want a resource or a new way to utilize an idea in my classroom I see what's been posted on Pinterest. (I have posted pictures, as well.) It's a wonderful place to find lesson ideas, information on Genius Hour implementation, and even tips on how to decorate my classroom! #reflectiveteacher

@TeachThought Day 25: Ideal Student Collaboration

What does student collaboration look like? I often ask this very question of my students and their answers are insightful. They feel student collaboration should occur when students are facing one another and making eye contact. When I ask what student collaboration sounds like they mention student conversations should remain on-topic, respectful (especially when disagreeing on topics and issues), and all students should use low voices. 
I feel their views are spot-on. I also believe student collaboration should center on higher-level, open-ended questions. Project-based learning (see yesterday's post) is ideal, in my opinion. Giving students the chance to work on real-life issues will prepare them for the 21st century. 
Middle school students need the chance to practice social and content vocabulary and collaboration allows this to occur. I am taking a risk tomorrow and have my classes complete an online discussion for the first time. This will be the perfect teachable moment to…

@TeachThought Day 24: An Intriguing Trend in Learning: Project-Based Learning

Today's blog entry is to write about a current trend that I want to know about. I am definitely intrigued by Project-Based Learning. 

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a real-world approach to group activities in the classroom and I would like to make it a bigger part of my curriculum. 
Curriculum relevancy has always been a goal of mine--I want students to know why social studies knowledge is essential to being a productive and effective member of society. PBL addresses content and applies it to real-world situations. Critical thinking skills are also emphasized. 
I feel that PBL would make class even more fun and interesting for my students and it's an achievable goal. #reflectiveteacher

@TeachThought Day 23: How I Involve the Community in My Classroom

Today's focus centers on how I meaningfully involve the community in the learning that takes place in my classroom. 
I involve parents in the History-related field trips my students go on, two examples are the field trips to Greenfield Village and Civil War Day at the Troy Historical Museum. We are lucky to have great parent turn-out. Our parents are supportive and willing to share the day with us, especially since they probably won't have the opportunity to chaperon for many class events while their children are in High School. The parents enjoy themselves and see their children learn History at the same time.
One way I meaningfully involve the community in my History classroom occurs during the annual Veterans Day speaker panel I help coordinate. The History teachers and I reach out to our parents and ask for Veterans to come in to speak to each of the History classes, on or around Veterans Day. 
The participants are mostly the parents and grandparents of current 8th Grader…

@TeachThought: My PLN and What it Does For Me

My Professional Learning Network is growing bigger everyday, thankfully! I enjoy working with and learning from educators (and administrators) representing all content areas, grade levels, years in service, and subject areas. 
I believe firmly that learning comes from a willingness to share ideas, period. For example, I learned a valuable classroom management technique from a 6th Grade Language Arts teacher during an observation many years ago. If I wasn't willing to be open-minded I could have dismissed the technique because I teach 8th graders. Instead, it was a valuable teaching moment for me.
Last week I was fortunate to attend a school improvement meeting with leaders from the six secondary buildings in my district. I had a fabulous day interacting with and building upon the ideas these six teams brought together. I cannot wait to see what will come of the groundwork and synergy produced at this meeting!
I believe that technology has allowed my PLN to grow. I am connecting w…

@TeachThought Day 21: Bringing my Hobbies and Interests into the Classroom

My reflection today centers on how I bring my hobbies and interests into the classroom. 
I enjoy crafting--it's cathartic and I feel renewed when I'm creative. I have made some items for my classroom that make it more homey (but not too "girly" or cute--I need to be mindful of the boys in my classes). 
I love music and art history and try to incorporate them into my US History curriculum whenever possible. Two examples are the soundtrack from the movie "The Patriot" and John Trumbull's Signing of the Declaration of Independence. I also play U2's Pride (In the Name of Love) to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 
I am a sports fan and bring in articles to share with my Effective Teens students related to concepts we study. An example would be the article I shared about a former Detroit Tiger All-Star baseball player that was demoted to the minors a few years ago when he wasn't producing on the field. This athlete made the best of the situation…

@TeachThought Day 20: Student Work Curation

The topic for today's post centers on student work curation. I like the archival connotation of the term curation, that is truly what we do (and/or have our students do).

My curation is usually results in hanging items on the wall in class and out in the hallway. I will also tweet and blog student work. The curation I would like to focus this post on is the student curation that occurs in my middle school.

The middle schools in my district have a very well-crafted portfolio project for the three years students are in middle school, thanks to our district's Language Arts teachers and Teacher Libarians. The program is called APT to Succeed--the acronym stands for the types of student work that goes into the portfolio. Students should have a sampling of Academic, Personal Management, and Teamwork artifacts represented. (We help students find examples for each of the three components.)

This impressive program has been well-honed through the years and culminates with a 8th grade p…

@TeachThought Day 19: Student Self-Reflection

Self-Reflection is essential to growth. Today's post asks educators to reflect on how students think and learn in their classrooms. Three powerful methods I use to encourage my students to reflect are exit slips, self-grading, and the I Used to Think But Now I Think Visible Thinking routine.
Exit Slips are a great end-of-the-hour activity. I do daily slips that may simply ask students to state the most important piece of information they learned in the hour and explain why or the most important event from the week's classes, and state why. Exit slips enable me to easily check to see what students are retaining and they get an opportunity to practice the claim-evidence skills that are so important in social studies education.
Having students grade themselves on activities is incredibly insightful and their grading is often harsher than I grade! (I, of course, have final say but I value their insights.) They have to cast a critical eye on their performance and effort and these …

@TeachThought Day 18: Teaching Philosophy Metaphor

Today's challenge was to come up with a metaphor for my teaching philosophy. This week is particulary busy for me and the thought of creating a metaphor is daunting! Here are my thoughts:  I feel that teaching is sculpting.  A sculptor gains access to a block of, for example, marble. The sculptor can see the general makeup of the marble but won't know what's inside until the actual chipping begins. Any generalizations the artist may have about the marble might turn out to be just a generalization when work begins. Sculpting is messy, precarious at times, and hopefully exhilerating when he or she views their final product. I view teaching similarly. I can make assumptions about the makeup of my classes but I have no idea what the year will hold until I actually begin. (Those assumptions can be detrimental, as well.) Teaching is messy and not always clear and structured. (That's ok, in fact, that can be wonderful--there is nothing like teachable moments). Finally, both…

@TeachThought Days 16 and 17: Teacher Superpower/Today's Most Challenging Educational Issue

***I am combining yesterday and today's blog posts--being a Mom took precedence yesterday*** Today's (September 16th) reflection is to think about a superpower I would want to have for my classroom. There are several that would benefit me (cloning myself comes to mind) but my most pressing challenge in my classroom this year is my inability to communicate well with my non-native speakers. I would therefore like to be able to speak many languages. This would enable me to help my ELL students navigate US History, especially since they have little to no prior knowledge of US History to draw from. The academic language is often intangible, especially when discussing politics and government/civics. If I would be able to explain the nuances of government to my students they would have a much easier time grasping the academic content. Day 17: The Most Challenge Issue in Education Today I feel the most challenging issue is standardized testing. The idea is very important: we should …

@TeachThought Day 15: Three Strengths

Today's post is to write about three strengths I have as an educator. 
One strength is my natural curiosity. I love to learn and I do everyday in class. It may be a new viewpoint on a topic we're discussing or a new tech gadget my students shared with me--it doesn't matter what it is, I know more today than I did yesterday. This keeps me young and eager to see what tomorrow holds. Learning is powerful and it's something I thrive on.
Another strength is my patience. I am by no means perfect but I've learned to succeed in classroom management through patience. I respect my students and they sense that. They know that I want to be there, with them, learning together. I give them opportunities to own classroom routines and we work as one to achieve our goals. I am do not yell, I have no need to. It's not always easy but they appreciate how I work to make History (or Effective Teens) relevant and interesting for them and that goes a long way when it comes to classr…

@TeachThought Days 13 and 14: EdTech and Student Feedback

TeachThought Day 13: My Top Edtech Tools
I have a few edtech tools I frequently use and recommend: Edutopia, Smartboard Notebook Software,  and two sites from the National Archives.
Edutopiais an outstanding online resource for educators. I subscribe to their newsletter and there is always something new and relevant for me to learn and use in my classroom. It is simply outstanding. 
Smartboard Notebook Software: this software is vital to my teaching. I organize topics for both US History and Effective Teens (the leadership class I teach) through Notebook. I am able to embed links, video clips, interactive maps, and other resources electronically. Without it I feel that my Smartboard would be nothing more than a very large computer monitor. The software helps me achieve my goal of student smartboard utilization, as well. They love to use the board and this is another opportunity to promote student-centered learning in my classroom. Smartboard also has a SmartTech Exchange for teachers t…

Day 12: What My Teaching Will Look Like in the Next Five Years

I envision tremendous changes for me as a teacher within the next five years. My district has implemented a student tablet program this school year and even though I am not significantly impacted by this new initiative now I will be in less than two years as the program increases in scope.
I am excited about this endeavor but I am also nervous because there will be many changes for me and for my students. I envision a near-paperless school day and that is nearly incomprehensible to me. There is going to be a significant learning curve and I need to keep reminding myself of the idea that has been reiterated by our district technology leaders: 
The curriculum should drive the use of technology, not vice versa.
If I keep this thought front and center in my mind I will be able to navigate these changes smoothly and gracefully. I was fortunate enough to receive a smartboard a few years ago and I can't imagine teaching without one now. I have tirelessly worked to make it an indispensab…

TeachThought Day 11: My Favorite Part of the School Day

Today's post took some thought for me to answer. I am a morning person and my initial thought was to say the best part of the day was the beginning of the day but that's not true. The early morning is actually quite stressful for me: I need to wake up and get me, my son and my daughter ready for the day and out the door while simultaneously providing an nuturing home environment that will allow them to feel ready to achieve great things at school. I then have a long commute that takes me on busy highways--not my idea of fun. 
My best part of the school day is actually about halfway into my first class period.
The halfway point of my first class period is the point of the day when I can feel my class is hitting their groove and our learning is flowing. I can see how accurately I've predicted the amount of material we can cover and dive deeply into without overwhelming them. I can sense where we will find a natural ending for the period and I will then be able to wrap up wi…

TeachThought Day 10:All About Me

Today’s TeachThought post: All About Me
Five random facts about myself: Fact one: I have a fraternal twin sister and I am five minutes younger. Fact two: I hosted aradio show at a very small radio station on campus when I was in college. (It was an awesome experience!) Fact three:  I can speak German (I’m not as fluent as I used to be, though). Fact four: I am a World Record Holder. Three generations of females in my family are part of a world record event that brought awareness to the World War II-era bomber plant my Grandmother worked at during the war. (I even have a certificate!) Fact five: My favorite color is turquoise.
Four things from my bucket list: 1. I want to travel to Hawaii. 2. I want to write a History book. 3. I want to be in a band. (I’m not seeing this one happening!) 4. I want to learn to speak another foreign language—Italian or French.
Three hopes for the year 1. I hope that my students will grow as critical thinkers. 2. I hope that they will find their voice and increase their confi…