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Showing posts from November, 2014

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

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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...

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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'm...ahem...no 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. 
#reflectiveteacher

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

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@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…