Sunday, February 28, 2016

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Challenge

This is my first ever blog post!  First ever blog for that matter.  I was challenged by my principal to participate in the 1,2,3,4,5 challenge.  It may have been just the push I needed to kick off this whole blogging thing.  I already connect in so many other ways: my class website, twitter, remind, Instagram etc.  Every other outlet has the intended purpose of connecting with parents or with other educators.  Blogging will be a great way of journaling for myself and if it happens to reach a few people and they find it useful, that will be just an added bonus!

1. What has been your ONE biggest struggle this school year?

It is interesting to think about this question in an isolated timeframe of this current school year.  This year has been so awesome but SO different from all my others.  I began this year as I always do.  I prepared for my students as I always do.  They arrived as they always do.  I kicked off the year as I always do.  Of course each year curriculums may change, students change, schedules change, but over all my teaching practices remain constant.  "Why fix what isn't broken"  is a dangerous mindset.  I was content,  UNTIL  I built this amazing PLN through twitter and IG with educators country/worldwide.  I saw things I was amazed by, I read things that intrigued me.  My greatest challenge this year has also been my greatest accomplishment.  I challenged myself to change.  I looked into new ideas, I read books to collect the information and evidence I needed and I dove in head first.  I didn't wait until next year to improve my practices, I didn't even wait for a Monday.  Don't get me wrong, it was uncomfortable, it was hard, but the payoff has been greater than I ever imagined.  

2. Name TWO accomplishments that you are proud of from this year.

My first accomplishment that I am proud of would be taking on the task of teaching Reader's Workshop this year.  I have always taught reading using a workshop model but I really wanted to make the commitment to this new curriculum.  The prep work year 1 is time consuming and can be exhausting. It is an incredibly involved reading curriculum and I wasn't sure whether or not I would like it.  I took it literally one day at a time.  I wouldn't even read ahead.  I am glad I took this on.  The lessons have been rich and the conversations we have had about books in my classroom have been better than ever.  My students have learned to be readers.  Someone who reads books and becomes a part of them.  It's our favorite part of our day!
My second accomplishment would be reading, researching, discussing, and taking action to create a flexible classroom.  This is something that a few of my teacher idols from IG did this year and I couldn't stop drooling over their classrooms.  Seriously, they were beautiful, and the kids looked engaged and really HAPPY.  These dream classrooms seemed so out of reach for me.  Where do they get all those cool chairs/stools/stability balls etc.? How does this all work? I started connecting with these teachers.  They couldn't rave enough about this change they made.  They vowed to never go back to a classroom with desks.  I did the research.  I presented the idea to my principal, and he loved it.  My students have always had the choice to sit around the room during independent work periods, the transition wouldn't be crazy hard for them.  We gradually moved out of desks, introduced a few new seating options, and then eventually got rid of the desks.  Today is day 5 with no desks and this week has been one of the greatest we have had ALL YEAR, no exaggeration! 

3. What are THREE things you wish to accomplish before the end of the school year? 

- See EdCampNQ succeed!  I hope everyone that attends gets excited to try new things.  I hope people will want to see another EdCamp in this area!
- I would like to revamp my student filing system.  Right now it is something I dread, I need to find a different way of doing it, one that doesn't drive me crazy.
- I would like to help create a Makerspace for Dexter Park.  One that all classrooms could access during the week.

4. Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today's rough culture.

- The kids
- Teaching is still fun for me and I can only see myself leaving when it stops being fun.  No kid wants to learn from someone who doesn't WANT to be there.
- I'm pretty good with taking things in stride.  Although there are more demands, I also have a great support system and try to just take it one day at a time.
- I could not and would not find the same feeling of purpose in ANY other profession.

5. Which FIVE people do you hope will take the challenge of answering these questions?

-Anyone from my twitter or Instagram PLN
-Any of my OES colleagues!  Even if you don't choose to blog, it was really nice to write this all down and really reflect on how you feel your year is going.

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