Monthly Archives: December 2016

Precepts

I’m a firm believer in precepts; words to live by, life quotes, mottos, really justĀ listening to people smarter than yourself. In my classroom, we have a new words to live by phrase every week. Here is some life advice from some wise people (or their characters) that were lost to us this year:

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Back to Basics

I’ve changed myself all around as a teacher this year, trying to fit myself into all sorts of boxes that I didn’t fit in. Trying to appeal to my students, to engage them. Well, all I succeeded in doing was making myself unhappy and stressed out. So I’m going back to what I know, how I enjoy teaching, and I’ll continue to adjust for my students from there. But right now I’ve gotten so far away from myself that I’m lost and that definitely impacts my teaching.

Back to basics, back to non-traditional, back to “deskless,” free choice, no assigned seats, better use of my classroom space, teaching kids to really be accountable for their learning.

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Next Semester will be great!

Books, Books, and More Books

There are 18 days left in my 2016 GoodReads Challenge of 125 books. As of December 12th, I’m currently at 116 books. This is two books behind schedule, but my GoodReads schedule doesn’t take into account that I have 15 of those 18 days off from school šŸ™‚ Jammies, tea, cozy red armchair, and books here I come!

So I have to read 9 books in the next 18 days. Thankfully I am a reading multitasker, reading multiple books at the same time (but not simultaneously. That would be crazy.) At any given time I am usually reading a teacher book, a third-grade book (for myself,) a third-grade read aloud for my students (which I totally count,) a Christian book, and a YA or adult fiction book.

I need 9 more books. Here is my plan for the rest of the year. It may change depending on my mood šŸ˜‰

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Lost (and Found?)

I have had a really rough school year so far. It’s a combination of a difficult group of kids, several new programs/ curricula, and just feeling burnt out. I’ve prided myself on making it to my seventh year of teaching. According to research, half of all teachers quit within their first five years (credit to lots of unvalidated studies on the Internet, and the Internet never lies, right?) But this year, and Ā a little bit last year, I’ve just felt lost. I’ve lost myself as a teacher.

With every new suggestion, curricula, and the latest technology, I kept changing everything. And I got farther and farther away from the teacher I used to be; the one with energy and limitless patience, the optimistic one, the teacher who loved her job.

My assistant principal asked me last week what I thought my classroom management style was. I literally told her that my management style this year is kind of justĀ surviving and trying not to cry in front of my students. Only a little bit kidding.

But the more I thought about it, that question really shook me. I used to have a management style. I used to not have any student desks. I used to have stuffed animals in my room. I used to play my guitar every day. I used to do a lot of things. But along the way, I stopped. Either because someone told me to or I felt I should. And in that, I lost myself as a teacher. IĀ don’t like who I have become. And my principal could see that every time she walked into my classroom.

Unfortunately, this blog post doesn’t have “Five Steps to Finding Yourself” and it doesn’t have an ending wrapped up with a ribbon. I’m still struggling with this. But now that I’m aware of it, I’m going to take steps to figure out how to fix it. I want to go back to how I used to do things before I changed them all because I thought I should.Ā I want to enjoy going to work every day again because I haven’t been.

And it’s hard for me to say this most days, but I’m thankful for this year. This year is going to help me grow as an educator and as a person. It’s pushed me outside my comfort zone (where I explored a little but now I’m making my way back) to try new things, find some that work and many that didn’t. Life needs a little variety and a shove in a different direction once in a while. Can’t be getting bored, now can we? šŸ˜‰

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Huffington Post had some tips for finding yourself when feeling lost that I liked and thought I’d share.

I’m going off to do some reflecting on who I am as a teacher and who I am as a person. I urge you to do the same.Ā It’s something everyone should do on a regular basis.

Some other things to remember:Ā cb1fa6395e033fb553a422e8f14a17a3

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Happy Soul Searching!

~Christie

If you can’t beat them, join them!

There are so many pop culture things that our kids (and adults) are obsessed with right now. I say, don’t try to swim upstream, just go with the flow! If your kids are into Pokemon Go, try Aurasma and do some augmented reality. Here are my kids showing their science and technology learning doing a mannequin challenge!

Choose Kind

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We read Wonder by RJ Palacio at the beginning of this school year. My class absolutely loved it and they groaned every time I had to stop reading aloud. This book is so applicable to my students lives every day (and my life as well.) It is an amazing story of good character and perseveranceĀ and friendship. The book shows us that people make mistakes, but they can change and be forgiven in the end. We get to hear from different characters’ points of view, showing us to… 59f8c60b48c6ee178ca96d1e88e0460a

Becuase of this, my class is currently working on theĀ Certified Kind Classroom Challenge.Ā 

Being a third grader is hard. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking only about yourself. For eight-year-olds, thinking about how their actions and words impact other people is a really difficult concept for them to grasp. I am very hopeful that by focusing on choosing kind, I can change that for my kids. Third graders have a very strong sense of justice and want everything to be fair, but we learn in Wonder that choosing to be kind, even when you know you were right, can be a better choice.Ā d3015742145454ef1bc77d102e7ef30e.jpg