Archive of ‘2017-2018’ category

Trust Your Gut

Every year, I struggle. I struggle with being the best teacher I can, doing the best for my students, and am always trying to provide a classroom with choice, student voice and authentic learning experiences. I usually spend most of my summer reading professional development books and planning for the upcoming year. When September hits and I meet my new class, I falter. I get overwhelmed by everything we need to get done, by what my students needs are and by what they have yet to learn. I question what I think is important and I get advice from people who do not believe in what I do.

When you are doing things in your classroom that you don’t believe in, it will not work. I found that the hard way this year. Doing something that you do not believe in makes you not follow through the way you should. And it just will not work. I need to learn to stick to my gut. To teach what I believe in.

Blogging is something I truly believe in. I know the power of sharing your views with the world. This blog has transformed me. Never would I have thought that I would be a blogger, or that people would want to hear about my learning. This blog has made me a reflective learner, collaborator, professional development planner and more. I’m so grateful.

I know how essential all my students voices are and by giving them choice about what they want to blog about, they are engaged and empowered. They are actively finding out more about blogging, checking out their blogging stats and being blown away when people are visiting their blog. And we are only in week two! They are learning that their voices matter. That they matter. Nothing is more important than that!

Focus on what you know is important. Trust yourself. Trust Your Gut! The learning will follow.

5 Tips for Surviving your First Year Back as a Mom

In September 2017, I went back to work as a homeroom teacher and a full-time mom. This year has been so different from any other. Before kids, I would work a lot, plan educational events and edchats but now, I have a family to take care of. Someone who needs me to be there and be present. I’ve found out this year that balancing it all is tough. It is definitely been all about learning what is important to me and asking myself what do I want to spend my time and energy on.

Here are some tips that helped me survive my first year back:

1. Plan ahead

Being a mom and teacher, I feel like there are 50 balls in the air that you are trying to juggle. In order to do it all well, you need to plan. Planning ahead your teaching plans, knowing where you are going in the unit and planning the night before keeps you anxiety free when drama occurs.

My partner and I have a shared Google calendar where we both enter our work events and who needs to pick up or drop off the kiddo on specific dates. This really helps when trying to organize your time.

Planning ahead what is for dinner every night or making your lunch for the week on the weekend seems like a small thing but it saves so much time and thought after a busy workday. I find as well, if you preplan meals, you eat healthier and feel better.

2. Ask for Help

Asking for help from colleagues really helps. Ask for coverage if you have a support teacher if you need to write report cards or IEP’s. Ask for unit plans or report card comments for other teachers you trust. Teachers love to help each other but if you don’t ask, you don’t get help.

Asking your spouse for help also is important. If you need time to stay late at work or some time to yourself, ASK. It will help you feel calmer.

3.Self Care

We cannot take care of others when you are exhausted. Do something small for yourself every day. Some ideas that I enjoy are a big cup of coffee with a good book, a bubble bath, a run, or listening to upbeat music. All of these things help me feel better.

4. DO NOT reinvent the wheel

All teachers want to do their best every day but sometimes it is better to save yourself time and buy the lesson/unit. There is no shame in it. Check out TeachersPayTeachers for millions of resources!

5. Choose your Priorities

Did you know that it takes 3 years for a new mom to feel completely back to herself? I had no idea that it took that long! Pre-kids, I was so active in the education field. I actively learned, read professional development books and then blogged about it all. But since having a child, my priorities have changed. I am slowly getting back to feeling like myself again and with that, I want to step back into the educational world again and begin blogging more often. I’m starting by really focusing on what my priorities are and being really intentional about what I am working on. So right now, my priorities are taking care of myself, family, school, and blogging when I have time and/or inspiration.

I would love to hear more about how you guys survived being a parent and balancing your teaching career. Please let me know in the comments below!

Hackergal Hackathon

I was very fortunate to be able to help plan the Hackergal Hackathon on Wednesday December 13th, 2017 at my school. The Hackergal Hackathon helps introduce and inspire girls to coding and hopefully begin to equalize the gender divide in tech industry.

The Hackergal Hackathon has groups of 2-3 girls working together to plan, write and play a game all within a couple of hours. The girls worked really well together and created some amazing games and stories.

OCDSB Hackergal Hackathon Press Release

We even had a visit from Minster Brison! Check out what he said about our Hackergal Hackathon here.

Wire frame story boards are coming together!!! #Hackergal2017 @DRK_Bulldogs pic.twitter.com/1oZtTVtjBQ

New Year. New School. New Focus.

This year I’m teaching at a new school. I’m so excited for a fresh start. I’ve been really focusing on rethinking all my teaching practices and figuring out what is important to me this year.

This year I’m focusing on:

  • Student Conferences
  • Student Voice and Choice
  • Student Learning
  • Goals

Student Conferences:

I just bought my own Chromebook. I’m so excited to be able to work with my students and conference with them more. By spending more time with them conferences, I will be able to build better relationships with all my students and challenge them more.

Student Voice and Choice:

This year we are going to start with a blank slate. Literally. I have a blank classroom and I’m so excited to let my students have say about how they want to arrange and decorate the classroom. We are going to start the year with 7 key questions.

Thanks so much to George Couros, Stephanie Ranger and Leanne Stanton for some ideas to make my questions more impactful.

Student Learning:

Who actually really know how they learn and what they need to succeed? I’ve been in school or teaching for 31 years and I had no idea. I want to empower my students to learn about how they learn and learn about and use tools to help them be as successful as possible. Students will learn about what kinds of learners they are. This will be highly impact on how we set up our classroom this year so I have left our classroom as empty as possible so we can set up based on their learning styles and what they need.This will be something we will be working on throughout the year.

Goals:

Setting goals is so important for students to learn. We are going to focus on them a lot this year and learn in the first week how to create SMART goals. We are going to write and reflect on our goals once a week and I plan to discuss their goals with them when I conference with them as well. I think it is also important for teachers to share their personal and professional goals with them so students can see that we are all learners.

What are you focusing on this year? I would love to know. Let me know in the comments below.