Monday, July 15, 2013

Brag #Kinderblog13

Brag... I'd lie if I said I don't like to brag. I'm not saying I run around patting myself on the back, shouting from the rooftops every time I do something amazing, but lets be honest... sometimes sharing and shouting from the rooftops is fun! So here is me, shouting from the rooftops bragging sharing some things I've done that I'm proud of!

I've given 2 professional developments in my school over the past few years and I am very proud of both of them! A few years back my principal decided we should be giving every single student in the school individual reading and writing goals. The students were expected to be accountable for these goals, they needed to be able to tell anyone who asked what goal they were working on and there had to be documentation of what goals they had already accomplished. This was a HUGE undertaking! Many teachers I knew were using post-it notes or index cards attaching them to the students reading bags and writing folders. I hate spending time writing the same thing over and over again so I hit the computer. Using the state standards as a guide and a packet of information from T.C. I created goal sheets. I created a version for the students to keep in a goal folder and then another version that was sent home with the students weekly so the parents could see what goals we were working on, what goals their child mastered and what goals they would eventually be working on. Over the last few years we moved away from the individual goals, however my goal sheets have been sought after by most of the staff in my school (and some of my friends who will be moving on to new schools have already requested my sheets for their new grades!) Over the years I have worked on modifying these goal sheets to match the new Common Core Standards. I have also modified these sheets so teachers can use them to write their conference notes on them. I am so proud of these sheets and have found them so useful over the last few years. I enjoyed doing the PD on these sheets!

My second PD that I did was on writing good test questions. It's a funny story how a Kindergarten teacher came to do a PD on writing good test questions. A few years ago I took a college class about assessments in special education. I was expecting the class to focus on how a teacher would modify or give assessments to students with special needs - instead the teacher focused on what is a good test and who do you write good test questions. This was such an eye opening experience! I learned so much from this class that I immediately presented my knew knowledge to my principal and he asked me to do a PD. Over the last few years I have worked closely with our Social Studies consultant and helped him with writing good test questions. Secretly I always wished he would ask me to give a presentation to some of the other schools he does consulting with... but I guess I should have flat out asked him! Oh well!

I really love when my colleagues ask for my help - from help with technology, or creating documents on the computer to sharing my two presentations with them it gives me a thrill to be able to share my knowledge and talents! I hope one day I can share all of this with more people!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bloglovin' Blog Hop!

As most of you know Google Reader is no more... But Bloglovin' is alive and kicking! I'm lovin' Bloglovin' I find their app easy to navigate on my phone and I was able to organize all of the blogs I follow on the computer. I actually spent a lot of time sorting all the blogs into different categories and I'm in LOVE!

I decided to link up with Tori's Teacher Tips for her Bloglovin' linky and bloghop. Tori has amazing technology tips, including how to navigate and use Bloglovin'. Click on the picture below to go to Tori's linky party. Scroll all the way to the bottom to find over 260 blogs to follow on Bloglovin'!!!

A Teacher Without a Class and Teaching is a Gift are working together on another blog hop. This one is very specific to only Elementary Teachers who blog about Teaching! Click on the button below to find over 60 teaching specific blogs!

A Teacher without a Class

Oh and of course don't forget when you are exploring and lovin' Bloglovin' be sure to follow me MaMa Goose's KinderGarden! Help me reach 100 followers and I'll have a super-dee-douper fun giveaway!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Confessions #Kinderblog13

I've decided to spend my summer taking the #KinderChat blog challenge and today is the official first challenge! This year the challenge is focusing on one word, todays word: confessions.

Hold on to your hats because I'm about to confess all the crazy things you never knew about me and probably didn't want to know! Happy reading!

Let's start with a silly confession from my childhood:
As a kid I HATED when my crayons weren't sharp and pointy. If they broke or the paper was torn I would be devastated! What did this result in? Me hoarding crayons - I mean hundreds of crayons because I would only use them for a short time so that they would always be sharp and pointy... what happened to this collection of crayons? Well Hurricane Sandy taught me a very quick lesson about hoarding crayons - DON'T DO IT! Unfortunately my collection of slightly used crayons was trapped in a desk drawer at my parents house under 2 feet of water, sewage and oil. I can proudly say that I threw those crayons out and now I let me daughter break her crayons, smash her crayons and love her crayons until they are itty bitty teeny tiny pieces! I'm so proud of myself!

I have a shopping confession:
Most people women love to shop for clothes, shoes, handbags, etc. and I have plenty of friends who can shop until they drop and buy and buy and buy... I can't do it. I really don't like shopping that much. Clothes and shoes are so hard to find for me that shopping becomes quite frustrating! BUT I do have one shopping addiction - school supplies, especially from the Target Dollar Bins! Yeah I tend to over buy and then I never know what to do with the stuff I purchase so it sits in a box or a bag or the floor of my office collecting dust! (I'm hoping that all changes this year! I'm hoping that the new school I'm in will give me the freedom to use all of those fun supplies and put them to good use!)

Here is my last confession... my teaching confession:
If you read my post from the other day, My Story you know that I am beginning a new adventure in the fall. What you don't know is how terribly hard of a year I had. A while back I read (or saw, not really sure which one it was) an article about how as children we often received a "gold star" for a job well done. It didn't mean you got the highest grade but rather that you were recognized for just doing a good job! The article went on to state that adults need that same type of "gold star" system! I have to say I totally agree. I'm not going to lie, I'm a teachers pet... I always have been. I liked to be at the top of my class, I hated to fail, and I thrived when my teacher's complimented me and told me I was doing good. I HATED when I was called out on anything in front of others, I hated being wrong and I couldn't stand when I didn't get recognized for doing a good job (which is ironic because I was the quietest, shyest student in my class by far!) I haven't lost this desire/need to be at the top, to get that "gold star" but I'm not a very flashy showy type of person. I don't go out seeking recognition, I do my best work quietly behind the scenes but I still like to get the pat on the back when I do show off my work. This year instead of pats on the back I often felt knocked down. I won't get into all the details BUT I often tried new things and was often left feeling weathered and frustrated. I wasn't encouraged or given a "gold star" or an A for effort this year. By the end of the year I was left frustrated, hurt and very discouraged. I was tempted to take a break from teaching... BUT I gave myself a "gold star" and surrounded myself with friends and family who support me and I picked myself up and went out and have hopefully found a new school in which I will be able to earn "gold stars." My fingers are crossed that this upcoming year will be filled with lots of positive experiences and I have learned to make sure I give compliments whenever I can.

My first compliment goes out to all of you reading this - thank you! Thank you for taking some time to read this and share in my experiences!

So there you have it my friends... my confessions! Now what are you going to confession? Leave a comment below and share one of your confessions! :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Adventure Begins

Last year at the end of June I was introduced the wonderful world of teacher blogging... I was excited to embark on this new adventure. I couldn't wait to share all that I was doing in my classroom and was looking forward to meeting new people. But things changed this year. I had a very difficult year at my job. While I loved teaching and I loved working with my little ones I was struggling day to day with actually getting myself to work. I no longer enjoyed the environment/atmosphere that I was working in. I was compromising my philosophy and beliefs each and every day to meet the high demands of the curriculum and administration. Yes the children were blooming and thriving and learning a lot... as an educator I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders and having trouble keeping up with it. After many months of struggling I decided that I needed to do something... I needed to take things into my own hands. I needed to make a change!

So many things in my life were changing - we sold our house, we bought property to build on, we moved in with my MIL... I felt it deep inside that this was the year, this was the time for a change! So I did it! I made phone calls and hunted online and applied for new jobs. I scheduled interviews and emailed administrators to follow up all with the hopes that just maybe the grass would be slightly greener on the other side. Many people thought I was crazy - they said you know your administration, the expectations and the neighborhood - why change. Just suck it up and deal with it... Funny thing about that, the longer you "suck it up and deal with it" the more stressed, anxious and unhappy you become. I could no longer suck it up and deal with it, I HAD to make a positive change for my own sanity!

After 6 years at my school it wasn't an easy decision... but I was a necessity. My interview skills were a bit rusty so I was nervous that I wouldn't do good, but I figured I had to take the chance. First interview was with a Superintendent... OH MY! I was terrified, but it went so well. Unfortunately nothing came of it, which I'm still a bit confused about but for anyone out there going on teaching interviews (at least in NY) that seems to be the way things work. Next up an interview in, well as the principal put it, an Urban neighborhood. I was there for over 2.5 hours and left being told I was in the top two... what a boost to my confidence, however, yet again, I never heard anything from that school again! Again I was a bit surprised to be left hanging but there was no turning back. The next interview was with a school much closer to where I live and again an Urban school in which I was told about 85% of the students have little to no parent involvement with the school. I was there for less than an hour and walked out feeling like I failed... BUT GUESS WHAT?!?!?!?! They called and offered me a Kindergarten teaching position! NO WAY! I couldn't believe it. I was baffled, shocked and super dee-douper excited!! Of course I said yes!!

So here I sit, the whole summer ahead of me and I'm beginning a brand new adventure in September. Today I received a confirmation email stating that I will be reporting to my new school in September. I'm excited, and scared, and hopeful all mixed into one! I'm proud of myself for taking a stand and doing something to better myself. I'm a bit scared because my new school is the exact opposite of what I am used to. Parking is a bit hard and the neighborhood is very different. My old job was in a pretty affluent neighborhood where I'd say almost 90% (if not more) of the parents were fully involved in the school and the children's education. I had tremendous and wonderful support from almost all of my parents each year! My new school has the opposite ratio - most parents aren't involved in their children's education and it is a lower incomer neighborhood. BUT call me silly, call me naive I have that first year teacher feeling that I can change the world! I'm hopeful that with the right atmosphere I can reach out to my new kiddies and their families and truly make a difference!

This summer while I may share many things that I have done I will also begin sharing about my new adventure! Come take the ride with me....

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Story

To help get me back on track with blogging this summer I decided to participate in KinderChat's #Kinderblog13 summer blog challenge. If you want to know more about the challenge check it out here! The challenge officially begins this weekend, however, Amy over at KinderChat decided to post a fun little warm up challenge.... so here is my story in 250 words or less!

What do you do, why do you do it, how do you do it, for how long have you been doing it, where do you do it?
I am a creative, fun, adventurous, crafty, talkative, friendly person! I am a mommy of a 4-year-old girl. I am a wife. I am a Kindergarten teacher in NY. I have been teaching for a total of 8 years now, 2 years as a first grade intervention assistant and then 6 years as a K teacher. I have always known since I was a young child that I wanted to be a teacher. I dream of teaching kinders through a hands on, interactive, small group, print rich, multi-sensory, engaging curriculum. Because of these dreams I have set out on a quest this summer to find a school for the 2013-2014 school year that will allow me to grow as an educator, and share my ideas and visions.

What do you BELIEVE about what you do?
As a teacher I truly believe that all students are unique and special and can learn... however I also believe that there are two very important factors in this - how engaged and open minded the teacher is and how much support there is at home. I believe that while teaching is my passion it is not my life... It is important to put aside my work and make my family a priority when I am home. As a mommy I believe that the best education comes from going out and doing things. Cooking up crazy things together in the kitchen, taking day trips, exploring right outside the front door, taking walks, or just laying on the grass looking at the clouds.

How do you FEEL about what you do?
As a mommy I wish I could do more! I wish there were more hours in the day and I treasure my summers where my daughter gets my attention almost 24/7! I enjoy having this special time to help her grow and learn and spark her creativity. As a teacher I have found myself in a situation that was not a positive one and have taken matters into my own hands! 2013 is the year for change for our family and this includes my career... where the road may go I am not sure but I am excited about this adventure that I am embarking on!

As a Kindergarten teacher I know rules are sometimes made to be broken... and clearly the concept of 250 words or less went in one ear and out the other! I did tell you that I was a talker and I meant it! I'd love to know a little more about you! Why not join in on KinderChats #KinderBlog13 Challenge?!?!