I am linking up with Language Arts Classroom for The Valentine’s Blog Hop! One of my favorite things to do in the classroom is Origami. In one of my previous elementary schools, Valentines Day was changed into “Friendship Day” so that it would help the kids thinking more in terms of kindness, than romance. 🙂
Kids LOVE origami, at least my students always have. In an effort to get kids working together as a team, here is a fun way to assign groups and ‘solidify’ partnerships using one simple origami fold. Students can leave their group piece in a special place to indicate that they are working together. The pieces can then be gently undone to dissolve or change groups. If the idea intimidates you a little bit, don’t turn away yet, this idea involves only one piece of paper with a few very simple folds! Here goes…
The same thing as everyone else I think – life to be fulfilling, manageable, easier, and enjoyable! When I first started teaching, over ten years ago, I felt a lot more freedom to do things the way I wanted; there was not the same pressures to “teach to the test”, even with a mixed student demographic. I loved integrating art projects, creating units around student interests, and having time to talk to me kiddos about how they're doing as a person, and not just a student. Switching to a large public school district which stressed state testing all year long, as well as those 60-element Marzano teacher evaluations, brought a heap of professional development and experiences that definitely made me a better teacher, but at a personal cost. I felt completely overwhelmed at times, like I was being asked to do everything myself; organize curriculum, create materials, assessments, and lessons that were “tailored to my particular students.” Theoretically this is the ideal way to teach. Realistically, there wasn't time for me to do a bang up job at everything myself, so I constantly stressed about what I wasn't doing.
First and foremost, I think teachers want HELP!!! I think this is why websites like Teacherspayteachers.com are taking off rockets because teachers realized that they can do a great job teaching without spending every waking moment working for their classrooms. When administrators ask teachers to create their own lessons, assessments, materials, learning goals, scales, etc. I think they have the best intentions because very few materials fit all demographic needs. Realistically, there isn't enough time in the 24-hour day for all of that thinking!
The most recent educational material I've been working on is revising all of my Common Core math posters so that the learning goals and scale work up to a “4” at the top! Several teachers requested this because that's what their districts wanted. I was debating doing it because it takes so long to go over the fine details, but it does make more sense and I am happy that it may be more useful to people. Hopefully it will also help students to feel like they are working “up” to the standards. A detail like this seems small, but can make a significant difference in how you present material.
Today I am linking up with Blog Hoppin’ for Teacher Week. As a newer blogger it’s great to have so many excellent examples out there and people so willing to collaborate. Who am I, and why did I start blogging?
My name is Melanie and I have taught for 12 1/2 years. The 1/2 because last fall I had my second baby and decided to stay home after second quarter. My husband had just started a new job, so I was prepared to finish out the year, but, things worked out better for us this way. It was very difficult to leave a class mid-year, especially since my last job was a 4/5 split meaning half of my kids I had the year before as 4th graders. I was already so attached! As you can imagine, being with my own kids full-time, I quickly adjusted to the stay-at-home life. This year I will still be home, but teaching is fresh in my mind. I wanted to stay connected to the field so I’ve been sharing some of my work from home, and following others’ blogs. This is why I started blogging.
I am originally from Michigan, but have lived in Arizona for the last 6 years. I was SOOO happy to get out of the snow and endless weeks of overcast skies that I did not really mind the 110 degree summer days. My husband and I met online! YES! He was in Italy with the Navy at the time. I was in Michigan teaching first grade and had no intention of meeting anyone out of state, but life has a way of redirecting us. We started emailing, and became friends. A month or two later we started talking on the phone and having “Skype dates” long distance. He was so sweet and adorable, and we had so much in common as far as our lifestyle, values, and attitudes, we totally clicked. We decided to meet in person about 8 months after we’d started talking. He flew to Michigan to stay with me and my family for one week, and I flew to Arizona to meet his family the next week. Here’s the first moment we met in person – July, 2008 Detroit Airport. Awww! This is my favorite picture of us.
They get along famously when she’s not grabbing his toys and he’s not jealous about her getting attention!
My family comes first in my life – absolutely. I am also a faithful Catholic which can freak some people out, especially if you grew up believing Catholics are weird or outdated. For us it’s just another aspect of our culture, family history, and personal experience. My husband and I both went to Catholic school, as well as our parents; and I started out teaching in Catholic school before I moved to Arizona. I am not likely to ever mention religion again, because it’s so personal and too political for my taste, but I do have a strong biblical faith life. I believe that everyone has a spirituality of some kind, whether they consciously choose it or not. My kids were baptized at a few weeks old, and my husband and I were happy to be the god-parents of twin nieces this past May.
Son’s Baptism at 2 weeks old.
I spend most of my time right now entertaining my kids, and since Isaac is 3 1/2 we’re still potty-training and working on some pre-school skills. He loves puzzles, blocks, and cooking! You wouldn’t believe how well this kid can peel a carrot or potato. He also peels garlic, and most recently has been helping to crack and scramble eggs. We also like to do arts and crafts. He just got into coloring which is great because he’s busy by himself for longer. We made this Easter bunny in April. Yes, I did most of the paper mache, but he did the painting!