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.

Now that I am home with my little ones this year (3 1/2 and 1 yr. old), I appreciate so much more the freedom that I have to choose how I spend my time. Our latest projects…
1. A Thanksgiving Tree…thank you Pinterest for the awesome idea! My son painted the background and helped squish the paper tree branches. 

2. An Advent Calendar made of hung stockings for every day of December. I was looking for something more interactive than the throw-away cardboard chocolate holders from the stores. I found the stockings at Walmart and created the laminated cards from various Bible verses.
3. and baking! Yeah!
I am also really happy that I can still be connected to teachers in the classroom by creating materials that make their lives a little easier. If your district uses learning goals and scales for math, you may find some helpful products and freebies at Mrs. L's Leveled Learning Store. Feel free to leave comments or requests if you need a specific material but don't have time to create it. I am always looking for new project ideas! Thanks for stopping by. 

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