Saturday, August 31, 2013

1st week BLISS...

First week of the 2013-2014 school year-done! Yes, success. A whirlwind of lost everything-sweatshirts, shoes (for the wee ones...and actually one goofy 4th grader), lunches (the anxiety must have been high for kiddos, too-that nurse's line was L-O-N-G) and a few good teachers surely lost their minds for a moment...or six! So many new and returning faces; waiting to take in every moment with all 5 senses! Leaning in to listen to each word that comes from their teacher's mouth, touching and tapping (all surfaces-desks, walls, their seat neighbors), tasting lunches (chocolate milk excitement never gets old...never), and the wide eyes darting everywhere to take it all in. I looked at my principal at one point, with the sounds of excitable energy coming from every classroom and said "I love this place-I'm never leaving." My job-the place where 'WORK HARD-PLAY HARD' happens at the same time....feeling pretty FRESH!

Monday, August 12, 2013

apps-loving the learning!

What are your favorite apps for education? For you? For the kiddos? I have my Ipad sectioned off into categories; math, reading, character ed, organization, yoga & mindfulness, entertainment and just plain "FUN"! Some of my favorites? ClassDojo (BIG favorite of teachers that I work with to monitor specific behaviors and to provide immediate feedback to students), StickyNotes (paperless post-its), ZENSpace (rock/sand garden-take 5 minutes and you feel brand new!), TED (you can save your faves too!), and I never leave home without a device with a Kindle app on it. Some of the kiddos' favorites are: Math Zombies, BrainPop, RocketSpeller and really any math or spelling game that has creatures-lights and noise! It is always good to have that handy and engaging educational game, puzzle or silly cat noise piano to end a day of hard work. Every once in a while I will plant myself on the couch, turn on a mindless show, grab a tech tool (Ipad,tablet,etc...) and search for WHATEVER is needed to make the day better or brighter! The additional bonus and fun challenge? Find them for free-I haven't paid for one yet. What are your favorite apps? Any other engaging activities/ideas to share?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kid President!

Have you seen this Kid? I love this kid. I love this site. I have a silly grin and often a few tears to wipe when I watch a new clip. I am always so overwhelmed with the goofy truth in everything he says and find myself wanting to quote Kid President or have any simple thought that he shares stitched on a pillow! My boys and I cheer with glee when a new video appears. We laugh, smile, dance-everything Kid President wants us all to do a little more. I have seen teachers show his clips during Morning Meeting or Character Ed lessons. K.P., I'll call him-reminds me of the great honor and privilege I have to work with children every day. K.P. reminds me to slow down and to listen more to the goofy, truthful little people in front of me. We forget sometimes that while we are plenty busy filling little heads with what is important, that sometimes the MOST important thing to do (usually at the MOST inopportune moment) is to let the kiddos do a little teaching. Go to'll thank me later!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bulletin Board Border & Books = teacher excitement!

I have noticed that nobody loves the approach of the new school year more than...A TEACHER! You guys know exactly what I am talking about! You can see us "ostrich style" with our heads in the Target bin; searching for a WHOLE class set of crayons, pencils or themed anything! You can hear us ooh-ing and ahh-ing over a colleague's "fancy" dry erase markers or "ADORABLE" bulletin board border! We REALLY like school and all things new,inspiring and FRESH! This is just another example of what I know to be the 'Spirit of Teaching' and what I want to continue feeling throughout the school year-not just in early August. If you are anything like me, you LOVE books too! When the days get busy and I want to know more and be informed or just need to add some pep into my educator step-I go to the books! Here are just a few books that I have read recently that have my head swimming with excitement from their inspiring words and bold ideas: *The Courage To Teach-Parker J.Palmer *How Children Succeed-Paul Tough *The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership-John C. Maxwell *The Leader In Me-Stephen Covey (Really, anything by Stephen Covey!) *The End of Molasses Classes-Ron Clark (ANYTHING by Ron Clark!) *Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire-Rafe Esquith *Light Their Fires-Rafe Esquith (and I can't WAIT to get my hands on his new book that has the motto "No Retreat, No Surrender" really can't go wrong with that kind of energy!)Enjoy Tax Free weekend NC teachers-see you in the Target bins! I hope you enjoy this list of beautiful books like I have and please add to it-my Amazon Wish List could use a few fresh titles!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

So...what are we going to do?

When I decided to begin this blog; my main objective was to create a positive and productive outlet for myself and for my fellow educators. A tiny spot in cyberspace where like minds can continue to celebrate and build upon the work being done with young minds each day. A place where one can swim through powerful words and shared dreams rather than join the negative hype and blame game sensationalized by the media. We have spent years defending our purpose, our profession and ourselves. We have spoken up and out, signed petitions and even left our beloved profession. So, when I think of what different efforts must be made-I think about what I would teach and guide my students or my two boys to do when facing adversity...or bullies. I know I have taught them to hold their heads high and to "use their words" in a calm and respectful manner. I have taught them to persevere and to perform at their very best-100% at all times! For at the end of the day, there is no greater feeling and reward than to look at your reflection and know that YOU are guiding our future citizens, voters and even politicians! So...what are we going to do?(Please share, because this issue needs some serious FRESH AIR!)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Put Some Fresh Air In There!

What comes to mind when you think about freshness? Are you laying in the grass with a blue sky above? Are you sipping on a crisp-cool drink with a slice of lemon? Are you simply relishing a warm breeze after a sullen winter? OR, are you feeling so far from recalling what FRESH looks like, sounds like or feels like that the only image that comes to mind is an oxygen mask dropping down?! When I think about teaching-or I think about each day that I spend fully putting my all into my chosen passion and career-I want these simple but rejuvenating images to embody the learning energy that will take place before me. The image of a child opening a book with pixie dust pouring out and characters coming to life WILL be more than a picture on a poster in my learning environment. That Ms.Frizzle smile present on the teacher's face as they clap with glee; watching as students work through a problem. This feeling of "fresh" is so necessary for the spirit of the teacher entering their World Of Wonder on a daily basis! It is about YOU. It is about ME. Are we truly providing an opportunity for these wonderful little people to internalize a zest for learning and love for all life has to offer if we are not fully present and owning our craft...and MAKING it our own?! I know that my students and my sons deserve the very best, most pure and FRESH learning opportunities. My own daily reflection and journey to review and redo is leading me to RENEW myself and my learning environment-my World Of Wonder. This community or village should be one of support, spirit and energy. My hope is to provide a safe place to share and celebrate our efforts and humbling life lessons. So, get your FRESH image, get your mask on-and PUT SOME FRESH AIR IN THERE