Saturday, June 4, 2016

If it's not one thing... it's another...

Want to know what is worse than having to pack up your classroom of two years to transfer to another school, and grade in your district???  It's doing it while you are moving your home of over three years.  Yep, that is my summer folks... moving.  I don't know if I should consider it a wonderful chance to start with a new beginning; a fresh start you might say... but it does seem a bit much.

Now that my classroom has been packed and stored in my designated library at my home or in a storage locker for 2 months near my new school... my next quest... find a part time job.  Yes, I opted for the lump payment at the beginning of summer, and I will get another disbursement to pay for some PD hours I accumulated over the school year.  But, with the costs of moving and catching up on bills... I am almost tapped out.  I don't know what is worse moving or watching your bank account total get smaller and smaller.  There is some hope on the horizon, though.  I was contacted by an employment service for a 2 month data entry assignment.  I really hope I get this position, this will help sustain my bills and home for the duration of the summer until the first paycheck of the school year takes place.

Keep your fingers crossed for me... until then I will be cleaning and unpacking to get my home in order before the 2016-17 school year commences.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Let the planning begin...

So... after I have been advised of my imminent move from 6th grade to 4th grade, I decided to tighten by belt and dive in whole heartedly.  Our school district is offering a summer math academy, and since I have not taught all subjects to just one class...EVER ... I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity.  Even though school just ended - yesterday - I am already planning to take PD classes for my upcoming adventure.  Thus on Wednesday and Thursday of this upcoming week, I will be in a room will other 3rd and 4th grade teachers in my district to get a leg up on the math curriculum I will be expected to teach.  At least I will get PD hours for this and it will also go towards my 301 hours which will help supplement my pay next summer... a small savings account.

On another note, I am filling up my Pinterest boards.  Feel free to mosey on over to my Pinterest board and steal away!!  I have boards for each content area, as well as reading suggestions so I know what books to purchase to create a classroom library.  I am a big advocate of reading, because of this I will always try to have a vast classroom library available to my students.  At least it gives me an excuse to do what I love to do... buy books!!

One of the hurdles I need to wrap my head around is the limited technology available to me in my new school.  In my 6th grade classroom, I had a laptop cart available to me every day - because it was housed in my room.  All Jr. High classes had a laptop cart.  I am a very technology-based teacher, so now I have to plan ahead so I can request the laptop cart when I need it.  I had my 6th graders with an email account through tocomail, which is a teacher-moderated email service.  Also, they built their own web page which included a blog page.  So, I am not sure how much technology I can integrate into my lessons, but rest assured I will do as much as possible.

I did receive awesome news, though.  One of my classmates from my Master's cohort is moving from 1st grade to 4th grade... so we have already discussed planning together and doing some collaboration to help one another gear up for this change.  She is an amazing teacher and I cannot wait to work with her to make this the best year yet.

Stay tuned to see how the 2016-2017 school year turns out.  It seems like fate is directing me to teach 4th grade so I am going to heed this calling and enjoy this challenge and welcome the adventure!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In the Blink of an Eye

I cannot believe it is here.  My first teaching class is promoting today.  It seems just like yesterday this rambunctious group of preteens was entering my class for the first time to begin their 6th grade year.  Now, they are receiving their promotion certificates and moving on to high school.

There was my one-star student who was quiet and a hard worker.  I persuaded her to run for Student Council President at the end of that year and won.  She is now promoting as Salutatorian of her class, as well as receiving a $500 scholarship to use in her high school's bookstore for the next school year.

Then there was another student who devoured all my books.  It seemed like every weekend I was on the search for a new book to help keep her on the path of deeper and appreciative reading.  She has a very good head on her shoulders and is a natural leader.  I convinced her to run for Student Council President last year and she won.  So, I was lucky to continue to work with her and watch her grow into an amazing and intelligent young lady.  Today she will be speaking before the audience as the Valedictorian of her class and was accepted into a prestigious College Prep academy here in Phoenix to help guide her to the boundless opportunities set before her.

Finally, the hardest one to release into the academic world.  My one student who I have become closest to these past three years.  Not only with her but with her entire family.  I know I will be in constant contact with her and her family even after she leaves the school, but not having the daily interaction will her will be a little strange.  She has worked hard her entire Jr. High experience.  Last year, her father's job took them to another state for a full quarter, so when they returned and re-enrolled at our school it was an uphill climb to catch back up to her class.  She was constantly involved in many extra-curricular activities.  She was involved in the Student Council all three years, the last two as Treasurer.  Participated on the volleyball and basketball teams. Even with all this going on she kept in mind her career goal and will finally find out tomorrow if she is accepted into her preferred high school, which is a preparatory high school for fire and police careers.  She has overcome great scholastic hurdles to the point she is exceeding or meeting all her curriculum subjects to ensure her acceptance.  I truly cannot wait to see what she accomplishes in her life because it will not be short of amazing!

These are only three stories of the 52 students who I had the privilege of teaching their 6th grade year and I am undeniably proud of each and every one of them.  I know they have their whole life before them and will make some mistakes but, they will do some phenomenal things as well.  Watch out for these kids... I know they will change the world and have an amazing impact on anyone they come in contact with from here on out.

Congratulations Jorgensen Class of 2016 ... and high school class of 2020 ... you have made me one proud teacher!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What a difference time makes....

Well, I stand corrected.  I am no longer going to be teaching 4th grade.  I am no longer going to be at the school I have loved for the past 3 years.  I have been fortunate to be retained by my current school district, but have been transferred to another school and I will be teaching ... 6th grade.  I am extremely happy that I will continue to teach the curriculum I have grown into.  The big difference taking place is my new school is not departmentalized in the 6th grade.  So, I will have to adjust my thinking and planning to working with the same group of students every day and teaching all the subjects.  I have mixed feelings on this issue.  For the past 3 years, I have either taught ELA/Social Studies or Math/Science, but never all of them in one day to only 26 students.

So, my new adventure begins.  I will dearly miss my small community school and my students I have loved and interacted with for the past 3 years.  I will have to get accustomed to new surroundings, the expectations of a new administrator, and the climate of a new group of students.  I am hoping to meet with my new principal soon so I can begin planning and gearing up for the 2016-2017 school year.  I hope with this new opportunity comes with wonderful chances to make new and even more fantastic memories.

Let's see where this leads....

Saturday, April 23, 2016

6th Grade no more!!

I am heartbroken to say that my Principal has found it necessary to change my grade from 6th to 4th.  This past year has been somewhat of a roller coaster.
To start off with I go a new co-teacher, Aunnie Kirkendoll, who was charged in the teaching of Math and Science this year, so I went back to ELA and Social Studies.  Which, to be honest, I didn't mind.  Along with the 6th grade ELA/Social Studies curriculum, I also remained as a Student Council advisor.  The students this year were of a mixed sort.  I had those who really wanted to learn and be successful, those who thought that school was a place to socialize, and then the others who thought any type of authority was a suggestion and they did not need to abide by any rules or discipline practices.
The curriculum I followed was that of EngageNY, which I found very comprehensive and really enjoyed the rigor it presented.  We started the year off reading The Lightning Thief, which allowed me to implement the Social Studies of Ancient Greece at the same time, reducing the teaching time for the unit.  Also, they were exposed to different informational texts and how they are comparable.  Based on the benchmark testing scores, they continued to grow as expected, and at times was higher than the district in a multitude of standards.
Now as the year is coming to an end... I believe this blog will as well - unless by some miracle my Principal changes her mind and allows me to stay in the 6th grade...stay tuned.

I am going to be starting a new blog shortly about my transition from 6th to 4th grade...  I will post a link to the new blog when it is created.