Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Personal/Professional Goals

Hey There!!!!

My goodness...it has been a while.  I'll be totally honest with you.  I'd hop on my blog and feel like Cindy Brady....

Just at a loss.  Didn't know what to say, where to go with it so I'd close her up...hoping for the mood to strike.  So here I am!  Finally.  Three months later.

I tried turning off my teacher brain for the summer - but really, why do I even try?  I'm constantly checking teacher blogs, Facebook, Instagram, school email, Target dollar spot, Pinterest and now the back to school ads are starting.  If you can't beat 'em you might as well join 'em.  This is the fun stuff, right? 

I've been thinking, lately, about the changes I'm going to make this coming school year.  {Thanking my lucky stars that each year I get to start fresh!!!}Some are a little riskier {livin' on the edge in Teacherville} than others, but changes nonetheless.  

As I look through my list, I may need to dial it down, but I'm excited to try at least some of the ideas.

First up:




I've definitely given the whole idea of alternative seating a thought or two, but I'm just not there.  Maybe one day.  For now, tables are about as risky as I'll go.  I've always been a desk girl.  One of my teacher partners has tables in her room and for some reason it makes things look and feel so SPACIOUS.  I've got a lot of kinks to work out, like where will I put all of their supplies?  Do I do table caddies, table bins, chair pockets?  So much to think about and it makes me pretty darn giddy.

And...




My teaching pal, Barb {the elusive Barb} and I have been talking about what we can do to supplement our district's math resource - Bridges Math.  We love so much of it but as we've spent some time using it have found some definite ways we'd like to supplement.  One part of Bridges that I love is called Workplaces.{Math centers}  As we've been talking we came to the conclusion that during these math centers would be a great time to pull some guided math groups.  I've purchased this book:




And have really learned a lot from reading Reagan's blog posts about it.  Click {here}, {here} and {here} for just a few.  I'm really excited about this because my biggest qualm about how I'm teaching math right now, using our current resource, is that I don't always feel like I know my kids as mathematicians like I would like to, and I feel as though I'm not differentiating as much as I used to, as well as there are some basic foundational skills that I feel need to be hit a little harder.  Guided math seems like the answer. We shall see...

Still more...


I had a pseudo-focus wall in my room a few years back.  It was nothing to look at but it served its purpose. For some reason it took a back seat...okay, let's be honest, it was given the all-out boot.  Then, last year I sort of happened upon it again.  I had an empty bulletin board mid-year {how the heck did that happen} and decided to slap up some sentence strips describing what we were focusing on at the time.  Just today I was playing around on Facebook and The First Grade Parade was highlighting this product:


What I like about this {aside from it's cute} is that it keeps everyone focused on the Learning Targets.  It can be referred to often and helps designate a space in my classroom for doing that.  Along with guided math being something I'd like to try was having a space for a math wall where I could introduce different math vocabulary.  This product has that vocabulary to use on your focus wall. Perfect!

This is an easy one!



When I first started teaching I had class helpers.  I was SO bad at keeping up with that whole shizzle. Kristen was so in my head when she wrote this.  For the last two years I reinstated class helpers.  I'm quite certain there were more than a few that never got a shot at trash collector.  Why this was the most coveted of class jobs, I'll never know - but I'm sure there's somebody out there who didn't get their stab at it and will forever be marred.  One class helper?  Sign me up!!!!!!

And...



I'm thinking about having just one rule in my classroom.  This blog post struck such a chord with me that I haven't stopped thinking about it since I read it. I can see myself saying "Be brave enough to make the right choice" "Be brave enough to be safe".  "Be brave enough to be kind". "Be brave enough to apologize so that you can be kind".  I really, really think I like the idea that it sometimes takes bravery to try hard to do the right thing and it can definitely take bravery to try hard at something that you feel you can't do {i.e. subtract, do fractions, read a story}.  It's so all encompassing but can be dialed down to the smallest of thinking. I really like it.  

And probably the riskiest of the risky ones...





I'm flopping this one around in my mind.  I'm pretty old school when it comes to choices and consequences.  I'm concerned that we've become complacent as a society and that we let too much slide. With that, I also think the heart of discipline is teaching children how to learn from their mistakes and how to self regulate.  I definitely think the clip chart does a good job of creating a visual and I've always talked to my students about their behavior when the need to "clip down".  I really don't think the heart of why my students do the right thing is so they don't "clip down"...but...well, let's say I'm still brewing this one.

So, what do you think?  I've bitten off more than I can chew?  Maybe I should choose a couple of them?What would you do if you were me?  What are some changes you plan to implement this new school year?







15 comments:

  1. I absolutely LOVED reading this post. I was nodding my head right along with everything you had to say. Nothing to blog about? Yep, that's me. Tables vs. desks? I'm so old fashioned! Class helpers? Mine wouldn't get changed for weeks....and the Clip Chart?? Ugh. I still don't know what to do about behavior management in my room this year. Something has gotta change. Can't wait to see what you do!!! And, thanks for being so honest... glad to know someone is in the same boat :)

    Kelly
    First Grade Fairytales

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    1. Oh Kelly - it's so hard when you're torn, isn't it? My custodian is keeping my desks in the shed for me, so I can always change back. The clip chart/behavior management change is a bigger deal to me because it's all about philosophy and who I am and what I believe...that's a little trickier decision for me to make. Thanks for chiming in...I'm still thinking!!!!!!

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  2. I am with you on class helper and no clip chart. I'm going to be in the classroom for the first time and I'm definitely going with one helper of the day rather than jobs. I am not sure about the clip chart yet, I don't want to do it and I totally agree with what you said about behavior management so I'm trying to come up with a good alternative! Looking forward to seeing what you do!

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    1. What grade will you be teaching, Amy? How exciting! I'll let you know what I come up with once I'm done mulling it over. We still have quite a few weeks before school starts...so I have time! HA!

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  3. Hey Holly! Loved reading your thoughts! When I taught first grade, I had tables with bins. Chair pockets drove me crazy, so my students kept their supplies in the bins and I had a crate for each table that housed their books and notebooks. Sometimes I really miss having tables! I love your one word, be brave-- what a great rule to follow! I'm right there with you on the clip chart... still going back and forth. I rarely have students click down... if there is a behavior issue, I help the student with the issue, rather than clipping down! For me, clipping down only served as a reminder for the parent. I am much more of a positive reinforcement person, so clipping up was my main focus. If you go without your clip chart, do you have a plan for notifying parents? Would love to hear your thoughts! I have converted most of my school to using a clip chart... it will be pretty funny if I stop using it!! :)

    Kate
    EduKate and Inspire

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    1. Hey You!

      There's nothing wrong with doing it one way one year and then switching things up the next year - right?!? That's the beauty of this business! I don't know how I'll notify parents...maybe take the "no news is good news" approach when things are going fine, and if a student is having a particularly tough day have them fill out a "think sheet" to take home? I'm just not sure...I'll let you know when I think it through completely! If you come up with anything - please share!

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  4. I so go back and forth on the discipline deal. I'd rather correct in private when possible, but I agree about the consequences. We use class dojo school wide so I have to do something with that. I'd love to read more of your thinking about not using a clip chart or whatever.

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    1. Hi Sara,
      There's a lot on the topic....if you just google it you'll find many bloggers have talked about clip charts, no clip charts, treasure boxes, no treasure boxes, extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation....I've always felt comfortable with the way I "did things" but have found myself in a bit of a state of equilibrium - which isn't bad....that's how you grow! I'll let you know what I come up with! Thanks for joining in!

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  5. Love, love, love reading your posts! I think you should read the Guided Math book and then share all of your insights! Your goals are good ones. Maybe you decide to do a behavior calendar instead of your clips. I've got one made for you!

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  6. Thanks for sharing the links to Reagan's posts Holly, I really want to check out guided math for next year too! And kudos to you for maybe kicking out the clip chart! I haven't used a behavior chart for 3 years and it's been awesome. It takes more time in the beginning but you are so right, it's all about teaching children how to behave and why and not just managing their clip. I really recommend Conscious Discipline resources from Dr. Becky Bailey and Positive Discipline resources from Jane Nelson, they are fabulous. I got to attend a six-week class about using those strategies in the classroom and it has made such a difference. Good luck with your goals and I hope you have a great rest of the summer and great school year!

    ~Jessica
    Fun in PreK-1 & Kinder

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    1. Hi Jessica,
      We have several teachers in my school who use Conscious Discipline. I'll have to look into Positive Discipline...thanks bunches!

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  7. I wanted tables to badly, that I turned my desks into tables! It worked for a couple of years in first- not so much when I moved grades and had rotating classes.
    You have a lot of goals this year- and I've known you long enough to know that you are amazing and have accomplished what you put your mind to! I look forward to watching you succeed! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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    1. Smoochie, Smoochie my Squirrely friend!

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  8. I think you were reading my mind while writing this post! I have been contemplating tables vs desks and whether or not to get rid of my clip chart, too! One thing I'm starting again this coming year is guided math. My students will be using bookmarks to help them move to the next station. I actually tried it out at the end of this past year and it worked quite well! I can share the bookmarks with you if you'd like...I also just started blogging so feel free to check out my blog! Just reading a few of your posts has given me a few ideas for my next few posts =)

    Michelle
    http://kinsellaskitandkaboodle.blogspot.com/

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  9. I am a new follower and love this post! I have been reading and thinking about my clip chart. It is such a tricky thing! Class jobs - I can't manage them so I have a "special helper". They do everything for the day and they get their name in the morning message! They love it and learn everyone's name really quick! Thanks for making me think a little more. I can't wait to read how it all works out!

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