Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Idea for next school year and a new product!

I stopped by school quickly this morning to feed the class pet, a gecko named Lizzie, and pick up the teacher manual for some new curriculum our principal bought.

My 5yo son with Lizzie-a crested gecko.
As then school was on the brain, I started looking at my list of changes I would like to to implement next year.  I started with our grade level newsletter...
Newsletter from 2013-14
This was sent WEEKLY to parents and published online.

I obviously love writing, and want to keep parents informed.  I wrote a grade level newsletter the past few years (see the pictures!) that was full of information; I am pretty sure less than half of our parents read it. 
Newsletter from 2014-15
This was sent MONTHLY to parents and published online.

Last year, I abandoned the practice as I was too overwhelmed with other things.  I want to keep parents informed this year, but needed a simpler way, hence my new product, Peek at the Week!  

{I know the name/title is nothing new, I actually was REQUIRED to send out newsletter with this title, paper copy, each week when I was a Long Term Sub for 5th grade in my 1st job!}

I am hoping this template will help me to be more diligent about sending out a newsletter, to keep parents informed, but also be quick and easy for me to fill out on Fridays and shoot out to parents through email (or print if they need a copy!)

How do you keep parents informed of the things that are happening in your classroom?  Are you required to send the information home or is it an option for you? Let me know below!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summer-3 Weeks in...an update and reflection

So on Wednesday I will have officially been on summer break for 3 weeks.  My "To Do" list, for either school or from the hubby, keeps getting longer, not shorter!

Some BIG items I have on my "school" list are:

  • Catch-up on Angela Watson's 40 Hour Workweek Club (I am not missing the irony in that...)
  • Finish 2 classes through Learners Edge so I start the school year at my Master's +40credits
  • Read Teach Like a Pirate and Reread Guided Math, and <maybe> dive into Personalized PD (a book our Staff Development group will be looking at this next year.)
  • Attending 4 workshops! (all single day)

Whew!  Just thinking about that makes me exhausted! But I have a sunny deck that will be perfect for sitting and reading.

I decided to make the jump BACK to a pen and paper planner for '16-17.  I LOVED using planbook.com, but I feel I wasn't as organized as I could've been this past school year.
Screenshot of planbook.com on my iPhone

The convenience of always having it available on my phone/iPad/Mac didn't outweigh the cons of not being able to visual have it laid out for me.  So, I spent the $$$ and bought an Erin Condren.

My beautiful planner--just getting the stickers on and organized 2 days after school let out!

This is what it looks like now:

My principal hasn't given us our schedule yet--we aren't sure when recess/lunch will be and that determines our block schedule for math and social studies/science in the afternoon.  So, I resorted to personally keeping 3M in business by buying all the post-its until I can transfer ideas/lessons onto the pages.

Additionally, my "copy" list grows ever long until I can meet with my team!  We plan together and like to be on the same page, although we each also do a bit of our own thing.  I want to make sure my thoughts align with their's before I make some copies!

There are a lot of other changes/switches happening in my building as well this summer...something I do not deal well with!  I know I should:

But instead I have felt like this the past few weeks:

Lastly, as I have been working on one of my classes (mentioned above,) I have really been reflecting on who I am as an educator, teacher-leader, wife, mother, etc.  I have many hats to wear and different shoes to fill, hence trying to find the right balance through it all and using Angela Watson's 40HW to help me stay focused.  I LOVE being busy and staying involved, but I also need to make sure I am not wearing myself too thin.  I need to focus on ME first.  Maybe it's time to take some of Elsa's advice? :o)  I had to make this list for my class, and so a few of the roles I will have (besides wife and mother, because those I am NOT giving up!) this next school year are:
  • Teacher
  • Staff Development Rep
  • Teacher's Union, supporter and advocate
  • FATPPS (building leadership)
  • Data Liaison/Test Coordinator
  • Patrol Supervisor
  • Computer Club Supervisor (only 2nd/winter trimester) and Daily Announcements
  • PTP (Parent Teacher Partnership) Vice President
  • Part-Time course evaluator for LE (still up in the air....I will know if I got the position next week!)
  • Runner/Work Out "Enthusiast" <--I'm just going to leave that right there....
  • Language Arts/Reading committee member (not sure if this will meet the next school year...)
  • Social Committee member for grade level
  • Friend (not sure I have been a good one of those lately!)
  • Reader
  • Adult <--this is over-ratted anyways, #amirite


Happy teaching, planning, and summering!!!!