Celebrate This Week 5/27 All The Things

It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

I have been having a hard time balancing all the things this Spring. And the result has been very minimal blog time. I have been thinking each week about the things I want to celebrate, but not making the time to sit down and write. That is something I want to change and I will be working on my time blocking to make sure it does change. 

Since I have not written in a while, I am just going to share a list of the biggest celebrations from this Spring:

  1. I interviewed for and got a new position in the same school district for the upcoming school year. Next year, I will be teaching 2nd grade at Milwaukee Spanish Immersion. This represents a big challenge for me, but I am ready to take on that challenge. I have been at the same school for all 17 years of my career so it is a big move! I will be in a brand new grade level and it will be my first time in my career of truly teaching in Spanish. Time to brush up and make my husband only speak Spanish with me this summer! 
  2. We traded in our car and leased a new car. This brought me closer to goals of paying things off because it frees up some money each month with a lower car payment. The debt snowball now has even more momentum. (Check out Dave Ramsey’s information for more about debt snowballs and budgeting…it is changing my financial picture in a very positive way)
  3. I am growing in my leadership skills and really gaining momentum with building a doTERRA business. I love my essential oils and am thrilled to teach others about them. It makes me happy to be able to empower people to improve their health.
  4. I attended a baby shower and a bridal shower in the month of May. It is so great to celebrate new beginnings with people who I love. The bridal shower was for my cousin so there is a lot of family time to look forward to coming up Labor Day weekend!
  5. My cousin decided to take a 4th grade position at her school. This is awesome because now I know what to do with the bulk of my class library. It is a relief to know I am handing it off to someone who will use it and who will love the books as much as I do.
  6. I had fun last night at a team event and I now have a pretty vision board on my office wall. I loved spending the time thinking about my vision for the future and finding words and images to represent it.  

What do you have to celebrate? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

 

Celebrate This Week-February 18 Edition

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It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

At School

    My days at school are tough. I have a group that just does not let up. There are many kiddos in my class who have trauma and psychological issues. My energy is depleted every day dealing with trying to keep an even keel in the classroom. But, every day we do get through the day and we get some learning done along the way. I have been successful in making sure that no one is getting hurt. That is something to celebrate!

     I am super proud of how far the refugee newcomer students have come this school year. They did not speak any English when they got to my classroom in September. They did not ever attend school in Malaysia. They are like sponges soaking in all the learning. In the last few weeks, all of a sudden, one of the girls turned into a little chatterbox. And she has taken to writing stories. We were working out a social problem last week and she wanted to communicate with me, so she wrote a whole page to tell me about it. As you can see in the photo, she is doing a phenomenal job at phonetic spelling in English!

 

     

At Home

     We are celebrating a new canine addition to the family. We got Kiko from the Humane Society and the two dogs are absolutely loving each other and all the play time (24/7 if they got to decide it). It is a bit stressful right now, until we train Kiko better, but it is fun to have two wagging tails greeting us at the door! 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Celebrate This Week-12/11

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It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

At School

    Last year, I decided that I had to share the magic of Harry Potter with my fourth grade class. We had such a reading community and I just needed to do this. They absolutely LOVED the book. Fast forward to this week. I was talking with a colleague at school. Her son was in my class last year. She was telling me how he is obsessed with the Harry Potter books. YES! That is exactly what I had hoped when sharing the first one last year. Even better, I had the entire set of books at home in a pile, waiting for a home to be donated to. I brought the books to school on Friday. About ten minutes into the school day, my former student came into my classroom to thank me profusely for the books. When I spoke with my colleague, she said that she had told him to wait until after school and not interrupt my class, but that he told her he couldn’t wait to come thank me. I love that my books are finding an amazing home with this kid. Harry Potter is magical. 

At Home

     Scores for National Board came out yesterday. The process is different now and candidates can do a component at a time. Last year, life got in the way so the only thing I did was the Assessment center component. I passed this part of the process! One down, three to go! 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Celebrate This Week-11/19

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It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

My Classroom

    I am celebrating the fact that we have teacher work days this coming Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is a much needed time to organize our space and get ahead on some planning. 

At Home

     At the local coffee shop, yesterday morning, I ran into two different mothers of former students. I loved hearing from each of them about how their children are doing. I loved the fact that each of them took the time to pause in what they were doing to say hi and chat with me. Both kiddos graduated last June and are on to higher education now. It is so wonderful to know that students are doing well and that their families still hold me in high regard. These connections are the reason that I do what I do. 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Gratitude Challenge: Something That Fills Me With Hope

     I am grateful today for the opportunity to work with kids. Children work so hard to understand the world. The questions that they bring up truly show big hearts and open minds. Just being able to work with kiddos and hear those questions and see the way that they are forming their understandings of the world, gives me hope for our future. Yes, there are some kids that are being brought up to think in ways that will not promote peace and justice. However, there are many children who will grow into people with open minds and big hearts. I am grateful for the opportunity to give them things to think about and guidance along this path. 

Gratitude Challenge: Something That Makes Me Smile

     I smile all the time. So when it came time to pick something that makes me smile to write about, it seemed like it might be hard to pick. But then, I thought about my days at school lately, and I knew what I needed to write about. 

    I am so grateful for all the love that comes my way through drawings and letters from my students. I have a wall behind my desk that is dedicated to being a gallery for things I am given. It is overflowing with drawings and little notes. Each time a student gives me something, it makes me smile. I am sure that is why I keep getting things. The students in my classroom see how it makes me smile when I get things and they really love to make me happy. 

    It is sometimes hard to remember why I like doing what I do. These little notes and drawings help to bring focus to why I am there. Each small gift from a student gives me a small moment to celebrate. That is priceless. 

 

Celebrate This Week-11/12

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It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

My Classroom

This was the first week in the school year that we made it through the whole week without anyone storming out of the classroom or having a meltdown and needing to be removed. In fact, a couple days this week we actually got through all of the learning that I had planned. This is huge! I have been slowly and calmly working to earn the trust of my most needy students. I am working to chip away at their knee-jerk reactions and impulse to talk back and argue about everything. I am coaxing them to give things a try and work to develop a growth mindset. And we are making progress. It is slow progress, but it is happening. 

There is never a day in my classroom in which we achieve full silence. There are just too many kids that can’t do it. Someone somewhere in the room is wiggling or making noise at all times. So it isn’t surprising that when kids are starting to gain confidence with something, they loudly call it out. Our math lessons this week were joyfully noisy, because those impulsive kiddos were starting to understand the area model that we have been working on and then loudly proclaiming their success. I worked hard to patiently admonish them for their outbursts, while at the same time celebrating with them those successful moments that are much-needed boosts to their confidence. 

I also want to celebrate the exuberant noise of our board game time. It gets loud. Very loud. But, through the noise, we learn to play with each other without conflict. We learn to have fun with classmates that may not be the people we play with outside for recess. We spend time enjoying our community. 

I added a gratitude box to our daily reflection sheet and I loved some responses this week. 

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Last, but certainly not least, I want to celebrate the love that I am showered with every day. I must’ve received at least 20 pieces of student artwork this week. I can’t remember the last time I had a class with so many students so eager to draw me pictures and write me notes and cards.  It is a reminder about the fact that sometimes the most difficult students are the ones that need the most love. 

At Home

I am just celebrating a nice weekend with nothing special planned. I enjoy the time to relax and rejuvenate. 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Gratitude Challenge: Quiet

     Every morning, I spend an hour with myself. I use the quiet hours of the early morning to read, write and reflect while I drink coffee. As an introvert, this quiet time by myself is like a battery to charge my soul. If I don’t get this time, I am a little off the rest of the day. 

     For the last year or so, I have also added meditation into the morning routine. Taking the time for stillness has really helped me to learn control of my emotions at high stress times. I use guided meditations to help me to center myself and begin my day in a peaceful place. 

    I am thankful that I am able to have this morning quiet to begin each day. 

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Gratitude Challenge: Technology

     I vividly remember the first time I heard that people were working on a technology to create the internet. I was in my first year of college, in 1996, and fascinated by the fact that I could send message to my friends at other universities. At that point in time, the University of Minnesota had come up with an e-mail system that could be accessed from ones university account. It was like science fiction coming to life. We were hearing rumors about this thing that would exist where people could look up information right from their computers. It seemed so unbelievable that something like that would exist. 

This scene from Back to the Future 2 was one that I remembered well, because the idea of video calls was so fascinating. It seemed like that would never actually happen. It was such a thing of Science Fiction.

       Fast forward to 2016. We have computers that fit in the palm of your hand, maps that are scary accurate at telling you where you are, virtual tours that make you feel like you are in that place, and video calls that let you see your loved ones face to face and feel like you are in the same room. Twenty years have passed, and hardly anyone can imagine doing things the old-fashioned way. Many people have a smart phone and look things up all the time. I pull my iPhone out during many conversations to look something up. We have apps that track our health data. There is an entire library of music on our phones or in our computers or both. It is incredible how these technologies have continued to improve. 

    I am grateful for the technology that helps us be informed and to keep track of our loved ones. 

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Gratitude Challenge: Hobbies, Work, Friends and Family

I am a few days behind on my gratitude challenge, so I will catch up in this post. Today I am grateful for hobbies, work, and friends and family. 

Hobbies

I am thankful for my blog. I started it to keep the assignments for Teachers Write the first summer the program was offered. Then, I continued to post in it in order to have a forum to make book suggestions to my middle school students. It has morphed and changed throughout the years.  Now, it is a place for me to reflect. There are two regular posts that I keep up with for the most part each week. A Monday collection of what I have been reading, and a Saturday celebration of the week. I enjoy taking time to write reflections and I definitely benefit from looking for celebrations. It has helped me be more mindful. 

Work

Teachers have a very difficult job. It has become more difficult in the last few years, with more paperwork and more expected of us.

My class this year has 27 students. 5 of those students have anger management issues, 3 students are newly arrived refugees who are learning English, 6 of those students have IEPs, and many of those students have attention issues and extremely short attention spans. According to our first district assessment, 4 students are on level in reading and 4 students are on level in math. Everyone else needs extra support to get to grade-level. I don’t say all this to complain, just to paint a picture of my current reality. I am exhausted at the end of every school day. 

It is true that I have to work extremely hard and that my job sometimes (always) stresses me out. Yet, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to be a teacher. I thrive on the challenge. I know how much these little souls need consistent love and encouragement and I know I can do that. It is rewarding to see the lightbulbs come on, to receive the hand-made presents and the sincere and tight hugs. I can honestly tell you that I am making a difference in the lives of many kiddos. That is powerful stuff!

Last Spring, I read Sir Ken Robinson’s guide about finding your element. I found the ideas very enlightening, but I didn’t really need to do the exercises. My element has already been found. I am very grateful for that. 

Friends and Family

I am grateful for all the people that I love. I have a great network of supportive friends and amazing family.