Friday, June 16, 2017

OHM my Goodness!

I'd originally intended for this post to explain my Donors Choose project as a way of getting the word out and to help with donations towards getting it funded. I created a project titled: 

"Help My First-Graders Self-Regulate Through Mindfulness and Yoga"

I was requesting read aloud books, yoga sequence cards, reference books for teachers, and even a Tibetan Singing bell to help me implement mindfulness & yoga techniques in my classroom.

 I took a graduate course on the topic and the research blew me away! Meditation, mindfulness and yoga are POWERFUL! Particularly for kids with trauma & behavior difficulties. The simple, yet complex techniques have shown to have significant positive effects on both students AND teachers!  After last year, which was incredible behaviorally-challenging for our entire school, I began looking for ways to reach students that are somewhat "outside the box", at least the traditional box of classroom management & culture. 
I loved this class! 

A good friend passed this along to me. TOTS4LIFE!
Well, I had to throw that plan out the window because....

I'm thrilled to announce that full funding has ALREADY HAPPENED!

Hooray! Woohoo! Happy dancing going on over here! 

Thank you to everyone who supported this project! I'm forever humbled by friends & family who take money out of their own pockets for my projects. To know that they are cheering me on means so much! The final donation actually came from someone I don't even know! An ANGEL in Los Angeles donated the final $92 with a sweet note that she's so glad I'll be teaching kids about meditation and mindfulness. Wow!

I'll have materials in hand before the first day of school, which is so exciting, because I can start from the very beginning of the year. Of course, I'll update my progress here, as well!

Do you use any meditation, mindfulness, or yoga techniques in your classroom? Tell me about it!

Have you submitted a Donors Choose project? Leave me a comment about it, I'm interested to learn! 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

School's Out But I'm Not Relaxing...Yet!

Do you ever have those days & weeks that float by where you wonder "Where in the world did that time go?" That, my friends, wraps up the entire month of May for me.
I was BUSY.
I mentioned in my last post that my district is restructuring, thus sending me to our new K-2 school. I'm so excited for the changes, but holy guacamole, was it a lot of work to get my classroom packed up. I'd been in that room for 6 years, and like we teachers do, I accumulated A LOT of stuff.

 I remember when I first started teaching, and had NOTHING, I would take any and all offers of hand-me-down supplies. Old manuals? Sure! File folders of purple "ditto" activities? Thankyouverymuch. 1970's bulletin board materials (including characters with bell-bottoms & butterfly collars)? Sign me up! As the years went on, I was able to be a little choosier, but still, I had a stupid amount of stuff!
I got really creative when labeling boxes

I even took my ENTIRE classroom library home with me because it needs a re-vamp!

But, just like how moving houses is good for a nice healthy purge, so is moving classrooms. I bet I made 10 trips to the dumpster and STILL managed to pack up about 35 boxes of stuff! I was impressed with how I pared down things that really weren't serving me or my professional development. I got a little Marie Kondo with the stuff I threw away, silently thanking the items for their service, and giving them the ole' heave-ho in the trash barrel. Thankfully, we had 3 days last week without kids where we could finish our packing. Wednesday afternoon I said goodbye to room 128 & rode off into the sunset...well, actually, I rode out to my favorite hole-in-the-wall with a couple of teachers for a celebratory lunch! 
My boxes!
Thursday we worked on our new class lists, and on Friday I spent the day with family, celebrating my mom's birthday and strawberry picking with my niece & nephews. So much fun!
I forgot sunglasses...

6 buckets of these sweet babies! So delicious!

My beautiful Mama!

My sister and the kids!Strawberry picking fools!

Memorial day weekend provided me with relaxation & adventure as we headed to Ohiopyle, PA to hike around & explore. It's one of our favorite spots for outdoor adventures!

Essentially: Check Yo'Self before you Wreck Yo'Self!
The Yough was roaring!

Cucumber Falls, always beautiful!

Tuesday I sat in on some interviews and today I finished up a graduate course about meditation and mindfulness in the classroom (more on this later!)
Now it's 10:30 and I'm shocked that nothing particular is on the calendar for tomorrow.

Don't worry, I'm sure I'll find myself into something interesting. 
I'll be sure to take pictures!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Whale Hello There!

Image result for whale hello there

Well, would you look at that?
My little corner of the internet got a face lift & I'm starting to blog again!
Recently I've had several people ask me about my blog & I've had to tell them that while it's still active, it's been nearly TWO YEARS since I've posted! To type that feels so strange! 
Time freaking flies!

To be very honest, I think I started getting a little stale with my teaching. Doing the same thing for a few years on end didn't feel that exciting, although I did enjoy the familiarity. Anyone else ever felt like that? I'm so lucky to have had/have a wonderful teaching partner who helps keep me sane & keeps me laughing. Also, it's not to say that the last two years were not challenging, especially in the behavior department....ahem, teachers, do you feel me here? Things didn't really feel "bloggable" and I took a MAJOR break.

So here we are.  
I decided to give this space a new look & begin my trek through the blogosphere once again.  A major reason for wanting to revive my blog is that I'm about to take part in our school district's restructuring plan that involves taking 3 elementary schools & dividing them into 2 grade-banded schools: a K-2 building & a 3-5 building. The third building, my present school, will house the district's preschool classes, as well as administrative offices. The last month or so has been a flurry of excitement, questions, concerns, and oh my goodness, packing all of our stuff up to move! I'll continue to teach 1st grade with an incredible team of 6 other teachers & my new school is actually just a few blocks from my house. I'm heartbroken that my "little school that could" will be no more, but feel grateful for the opportunity to teach with other fantastic educators in a setting that I believe will benefit our kids. 

Blogging was a way for me to connect with other teachers and learn from their experiences, challenges, and successes. I really missed this community! I'm looking forward to getting to know many of you again, as well as make new friends.

New curriculum resources for me next year will be: The Lucy Calkins Reading & Writing Units of Study, as well as Word Study. I've got lots of materials in hand and am so thankful for the opportunity to dive in & read up on all of it over the summer. Who is using these resources, too?

We actually had our last day with kiddos on Friday, but will use Monday-Wednesday this week to finish packing, cumulative files, etc. When is your last day?

So glad to be back!