“We interrupt this program for an important announcement!”

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I received my newsletter from Laura Chandler, from Teaching Resources and linked up with some intermediate teachers also participating in an on-line book study for D5. The host for this week was Katie Lyons, from The Art of Teaching for Teachers and she posted some thought provoking questions that merit that I use for further personal introspection. I wanted to add them here just to make sure that I address them because they point out areas in which I can further develop in my classroom. I highly recommend that you hop on over to We Read, We Blog, We Teach,  to learn from other intermediate teachers, but here are Katie’s questions:

  1. What do you envision your gathering place looking like?

  2. If you already have one, what makes it work?  Any tips for us beginners?

  3. What are some ways you help your students select books that work for them? 

  4. Do you use the I PICK acronym or something else?

  5. Have you ever used book boxes before?  If so, what did you use?

  6. Do you have a classroom library?  How many books do you have?

  7. Do you consistently use anchor charts?

  8. Do you use the I PICK acronym or something else?

  9. Any tips on displaying anchor charts?

10. How do you overcome any obstacles placed on you by school, city codes, etc on displaying materials?

11. What are some tips that you have for teachers when doing repeated practice?

12.  What signals do you use in your classroom?

13. Why do you think check-in is an important aspect of this model? 

“And now, we return to our regularly scheduled program!”

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And so it begins…

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As I embark on this new project, I cannot help but feel a bit nervous about how much of my thoughts I want to publish. This little blog is to be a compilation of rants and raves that I have about learning to become a better teacher. Some things will be serious, others, just plain stupid. I just want to learn a little about blogging and at the same time, use the summer break  to do something that I’ve never done before.  So here it goes…no reason, no rhyme, just a girl with a computer and a big imagination.

First things at hand- I have just completed my fourth year as a beginning teacher. Yes, I said, “beginning teacher.” I have been stuck in a vortex of a bad economy and hiring freezes in my hometown school district. And although I feel quite competent as an educator, I can’t help but feel that I haven’t been given a real chance to hone my craft. I have taught every grade at my K-8 center with the exception of kindergarten and second grade. I have taught in a general education setting, in a special education setting, as well as in an inclusion setting.  I even taught a small group of “Gifted” students Earth and Space Science (thankfully, only a few weeks).  I have learned about the curriculums in each grade and the standards required for each grade by the state. I’ve learned to use electronic grade books, plan and develop IEP’s and suffered through the protocols that I was to have learned  by osmosis.  I have had to hold my head up high many times while walking through the hallways passing the veteran teachers,  feeling like I was not “good enough” to be fully entitled to a contract. I have been discouraged by peers and mocked by friends because all I want to do is share the love of learning with a child. Is that right? NO! Is it all true? Probably not. Is it how I feel many, many times? Yes.

Even still, I know that as my emotions play a big role in my perceptions of the circumstances, I have learned so much about teaching. I have grown and developed a deeper understanding of pedagogy and have tweaked my philosophical perspectives. There have been days in the past four that I have seen a twinkle in a child’s eye, other days that I’ve had the privilege to wipe a tear and many, I mean MANY OTHER MOMENTS, that I have received the affirmation that being a teacher is EXACTLY what I should be doing. For those reasons (and many more) I will hold on and hope that one day I will be offered that first year contract and can finally call myself, “Queen of my Class.”

Mrs. P