Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Looking for some organization and fun new products

Attention all Instructional Coaches!!!

 The ICD for the OCD
Instructional Coach Detailer for the OCD is all updated for the 2017-2018 school year! 

Let's face it, the IC job is multitasking at its finest! You don't have time to be scattered in your thoughts! Use the ICD to help you be OCD! 
This Instructional Coach Detailer is the perfect planner to help you balance all of your plans, notes, and to-do's!

What is included?
-Two different versions: ELA & Math/Science-Monthly overviews August - July (free updates each year!)-To-Do checklists with each month-Space to put sticky notes so they are never far away-Positive quotes to keep you going- Team planning overviews- Notes for meetings-Pages of team minute notes for team plannings-Teacher Checklists-to keep information of teachers easy

Print this in color or even just black and white!You can print as is, or rearrange pages in a spiral bound form or binder. Need more of a certain page? Print just what you need!Put it all together or make separate smaller books.Add in your school calendar, etc! 

If you'd like a custom cover I am happy to do that! Just email me! Email is listed in TPT product description page!

Suggestion: Print cover in color on card stock and print the other pages on regular paper (helps with printing cost)

***FREE updates each year!! 

Click HERE for ELA
Click HERE for Math/Science

Need more inserts? Check out my IC Quick Sheets to add to your planner and keep track of your coaching with teachers! (under the organization tab) or link: 

I also just added some A La Carte pieces you can add to ANY planner!

Check them out HERE (they are free for now so grab them while you can!)

Last thing for today! I just finally got around to posting my newest edition of Monthly Jam- where I showcase my favorite 5 items in under 5 minutes!  I would love anyone who would like to participate to join me! You can see the original post HERE if you'd like to know the "guidelines". 

So I posted this one over on my YouTube is just up and going so please be gentle :) I'd love it if you'd subscribe while there too! 
Click HERE to watch! 

Have a Blessed week!!! 
"If we say we are HIS, we must follow the example of Christ."
1 John 2:6

Monday, June 5, 2017

Confessions of a First Year Teacher

Teaching is: fun, rewarding, exciting, inspiring, empowering....but let's be real too...Teaching is: exhausting, demanding, intensive, diverse...hard..teaching is hard ya'll. Do you remember your first year of teaching? Do you remember feeling all of those descriptions above plus many more? Wait, who am I kidding I still feel all that almost 10 years later! HA! Well that first year is so many emotions rolled into one year! Every teachers first year varies, so you can't base your experience or experience to come off of someone else's. I am also fully aware there are a million and infinity pieces to this puzzle called teaching and we could add to the list all day long, but in order for you not to fall asleep on me I have narrowed it down! Keep reading for some of those common threads that weave and spin the many layers of teaching!
*Thank you to two amazing first year teachers for volunteering themselves as tribute for my blogging adventures!"

We all have gotten that call right? The "Would you accept ______ position for the upcoming year?" No matter how it happened for you, we all start somewhere. Thank goodness for admin that will take a chance on a new teacher right?! I asked my two gracious interviewees the question, "What was the first thought you had when you got that call?"
Ms. Skillern: " Wow, that was easier than I thought! I was excited and nervous at the same time. I was preparing myself for it to take awhile. Then I thought, oh my gosh what am I going to do in first grade?!"

Ms. Szydlowski: "I was so excited! I had been waiting. I will finally have a class of my own! I was ready to get things prepared!"

I'm not going to lie, homegirl here was a hot mess when I got offered the job. The tears came and I gave hugs, hoping they wouldn't retract their decision once the emotions started flowing haha. I just couldn't believe they wanted to take a chance on little 'ol me. Fresh outta college, small town, new to the big city, country! I was sure grateful they did! I have actually followed one of them around too these past 10 years, so I guess my pronunciation of "cray-on" as "crown" hasn't scared her off.  

What are some things you have come to realize now that your first year is complete?

Ms. Szydlowski "All the behind the scenes work. Grading, paperwork, data, referrals, all the little things you may not get taught or exposed to beforehand."

Ms. Skillern: "How important a to-do list is! Also how stressful it can be. You really need to be a planner and be organized with all the things you have to accomplish and be responsible for."

Let me add:
I have come to realize all of those things too! Also how flexible you need to be. You can't be a stubborn mule as a teacher, things change too much! I have also learned how sharing is always caring!!! Oh and most importantly, building a community that respects and supports each other-kids and with your coworkers. Oh and teaching is not a competition! 

(in no particular order-except the first one. That helps aid in doing the other ones haha)
-take time for yourself
-be prepared
-gather plenty of mentor texts
-love the whole child
-utilize the mentors around you
-prioritize things
-make time to love on the kids not just academically, but emotionally
-Ask questions (so important not to feel embarrassed or unsure-you will have people around you willing to answer them)

-don't overwork yourself
-don't have a fixed mindset
-waste energy on things that may not have an effect in the long run

Let me add:
 DO find yourself a teaching tribe, people who will love, support, encourage, and not judge you. Take/read Professional Development and observe other teachers to further your craft and learn from others.
Oh yea, DO drink some caffeine-liquid manna from Jesus ya'll. 

DON'T-spend time worrying about what others think of you or your teaching-just give it all of your heart and work with a passion. Make the best decisions you can to better your kids, yourself, and those around you. The rest will take care of itself.

I'm just going to etc, etc, etc this whole section because teaching each year brings new revelations and solidifies many truths. You can ALWAYS GROW! 

This is kind of an extension of the "DO THIS" section above.
Here are some helpful tips these two fabulous ladies offered up in their conversation:
-find what motivates your kids
-have pockets charts
-build a class library ASAP (I will post more about that below)
-get organized with buckets and bins (Can I get a Hallelujah?!)
-take deep breathes and get in the best mindset before the day begins
-spend some time (not too much-remember the whole "recharge yourself?") gathering ideas and looking through resources
-try to not have any preconceived notions- be open
-put yourself out there, build relationships early
-be prepared for "down time"-so have ideas and options ready
-use Donor's Choose
-flexible seating is so great for the kids-offers choice and builds responsibility

**How can you build a class library without breaking the bank?
-Visit your local Half Price books- you can also tell them you are a first year teacher and needing book donations. They more than likely will donate boxes of books they don't end up selling. I got like 8 huge boxes donated my first year. Granted I had to sort through and find the best ones but hey they were FREE!

-Know a retiring teacher? 

-Visit local resale shops and garage sales

-Do a Donor's Choose- takes a little work but totally worth it when funded

-Christmas or B-day coming up? If people want to gift you something ask for books or giftcards to buy books.

Just a few ideas!

-Flair pens (Amazon or local office supply store)
-Pocket charts (Really Good Stuff, Amazon, Lakeshore, Oriental Trading)
-Class library books and mentor texts 
-Containers, organizers, and more containers!!! 

Something I didn't add to  that picture above is professional development books. There are SO many out there I would run out of space! 
However, some great ones are:

Add to that picture:
-Teach Like a Pirate (Dave Burgess)
-Teach Outside the Box (LouAnne Johnson)
-Mathmatical Mindsets (Jo Boaler)
-Guided Math (Laney Sammons)
-Whole Brain Teaching for Kids (Chris Biffle)
-A Mindset for Learning (Kristine Mraz)

I know I am missing a ton but that's a good list to start with! 


This brings me to the last portion- where does a new teacher go after they have survived their first year? PAR-TAY! And I'm talking the "get in your pj's, grab a celebratory treat, and watch your favorite shows" partying because you deserve it! 
After you do all that, it's time to set new goals! 
Here are some ideas from my two Ms. S's!

-Do more with what I have learned
-Learn more and dive more into small groups
-Re-do my room setup

I will also chime in with REFLECT! I advise doing reflection throughout the year. Take notes, take pictures, write down goals, ways to improve, etc. Either way, reflection is the key to bettering yourself. Also remember, you don't have to be perfect! You don't have to be the best or known for teaching fame, you just need to DO your best and be able to say you gave it your all with a passion. 

Well, if you are a new teacher reading this and you have survived your first year then I say CONGRATS to you! Be proud of yourself. I won't say it get's a lot easier, but it does become more manageable. If you stay the course and take advice and listen to your heart then it won't be WORK it will be your HOBBY. 

If you are a new teacher about to embark on your first year, I'll "Dionne Warwick" it and "Say a little prayer for you" (did I just date myself?) I am not that old but I do like the classics ;) 
For real though, I hope these tips will  help you enter your classroom a little more confident. You were made for this and this is what you have been prepared for. Love those kids and teach with a fire! 

Have a BLESSED week!