Okay, a little backstory here... Two years ago my husband and I (and our sweet little daughters) were living up near Seattle. I was teaching at my first teaching job and he was working for a financial firm. In April of that year my husband was offered a job at another financial firm. It was a big jump up - more money, less stress, etc... The only catch was that the job was down in Vancouver, WA, and he would need to start immediately. The job was too good to pass up so put everything we owned in storage, packed up him and the girls, and off they went to Vancouver. Luckily, my husband's parents live in Vancouver so they were able to stay with grandparents. I stayed in Seattle to finish the school year - it was a really hard month. Oh, did I mention I was about eight months pregnant?!
Fast forward to now. We have been living in Vancouver for two years and things have been going great. Great except for one thing - I wasn't able to find a full-time teaching position anywhere. I worked as a long-term substitute and took a very part-time position, both in middle school. Ever since I began pursuing teaching I have wanted to teach in elementary school - full-time in elementary school.
I felt trapped - like I was never going to find a school "home". Plus, time was running out. I wanted desperately to teach at the school my children attended, but I didn't want to move them from school to school either. My oldest starts kindergarten in the fall and I was feeling the pressure to get settled fast.
Well, this story has a happy ending! Last week I was hired as a 4th grade teacher at an amazing local elementary school! It is literally one of the best elementary schools in the entire county. It also happens to be about three minutes from my husband's office. (I keep pushing the idea of carpooling next year :)) I just can't stop smiling - I am so excited!!
Okay, I am 100% thrilled, but a small part of me is totally freaked out too. It is overwhelming to think about everything I have to do to get ready for the year. Even more so because I can't do a lot until I meet with the teacher I am replacing (then I can pepper her with all my OCD questions). I think about every other thought in my head lately is my future classroom, students, or curriculum. Luckily, everyone has been very patient with me.
I have been reading lots of fourth grade blogs trying to get ideas and I have been blown away by is Fourth Grade Studio. I love the way she challenges her kids to problem solve and think deeply. This has me busily planning for things to do in my own class.
One idea for my classroom I came up with today is the "Helper Sheet". On one of the first days of school we will all complete the "Helper Sheets" in class. The sheets have a place to list both things the person is good at and things the person struggles with at the moment. My idea with these sheets is that it will give students an opportunity to think about what they understand and what they don't, they will show students who to ask for help if necessary, and they will also show that everyone struggles with something and that is okay!
Students will be able to update them as often as they like, but I will probably use it as a class exercise about once a month. This will give every student a chance to shine and keep students thinking about what they need focus on during class.
Since I made the worksheet for my own class I decided I might as well share it on TpT. It is up as a free resource (it is really just one page). I hope you enjoy it! I would also love to hear if you use it in your classroom or similar things you have done in your classroom.
Oh - you may have also noticed the dot border. I looked all over TpT for something like this (something kids could color/decorate so I don't have to use color printing, but it can still be colorful) and I couldn't find it. So, I made my own. I will be posting it as another free product soon :).
Friday, June 28, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
I have a new product up for preschool/kindergarten students! Kids use "tokens" with letters and numbers on them to complete different activity mats. There are nine different tokens - one to fit each month of the school year. Watch the video below for a preview :).