Sunday, March 15, 2015

Western Washington Bloggers Meet Up

Well, my Just One Thing this week is very exciting for me. 

Next Saturday I am driving up to Seattle to participate in the Western Washington Blogger Meet Up. I can't wait to meet all of my fellow teacherpreneurs in Washington. I will be able to totally geek out and talk about all the things that make my family's eyes glaze over. So fun!

Just One Thing 3/15

How is your week going? Do you have one thing you would like to share with the world, and by world I mean the very small part of the world that follows this blog. Well, this is your chance. 

Share one thing this week. (Don't worry, you can share another thing next week.) It can be a link to a blog post, a product, a freebie, or even a Facebook post. Anything is fine - this is your chance to share!

Sunday Scoop 3/15

Once again, I am happy to be participating in The Sunday Scoop! This is one of my favorite linky parties because it is so easy to participate in!

Yes, we have entered the testing season. My class will be the first class in our school to take the SBAC test. This is our first year with this new test, and so far I am not impressed. The test is way too hard for third graders. Plus, it is on computers. Our school just got 90 Chromebooks a couple of months ago, and all 15 classes of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders have been sharing them. Scheduling the tests has been interesting to say the least. 

I have tried to stay positive at school, but I am so frustrated with this stupid test!

We also have all of the other end of trimester assessments we have to do for the school district because if there is anything students need, it is more assessments!

On a more positive note, I am so proud of my wonderful husband. He completed the Portland Shamrock run this morning. He did the 8K, and I could not be more excited for him. This is something he has been working up to for a while. It is so hard to put together time to work out with four kids, but he has shown me that it is possible. 

Now, if you are like me and enjoy these super simple linky parties, you may be interested in linking up with my latest linky: Just One Thing. It is simple, share one thing this week. It can be a link to a blog post about something you are excited about this week, a product, or a funny Facebook post. Anything, but just one thing.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Scoop March 8th

You can access one of my newest products by clicking the picture below! You do need to have a Google Account to work with it.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Just One Thing - March 7

I thought it would be easy to think of just one thing to share, but it turns out one thing is harder than writing about a lot of things. I feel pressure to have it be good!

Okay, here is my one thing this week.

This week I am missing 2 days of school (one full day and two half days) to work on curriculum development with my third grade team. I, personally, am excited about this because I enjoy collaborating with my team and we don't get a lot of chances to do it in a regular school day.

On the other hand. When we do these collaborations done we only manage to plan for one unit of a subject at the very most - a tiny fraction of what we are actually teaching in the classroom.

Our district doesn't have set curriculum for any subject, so you can imagine the amount of work that goes into getting ready to teach.

Here is what I am wondering this week. If every team in every school is taking these days to plan and getting so little done, is this the best use of our resources?

Click on the picture at the top of the post to visit the linky party and read other bloggers' one thing for this week!

Just One Thing

So... I am totally getting into reading all of the blogs of people who are going to the TpT Convention in Vegas this summer, but there is no way I am going to be able to keep up with all of them until July. I will want to, but life tends to get in the way of me doing what I want to do all the time. (None of my kids care that I would rather read teaching blogs than color with them. And I do mean color with them. I can't read the blogs next to them while they color - I have to physically be coloring too, or it diminishes their enjoyment of the coloring somehow.)

As I was reading tonight it occurred to me that what I needed was a place where I could quickly jump from one blog to the next to see what people were up to. Something like - a linky party!

In keeping with my general feeling of being overwhelmed with too much to do, I decided to make my linky party the most simple linky party ever. Here are the rules...

Grab the picture above and paste it in a new blog post. Then, write about one thing that is on your mind. Maybe it was something great that happened this week. Maybe it was something terrible. Maybe it is a new product you want to share. Maybe it is just some revelation that occurred to you this week. Hopefully you get the idea - anything is fine. As long as it is one thing.

I hope that this is fun for all the other stressed, busy, wonderful teacher-bloggers out there. If I get a good response this week, then we can do it again next week.

Thank you, in advance, for sharing!

What Excellence Looks Like

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to travel to San Francisco to visit my sister. The best part was that I was going alone. No kids. If you have ever traveled with kids before, you will understand my excitement.

I was going to fly on Virgin. I had never flown Virgin before, but they were the cheapest option, so there I was.

Right away I could tell that this airline was different. Music was blasting from their terminal. There were flowers on the desk (fake, but still beautiful). It looked like a party - which was a little weird at six in the morning. Plus, and this was the best part, everyone who worked there looked like they were enjoying their jobs. They were happy to help, and went the extra mile to make their customers feel important.

Now, contrast this to the gigantic line of already exhausted travelers waiting to check in with Delta.

But the check-in process wasn't actually what spurred me to write this post. What I want to share actually happened a little later.

I was sitting in my seat in the back of the plane when the announcement that it was time for the safety talk came over the intercom. Instead of having the flight attendants do it, there would be a short video. I remember thinking, "Yeah, right, I am not watching that."

I was picturing bad industrial videos.

Then the music started. The video was like nothing I could have ever imagined. It was clever, fun, and entertaining. It also covered all of the information the boring usual presentations cover.

In case you haven't seen it, here is the video.

The first thing I thought of while watching the video was all of the lucky people who got to work on it. As a teacher, I am always thinking about what jobs my students will someday have. I hope that many of my students get to have creative jobs that allow them to create amazing things. The people who were a part of this video got to do just that from the actors to the choreographers to the director.

The second thing I thought was - anything can be made entertaining and interesting. How many times has a teacher said, "I can't jazz this up - it is just too boring." Well, what could be more boring that explaining to someone how to use a seat belt?!

I have actually been thinking about this video and this blog post for a long time. I wanted to write about something that it very important to me, but something that is hard to articulate. 

One way to say it would be my obsession with excellence. I love it - I think more than most people - and it doesn't even matter what category the excellence comes in.

Let me try to explain.

When I met my husband he was the star of our community college basketball team. He was amazing. He could dunk, rebound, bring the ball down the court, etc... Now, I realize this was just community college, but it was still the star. 

I found this very attractive. He was the best.

Years later, after he had played basketball at a four year college, and again been the star, he was playing chess with his dad. He was kicking his dad's butt, and they were both very good chess players. I got that same rush I had so many years ago watching him excel at basketball. 

I realized that it didn't really matter what he was good at - I just appreciated his excellence at a skill. I don't know if other people feel this way, but I am guessing that most people are attracted to excellence. I don't just mean romantically attracted, but that people just want to be near excellence.

One reason I believe this is that Disneyland is one of the most popular places in the world. And Disney knows excellence. Everything they do is about being the best. Their attention to detail is insane! In their space, Disney is excellence.

I believe that we all have the capacity to be excellent at something, but we don't all reach that potential because we are too scared, too lazy, or don't understand how to make it happen. Unfortunately schools do not teach kids how to recognize their own excellence.

The closest I have come to excellence is teaching. I do not think I am the perfect teacher - yet. I do believe I have the opportunity to become one of the best teachers in the world. When I am working in education I often feel that elusive feeling of flow.

That isn't to say that I don't fall on my face quite often.

But I love it, and working is fun. 

I have a feeling that not many people feel that their jobs are fun. And that makes me really sad. We spend most of our adult lives working. How sad would it be to spend that time doing something you don't like?

I think this is a big reason why I work so hard to help kids enjoy school and learning. I want every student I meet to have the chance to do something they love as an adult. I don't want them to have to take a job they hate just to make enough money to survive. I want them to thrive and strive for excellence. 

It is funny. When I started this post, I didn't know that this is where it would end up. But this is true. The reason I teach is so that I can help children find their way to excellence. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Night Freebie!

I am putting together my resources for next week, and I couldn't find a verb tense chart that I liked. So, of course, I made my own. If you are looking for a verb tense chart for your kids you are welcome to it. It isn't cute, but it does the trick.

This is one of my new products that is made using Google Docs. I am pretty sure you have to have a Google Account to access it, but the good news is that anyone with a Gmail e-mail address already has an account. 

I am sharing a link to view the file. If you would like to make changes, just select "Make a Copy" under the File tab. This will allow you to make your own copy of the file that you can change any way you like.

If you keep the version I share, it will update automatically any time I make changes. 

Have I mentioned how much I love Google?!