Wednesday, October 3, 2018

New Year, New You!

Image result for New Year New you

I am currently in week eight (yes, eight!) of the 2018-2019 school year. 

My students are currently engrossed in our blogging project. They are reading real blogs from kids their age, the inspiring blog from Braeden's Art, and my own.

Sadly, I haven't updated my blog since this past March. MARCH.

I am not entirely sure why. I could blame the ending of the school year, my family's move, my constant feeling of yuck for the curriculum (which isn't that bad this year), or just the lack of desire to write.

It may be a combination of all of these things or none at all. In any sense...

Image result for I'm back

The start to this year was awesome. I got to continue the use of Jon Corippo's Smart Start. Students are emersed in all the tech, sites, and protocols that will be used throughout the year. Sure, it takes about two weeks of the year, but I gain it back two folds later. You see, when I assign a project I don't have to go over the tech or how to use or create using a tool. It has already been covered and students have the example and steps saved in their Drive. 
Image result for brilliant gif

Last year, I struggled quite a bit with our new curriculum, supplementing grammar and writing where the curriculum lack, and holding steadfast to not assigning homework. I failed. Failed with grace and style. But I still failed.

Image result for win win winI have come back to the wonderful world of #FlipClass. Grammar and writing is lacking in our curriculum, so doing Flipped Class with my students coordinated with The Writing Revolution (a district given text I actually like!) has worked wonders! I am using Edpuzzle for housing my videos as well as using videos already added to Edpuzzle. I get a great overview of what students know, what I need to cover the next day (if needed), and that frees my time to have students put the subject matter into practice. 
I think this year I have found a better balance with the new curriculum, my student's needs, and my time. As flexible as I am, I thought this would have come sooner, but at last, I am here. I feel good. And I can help my students the best way I can. 

Here is to my eighteenth year! 
Image result for cheers

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Musings of a Frustrated Educator

This picture pretty sums up my world the last few months. I have been pretty frustrated with my career. 

Not my students, mind you. I have amazing students! They work hard, they make me laugh, it is a joy to come to school and teach them.

It IS NOT my students. 

It's crazy....this edtech world. I started connecting with other passionate educators around 2008 or 2009. That exploded in 2011 with earning my SMART Exemplary Educator, my Google Certified Teacher (now Certified Innovator), Twitter, presenting at conferences etc. Through these endeavors, I have connected and made friends with some AMAZING educators. Many I talk daily with! I am truly fortunate to know these individuals and call them friends. The push me and help me become better.

And I am better. I am a MUCH better teacher and educator than I was last year. I am leaps and bounds better than I was before edtech became a "thing."

I feel stagnate. Stuck. 

I am teaching a new class this year. Project Lead the Way's Automation and Robotics and that is SUPER fun. But my issues aren't with the lack excitement of doing something new in teaching. I feel as if I am doing something new daily as I have new curriculum, new students, new time frame, and a desire to do something special with it all.

I feel like at this point, I should be beyond teaching. Most of my close educator friends I have known since the beginning of my PLN have moved upward or beyond the classroom. Now, I am not trying to compare myself to them-they are AMAZING and AWESOME in their own right. I just know I am capable of awesome outside the classroom.

And it isn't without me trying to branch out. I have. 

I applied for two separate edtech positions- one in my own district and one at the county level. 
One, maybe I was suited, but like many other positions, there is someone better. I know the individual and couldn't be happier for him or her! The other, however, I received one letter/email saying "Thank you for reaching beyond your expertise." Ummmm what?? I had been giving teacher professional development integrating technology for years for my district and around California at this point. 

Since then, I still give professional development, but more and more around California and closer to home. Plus, the addition of two little ones at home keep me home more often-gladly, of course!

But now what? I have thought about moving districts, perhaps finding a TOSA position, or perhaps earning my Administration Credential so that I can go into curriculum. 

Again, it absolutely isn't who I teach or necessarily what I teach (although, that is another blog post), but where I am professionally.  I think with all the changes with my position, new curriculum and a shorter amount of time to do what I know in my heart my students need....has pushed me over the edge and looking outward and beyond my walls and site. I am drained more and more each day and I am trying to find a way to release the stress and pressure.

Perhaps all I need is to recharge. Reconnect with my fellow educators and find the light. I always feel more inspired and ready to try something new when I get a true pedagogy conversation going. 

I honestly don't know. 

I have been chatting with my husband about it all and he has been nothing but supportive. I am so thankful. 

I am thankful for my hubby, my kids, and my students I teach day in and day out. They truly do make me smile and my students are the ones who push me to pull the best out of them.

And for now, that's enough.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fitting it all in....

The new school year is upon us and off and running! I can hardly believe that we are already in the new year!

This year, thankfully, I am able to ease up on the new curriculum and do what I know is best for students. This is and was AMAZING news! Last year my department was given new curriculum and told to follow pretty closely....I am thankful we have been given some leeway. More about that struggle here. 

Although I get to bring back some #eduawesome stuff, I still am lacking the amount of time I have had just two years ago. So I feel as though I am back to the drawing board, AGAIN. How do I teach all I need to in just fifty-five minutes when I used to have eighty-eight?

Our new curriculum is missing grammar and writing. I tried to supplement last year as much as I can. It's difficult as English is one subject, and then literature is another; that is how I used to break down my block periods. Now I have to find a way to bring in the grammar and writing throughout the readings. That shouldn't be difficult, and yet it very much is.

I feel that my seventh graders (and looking at the dismal scores I just received) need a healthy dose of grammar and sentence structure. Doing grammar here and there when needed last year didn't work. Students, although they have had grammar throughout elementary school, don't always remember the rules or even what the parts of speech are. I use and LOVE 8 p*ARTS from Jon Corripo and Cheryl Morris, but once a week isn't cutting it. Plus, if a lesson runs over or the class needs more time on something, the first thing that is moved is grammar.

So how do I do it?

I had to reach out to my AMAZING PLN on Voxer.

I seriously love the ELA peeps on our Flipped Learning Voxer group. They are always inspiring, passionate, wonderful listeners, and full of perfect suggestions and advice. Without them and all of my PLN, I would be lost. They told me what I already knew.

As I am still struggling with fitting it all in. I had to ask my Voxer group "How do I fit grammar, writing, reading, research, listening and speaking all in one period?!"

They said:

You don't.

They are right. I don't. I put things together. Cover topics in multitudes. And perhaps the most important, I do what is BEST for my students.

But as we have entered 2018, I am STILL feeling stuck.

I am still struggling. 

It feels as if I am a brand new teacher all over again. I second guess myself, my lessons, and what I should do next. I keep thinking back to my incredibly low scores from this past year. I NEVER stress about scores! They are a moment in a student's life! But this year, they have crept into my brain, returning over and over stressing me out. They are a part of me know.


In moments like these, I am thankful that I can reach out. That I can talk to other educators that lift me up. Those that remind me that I can do this. That I have before and I will again. 

It's moments like these, that I know I will make it. Sure, it's difficult and I have been down on myself, but colleagues near and far are here helping me along. I have students that make me smile daily. And it is all my students, who remind me why I am here. For them.