Passion > Stress (3 blog posts under 250 words – post 3) #IMMOOC

Stress:

  • Requirements I don’t see the value in
  • Paperwork
  • Last minute changes
  • Meetings on meetings on meetings

Love:

  • Learning
  • Connecting with educators
  • Reading
  • Shareing

I work a lot. I work all day at school and most nights I come home and work more. I spend countless hours on weekends working. My husband tells me I work too much. But the thing is I love what I do. I’m passionate about learning (mine and my students). I never feel like I’m working because I enjoy it and I’m passionate about it.

I’m passionate about learning. I seek out learning opportunities. I attend EdCamps, look for local educators conferences, read books,  read blogs, write, and  tweet. I seek out new ways to teach my students. I seek out ways to connect standards to their interests.

I’m passionate about integrating technology in learning experiences. I’m on my phone a lot. But I use it as a tool for learning. I connect with others through my phone. I take pictures of what I’m learning and what my students are learning to share. I seek out new technology tools to integrate with my students. I’m currently learning how to integrate coding into my curriculum (please share if you’re an expert!) I recently tried coding unplugged to teach my students to compare 2 digit numbers.

I know the things that stress me out are must dos and they aren’t going away. M y love and passion greatly out weigh the things that stress me out.

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Purposeful Play – how the book changed my teaching

Purposeful Play – BUY IT! READ IT! LIVE IT!

Yesterday I saw this Facebook post in a group I’m in – Simply Kinder– about Common Core and Play based learning.:

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This got me thinking: Are CCSS and Play mutually exclusive? Does it have to be either or or can it be a yes and? My opinion – NO! They go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong!

Purposeful Play is a game changing book by Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler. I have been  big on incorporating play and being developmentally appropriate since college (Thanks Dr. Mira Berkley and SUNY Fredionia). Play based learning is my passion. But little did I know, I’ve been doing it all wrong! I was on the right track but there’s a better way. Here’s my reflection using a Visible Thinking routine I love –  I used to think… But now I know… after reading Purposeful Play:

I used to think…

Play is centers, free choice time, and recess. Lots of learning happens during play. Play is good for all ages. Play is a safe time for children to take risks. Play can support all subject areas. Direct instruction happens during subject area blocks. Students can take what they learn during direct instruction and try it out during play.

But now I know…

Play is centers, free choice time, and recess. Lots of learning happens during play. Play is good for all ages. Play is a safe time for children to take risks. Play can support all subject areas. Direct instruction happens during subject area blocks. Students can take what they learn during direct instruction and try it out during play.  Play is the glue that holds it all together. Play is a mindset and a method. Play should not be separate from my standards and objectives.

It’s not like me to read something mind-blowing and take no action. Here’s how I changed my teaching after reading Purposeful Play:

  1. Transition time now includes more singing or movement themes (hop like a kangaroo, crawl like an inchworm, etc.)
  2. During reading, writing, and math mini lessons children act like a spy to watch what I’m doing. “Put on your spy goggles!”
  3. I do collaborative activities and tasks every chance I get!
  4. Cleaning up the room is a game called treasure trash- Who ever can find the secret piece of trash I’m thinking of wins! (hint: the treasure trash is usually the last thing I see)
  5. I got puppets for literacy centers for children to act out stories!
  6. Inquiry focus – I have a Wonder Wall in my classroom (no not the Oasis song, photo below), I’m incorporating PBLs (another great book – Hacking PBL)

I still have a lot of work to become better and be more Play Based. Here are my action steps:

  1. Teach mini lessons before choice time and recess to help children collaborate, communicate, and problem solve. The book has some great ideas to use as a starting point and some amazing examples of anchor charts.
  2. Add more share time with my class. I’m really bad about this. We need to be sharing after independent and partner reading, after writing, after math stations, after choice time, and at the end of the day. Kids can learn from each other as much as they can learn from me.

Biggest take away = be playful through instruction and everyday tasks. While choice time is important you can incorporate play in other ways.

Hook, Line, and Sinker

It’s Tuesday before I track back in. My teacher work days start on Thursday and I’m getting myself in the mindset to begin fresh in my classroom in 2017.

When I began this blog a month ago my plan was to review the NC teacher evaluation standards to try to better understand how I’m evaluated as an educator. Some of my posts have gone on small tangents but I think that’s ok because telling my stories shows how I meet each standard. After this, I’ll be telling more stories


(because stories are what’s important) about my classroom and reflecting on some professional books I’m reading. Today I’m exploring:

Standard 5: Teachers Reflect on their Practice – Teachers analyze student learning, Teachers link professional growth to professional goals, Teachers function effectively in a complex, dynamic environment.

The whole purpose of this blog for me is to reflect on my practice.

I’m sure I don’t need to say it out loud because every teacher does this but for the record – I look at what my students already know and analyze it to figure out what I need to teach them. I do this through formative assessments, observation, and conversations with my students.

I’m going to tell you a secret: at some point in the last 2 years I lost some of my passion and my “why” of teaching. Seriously! I lost it. I couldn’t find it anywhere… I tried looking. I’ll admit to you why – I didn’t have professional goals.  This year I got myself back into my professional learning and trying new things and even reading (professional and personal reading). Guess what… my passion is back! My “why” came back! I’m more amped and ready to get to school this year! My goal this year is to make learning more playful for my students. I started this year reading Purposeful Play by Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler. I’ll admit, I’m a slow reader so I only just finished it last week. But it’s a great book and I highly recommend it (even for upper grades teachers)! All kids like to play. This book isn’t just about choice time and centers. It’s about making all learning all day more playful. I’ll post about this book after I finish the NC teacher standards. The other thing that changed for me is Twitter (give me a follow if you don’t already)! Once I joined twitter and began hanging out there and connecting with educators from all over and hearing their excitement, my “why” came back to me. I’m a teacher for my students. They’re obviously my why and always have been. But this year, I’m into them more. I want to build relationships and get to know their interests more. I’ve enjoyed twitter chats. I’m still slow at it and not consistently participating in any. I’m looking to grow my PLN so please comment some people I should follow, hashtags to check, and your favorite twitter chat (with the day and time)!

Our world is complex and dynamic and therefore our classrooms must be as well. It is our task as teachers to help prepare students for the fast paced world they will be entering. As teachers we need to embrace the complex and dynamic world and make our classrooms that way but first we need to be able to function in it. I’m flexible and I embrace change. It might take me a while to embrace it because I like to understand it but once I do, LOOK OUT! I’m a jump in the deep end kind of person! I will take new initiatives hook, line, and sinker (when I’m ready)! I’ve heard of teacher blogs. I’ve read a few but not consistently. I wanted to start one but never did until last month because I didn’t think mine would be any good and I wouldn’t have any readers. But I’ve grown. My blog is not for you #sorrynotsorry it’s for me. My next goal for blogging is to become an avid reader of other’s blogs. Right now I follow Kim Collins, Bill Ferriter, and George Couros. So, if your reading this… give me some ideas of who else to read and follow them.