Sunday, September 22, 2013

Saying Thank You

Hello!  Let me (Kendra) start by saying that if you are looking for something more school related--this post is Not it.  We have a couple of ideas that the three of us are working on, that are more school related. Stay tuned for that.  This post, however, is a little more personal and reflective, so I'll wait if you want to abandon ship now...  

Now then, if you are still here, yesterday I was up at school getting ready for the week.  I was also really reflecting on many different things as I worked.  However, this came back to me time and time again as I was working: how much work Mr. (my husband) does along side me to support this profession.  You see, if you have an Educator in your life, you know that they are Always working, thinking, breathing school. We have an awesome school community, I don't want to take anything away from that.  The parents of our students are amazing.  The staff is amazing as well.  However, I've watched family members of our teachers help, support, clean, carry, fix, assemble, cut, organize, feed, help and support their Educators some more. Many of these jobs done behind the scenes, after hours, and without anyone's knowledge.  

So today, I wanted to share a few things that Mr. has done for me personally to allow me to focus on being an Educator. 
  1. In August, our school had a small (read crazy-i-don't-know-how-it-got-done-but-it-did) construction adventure.  When it was time to unpack, he used vacation time from his job to work full time in my classroom so it was ready to go.  For the students.
  2. Our house.  The actual structure.  I abandon this beautiful structure for essentially 9 months out of the year.  Cleaning, maintenance, etc.  Mr. really picks up my slack and keeps our home moving forward, as we have two Littles we are raising as well.  
  3. Some assembly required.  He moves, assembles, and moves the furniture in my classroom some more.
  4. The food.  He just makes sure we have some.  For our own kids, and if I'm at school, food is either sent with me, or he brings some over.
  5. Back to our house.  I have taken over an extra bedroom to store professional books and files.  The dining room/study is primarily where I do my daily work at home (that he listens to while I'm thinking out loud or singing), the basement is still holding remnants of our construction adventure.  This job is in our home, and he supports that.
  6. The Ever Elusive Balance.  Mr. is my person who really makes sure that I don't 'overdo' it when it comes to school.  From our family, to running, to time spent with my "Pack of Ladies" that I also need in my life (another post), to our place of worship, these are things that I need in my life to keep that balance in place.  He often sees that I need to "check my balance" before I do.  And he just encourages me to make sure that happens.
For me, Mr. is the person behind the scenes that allows me to work at what I love. As I keep rereading what I wanted to share with you, I'm not sure this little list does it justice.  In fact, I know it doesn't, but a girl can't blog forever. If you are an Educator, who is behind the scenes in your life?  Parents? Spouses?  Significant others?  Aunts? Siblings? Friends?  Neighbors?  What are they doing for you that no one sees?  If you aren't an Educator, if you get the chance to meet the family members of an Educator, I would encourage you to tell them "thank you."  These often Hidden Treasures are supporting us in amazing ways.  Today I want to say Thank You.  


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hopes and Dreams Part 2

We are full into our first 20 days of community building and learning together.  Yesterday I was blessed with some time to benchmark and sit one on one with many of my little friends.  I learned so much about family pets, hobbies, favorite books.  I also learned more about more of their individual preferences and personality traits that make my friends tick.  I love getting to know them.

With this information, comes the gravity of what we are about to accomplish this year.  Last night, I went to bed feeling like this:

Yikes!  There is A LOT to do!

As always, a good night's sleep (and a good cry while watching "Teach", the documentary) and I'm up again feeling like this:
Come on friends!  We can do this!

So, I revisit what needs to happen for my students.  This has gotten real.  Hopes and Dreams--Part 2 (Part One is linked here:

1.  Inquiry based learning
This continues to be a must.  We've dabbled in asking questions and exploring in our classroom.  I believe that I will need to reference (have on my desk at all times) this book:

Run right out and buy this book.  I'll wait.  

Collaboration and inquiry aren't going to be an option in my classroom this year.  It will be a must.  My friends are active, curious, vibrant and need to share their learning.  I would love to hear from anyone who has truly mastered this culture in their classroom.  

2.  Authentic use of technology
Again, the use of technology has always fostered collaboration in my classroom.  It will be necessary to use technology to dig deep into what they are learning.  This book will also be an extension of me this year:
Buy this one too.  I'll wait.

This book has allowed for some authentic work in comprehension of text.  I've adapted and used some lessons already this year.  It was at these times I have seen the vibrancy and love of learning shine through.  

3.  Room arrangement
Movement won't be a reward.  It can't be.  Last spring, my teaching team (who is awesome--another blog post for another time to bask in their awesomeness) and I decided to take the leap and get rid of traditional seating.  We loved it.  This year, I will need to continue to pursue this arrangement.  I will need a space with places to collaborate.  These friends will also need places where they can work, collaborate and hold their bodies in a way that is comfortable for them while they are working.  Thanks to those of you on Twitter who have been willing to share your room arrangements with the world.  As I have been starting this school year, they have been an inspiration.  Stay tuned for pictures as this project moves forward.  

So.  The sun is coming up, and so that means it's time to run before the Midwestern heat takes over.  Now that you are getting to know your friends, what is on your mind?  Are your August dreams the same?  Have they shifted now that you know your friends?  What are you hoping to accomplish this year?