Saturday, May 30, 2015

Celebrate 5/30

It's Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres' blog to read others' celebrations.

This week I am celebrating...

A friend who will always be in our hearts and the good memories of good times with him. 

A student who persistently asks to read with me and her great gains this year in reading. 

A fun field trip to the local science museum to learn about water treatment and conservation. 

Students who have gone above and beyond for their final research project. I actually really put together this inquiry project as a way to keep them engaged in the last couple weeks of school. They have taken it and run with it. One student even asked her parents to buy her a presentation board and paint in order to have a great poster. I am looking forward to hearing their presentations next week! 

A fun week of math class. Finding angles in real world objects and classifying them on a group poster. Some of the angles they found are so fun! 

A weekend without any plans. Time to read and write and clean and relax. 

Finishing the ridiculous amount of paperwork that we now have to do in Wisconsin. A new evaluation system based on the Danielson framework seemed to me like a good idea until we were given requirements for what we needed to do for this system. I had to upload artifacts for evidence for all 22 components of the framework for my district requirements. The platform for uploading and tagging the documents is really unwieldy and difficult to navigate. I am so glad I have finished for this year! I am at the end of an evaluation year that was far from ordinary and I am glad it's done. 

An anonymous donor that generously gave $100 to my project on DonorsChoose. 

What are you celebrating this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Celebrate 5/23

It's Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres' blog to read others' celebrations.

This week has been a whirlwind of the particular chaos of this time of year. There is a ridiculous amount of paperwork, the kids are starting to look forward to summer and get squirrely, the weather plays with us in Wisconsin, and all the while all I want to do is sit on a secluded beach somewhere, relaxing. 

Finding small moments to celebrate seems especially important as my principal starts conversations about next year and most of the staff in my school turn to negative thinking. New leaders bring new ideas and change, which is needed. This is somehow threatening to a lot of the people on staff at my school. Therefore, my days could be filled with noxious clouds of negativity. But I am a positive thinker and I don't let that get to me most days. On other days, it is this ritual of looking for celebrations that is my saving grace. I am most grateful for this weekly tradition. Even in the weeks that I do not write a post, I find myself picking up on the small celebrations and rejoicing in them. 

Things to celebrate this week:

1. One of my students got a new baby brother on Thursday night. We were excited when the office called to tell him that his grandma would be picking him up from school on Thursday. Sure enough, his mom was in labor and at the hospital. The new baby was born at 9:41pm so my student hadn't seen the baby yet when he got to school on Friday. Boy, was he chomping at the bit to leave at the end of the day. I love celebrating this kind of good news with students!

2. On Wednesday, we had a local company come in to our school to volunteer. We do "JA in a day." The employees of this company who volunteer in our classrooms come in and do a whirlwind day full of Junior Achievement lessons. We had two welders visiting our classroom. It is always a fun experience to hear a little about other people's jobs. They always leave with a much better appreciation of a teacher's job as well. 

3. I started going to Barre class at a local studio. This workout is killer and seriously challenges me, but I have loved every minute of it (once I actually am finished that is). 

4. I am looking forward to the summer and some great travels and conferences. It always starts to be much more real once the arrangements are being made. 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Celebrate 5/16

It's Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres' blog to read others' celebrations.

This week I am celebrating:

1. Fancy new cars:

We traded in our old car for a fun, new Toyota Venza. It is so much fun to drive and I love the bluetooth audio that will pick up my phone's audio player. I have loved being able to listen to my audiobook on the drive to and from school.

2. Professional Development opportunities: Last week, I attended EdCamp Milwaukee. I absolutely love the opportunity to hear about innovation in other people's classrooms. I left with a head full of ideas for gamification, makerspaces, and tweaks to my genius hour time. I am also looking forward to SummerSpark, which is another conference in the Milwaukee area. I cannot wait to hear Dave Burgess speak! I was able to get on the website and register for my sessions this week and I know I will have a great two days there.  I also sent in my registration for All Write summer conference this week. I am so excited to drive down to attend that conference full of rock stars. I also can't wait to meet people face to face!

3. Author Events:

I saw on Twitter that Jarrett Krosoczka was doing free virtual book talks on May 5th as part of the publicity for his new Platypus Police Squad book. We tuned in to see him talk and answer questions from classes all over the United States. This was such a cool and interesting thing to see. My students loved that they were able to see the author in real time.

We also had Jonathan Maberry visit our school on Thursday. The students were enthusiastic and listening with rapt attention as he spoke to them about his books and about being a writer. His new book The Nightsiders: The Orphan Army is a middle grade fantasy book. He also talked to the kids a little bit about his Rot and Ruin series. The graphic novel of Rot and Ruin just came out on Tuesday, by the way. The questions our students asked were amazing and I loved that we learned so much from this visit. I love being the person who is responsible for bringing this type of experience to our students. It is worth every extra second I spend on organizing.

4. Time with Family: In the last two weeks, we have spent more time with family. Two weeks ago, we participated in WalkMS with my parents, my uncle, my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. It is nice to walk in an event like that with the support of loved ones. Then, we went to my brother's house for my nephew's fourth birthday party. The day was spent surrounded by family and enjoying our time together. Then, last weekend, I had everyone over for Mother's Day. I was happy to be able to cook a nice meal for my mother and to have another great time together. My nephew is such fun to be around!
An action shot of my nephew playing with my husband. Yes, that is me in the mirror. Not the best photography, but what can you do?

5. Winding down the school year: We have four weeks left to go. It is so close to the end of the year.  We will be sprinting for that finishing line as we cram in some more learning. My students are eagerly working on some inquiry projects that I hope will sustain momentum. We have finished all the testing and now we need to continue to learn, but also celebrate our time together. I have had a really topsy-turvy school year and I am looking forward to some time off this summer and a new group of students next year.