How? How is it November? How are we heading into conferences and Thanksgiving break? To say that this school year has flown by so far would be an understatement! From the looks of my coaching blog, you can see that I haven't posted since the beginning of the school year, so something must be up. What is going on, you ask? Well...ALL THE THINGS! I have been partnering with teachers on building our students fact fluency, maintaining previously taught concepts, perfecting classroom routines and procedures, engaging students with active participation techniques, focusing on phonics, planning for small group instruction with a purpose and reading books to enhance our instructional strategies. The list goes on...and on... and on... Although our lists as teachers seems to get bigger by the day, and there seems to be little time to cross things off of our lists, I love a good challenge.
So, let's put one more thing on your list and see how it helps us grow!
Now that we are rounding out the end of Trimester 1 and heading into the holiday season and all that comes along with that, let's take a moment to reflect on where you are now, recharge ourselves and ramp up for where you are going.
So first trimester is over, huh?!? Personally, I get excited for this time of year. Even though the holiday season gets busy, crazy and altogether rushed, I love Thanksgiving. It is the beginning of a fun and magical season, focused on giving thanks and appreciation to all that we have and love. Thanksgiving is a unique holiday... one spent with family, enjoying time together, and is focused on reflecting and appreciating what we have. No frills, no gifts, no big events or decorations, just food, family and fun. In connection to Thanksgiving, as educators, we have a lot to be thankful for. So many of us ask that question of our students, but do we ask that of ourselves in terms of our career? What are you thankful for as a teacher? It is easy to point out all of the things that make this job exhausting, overwhelming and hard...the list is pretty never-ending. But is is also easy to find the moments to be thankful for, the little celebrations and successes to embrace and the reason we do what we do. As we wrap up the first trimester, as we sit down at conferences to share with parents the heart and soul we have put into each and every child we teach and head into the beginning of the holiday season, I challenge you to take a moment to reflect on what you have done over the past 12 weeks with your students. Note all of the work you have done and reasons to be thankful for your efforts, students, commitment and passion.
Once you make it through conferences and report cards, you are rewarded with...THANKSGIVING BREAK! I always feel like Thanksgiving Break is the perfect amount of time to prepare for the holiday gathering, get a jump start on Christmas shopping and enjoy some down-time with the family before we get all hyped up in the holiday spirit! When we take a few extra days to recharge, we get to breathe. We get to disconnect from our daily tasks and to-do lists at school and be home. Although it is hard to leave school at school, sometimes it is exactly what we need to recharge and get back in the game with our heads and hearts exactly where they need to be. I challenge you to take the Thanksgiving Break to recharge yourself. Leave school at school, for just a few days. Spend time with your family and friends. Get your to-do list at home written, prioritized or even conquered. Prepare yourself for the holiday hustle...whether that means taking a day to sit on the couch and watch movies because it is the only chance you will get before the New Year or that means putting up decorations, going shopping or planning family fun. We all need to practice some self-care and recharge. We all need to allow ourselves to be people too. Teachers are so defined by their careers. Teaching is consuming and makes us who we are, but don't forget to be you too!
Once we return from Thanksgiving Break it will be December. Let that sink in for a minute...DECEMBER! We all know that December is fast. December is full of fun, festiveness and frills. December is full of school events, holiday gatherings, friends, family, spirit days, family functions, shopping, preparing and special events. Although all of those events can be enjoyable, it is easy to get caught up in all of those moments and the month really does fly by. As you return to school for the month of December, I challenge you to take a moment to Ramp Up for the new year. As you create magical moments for your students, fill your classroom walls with fun, learning and memories, sit back and watch your classroom too. Look for routines, practices, and reactions. Notice and name the happenings in your classroom. Think about what you and your students do each day. What do you love about your classroom? What do you wish you could change for you and your students? What is something that could be a game-changer in your day and/or your students learning? Once you take a moment to watch, you can ramp yourself up for the new year. Use December to make a plan for the new year. Pinpoint a goal or area that you and your students can fine-tune or grow. Write down your goal, connect with your coach (wink, wink), and ramp yourself up for making some new magic happen. We often want to jump right in and start making changes. But changes that have a lasting impact take time. They take dedication, planning, preparation and partnership. Enjoy your December and all that it brings, but ramp yourself up to grow. Find something you are passionate about in your teaching and make a plan to put it in place for the new year.
Now that the first trimester has come to a close...reflect, recharge and ramp up. The school-year is young. We have so much time to grow and learn together. Take a few moments to turn that grading marker around and point it towards yourself. Write down your own needs, strengths, and areas for growth. Reflect on what you've accomplished so far, recharge yourself for upcoming trimester and ramp yourself up for the ways you can continue to grow. Are you willing to accept the challenge? Need a partner? I'll join you!
Hello 2018/19 School Year!!
I can’t believe we are here and ready to begin a new year at Troy Craughwell!
The beginning of the year is full of hustle. We are hustling to get our rooms ready to greet those smiling faces. We are hustling to get plans made for routines, procedures and all of the beginning of the year curriculum that we are ready to kick off with our students. We are hustling to check in with our colleagues to hear about their summer. We are hustling to get back into a routine with our families....and finish up any last minute summer fun we can find before the school-year hustle begins!
In the midst of all of this hustle, remember that the students are excited to see YOU. They come to meet their teacher filled with all sorts of emotions, but at the end of it all, it is YOU that MAKES their school year. All of your anticipation, hard-work and efforts up until this point do not go unnoticed. They enjoy every detail you've put into planning for the beginning of the year. They recognize your smile and warm greeting when they meet you. They see familiar names throughout the hallways and desktops and know that you are ready to begin a new year. They see the decorations and carefully classroom set-up that you have done. They can see that you have been ready and waiting for them to come back to school and join you. Take a moment and just look around at all that you have already accomplished this school year, even before it has begun. At the end of the day...it is YOU that will be the difference in each and every one of your new students lives this year. You are ready, you are enough, you are just what your students need. Congratulations...a new year is beginning!
As the new year begins, I am eager to begin working together and excited to support you and your students in your classroom this year! Keep in mind all of the ways we can collaborate in order to support student growth and achievement, as well as, reach any personal goals you may have for your students and yourself in the classroom.
This year is looking so BRIGHT, we better wear shades!
Today is the first day of the 2017-18 school year! It has already been filled with excitement and energy. Not only did I send my oldest daughter off to her first day of first grade, but I began welcoming students into the school for my 13th year as an educator. The morning was filled with happiness and enthusiasm for what this year may hold.
With the beginning of each new year as a teacher (and teacher-mom) I am filled with wonders, worries, ideas, plans, and motivation. I love everything "back-to-school" - the school supplies, new school shoes and clothes, the wait for finding out who your new students, teacher or classmates might be, etc... But what I love most about "back-to-school" is the possibility. Each new year brings with it new opportunities for teachers and students. It is the start of something new, a blank page waiting to be filled.
As we fill the upcoming days with tasks such as unpacking school supplies, labeling desks, sharing procedures, taking tours of the school and classroom community building activities, don't forget that you are a difference maker. At the start of the school year, you are the one that sets the tone for your students. You are the one helping them write the first words on their new, blank page for the 2017-18 school year. You are their new opportunity. Help your students see the new possibilities ahead of them. Help them embrace the new challenges and experiences that each new school year brings. Be the reason they are smiling, laughing, learning and growing.
You are ready, they are here...let's get this party started!
Welcome to 2017! We are now back to school, our colleagues, our students and our normal routine. Many of us, including myself, find comfort in being back to our usual "norm". While we enjoy every second of our winter break, time with family and friends, sleeping in and the holidays, there is just something about being back that feels good too. As we return, I want you to pause for a moment to consider NOT beginning your normal routine again. It is easy and comfortable, but why not embrace the changing of the calendar year with a change in your classroom as well. Am I suggesting big changes? No. Am I suggesting a completely new routine? Of course not! You have spent months perfecting your classroom routines and procedures to provide your students with the best instruction possible. What I am suggesting is a pause for reflection and possible change. New Year, New You...in the classroom. What is one part of your routine that you aren't completely in love with? If you are anything like me, there is always something in the back of your mind that you would like to try, change, fix, update, bring back into focus or renew. Why not take this opportunity to do just that? Find just one part of your school routine that could use a little refresh and make that your New Year's resolution at school. We have just over 5 more months with the students in our rooms this year...let's make it powerful! What you choose to take a step towards improving right now could lead to amazing growth for your future self and students. Embrace 2017, embrace your ability to grow and change as an educator and embrace your love of learning! Happy New Year!
"And suddenly you know... its time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings." ~ Meister Eckhart
It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.–Oscar Wilde
What are you thankful for?
Watch the video below for some pre-conference smiles and
to give you some ideas of things to be thankful for
as you share around the table next week!
Hi! I'm Ashley...
I'm an Instructional Coach at Troy Craughwell Elementary. I was a 1st and 2nd grade teacher for 10 years and decided to make the move to coaching 5 years ago and couldn't be happier! I'm using this blog as a way to connect with other teachers, as well as, share resources and support! We have so much to learn from one another!