November in the classroom

November has been awesome! It started with a Writer’s Workshop inservice, which really helped get everyone aligned with a vision of Writer’s Workshop. You kind of wish you could start the year over when quality PD happens.

I also did a series of mini lessons on Growth Mindset. Those were some of the best days we’ve had all year. Everyone, even my quietest and most reluctant participants, spoke up and shared. I used clips of videos and books to spark conversation, and it went better than I had hoped.

We finished the unit on Ancient Rome and started an Animal Classification unit. I have a student teacher that has been teaching the science exploration part, and then I’ve followed up with Close Reading on the lesson’s topic. It’s been a great thematic approach. The day we investigated mammals, we had 8 visitors! Hamsters! The students loved observing and then petting them. Seven left at the end of the day, but 1 stayed! We have a class pet! Meet Daisy! 

 We started our spelling tests as well. We reviewed rules of words, did a skills assessment, and introduced vocabulary routines in the first unit. In the Unit 2 we add in spelling. We start with 10 words, but for the test they also need be written with -ed and -ing endings, so by the end they have 30 words on their spelling test. We were focusing on words that end in CVC, which means the final consonant should doubled and then the ending. But there is a mix of words that follow the CVC pattern, and those that do not. For example: hop – hopped – hopping; submit – submitted – submitting; push – pushed – pushing

We ended the month with an all day Read n Feed! This is an epic day of reading! We move all desks and chairs to the side, stacked on top of one another. Students bring pillows, blankets, snacks, and a stack of books. The day is a mixture of independent reading, read aloud, and buddy reading. Below is the girl half of the room buddy reading with kindergarten students. 

 I’m looking forward to alternative seating in December! I have rocking chairs (school chairs with rockers on the bottom instead of standard legs) and yoga balls with legs for two of my tables ordered and on the way.

Look for the update on that soon!

I’m also hosting a Boot Camp for Parents of Third Graders the first week of December about Digital Citizenship and “new” math algorithms. A media teacher and I are partnering up to host two sessions for parents. I can’t wait!

Blessings this Thanksgiving

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I feel I should update you on my journey this fall. The beginning of October didn’t start well. I was swamped and struggling to see the God-given gifts around me as blessings.My husband rallied around me and offered a ton of support.  And, over MEA (MN fall break), God really did some heart work in me.

I realized that I was holding back from God. I was hanging on to some secrets that I didn’t think I had to give to God. I had done the bandaid fixes for years. When feeling down or drained, I would change my diet, go to bed earlier, workout, go for regular runs, update my calendar, split chores with my husband, etc. But for those were temporary fixes. It will pick me up for a season, but ultimately fail.

God said, no…stop with the distraction and desire to control. What’s keeping you from me?

So I peeled back. I confessed sins, my “go to-s”,  and He responded, “Keep going.” What? Huh…so at the root of judging others and desire to control, what’s there?

I peeled back some more. Prayed more. And God revealed to me that at the base of all of that is fear. Fear of worthlessness and ineffectiveness. Professionally and as a parent I fear being ineffective. And personally I fear being viewed as worthless by anyone. God let me rest there then, and just held me. There was little talking, but a lot of peace and healing. Being honest with myself and Him about these fears was the first time I felt light in a long time. Now I personally have been in the depths of depression when I was in high school, but through counseling and a short time with medication, I have built coping skills. However, these coping skills have distracted me from truly getting to the root of these fears that have just kept building. Life experiences distracted me too. There have been enough changes in my life the last 10-12 years that kept being the cause or reason for frustrated or stress.

So resting in my identify in God first, is where I’m at. I’m studying the word and reading “Daring Greatly” by BrenĂ© Brown. I bought the book back in June, but I’m glad I’m reading it after this process with God. However, it is totally walking me through some of my thoughts and identifying insecurities. I am grateful to read it with my faith lens.

So it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I’m so grateful. I see the gifts around me: my beautiful children, loving husband, energetic learners in the classroom, warm home, and so much more!

I am grateful…and I feel my blessings again! Cheers!