Life in the Classroom

“Do Something Every Day to Follow Your Dream” – Education Article

  For the last year I have been on a journey into the life of a man I did not know, but who has taught me a lot about myself and the history of us as Americans and explorers. In 2017 I attended space camp in Huntsville Alabama, through a grant by Honeywell with their Space Educators Academy. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my professional career. Along with incredible professional development and some…

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Sparks, Fireworks and a Whole Lot More: Fostering Talent in the Classroom – Education Article

What if we were given the opportunity to work only on those things we are good at doing? What if our schools encouraged students to focus on activities that they were able to successfully execute merely because these activities brought them extreme joy? What if we asked students to reflect on what they want to improve in their learning? These were the questions that came to my mind as I was reading a column in the Az K-12 Homeroom called…

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Not Enough – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ – Education Article

Three miles is not enough. Mile one presents angst and anxiety, my mind is full and racing. The thoughts of turning around, running home and crawling back into bed creep in. The only thing keeping me going sometimes is simply, the fact that I’ve tossed and turned the past three hours trying to calm my mind and fall back asleep, with no success. So, I keep going. Mile two offers some clarity and focus. By now I’ve slipped into a…

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The Gifts they Bring: English Learners and Gifted Ed. – Education Article

A few weeks back I was chatting with a gifted education specialist in our district, an excellent teacher my son was lucky enough to have in elementary school. I asked him some questions that had been in the back of my mind about English Learners and gifted education, and whether the district identified a lot of EL’s as gifted and talented. He said that the district was working on this issue and developing some strategies to improve in this area.…

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Sparking Joy: Marie Kondo in the Classroom – Education Article

If you haven’t had the absolute pleasure of watching Netflix’s latest phenomenon, you simply must find the time to watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. One lazy morning during maternity leave last month, I happened to click on it, and immediately I was hooked. I binge watched all eight episodes in two days. If you aren’t familiar with Kondo or her organizational Konmari Method, you are missing out. On the show, she enters people’s homes and helps them declutter their…

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A 30 Day Update – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ – Education Article

Instead of a resolution, I started off the New Year with a 30 day challenge. You can see the details of my challenge and start your own here: http://www.storiesfromschoolaz.org/setting-resolutions-30-day-challenge/ Now that my 30 day, no email challenge has finished, the question is was I successful? I would argue yes; it was a positive experience despite a few hiccups. I did check my email at home a few times (about 4), but in each case it was because I needed to…

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The Hustle – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ – Education Article

I’ll freely admit I am far from a perfect parent. My almost-two-year-old loves music and there is only so much “Baby Shark” and “Baby Beluga” one mama can take. The other day, when he asked for “Music, please, Mama,” I turned on my music. Weezer’s “Can’t Knock the Hustle” came one. The dancing commenced, as did the repeating of lyrics. Luckily, he’s more excited about mimicking phrases like ‘Hasta luego’ and ‘come at me bro’ than the curse words in…

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(Better) Partnering with Parents Around Reading – Education Article

January marks the second half of the school year and this time usually flies by quickly. My 1st graders are now demonstrating increased rigor, independence, and pride in academic growths. This has allowed me to have a more accurate assessment of where they are as scholars. More than half still need additional support in reading to help them reach their potential and prepare to transition to 2nd grade on level.  In addition to classroom instruction, the home support home is…

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Are You Really Running Out of Time? – Education Article

It’s a new calendar year, and many resolutions have been made. According to an article on goskills.com the top 10 resolutions for 2019 are: Exercise more Lose weight Get organized Learn a new skill or hobby Live life to the fullest Save more money / spend less money Quit smoking Spend more time with family and friends Travel more Read more As I ponder this list it seems that we want more of the things that build us up and…

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Setting Goals – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ – Education Article

Do you start the new year by setting goals for yourself? Perhaps it is one word that will be the theme of your year or a set of professional and personal goals. Do you do this with your students as part of their reflection process?For the first time in my teaching career, I didn’t do a goals activity specifically around the new year. Before this year I have always done a cute writing activity where students review the previous year…

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Setting Resolutions: A 30 Day Challenge – Education Article

Today officially ends the first half of my school year and, with that, starts my brain thinking about the new year and new semester.  New Year’s Eve brings with it resolutions, and I fail at mine along with half the other people who set them. I can never seem to make it past February when I fall off the wagon of whatever goal I have set. This year, in an attempt to avoid the 1st month failure, I have settled…

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The Limits of Labels – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ – Education Article

“When it says Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s on the label, label, label, nothing’s better, better, better, on the table, table, table.” So went the 1970’s jingle promoting Libby’s canned goods. It’s catchy. Try getting it out of your head. But what if Libby is a student in one of my classes and I want to build a strong professional relationship with her? How much weight should I give to the labels she carries? They’ll include, but not be limited to, labels…

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Survey Says – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ – Education Article

This semester I have written about my huge ego, seeking help from peers, learning from podcasts, and bringing in experience from previous jobs. This time, I want to focus on who matters most: my students. As a new teacher, I am seeking feedback and guidance everywhere. Last year, I had my students fill out an anonymous survey about my performance. I wanted my own report card. Last year, I wanted to know if the students thought I did a good…

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Trust, but Verify – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ – Education Article

I am alternately hopeful, terrified, and jubilant.  I check Twitter obsessively.  My anxiety is easily triggered.  It must be time for the Arizona legislative session.  Even in a state known for wacky and colorful political antics, it promises to be a doozy.  We’ve already seen blatant attacks on our profession as punishment for taking a stand for our students last year. On the other hand, we’re seeing school funding bills coming from unexpected sources.  I’ve heard policymakers using words I…

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Too Much Rigor? – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ – Education Article

Rigor: A popular buzz word in education today, this word is packed with meaning. It pops up in staff meetings, school mission statements, and parent conversations about school choice. Everyone seems to think that “rigor” is what kids need. But what does this word even mean? Let’s start with the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition: Rigor (a) Harsh inflexibility in temper, opinion, or judgment; (b) the quality of being unyielding and inflexible; (c) severity of life A tremor caused by a chill…

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Building Blocks that Won’t Tumble: Positive Student and Teacher Relationships – Education Article

As I restart my engines for a new semester, I get so excited about continuing this journey with my scholars. I find myself sitting at my desk contemplating about what is working, but I also reflect on what I may need to do differently. If I am being honest with myself, sometimes my thoughts become very overwhelming. For teachers, reflecting over the previous semester can be quite daunting, especially if we struggled this first semester to build and maintain positive…

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My To-Do List: A Peek Into a Teacher Leader’s Week – Education Article

The simple fact that this is my second “list” blog post in a row should tell you something. No matter how many hours I am putting in at home right now, there do not seem to be enough. Teaching is always busy, and balance elusive, but between designing and implementing new programs at school, and managing extra projects (both meant to supplement income as well as realize pet ideas of mine), this was my teacher-leader to-do list as of last…

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