Friday, May 29, 2015

So Many to Thank!

   When I first discovered the world of teacher blogs a few years ago, I had no idea what an influence some of these teachers would have on my life. I have had the privilege of meeting a few in person, but mostly I just follow their blogs and get so many ideas that have made me a better and happier teacher.  I am amazed by what they are doing in their classrooms, and awe-struck when they read and even comment on the things I have written. I simply don't know how they have time and energy to create all these teaching materials after a day in the classroom, Even if I had a creative thought, I would never be able to do what they do.  So, on one of my last blogs before retirement, I'd like to thank some of these incredible teachers.

   One of the first things that caught my eye was a book barn that Reagan Tunstall of Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits had in her classroom in Texas.  I had to have it, so my husband made one for me. Since then I have bought many items from her TPT store, including a Rise and Shine folder that I use a LOT.

I also love this song that she put on you tube a few years ago. It still makes me laugh.
Thank you, Reagan!


         Another of the Superstars I follow is Heidi Butkus of Heidisongs. Not only do I use many of the DVDs she has produced, but she also has shared games and word family worksheets and flashcards that I use nearly every day.  My classes love singing her songs and they have learned to read and spell many many sight words by singing along with Heidi.  I was thrilled to meet Heidi at a conference a few years ago -- seemed like seeing an old friend. I especially LOVE her Gingerbread Man play -- my class performed the play at Christmas last year and the audience loved it.
Thank you, Heidi!!


 Another major superstar I was excited to meet was Deanna Jump.  Mrs. Jump is very well known as the first teacher to make a million dollars on Teachers Pay Teachers. I helped her make that million with all her products that I have bought -- and all were worth every penny! I have used the  Guiding Kinders Math and Writer's Workshop that she and another of my favorites, DeedeeWills, created. It is way better than anything provided by the county and I am so grateful for their work.

Thank you, Deanna and Deedee!

There are many other teachers across the country who have also shared their hard work, but I have been so blessed to be blogger or Facebook Friends with these -- they inspire, encourage, and excite me and even though I will not need to use their ideas and products after retirement, I will probably keep following them because they seem like my friends. Thank you all for touching these North Carolina children by helping their teacher find new ways to teach effectively. I'd like to sing the "Golden Girls " theme song -- "Thank you for being my friend"

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The End of My Teaching Career -- Look at Those Faces!

   One month from today I will not set the alarm clock or pack my lunch. I won't wake up early thinking about what I will do in school today.  After 45 years of teaching -- public school, Christian school, home school -- I will be officially retired.  I have to turn in my iPad, clean out my desk, delete all the documents on my computer, give my goldfish away, and say goodbye to daily laughter and sharing life with my dear assistant and friend.
   Although I know it is time for me to step away from assessments and teacher evaluations and observations and faculty meetings and workshops and Common Core and report cards and lesson plans -- all the parts of the profession that I DONT like -- I am having a little trouble stepping away from the actual teaching. I mean, look at these faces!


   Teaching kids to read and write stories and introducing them to everything from caterpillars to clouds -- seeing their eyes open to the world around them as they learn about growing seeds and building cubes and ocean life and Pilgrims and so many other things -- well, that is just such a joy!
    I'm not saying that it's all fun and games -- there are fusses and rule-breaking and saying "be quiet, keep your hands to yourself, sit down, stop tattling" about a hundred times a day.  There are kids who never do homework, kids who can't remember what a 4 is, kids who pinch and choke other kids, kids with head lice and pink eye, kids who have parents in jail, kids who need love but show it in the most difficult ways. I come home so tired and drained that I can hardly get off the couch some days. 
   But look at this face! Priceless and worth every hard day when you can see the wonder when they
accomplish something new!  

      So, as I walked through Target this week, I felt a little lost. Nothing I needed to buy, with less than 20 days of school left. Don't need to buy clothes for work. I saw some cute little red polka dotted buckets that I really wanted to buy, but knew that would be crazy. And that stuffed turtle at Kohls would have been great for the Franklin stories and reptiles unit. But I won't be teaching that again.
       Don't get me wrong. I am looking forward to retirement and having time and energy to clean my house and travel with my family and cook meals. I will finally empty the bookcases and closets and baskets full of teaching books and supplies that I have accumulated over the past 45 years. But I have been "Teacher" for so long -- it's who I am -- my identity -- and I don't exactly know who I will be when that is over. I am eager to find my new place in life -- time to read books just for fun, work at church, go to daytime activities, take vacations when everyone else is at school. I'm excited --and tired -- and counting the days. But I will miss my co-workers-- the lunch room ladies that fix my lunch, the custodians who clean my room, the office workers who keep everything running smoothly and intercept phone calls, the teachers who inspire me and especially the hard-working assistants who do so much to make life easier. My own assistant, Mrs. Awesome, is a treasure and the main reason I have kept teaching this long. And the kids who make me want to pull my hair out, beat my head against the wall, and cry -- and who greet me every morning with bright smiles when I walk in, and run to hug me and write love notes.  Look at these faces!!





Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"This is the Best Day Ever"

       "This is the best day ever!" Said one of my little boys today.  I bought 20 plates from Dollar Tree (best teacher store ever) and the kids were decorating them for Mother's Day. Since I could only supervise a few at a time, I let the rest of the kids play with Legos and read books and play with the math stations -- not our usual routine.  The little boy was thrilled to make a plate AND play with Legos --- and that made this his best day.  It made me a little sad to think that kindergarten is so much about reading, writing, and arithmetic that a few minutes of Legos meant so much to him.

       As we wind up the school year and start the assessment ordeal, I am trying to add more of the fun stuff that we didn't have time for earlier.  We planted seeds last week, and the kids hurry over to check out their plants when they come in the morning.


        I also got out my collection of magnets and amazed the children with the way they could repel and attract, depending on the poles.  (they are so easily amazed -- great fun)

       But the biggest excitement of the week was when I got out the dinosaurs.  I read a book

"If The Dinosaurs Came Back" and the kids were so excited they could hardly sit still and listen to the story.  Probably no one will ever listen to everything I say with such eagerness ever again!  They wrote some great stories about dinosaurs, drew a stegosaurus, and begged to take my collection of dinosaurs outside at recess.


       This is Teacher Appreciation week, and I have been surprised to receive flowers and candy and sweet cards, and lunch from McDonalds. It warms my heart to get notes telling me how much their child has learned this year in my class.  Kindergarten is such an amazing time of learning -- they come in as a blank slate, barely able to name some letters and numbers. Now they are writing stories and reading books. One was writng a story today -- she was on the fourth page when the bell rang at the end of the day so she will finish when she gets here in the morning. Incredible!
        Just a little over 5 weeks to go and still so much to do!  But I hope I will take time to have a few more "best days ever" in these last weeks.