Brain Overload

My brain is officially fried.  Today was a school day for me.  I went to a class for my administrative credential.  The course is about instructional leadership.  We have been practicing scripting classroom observations.  Today we watched two videos and practiced scripting.  Then we had to analyze our notes using the 5-Dimensions of Teaching and Learning.  From those notes, we took more notes.  We practiced using our observational notes to develop a coaching plan.  For homework, I had to practice these same skills again watching a different video, of a different teacher, teaching a different lesson.  Needless to say, I am pooped.

For a before bedtime treat, I also spent time looking over my presentation for the SDAWP Spring Conference.  It is mostly the same as my demonstration lesson from the summer with a few tweaks here and there.  I need to refresh my memory.  I used the Keynote app on my iPad to present over the summer.  My iPhone was used as a remote control so I could turn the slides and read my notes all from my iPhone.  I have since updated my devices to the new operating system.  As I was practicing my presentation.  A message popped up on my screen that said the version of Keynote Remote I had been using was going to be discontinued.  I thought, “Oh man, now what am I going to do?”  I had to update the remote so it would be compatible with the new operating system.  I just now figured it out.  I should be good to go for my presentation in March.  That’s only if the wifi at the venue is working.  It is not very reliable, so I better have a backup.  Someone suggested I print up all my slides so that I would at least have them to show on the document camera in case of technical difficulties.  It’s an awesome idea, but right now, I am too tired to think about that.

It’s time I went to bed.  Tomorrow I am looking forward to a morning of sleeping in.  I was going to get up early and run, but my hamstring is still sore.  I am bummed about that.  I am pretty sure I am not going to be able to go to the gym and workout next week, too.  I hate it when I can’t exercise.  I don’t even want to attempt going for a walk.  I think the best thing for me to do is rest.  I may make my injury worse if I try to do too much.  I just wish I knew how long I will be out of commission.  Having an injury, such as this, is bringing me down.  I will feel better when I can get back to my regular exercise schedule.

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SDAWP Reunion

This morning, my SDAWP (San Diego Area Writing Project) cohort had a reunion since finishing up our Summer Institute back in July.  It was great to see everyone again and to catch up with each other’s lives.  Then, the real work began.  Our opening writing prompt asked us to tell how the Summer Institute impacted our pedagogy and/or us personally.  I realized that going through SI has connected me to other educators, authors, etc. through social media.  I mentioned in my writing that I would have never ventured into the world of Twitter or the blogosphere if it weren’t for my involvement with the SI.  I realized that I do not need to be isolated within the confines of my classroom walls.  I can learn about what other people are doing in theirs, and I can share what I am doing in mine.  Kim Douillard, director of SDAWP, helped me realize that my tweets and blogs are not only read by the few followers I have, but they go beyond.  People who like what they read can retweet to their followers and so on and so on.  One of the reasons why I did not want to even participate in social media is because I thought I had nothing valuable to say or offer.  I always felt no one else would want to know about my learnings or observations, but that is not true.  I have learned that something I do can inspire someone else.

The second way that SI has affected me is that I realize I have leadership potential.  I have a new-found confidence.  As a result of my learnings, I decided to go for my administrative credential.  The SI challenged me to think about how I can affect change.  What can I do to change the world?  That to me is exciting.

Interestingly enough, the last part of our morning was spent on talking about leadership.  What does it mean to be a leader?  Can anyone be one?  How important is good leadership?  We had awesome discussions in small groups and whole group.

I really enjoyed the morning.  It was just what I needed to focus me on my goals.  It has allowed me to rethink what I am doing in the classroom.  It has reminded me that it is okay to take risks.  Be fearless and not fearful.  It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to get me going again.  I feel motivated and energized.  Thanks SDAWP!

National Day on Writing

Happy National Day on Writing.  Sunday, October 20, is the National Council of Teachers of English fifth annual National Day on Writing.  Although it’s the fifth annual day, this is my first year participating.  Since it falls on a Sunday, I have decided to celebrate with my second grade students on Monday.  Click on this link for more information about the National Day on Wriitng.

The NCTE theme this year is writing to connect (#write2connect).  They encourage us to think about all the ways we use writing to connect with others.  So, I started to think about all the ways I use writing to communicate.  I realized that I use writing to communicate everyday.  Some of my writing is formal.  For example, I just started work on earning my administrative credential.  There are a lot of on-line assignments I need to complete.  Many of the assignments need to be formally written.  There are formating rules that need to be adhered to and there are topics that need to be addressed.  There is always a grade or score tied in with this type of formal writing.

I also do a lot of informal writing.  Not a day goes by where I don’t email someone.  It could be parents of students, coworkers, friends, or family members.  In fact, I email more than I actually talk on the phone.  I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing.  But, it is what it is.  I still think that talking face to face or phone to phone is best.  However, I understand that email is a necessary tool in my every day life.

Just like I use email every day, the same holds true for another example of informal writing.  That would be texting.  Of course, I don’t do this while driving.  And most times, I have my ringer/alert tone set to mute.  So, I don’t always know when I am getting a text.  It is frustrating to many of my friends because this is one of the ways they like to communicate with me.

Thanks to the San Diego Area Writing Project (SDAWP) I have my own Twitter account.  If it wasn’t for SDAWP I don’t think I would even think about joining Twitter.  However, I follow many of my writing heroes like Jeff Anderson, Kelly Gallagher, Regie Routman, Ralph Fletcher, and Donalyn Miller.  I also follow my favorite authors like Sharon Creech, Judy Blume, Georgia Heard, and Patricia Polacco.  I can also keep up with my SDAWP friends and share resources.  I did not realize that Twitter could be a valuable tool.  I get a tremendous amount of great ideas from educators everywhere.  Twitter allowed me to dip my big toe into the pool of social media.  As a result, I am also on Instagram, and I have this blog.  Thanks, Kim (SDAWP Director), for giving me a little nudge!  🙂

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Writing is something I do every day.  On Monday, I hope to get that point across to my second graders.  Writing is not just something you do in school.  Writing is everywhere.

Letting Go

Yesterday, my class released two of our Monarch butterflies.  We had just finished watching a short video on the migration of the Monarch butterfly.  We learned that they migrate to the same place in Mexico when the weather gets colder.  My students decided that it would be best to let the butterflies make that journey to Mexico.

We walked out to an area of the school known as the reading garden.  It was built in honor of a teacher who had passed away a few years ago.  It is a beautiful spot with benches and flowering plants.  My students sat quietly while I undid the clasps that held the net over our butterfly habitat.  There was a loud cheer when the butterflies finally made their way out into the open air.  We had attracted quite a crowd.  There were several students who were not in my class watching the release take place.

It was a sweet moment.  I couldn’t help but think of all the times I just had to let go.  I like to think that I can take on many different tasks all at once.  I make myself crazy trying to keep up with everything.  Since I started my journey towards my administrative credential, I have had to let go of a few things.  I feel bad about it, but I know in the long-run it is for the best.  I have learned that it can be difficult to make tough decisions.  But, with every decision there is peace.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

I had been talking to a good friend of mine on the phone.  In the course of our conversation, I mentioned how I was worried about my class this year.  We just completed the reading and language portion of the fall MAP test.  Needless to say, my scores have me a bit worried.  My friend told me that we just need to get rid of the word, “worry”, from our vocabulary.  I thought easier said than done.

When I was asked to teach a 2/3 combination, I worried about how I was going to make it work.  Over the summer, I heard the song, Three Little Birds, by Bob Marley.  This was a perfect song to use for my opening song in my classroom.  It would remind me that I didn’t need to worry about a thing because every little thing was going to be alright.

That was two years ago, so I decided to use the song again for my opening song this year.  It is still a good reminder for me not to worry so much.  I just need to keep doing what I am doing and hopefully, everything will work out.  I must continue to use this as my mantra because I just found out I was accepted to the SDCOE Tier I Administrative Credential Fall cohort.  Although I am excited by this new challenge, I realize I will need to come up with the tuition cost.  Something else for me to worry about!  Oh wait a minute, I’m not going to do that.  Instead, I need to take a few deep breaths and remain calm.  Everything is going to be alright.