Small Surprises

Yesterday I had to go to our district’s offices to attend an inservice about a new computer program we will be getting at my school. It’s actually an old program that is being updated, and I am expected to train the rest of the teachers at my site. The new and improved program is different than what teachers are used to doing. So, I bet there will be a lot of moaning and complaining over it. But, hey. My response to that is to “suck it up.” The change is here, so we all better learn how to roll with it.

Anyway, this post is about small surprises. The first of my small surprises came at the end of the inservice when I was given a time sheet for attending. I was able to claim the hours I spent in the inservice and will get a little monetary bonus. It was a nice surprise and something I wasn’t expecting. My friend told me that we were getting time sheets, but I wasn’t sure. It doesn’t always happen. Most of the time I have to pay to attend an inservice. I was glad that I would be compensated for my time.

The next small surprise came when I left the training room which is on the second floor of the building. As I made my way to the stairs, I noticed this interesting shadow on the wall. I thought it would be a great photo for my photo of the day challenge for SDAWP Photo Voices. This week’s challenge is on angles.

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I thought the shadow made a great design. I liked all the angles in the shadow. I had never noticed that shadow before, and I have been to the District Office many times before. I don’t know why I never noticed it before. Maybe I was not in the District Office at the time of day where that shadow would be cast on the wall. Or, perhaps that shadow had been there before, and I just never paid attention to it. I stood there for a moment with my iPhone and wondered where that shadow was coming from. That’s when I looked up and saw my third small surprise.

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It was the sky light in the ceiling of the building. I did not realize that the building had a sky light. I just thought it was well-lit. Wow. It is neat to discover something  you never knew before. It’s like finding a secret treasure.

If I had not been participating in the SDAWP Photo Voices challenge, I would not have been looking for angles, and I would have never looked up. I am glad I took the time to slow down, stop, and look around before I hurried out of the building to my car. I think this is a great lesson to teach my students. If you slow down long enough you might learn something new. There are lots of small surprises waiting to be discovered.

Establishing Routines

It’s the week before school starts, and I’ve been thinking a lot about routines.  I have been thinking that I need to start getting back into the “routine” of school.  Part of this routine means I have to start getting up early to exercise.  On a school day, I usually get up between 4:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M. to workout.  Depending on the day, I will go for a run, swim, or do CrossFit.  The exercise I do dictates what time I get up.  I have to be honest and say that since it is summer, and I am on vacation, I have enjoyed sleeping in.  Those extra few minutes of precious sleep have been a treat.

In any case, I like working out in the morning because it wakes me up and gets me ready for the day.  After a long day of teaching, I come home and get busy being a wife and mother.  I am usually too tired to exercise.  Once I sit myself down on the couch, I am not motivated to get up again to go to the gym.  This is why I exercise in the morning.  Today was a CrossFit morning.  I got up at 4:15 A.M. to get to the 5:00 class.  Now I am ready to start my day.

I have also been thinking about routines of my classroom.  It is important that I establish these routines right away with my students.  For the last two years I have taught a combination 2/3 grade class.  The best part about teaching a combo class is that the veteran students in the class become the models for the new students.  They know how to operate in the classroom and it makes my job so much easier.  I don’t have that this year.  I am fortunate to be able to teach a straight grade level this year.  But, that means I do not have my built-in role models in class.  I will have a new group of 2nd graders so I will have to show them how to do everything from where to line up after lunch to where to get a new pencil if their pencil breaks.  I spend a lot of time going over expectations.  It is worth it to spend most of my time going over routines in the first few weeks of school.  That way, the students know my expectations.

Of course, I want to establish new routines this year, especially where curriculum is concerned.  I have so much new information in my brain that I want to try out with my students.  My brain literally feels like it is going to explode with all the new ideas I learned over the summer.  I already know how I am going to change up the way I teach reading and writing.  Do I know if these things will work?  I don’t know yet.  But, I am giving myself permission to change whatever doesn’t work.  Eventually these new routines will become automatic.  When that happens it will probably be time to change them again.  But, that’s okay.  A change in routine can be a good thing.