Monday, January 6, 2014

Welcome 2014! Linky Party - Day 5 Organization

I am connecting with bloghoppin' for their New Year's Linky Party and today is about ORGANIZATION!! Yippee!

Some well used Organization strategies in no particular order:

I have managed my centers this way for years - and if it isn't broken, don't fix it!
Each child has a tag with their name - first name in the Fall, last name after Christmas and sometimes even phone numbers by the end of the year.
They put their tag under the center icon they choose - most often each center can have 2 friends. It is easy to switch everything around if I need to. This pocket chart is a calendar pocket chart that lets me have 14 choices, 2 friends at each.

My goal is to get the center tools I need for each month listed and into binders/tubs. I tend to just grab what I need at the time and then it doesn't always get put back, so I have trouble finding it for next time, or remembering if I have used it with the current group of kiddos.

I have made great leaps in how I manage assessments LARGELY due to ESGI software. If you haven't checked them out, click {Here}. I am not receiving anything for sending you to their page, I just want to share a great tool. It has eliminated LOTS of paper lists and checklists and lets me access the data at home or school easily! And the reports are awesome.

Something new for me this year is the BRIGANCE Early Childhood Inventory. So far I haven't found the online tool very helpful at all, especially compared to the ESGI tool. 
SO - here's a GOAL - spend some time deciding what type of organization techniques would be best - I wonder if I can create some ESGI tests to use with the Brigance.

I have gone from boxes/tubs that held all my materials to file folders in a file cabinet to BINDERS and page protectors. I have to say that BINDERS win - but I am a little OCD and couldn't deal with the visual clutter of random binders - so I had to made labels that coordinated :O) So now I love how it looks, BUT IF I DON'T FILE things away - then it really doesn't matter.

I thought I had a photo of the OCD version of my BINDERS :O) - but I"ll have to take it! And no school today since the temp is -27 and the windchill is -50. So here is a shot of the "in process" to give you an idea of the labels.

And don't be alarmed when I say 'file once a month.' I have a spot defined for where things go when they need to be filed. I love drawer sets like these and use them for EVERYTHING! So one several of the drawers hold the materials that need to get filed back into the binders.

I really struggle with which way to lean when it comes to my calendar and lesson plans. I have both a paper and a digital source for each. I use my computer like it is attached to my arm, so digital seems to make sense for me. However, I feel less connected to both items when I don't write things down on paper. I think the kinesthetic act of writing really helps my memory and processing. We are required to post our weekly lesson plans on the school website, so I have to have a digital copy of plans. But I really really miss my old handwritten plan book. Part of it is the time it takes to format the plan document on my computer. I'm just a little lot OCD and have to have things look just so. I feel it would be a better use of my time to just write them and scan, so…
The Goal is to either create a tool that is easy to use on my computer for plans or just go back to a hard copy. Hmmmmm. Maybe a PDF that I could format blank, then print and scan. 
I use 2 sets of rubbermaid drawers to house my materials for day to day use. As I plan the week I pull the things I will need and tuck them into the corresponding drawer. This works great for me - and is helpful if I have to be gone. As I empty the Monday drawer I can begin to tuck things back into it that I will need for the next week.
The Goal is to dress them up a little bit with some new Silhouette Cameo labels :O) The drawers have been in use for so many years, that they look a little bland.

They look a little like these - the ones in this photo I actually use for each student table to hold the things that we need on a day to day basis. Markers, journals, science journals, extra supplies, etc.

SPOILER ALERT! If you are interested in tagging along on my journey of a

 then become a follower and my updates will reach your world :O).

Happy Teaching!

Welcome 2014! Linky Party Day 4 - Professional Goals

I am jumping in with bloghoppin' and today is Professional Goals! I know that you were expecting ORGANIZATION - but click {here} for that link. (oops, I missed the link window one day so had to improvise.)

I have been teaching for 21 years. That's a LONG TIME that feels like about 2 years. :O)

In 2002,  I became a National Board Certified Early Childhood Generalist!! Woohoo! When the time came to renew that certification I choose not to recertify at that time - the certification process was AWESOME and I truly loved the process, but the timing wasn't right the 2nd time around.

In 2002, I also received my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. Ok, so I'm crazy to do both at once. But it was AWESOME! I love professional development, I love networking, I love college and reading and research. 

From 2002 to now I have been busy raising my family and teaching. My own kiddos are growing and I definitely have the itch to get back into something. But what?….. Hmmmm. Early Childhood Special Ed? Administration? Curriculum and Instruction? or just focus on my Kindergarten kiddos and be the best I can be for them. Which, of course I do on a daily basis, but I have a huge LONG to do list of things I wish I could do better or differently or try or implement, or, or, or……

I work at a fantastic school! It is a little school - preK-12 in one building. Great families, great kids, great staff. In 2011 we achieved the status of a National Blue Ribbon School - and I got to make the trip to Washington DC to represent our school. Exciting stuff! and so begin the desire to learn more, grow more, share more…….

So professional goals for 2014:

I'm going back to my NBPTS roots with this framework.

Proposition 1: Teachers are committed to students and their learning.

My Goal: STOP AND BREATHE each day and enjoy their smiles and really KNOW what they are learning and what they need to learn.

My Goal: Get the new Science curriculum in order for the Spring Semester.

Proposition 3: Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.

My Goal: Complete report to State Department of Ed on school readiness and then analyze how the Brigance Early Childhood Inventory can fit into my classroom assessment plan.

Proposition 4: Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.

My Goal: Pull out my NBPTS EC-GEN submission and my Master's Portfolio and get to know them again. Reflect on what worked then, what is working now and what can be implemented to improve.

Proposition 5: Teachers are members of learning communities.

My Goal: Become a part of the PreK-3 Alignment work in my district, region and state.

There we go, I feel better already going back to the structure and comfort zone of my Professional Development past!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome 2014! Linky Party Day 3 - Fitness!

I'm linking up with bloghoppin' for Day 3! (oops I missed the link window, so I'm linking this to Day 4… I wonder what happen tomorrow. Hmmmm.)

This year one of my resolutions is not to even make the resolutions that I know I won't keep - so with that said, I still have a few fitness goals.

Here is what I know to be true:

I walk. I don't run.
I need to increase flexibility - so yoga is on my list.
I am sensitive to gluten, so that dictates what my diet looks like - and I am the mother of a wrestler, so can you say PROTEIN?

I love tools - several years ago when I was training for the Susan G Komen 3Day that I walked (60 miles in 3 days x 4 years = 240 miles because EVERYONE DESERVES A LIFETIME!) - I used the Nike+ in my shoe to track my distance and time. I have the DVD's - the wii balance board - the Biggest Loser Boot Camp…….. I am always looking for motivation.

My tool of choice now is my Fitbit. 

It's easy to use - I wear it on my wrist and forget that it's there. I slip it off when I shower, but otherwise wear it 24/7. There is a great app on my iPhone and a dashboard online that allows me track progress and activity - what I eat, how much water I drink, how much I sleep and how many calories I took in and burned. Calories in need to be less than calories burned. Simple math.
Here is what one day looked like:

However, it is still hard to get to the gym. We use our local YMCA so I have lots of options, but I have to get there. It won't be today though - the temperature is -19 and the wind chill means it feels like -47. So I am staying inside! (I won't mention that I have a Gazelle, treadmill and HUGE weight machine in my storeroom that I could use…… sigh.)

I can't wait for tomorrow's link post - organizing is one of my favorite subjects!!

Happy teaching -

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welcome 2014! Linky Party - Day 2

I'm linking up with BlogHoppin' for a great start to 2014! Here goes Day 2……...

I spent the Christmas break enjoying my time with family and friends and, of course, not having to wear much but yoga pants and sweatshirts! But one of the best parts of the break was: I found my craft supplies and started the creation of my craft space! (Stay tuned for progress pics!) I explained in yesterday's post that one of my goals for fun was to find my hobbies - and the mania has begun! 

In 2014, I hope to will finish several quilting projects that have been tucked away neatly in rubbermaid tubs, drown my family and friends in bright, colorful handmade cards, and the BIG ONE - create the digital albums the will capture the beauty of my daughter's wedding photos - all 1700 of them! and since my son will be graduating in 2015, I best get going on his albums!

Here is a glimpse at what I like to do:

Santa brought me a Silhouette Cameo - and holy smokes! pair that up with my Lettering Delights favorites and the 782 pieces of card stock I have dug out of the storeroom and moved into my craft space - I'm in BUSINESS! :O)

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014