Everyone else is busy making lists for 2017, so why not join in on the fun?!
To keep things fresh and exciting for the second half of the school year, I switched up my classroom management. Instead of only using Class Dojo for points, I turned it into a classroom economy using Laugh Eat Learn’s Dojo Dollar Resource and the most popular things my students wanted to work towards was a donut date with me! I loved having a little extra time to chat with students and get to know more about them!
If you live in California, you might have heard about the Oroville Dam Spillway crisis. Our city is very close and became one of the main place for evacuees. Instead of giving Valentine’s Day cards to each other, my students made cards for those that had to leave their homes in a hurry. What was also cool was that our artwork on the cards was inspired by the artist whose designs were on a pair of TOMS my students saw me wearing!
First things first, my now husband won a trip for two to JAPAN! I totally doubted the whole thing and still cannot believe it really happened, but it did! He entered a contest through a clothing company called UNIQLO and it turned out to be legit! He won three nights, but we stayed for about a week during my Spring Break. The most exciting part was finally seeing the Hachiko Statue that I learned about in my high school Japanese class.
I also got to travel down to sunny San Diego for THEE most eye-opening teaching conference I have ever attended. Not only did I get to go for a morning run with Ron Berger and start my day with the sweet sounds from OKCELLO, I also got a real glimpse of what the education experience CAN and SHOULD be like for all students. The Deeper Learning Conference pushed me to think about my pedagogy and inspired me to give students more voice and choice in their learning! Expect a future blog post on this.
As my students were reading one of my favorite books, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, my students were simultaneously learning about the branches of government and a little more about screenwriting. We transformed the classroom into an old courthouse and students created a skit to demonstrate their knowledge of a fair trial! It was such a collaborative and fun learning experience for both me and my kiddos!
It wasn’t me who went on a nine hour drive, it was my parents! My dad surprised my mom with a trip to visit me up north for Mother’s Day and they left extra early in the morning so they could make it in time to visit my class before the school day ended. My mom has been to all of my classrooms on several occasions, but this was only her second time getting to meet my students. Even more rare, was the visit from my dad! I forced my parents to play a few rounds of “Who knows me better?” against my students. My students won and were so proud of themselves.
Any day is a great day to host a Parent Appreciation Day, but National Donut Day is the BEST day to celebrate! This took the place of celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day (which can sometimes get tricky with school ending the first week of June). I so appreciate the parent community at my school and took time to hand write cards to each of the families, thanking them for the different ways in which they supported their child (and me) throughout the school year. My students wrote poems for the special person/people they knew would be attending, in a style similar to that of an “I Am” poem (using this fun resource from EB Academic Camps) We made a donut banner as a backdrop for a photo booth and had parents, siblings, and grandparents come in to join us, to hear the poem written for them, and OF COURSE to enjoy donuts and coffee. We did this as a fifth grade team, and I picked up 200 donuts that morning!
During this full month off, I got to fully embrace the Teacher Instagram Community! I shared my love for donuts and teaching and more importantly, I connected with amazing teachers with big hearts and creative minds. I’m so thankful for all the teachers out there who are taking time to share their stories and continue to inspire others!
We all totally thought it was going to be this jaw dropping event that would go down in history as the most awesome first day of school. In reality, it wasn’t as epic as I was imagining, but it still was a great way to kick off the school year with inquiry, collaboration, and science!
I had the opportunity to select some new classroom furniture, which was definitely a dream come true! I quickly learned that it would have made a really great project for my students since there were so many options, constraints, and measurements to consider! It all finally arrived in September and I couldn’t be happier with the white board tables, adjustable standing desks, and tall table options that we now have…not to mention, the green chairs make me so happy since they are my favorite color!
If you asked me what content area I’d most like to grown in, I’d say science. I took a risk and tried something new with a novel engineering project you can read about in a future blog post!
Stop the teacher guilt. The most memorable event of November 2017 is that I got married! I met this guy in third grade and though he wasn’t my third grade crush, I was his. I waited out his awkward and rebellious stages, but he turned out to be quite the gentleman! He finally won me over with his cheesy charm and big ol’ heart and now he’s more than I could have ever imagined having in a husband. So many adventures await!
My friend Aris over at Sailing Into Second has the most amazing “Themed Days” in her classroom. Her camping day in the classroom is on point and I was inspired by her Classroom Beach Day to try out a themed day for myself! The week before Winter Break (which we all know didn’t start until THREE days before Christmas), I knew I would have to keep the kids (and myself) engaged, so I planned a Classroom Snow Day! Although I wasn’t able to fully transform the classroom as much as I wanted, we wore pajamas, kept the yule log running all day, did a Holiday Book Exchange (with White Elephant style rules), did snow-themed language arts and math activities, AND had hot chocolate! I have to give the credit to the families who came through with the crock pots full of hot chocolate and the parents that served up the kids while I was doing our morning routines. It was such a blast, and kept the kids excited about the work we were doing anyway, like snow globe narratives and decimal division!
What are some of your highlights from 2017?