Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reflecting on my First Year!

You hear this question all the time -- "How do you do it all? Blogging, TPT, Teaching, Keeping the house clean..."  I'm sorry that I have been such a terrible blogger this month, but *WOW* there is no preparing someone for their first time through the end of a school year.

Here I am.  Just an hour out of my first year of teaching and I have no idea what it is I'm feeling right now.  It's a strange mix of happy, sad, hopeful, anxious, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed.  I'm officially no longer a first year teacher.  I feel accomplished, and yet there is so much I want to learn.  What. A. Whirlwind.

There are many things I learned this year about myself as a teacher and as a person.  There are some things I plan to do very differently next year and some things I plan to do just the same.  There are some moments I wish I could take back and some moments I wish I could replay forever. 

This is what I know:

  • I will never forget my first class.  I learned as much from this group of kids as they did from me -- Maybe even more.  They made me laugh, smile, cry, yell, and absolutely melt.  They broke my heart and then put it back together.  They challenged me.  They made me stretch myself in ways I didn't know I could.  I will miss them terribly, and it makes me anxious to know I will start all over with a new group.
  • I will be forever grateful for everyone I've collaborated with this year.  From my family, to my grade level team, to my mentor, and to you bloggers.  I know that this collaboration is what got me through the year.  It gave me amazing ideas, inspiration, and motivation.  When I was feeling down, this amazing network of teachers helped me through it.  I'm so grateful.
  • Teaching is in my heart and soul.  I would be lying if I said this year was easy.  Was I successful? Sure! My kids learned and achieved.  I scored very highly on my evaluations.  But there was so much working inside of me throughout this year -- anxiety, stress, worry, pressure.  Teaching is no cake walk.  The work is never-ending.  Just when you think you've made a dent, something else piles up.  Every single day is different and every single child is different.  There were days when I wanted to pull my hair out.  But underneath the stress of the job, there is so much heart.  I know, without a doubt, that teaching is my calling.  Those kids that challenge me, are being sent to me for a reason and a purpose.  I was made for this.  When those inevitable rough days come along, I can step back and look at the big picture, and that is this: I was born to teach.  I am making a difference in these 27 lives.  They are making a difference in mine.
There are tons of things I want to change for next year, but right now, all I can do is look back at this year and smile.  There is no job in the world that I would rather do.  I feel so blessed to call myself a teacher. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A note to all of the amazing teachers who continue to influence me...

Teachers - I just have to say ... I have never appreciated your work more than I have this year.  Many of you know that this has been my first year teaching.  It has been such a whirlwind.  I could not have made it to May (!!!!!) without the help of many amazing teachers (and bloggers!)  The work that goes into teaching is seriously unmatched.  There is always more to do.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for everything you do in the lives of the children you meet.  I thank you for the outreach to families.  For the pile of paperwork you will fill out before the year's end.  For the "comments" section of report cards. For the hilarious conversations in the Teacher's Lounge.  For being a shoulder when your coworker has a rough day.  For helping new teachers navigate through unfamiliar waters.  I thank you for everything you do as a teacher, mentor, coach, parent, friend, nurse, counselor, and role model.  You are appreciated.
Now Shop. You deserve it.
TPT is showing their L-O-V-E for teachers by throwing a HUGE sale! I'm participating by putting my entire store 20% off through tomorrow, May 8.  It's been super fun filling up my own cart with goodies for the end of this year and all of next year! :) Click the graphic to head on over to my store. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tons of Fraction FUN, Freebie, and a SALE! :)

Wow! We have been SO busy these last few weeks -- I'm sure you can all relate! It is the season of standardized testing (blech!!!) which for my second graders means an altered schedule and lots of silent walking down the halls. But amidst all of that, we have had time to seriously kick some fraction BOOTY!  I will admit, our pre-test scores were bad y'all.  Like, my highest math kid got a 0% ... ZERO! SO I know I was going to need something FUN and ENGAGING to help these kiddos really understand.  I created this fraction pack that is circus themed just for the occasion!
Check out the preview to see what we've been up to in our room!
On top of all of that circus fun, I found some fabulous resources from other teachers! If you've got a fraction unit coming up, or you're just on the search for some great activities for next year... check these out!
 This sort is Free from The Teacher Wife! Click the picture to download a copy.
 These adorable fraction kites are courtesy of Christina Bainbridge! Click here to check her out!
And these *adorable* little fraction caterpillars are from Cara Carroll!
We also made some name fractions.  They turned out really cute and they were a great little intro into parts of a whole! I whipped up a quick little printable to go with these that you can download by clicking below!
So there you have it! Everything you need to have a blast with fractions.  OH! By the way -- I mentioned how my class didn't do so hot on the pre-tests?  WELL! 100% of my friends scored an 80% or higher on their Post-Tests.  HOLLA! :)
I'm sure you've heard by now about the absolutely FABULOUS sale going on at TPT for a little Teacher Appreciation.  You can hear it from me, too! TEACHERS ARE AWESOME!  I'm so blessed to know so very many incredible teachers -- with beautiful hearts, souls, and minds!  Let's celebrate teachers and all the hard work we do with a little shopping.
My store will be 20% off on Tuesday and Wednesday! Use the Promo code TAD13 at check-out for a total savings of 28%  Now is the perfect time for some last minute activities AND to stock up on fabulous finds for next year.  I can't wait to go shopping!  Here are some new(ish) items from my store and some of my oldies but goodies for you to check out this week! :)

Alright, Thank you TEACHER for visiting my blog.  But thank you even more for everything you do daily in the lives of children.  We do NOT have an easy job.  We are met with challenges every day.  There are times when we cry the whole way home, there are times when we laugh the whole way home.  Know this -- You are appreciated.  Your hard work does not go unnoticed and your dedication to the lives of our youth is nothing short of incredible! :)