Where did the time go? At this time last year I was still ferociously searching for a teaching job and now I have just completed one of the best years of my career as an educator. I work at an extremely supportive school and I cannot say enough about how wonderful it is.
This year was not without its stresses and craziness. For the first time in two years I was able to teach science and truly fall in love with that content all over again. It was a challenge getting back into that mindset. Another challenge was having two classrooms, teaching two grade levels on two different halls. Through all the bumps, twists and turns I made it through.
I taught 8th Grade Physical Science during the afternoon and I had planning with the eighth grade team. They are a spectacular group of people. I was able to experience a field trip with them to Calloway Plantation and The Kettle Creek Battlegrounds. I was also able to experience an OCMS tradition – the 8th grade lock-in. Yes, I stayed up ALL NIGHT with a group of 8th graders. I had more fun than I thought I would despite being very tired for a few days afterward.
My year would not have been complete without my precious 6th graders. I truly adore sixth grade. They are still new to the middle school and are working hard to figure out what it means to be a middle school student. In the sixth grade I taught ELA. We completed many activitites, but my favorite was an oldie – the body biography project. We created character projects for the novel The Cay by Theodore Taylor. As our end of the year project, students wrote scripts for Asian Stories, created puppets and performed puppet shows. Both projects were lots of fun and thought provoking for my students!
What a wonderful year! I cannot wait for next year after a much needed summer break 🙂
I am currently teaching night school at my old high school. I teach all of the HS Science classes there, and yes it can be a bit overwhelming. However, being in my old high school is surreal. Since I have graduated high school (over 10 years ago – yikes), they have built a new building and now rent out the old building. That being said I now teach in the very place that I was in all those years ago. Each night I pass my old locker and can’t help but think about all the people who walked those halls with me.
I had an awesome experience in high school. Those were the days when the CRCT was in its infancy and high stakes tests were just beginning to be the popular thing. I don’t remember taking a lot of tests in school and I guess that is a blessing. I want my students to have the same great experiences I had, but sometimes I worry that all they are going to remember is the test they took. I know I am probably not alone in this – it is just a fact that has been wearing on me for a few weeks now.
Okay, Okay enough with my walk down memory lane and my soap box. I have some good news to add. TpT is having a sale starting on January 20th and ending on the 21st. My entire store will be on sale along with several of my favorite teacher authors. I have even added a new product in the mix!! Happy Shopping!! 🙂
I was so excited to celebrate the Chinese New Year with my students this past week. Of course Chinese New Year doesn’t start until February 8th this year, but being in the states we talked about it a bit early.
My PLC started a “Camp Fire” program every two weeks. It is an opportunity for us to meet our listening and speaking standards in a fun way. Students can audition and share journals, create skits or do book talks all on this day. We have themes for each Camp Fire that are focused around our unit plans. The students love it and don’t even realize we are actually learning during the camp fire. Other than student share time we also review standards and have teacher lead activities and stories. My counter-part came up with the name CAMP SHINE (Stories Here Igniting Neighborly Exchanges). It has definitely become a highlight for each unit even though it is A LOT of work!
So, our first Camp Shine of the new year was focused on Chun Jie or Chinese New Year. I got to share with the students some of the customs that come from Chinese New Year. I mean did you know it is tradition to wear red underwear for good luck during your animal year? We played games like catch the dragon tail and an honor balance game I learned while in China. Before the students came in I decorated the room with red banners. I set up my kid chinese dishes (and during the camp fire challenged students to the chop stick challenge!).
Here is the ppt that I used for our camp fire:
Chun Jie Kuai Le
I made handouts for the students and taught them a Chinese song. The song is on the ppt. The handout came from Scholastic if you search Chinese New Year on their site.
I think that the camp fire really resonated with several students. I received various drawings from students and even some traditional ramen noodles straight from China! It is moments like this that I live for as an educator!! 🙂
If you are interested in other resources regarding Chinese New Year – I have the following product available on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and did I mention it was FREE!!
Wow! An entire semester has come and gone. I am in awe of all that has happened in my life since I moved back to Georgia. Over the past few months I started two new jobs at two different schools, lost 23 lbs, got a new puppy (Toby), traveled to my first ever edcuators conference, started planning in a PLC not alone, and celebrated the holidays without the need to travel. It has flown by, but the old addage says time flies when you are having fun!
I absolutely adore my new school OCMS! We use PLC’s to plan and really guide the school. It has made my life as a teacher more stress-free than ever before. I love how we are a family at my school and each person truly uplifts the others. I honestly didn’t know what it was like to work in a high-functioning school until now. My time in China and in Mississippi made me grow as an educator in many different ways. I learned how to plan engaging lessons in China and then how to manage a classroom and hone those skills in Mississippi. Here I am learning yet again how to work with the adults in my building, and I am having a blast. The thing that I love about teaching is the fact that you are always learning new ways to do things and make life better! The moment I stop learning as a teacher is the moment I know I need to stop teaching.
On a personal note I have been spending tons of time with family. It has been so great to live so close to family after four years being apart. My hubby and I have truly enjoyed reconnecting and building up relationships that fell to the wayside while we were away.
In one short day the second semester will begin and the only thing at this moment I am dreading is getting up early – I am not a morning person at all (9am is my ideal wake up time). I have resolved to blog more, because I really do enjoy it. I just took time to really get into my new life before I started blogging this time. Until we meet again…
I am finally back in my hometown of Ila, Ga (and my mom is so happy). After months of applying and many interviews, I have gotten a job teaching 8th grade science and 6th grade language arts. There are so many changes happening in my life right now. In the last month alone we have moved to Georgia from Mississippi, went on vacation, and remodeled our kitchen. It has been crazy.
I am excited about my new school. I will be teaching at Oglethorpe County Middle School. It is about 30 minutes from my house. I am nervous because we teach on block schedule. I am used to 60 minute class periods and I don’t know how I am going to fill so much time! I am working on new things to use with my students and I have been doing some reading to refine my skills in cooperative learning and interactive notebooks. So be on the lookout for new products!! 🙂
Here is a picture of my fish that I caught while on vacation (pardon the lake hair):
I know this post was really scatter-brained, but I feel like that is how my summer is right now. Hopefully the next one will be more put together. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!! 🙂
So lately I have gotten some great data back from my kids. We use the STAR reading assessment to measure reading growth and I am happy to say that all my classes grew an average of 1.2 years. This is amazing for me as their teacher, but also for them as students. They entered my room being way below their grade level in reading so this gain, while not a fix all, is a giant step in the right direction.
Some people have asked me how we got to this point. I really point to building relationships with my students. I found out what they were interested in and tried to find them stuff to read based on that. It was not easy my students were very reluctant to read. I also gave incentives reading, so students could earn rewards for reading. Bottom line it comes down to knowing your students and what works for them.
~ ~ ~ ~
In other recent happenings, yesterday we celebrated the students who passed their state tests at proficient or advanced levels. We had about 46 students who scored proficient or advanced in our school (our school is small we have about 150 students). The trip was phenomenal!
Our first stop was Gattytown, which has laser tag, a huge arcade, and a pizza buffet. I really amped up laser-tag and told all my kids I was going to beat them! Thankfully I had a great team and we beat our team in laser tag by 800 points – Whoop Whoop!!
The trip did not stop after our laseriffic time at GattyTown. We departed, after a horrendous rain storm, and wen to the movies. My group decided to see Pitch Perfect 2. It was the perfect movie to watch with my group of girls! We were singing and dancing in the theater (we were the only people in there). It was so much fun, because we got to share laughter!!
We ate dinner at Longhorn’s (I know, I was floored when I found out we were eatting there). It was fun to see our students react to being in a nicer restaurant. After dinner we headed back to the school, and go back rather late.
I am so glad that I got the opportunity to share these moments – rewarding our students for their successes – in my last few days at my school.
I have been searching for a new job for a few months now. I love teaching and it is my passion, so I am searching for a teaching position in my home state of Georgia. Lately I have been getting letters stating that they had filled the position, thanks for applying, etc. Which has been discouraging to say the least.
Through all of this my husband, Jeff, my friend, Sandy, and my mom have been reminding me that God is faithful and he is closing the doors that need to be closed. My mom keeps reminding me that God has a place for me. Jeff asked me just last night – has God let you down so far? Where is your trust?
Wow- talk about convicting. I started asking my self the same thing on the way to work this morning. Jessi where is your trust? Low and behold God sent me some blessings through the songs that came on the radio. Here are a few of the inspiring words I heard this morning:
“Every moment of my life
God, You never left my side
Every valley, every storm
You were there, You were there
I don’t need to know what’s next
You’ll be with me every step
Through it all, through it all
I can see You carry me”
“I want you as you are, not as you ought to be”
“I Am holding onto you in the middle of the storm I am holding on I am.”
What an encouragement!! My job search has always been in God’s hands because he is going to place me where I need to be. I just have to have faith enough to trust him while I am waiting!
I am so excited to start a new chapter in my life. In June my husband and I will be moving back to our home state of Georgia. I hope to find a job in a traditional classroom, but I am also excited about the prospect of teaching courses online. GA virtual school has set me up with an online course to learn about teaching online!
I have had the opportunity to take classes as a student online. I also have worked with my current students to create their own blogs. I think it will be interesting to learn through my tool course how to be a successful online educator.
It’s a SNOW DAY!!
Sometimes as a teacher you just need a snow day. I know that I needed today. I just finished watching a really great movie I have been wanting to watch for a while. There was one scene that really resonated with me.
In this scene Bones tells Ally – “I doubt God made a mistake giving your kids the Mama he did. So you just be you and let him take care of the rest.”
It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in the crazy-ness of the day to day life. As a teacher you want to do the best for your students, all while meeting the expectations set out before you by administration. Sometimes I forget the joy of teaching and why I became a teacher. Then on days like today I can sit back and reflect on my life and I realize that God has been trying to teach me something all along.
Over the past few days I have been getting nervous about my future and some upcoming interviews, model lessons and such. This movie gave me the gentle assurance – all I need to do is be me. God is going to open the door and put me in the school he wants me to be in. I just have to be who he made me to be and trust him enough to take care of the rest.