Thursday, January 13, 2011

Making it Matter

Today was our first day back at school after three days off due to snow.  Fortunately, we started an hour late so my system was not as shocked by the early morning as it could have been.  Another little treat - we're an hour late tomorrow too!  The only downside to the deal is that I miss my plan time.  Oh well, sleep or plan?  I pick sleep.

All my champions showed up for class today (Yay!) and they came in ready to work!  I've been starting the day with a survey question posted on the board.  Today's question was What's Your Favorite Season?  The kids sign their name beside the season they like best, then use the data to create a chart and bar graph of the information.  They've really enjoyed it!  I must give credit where credit is was all Addie's idea.  She posted a question for them when she came to school with me on the day before winter break...What's Your Favorite Pet?  You know, we should allow students to play a part in planning...they know what they want to learn.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see how they'd respond to instruction if they've played a part in planning it?

I'm working hard on expanding their vocabulary as this seems to be an area of weakness.  My number one strategy for doing this is by reading to them every single day - no exceptions!  I try to allow for at least 45 minutes for this.  Today I added some "Advanced Vocabulary" (thinking they'd like to be thought of as "advanced" - hey- fake it 'til you make it, right?)

Instruction began with a Hangman game.  I give them the definition of the word and they chose letters until they figured it out.  Then together we added a context sentence; some examples of what the word is NOT; and a picture to help us remember it.  My plan was to add 5 words per day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; review on Thursdays and have a quiz on Friday.  Doesn't work well with 2-day weeks, but we managed to cover 6 new words pretty well today.  Looks like we'll carry this week's words over to next week, but it'll be okay to start 'em slow.
Here's a list of this week's words:

Lately, I've been doing some soul-searching on where I should be next year.  With the option of staying at Sarah Moore Greene, or returning to West Valley, I'm struggling...I know that I can make a difference at SMG, but I miss my friends at WVMS.  That's really what it comes down to for me.  If I had a network of professional colleagues at SMG like I have at WVMS, I'd probably stay...The isolation has been very tough for a relational person like me. And my baby girl, Addie will start 6th grade.   Also, I've been approached by a couple of administrators about the possibility of being a Mentor teacher for TAP.  More money.  Opportunity to help teachers AND teach in the classroom...Ugh!  I just don't know!!!!  Then again, my "baby" is growing up.  Reach Them to Teach Them is positioned to grow.  What if I let go of my "security blanket?"   Clarity of mind is at the top of my prayer list these days 'cause it's pretty cloudy up there these days. 

On an entirely different note, I attended my friend, Vickie Tharpe's funeral last night.  This will be a separate post.  I still can't believe she's gone.

Also, we had our first 2011 Reach Them to Teach Them Board Meeting.  Only five of our ten members showed up.  Time to build our Board.  I think I've worn them out.  Our meeting was productive today though and I look forward to the future, especially Monday when we have a strategic planning meeting with Dr. Michael McIntyre from UT.

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