Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Teacher-Spirit Animals

Getting ready for a new school year full of lots of "new" has had me scrambling (in a good way!) to expose myself to new information over the summer to help me get ready for fifth grade.

New teacher team. New grade level. New students. New.... everything. Probably the biggest "NEW" is that I am no longer afraid to walk left when everyone else is walking right. I create learning experiences that are best for my students and let everything else just fall into place...because it does and it will. I have had to read up on best practices for upper elementary, reconstruct instructional blocks, and figure out how to present the new curriculum to my students. I have also had to brush up on US/World History which has been a whole new learning adventure.

I have learned a whole lot this summer and really challenged myself to remember that learning is a life-long process....and I say "thumbs up" for being a life-long learner.

I was grateful to have several teachers throughout my school career who were fabulous at inspiring me and instilling within me the desire to always want to learn. That philosophy is a huge part of who I am, and one of my missions, as an educator, is to be able to help my students embrace that idea as well.

That doesn't mean that there isn't a small amount of "healthy fear" mixed in with all of this learning.
As a wise man once said to a group of teachers---"Sometimes the opportunity outweighs the fear." The opportunity to create amazing learning opportunities and paths for my students is scary at times, but I think about how it will benefit my students and just let go and run with it.

Everything will be okay. In will be phenomenal. I have no doubt.

A new grade also means creating a new group of teachers who I can collaborate with. I have had my heart set on moving up grades for a while so I began following and collaborating with a few upper elementary teachers long before I was sure about the new teaching journey. I glad I did. While searching for new mentors and role models, I stumbled across the paths of some amazing educators and there are a few who I like to call my "spirit animals".

No joke.

I refer to these teachers as my spirit animals because they are literally representations of who I hope to be as an educator. Their teaching practices and beliefs are so closely aligned with mine that I hear myself shouting "AMEN!" and "YES!!!" a zillion times when I read their blog posts or social media updates.

They help me reaffirm my journey, challenge me when I need it, give me ideas to strengthen classroom learning, and are really encouraging and supporting. They lift me up and make me a better educator.

Because I truly believe in the importance of finding others who can be a support system to me, I want to highlight some of my favorite teacher bloggers for other teachers who might be starting a new journey in the upper elementary grades or entering their classroom for the first time this fall.

I wanted to bring all of my mentors together in one place so that if you were looking for some new collaboration groups then you had a good starting place. I could talk about these amazing educators for hours but you will just have to experience how legit they are on your own. Here are a few(there are TONS) of amazing educators that you need to go follow. NOW!

My Spirit Animals--

Literacy for Big Kids
Other Amazing Upper Elementary Teacher Authors/Bloggers
Ramona Recommends

I am grateful for their support, and I know that they will be a huge help to you, too! Do you have other suggestions? Add them in the comments so that I can update this post for future readers. :)

Friday, July 17, 2015

B2S with Teacher Created Resources

Have you been to the stores? Can you smell the new school supplies? While some of you are still in the middle of summer vacation, others are gearing up for Back to School 2015! We start back in just a little over two weeks so classroom setup and decor has been on my mind!

My new(to me) classroom has had a complete makeover since we left school in May. I can't wait to show you the before an after photos once everything gets set up. In the meantime, I CAN tell you that my new room colors are tan and black. Each year, I fall in love a little(but really...a lot) more with the "simple yet effective" classroom design which is why I am loving the new Chalkboard Brights design from Teacher Created Resources

Their entire line lets me keep to my clean and black theme while adding in pops of color to brighten things up. I already have their welcome sign and could not wait to grab a few more items before the new school year. 

 I am just LOVING this lesson planner and record book. I know that with a new grade level and more students, I am going to need to be on my A-game with grades this year. This record book is going to make managing grades and paperwork a breeze AND it matches my room. *swoon*

I also love that there is a separate section attached where I can jot down basic lesson plans and notes! Monday- Begin student-choice literature circles, Tuesday-Student blog posts, etc. 

I also snagged some new Chalkboard Brights labels because I use those for our parent information folders each year. 

Okay...these are seriously adorable. I am so excited about using them in the classroom. They fit easily on your finger and have a spot on the front side to write something on. I am going to use them when students have "ah-hah" moments and want to share something when they are working in small
groups. I can't wait to see a kiddo hold up a mini foam finger to share a thought or idea! *Perfect*

 And, I would be lying if I didn't express just how excited I am about my new chevron binder clips. I made my own days of the week clips in the past but they got used so much that the labels would rub off. These will be perfect to separate student work, copies, sub plans, and any other weekly papers that need to be organized and managed. *Can't wait"

And have you seen their Shabby Chic classroom decor? Oh my goodness.

Are for ready for the best part of this post? Enter the rafflecopter below to win a set of TCR's Chevron Days of the Week Binder Clips!