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. :)


  1. honored, so honored to be on this post. and I love what you said about not being afraid to walk left when everyone else is walking right. I think the best educators are solid in their philosophies and even if asked, can back it all up #likeaboss
    I'm so excited to follow your journey with Intermediate - those big kids, totally my favorite in all of their special ways!

  2. Love this post! Although I've taught fifth for two years, I am moving to a new school and going from public to private. I have a lot of the same feelings you do about the NEW-ness to it all. I've always thought I'd enjoy younger grades (and maybe one day I will), but I do love my upper elementary kiddos! I also love the Social Studies content. What time periods do you teach? This year I'll be teaching Immigration to America, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, and all of the major events from the 1960's-1990's.

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