Thursday, March 5, 2015

mARTch Madness

March Madness... That about sums it up.  I have been working in education for many years now, almost 15.  In this time I feel like my job has got bigger and bigger (class sizes, requirements, request).  I know I'm putting some of this on myself.  I want to do the assessments that are requested.  I want to make amazing projects.  I want to create choice in my room... I want, I want.  But at what cost... and for what purpose.  

So like most of us, I am a great parents, a loving wife, a good teacher, a caring friend, a listener, leader, follower.  I go to the gym and eat my salads.  I have people who support me and love me.  My husband is a rock star.  I'm a lucky person.  A very lucky person... so why can't I get my Sh@# together?  

Today I lost it. I had a break down in a staff meeting.  See, I must not be the only one because our staff meetings are all about 'finding balance' and 'relieving stress'. My guess is a lot of us teachers are starting to loose it and my thoughtful, and intuitive principal is trying to do something about it.  She is trying to give us the tools to manage because it is above her to lower our class sized and reduce the pressure of test scores.  

This meeting reminded me of my husband and my New Years Resolution.  GOAL or SOUL.  Is it for a goal in our life?  Will it fill our soul?  If not, there is no room for it.  I went down to my room and made some changes right away.  I emailed the National Board of Certified Teachers and told them I cannot participate in a recent acceptance of the National Board's Teaching Practice and Learning Environment (Component 3) field test.  I saw this amazing post of Facebook by Meghan Catherine...

I mean that is so cool!!  I had to do it.  So I have been working on the sign and images the past couple of days and it's already March 5th and I don't have it up, and I have conferences coming up and I have the National Conference coming up and...  Breath... and... (slowing down)... and I have March Madness all ready for next year when I will display this wonderful idea at the end of Feb. 2016.

So yah, I freak out.  I have meltdowns.  There are lot's of things in everyone's lives that cause stress. I know and understand that.  I have never shared my temper tantrums on my blog but I think it's important to understand life is lovely, and I have a wonderful life, and I appreciate everything I have and the people around me... but balance is something that we need to remind ourselves to do. I trip, I fall, I cry... and I get back up again.  

What do you do to find balance?  Do you have a pattern like me?  Tips and tricks please...  

Update on Table Numbers

I got a question from a reader on a previous post.  Suzanne write... 

I took pictures of the worst (the green below) and the average (the purple).  I'm not going to lie, there has been some wear and tear to this table solution.   My plan is to replace some of these during conferences.  I think that's acceptable though.  I will continue with this method for the rest of the year.  It's working well. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Storage for Lessons

At my St Cloud college job, I walked into the Art Room and immediately saw this figurine on the side counter. I recognized it from the National Conference that was hosted in Minneapolis several years ago.  I didn't fight other art teachers to be one of the few to get one, so I missed out, but always wanted one.  Well, here it is... sitting in St. Cloud University.  It was sitting by this cool old truck with VanGogh's face on it. 

I opened up the suitcase only to find a bunch of wonderful VanGogh supporting materials for a lesson.  How cool is that?  This would be a great way to store a lesson for your class year after year. When you get new materials, you just open it up and store it all together.  I also see a lot of great direction for TAB classrooms.  How cool would that be to have art history 'trips' with a suitcase.  So dang cool!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sub Plans- 100 year old Selfie

Here's another great lesson for subs.  This was inspired by a lesson I'm doing with my younger kids but I made it into a sub lesson for my older kids.  I was inspired by the lesson found on Teach Kids Art (great blog).  I also used this resource from Expressive Monkey. I asked the kids to draw themselves, then, them when they were 100 years old.  To deeper the meaning of this lesson students could write a story from the 100-year-old selves about their life.  These are wonderful to read and share if time allows. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sub Plans- Setting Up the Room

I have seen this on Pinterests a lot... a sub tub. Here is how I have set up my sub tub.  I have K/1, 2/3. and 4/5 lesson plans. They are generic so any sub could come in and perform these lessons. 

This is how I set up my room. (picture below)  I want to make sure that all materials that I do not want touched are put away.  I even get out sub pencils.  Kids are unkind to my materials when I'm not there to watch.

I have saved the schedule of each day on a google doc so all I have to do is fill in the blanks and print.

In the tub I have laminated sheets.  These sheets have the digital days on them so I can check them off when a day has had this lesson.  This helps so I don't repeat the experience for my classes.

In the folder I will typically have the laminated lesson, any special supplies (a book or materials), and a project sample or two.  for most lessons, I will give a multiple step lesson that can only enrich the concept if time allows.  For example...  This one is talking about winter gloves. I got the steps from Pinterests. I show the glove, how to decorate, how to outline, how to color... If time the gloves can be holding a book (inspired by I love to Read Month) , the book can be their favorite book... still time... on the other side of the book they can write why this book is their favorite.  Get the picture?  I never want to leave a sub with not enough to do.  I also like them to repeat the lesson so that they can feel comfortable hour after hour.