Sunday, September 23, 2012

Yes, I'm working on National Board Certification!

Ok, so WOW!  Yesterday I went to Norco, CA to meet up with other national board candidates and work on our portfolios.  I LOVE networking with teachers and learning something new! I am doing this with a few of my teacher friends.  In fact there is a group of 8 of us who decided to do this.  CTA provides a free support group which began in the summer.  So back in July all 8 of us paid our $565 to get our candidate ID number and LUCKILY all of us have received the federal $1250 CA subsidy and the $750 Amgen scholarship which means we have nothing more to pay!

The federal subsidy is going away next year so if you are thinking of doing the National certification I urge to sign up for this year.  It's not too late and the CTA program is REALLY good.  Stacy Begin is an amazing facilitator and we always walk away feeling better prepared to do the work.

I would also recommend the National University (NU) program.  The program at NU is also free and they may actually have some Amgen scholarship money left.  I got my scholarship through NU as did 2 of my other cohorts.  The rest got it through CTA, I think?  I'm attending both programs honestly.  I'll take whatever support is thrown my way that is good.  I really liked what I saw in the NU webinar and meeting with Stacy Begin in Norco is so productive!

 So the best part about yesterday was in the beginning hours.  We did a read around of our entry 4's.  Entry 4 is where you write about your teaching accomplishments as a teacher leader/collaborator, parent communication, and as a learner.  I got some great feedback on my entries that helped me really give a better focus on my work.  They are still works in progress as I still have to go back and adjust them according to the rubrics and standards but this read around definitely helped me organize my thoughts better!

I got to read an amazing entry by a teacher who works here in East LA at Hollenbeck Middle School.  This is what I mean about networking with other teachers.  I learned something from her and am so excited about it!  She uses a google form to track behavior issues and everyone on her team can add to it.  Because the students behavior is being tracked across multiple teachers they are better able to help the student since there is a wider view of what's happening with the student.  

I loved this because in my school we do a reading academy in Kindergarten.  We place our kinder students into like-ability reading groups.  We do this so we are not teaching to the middle.  Our kids who know all their letters and sounds are put together and those that don't know any letters and have difficulty even writing letters are placed together. This means that most of our students have 2 teachers for kindergarten.  So this teacher from Hollenbeck willingly and happily shared with me how she created this form and how to use it so I could bring it back to my school.  I couldn't be more happier!  I'm so excited that we will have a way to track behavior across 7 teachers!  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

DonorsChoose Spotlight

I wanted to take a moment to spotlight this wonderful resource for public school teachers,  I learned about them at a meeting in the summer of 2011 and those promoting it made it sound SO simple.  And you know what?  It was!  I have now had 4 projects funded and am working towards my fifth.  As soon as I get some time I'll be posting another one too!

My current project can be found here:  Artfully Young Experience

I believe I've been successful because I followed some very helpful tips from the presenters.

This is what I did:

1.  I kept most of my projects under $500.
2. I tried very hard to demonstrate in words the impact the project would have on my students.
3. I tried to make sure my passion for teaching and for my students was visible in my project.
4. I shared my project on Facebook and allowed for sharing to automatically occur on Donorschoose.
5. I signed up for partnering with Sonic teachers and other companies like

BUT that is a VERY basic guideline to follow.  Corkboard Connections blog has a better description of how to be successful in writing your project.  On Sundays she does an "all-call" on her facebook page for projects.  AND at the end of the day she picks one to donate to!

Francie Kugelman has had over $23,000 funded to her classroom over the past few years....AMAZING!  You've got to take a look at the list to get ideas of project for your classroom.  I found this link through Corkboard Connections author, Laura Candler's Resources webpage.

My list is not as incredible as Francie's (yet!).  Here's what I was able to get funded during the past school year:

1. Pretend Play is Just for Me!                   $495.65
2. I Can Read!                                           $447.58
3.Constructive Outdoor Play                     $753.95
4. Technology Helps Us Learn to Read $1,153.49
                                          Total =          $2,850.67

My kids and the rest of the kindergarten (with the use of the outdoor play equipment) are STILL using all of these items.  It is been such a blessing!

Your first time writing may seem cumbersome, especially if you've never written a grant before.  Don't let that discourage you!  I suggest grabbing someone you know who has written a grant before to help you get through it.  My best advice is to NOT give up and stick with it!  It's so worth the time and effort you are putting into it!