Thursday, November 28, 2013

So Thankful

Happy thanksgiving! Today across our country most people will be gathering together with loved ones and friends and taking the time to remember all that they are thankful for. It's been on your Facebook feed as friends and family post daily what they are thankful for. Well today I'm going to add to that and tell you all what I'm thankful for!

What I am most thankful for are my children and husband. They changed my course forever and I don't have any regrets. My highs are so much higher than before they came along and my lows are nowhere near what they used to be. They make life so much more meaningful!
This is my boys today. My oldest fell off his bike and made this pouty face for the camera.

In the teaching world I am grateful for a few things: 

First I'm grateful for the blogging world! I LOVE connecting with other teachers, learning new things, finding out how & what is being taught in different classrooms around our country and our world! I add as much to that as I can by having my own blog, albeit small.

Second I am grateful for a supportive principal. This man goes above and beyond the call of duty for us. He tries his best to get us what we need and encourages us to be creative and try new things if it works for the kids.
(That's him on the left. He is so good at getting donations for our school!)

Third I am grateful for donorschoose! I feel so supported through the generosity of others. It's like they want the best for my students, just as I do. 

Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for you, my followers. My blog and products may be building slowly but without you I wouldn't feel encouraged to keep moving forward. And I especially appreciate the supportive words from those of you who commented on my last post! {hugs!} I'm planning something special soon for all of you!

Now back to every day life:

I am grateful for friends across the world who are there through thick and thin. Who accept you (me) regardless of quirks and shortcomings.

And as crazy as this may sound I am grateful my husband doesn't work at his job anymore. He had been working 12-18 hour days for 2 years and I was a single mom during that time. This time (although extremely stressful financially) has given my husband the opportunity to connect with the son he'd see in passing and bond with our newest son. He never got that with our first and it's nice to see him finally building a relationship with his children. It's made us both realize that the sacrifice for a job just wasn't worth it. 

I am thankful for modern conveniences/technologies that help me stay connected to people throughout the world. Blogs, video chat, email, Facebook, airplanes, trains, etc. all of it helps me stay connected to those I love!

I hope you all had a very happy thanksgiving and wish you much rest as we will all need the extra energy for the month ahead!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Scores are In

So the scores came in a few hours earlier than expected….and….I didn't pass.  I missed it by 3 points. I hardly slept a wink last night just thinking about my writing and what could have gone wrong.  I knew my writing entry was weak for a few reasons.  First reason, I didn't pick anyone during the school year to focus on.  I just saved all the student writing and looked through it ALL (in May) to see if I could find good candidates to write about.  This meant I would have to remember what I did specifically to direct their writing forward. NOT an easy task.  And the second reason…I had begun my fury of writing over Memorial Day weekend and my husband lost his job on that Monday holiday.  I was 7 months pregnant at the time and I was now the only income. Needless to say, it was HARD to stay focused while writing. If I hadn't procrastinated I more than likely would have done better on this entry.  But because of procrastination I had to finish it under a stressful situation.  Third reason is I am just crap at writing! Sometimes I look at my blog and think, "boy I ramble!" But I write what's going through my head and I try to filter as much as I can before I hit publish. And final reason was i didn't have enough faith and confidence in myself. I went through the process with some extremely talented teachers who to be perfectly honest intimidate me with how amazing they are as teachers and as regular every day people. I often felt like maybe I won't pass this thing so it's quite likely I set myself up for failure. 

But whatever the reason may be I made the decision to be open and honest about it. I have never come across how anyone felt when they didn't make it the first year so here it is. Let me walk you through my results and the roller coaster of emotions that I am feeling.

I did very well on 2 of the 3 entries I spent the most time on.  I got a level 4 score on my documentation entry (#4) and a level 3 score on my social studies entry (#2).  Both entry 1 and 3 I earned a level 2 score (not passing). In the exam I passed all parts except for 2. Those aren't weighted as heavily so for me to pass next year I will only need to pick one entry to redo. I only need 3 more points to pass so I know focusing on one can help me.

So my emotions. Well I can get pretty anxious and when I saw my results and came to understand that I had not passed my heart sank. My husband is still without a job and my district pays for national board certification. We are given an automatic 7.5% pay increase. For me that translated to nearly $5,000. Something we REALLY need right now. I've been doing my best to create new TpT products (while working and being mom and trying to get healthy so I can be around for them longer) just to hopefully make a little extra cash but I can't churn it out fast enough! My list of "to create" is a mile long but finding the time to do it is just hard. I get about 2-4 hours a week.

So of course I cried not only for not getting the pay increase for my family  but for feeling like a failure. I am my own worst critic and feel like I've let myself down big time. I know myself however and while I cry today I'll pick myself up tomorrow, brush off the dust and get back to work. "Ain't nobody got time for that!" Lol I just need the time to mourn  "what could've been" today.

Tomorrow I begin the process of looking for grants/scholarships for retake candidates. We can't afford it so I pray to find it. I'm also trying to think of other ways to get the funding...maybe see if my school site council would invest in me? Ha! Maybe wishful thinking but it's worth a try, right?!

Writing this has been very therapeutic and I'm sure I've rambled! Those of you who have started following me for the NBC help well now I'm your cohort! I will finish no matter what. Good luck to you all and most of all trust and believe that you can do this!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NBC Sunday #5 - Entry 2:Integrating Social Science with the Arts

Well hello once again!  The holidays sure do put a damper on trying to get blog posts out.  Halloween is over and there is a little down time before the other 2 holidays start up!  I'm going to attempt to get ahead and pre-plan the other NBC posts so I don't fall into the same trap.  But let's be honest...that would require me to not procrastinate!  And I'm just so good at it.  

Ok, so here we are talking about entry 2.  This is the entry where you focus on social science and integrate the arts.  Honestly as teachers I feel we are always integrating, are we not?  And in kindergarten the arts are almost always woven in, so I felt this was an easy entry.  (Now wouldn't that be ironic if this entry is what makes me NOT pass the boards?!)  

Here are the California standards I used:

Social Studies K.4.2 
Distinguish between land and water on a map and globe and locate general areas referenced in historical legends and stories.

Social Studies K.6.2 Know the triumphs in American legends and historical accounts through the stories of such people as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, etc.

Theatre 1
Retell or dramatize stories, myths, tables, and fairy tales from various cultures and times.

Theatre 2
Use costumes or props in role playing.

Art 2.2
Demonstrate beginning skill in the use of tools and processes, such as the use of scissors, glue, and paper in creating a 3D construction.

So I chose my 15 minute video on Christopher Columbus. We spent an entire week learning about him and why he is important.  It was a great way for us to integrate map skills.  I integrated costumes by having the children make their own hats and telescopes.  

These are screen shots of where I got the instructions from.  (I had pics of the students but can't seem to find them.)  The hats are from Dr. Jean's website and the telescopes come from DLTK.

THEN we role played.  We pretended to be explorers like Christopher Columbus.  The children "explored" the classroom looking for fake gold in addition to a very short play I created for them to participate in.

I videotaped EVERY SINGLE LESSON in this lesson plan.  It ran for 5 days and I made sure each period was taped.  Why?  Because I wanted to ensure I had enough video captured to be picky about.  No, not a single one was perfect but at least I had a choice!

We read books about Christopher Columbus each day.  We compared the books.  

We learned a poem about him.   
Here is a link to this free mini-poster in my TpT store.

We studied maps on the smartboard and on a globe and we created props (hats & telescopes) to dramatize exploration.  AND we wrote. 

Here is a link to this freebie in my TpT store.

This was one of my supporting documents.  It was a list the children created at the end of the week (I just fancied it up!) 

Lastly, what I learned mostly from the videotaping process is that I talk too much.  I noticed that I answered for the children sometimes.  It was eye opening.  Going through the process whether or not I pass has made me a better teacher.  

I hope that this blog post has inspired you to focus your direction on entry 2.  And if you're already working on it I encourage you to remember this simple phrase:

What is the impact on student learning?

If you can answer that question in your writing you will be well on your way to creating a document that's worthy of a passing score!