Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Cleaning

     Over the past ten years, I have had the privilege of cleaning out classrooms of people who have retired, quit, or just moved on and I absolutely loathe cleaning.  That's why I live in a condo. I don't want to spend days cleaning. I want to be outdoors and enjoying life.   One of the most annoying things that I have had to do for teachers after they have flown the coop is clean up what they leave behind.  Some of you know that you are leaving. You might have known for months or just decided on a whim. No matter how or why you are leaving, don't leave your mess behind.
     I've changed schools twice, and moved rooms more than that.  When I knew I was moving schools, I started bringing home a box of books each day starting in April.  I carefully put these away in my closet until one day, I had nothing left in my classroom but the furniture that I started with.  For another move, I had to get a moving van and haul it all away in one day.  For that move I spent my my first day clearing out all the garbage of the 20 years of the former teacher's stuff that was left behind. There was so much garbage. No one wants to spend their first day doing that, especially brand new teachers who have all these visions of what they want their classrooms to look like.  And you know there is never enough time during preplanning to do all the things you want.  So it's a great pay it forward to leave your room as clean as possible.
     I'm not the only one who has had to do this. Other friends have had too and I've even enlisted my daughter on occasion.  What's been left behind is more trash than treasure.   People say I don't have to do this, but I would like you to imagine the next resident of your room as a new teacher.  They don't need your stuff, especially your files. They don't need all the copies that you think they might need.  I am good at finding a home for stuff and I am excellent purging and throwing things away.  I just don't need more practice at this. 
    When you leave angry at administration, they don't actually clean your room, your former colleagues do.  When you retire, there is no one who wants your purple mimeographed worksheets. In fact, some new teachers don't even know what they are.  They don't have fond memories of smelling freshly mimeographed copies like teachers my age do.   When you move on, we get it you are tired.  We are too. If you absolutely aren't going to take things away with you, try giving items to your students, they might like mementos. Recycle!  Hold a teacher giveaway. Enlist students to help you clean it since they might need community service hours. 
     Regardless whether you are moving or not,  you've heard of spring cleaning right? Spring is a great time to organize and purge. Think about tackling a drawer a day or a bookshelf a day.  Sooner than later it will be the end of the year and you won't have a big mess to pack away for summer or your big move.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Summer Reading Part III

For the past two Tuesdays, I shared our summer reading plan from last year, the research phase and the implementation. Here are the top ten things that I learned to make it better for next year.

1. Teacher-buy-in matters. The good thing about our plan is that all the teachers were on board.

2. Although access to books wasn't on kids minds based on our survey results, actually putting books into kids' hands reduced the obstacles for them.

3. Our library is too small to hold all three grade levels at the same time.  It would now make sense to host the discussions in our ELA classrooms and just fill up rooms with approximately 15-20 students.

4. Mixing grade levels and\or readers of book titles made for a rich conversation.

3. It refinforced my belief that peers sell books to each other.  Shark tanking the books was the most powerful part of the process for kids.  Many left with new titles to check out.

2.  Really think about a makeup plan. What is the best way to run makeups?  Should we have a sign-up or drop-int.

1. Use all tools- CANVAS, TWITTER, REMIND, FACEBOOK & CONNECT-ORANGE to push the discussions through out the summer. We are working now to refine the list and work out our promos for next year. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

What R U Reading?

What I've read!  I just want to shout out about all of Tamora Pierce's books. I came to fantasy late in the game and came to Pierce's books very late in my fantasy reading life. Many fantasy writers that I currently enjoy cite her work as inspiration for theirs.   I was wowed first with her latest release, the first in the Numair trilogy, and then discovered about tentire Tortall world. I spent much of  October residing there in my reading life.  There is an chronological order to the books that make them make sense, but I read them as the books became available from my library.

I started with Tempests & Slaughter, her latest release. I then started her Provost's Dog trilogy followed by the Protector of the Small quartet.  Next I read The Immortals quartet followed by the Daughter of the Lioness duology. My last reading was the series that spawned all the series, the Song of the Lioness quartet.  I would say to start here because there are interconnections that make the stories more rich perhaps if read in a more linear fashion than I took.  All of the series have strong female protagonists, who even from the first book, challenge modern female roles, especially when you look back and realize that the first book was published in 1983.  I wish I had happened upon them then at age 13, but have been happy to enjoy them now. I am now stuck at the point where I am waiting for the other two books in the Numair trilogy to come out.  Learn more about her work here.

What books are you reading or your students enjoying right now?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Seven

The Sunday Seven:  Taking time to celebrate the goodness of the week!

7.  Support from my friends and family.  My daughter has just started playing sports this year, swimming and water polo.  I love that my friends unprompted have come out to watch her play.  Kids always think their parents have to watch them play so  I appreciate the time that they have invested to come see her play.  It makes her feel good and she appreciates it more than she will say.

6. My health insurance.  I am in the process of upgrading to my new insulin pump and continueous glucose monitor with which the combo will help me live a better quality of life and less scary. It has the ability to suspend insulin delivery when I go low, which is especially helpful when you are sleeping.  As I have pushed thru the process for the past month with several phone calls (waiting 53 minutes one time to talk to someone), each support person has remarked how good our plan is.  I am thankful for that. I can sleep better, work out better and live better with this change.  My health insurance liberates me from worry.  I wish everyone in the United States were afforded this opportunity.

Jen K work  & accountability buddy
5. My work team. Regardless of the state of education, I love my work.  What makes my work loveable are the people that I work with, both students and staff.  I am incredibly lucky do enjoy both.  Some times we are given seemingly impossible tasks, but we rise to the challenge each day by doing more than just showing up.  Team makes the tough work better!

4. The Two Writing Teachers Team. I've completed this challenge every year since 2012.  OnM the daylight savings day, I missed linking up.  But I've kept writing.  I haven't been feeling it this week at all and have had two other days posting between 11 pm and midnight.  But the power of accountability has kept me in.  Thanks for being there.

3. Speaking of accoutability partner. I've often written about CG and that I workout most days and it doesn't feel like a slog, but one thing that makes me stay are my accountability partners.  My just show-up longtime camper, Chris L and Josh, my trainers, both old Doug, Ozzie, Adam and Chris and new, TK, my husband, my newly joined work peeps, Angela, Ben, and Cindy, as well the regular campers, I love laughing and sweating with you!  

2.  Dancing. My friend Krystin got married last night and there was dancing.  I alway joke that I married my husband because he dances.  I have always loved dancing and our daughter does too. It was fun to dance. There was also that community love when those songs came on, regardless of age, everyone sang along and danced without inhibitions.  That's the space where memories are made.  I loved dance with my 15 year old.  She knew all the songs and I loved watching her move and respond to the music.  All joy. 

1. Spring Break.  Although I am working over spring break, which has mostly been the case my entire life.  When I was younger, I worked in my parents' tax business ala busy season. When I first was teaching, we had track practice and meets.  Then later in my teaching life while adjunting at UCF, the OCPS spring break never coincided.  Now just a few hours at work to support students is a fine way to spend time.  I will, however, move at a slower pace and do some things that need to be done.  Most importantly hang out with my girlie.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Spring into Saturday

1. Big Cat Rescue in Tampa- take a tour and learn about the big cats. There are some amazing stories to hear. There are some breeds that have been forced.  It’s great that there is such a beautiful property for these animals to live, but the conditions that got them there are downright scary.  It’s perfect to visit during this time of year. We celebrated my nephew’s birthday there. Learn more here

2. The Brevard Zoo- what makes this zoo cool besides hand feeding the giraffes is the kayak loop that you can do around the park. You get some unique perspectives that you don’t normally see from behind the typical walls. Again it’s the perfect time of year to go,since it’s nit toomhate and there is no shade in the kayak loop. Learn more Here

Friday, March 15, 2019

Food for Thought: Frozen Treats

The Orlandough Ice Cream Sandwich

I am a chip fiend, but my daughter has the ice cream gene. Before she was born ice cream would stay in our fridge for so long that it would go ice fur on it.  Now I hope the quart lasts for a week.  For a treat we have a few favorite spots. It was 86 degrees so it was certainly time for ice cream.

1.  Gelato Fiasco: New to Orlando, but the Maine transplant stands out with its unique combinations. Maine Wild Blueberry Crisp is my favorite. My daughter loves the Darrk Cocolate Caramel Sea Salt.  The Florida Citrus sorbet is quenching to your palate on a hot Florida day. They also provide local teams great fundraiser nights.

2. Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream: A local shop with so many dynamic flavors. There’s one within walking distance of my daughter’s high school so I am pretty sure what she does with her lunch money. But the Orlandough Ice Sandwich Night is worth the splurge.

3.  And if you are at Disney the Dole Pineapple whip soft serve at The Polynesian.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Spring Break Plans

In a few hours it will be Spring Break 2019. I like to make lofty plans. No trips are planned due to work and water polo. We are also doing a big trip this summer so time to hunker down and enjoy spring in Florida, my favorite time of year here.

1. Read
2. Start my taxes
3. Drive my kid to practice
4. Workout
5. Hangout at the pool and beach
6. Spring day
7. Master my T-Slim
8.  Sleep-in
9. Binge watch - any suggestions???
10. Work
11. Hang with Fam
12. Yoga