Monday, November 25, 2013

The Magnity of Our Profession

Thanksgiving is just a little over two days away, leading many to reflect upon the blessings and favors bestowed upon us.

I am no exception.

This morning I had a moment-a brief, shining glimmer into the weight of our profession.  Teaching is by no means an easy occupation, though the many snide remarks may lead you to believe otherwise.

Each day I utilize many skills-knowledge dispenser, nurse, psychologist, and, on occasion, counselor.  Teaching is full of noble tasks, the least of which is to supply students with answers to life's biggest enigmas.  Only a fool would take the sincere, tender, and gullible trusting innocence of a child and make it into an anecdote about which to laugh.

And today friends, I was that fool.

Let me set the stage: it's Monday morning, children coming in and trying to remember if they're in the right place, how to hang up a backpack, and what in the world to do on their morning work.  It's not normally a time for questions, but today Precious had something he simply had to get off his chest.

Precious came to me and quietly asked, "Miss Foster-yesterday at church a man told me if you kiss a girl all your teeth will fall out.  Is that true?"

Much like a child asking if Santa Claus is real, you have a split second to make a decision: a) tell the truth, b) flat out lie, or c) have fun with it.

As readers of this blog, you know what I did. 

I was uncertain as to the veracity of the church man's statement so I did what all super teachers do: marched Precious across the hall and had him repeat his question to Ms. D.  After all, Ms. D. has taught many more years than I and would know the answer.

So we did. 

Unfortunately, we couldn't understand Ms. D.'s response due to her laughter. 

But one day, we will get to bottom of this mystery.  And when we do, I'll be sure to let you know.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What I'm Reading: Professional Edition

Last summer was idyllic: no commitments, no family illnesses, no plans.  Lots of time to read, which I took complete advantage of.  Even participated in an online book study. 

This summer was not.

My grandmother died after a long illness.  Four other friends or relatives died bringing a grand total of five funerals in eight weeks.  Even though I know my grandmother is in a better place, with my grandfather, children she buried and her parents, it still hurts more than I care to admit. 

I took a 10 day summer class, missing the first two days due to my grandmother's burial and a massive migraine.  I had been pink slipped and was looking for a job.  For my class I had to come up with a year long literacy plan, which was made more difficult by the fact since I had no job I had to make the plan generic.  And not having a job was pretty stressful in itself.

All that is to say I'm behind on my reading.  I received a lot of books for my summer class and my classmates and I are to be reading them through the year.  Add that to the fact that super cheap books on Amazon are a personal weakness (I no longer buy any book that costs more than $1) and you have a reading list that amounts to 36 books between my Kindle and the bag lying next to my bed. 

To make things easier, I always sit down with post-its and a pen as I read.  I jot down page numbers I find helpful or interesting, sometimes making a notation.  Even though I'm a grown woman, I can't bring myself to highlight or write in bound books.  I feel like I'm vandalizing.  If I ever want to recall if a book is good, I can open the front cover and see how many notations I made:

(My notes from Smarter Charts)

I'm trying to catch up on my reading and have made a dent in it.  (I'm currently on book #10, if you're just itching to know).  I'll share with you some of the better books:

Smarter Charts by Marjorie Martinelli and Kristine Mraz

If you want a book that will help you focus on how to really get the most out of classroom charts, this book is for you.  It's an easy read, with nice examples of the various charts one can create.  Plus, they tipped me off to something known as "Repositionable Glue" which is the greatest thing ever.  Seriously. 

What's After Assessment? Follow Up Instruction on Phonics and Fluency and Comprehension by Kathleen Strickland 

The best part of this is the comprehensive menu of "If...Then" items.  It really reminded me of Jen Jones' menu you can get here.  But it's nice because it also has a sole chapter devoted to pre-reading strategies, during reading strategies, and post reading strategies. 

I've got more books I just adore, but I also have a two day work week this week and Thanksgiving dinner to plan, so needless to say I've got a bad case of short attention span. :)

If you're in the states I hope you and yours have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.  If you're out of the U.S., I hope you have a fabulous week!

Friday, November 1, 2013

The 5 Seasons

Like everyone I personally know, I was under the impression that there are four seasons.

Boy, did I learn a lesson today.

I was following along our Reading Mastery language script which calls for the recitation of various facts.  So I posed the thought provoking question: "How many seasons are there?"

To which 17 sweet voices replied, "Four!" and one indignant voice sounded off: "Five!"

I queried a second time to the same results, then a third, which is why I had to ask my small friend who kept insisting there are five seasons to clarify her thinking:
"Yuh-huh, Ms. Foster! There are five seasons!"

"And they are...?"

"Winter, spring, summer, fall and flu."