Earlier this week I attend the Ohio Middle Level Association conference with seven people from my building, many who happen to be some of my best friends. We left after school on Wednesday and got home Friday just before dinner. It was a whirlwind trip with lots of laughs, lots of honors, and lots of inspiration.
We had some time to catch up with each other beyond the confines of our classroom walls, talk about our personal lives, learn new things about each other, and realize, despite the bad things happening in our schools these days, we still share the same common desire: to engage and relate to middle school kids.
Sometimes getting away from the classroom can be just what you need.
I am excited to put some new ideas into action and tweak some other ideas to fit my classroom and my personality.
One of my friends presented a session called “Just Flip It”. Not only did she do an amazing job of presenting at 8 a.m. on Friday the 13th, she inspired me to try some flipped classroom concepts myself. I guess, somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought “flipping” was only meant for the math classroom. I couldn’t picture flipping anything in Language Arts. I realize now I was wrong. Anytime you have a chance to frontload students, flipping is an option.
The key points I took away from her presentation:
-Start with someone else’s videos.
-The videos don’t have to be perfect. (In fact, she said they’d be downright ugly at first.)
-Keep your videos short!
-You can hold students accountable in a variety of ways. (eduCanon, guided notes, Poll Everywhere)
Yesterday I sat down and made 6 short videos (the longest is 3:23 minutes) for my 7th grade Resource Room Language Arts class. The videos introduce the 6 Notice and Note Signposts. I did start with some YouTube videos I found here, but having students who struggle with reading, I added a voiceover, and I included some of my own material to match what I already have created in my classroom, which you can see here. I probably spent an hour making the videos and the accompanying handout, and each video was a little easier and faster to make.
If you’d like to know more about flipping the classroom, I am sure my friend wouldn’t mind sharing her presentation.
I also attended a session called “Strategies to Revitalize and Energize Your Classroom.” The two presenters were so similar in personality to me, and I enjoyed every moment of their presentation. I am now searching for a perfect cube-shaped box, so I can make a “Team Challenge Cube.” Just imagine students bringing their agenda, their book, a pencil and their homework to class everyday, and never needing to give that lecture! Look for a future blog post about my experience with The Cube.
Click here for contact information for both presentations.
Sometimes you can be your own inspiration. When you get just enough confidence and believe in yourself, when you put yourself out there in a new situation…it’s exhilarating.
My principal asked me to write a proposal for a presentation at this conference, and I did just that. My presentation was posted here on the blog a few days ago, so many of you may have already taken a look.
I was incredibly nervous and my mouth felt like it was full of cotton balls, but I did it. I gave a 45-minute presentation on something I am passionate about: writing.
My friends said I did great; I have to take their word for it. I remember very little, but I am so glad I took the risk and had the opportunity to present. It may not have been perfect, or completely how I envisioned it, but it was a learning experience and something I look forward to doing again.
So where does the apple come in? (This is where I brag a little.) On Thursday night, following a social hour with some of Ohio’s top middle school teachers, I received the Ohio Middle Level Association East Regional Award for Best Middle Level Practice. Nominated by my administration, primarily for my experience with author Rick Niece, I received a certificate and an apple. Oh, and this special ribbon to add to my name tag.
The thing about it all, the reality…I could not have won that award without my 21 students. They were there with me every step of the way. They were the reason I stood in my driveway and made the call to Rick Niece in the first place. They were the reason I won this award. Everything I’ve done this year, I’ve done for them. Without them, I wouldn’t have this apple.
I set some big goals for July in terms of number of posts, views, and followers.
- Post at least 20 times. (Check! 30!)
- Reach 1,000 views. (Check! At the present time: 1, 949!)
- Get 75 followers. (Check! 76!)
I am proud to say I achieved them all! Now it’s time to set some more goals. I know I will need to be a little realistic considering school is right around the corner.
One goal I did not set was receiving awards. I know that in a way, these rewards appear “chain-letter-ish” but it’s more than that. It’s about making connections with other bloggers, finding new inspiration, and being an inspiration. I did not anticipate the last.
As I mentioned a few days ago, I received two awards in July. My second award of July was from Dan at dan4kent. His tagline: A weekly post about life lessons learned while walking the road less traveled.
I will admit, that when I first read his post BLAH, BLAH, BLOG…I was a bit….well, here is my comment to him:
I am going to be real honest here and tell you that as I started to read this post I was like, “Ummm. Seriously? I can’t read another word of this. Who is this guy?” But…I couldn’t stop and I read it clear to the end. That is genius! You pulled me in and made me want to tell you my reason why I blog. I blog because I need to share the thing I believe I am truly good at. I was forced for years to believe that I was never good enough to think my own thoughts and pursue my dreams. My blog is about my dedication to my students and my dedication to myself and my dreams. It is a way for me to continue learning. It is my chance to “shine” to whoever looks my way twice.
An instant mutual respect was formed and he has now nominated me for the Liebster Award.
According to what I’ve read on the Liebster Award, “liebster” is German for “dearest”, “beloved”, and “favorite.” Basically, the award should be given to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers in an effort make connections with other bloggers. So, on that note, thank you, Dan, for the nomination and for helping me make some new connections.
The rules are:
1. Give a shout-out to the person who nominated you.
2. Nominate and notify 5 of your favorite bloggers (who appear to have less than 200 followers) by leaving a comment in their blog.
On that note, here are my nominees for the Liebster Award. Take some time to check out these Fab Five:
Late to Teaching A new teacher starting a second career in a very challenging role. His new job reminds me of the position I had that was the most grueling, often heartbreaking, and the most rewarding. I am excited to read about his experience.
My Mountain is Waiting A blog by a brand new special education teacher. Show her some support as she starts the most challenging year of her life!
The Spicy Learning Blog I just recently found this blog by a teacher/dad who loves technology (and spicy apparently spicy food.) Funny, thoughtful, and easy to read.
CallowLea Just read her “About” page and you’ll find she is clever and witty and playing with a full deck.
The Wish Factor This blogger describes herself as “a mother of two, the youngest daughter in a family of four, the bad-ass wife, the traveling dreamer, and the Chapstick-type of woman instead of the lipstick heel-wearing chick.” She makes me laugh every time I read her blog.
August is almost here?!?!? Yikes!! I have been super busy working on my blog and completely enjoying the month of July with Admiral Bodee and the kids. We are so lucky to both be teachers and have all the time in the world to have both lazy and busy days together. However, summer is fading fast.
First off, I’d like to thank Gomez at Reset and Live who nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. With the tagline: “Inspired by everyone who has ever lived” and an invite to request topics for posting, Reset and Live is a blog everyone should check out.
- Step 1. Link back to the blogger who nominated me.
- Step 2. Post the award image.
- Step 3. Provide seven facts about yourself.
- Step 4. Nominate 7 or 15 other blogs and let them know that they’ve been nominated! (I’m going with seven this time)
Seven Lovely Blogs: (I went with a theme….these lovely blogs are written by 6 lovely moms and one “lovely” dad!)
The Book of Alice This is what I wanted to do 12 years ago, but failed to do so….keep an amazing record of hilarious, precious, and ornery things my kids said.
Twisted Domestic Goddess – Totally real mom telling totally real tales of being a mom to 6.5 kids (There’s a baby on the way!)
Joy and Woe – Read about the ups and downs of being a mom to those under the age of 3 (I do not miss that time of extreme dependence, but I do love reading about it!)
Boomie Bol – Momma to twin two-year-olds and a moving poet and writer!
The Life of an Amy – I just recently found this blog by a teacher and a mom with very down-to-earth ideas. I can’t wait to read more of her blog someday soon!
Wonder the World – Another blog I just discovered. This mom writes about the wonderful things about parenthood.
Random Ramblings of a Stay Home Dad – What’s this? A blog about being a dad? A refreshing and funny perspective!
Seven Facts About Me:
1. I am a sucker for chicken barbecues. If you are selling tickets, I will buy one. Luckily, in my community every sports team, church, organization tries to raise money with a chicken barbecue. My kids associate the smell of BBQ with me, which may not be a good thing???
2. I always plug my nose when I go under water. One of my biggest fears is drowning. I do not trust myself to not breathe in for even 15 seconds underwater.
3. In high school, I had a sugar packet collection. I took a souvenir sugar packet from everywhere I went for almost a year. I taped them in scrapbook and wrote where they were from. Weird, but sweet, right?
4. I once had to bottle feed 5 kittens for almost a month. That was like having a newborn baby x 5. When “Runt” died and I had to explain that to my kids, I knew I couldn’t lose another. Thus, the 2 a.m. feedings.
5. I have never been out of the continental United States. I’d love to go to places like Italy and Greece and even Hawaii, but I hate small, enclosed spaces without fresh air and I have motion sickness. I don’t plan on hopping on a plane for an international trip anytime ever.
6. I have only had one speeding ticket ever. I was pregnant, not feeling well, and on a country road I’ve never been on before that was not clearly marked. The cop did not care.
7. One of my administrators once asked me if I was involved in “theater” when I was in high school. I wasn’t and he was surprised. He said I seemed “dramatic.” I honestly believe this was a compliment.
A few weeks ago I received a WordPress notification of a comment from a new blogging friend, Olivia. There’s no easy way to say this without sounding like I am bragging, so I’ll just put it out there. She nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.
Being just a newbie in this blogging world, I feel honored and excited that someone who’s been blogging for so long thought of me when she had to list 15 blogs she enjoys! Thanks so much for the nomination, Olivia!
After a brief stint as a paid blogger for the state teacher’s association (with almost no feedback), this cyber award is worth so much more to me than a stipend. Isn’t that what everyone wants? A little recognition? A little affirmation?Absolutely!
Here are the rules:
So here are 15 blogs that I nominate for the Versatile Blogger Award. I feel a little humbled to be awarding awards to people with so much more experience but each of these blogs has inspired me in some way over the past two months. I already feel connected to each of these bloggers. Each one of these people reminds me of a small part of myself.
My nominees are:
1. From the Desk of Mr. Foteah (http://photomatt7.wordpress.com/) An elementary special educator who obviously loves his kids.
2. Looking for the Sweet Spot (http://lookingforthesweetspot.com/) A 40-something mom of 2 with a great sense of humor.
3. Teach for the Win (http://teachforthewin.wordpress.com/) A new teacher who believes all children can learn.
4. Jean Day Friday (http://jeandayfriday.wordpress.com/) A very witty teacher with 2 kids and husband who is also a teacher.
5. Differentiation Daily (http://differentiationdaily.com/) This blog is on “Summer Vacation” but it is full of great resources for differentiated instruction.
6. Old Teacher New Tech (http://oldteachernewtech.com/) A veteran teacher with a 2012 attitude towards technology.
7. AuburnChick’s Adventures (http://auburnchick.wordpress.com/) Attitude and inspiration! What more can I say?
8. Watch Erin Teach (http://watcherinteach.wordpress.com/) An honest, thoughtful, and thought-provoking teacher.
9. This, That and the Other Thang (http://thisthatandtheotherthang.wordpress.com/) So so so funny. This blog always puts a smile on my face!
10. Lessons from 40 Something (http://40somethinglessons.wordpress.com/) I am closer to 40 than 30. Yikes! There is something “relate-able” here.
11. jeremyhyler40 (http://jeremyhyler40.wordpress.com/) A middle school language arts teacher with great ideas for teaching writing.
12. Lowcountry Chalkboard (http://southcarolinasmiths.wordpress.com/)A special educator with great ideas for organization and classroom management.
14. 365 Life Lessons (http://365lifelessons.org/) Photography and quotes from real people. Two of my favorite things!
15. Cheryl Huffer (http://cherylhuffer.com/) A dedicated blogger (mother, teacher, and wife) who plans on posting every single day of 2012 (366 days since it’s leap year!)
To follow the rules, here are 7 random things about me:
1. A simple thing I’ve always wanted to be able to do: dance. I don’t mean like professionally. I mean like for fun: at weddings, at proms, at bars. I am absolutely jealous of people who have the bravery, the carefree attitude, and the “I don’t care how stupid I look” mentality.
2. A thing I will do only in the presence of a few people: sing. I have a horrible voice but that doesn’t stop me from singing in the car, with the kids, and occasionally, in the presence of Admiral Bodee.
3. Consequently, I love the Wii game, Just Dance 3. I can dance and sing as loud and as crazy as I want in the privacy of my living room. I am terrible at it, but I still have fun.
4. We did not own a video game system until Christmas Day 2011. I have always been anti-video games with the exception of the Nintendo DS which was pretty much a car ride only activity. I broke down this Christmas and bought a used Wii on eBay and am happy with the amount my kids do not play it. Two days ago we turned it on for the first time since May 28th because it was just too stinking hot to play outside. Everything in moderation.
5. I desu ot eb yrev tneulf ni gnitirw, gnidaer, dna gniklat sdrawkcab. (Translation: I used to be very fluent in writing, reading, and talking backwards.) My best friend, Ycats, and I used to write notes to each other in high school backwards and in cursive no less!!
6. At one time in my life I was allergic to milk, beef, wheat, vanilla, and green peas. My diet consisted of fruits, vegetables, and chicken. At that point I learned to try a lot of new foods and flavors. I can now eat all of those foods in moderation.
7. My high school burned down – thanks to an arsonist – when I was in 10th grade. It’s something you always “wish” would happen, until it does. I talk about the fire every single time we have a fire drill at school. The kids roll their eyes every single time.