Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Time Bucket List

One of the activities that I have my students complete at the end of the year is the creation of a bucket list for the summer. If you haven't heard of a bucket list before it's simply a list of things you want to accomplish, if you go based on the original movie about it you make the list of things you want to do before you die. In the case of my students, summer is a perfect length of time to make some goals.

Their lists included things like:

  • playing messy Twister
  • hanging out with my best friend for an entire weekend without interruption
  • reading a book every day
  • going swimming at least once a week
We had a great time sharing some of our lists and they really found some great things to work on. I made my own bucket list for this summer (though it wasn't really shared with my kids!) because I like to keep occupied. Down time is great, but having a plan is also really encouraging, especially at the end of summer when you can look back at what you checked off of your list.

My list includes things like:

  • running a 5k (did one, another is in a few weeks)
  • reading at least 5 new books this summer
  • getting a tattoo
  • going to the aquarium with my daughter
  • attend technology training classes for the district as often as possible to keep up with new information

I've accomplished a few of those already, I'll let you figure out which ones :) What do you plan for the summer? Do you just sit back and relax, or are you a planner? Either way, I hope that you take the time over the next few weeks to do something you love. When we go into the classroom in the fall with our own passions and hobbies, it's easy for the kids to see who we are and get to know us better. You never know, your one bucket list item might be that connection you'll have with the hard to reach kid!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Color Me Rad!

Alright, to start off this isn't a post about teaching. Unless you consider the fact that I ran the 5k with two of this year's interns (we call them interns, not student teachers, since they spend the entire year in our Penn State PDS if you want more info).

Part of my way of dealing with the daily stress that comes with teaching (if anyone told you teaching is easy they lied) is to work out. Last year that meant weights, cardio, etc. at a bootcamp. Then I ran a 5k last July...and didn't run since unless it was at bootcamp! With the nice weather rolling in I felt inspired to start running again. Perfect timing since I just found out about a run called Color Me Rad. I registered for the Philadelphia run on Father's Day weekend and started to run. Okay, that sounds better than it was. I ran like once a week.

Anyway, my gym recently started their group training for the Arts Fest 5k so I jumped in on that and had to run, perfect timing! The girls and I met up in Philly for the run and it was amazing! My family was incredible, both those who woke up at 4am (eek!) and drove me down there from Shippensburg, and those who cheered me on in spirit and in text messages. We ran almost the entire thing without stopping (it was an easy pace, TONS of people) and had so much fun.

At the end of the run you get in a big group and everyone throws 'color bombs' up in the air. It was pitch black and unbelievably claustrophobic and the end result makes it look like a muppet threw up on you...which is kind of fun...and a good laugh! My DD wouldn't even touch me at first because I was so dirty.

However you are spending your summer, teaching summer school, taking computer classes, relaxing by the pool...I hope that you find some me time, a healthy habit that you can carry with you into the coming school year. Mine will be fair weather running (hey I'm a newbie okay!) and my gym workouts. What will you do?
Give a kid a pair of sunglasses and she'll give you a big hug :) Love this one! 
Reason to buy new running shoes? Nope, they washed out fine!

What started out as a white shirt...

My girls, DD on the left, me, Katherine, Madeline, Jackie (um...I'm short!)

Temporary tattoo - would you believe some people had this on their forehead? Mine took 4 days to fully come off!

Did I mention it was Father's Day? Two of my best guys right here, hubs and dad :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

End of the Year

Last day of school fun
It's been a bit since I've posted last. A lot has been happening at school and I'll post about some of our activities in more detail soon. I do, however, want to take some time to reflect on the adults that I work with at my school. They are outstanding people.

On our last inservice day of the year my building always holds a potluck luncheon. Everyone comes, it is the one time during the year that I see everyone in one place. We eat, laugh, reminisce  and say goodbye to many people.

This year was especially difficult because our team intern was a spectacular young lady who inspired us all. She'll be moving to northern Virginia to teach 5th grade in Prince William County. I pray that the teachers there welcome her with open arms and that she thrives (though I have very little doubt about the later!).

We also are losing two wonderful people from our building, one due to retirement and one due to a move. Our 8th grade science teacher is moving to Texas, there were stories, laughter, and even a song played on guitar. The tears were flowing. She will be missed tremendously.

The other, and most important person in the building  is our head custodian. I realize that some of you may not have a relationship at all with the custodians in your building, I would challenge you to get to know them. Our head custodian was working at the building before I came so next year without him will be very strange. He'd come down the 6th grade hall every Monday morning in the fall and talk football (he is a Steelers fan like me) and pick on our resident Cowboys fan. He'd whistle cheery tunes as he walked the halls, he'd say hello to all of the students, help them with lockers, help us with anything, write notes on his hands to get done later, and he loved his work. With his retirement we shared memories and laughs. And then the most profound message of the day happened when he spoke, I regret not recording it on my phone. This is the general idea:

Yesterday when I watched the students leave I thought to myself, there goes another year. Then I watched all of you who were out waving goodbye to the kids come back in, together. Individually you do great things, but together you are like a puzzle. Each piece works together to create something wonderful

What a message, and there was more but it's a bit fuzzy as I began to cry at about that point. It was an emotional day overall, and in addition to that we lost a few paraprofessionals due to budget cuts. Unfortunately they found out on the last day of school, or yesterday before inservice. Times are tough but losing members of our faculty/staff feels unfair.

I hope that you are already enjoying your summer, or just about ready to. If you haven't finished yet remember to cherish the last memories with your kids. Those of us who teach lower grades in the building will see our kids next year and the year after as they grow and mature. For those of you who teach the final year in your building - do something special, make it amazing!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Field Trip Friday!

I love field trips. Okay, to be honest I loved them a lot more when I was a kid and just got to go on them, because as a teacher they can be a pain to plan. However, I must say that yesterday's trip to Pittsburgh was amazing. I'm still exhausted (we had a kiddo get sick and had to be picked up, we were 2.5 hours from home..stressful!) so instead of writing a lengthy post, I shall provide images instead! Enjoy :)
Coming into Pittsburgh - we missed a turn but got to see some amazing views!
We are here! Our buses were parked and we were ready to unload, a little chaos but we figured it out. We will be much better prepared next time.
We thought each student needed a pass, not true (such a blessing!), we just had to make sure our chaperones were labeled. 

A little bus moment, we were fortunate to take Fullington buses, the kids were awesome on the way down. A little more chatty on the way back, but we watched 3 movies with them (Aladdin, Toy Story 3, and A Night At the Museum)
Ah! T-rex!
There were so many amazing displays, I especially enjoyed the dinosaurs (even if they did scare me a little) 
Sometimes the museum has special groups doing exhibits, this was a botanical group that was in when we visited earlier this year, they weren't there and it looked very empty when we went yesterday.

The Hall of Sculptures on the first floor - it has statues from Egypt, Greece, and Rome. As well as some other eras. Beautiful work, and a perfect fit for our social studies units.

The ceiling in the Hall of Sculptures was probably one of my favorites, it was glass tiles with the Cherokee alphabet on them. Gorgeous.

The first floor has an amazing section for geology. This geode is called The Fortress of Solitude - yes!! A Superman reference :) Amazing!'s a real tarantula...yuck!

The third floor contained an Ancient Egypt wing - since we studied that in social studies we had the docents give our kids the guided tour in that area. Wonderful information!

Gorgeous Pittsburgh (okay this was from the first visit, the trees all had leaves when we went yesterday)

The Museum.
Overall it was a wonderful trip. I'm so glad that we were able to connect some of our social studies lessons into this museum. If you haven't been I highly suggest a visit.