2016 Reflection

This has been one of the best years of my life so I couldn't wait to share some highlights!

January- I started using my new curriculum and felt like I could breathe for the first time in eight years! I also started using a bullet journal which is so pretty and fun!

February- Went to a Google Appa conference that was productive

March- A blog post of mine was published in our first ever MTBos book

May- I completed my first ever 30 posts in 30 days for #MTBoS30 and to top it off celebrated my 30th birthday in St. Louis

June- I canoed for the first time and zip lined for the second time. I got new teeth!

July- I went to Minneapolis Minnesota for the first time to attend my fourth Twitter Math Camp

August- I lost 50 pounds in one year thanks to my Fitbit and walking. I also started writing posts for the Day in the Life series.

September- My grandma came to visit; my uncle fixed the power in my basement and built me a beautiful hall tree

October- I surpassed my all time best of 109 blog posts in one year! This makes post 114.

November- I got a new phone

December- I had one of the best end of the semesters, Christmas break, and Christmas's ever!

And now some ideas for 2017...

A bad habit I'm going to break: crossing my arms when I walk around the class

A new skill I'd like to learn: an instructional routine to use

A person I hope to be more like: Rebecka Peterson

A good deed I'm going to do: send home happy notes or postcards to parents

A book I'd like to read: Making Number Talks Matter

A letter I'm going to write: individual letters to my seniors

I'm going to do better at: getting to school earlier

My students wrote to me that my classroom is colorful and welcoming, they look forward to my class, they like math now, I've helped them be more organized, I explain things in a way they can understand easily, they know that I care about them and their lives, and they enjoy being around me.

Good-bye 2016! 👋🏻


Am I Basic?

aka Am I a Fraud?

I always laugh at basic white girl memes and how I really am none of them....I don't like coffee, I've never bought anything from Starbucks, I don't really care for tacos or Mexican, I don't feel comfortable wearing leggings in public, I think Uggs are ugly, and I can't do a messy bun to save my life.

But when it comes to teaching...I just realized I might be basic.

I've been proud of myself for using a new curriculum, getting my resources aligned, reinforcing my routines, being organized and keeping my students organized, working less throughout the week, being more open with students....

But has my teaching improved?

I'm not asking higher order thinking questions {maybe I'm not really sure what they are}, I don't use any instructional routines {maybe I'm not really sure what they are}, I don't do any fancy three-act tasks or really any tasks at all {maybe I'm not really sure how to find/make/use them}, I'm not writing comments, I don't do low floor high ceiling, open middle, I'm not using Desmos on a daily basis, my students are creating anything, I'm doing pathetic job with number talks, and I haven't mentioned growth mindset since the first two weeks of school.

I just finished reading and grading all my students' first semester reflection papers and the comments were overwhelmingly positive.

I'm the teacher I always dreamed of being.

Until I met you MTBoS.

My students are happy with me and my abilities because they don't know any better. I'm an improvement over past teachers so they are satisfied.

They don't know what they're missing out on.

But I do.

And I'm not saying that in a feeling sorry for myself  way, just an honest way. This has been one of the best years of my life and I'm happier than I've ever been.

But what now? Where do I go from here?

I'm not sure which area I need the most growth in. I feel incapable of even trying some of the things I listed above, let alone using them in a way that is beneficial for my students.

Which thing would benefit my students the most....that I can actually accomplish?

Can someone just create a to-do list for the rest of my teaching career?

I've been wanting to try national board certification but I'm too scared I will fail miserably because I'm not sure I'm as a good of a teacher as the professional learning standards requires. I would love to present at TMC but I have nothing to present. Every year I find less and less things to even share as a my favorite, let alone present for an entire 30 minutes. You can tell in my blogging that I have less and less to share....I'm using a curriculum so I'm creating less which means less to share.

I feel like I was on the front edge of the MTBoS when it started and now I've been left behind. I don't even get on Twitter anymore because it feels like everyone sharing these amazing projects and lessons and achievements that drown out my basicness. Also it is so filled with politics that I don't even feel safe posting much anymore.

Again, this is not for pity. At all. It's my brutally honest way of evaluating myself, my year, and my career.

How do I go deeper? What's the best route? What is sustainable?

How do I become the teacher I've learned I'm so far away from being?


#DITL Saturday, December 10th, 2016

I promise I didn't go through and pick out the 10th as a day that mostly falls on weekends...but it sure seems like it!

Today I had my alarm set for 9:30 but my dad woke me up at 9:00 to work on a pipe. I got up and got ready for lunch with my friend at 11:30. Leaving my house around 10:45, I had to stop by the school and set up a laptop for the music at tonight's Junior High Prom.

Lunch with my friend lasted until 1:30. I ran a few errands around town until 2:30 and headed back home to baby-sit my niece and nephew from 3-6.

My sister got off work and my parents joined us all to go to a live Nativity scene acted out at a nearby church. We finished there and went to McDonald's. Then my sister and I ran to Wal-Mart to get a few groceries. We got home at 11:00 and all I could think about was how grateful I was that I didn't have school work to do. This is the first weekend since school started that that has happened. We finished last week up with semester review and this week we are doing semester exams and papers which meant nothing for me to create/prepare.

I have been counting down the days since Thanksgiving for this break to come. Over Thanksgiving, we had a basketball tournament over an hour away and we played a game every single day except Thanksgiving. I also had to fit in baking desserts, cleaning house, decorating for Christmas, and my regular school work into each of those  5 days. Since each game took anywhere between 4-6 hours of my day, I didn't really get a break at all.