This is just a quick wrap up of some of the things I did last week…sorry this is a bit delayed, but pocket these ideas for next year. Also, I have seen some Thanksgiving books on sale, so maybe these titles or the selections in my last blog are on sale….worth a browse.
This book is always a hit. Many teachers use this and add the turkey in disguise activity to go with. I like to read and have a discussion as we read. No matter how many times a student has heard a story I feel if it is from a different reader, there is a new slant to the way it is read and hearing a good story more than once is never a bad thing.
These were some phonics cards I whipped up to support my students working on initial sounds. I personally love the clip art. I use alot from this artist. These cards can be use in multiple ways. These will be a future product in my TpT store.
We made personal feasts after we read about the first Thanksgiving. I very much enjoyed watching and hearing about what items made each student’s menu. The language that came from a simple cut, sort and glue was awesome.
If you read my blog regularly, you know I love sticky notes. I have started adding them to books. I know classroom teachers have been doing this for years. I did when I was younger and very green, but over the years I sort of let it go. This year I am feeling the pressure of covid and hate how it is effecting my mental state, so questions stuck on pages have kept me focused during individual readings.
The purple, mesh zip bag is my go to this year. I keep differently sized sticky notes, pencils, a pen, a flair pen and one sharpie….there might be a few rogue paperclips, but the core elements are my mini, mental toolbox. I can quickly and easily jot a question or observation down. I keep this toolkit in my bag-just for me. I should keep some candy in it…somedays I need a boost.
With all the challenges this school year has presented, I am trying my best to center myself back into activities and materials that I love. Doing the things that support goals, but more importantly bring some joy to a session. As this November comes to a close I am feeling very grateful for the flexibility and uniqueness teaching 1:1 brings.
Here’s to a fantastic December. Check back to see what I have going on in the classroom and at home.
School has obviously looked very different for so many of us this Fall. I have been trying to adapt, adjust and maintain some normalcy. Thinking about how I am going to use resources and materials has been more time consuming than usual, but I have found ways to make lessons enjoyable.
I have created some Boom Cards to offer light fun for students. These activities are quick and the task is familiar. I am trying my best to keep our favorite things safe and efficient.
Boom Cards have been a blessing. I love making them and the kids love playing the decks. These activities support multiple skills.
This bundle is everything I have made Thanksgiving related. My hope is to put one or two more decks together. I have a couple of ideas on the back burner. The time has been the challenge. I’m sure if you are currently teaching, you can totally relate to the multiple to do lists!
This book is an oldie but goodie. I love any books that get kids thinking about how they can be a helper. I added these cards from a sequencing resource for support. We explored the language and message of the story.
We used the pictures for listening or speechreading and then generated sentences to support phonics, handwriting, vocabulary and language.
These are some of our favorite Thanksgiving stories. Each is very different and depending on the student I am with is used differently.
Text to Self Connection
This is the resource that I use to support the stories or use independently. I created different mats and pictures to support IEP goals in a fun and festive way. They are in my TPT store.
I laminate these for durability, but this year it has been a time saver. I wipe everything after a student uses it. I don’t have to have multiple copies. The stories are only touched by me, so they stay safe. I have used these mats with mini erasers in the past. Not this year, sadly. I might use candy corn or skittles. I’m sure those will be way more enjoyable!
I made this resource last year, gave it to students and blogged about it. I am so thankful I have this resource. Things have been so difficult and foriegn this year, so being able to print and laminate these add an extra level of care to my relationship with my students. They all know how much I love to read, believe in them as readers and want them to read for enjoyment. I love giving them a fresh bookmark with an uplifting phrase.
These are in my store as well. I also have different holidays and some basic sets. Add a ribbon or not, your students will love these!
This little beauty just arrived at my door! I have 3 more titles coming. I just can’t help myself when it comes to books. This will be a new read for me and hopefully my students. I will put another post up with the activities and other books once I use them. Stay tuned.
I am counting my blessings and am feeling very grateful that I have been able to be in person with my students. Hearing their laughs, listening to their awesome questions and feeling that special something that happens when you turn the page and they are totally absorbed into the story had been very gratifying. Everyday I get…I will happily take.
This is for sure the strangest Halloween I have ever had. Instead of thinking about all the things that aren’t or won’t….I am wishing you a spooktacular weekend!!
I hope you find ways to celebrate- if that is your thing. I wish you a batty good time. Throw on a scary movie, eat some candy and sip some cider.
I put a costume together for my mini me. I am usually making a scary something, but this year she wanted a game character. She plays a game called Among Us. I have no clue, but momma tries to deliver. I made a mask that she can wear with the costume…which is a cyan hoodie and pants. Pure comfort for a covid Halloween at school.
There is no way she can survive a day with this mask, but in spurts she can character up. She will supplement with a typical mask. We are just trying to make the most of things.
I am still loving my yoga skeletons. These will totally be put away in a few days, but they are totally fun. I think I need to find some yoga Santas or reindeer.
So thankful Halloween is on a Saturday. This is every teacher or parents dream. Last year I remember dragging myself and child to school. Sunday will be filled with football and naps!
We are ready to hand out some candy….at a proper distance and watch the jack-o-lanterns glow under a full moon. 2020 has been proven to be very tricky, hopefully we coast into November with only leftover treats!
October is almost over and things have been smooth. We all are in good health, school has been manageable and I have been able to enjoy some of the typical Fall things that bring joy. I know so many of us are over all the things that have been weighing us down, so this post is a hodgepodge of positivity.
Getting the pumpkins for the porch was very important. I love pulling up to my house after an exhausting day at school and seeing the colors of Fall. Fall is my favorite season, so I am soaking up all of its beauty.
I had to get all the colors this year. Typically I go with a couple of mums, but this year I felt the more the better. I thankfully found ones reasonably priced. I may love the look, but I am still going to be thrifty.
We are taking full advantage of the cooler temps. Walks are still important for our mental and physical health. It has been fun getting out and seeing what our neighbors have done to celebrate Fall or Halloween.
I have turned into a two cups of coffee a day person. I have only had a morning cup for years, but with the challenges this school year has brought….I need an afternoon pick me up. Of course I am going to enjoy my liquid sunshine in a festive and seasonal mug. Finding the joy in simple things.
Baking is something that brings me joy, relaxation and sadly unwanted calories. This was an apple crisp I made, gluten free of course. I think this one was a total success. I did what I always do for the apple mixture, but the topping is where I got creative and think was a total win. I used gluten free pancake mix! I substituted the flour for the mix. I would love to post a full recipe, but I am a toss stuff together kinda gal, so I apologize, but if I make this again…which looks very likely, I will post the process.
When I think of all of the changes I have had to make this Fall, how I am teaching, what I am teaching and who I am teaching….I have needed to stop and smell the leaves. I was taking the dog out and took a moment to take in the simple beauty of my side yard. Taking in these tiny moments have helped my head and heart. Being overwhelmed seems to happen daily-for some reason or another, but remembering to give myself grace and stop to enjoy all the things that are around me has helped with my anxiety and my focus.
There are so many things out of my control right now. I think this is true for so many of us. Making healthy choices is getting me through my masked up, sanitized days.
Pacing myself with what I am teaching and not forgetting the fun has been something I have been thinking about quite frequently. Remembering I am not able to use materials the same way was a but of a downer when I started in September, but in the last couple of weeks I have had to make a shift and bring on the fun. Books make me happy, so fee nee titles to read to my littles has be a simple solution to things I felt were beyond me.
I am also shopping my TpT store. Being so overwhelmed and I forgot about an activity I made last year. Someone purchased it and it jogged my memory to print ant use with my kiddos. Looking at resources I used to take from school to school…out of my bag…is no more, now I am looking at how I can repurpose, adjust and reinvent myself. All the while keeping it fun for the kids and myself.
Halloween fun throughout the house also helps elevate some of the outside world stressors. I hope that as you read this it gets your wheels moving and grooving in a positive direction. Find the joy in what you can, wherever you are.
I don’t know about you, but I have been looking forward to this long weekend. The start of school has had so many mixed emotions. I am so glad to be back, but I have needed some family time and fall foliage. Fall is my favorite season and we definitely enjoyed what nature had to offer.
Normally we take the October weekend and go somewhere, but with things being less than normal we decided a short car trip was manageable. The drive was a cornucopia of colors. We took a drive out to a museum and Colonial/Victorian village. We are a bit nerdy, so we like a little bit of history and since my mini me has never been we thought- why not!
It was incredibly therapeutic to be out and about enjoying some beautiful fall finds. We still had to be masked at points, but in moderation. It is sort of strange to think about how much has changed in a year.
I was looking back at pics in my phone this week and I almost gave into the covid crankies. It started with looking for a cute fall pic for my work desktop. I wanted to fire up my computer and see something uplifting. I found many great pics and it got me thinking how this Columbus Day weekend was doing to be lack luster if I or we didn’t think of something to do. Something relaxing, new and manageable.
Luckily we settled on visiting the museum and had a very blessed day. Blessed with good weather. Blessed with low crowds. Blessed with beautiful scenery.
We loved walking the lanes of the village. I think in better times there is more to be seen and more to do, but it was satisfying to explore something new as a family. We didn’t look at everything because we want to go back and we didn’t feel the pressure to see it all…like we do when we explore farther from home.
The gardens were so picturesque. I can see why this is a popular wedding destination. It was very peaceful and there are multiple vignettes for a beautiful background.
The staff was incredibly friendly. My hope is when we visit again there will be more staff to learn from and watch “living life” in the past.
Being out in the sunshine, no schedule, with my favorite people…perfect way to spend a October Saturday. We stopped in a house and in the kitchen was a woman dressed in period clothing baking. We found out that they make the bake good in the confectionery. Of course we had to get something. I am not going to be able to sample it, but the maple bread looked delicious. I think it is cool that they aren’t just acting the part, the staff that is dressed in garb circa 1800 something, they are really doing functional jobs that sustain the museum.
Trying to be normal is some days harder than others. I am very thankful for this simple day. Being in nature with my favorite people checked the box for a fun holiday weekend.
This village visit also inspired a family movie night. We watched M. Night Shymalan’s The Village. It’s October, gotta get a spooky movie or two in!
Today while I was at Barnes and Noble, enjoying a Sunday browse with my mini me, I saw a book that caught my eye and really inspired this post. I am sure this book could be incredibly helpful for some parents, but I honestly didn’t crack the cover. I sort of said to myself “thank God I don’t need this, but it has been hours since I was in the store and I am coming back to this title.
We have always been very thankful our daughter has always loved books. We have never forced her or even had to mildly encourage her to turn some pages. As a teacher I am aware that many children do not love to read. Maybe they have legitimate difficulties. Maybe they just don’t find joy on the page.
As a reader myself I can not relate to people, children or students that do not enjoy reading for pleasure. I myself was a rabid reader. The kid with a flashlight under the covers. I now have that child. I lovingly kid that if we allowed her to get every book she wanted we would live in a shack. She tells us it would be a shack made of books. Maybe we could be the fourth Little Pig house…do you think a house made of books would withstand the Big Bad Wolf???
I started to think what did we do to foster her love of reading?
We started reading to her when she was a baby. We started with cute little board books. She enjoyed books that were interactive and tactile.
We had books in the bathroom, in the car and in her tote bag. We made books more accessible than toys at times. This was not intentional. We are readers and we find value in books. We now share our fabulous finds. She manages our lending library.
We made trips to the book store and library very common. She must have showed everyone in our family her library card. For her birthday she is always pumped to get a Barnes and Noble gift card. She is also very blessed to have a great aunt, a former librarian, send her books.
Reading is a family affair.
We read to her at night. This seems like something most parents do. However we also made up stories and she in turn made up her own stories. They could have been totally original or variations on stories we had read.
We have always been positive and sort of braggy that she is a reader. Maybe that makes us annoying or obnoxious, but I’ll take a bit of criticism, because we don’t have to nag her to get summer reading completed.
We have made being a reader part of her identity. She is confident and proud that she is a reader. This confidence with reading has naturally helped school work and she has become confident with public speaking. Being able to confidently read aloud built up her self esteem and when asked to read to a crowd at an assembly or church, she has done a spectacular job.
We have allowed her to explore genres. Fairytales and books about families were popular when she was three. Then she moved on to popular characters like Pig and Pete the cat. Once she started school and grabbed on to simple chapter books she really took off as an independent reader.
We now encourage her to explore new authors and titles. She loves fantasy and mystery, but I also like her to dabble in stories about feelings, growing up, and classics. Getting her to branch out is getting easier….thankfully. We have a solid selection of magic and mystery.
We also watch “the movie”. We will watch popular titles that have gone from the page to the big screen. I love how she will comment and critique the two mediums. She loves to find the differences and share her opinions. She is finding the book is usually better than the movie.
She recently was out of her own books and was desperate, so she tried to read off my shelves. If you follow me, you know there aren’t many titles on my shelves a tween could read, so it was a stretch. She dipped her toe into the Twilight pond. Well, she was hooked. She read the entire series. She has asked for Midnight Sun to be put on her Christmas list.
We are incredibly lucky to have a child that finds joy from all sorts of books. I am sure that the book I saw today is well written and helpful. I am just very thankful that we are readers and have parented a reader. I hope she never loses her love of reading. I know when I was in college I did for a bit. When something becomes a chore or just an overwhelming necessity it is hard to find the joy, but thankfully once I was done reading textbooks and required readings, I found happiness in characters and plots again.
Here’s to a lifetime of reading for pleasure and entertainment. May our bank account always be able to support her healthy habit!
Since the passing of RGB I have been feeling like I needed to post about books out there that can educate and inspire young girls to dream big. I know in recent years there have been more titles published to share the stories of bravery, courage and innovation women have contributed to the world. As I was looking for titles related to Ruth Bader Ginsburg I came across these ideas and thought I would share.
I love that people have put collections together. I looked up some these titles on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It makes my heart happy that there are titles for girls of differing ages and interests.
Since there has been such a push for women and girls in science these looked like great choices. I think is fabulous learning about smart and science minded women.
I was really happy to find a few books that were not just about inventing or science. I personally am not science minded, so if I was a young girl in would be looking for titles about women who made different contributions.
Our young people need to read and see titles showing the struggles, challenges and accomplishments of women, to know they too can do amazing things. Future men need to have these books in their heads too. Everyone needs to learn how women have had instrumental and necessary actions that have shaped all our lives for the better.
We are living in turbulent and unsettling times. There are so many things on the news everyday that make me stop and think about what I need to do to make the world a better place for my students and my own daughter. I feel like exposure to texts that are positive and explore the real life successes of women is a simple way to uplift and instill messages of confidence.
My daughter asked who was RBG? My response is you need to read about her. What I know is not enough, I know I too can learn more about her, so I preordered a book.
We have many My Little Golden Books. I thought this would be a wonderful addition to our collection. There are other titles that are currently available for use to read about the accomplishments of Ruth Bader Ginsburg until this becomes available, in December.
I love anthologies. One book that can give options. A buffet for the eyes and brain. This one caught my eye because the cover art is fun and the subtitle is what I want girls to think about….how can they dare to be different, even if they are just an ordinary person. How can they be brave to just be themselves and by being themselves contribute to society. I think everyday choices and actions have a profound impact on the greater good. Being mankind and thoughtful person is an accomplishment in today’s world.
Counting on Katherine is a great title and I feel like this can be applied to all of us. You may not be a math genius getting astronauts to the moon, but each one of us has a role and I am counting on each person to to their best and try to lead the most positive and powerful life they can lead. This is a message I am teaching to my students and my child. I try to remember that I still have lessons to learn as well.
Books have meaning and can be powerful. I hope that you find some inspiration from these titles. Maybe add one or two to your classroom library, buy one for the school library or for your home library. Sometimes the truest messages are found in the pages of a beautifully illustrated children’s book.
I want to say so many things, but I don’t have the words this week. There have been alot of thoughts and feeling. So many things to be thankful for. This week was a success and I know when my brain has time to decompress I will have more to say. So, for now here are some pics and quotes that touch on all the things that a covid back to school can bring.
Trying to decompress can be tricky for me. My mind is always going. This is why I try to be present when I am doing yoga. I also try to be less thinking and more feeling when I spend time on my back patio.
It was a beautiful day. The temperature was perfect, there was a breeze and all the forest creatures were out in full force. I didn’t capture all of God’s creatures that made an afternoon visit, like all the birds and squirrels, but did capture a few.
These visitors were a lovely distraction from thinking about the upstart of school. We have enjoyed the outdoors more than ever this summer. I hear that from friends and family too. I think being cooped up really effected people and once we had better weather people made the mose of their outdoor spaces.
I purchased a gas fire pit for my hubs, for Father’s Day. This is easy and smell free for a cozy night. No post fire shower required. I can not sleep on fire scented hair, so this is the perfect alternative for my prissy self. Also, it is easy to get going for those of us that were never a girl scout.
We still do a wood fire on nights were we need a s’mores pick me up. We have tried smores with the gas fire, but we love the taste of a wood fire, toasted marshmallow better. I love spending family time toasting and eating marshmallows, but I do not love the smelly, post fire hair. So we have a balance of woodsy fire and clean, easy fire pit nights.
If the bugs creep you, just cover up all of your fireside treats. I love using these silicone bowl covers. I have had this for years. I have two smaller ones as well. They were a gift and the have been fabulous.
Backyard afternoons and nights seem to be our jam this summer. We added an awning to our patio and this had made our outside time so much more enjoyable. I have loved morning coffee, yoga and just doing nothing.
We have really used this space. It is perfect for dinner or summer homework. Sometimes just being in a different space can change something tremendously. It has been easy to loose track of time and stop thinking about the world outside our door. A friend was over for a visit and said it felt like a wonderland. I’m glad she found a moment to take in the simplicity of the situation. I think we don’t realize how wrapped up we get in the hustle and bustle.
Afternoons reading and just sitting out looking at the squirrels prep for winter have been perfect this summer. Summer is winding down, but I think this will still be a family hangout as the temperatures drop and the leaves change. Anything that helps decompress and unwind is a good thing, so I definitely feel patio sweater weather will be a thing!
Whether you are a first year teacher or a 25 year plus veteran, this September is going to hold so many emotions, plans and ideas. The unknown of what will be has been keeping me up at night. Feeling like I can not see what will be is very frustrating. I can typically plan and forecast what I need to do to start up my year, but I too am treading into uncertain waters, not knowing if I going to be able to swim, tread or sink.
My plan is to go into the 20-21 school year with a glass half full mind set. I have been trying to get what I can ready. Planning always makes me feel better, so doing something familiar is helping ease the frustration and lack of mental sight. Small steps feel like I am accomplishing something with control.
Keeping things safe and seperate is my first priority. I have separated out materials per student on my caseload. This seemed simple and manageable. I also wanted to keep these things seperate per building, so I bought craft carts and dolled them up a bit to place in my buildings. I find that the foot print is not intrusive in the spaces I work and easily rolled out of the way if need be. They are also easy to store materials on. One level per student or different materials per shelf. I added positive messages to uplift my students and myself.
My plan book and my “bible” are something I am always reviewing and revisiting. I have gone digital and went back to paper last year. I think I am keeping with a paper planner again this year. This has been a great debate in my mind. Will it be easier? Will it be light? Will it be sanitary? After much consideration I think I am going to try it and if need be I can go digital. I love planbook on chalk.com, but there is something about writing things down, so paper it is. I will also add stickers and quotes. These are purely for me, but every little bit of cute or positivity I can add to my resources and tools makes me feel good.
I have been working on getting my organizational tools and logs together. I have been creating new dividers to pop into my “bible” binder. I decided to go with a granny chic look this year. I very much enjoy this peony clip art I purchased 2 years ago that has just been waiting to be used. My hope is pretty and fresh flowers will be visually uplifting when the snow flies.
Google classroom is the thing right now. So many of us are using it to some extent. I am dabbling with it and trying to decide what is going in. I know once I have committed more to the process in will share in a post. I am still very new to it. My hope and a prayer is it will be a helpful tool in assisting my students and their parents when they are home following a hybrid schedule.
I think the biggest take away as I head into the next few weeks is that I need to give myself and everyone I interact with some grace. Remote, distance, hybrid, in person learning are the key words that seem to swirl around me and in my head, so I know if I am having moments where I need to remember to breathe and accept the new normal, then the people around me are in the same situation. There will be times where I feel like this new way of teaching my students is horrible or just too much, but thankfully my tribe is amazing, I will look to them for support and in turn be a shoulder or ear to lean on.
Small things that are “normal”, things I can control and the familiar faces (even masked) should get me through. I always am looking to change things up or improve how I teach. I think the universe has heard and responded! I need to take this bizarre opportunity and just go with it, control my little bubble and focus on the positives.
I told you I was going to have one more summer yoga event to share. This sunflower yoga class was heavenly. It was hot and happy. Everyone there seemed to be so excited to be in the field.
Everyone was spaced out, of course, because social distancing is becoming the new normal. We decided to be in the front row. I think this was a fantastic idea because all we could see was the field ahead of us. No downward dogs to look at, just the sunshine and flowers.
This event has become an annual event for my yoga studio. I think this will become an annual event in my life. It was truly spectacular. I was super pumped to be there. I felt like I could push myself and go a little further. I think it was the magic that the space generated.
These are two women that are so supportive and pure sunshine to be around, so I was beyond thrilled when they were available to come to this event with me. Both are very new to yoga, you wouldn’t know it. They looked beautiful and kept up with a very flowy class. Doing things with people that fill my bucket is priceless.
After our class we were permitted to pick sunflowers from the field.
I love that there are different varieties of flowers to cut and enjoy. It was very relaxing to walk the rows and see the bees working their magic.
This just such a happy flower. When I see sunflowers I just think and feel summer. I am not ready for this summer to end. The weather has been beautiful. We have had a slower paced schedule and I’m not mad about that!
Don’t you love how tall these get?! I know being a petite person many things are taller than me, but this stroll among the flowers gave me an Alice in Wonderland vibe. It was definitely a golden evening.
I hope if you are ever able to experience something like this….you jump on it. I thought I might be a little nervous in the field as the sun was going down, but with good friends and all the magical vibes I had not one instance of stress. If you read my posts regularly, then you know it is my mission to be sure with who I am-fears and all, but never be to stubborn to try to be a bit brave.
Watching this sunset, as we made our way back to the car, was the cherry on top. Nothing but gratitude for nature, beautiful friends and myself. The summer of 2020 has been pure yoga magic.
Plant themed yoga was a fabulous night out. Burning calories and plant shopping is a total win! This is my second special yoga night this summer. If you want to look back in my Yoga Life posts, you can read about Lavender Yoga. There is something about practicing in a beautiful place that gives all the zen like feels.
The location was very green and lush. I am getting used to outside locations for class. I wasn’t an outside yoga gal until covid forced my hand. I had ideas of what it would be like. I was certain last summer I would not like it, all the while people were flocking to outside summer classes. I was so wrong. I have pushed past the little ants that join me on my mat or anything that buzzes by. One thing hasn’t changed-I still do not love being hot, in the full sun with humidity. Thankfully there was a breeze to keep me cooler, because it was a tad warm in the sun. It felt good to be there.
How great is this!!! Sunglasses were totally necessary, but I noticed as I was flowing, the sun and heat were definitely helping my poses. I appreciated the boost.
My teacher is the best. I love how she keeps thinking of ways to support us and other local places. These special locations always offer more than just yoga. We get to flow and the location gets positive exposure. I had never been to this local greenhouse, so I was thrilled to shop someplace new.
This event allowed us to plant shop after class. Yes please! No one had to twist my arm to look at all the plant babies that need homes. I very much enjoyed talking and shopping with my yoga peeps. It seemed sort of normal…except for the mask on my face. This is still not a normal feeling or behavior, but trying to be positive. I try chewing minty gum, it helps me wear the mask and feel refreshed after class.
Shopping with plant minded gals was super easy.
There were so many beautiful plants and accessories to look at. Sorry no pictures, I was trying to be living in the moment. I was honestly having that awesome after class happy vibe, my phone was not a priority. I was very impressed with the pot selection. I often have trouble finding a pot I really like, but no problem this night. I have to pump the breaks and limit myself to the pot and plant I purchased. All the more reason to visit again.
I found this beauty and of course could not leave it. The pot is beyond pretty. The little succulent was a take away from attending the class. I have ZERO green thumbs when it comes to succulents. Crossing fingers and toes this little guy survives. I would love to report the succulents I bought in the winter are thriving, but sadly I can not.
I am not a quitter, so I will try again!
This new leaf baby is currently residing here in our living room. I figure it will be one of the first things I see in the morning and perfect to look at when I am working from the couch. The location could possibly change because I see a plant stand in my near future, just a few clicks away!
If you enjoyed this…stay tuned I have one more special event class to attend this summer!!!!
I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who reads my posts, who follows me and who likes what I have to say. I very much appreciate the time you give to my tiny corner of the online world. I enjoy blogging and hope to keep having something to say!
Let me just start be saying I am trying my best to wrap my head around what I need to do to get myself ready for the 20-21 school year. If you read my blog regularly you know I am very transparent about being a teacher that never wants to be in a rut or stale, so I welcome revamping my routines, outlook, approach and materials, but a pandemic is a tad bit different and difficult. This list is what I have been thinking about. I am sure as the weeks go by there will be even more things to to consider.
Being an itinerant teacher has it’s pros and cons. Traveling can be exhausting some days or completely liberating, but thinking about traveling lately has really made me stop and think about how I am going to protect myself and everyone in my multiple buildings. Going in and out will look and feel different for sure. My hope is with some thought and tweaking I will be able to do what I enjoy. With these adjustments and accommodations I think I will eventually settle into a new normal.
Depending on your set up, travel and caseload I think no matter how you think about putting materials together this year, everything needs to be seperate for each student. This will be work in the beginning, but once you have everything divided and contained it will offer you better control and peace of mind.
I know that at a couple of my schools I am able to leave materials. I love this because it saves time, pressure off my back and allows my kiddos to feel like I am part of the day… not just this woman that flies in and out. This being said, and I know I have said it in previous posts, leaving things can not be just one bin this year. I am going to have to have seperate containers or ways of keeping individual materials and tools safe for my students.
Seperate bags for seperate schools may be a healthy option if you can not leave materials and tools. I would consider bags that can be laundered or wiped down. Have one bag per building or per student. I had one bag per student maybe year two or three of itinerant teaching. I liked the ease of just grab and go, knowing everything I needed was in each bag.
Masks for a day. I know that going back will require wearing a mask. I have been stockpiling some cute fabric masks. I personally do not enjoy the disposable masks. They don’t fit right, which makes me anxious when I wear them, so fabric is my personal preference. I recommend trying out various sizes and styles before you head back to school in person.
I know clear panel masks are what most of us consider a great option for our students. Lip reading is essential. Make sure the mask fits, your can function and is anti-fog. I purchased shields for myself. I still waiting on the complete school plan about what will and will not be allowed. I am just trying to be prepared for my options.
The idea of materials for each student started to overwhelm me. Paper resources can obviously be per student, but what about my games and hands on manipulatives? I started to think of ways to divided up a game or deck of cards. I am with only one student at a time, so I obviously don’t need 30 riddle cards or 20 listening comprehension cards, so taking some and storing in little containers or zip bags will work. Germs will be separate. When I am ready to switch materials it should be easy to sanitize and rotate.
If you play games with boards putting some Press n Seal wrap over the board can protect the paper surface from sanitizing between students. Clear contact paper is another option for covering and preserving materials.
I recommend laminating anything that may not survive constant sanitation. I have a home laminator that I use when I am working from home or have the genius idea to laminate at 10:30 on a school night. I have purchased various weights of lamination. Sometimes I want a light, flexible hold and sometimes I want a heavy, strong hold. Lamination at school typically tends to be a lighter level , so needing the heavy stuff is why I did some Amazon clicking.
Sanitizer or alcohol is an obvious thing to have. My hope is wherever you are working schools will provide this. I am sure there will be something distributed, but if you are fussy about smell….like me, maybe consider getting sanitizer that agrees with your skin and sense of smell.
Cleaning Supplies are most likely not going to be an issue at schools. Be sure you find out what is being used or acceptable if you want a personal stash. I know I intend to have a zip bag with small sized cleaning products in my car incase I need to manage things to my liking. We all are going to come at returning to school at different perspectives and comfort levels. I am not a germaphobe or scared to return, but I know I need to be mindful and respectful of my peers and students who do not have the same feelings or outlook I have.
In a secondary zip bag I am going to have for myself: baby wipes, alcohol spray bottle, tissues and tic tacs. I know on a typical day o like to refresh. Depending on the students you serve or the amount of buildings you enter…I normally just feel like I need to scrub up, so I just want to be prepared for new feelings or the new reality of being itinerant.
These items will be just for me, especially the tic tacs. I have found a mint or mint gum helps my anxiety when I am wearing a mask for and extended time. I am not sure if it the smell or the oral stimulation that distracts me from the gross dislike I have for wearing a mask. I despise anything touching my face. This mask wearing will be a challenge, but my hope is I become a more relaxed wearer and also smell minty fresh!
One thing I am considering is ditching the big binder. I always look for way to be lighter. I change data collection, notes and organization almost yearly. Having things in a digital planbook is the lightest, but it has pros and cons. Last year I went back to a paper planner and data collection. I wasn’t planning on changing it up, but I started to think about taking it and setting it down in multiple places. I know I can try to keep it clean, but do I want to is my current dilemma. I think the right answer is choosing what you feel most comfortable doing. If changing your process seems like just one more thing and might stress you out don’t change.
Post it notes or a small notebook might be a long option to carry in to use for data and notes. Then this information could be added at points in the day to your big binder or plan book. This could easily be done when you return to the car.
Procedures and rules for each school may be slightly different. Be sure to know what your expectations are. Where you will be able to safely work with your students is key this year. I know I have had random and inconsistent work spaces, so be pleasantly persistent for what your students need. With social distancing going on workspaces will be at a premium, regardless you are important too.
Remember to sanitize your vehicle. I keep a small spay bottle, in my cup holder, filled with rubbing alcohol. I like to mist the wheel and my dash area for a quick clean between stops. My vehicle is my partial work space, so I want to make sure it is safe for me and my family.
Starting out may be a bumpy road, but hopefully these ideas help. I looking forward to being in my buildings and seeing my students. Getting back on the road will be a welcome change. Safe travels and happy teaching.
You can always like and follow me. Be sure to look back into my archives if you are looking for any other Itinerant Teaching ideas.
Not sure how you and yours are getting through these days at home, but we are living the magical life. Our love for everything Potter has kept us entertained and grown over the past months. Harry Potter marathons have kept us grounded, connected to eachother.
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” ― Albus Dumbledore
We can start at the beginning or turn one on midway through and just settle in for mischief and magic. I love that these films are something we all enjoy. Finding family fun can be a challenge at times. We started out positive and were great at keeping busy, but as time has gone on, we have settled into a new normal and thankfully that includes Harry and friends.
“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” ― Albus Dumbledore
Seems only right to post and share how much these stories are getting us through, on Harry Potter’s birthday.
Friday night family fun…boarding the Hogwarts Express! Not sure which film we will choose, but the popcorn with be popped and house colors will be on. If you are a Potter fan, I hope you take a few minutes today and spend some time with the Gryffindor trio.
“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” — Albus Dumbledore
This has been a busy week prepping for a party. It was a very socially distant and sort of differently planned party, which required alot of thought and physical labor. Thankfully I have a fabulous hubs who made our yard look fresh and pretty. I am also an excellent online shopper, so party planning was just a few clicks. Thankfully our guests seem to have had a good time and respected the new dynamic of getting together, so I am calling that a win for this emotionally drained teacher/mom.
I am still waiting to see what is going to happen with school, so I feel like I can only focus on what is in front of me. Which happens to be my family and house! Taking this summer day by day.
I know I am not alone with feeling anxious and conflicted about the upcoming, new school year. I have had ideas of what I want to write about and tips to share, but without knowing what I will be doing come September, I can’t write about something that isn’t authentic, so I hope you can just scroll and enjoy some pictures from a great week, where the focus was on things one can control and make nice.
Breathe in. Breathe out. This is heavenly in a field of lavender with the sun setting and the good vibes flowing.
Being outside, doing yoga, was something I have always been shy about. I hate being hot and do not love bugs, but this summer I am embracing it. Inside yoga is not an option, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and I am so happy I did.
My beautiful yoga teacher held a class outside in a lavender field. This was a ticketed event. Worth every penny! So many wanted to attend, she opened a second session. She is a lovely human and the farm we were at was equally as giving.
We picked before we flowed. This was lovely and relaxing. Everyone seemed at peace. Conversations were quiet and appeared to be happy. I think many were happy to be in a tranquil location and able to socialize.
Masks were required for check in and close group socialization, but when it was time to flow mats were 6 feet or more apart. The field offered natural barriers. This made it easy to find a spot to practice.
I left feeling and smelling fabulous. I hope she makes this and annual event. With the sun setting and the lavender breeze filling my lungs, it is yoga like no other.
Just another way I am trying to enjoy summer and practice some selfcare.
Summer is here and enjoying the season is a priority. Winter seems incredibly long-with spring feeling like a blip on the calendar, so getting out into sunshine that does not have an icy glare is at the top of my summer to do list. Making the most of summers off is always important to me. Finding ways to recharge before September is vital for me and my students.
Being outside in the heat and humidity can be overwhelming, but being cooped up for months during a pandemic has proved to be more overwhelming and I am trying to embrace all summer has to offer. One way I like to chill out is basic gardening. I plant flowers and veggies every summer, this summer is no different. That actually feels good to write-up considering nothing about the last quarter of school felt normal! My semi green thumb is exactly like it was last summer and all the summers before.
I say semi green because I love the look and feel a garden brings, but I am not willing to weed and roast for it. We keep a garden that is easy and comes back every year. I like low maintenance plants the older and busier I get. Before our daughter I had more time to putter and fuss, but in the last few years her summer schedule has kept me busy, so easy peasy plants are right up my alley. I am not running around for camps and playdates, but that seemed to be validate my rational even more for a peaceful, zen like summer.
I look forward to my perennials. They are consistent and I love those first signs of spring/summer when they start to pop out of the soil. This year many of my hostas have been night time snacks for the deer….possibly other critters as well. I think we need to invest in some sort of repellent next summer and take pics before there is nothing but stems!
We planted a few new things in late May. We are hoping all of the new plant babies will flourish and provide a colorful border between us and our neighbors.
I always get potted flowers for pops of color. I know many people plant annuals, but I stopped doing that a handful of years ago. It looks pretty, but with a busy schedule and summer trips it is difficult to maintain….especially water, so I just do pots and hope for the best.
This summer we decided to keep veggies to a minimum. We are only growing tomatoes. I can always snag some herbs if I want, but as for other veggies we decided to just not. We have grown beans, peas, onions and peppers in the past. It is fun to watch everything progress, but we are keeping it super simple this summer.
Tomato plants are very low maintenance and we plant ours in containers, so there is zero weeding. I can’t wait until these little babies are full grown and ready to be picked. We sort of went a little tomato plant crazy, so I think our neighbors will be getting a homegrown taste of summer.
My summer garden is a wonderful, visual way to decompress through the summer months. Taking the time to plant, weed (a little) and water gives me a clam purpose before I start running and following the school schedules in September. Also having a low maintenance garden gives me time to do other things that I consider summer fun.
Sparklers, fireworks and bbq. The 4th of July is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate with friends and family. 2020 has proved to me a most interesting year and because of social distancing this holiday is not our typical event, but we are embracing the new normal with all the red, white & blue we can muster.
This snack mix has been on my summer to do list. I needed a sweet treat with a splash of red, white & blue. I looked to Pinterest for some ideas and I found a few different versions of this mix. My version is gluten free, of course!
Gluten free pretzels
White chocolate wafers
Super simple to toss together. I didn’t measure. I just poured what I wanted in a large bowl, added melted wafers, tossed and spread out on wax paper lined pans. I left it to firm up for about an hour. I first put it into a container, but then I remembered we are living in covid times, so I decided to bag it into individual portions. The bags I used are super easy to use and affordable on Amazon. They self seal and are food safe, bakery bags. Here’s to patriotic calories!
Thankfully we could go out and get our annual schools out/holiday pedicure. Typically we select a more Americana look, but we were feeling the bright colors and a bit of nail art. It was super nice to get out and have some self care, even if we were wearing masks. Anything a little normal is a mood lifter these days.
A day at the lake is always a nice invite. We had a great time taking in the sunshine and lake breeze. A day of taking it easy and enjoying the company of family and friends can almost make a person forget how stressful things have been.
We decided to take an afternoon walk…to enjoy our surroundings and tire our four legged princess out a bit. While we walked I spotted this adorable gnome situation. We have a little gnome garden, but this was so cute and a great way to embellish a tree stump. Our gnomes need an upgraded location! This little scene made my day.
There Will Be Fireworks
The typical fireworks displays that we normally attend were not happening this year, so we luckily saw many home displays on our drive back from the lake. People really put on good shows. All of the home shows inspired us to dig out some fireworks we had…that were sort of old, but they did not disappoint.
Even though we had a modified, socially distant celebration it was surprisingly festive. This was our first big holiday embracing the new normal with modifications and positive attitude. Star spangled fun was had by all….looking forward to what the rest of summer will bring.
Fairytales can be fun ways to teach and entertain students. I personally love to use them for listening and teaching compare and contrast. I love looking for different versions, so we can break down the similarities and differences, but often titles are told with animals or caucasian characters. I am going to be looking for titles that represent and offer diversity.
Of course I decided to head to Pinterest to see what books might be options to add to my library or wishlist. I love that I can always tap the app and find what I am searching for. If you are looking to expand your fairytale collection I reccomend checking out pins and start a list.
These adorable books seem to be popular. I saw multiple pins and posts about these. I love the illustrations and I know we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but these are beautiful. I checked these out on Amazon. Each book seems to cost about 8-9$. There is the option to purchase them as a boxed collection…which saves money and I love to save. All of these appear to be board books. I love that these books are intended to be read by and to little ones. Starting our youngest readers looking at these is where small changes can start. I would totally use these with school age kids. Going in an out of my itinerant bag can be brutal on paperback books, so these would represent what I want to instill and be incredibly durable.
Our Beautiful World
These are stories that are have African characters and an African setting, as opposed to the typical European tale. Rachel Isadora is an award winning author and illustrator. I found these titles on Amazon, but I know I will be looking for these in my local book store. I would love to turn all the pages before I buy.
Why does Little Red Riding Hood have to be a girl?
I love that these stories have children of color, are fairytales with boys and look modern. Jack and the bean stalk is typically set long ago, but with this version it is set in a city which is most likely more relatable to kids these days. I think that flipping the gender for a fairytale is equally fantastic.
I have never read this story where she wasn’t a girl. Frederico and the Wolf is a refreshing change. A boy with a bike trying to get to grandma. I find there are more stories told with a female main character, maybe more authors will flip the gender, so boys can see themselves in the pages.
This Mexican-American version also has a salsa recipe included. How fun would this be as a math or cooking extension? Students could use the same ingredients Frederico brings to his Abuela?! I am sure that with some research you can also find activities to support and connect to the culture depicted on the pages of these diverse tales.
Not the Same Old Story
There are so many fantastic titles out there. I am going to continue to search for titles that tell classic tales with a twist and diverse representations. I am sure there are titles I will love and ones I won’t. I think checking the book out, cover to cover, is key and be sure the books will engage your students. I’m not just going to get books that look different-they have to be quality stories. My hope is the more students see stories with characters that might not look or look like them, so we can build a more inclusive and open minded school community. I am excited to start doing my part. I know I will make mistakes and I have things to learn, but moving forward is how we grow!
***Most of these titles I found when searching on Amazon. Check out the reviews and summaries to see if they would work in your classroom.
If you have any recommendations I would love it! Share away!!!! You can send a comment.
Last thing-I started a books for kids board on Pinterest. If you want you can always look there or follow my Pinterest to see what I have most recently discovered. My Pinterest can be found under The Listening Ladybug❤
As an educator I find myself always looking for was to grow and expand what I know and how I can better serve my students. Watching the news and seeing posts on social media has compelled me to dig a bit deeper and search for new tools to broaden my teaching scope. One place I always like to go for ideas is Pinterest.
I love how I can always find ideas and perspectives to add to my boards. The picture/pin above summed up what I was looking for. If you follow this pin you will see it leads to a simple and clear post about building ones home or classroom library with diverse titles. She offers up 8 tips to think about when adding to your shelves. I say thank you…well done.
This pin caught my eye because I have some of the titles shown. I am going to be looking further into the others and determine what ones might be helpful for my collection. I very much enjoy how each book has a mini review. I recommend looking at this collection and reading the blog post.
Seeing that this is pride month I couldn’t ignore looking for a collection of books that would support and educate my students and myself about people and families that wave all of the colorful flags. I know I do not have any books on this subject matter in my collection….my basement library, so I will definitely be looking at the above highlighted titles. I appreciate that the pin has summarized all of the books. Hopefully when I get out to my local bookstore I can see and touch the pages before I purchase.
The collections in this post are mostly unfamiliar titles and with this unfamiliarity comes an obvious lack of full understanding and knowledge. This is where I need to do the work and put my summer days to good use, exploring and expanding my knowledge base. I know I have so much to learn and my hope is with this knew knowledge I will be a better teacher.
One thing I have always loved and appreciated about education is we are a group of sharers. We pass on our knowledge and experiences not just with our students, but with eachother. We can support and lift eachother. I very much recommend exploring these collections and searching for others. As I state this I am also generating a to do list for myself.
Digging Deeper Research Tips
Look for more collections and individual titles online
Ask other teachers for recommendations
Revisit and dig through my personal books
Make a trip out to local bookstores
Look for new titles and authors
Actually read the books…not just gloss over
Keep questions written down
Recognize this is a process
Be a learner
Think about how I can infuse new titles organically into my lessons
I am very thankful to all of the people who have put together all of these pins/collections. Sometimes when I think about researching anything I am looking for I have a moment or two of feeling overwhelmed, but I know there are smart and helpful people out there that have had the same questions….and have done great work. A friend of mine keeps reminding me Pinterest is a search engine, which I often forget. It can be so much more than a way to relax or fill time, so I will put my scrolling fingers to work and do my homework.
Our little lady is bringing joy to the streets. Taking our daily walk has turned into a totally different experience. We are loving this change.
Walking fast and easy is a temporary thing of the past. Our pint size princess needs leash training. She walks and stops to smell everything she can! This exploration if the neighborhood is cute, but not burning the quarantine calories. As you can see below she has a deep love of sticks, so finding the perfect one is essential. If she can carry it….she will.
The next thing I have noticed is we have a little celebrity. Because of the current situation more neighbors are outside walking and in their front yard. So many people are moving family fun from the back yard to the front yard and because of this social shift we have seen more of our neighbors in three months than we have seen in three years! We have always said hello or made pleasant eye contact, but now there is 6 feet of leash, social distancing conversation happening.
There is no denying she is adorable, but once we answer puppy questions we are talking about more….actually getting to know eachother. We have some very lovely neighbors who seem to be doing their best getting through this unprecedented time. From the outside, the only thing we are allowed to see, yards look beautiful, cars are getting washed, and celebrations are happening, but because we are stopping to chat we are learning more about them and their experiences.
It is totally great how Little Miss Maisel has spiraled into so much more. We are definitely taking this time to care and train her, but I love how such joy and happiness can be felt and seen from such a tiny creature. I feel more at home now, in my neighborhood, than I ever expected. The hustle and bustle of our old normal lives never really gave us time to do more than a power walk….no time gotta race to the next scheduled thing.
With slowing down, staying in and adding to our family we have grown so much. I love how happy our newest member makes us, but I think it is priceless how much happiness has been spread by four tiny paws. Seeing the smiles on peoples faces during a sort of scary, crappy and bleak time has made me rethink about this time and why we are going through this period of isolation.
If this wasn’t happening, being at home, I do not know if I would have felt confident in adding to our family. I am glad I listened to my gut. This whole experience just reaffirms my belief that everything happens for a reason and good things come in small packages!
You can always drop me a line, comment, follow me here or on Instagram. ❤
I don’t know about you, but I miss my yoga teacher and studio. Being at home all these months has been challenging on so many different levels. Since I started this blog I have written many posts about how yoga is my jam….how it has enhanced my life since going gluten free. How it balances me and has given me a new sense of accomplishment.
Going to class is something I very much enjoy and look forward to. With the current changes due to the pandemic, going to the studio and interacting with all of lovely people that attend classes has been put on pause. My teacher, like many others, has tried to still teach classes and connect with her students. Logging into a Zoom yoga class has been ok. I love that she adapted to the changing times and offered something. Everyone has been on a learning curve, using different platforms to connect and do their job.
With all the positives of taking an online class….I still miss going to class. Taking class in my family room is not as fulfilling. I can hear her voice, follow her instructions and turn up the playlist, but with all of that it is not as motivating. I used to tell people I loved a home workout. Home was easier. I could have flexibility, I don’t have to go out in the winter, and I didn’t have to feel self conscious.
I believed that until I started to make time and show up for myself. I discovered I truly enjoy being surrounded by like minded people and I need to be present to push myself. Being at home is fine, but I think I am not doing as good a job as I was in studio. Yoga, in my opinion, is for the self. There isn’t a level of competition or who can be better than another. So with that being said why am I not pushing as hard during a Zoom class??
I think it is the vibe and energy that happens in a class. This level of engagement that supports and encourages is not present in my family room. I typically focus on myself when I go to class, but I love it when I see another student doing something incredible with their body. Maybe it is not cool, but I have quietly clapped and cheered people on for trying something new or take a pose to a personal new best. I find it inspiring.
I miss that level of support and community. I am counting the days until we can all practice together….in the same space. Until then, I will show up on my mat and try. I will continue to support my yoga tribe via a screen and microphone.
I have created a home yoga checklist to keep myself accountable.
Plan to attend class
Register for class in advance
Get dressed for class…no pjs
Turn my camera on
Use the playlist
This list can apply to any home workout. If you Zumba, dance or attend a pilates class maybe these tips will keep you on track until you can go to class and interact with your tribe.
The world is in a place of uncertainty due to the pandemic. America is definitely in a place of uncertainty and civil unrest today. This blog was never intended to be something to express political concerns or opinions….and with this post I am staying true to myself. So, no matter where you live or what political affiliations you have I hope you read on with an open mind and accepting heart.
I above all things promote positivity and compassion….love and peace….kindness and respect for all things living, so with my voice I am hoping and praying that people can come together, because what is happening in the streets is so far from anything I believe in. I have words, but at this moment I don’t have the words about what I am seeing and feeling, if that makes any sense. Violence is always difficult for me to process.
With this I say……
Choose to live in the light.
Be the light for others who are struggling.
Use your voice for the good.
Speak up for the oppressed and the powerless.
Educate, reflect and reevaluate how you participate as a citizen of the world.
To me everything here is just human….basic life foundations. These foundations need to be taught, promoted and internalized inorder to make real change. As a teacher I think I am doing ok at teaching and supporting my students. I need to do even more….we all can do more…be better. As a mother I know I do a solid job at teaching and instilling these basic fundamental principles, but I know I can do more, explain more and expose my child to more realities of the world. We always want to protect the children in our life, but age appropriate exposure to reality might help educate and foster a deeper understanding of real issues and struggles.
With the light comes the dark…we can not close our eyes and hope that everything will be ok. Let’s open ourselves up to being that bright light…and know there will be dark days where we need to shine our light a little more for others. It may be difficult, all the more reason to press on. It will be worth it. How could it not?
During everything that has been happening…or better yet not been happening, we decided to add a new level of happiness to our family. We were ready to move forward and let the pint sized chaos begin.
There has been a lot of conversation going on for the last couple of months. Do we? Don’t we? Are we ready? How will this change us?
That was Then
We used to have dogs. After last spring and the passing of our second dog we were in no rush to get a new dog. There was no replacing him. It was very hard watching our 13 almost 14 year old pet pass- it was life changing. We needed a bit of time to ourselves, to just be pet free for a while. If you have a dog you know it is almost like having a child and there is a level of responsibility that is your normal.
We needed to embrace a bit of emotional freedom-get a new normal. In the end he was a little aging grandpa and he took up alot of mental space, but with time we mourned and moved into a level of freedom we hadn’t had in a decade plus. We went on vacation without a dog sitter plan. We just became people with fish.
While we have been home and taking daily walks it became apparently obvious that we were ready. We were missing something….four paws. So, with a bit of reaching out to friends and online looking we found a little girl(from a litter that was living a home) that seemed to be a perfect fit for our family, especially now with plenty of time to train.
This is Now
This tiny little girl has completely adjusted our daily routine in a blink of an eye. We are puppy people! We are doing all of the things…..it’s almost like having an infant. We maybe sleep deprived, but it will all be worth it once she is house trained and acclimated to our family.
We are embracing this new normal with gusto and coffee. I will definitely be sharing more of our journey and plenty of pics! This is our unofficial kick off to a summer of puppy love.