Posted in Positive Life

Spring Cleaning: Beauty Edit

By this time of the year I start to get spring fever and the itch to clean or purge areas of my house. One area that I completely neglect is my bathroom vanity and bathroom closet. I take so much time and effort selecting beauty and hygiene products…I should probably take the same approach at managing these items.

My goal is to clean, purge or pass on products I have in my makeup bag or closet. I especially need to check things I buy in multiples. If you are at all like me you love to save a dollar, so super-sized items or sales tend to make me happy, but if products aren’t being used at a healthy rate…then I’m really not saving if things expire and I have to toss.

Lotions and Potions

I first start in my linen closet to check the dates on body products. I live to get a deal and if I think we like something I buy multiples. Checking the expiration date on shampoo bottles, lotions and soaps is very important. Your skin is the barrier between you and the world. I know I try to select clean beauty products and want my body absorbing health ingredients. Using expired lotions and potions is counter productive, so I trash and recycle what needs to go!

Makeup

Same idea for my makeup. I look through and see what is old. Time to toss. I also clean up my pieces. I use a microfiber cloth and warm water to wipe off product residue, dust or hairspray film. Giving everything a fresh wipe makes things seem a tiny bit new. Also, when I go through everything it allows me to mentally inventory what I have.

When going through my makeup I try to see if there is anything unopened that I can pass along to a friend. Sometimes I buy things bundled in a set and don’t need or like each piece. Typically this is with eye products and lip products. I never wear black eyeliner, so if it comes in a set I put it in a drawer…time to pass it along.

Brushes

Cleaning all my brushes and sponges is so gratifying. I do this on a regular basis, but now is the time to look at wear and tear. Keeping my tools clean and functional is key to stress free application. I like to clean my brushes with an oil free facial cleanser. I know there are products just for cleaning brushes, but I find my face wash works well with a silicone brush cleaner mat.

Haircare

I went through a period where I was bent on getting the best dry shampoo for my hair needs, so I have tried many. The brands and formulas that don’t work for me are something I can easily pass on to a friend. I consider this re-homing.

Most of my hair products are used at a consistent rate and are replaced as needed, so not much to purge, but cleaning bottles, containers and cans is something I can do. Hairspray is something that I experiment with too. I see something new and think ooohhhh, but if I don’t use it up it gets relegated to the back of the closet with the dry shampoo. This too could be passed on or tossed.

Nails

If you are like me one day you open a drawer, makeup bag or bin and wonder how in the world you acquired so many nail polishes. Nothing lasts forever, so I check them out. Goopy, super separated and just not my color polishes can be tossed or passed on. I like to check out clippers, files and removers. If any of these tools seem well used or dirty, they too get a refresh.

Hand Soap

I have gotten very picky about brands and scents I like for hand washing. I typically store hand soaps in each bathroom and each bathroom has different kinds because everyone likes something different. There was a time that I could just stock up and grab all the fun seasonal scents, but over the last two years with the increase in hand washing and sanitizing I have sought out different, clean beauty brands, so I found a few expired bottles and a few that were new, but no one liked the scent. Which leads me to my last point.

Re-purpose, Pass on or Recycle

Throwing out gross, old, expired and used up items is the easy part. I find that I struggle with what to do with they things that are still good but not my jam. I hate wasting money, so I know that’s why things end up in the land of the lost beauty products. Hoarding things I don’t like but will never use is not helping anyone. I love a good purge but if I can find a product a new home…aka a friend’s vanity or counter that makes me happy.

Another’s place I can relocate a product is a staff bathroom. If you work somewhere that has more than company soap and paper towels. I find leaving a lotion, body spray, hair spray or hand soap is the perfect place to share. This also goes for new products that have been gifted. You might not love something, but maybe a coworker will. This seems much better than the trash can regardless of price point, drug store items or high end products deserve a second chance.

If you don’t love to clean or purge…I totally get that, but I really think that making sure your personal care and beauty products are safe and healthy is something you should make time for. Maybe clean, evaluate and organize everything in baby steps. Just don’t neglect what you put on your hair, skin or nails. This is a part of selfcare!

Posted in Teaching Life

Back to School 2021: Itinerant Tips and Suggestions

There will be more trial and error this year….never stop growing.

I had incredibly high hopes that school would be opening with an obvious contrast to last year.  Sadly some of the same things that make being a Teacher of the Deaf are still going to be in place. I survived it last year and I know I can do it again.

I have individual record keeping for each student. Keeping pages seperate and clean.

My prep this year is a bit different because I put some things in place last year that will make this years start up smoother and less foreign. These strategies and tools were a bit overwhelming last year, but as with most things repetition and familiarity can make things easier. Being ready and really being ready is my current challenge.

Carts

Using some vinyl is colorful, easy and a fun way to make a cart your own!

Last year to limit cross contamination, between students, I put cute metal carts in multiple buildings. These carts were stocked with whatever we would need for sessions.  They were incredibly helpful, organized and mobile. I love that having something on wheels. If I was relocated for the day, I would just wheel my materials away! This was efficient and also great for my back.  I love to joke that I sometimes feel like I’m carrying the world.  In actuality, I am at times…my little world, but none the less little worlds get heavy, so portability was key last year and will be again.

Materials and tools were easy to find, use and move!

Masks

Masks don’t seem to be going away, so wearing the right one is essential for surviving a school day. I started 2020 with all the cute fabric and clear panel masks I could find or afford. I played around with all the varieties and discovered my students preferred the disposable masks for their auditory needs.  Let be clear…no pun intended, that the clear panel masks were great in theory, but were awful in application.

So, with that being my findings from last year I have already stocked up on disposable masks. I hate throwing them away, but they are the best fit for my situation, so disposable it is. I really wore black a lot, so I decided to try out cute patterned disposable masks. My hope is pretty patterns will lift my mood.

These were an online purchase.

Tools and Resources

For years I have carried my tool bag that has all the things we need for sessions, but with the worry and possibility of cross contamination I made sure every student had individual and dedicated tools and materials.  I will be doing this again this year. It is more for me to set up, but it was mentally worth it. My students also felt safe and secure, so that was a total win.

Each student now has their own.

In the spring I took my carts and materials home. Everything has been reviewed, evaluated and wiped for this new year. I do this every June, but never before have I spent such mental thought about who gets what resources. Will I be able to rotate (with sanitization) and should I consider buying duplicates? I decided that I wasn’t going to purchase duplicates, but find ways to make what I have work. I’m sure there will be further posts on how I am making everything work in 2021-2022.

Going forward and trying to not dwell on all of the difficulties and negativity from last year. I am hoping 21-22 will be positive, productive and peaceful. Here’s to another year.

Posted in Teaching Life

An Itinerant Teachers Summer Balancing Act: Part 1

I think most people who work year round think that when teachers close the door to their classrooms for Summer break we are done working, are ready to relax and have multiple weeks to do anything and everything we want.  This may be true for some teachers, but I think for many of us the first weeks off can be a blur and filled with so many thoughts and emotions. I know this last statement to be true for me.

I love this message….what does this mean to you?

I have been off for a couple of weeks and I have definitely not felt like I was on vacation.  I still wake up at my alarm clock time. I am still getting up early. I still have all of my momsibilities.  By no means am I complaining, but I woke up this morning with my to do list on my mind and did one of the worst things I do when I get up….I check all the apps.

Checking all the apps is such a habit. I really need to make it a priority to not open my eyes and think I need to check multiple email accounts, Instagram and Facebook.  When I figure out how to do this I’ll let you know.  I know I’m not the only person who does this.

During my morning scroll I was looking at all of the awesome things people are doing this summer.  I love Instagram because it is visual and quick, but this morning it seemed like I was seeing endless summer fun and I found this to be overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled people are enjoying life, but I have no idea how they are there yet.  It takes me a few weeks to unwind from school and after the year we have all had, I am finding it more difficult to feel like I can relax and enjoy summer. Like I said I woke with a to do list on my mind.

Ending the year and practically jumping into the 4th seemed fast and not like a holiday. I was also driving my mini me to camp the first week off. Thankfully we chose a close, afternoon camp to attend, but I was still in turbo mom mode.  I also started looking around, my mostly tidy house, and started to think of all of the neglected nooks and crannies that need a reboot. So, a few days off and the brain can not shut off, the to do lists can not stop and that internal pressure of I’m not doing enough can not shut off.

What I’ve Done So Far

  • Cleaned 20-21 teaching things out of my vehicle.
  • Organized cupboards.
  • Repotted some house plants.
  • Cleaned my closet.
  • Chauffeured child.
  • Started packing and planning for family vacation.

I know this is not a crazy amount of things completed, but I feel guilty that I am not doing more, not squeezing every minute of productivity out of my day. I also realize this is a wackado way of thinking. My mental to do list needs to take a vacation.

This might even get tweaked some more.

What I Think “Needs To Be Done”

  • Make more TpT resources.
  • Organize my basement teacher area.
  • Purge cupboards, closets and drawers.
  • Redo child’s playroom.
  • Paint front doors.
  • Deep clean.
Resource that is in the works!!

Notice zero relaxation or fun on my list. The list is reasonable and totally doable, but there needs to be a mental balance. Achieving this balance of projects and guilt free summer chill time is definitely going to be a challenge for me, but I know that rest is incredibly important, especially after this year of teaching.

What I Need for Balance

  • Yoga(in person)
  • Chats with friends
  • Books….not teacher PD
  • Family time
  • Less screen time
  • Netflix and chill
  • See or do something new
  • A little nature
  • Ice cream
  • Pedicures
Eat the good things….

I think that if I can balance external responsibilities with internal responsibilities this could be a restful and productive summer vacation. Having these weeks off are a gift. I never take the time off for granted, that is definitely where some of the guilt and pressure comes from, but if I don’t reset my mind and body I won’t be the best teacher I can be for my students this September.

I am going to try my best to walk the talk!

  • Complete tasks without feeling like I “have to”
  • Have 1 lazy day per week
  • Self care
  • Spend time with friends
  • Remember to breathe
  • Spend quality time with my people
  • Ignore the calendar

This is obviously the start of summer and I have weeks to go. I am going to add more posts about my summer balancing act, so check back for updates!

Creating balance is living with purpose.

-The Listening Ladybug

Posted in Teaching Life

Winter 2021 Itinerant Teacher Essentials

Being itinerant can be a dream situation or sometimes you can find yourself questioning the busy, on the go, hectic daily grind. I happen to love my job, but winter can put a crimp in my peppy step. Cold weather, less sunshine and snowy parking lots make my daily hustle more challenging. I wanted to share a few things that are helping me stay warm and on schedule the winter season.

This is my second winter…or maybe third with these boots. They feel and fit better than other brands that look like these. I will not say that look amazing with a dress, but everything else works. I stay warm, dry and don’t slip as I am running in and out of schools all day. They wipe off beautifully and the interior is still supportive. I also like that they are a bootie. Taller boots sometimes make me feel claustrophobic. Especially, when I put winter wear on and off many times a day. I feel like when you are itinerant, you need to be light and stress free with coats, bags and footwear.

I normally wouldn’t post a pic with a price sticker, but 8 dollar of plastic heaven is worth being tacky.

This little, hot pink cone is genius. I have had the same big, black snow brush since I was in college, so that means it is pretty old. It works, but it is big, whereas I am small and it is an awkward experience. This little, hot pink job fits right in my hand perfectly. It scrapes the snow and ice with complete ease. I always struggled with traditional tools, but this little guy gets the job done fast and seeing that I move on a tight schedule, I don’t have time to struggle in the parking lot. I just zip this over the windows in under a minute and go! The spikes in the top help break up thicker ice. I honestly think if you are on the go, a busy mom, or hate winter car care-you need this. I definitely think it is goof proof and easy to control.

The car seat hooks are really helpful. I had been looking into getting some and low and behold…my mom gave me some for Christmas. I can hang them from the headrest forward or behind any seat. I love that I can hang my bag in the backseat and with winter weather it is staying off the salty, wet floor. I highly recommend these for anyone who wants to keep things off the floor or flying off the seat.

You could hang:

  • Lunchbox
  • Purse
  • Backpack
  • Tote bag
  • Trash bag
  • Grocery bags

Winter is my most challenging season as an itinerant teacher and looking for ways to make the day run smoother is always a good thing. Sometimes the schedules can leave me feeling like the Gingerbread Girl, but with better tools of the trade, it make the day more enjoyable. These 3 items are winter winners.

This winter is far from over, if I discover any other little gems, I will be sure to update you on what is making the day easier.

Check my other posts from last winter for inspiration, lesson ideas or just because.

Posted in Teaching Life

Creating Language Activities for My Littles

I find that I am in the constant pursuit of creating new ways to help my students use language to the fullest. Being a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is something I love and my own passion for language has been a helpful quality in supporting my students and the language gaps and barriers they have, but the ideas I think of are not strictly for the population of students I serve. We all use language for expression and reception, so my hope is that these activities can me modified for any student acquiring or expanding their language skills.

Descriptive Language

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sayrades-Christmas-Descriptive-Language-Game-6297874

This is a new resource I created for the holiday season. It is easy to use and can be modified for students needs and goals.

My students love games and activities that allow them to use clothes pins-which they love. I have various types for the individual lessons I plan. I try to use basic items whenever I can. They very much like the mini clothespins.

If these pages are laminated, wipe off markers can also be used to mark points earned. Also, laminated pages will save you prepping and planning in the future.

Expressive Language

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Write-A-Story-Holiday-Animals-5072651

My students often struggle with writing. I am always looking for ways to get more from them. I started making these writing promt pages. Our time is limited and I don’t want to waste time on an illustration, so I give them one. Language is my mission, not art. Don’t get me wrong, there are times and opportunities for creativity, but I want the majority of our time to focus on words.

These were a hit last year. Something I love about these is I can print as many pages as I want per student and for multiple grade levels. I always love having resources that I can use in so many different ways. It keeps my bag lighter and mentally I am juggling less.

I encourage the students to use the picture as a spark to start their story on fire. The pictures are there to support and guide the writing process. I love watching and reading their work when it gives life something I’ve made. So many times their little, creative minds take a page in a direction I never thought about when creating a resource. I have other write a story resources in my store.

Receptive Language

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Listening-and-Speechreading-Holiday-Animals-5072469

These are so much fun. I typically use with k-2nd grade students. The pictures are cute and fun, the flexibility is great and another resource that can be adjusted to meet IEP goals. Flexibility is essential to me as an itinerant teachers.a

I love exploring and expanding on a resource. I use these mats and cards to work on listening skills, speechreading skills, vocabulary skills and writing skills. I recommend laminating the cards and mats for durability and longevity. If you are using with multiple students laminated pages also easily wipe off, between students.

Having Fun with Language

Whatever language you use to communicate, being able to express yourself to the fullest is essential. Developing new tools to help my students do just that is always going to be my jam. I love language and I love teaching language skills.

If any of these ideas seem like something you could incorporate into your lessons you can visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I also have a Boom Cards store under the same name. Also, you can always follow this blog, I am always adding new content!

Have a holly jolly December teaching!

Posted in Teaching Life

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

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 was an Amazon deal…7.99 for hard cover.

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.

Posted in Teaching Life

Giving Thanks and Having Fun with Online & In Person Activities

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.

https://wow.boomlearning.com/deck/would-you-rather-thanksgiving-HZ2qXsuxEpJeurhGj

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.

  • Reading
  • Comprehension
  • Language
  • Choice making
  • Humor
https://wow.boomlearning.com/store/bundle/7buxqaBByE2iatu9h

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.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Listening-Speechreading-Fall-and-Halloween-4968299

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.

  • Listening
  • Comprehension
  • Retelling
  • Vocabulary
  • Text to Self Connection
  • Predicting

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!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-Halloween-Bookmarks-4952078

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.

Posted in Book Life, Family Life, Teaching Life

Books to Inspire and Educate Little Women

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.

Posted in Teaching Life

Bring It On September

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.

This cart was from Michael’s. So easy to assemble and add vinyl words.

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.

Picked this up on clearance. I haven’t used a store planner in ten plus years…hope I like it.

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.

Found resources on Teachers Pay Teachers. Check out Roots and Wings.

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.

1. I will see my students again.

2. I have a fantastic teaching community.

3. This is not forever.

So bring it on September!!!!

We Got This!!!!

Posted in Teaching Life

Back To School 2020: 10 Itinerant Tips and Ideas

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.

One

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.

Two

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.

Three

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.

Four

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.

Five

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.

Six

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.

Seven

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!

Eight

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.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Data-Collection-and-Progress-Monitoring-Sticky-Note-Bundle-4337356

Nine

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.

Ten

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.