Sunday, May 15, 2016

ALL IN!

At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, the staff gathered for our first work day.  As a new teacher to the building, I was eager and full of excitement.  Our staff motto this year was ALL IN!  Staff members took a pledge to be all in for the kids.  I personally loved this instead of memorizing a lengthy vision.  All in was easy to remember and could be applied across many areas.

That same day my principal told us that it was going to be the best school year ever.  Little did we know in April we would be awarded the #1 Magnet School in America.  I say it really has been the best school year ever!  A large part of that was doing what's best for kids and continuing to be innovative with our instructional decisions.  Watching our school transform this school year has made a positive impact for our students.  Alternate seating has been my favorite transformation.  The students love it!

With this award it was only natural to plan a celebration for the staff, students, and community.  On Friday students walked into school on the red carpet.  As students entered their classroom, they were given a small #1 foam finger.  Parent volunteers were in classrooms helping paint student faces.  Once the bell rang, students had 2 rotations: painting ceiling tiles and attending an assembly.  My students ended up on the news and published in the newspaper.  Seeing the joy on my kid's faces was incredible.
Kindergarten team 

School assembly and me/my instructional assistant

While it was exciting to see our passion and efforts transpire into the recognition of #1 Magnet School in America, it made me reflect on the experiences we create for our students.  Are all staff members all in throughout the entire school year?  What does all in mean to you?  I strive to be a lifelong learner so I can provide my students with memorable learning experiences.

As we are in the final stretch, have fun with your students!  Create memories that will last for years.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Increasing Parent Involvement and #LastBell

As a Kindergarten teacher, I believe we need to set a strong, positive foundation for a child's education.  Building a partnership with families is essential.  Most teachers already communicate through notes, newsletters, phone calls, and e-mails.  However, we need to get families in the classroom.  When student' see their family make the effort to come into school, it illustrates that they value education and the parents/teachers are a team.



Many teachers may think it is too much work or preparation to host families in the classroom so frequently.  Family events do not always have to be holiday parties.  Some of my events are, but I try to host a theme.  Starting in November, I strive to host 1 family event a month during the school day.  Depending on your schedule, I find it best to do it first thing in the morning or at the end of the day so parents don't have to make an extra trip to school.  These events are not hosted by the school, they are hosted by you as the classroom teacher.  I love getting to know the families in my classroom and giving them the experience to truly witness their child's growth over the school year.  Mostly importantly, my students are only little once.  I want to make sure parent's enjoy this stage and embrace their child's love and curiosity to learn.

Most of us are in the final stretch.  Our days are filled with assessments and other demands.  However, this is a fun time of year to continue to make memories with your students and their families.  These relationships go beyond 1 school year.  Continue to build those relationships and have fun with your kids!