Learning is Messy

Finally. A quiet moment when I can sit down and get back to this blogging thing. In the weeks I have been gone, many exciting things have happened. First of all, I am really happy with the way these first few weeks of school have turned out. Thankfully those first few nerve racking (sp? anyone?) days are over. I think I have done an okay job of creating a positive learning atmosphere, and my students seem excited about the new things we're learning everyday. The students are also excited about our little website/blogging experiment. Right now I still feel so hesitant about putting things on there (my constant, annoying habit of trying to make things perfect), that I am driving myself crazy a little bit. Nothing in life is perfect, and I have to remind myself that we learn best when things are a little messy. I also have issue with admitting to 10 year olds that I don't know much about something, so that might be a little bit of my problem too. I'll keep you posted about how all this turns out. Wish me luck!

On another note, I have decided to go back to school this semester to try and get enough post-master's hours for a pay raise. I am a little nervous about the time commitment, but I am also kind of glad to be back in school. It certainly gives me a more insight into what my kiddos go through every day. I had a 4 hour class last Tuesday night which ended in a major mental breakdown on my way home. It went something like this.

I'm out of gas! I forgot about that other thing I was supposed to do! File folders! The students need their file folders tomorrow to begin working on the biome project! Should I go to Wal-Mart in the morning? Wait! Wal-Mart is getting rid of all their school supply stuff! They probably won't have them. I'm defeated and tired. Wake up! You are running off the road! Oh hi, mom. I didn't mean to call you, but how's it going? This stupid iphone. Oh well, mom, I gotta go. Daniel, honey? Will you get me my wallet? I have to get on the computer and pay my tuition tonight- today's the deadline. Oh no. Oh no! What have I done!? It says here the tuition is TWICE what I thought it would be. Let me show you the sheet I saw that listed graduate tuition. Oh right. Of course. It says 2005-2006 at the top. Yes, I can see it written in those big letters. Can we afford this? Thanks for not being mad.

Life is messy. School is messy. I have decided to make it my goal this year to be okay with that. Kids today have so much pressure put on them. I am constantly making mistakes (see above) and I'm the teacher for goodness sake. I'm done with this whole defeated perfectionist attitude I have. You know the one. I am so busy trying to make everything a certain way, that I'm never truly in the moment, enjoying what actually IS going on. Are there any other defeated perfectionists out there?

Grammar Resources

The first 3 days of school have come and gone, and guess what? I survived. I actually think I did more than survive. Except for a few minor mishaps, the first week went really well. I'm not sure if all my summer planning was worthwhile, since most of the technology stuff I want to do is blocked on our computers at school. I am happy with our website attempt though, so hopefully it wasn't all for nothing.

One subject I'm still struggling to make interesting and fun is grammar. It's tempting to just kind of halfway teach grammar since it's not tested. However, I do not want my students going through life sounding like uneducated people who "ain't got no clue." I have to admit that I am no grammar expert. I frequently use incorrect grammar myself, especially when I get worked up about something. I'll bust out a "I done did that already!" like it's nothing. I try to monitor what I say to impressionable children, and I encourage you to correct me if you hear me saying something like starting a sentence with "Me and her" or talking about how "good" I'm doing today.

I have found a few exciting grammar resources that I'm going to share here. I'm still looking for more though, so if you have any please share!

Ten Grammar Games and Lesson Resources from Free Technology 4 Teachers

Grammaropolis described on iLearn Technology

Grammar Bytes

It's almost here...

Goodbye Summer. You are officially gone.

I am looking forward to meeting all of my new little friends and their parents Monday night. I think I'm ready, but are you really ever ready? I feel like I could plan for the next 6 months and I would never feel completely ready. So many emotions-- excitement, nervousness, anticipation, nausea.

I think it is okay to be nervous about the first day of school. To quote what I think might have been an anti-dandruff shampoo commercial, "you only get one chance to make a first impression." Those first few days will determine how the rest of the year will play out. Will the students see me as a confident, organized, competent leader? Hopefully so. I'd even settle for slightly crazy, don't make her angry, maybe she knows what she's talking about lady.

Right now, I'm going to try and make some commitments to myself about the upcoming year. I am posting them on here so that I have some motivation to actually make these things happen.

1. Keep up with the class website. My wonderful team teacher and I have created a website using Weebly. We are going to use both a teacher and student blog to communicate with parents.

2. Continue blogging about my experiences. I realize that no one really cares, but this is a great way for me to reflect on my practice- both the good and the bad.

3. Not be afraid to try new things. I have so many ideas about ways to incorporate technology and I'm going to make some of those ideas a reality. I owe it to my students to provide them with authentic assignments that can be shared with people outside of the classroom walls.

4. Ask myself what's best for the students. So many times I am guilty of doing things because they are easier for me.

Wish me luck! Does anyone else have ideas about things they want to do differently this year?