Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!
All of us have been thinking about good ways in which to treat our readers and followers. We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!
I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time to ourselves and our families.
We are creating warm rigorous learning environments where students are growing emotionally, socially, and academically. We are spending countless hours in our classrooms, on the computer, and even at home working to help support kids “be the best they can be”.
Sometimes we get lost in the shuffle though devoting so much time to school rather than our own lives. I always say “Why reinvent the wheel?” In my career, I have come across incredible talented educators who have awesome ideas and tips that they are willing to share. These ideas may make my time in the classroom easier. I hope you will find some of these ideas here on this LaborLESS Blog Hop.
I spent the first 19 years of my career in the classroom as a First and Second Grade Teacher. I left the classroom only 2 years ago to be a Math Support Teacher for grades K-5. When I was teaching lower elementary, I loved giving weekly 5 minute individual reading conferences to my beginning readers. I felt these conference were so powerful because I was able to spend “quiet” time with my students individually and just focus on their needs. I took this opportunity to celebrate their growth and guide them through their challenges.
Through the years, I have figured out that I am a visual learner. I need to see anchor charts, checklists and other visual prompts to help me organize my thinking, learn new content and drive my future planning. When I met with my students during these reading conferences, I would sometimes struggle to remember what our goals were for past conferences or what book the students chose to read to me the prior week (yes, there was a time when a student tried to share the same book each week…gottcha!)
To help me keep focused, I created a parent reading communication form and matching teacher checklist. I loved using it and my parents enjoyed the feedback. Here’s the great thing too…there were no surprises at Parent Teacher Conferences. Families already had ideas how to help their student at home in reading because they had been receiving weekly communication from me. It also made my job easier because although it took an extra minute or two to highlight the form and track the information in my data reading conference notebook, I was more confident at PLCs and meetings with my principal and literacy support team.
No one seems to understand me (especially my husband – ha ha) as well as my teacher friends. I have spent hours with my teacher friends laughing and supporting each other through the years.
I have several groups of teaching friends. There is a group of 8 of us that formed friendships when we first started teaching at a new building together before we had kiddos of our own. Opening a new school together will bond you…trust me. Twelve years later we are all at different schools in the district but make a great effort to meet up for laughs and dinners a few times a year. I adore these girls and cherish our times together.
I have a great group of friends that I taught with a few years ago that meet up as well before school starts and around the holidays. We have spent weekends at my lake house in the summer and truly bonded outside of school. These are also my “lunch bunch” friends.
My last group of teacher friends are my newest friends who truly support and nurture me lately. These girls are my Michigan TPT blogger friends that I met in the spring. We enjoyed each other’s company at several small meet ups, leaned on each other at Vegas TPT in July, and continue to be cheerleaders for each other supporting and growing together in this blogging world. A special shout-out to Sara from Sara J Creations… she is truly amazing and very talented educator. I am very thankful for her kindness and generosity. Sara keeps me focused, teaches me new tips and helps me unwind by reminding me that I am not alone in my challenges. 🙂
Remember the Parent Communication Reading Conference Form and Checklist I spoke about at the top of my post? Well here is just one of my forms in action!