Sunday, August 3, 2014

Really....still around!

I really do still read and write with 7th graders. I promise! Apparently things got a little overwhelming after February though.

Last year, my 15th year teaching 7th grade, was probably my most hard-working yet gratifying

We are making huge strides in our curriculum re-purposing and overhaul. We are seeing awesome things from our kids. So we know it's worth it!  And yeah, I gotta say WE, not I, because I work with an AWESOME team. Love my ladies.

My hiatus from school blogging at the end of February quite possibly is the direct result of me getting really interested in essential oils at the same time. It was the last thing I ever should have taken on, but you know when you put some dessert on your plate even when you have enough other things to fill you twice over? I needed something else to focus on other than the immediate stress of school. I needed some dessert :)

And now I have a lot of it and am a distributor for Young Living, which I absolutely love. And because it was such a hectic year (and the kids were  really tough...probably my second toughest group of kids ever) I didn't spend any of June (once we FINALLY got out of school on the 13th) thinking about teaching. I was just a mom. An oily mom, but just a mom :) ( you know how awesome essential oils are? I have a diffuser for my classroom, too!)

At the end of July I had two days of work at our district office. One was a half day the 8th grade ELA Lead Teacher for our district and I (the 7th grade ELA Lead Teacher for the district) offered our colleagues as paid work time on inquiry units of study. Carly, Robin, and I spend our time reworking our first unit of the year, which we had totally repurposed last year, too. I am working on pieces of it right now, and I think it flows MUCH better than last year. It's so nice to see the bigger picture, the WHY, and then plan from there. I'll update y'all on the planning and activities as we get further into August and into September. My goal this year is to share past February 27th ha ha! We also have totally revamped our independent reading program, taking inspiration from colleagues from one of the other middle schools in our district (I truly love the 7th grade team in our district...we have six middle schools.) I'm excited about that and will write about it as I get my school brain back on, too.

The second day was a full day meeting for our ELA Lead Teacher team, which is made up of one representative from each grade 6-12, plus special education reps from MS and HS, and now reps from ESL and district social studies. It rocks. It's a team I LOVE. More on that in the days to come, too.

Speaking of school brains...I have a few weeks at least, but my sister and one of my sister-in-laws both start back in two weeks. It's only a week before me, but somehow it seems like an eternity. Have I ever told you that in every sibling and sibling-in-law family that my husband and I have (which would be 9 couples/families in all...7 on his side, 2 on mine) there is at least one teacher in each family?? And all of our parents are teachers. And since it is 10:20pm and my husband is editing photos, I'll give you the run down.

My parents:
Mom was a 1st grade teacher for her whole career (well, except for her first year when she was a speech pathologist.)

Dad was a 7th grade English teacher for most of his career. He had an elementary degree so he also taught a little math, social studies, and science here and there. I still have his overheads with Holocaust information. It was one of his favorite units and now is one of my favorite units well. Apple...tree.

My siblings:
Lisa, my sister, was a high school Spanish teacher for a long time. She is five years older than me, so she must have hit her 20th year of teaching. Now she is the World Languages Coordinator in her district, which is in the suburbs of Minneapolis.

My brother's wife, Cindy, is an ESL teacher in Minneapolis. She's transitioning from elementary to HS this year!

Stephen's parents:
His mom was a FACS teacher. Then she stayed home with the kiddos!

His dad has a doctorate in Music and has been a band director, an education professor, a psychology professor, in charge of student teachers. He's now a chaplain. 

Stephen's oldest brother, Brian, teaches HS Latin (and usually English), in Fargo, ND.
His oldest sister, Leanne, has an ed degree and teaches some early childhood classes.
His second oldest sister, Tricia, has five kiddos and has home schooled all of them at some point. They are currently stationed in Ankara, Turkey.
I teach 7th grade English, and Stephen teaches photography classes at St. Paul College. He is currently getting his master's so he can teach college full time. He's a photographer by day, soon to be art welder/sculptor!
His younger brother, Paul, is married to Anna who taught 2nd and 5th grade and now is a LUCKY elementary librarian in a northern suburb of Mpls.
His younger sister, Bethany, home schools her boys...she has four of them, but only three are school age right now.
Then comes his sister, Jessica, who is a 7th grade Special Education teacher in North Dakota. We will be comparing notes lots this year!
His youngest brother, Marcus, is in med school, and his wife, Stephanie, just graduated with an Art Education degree and then had our newest nephew, Sully!!

What did I tell you? It runs in the blood!! Sam, my 6 year old has been saying for the last three years that he wants to be a teacher...a science teacher currently! And this summer when we were back in Minot, ND, for my 20 yr high school reunion, we went to my mom's old school and were able to get in thanks to some awesome new teachers who were there already working in their classrooms! We went down to my mom's old room, where I spent many a day in the summer helping her (and using her construction paper and stamps, which I loved!!), and took some photos. I'll see if I can link some.

Anyway, I suppose I should stop jabbering. I do want to mention the TpT back to school sale, although for me it's not QUITE back to school yet :) 

All the best to those of you in school already, and let's talk soon! I'm getting the creative flow back and am almost ready to roll!

Happy teaching!


And hot dog....I just realized that I can link photos from my phone! Here's a bit of my summer...