Monday, January 27, 2014

Teacher Work Days... A Blessing or a Curse?

Well the semester ended on Friday. Half way through the year already?? Really?? Seems hard to believe. When this year began, I was dreading it in many ways - mainly due to all the emphasis on the switch to the Common Core. Reflecting a bit now that it's half way over, I see that this has been one of the BEST years of my teaching career so far. Yes the first few months had a LOT of growing pains associated with them. People at school were unhappy, morale was low. But after those first few months went by, I found myself really excited at the prospect of revamping a lot of what I do in my classroom. I've had two huge transformations this year that have affected my class the most - the first was the switch to interactive notebooks for my history curriculum. The second was the complete revamping of two units for class novels (and two more revamps to go!). Yes, no one likes to willingly go through change, because not changing it easy. It's HARD WORK to change your curriculum, especially if you're 10  years in to teaching like I am. But wow, am I proud of the work I've created so far this year. I actually find myself excited for the second half of the year that lies ahead of me!

Today was a teacher work day - no kids, just a full day of work time for us. I always underestimate the amount of work I have to do on these days. I got to school at 8 and found myself still grading at 1:30. I had hoped to grade for half the day and plan for the half the day, but alas that was not meant to be. Once I finally submitted my quarter and semester grades, I only had time to plan out some new history work for this week. And I swear I did NOT dilly dally on facebook or waste time online... just so much to wade through and entering grades takes longer than some might think.

Tomorrow starts the second semester. Good luck to all of you in the same boat!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Half way there! Common Core on the horizon!

Well, the semester ends on Friday for us. This is always a very busy time of year. Lots of tests and things to collect! My kiddos are taking their first semester WOD final today. WOD is our 8th grade vocabulary program - it stands for "Word of the Day". It's a great program. The words are solid and the routine of having WOD as a warm up each day is a nice way to start class. If you're interested in checking the program out, check out my TPT links to the right!

Monday is a teacher work day for us. I treasure these days. Lots of time to get work done and NO pressure of any meetings or anything to accomplish from the office. I usually am able to get all my grading done and still have at least half the day for planning time. It seems like planning time with my colleagues is super valuable this year with the implementation of Common Core. We are supposed to be fully Common Core by the end of the year. Are you feeling that pressure too? I'm not sure where our school district stands in terms of being behind or ahead of the curve for Common Core. I know my friend in Oregon who teaches math has been on the Common Core train for a few years now. It would be nice to hear your stories about your transition to Common Core and how you feel you are progressing!