Monday, September 12, 2016

Just another manic Monday! #DITLife 9-12-16

What just happened?!

Seriously, it's only the 7th day of school and I feel like I've been hit by several mack trucks and that it's May.  Sometimes I wish I could just turn my brain off for a few minutes.  I have a million different things swirling in my brain all at once.  I just want it all to stop so I can breathe for a second!

I stayed up rather late last night watching my beloved Patriots beat the Cardinals and I knew the morning was going to be rough, so I prepared by packing my lunch and putting out my clothes the night before.

Then the series of unfortunate events started.

When I got downstairs, I discovered my oven had been left on all night after we pulled out the nachos at halftime.  That's gonna be awesome in the gas bill next month.  Halfway to school I realized I had left my breakfast on the counter.  

Got to school very early and immediately started working on a testing schedule for grades 4 and 5.  Our district benchmark tests are going to be given online this year, so I needed to coordinate when and how the devices would get to each class.  I nailed down a schedule and shared it with my principal, STEAM teacher, and SPED department for review before sending to teachers. 

After that, I spent some time looking for data scores for students who transferred to our school from another school within our district.  This was a fruitless operation as I was only able to successfully find one student's data!  Feeling defeated, I sent out a few emails to my graduate class that I'm teaching about what is due at the next session, and updated the lesson plan template they are going to use and sent that off to them as well. 

I looked for information and/or presentations about what a coach is to show to my colleagues at a staff meeting in a few weeks.  I'm working with my literacy coach in the building to come up with a quick overview of what our job entails and what kinds of things we can help them with.  I'm hopeful that this presentation will be super helpful for all and that I'll walk away with a full schedule after that meeting.  Only found a few helpful things, but formulated a pretty good agenda in my brain.  Still need to hash it out with the lit coach, but there's never enough time for both of us to meet.

I was lucky to be asked to have a working lunch with the entire grade 1 team to go over how to work their math block.  They have a super funky schedule this year and their math block is interrupted twice by snack and preps.  We brainstormed several different ideas, but ultimately they're going to have to figure out what works best for their room and their students. 

Immediately after that, a second grade teacher came into my room for a mini-conference/planning session during her lunch.  She was concerned that her students are starting at a lower level than anticipated, and wasn't even too sure where to start with them.  We planned a Number Talk that I would come in and deliver after lunch, during her math block, and then quickly planned a few different center activities for after the Number Talk.  Made a few quick copies as she picked them up from the lunch room.

Making tens in 2nd grade
The number talk and the center work I had planned went well.  I started off with a doubles fact and then moved into an equation that would emphasize the make 10 strategy.  The kids did well with it, and started to pick up on the strategy by the third problem in the string.  Then we worked on a making ten activity using ten-frames.  She was right, they're starting somewhere around middle of first grade.  Made me wonder if this is just summer loss or what happened in the first grade last year that this is where these kids are starting.  Have made a mental note to pop in to her room again tomorrow to see where she goes next.

Then the bell rang, and a line formed at my office door.  First, the literacy coach apologized for being so busy herself that we didn't get to plan our coaches presentation together.  Second, a para came to talk to me about possibly taking over my tutoring gig I have.  And third was a 5th grade teacher wanting to figure out a spiral review homework situation for the rest of the year.  I just told all of them I would need a night to sleep on things and process and would catch up with them tomorrow.  

Rushed out of school to run home for 2 minutes, pick up my other laptop, and then head to my tutoring gig.  I have been working with this girl for 2 years and go twice a week and help her with her executive functioning skills. We had a good session, left her with lots left to do, and finally got to go home for the day!

My dear hubby has Mondays off, and I have to say, he didn't really take the day off!  So much stuff got done around the house I'm in shock in awe.  He trimmed out a few of the windows in our new kitchen, cleaned up the patio and put away some of the patio furniture for the winter, vacuumed the pool, did dishes, and did laundry.  Am I a lucky gal, or what?!  We made dinner together tonight because he wanted to practice cooking me grilled cheese and soup for when I have my surgery in a few weeks.  It came out delicious, though admittedly the cooking process was too intimidating for him so I ended up doing most of it myself!  I'm not worried for my surgery though, I know he'll find a way to take care of me as good as he usually does.

The rest of the night I spent looking for the aforementioned 5th grade spiral review homework and answering work related emails, all while watching the news, tv shows, and my two dogs playing tug-o-war non-stop!

Early to bed for me tonight since I didn't get much sleep.  8:00 pm and I'm calling it a day!


Reflection Questions

1) Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day.  Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming.  When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of?  What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?

I'm happy that I accepted the invitation to work with my grade 1 team during our lunch.  Even though we kept going in circles, it was really nice to have that time together and try to problem solve their tricky schedule.  I wish that I had consulted with the 2nd grade teacher earlier than a half hour before her math block started.  It was tough to thoughtfully plan out meaningful activities to do with such limited time.

2) Every person’s life is full of highs and lows.  Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher.  What are you looking forward to?  What has been a challenge for you lately?

I'm really looking forward to seeing where this team collaboration is going to go for the rest of the year.  If I already have one grade level asking to meet with me, and another grade level on the verge of asking me, then it can only get better.  As a coach, that is my dream to be able to collaborate with all grade level teams.  Time management has been an issue for me lately.  As I mentioned before, I have so much going on that sometimes I don't even know where to start.  There's a solid chance I have Adult ADD because I'll start one thing, and then a few minutes into that, think of something else I have to do and then switch gears!  I need to start focusing and setting small goals for myself to get all my stuff done.

3) We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is.  As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students.  Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.

Today I was walking in the hall and I saw a student I hadn't seen since last year.  He shouted with a smile, "HEY MRS. HUDAK!!" then came over and gave me a big hug.  Admittedly I can't remember his name, but he was so sweet and kind and I'm going to seek him out in the next few days so I can remember his name! haha  (Please cut me some slack, there are 400 students in my school, names are hard to remember!)

4) Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year. What have you been doing to work toward your goal?  How do you feel you are doing?

I've put more thought into my SMART goal for the school year.  Personally, in order to help build number sense, I want to help the teachers to get the students to make their thinking visible in math.  I shared an article with my colleagues that gives some good tips for starting math journals or portfolios.  A few have already given me feedback that they really loved it and plan to start implementing them in their rooms.  I'm going to make sure to keep that momentum going in the next few weeks. 

5) What else happened this month that you would like to share?

I finally had the chance to share all the work I did to get all the district math resources on one central site. It was a huge hit! I think everyone was really excited with the layout and ease of use. During this day, I also got to do a mini PD presentation for all grades 1, 2, 3 teachers in the district, which also included all the principals and the assistant superintendent. Even though I nearly blacked out from nerves, I got a lot of feedback afterwards that I did great! So, with those two big presentations under my belt already this month, I'm feeling really good!

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