Friday, February 22, 2013

Writing Goals

Writing Workshop Student Goals!
I saw the neatest class today.  The kids had sat down and had conference with a teacher to work on their writing goals.  When I asked some of them what their goals were, they gave me clear, specific things they were working on.  Some said, "Write 8 sentences or more."  Some said transition words, some said using spaces.  The goals were specific and measurable.  The kids were aware of them, and using them in their writing.  I didn't see a way the teacher kept track of it, like the poster above, but maybe she has a clipboard or something.  The point was that the teachers and the kids communicate so well that a substitute who spends only half a day with the class can see it.  The kids also had goals for "read to self" time, but those are harder to measure unless you sit with a child and listen to them read (and from personal experience, I can say that you're lucky to have time to do that with even 3 kids a day.)  

The school I've been subbing at this week is so impressive.  I've always felt that walking through the hallways and looking at the walls is a great indicator of what kind of school you're in, and the walls at this school are covered in student work that asks deep questions and invites multiple answers.  The students are introduced to famous artists and musicians, which is something I've always wanted to make a priority in my classroom.  So many of the students are very self-motivated, and they stay on task with a stamina that belies their elementary age.  I miss my old school and my kids so much, but after being at this school for and a half days, and another school where two of my student-teaching buddies work, I'm finding myself slightly more comfortable at a school besides mine.  I think about my former kiddos everyday, but it's not every moment.  I'm seeing great ideas from new teachers and new perspectives - yesterday I was in a class who had a sub binder that not only included a class list and attendance slips, but the log on for the computer, student behavior dos and don'ts.  I also put my 3 days of bilingual kindergarten experience to work as I navigated that classroom for half a day.  Talk Translate, you are a God-send.

I've filled out applications for two of the Education Consortium regions here in NTX, and I've written a generic cover letter to go with my resume at job fairs.  I know the next step is to research my top 6 districts, write cover letters to the principals at those specific schools, and get emailing.  As you can see, I have my own writing goals.  

It's a huge hurdle, where I feel like I've been taking baby steps.  It's like when Ross is trying to get Chandler to the wedding, and they tackle all of these little jobs - take a shower, put on a tuxedo, drive to the church.  Then they finish those and the next step is to get married - it's a BIG. DEAL.  From there, it'll be more big steps, like INTERVIEWS.  Then (hopefully) A. JOB.  Oy, this growing up business is scary.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February Currently

I just love Currentlys - they're like Twitter, condensing my current world into the most basic information.

Listening - I've started walking, in an attempt to one day start running.  My only goal right now is 3 days a week, minimum.  Nothing about increasing speed or endurance, just getting outside and moving.  My workout playlist has become cluttered recently, I've just been putting any old fast-paced song instead of songs that actually make me feel like moving.  Some of my favorites are "New Classic" by Drew Seeley f. Selena Gomez, "You Should Be Dancing" by the Glee Cast, and "Misery" by Maroon 5.

Loving - Valentine's Day approaches.  I've never been a huge fan of the holiday.  I mean, sure, I like pink, but romance does not abound around here.  The one time I did enjoy it was when I got to celebrate with my 3rd graders during student teaching.  The kids' excitement is contagious - decorating the mailboxes, slipping goodies in while they're not looking, and any excuse for a class party, duh!

Thinking - I have to get a job.  I no longer get to be picky, I have to have a job.  To that end I actually crashed (with permission) a seminar that this year's group of student teaching interns hosted about resumes, cover letters, and job hunting.  My intern year did not have any seminars to help with this stuff, and as the only one from my group that wants to teach but doesn't have a job, I figured this information would be invaluable.  For example, my current resume is based off of pretty standard business model.  It came from my mom, who works as an administrative assistant.  However, the model of a resume in education has some differences that shouldn't be overlooked.

Wanting - I stink at interviews.  I haven't had enough practice, I know, but I freeze up.  I can recite song lyrics and movie quotes verbatim, but ask me my own thoughts in an interview and I ramble.  We've discussed this ad nauseum, it's the reason for all my posts where I answer interview questions.  I'm just not sure that it's helping me.  My roommate suggested I put answers to the most likely questions on flashcards and study them like French verbs.  That might be my next course of action, unless of course someone wants to offer me a job with no interview necessary (HA!)

Pet Peeves - I understand if I need to say it again because the room was loud, or because you were out of the room when I gave instructions.  I understand if I didn't say it clearly and I need to rephrase it so you comprehend.  I don't understand you looking right at me, hearing my instructions, and then just sitting there, not getting to work.  Don't make me repeat myself if I don't have to.  (Side note, I covet those little things where you record the instructions for a center & the the kids can play it back over and over.  I envision those recorders being my new best friends.) 

There you have it - the nutshell and the whole dang pecan!