Teachers and Summer Break.....

Hello Friends!

Yesterday, I said good-bye to my kinders and closed up my classroom for the summer.  What a bittersweet day it was! On the one hand, I was overjoyed that I was finally able to take some time to relax and rejuvenate. This has truly been one of my most challenging years. On the other hand, though, what a joy it is to think back to August and place that next to the growth I saw this month! To be able to make an impact in the life of another human being - despite the fact that they are 6 years old - is an incredible feeling and one that I cherish every year! As teachers, we know how much the slightest word or gesture can affect a child. The climate that we create in our classrooms is key to what we can accomplish. If our students know that we care about them, they will try their hardest to do the tasks in which we ask of them. But if we are stiff and immobile and unwilling to conform to their needs, they will know that and our educational goals for them will probably not be reached. I know that I spend every evening and part of my weekends, preparing for the next day re-evaluating what worked and what did not, tweaking plans to make sure that the needs of all my students are met. Despite the fact that I have over 20 years of experience teaching kindergarten, I continue to question my methods and my curriculum.

I have had friends who have left teaching because it is too much work; too much stress. They have told me that they have no time for themselves; that they feel used and unappreciated. So, they leave for a job or profession that gives them more time to be themselves. I actually find this a bit ironic in the fact that our profession as teachers is ALWAYS blasted for the time we do NOT teach. Many jokes are made on the fact that teachers only work for 9 months a year, that our school day ends at 3:00 p.m., and that our pay should reflect the fact that we only work 9 months a year. As teachers, we KNOW, though, that in the 9-10 months that we are in our classsrooms, we actually put in TWELVE  months of work during that time frame.  Teachers work as hard as everyone else; we just do our year in 9 months. We do not get paid for overtime. We do not get compensated for the tears or the bumps and cuts that we soothe every day.  We stay up until midnight putting finishing touches on End of Year Scrapbooks and then get up at 6:00 a.m. to  face our students with a smile on our face. We go to seminars, read professionally, and keep up on new technology so that we can keep up with the ever changing trends that occur locally, nationally, and around the world. We give our time to attend school events after hours; some of us coach - many of whom VOLUNTEER their time with no monetary compensation. We tutor after school......

Yes, my friends, teaching IS a lot of work and if you are not willing to put in the time, this should probably not be your career of choice. Teachers DO get a few months off in the summer, but let me tell you, my friends, MOST teachers are NOT spending all their days putting up their feet and sipping Margaritas. Most teachers are preparing for the next school year creating new plans, laminating centers, reading professionally. Even when we are on a vacation, our brains are inspired by what we see, smell, and hear. We are  thinking things like "How can I use these shells in my teaching? What can I do with them to make learning real to my students?" Many of us take part in on line book studies; collaborating with each other throughout the summer searching for ways to make our classrooms inspiring for our new crop of students. Even when we are doing simple summer tasks such as gardening, we run to get our camera to take a picture of the unique insect we just saw on a leaf so that we can bring this experience to our classroom. We are CONSTANTLY in teaching mode; even when we are on summer break...... Just as the image above says "Every summer has a story." We, as teachers, create stories every summer; eagerly anticipating the day when we can share them with our students and co-workers.

Of course, we are creating stories for ourselves, too; stories that we probably will NOT share with our students! We DO need this time to step away from teaching.  We need time to do mindless tasks such as washing windows or working in our gardens. We need time to take long walks or hikes. We need time to play in the park with our kids without worrying that we won't have time to get those tests graded or that center laminated. We need time to not have to schedule every minute in our day; to not stress over the fact that a school assembly is cutting into our literacy time and we have no idea how we are going to get that time back.

Our brains need this time to re-boot; to take a short break from it because before we know it, we will be asked to start all over again.  For we will be asked, once again, to stimulate the minds of young learners and I for one, know that when that time comes, I will be up for the challenge. But for now... I am going to take some time creating my own summer story, do mindless tasks such as organizing my house, painting a room, de-cluttering my garage, and trying new recipes.

Yesterday, I closed up my classroom, said good-bye to my students, and walked away with a feeling of a job well-done. Yes, teaching IS hard work, but if you are up for the challenge, it is a profession like no other and teachers NEED this short break given to us....... Enjoy this time, my teacher friends.... Make your own summer story....... You have earned it!

Now... it's time to get going on that organization....... :)

Until next time!


Butterfly Life Cycle Craftivity for Kindergarten

Hello Friends,

Here is a REALLY cute butterfly collage sequencing book. There IS some prep with this project. The kids have to pre-paint their paper and it needs to have a day to dry. We read tons of Eric Carle books and notice his art. Then we discuss the life cycle of a butterfly and the kids create the stages with their painted paper. I absolutely LOVE the way these books look when they are finished!

Until next time!


Mother's Day, a couple of STEM activities, oviparous animals, and FIVE FOR FRIDAY!

Hello Friends!

I am linking with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday - once again VERY late, but.... it is STILL Friday!

1.  Seriously..... Could this Mother's Day picture be any cuter? We "planted" all our kinders in a pot, created this HUGE sunflower hat, added a cute border and words and HURRAY, a Mother's Day keepsake!

2. And speaking of "Wow ".... Could this tree be any more beautiful? I don't think I have EVER seen it so FULL of blossoms!

3.  This came in the mail today.... I CANNOT wait to try it! Stay tuned for a review of this awesome planner by April from A Modern Teacher!

4.  I just recently started using STEM activities with my students. I WISH I had started them at the beginning of the year..... My students LOVE everything about STEM. I am going to use the summer to plan activities for next year's class. Here are some picture of the great "Cup Wall Challenge." They had a ball with creating walls from cups. These are just 2 of the different varieties that were created.

We did this "rain" experiment after learning about the water cycle. Honestly, I could read FIFTY books about the water cycle, but until they actually could SEE how clouds hold rain until they get so heavy, rain falls, the knowledge just does not set in their brains like it does with this simple activity.

5. We finished our Oviparous Animal unit this week. We have chicks warming in our classroom incubator and caterpillars turning into a chrysalis. Next week things will be lively in our room!


So that's it for now! Make sure you head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday fun!


Until next time!