Sunday, August 23, 2020

Encouraging Mindset for All!

As I returned for inservice training this past week, I was extremely nervous. I didn't know what the beginning of the year would look like. Not only am I teaching online, but I am also moving up to fifth grade! I've only taught fifth grade in a self contained special education setting. I also taught fifth grade during my practicum way back in 2000. 

My principal and our fifth grade team helped me to rid my fears that they had no idea I was going through. On Monday my principal went over what comprehensive distance learning was going to look like. At first everything sounded overwhelming to me. In the afternoon I had the opportunity to meet with my team. Together we created a schedule, and my nerves began to slowly go away. Somehow being able to talk to someone in the same shoes, brainstorm ideas, and put together a plan really seemed to help. By the end of the week we had our plan ironed out, and created a list of important items we would discuss during our online parent orientation. Thankfully my district decided to give us two weeks to prepare to plan. I know that I can accomplish these tasks that lay ahead. It's the fear of the unknown that made me the most nervous. 

As I am pondering my own feelings of beginning the school year and how I was so nervous, I'm now thinking of my own students. I am actually moving up a grade so some of my students were in my class last year. Still this year will be different. We will actually be reteaching lessons students struggle with. Also we will be beginning the day by taking role, and doing a read aloud. 

How do we encourage a positive mindset for all students during this time? 

1. I'm going to put myself in their shoes. I already knew how I was feeling to begin with when I didn't know what our beginning of the year was going to be like. So students and parents might be very nervous at this time.
2. I'm going to first discuss our schedule and how Comprehensive Distance Learning will be supportive
3. Parents and students will know that I am there to help them be successful online. They will know that they will not have to do this alone. 
4. In addition to going over how the program will work online, I will send them a letter with the same information. Remember not everyone learns the same way. 
5. As I begin the school year with students, I will go over the schedule with them in the morning each day so they know what to expect.
6. I will contact students to find out how they are feeling.

For our children, throwing them in the water with nothing to help them swim will not encourage a positive mindset. Going through the process with them, providing positive feedback as they are learning the new system, and encouraging them by showing them the things they have accomplished, will help to promote a positive mindset for students to be successful learners!

If you are looking for digital resources to begin your school year, check these out!

Learn letter names and sounds using Boom Cards!


Thursday, August 13, 2020


Back to school already?

I got a text yesterday asking if I was ready to go back to school from a friend. I hadn't received a formal letter from the superintendent like I typically do. It is only the second week in August. I forgot that in our district we go back to school earlier. She told me to check my email, and that is where I found out that next Monday is our first day back! The beginning of this school year is not like any that I have experienced in the past. Even though this will be my 18th year as a teacher, it feels like a first year. There is so much uncertainty. At least I will have some of the same students as I had last year. I taught 4th grade before, and now I will be teaching 5th grade. Now that the shock has worn off, it's time to get organized!
I have one activity I will send to them as we begin the school year. It's a great review for many of my students who probably have forgotten how to do multiplication. 
It's on sale for only $1.00 for one more day.
Here is a freebie from my TPT store that might be a huge help for you to get to know your students during the new school year.


2020 could it be worse?

Do you ever feel like this? I loved this book as a child. It's a favorite to read to my younger students when I'm teaching primary grades or special education. The funny part about this book is that the monster was him all along! It's my hope that they will find a vaccine and that everything will be safe again. In the mean time.... it's time to get ready for distant learning!

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