Category Archives: Snippets

The Great Disappearing Act

Remember that one time you started a blog, kept it up for a few years, and then ghosted it for a few more? Just me?

Is it ironic that my last post chronicled all that was going on in my life as a person, professional, and teacher and all of those things contributed to my not adding a SINGLE post since?

It’s been a ride friends! A lovely, hectic, surprising, confusing, and fulfilling ride. To recap since my last post:

  • I had that baby mentioned. She is now 3 and all things amazing.
  • Upon returning from maternity leave that year, I ventured into the world of four-year olds and prekindergarten. I prepared long-term sub plans for KINDERGARTEN just to then dive head first into a new grade level. My long term sub was great and took the change in plans best she could. I had an amazing team that helped her transition and kept me in the loop the entire time. I walked into a classroom of little strangers. I had visited my kindergarten class a few times while on maternity. I did not meet my four year olds until the first day. We survived our first day together! Working with that age group taught me so much more about child development that made me a better teacher (and momma).
  • After finishing that school year, we moved! We left Charleston behind and began a new adventure in Raleigh (well, close by), NC. With this move came a big decision. I would take a break from the classroom and enjoy these fleeting years with our then one year old. It was such a tough decision. On the one hand – it was excruciating for me to leave Genevieve each day to go to a job I genuinely LOVED. Once I got to work, I was immersed in all things preK. We had fun. I saw so much growth in my students. On the other hand – I LOVE TEACHING. Thankfully, I had not reached a burned out state like so many of my friends. Watching my students blossom was like watching dreams come true. I felt so much guilt deciding to take a break. Walking away from my incredible school was only made easier by the fact that I HAD to leave for the move anyway. (lol)
  • We were settling in to North Carolina. School was in session for about five seconds before I started to miss it. I missed making connections with students, watching them interact, and learn. BUT, I wasn’t missing it enough to give up what I had going on at home with our toddler. I had front row seats to so much of HER learning and development. We were making friends, going to play groups, and enjoying creating our own schedule. While talking with a friend who also had recently left the classroom, I expressed that teacher heartache I was having. She told me about an online platform for teaching English to students in China. At first I wasn’t sure about teaching in this way, but I checked it out. I’m so glad I did!
  • I’ve been teaching English to students in China online for almost two years. I LOVE IT! It reminds me so much of the tutoring I did with students when in the brick and mortar classroom. It took some adjusting – video, online classroom, pacing, scheduling, etc. – but I’m thankful for this experience. The lessons are already created so prep time is minimal once you get acquainted with the lessons. I can still be my goofy teacher self with songs and randomness.  It gives me the best of both worlds. My teacher heart and my momma heart are fulfilled at the same time.
  • In February of this year, we welcomed another sweet girl to our family! Learning to care for two (plus hubby and myself) has been a balancing act. An act that I do better with some days than others. There are times I catch myself being overwhelmed by being able to be home with Rowan from day one, not have to prepare sub plans, not have to find child care, not have to cry on the way to work. But even still, that teacher heart keeps beating.I was able to take as much time as I wanted from teaching my kiddos online. Yet, even while on “maternity leave”, I accepted just a few classes from a sweet student I teach regularly.
  • Even with ALL of this going on these last few years, my mind has wandered back to this blog. I have ideas on sticky notes in planners and notebooks. I have recorded opening lines on my cell phone. Things I see or do with the kids get filed away in my brain for later. Now – I hope the mommy brain will grant me access! So while the actual blog appears abandoned, I never truly abandoned it. I’ve spent the last few weeks really thinking about recommitting to the blog, how I will manage the posts (plus family), and keeping the content relevant and informative.

My focus for the blog remains the same.  It is simply shifting, for now, from literacy in the classroom to literacy in the living room (or any room in your home). I hope to share with you about literacy development from the perspective of a teacher mom, ideas for simple activities you can do at home, and a funny anecdote here and there. The threenager has an endless supply! I’d love to hear some ideas from you about what you’d like me to post about. Drop a comment below!

So, if you’re still following me – I’m back! If you’ve never read my blog until today – welcome!

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How I Blog – Snippet

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Often, I am asked about my process for writing this blog.  Being at a 1:1 iPad school, slightly savvy about technology, and a blogger – I think it is often assumed that I long ago ditched paper and pencil. In fact, the opposite is true.  I cling to pencil/paper, as well as print resources.  But my love affair with the printed word is another post entirely!

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When I want to blog – I have no set way of going about it.  In fact, what I do as a writer is different each time.  A couple days ago, I blogged about part of my experience at the iSummit Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  Leaving that conference, I had several blog ideas in mind.  Sitting down in front of the computer and just typing was out of the question.  Too many thoughts, feelings, and ideas were swimming around.  They needed to be sorted out.  Notes needed to be read over.  Planning was necessary.

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Screenshots of my notes from iSummit 2014

While at the conference, I took notes on my iPad – but also stuck sticky notes in a variety of places.  When I sat down days later to look over everything, I organized my thoughts into different posts using good ole’ prewriting webs.

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For me, this prewriting was crucial to the blogging process.  I want each post to be concise and fluid.  My readers should be able to easily follow my thoughts, rather than get jumbled up with them.

Other times, I am able to sit down at the computer and just type – straight in to the “new post” box.  Quick and dirty, the post is done.  Sometimes finding the right images for my message takes longer than getting the actual thoughts out.

And still other times, I type my post into Word first.  I edit, revise, and painstakingly mull over my words to make sure they echo their sounds in my head.  I get a friend to read over it, spell check it repeatedly, even print it out and read aloud. I may obsess over a post for days before I ever hit the publish button.

As you can see – I do not have one way of blogging.  My process is simply that, a process.  My process has different avenues that all lead to the same product.  We, as teachers, know there is often more than one way to get the right answer.

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Onomato-what? A snippet

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Sometimes, I just want to share a quick idea or activity from our class.  This is one of those times.  Here is a snippet for you!

In Kindergarten, we brush upon many subjects that are above grade level.  Rather than toss those to the side by saying, that’s for — grade, we embrace these topics.  During our pond unit, we discussed all aspects of pond life.  One of those aspects is the sounds heard around the pond.

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After spending a few days adding to our Pond chart, we focused on the sound column.  All week, we had been using the term “sound words”.  What gets their attention for a new vocabulary word?  I make it sound super secret, and let them know they are going to hear a third grade word (or fourth, fifth, etc).   This group is very excited when they learn something they think they aren’t “supposed” to yet.  We connected “sound words” to the literary term onomatopoeia.

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I said it, they tried it, we laughed, and tried again.  Fifth time’s the charm – they were able to say that mouthful.

Our writing activity for that day was to create pop up sounds at the pond. The pop up is created by cutting a slit in an index card folded in half.  My model was displayed and they created their own during the writing rotation for the day.

My model

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Some of their work

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Our class display

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