Tag Archives: Education

We Can Do This!


I found this in my unfinished drafts from almost a year ago.  So I revised the title and deleted the text.  The original title was “End of the Year – We Can Do This!”

And we did.  We finished the last six weeks of school and all students and staff came out alive.  Then the new school year started.  To say it’s been difficult would be putting it mildly.  For a host of reasons, the entire school, parents, staff, and students have been struggling.  It has taken all my energy to get through each day so I could go home, eat something, and go to bed.

I almost quit last fall.  I wasn’t the only one.

But now it’s Spring, the time of year when everything seems fresh and new.  And many things are fresh and new at school.  We have a new superintendent, a new principal, students have come and gone, and I am left with twenty-one students who still wear me out, but I can honestly say I love all of them.

And in one more week, I can start counting down the weeks on my fingers.  So I know I can do this.



Professionalism 101


Professionalism – the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person(see 1professional).  That’s the definition according to www.merriam-webster.com.


As educators, professionalism should be ingrained in us.  We, as a profession, are often frustrated by the way the public perceives us and treats us.  We feel maligned and under-appreciated by parents and disrespected by students.  Yet, do we present ourselves and conduct ourselves as professionals?  Fortunately, the majority of educators with whom I’ve worked in my career have easily fit the definition of professionalism as stated above.  From them I have learned empathy, dedication, and a commitment to improving my practice.

Unfortunately, those aren’t the ones who make headlines in the paper.  Recently, I read about a teacher who made a horrible remark about a student ON FACEBOOK.  Which of course, has landed him or her (I don’t know – don’t care) in the spotlight, and in the middle of a state investigation.  The parent of the child is aware of the remark and angry – quite understandably.  Maybe a course in professional behavior should be a requirement of certification or recertification.  I don’t know what the answer is, but educators will never be looked up to as a whole as long as the unprofessional minority keep making headlines.

Curiously, I googled professionalism and looked at the images available.  There were medical teams, businessmen and women, many images of people at computers, and soldiers.  There were not any photos of teachers.


“Professionalism is not about adherence to the policies of a bureaucracy. Professionalism is about having the integrity, honesty, and sincere regard for the personhood of the customer, in the context of always doing what is best for the business. Those two things do not need to be in conflict.”
– Eric Lippert, software expert, author.  25 Jun 2008 at:
< blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/archive/2008/06/23/customer-service-is-not-rocket-science-part-two.aspx >

Common Core, Daily Five, and FL Next Generation Standards – Oh My!


This summer I have tasked myself with developing plans for English Language Arts.  Traditionally, this area has been distinctly taught as Reading and Writing, at different times of the day, and our current Next Generation Florida Sunshine State Standards (say that five times fast!) are set up that way.  I am very excited to see that Common Core State Standards put the two subject areas together into ELA.  This works beautifully, I think, with my plan to incorporate The Daily Five into my day.  If you’re not familiar with the Daily Five, it is really a structure of mini-lessons in reading, writing, and word work, alternated with choice times for students, allowing them time in the day to choose to read alone, with someone, listen to reading, work on writing, and doing word work.  This structure may be a life saver for me as I will most likely have 4 – 5 fourth graders and around 15 fifth graders in my class.  Yikes!

To add to the complexity that will be my classroom, our school district recently decided to abandon early out Wednesdays, which gave us two hours a week for uninterrupted planning or staff development each week.  That means that while our Wednesdays will again be full days, the other four days will shorten by about fifteen minutes each.  Even with the previous longer days, it was a struggle to fit in our 90 minute reading block along with 45 minutes for writing.

In theory, The Daily Five takes a chunk of the day.  In fact, in a perfect world, it would take approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes to work through the literacy block.  As it is, I will have somewhere around an hour and 50 minutes.

So, I’m throwing a couple of questions out to the cosmos (that’s you!).

  • Those of you in Florida teaching intermediate grades… Are you using the CCSS this fall, or are you still utilizing the Next Gen Standards?  If you’re using Common Core, has your district given you any kind of road maps to follow?
  • And to those of you using The Daily Five, if you have a more limited time each day to teach Reading and Writing, how to you adapt Daily Five to make it all fit in the time you have?

I’d appreciate any insight any of you could share with me.  Right now I feel like I’m trying to plan for The Daily Common Next Generation Core Sunshine State Five.  Holy cow.

Welcome to My World


Two years ago this spring, I packed up my many years’ worth of teaching supplies and donated, sold, and gave away most of them.  I was not going to teach anymore.  No siree, enough of that nonsense!  I’d bounced grades down from fifth to second in the space of three years.  I was tired and I was moving back to my hometown for a fresh start.

That lasted… two months.  A week before school started, I headed back to my school district in Florida to a new school and back to my beloved fifth grade.

Of course, I had given most of my posters, books, manipulatives, containers, and whatnot away, so last year was almost like starting over.  This year, I have a room and a blessedly large storage closet with piles and boxes of jumbled up teacher stuff that I can’t put my hands on, but I know it’s there somewhere.

My desk is no better – yuck.

I hate my desk!

As I rebuild my classroom, I will share with you those things I found to work great, and those things that crash and burn.