The White Ash pattern by DC-Fix to cover all the orangeish cabinets and drawers. The front wall without cabinets or windows with bulletin boards 3D Waterproof Ceiling and Wall Murals from Bedding Inn Blue Sky and Lake with Stone Pattern. My desktop by Murals Wallpaper Celeste Agate Crystal. Computer Cart and my desk base Beach Wood by DC Fix. Student Desktops Gray Marble by DC Fix. Window privacy by Rabbitgoo Small Mosaic with Multi-Color. Inside of cubbies White Mat pattern by DC Fix. On the cabinets, I would print and laminate five different colors of water to use as frames for student work. I would alternate the order of the colors to make a more appealing display. I would incorporate live plants to bring in nature and for their air purifying abilities as well. I like how peaceful this theme is and how it would be a massive transformation. This room would be labor and cost intensive to create but it could be wonderful. I only hesitate as I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to wait until my second year before buying into this theme because I would have the keys, codes, and ability to go into setup much earlier. I worry that trying to get this set up solo (or at best with one helper) when I will be so short on time is going to be a nightmare.
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So I started this blog as an assignment and have kept expanding. I have also spread out to Facebook a while ago but I just dove into another social media source: Pinterest. So hop on over, follow me and check out my ever-growing collection of educational pins.
So I am anxiously awaiting the principal to be back from vacation and email me. He hopefully will be meeting me soon in my new classroom so I can take pictures and measurements. Time to think of a theme. I had a total theme planned for younger grades but I don’t think the middle schoolers will love it. So back to the drawing board. I am thinking of integrating inspirational quotes, growth mindset quotes and maybe hashtags with either: Beach or Steampunk.
I am so excited to share that I was offered a position with my dream district! I will be at the very school I did my student teaching. However, I have been tapped to work with a slightly older group than I originally planned, sixth graders. I accepted and started to complete the paperwork. I haven’t signed an official contract yet so I do not have additional details to share. So EXCITED!
I found out that all three of my references got calls from HR. They each in their own way said if the job is being determined based on references then I am a shoe-in because their review was fabulous. And I cried. Yes, I know that my references are supposed to sing my praises. Something about my dream district calling them and hearing those praises made me teary eyed. I feel like I am another step closer. Fingers crossed that they find all the resume and reference stuff up to standards and I hear from them soon.
So I went to my second interview with the HR Department on Friday. This one I felt very confident leaving. They did ask for some additional information from my program and university, which I requested the moment I got home. Unfortunately, that takes time and I am stuck in a waiting pattern until they produce the needed items. I am fairly confident that they would not be asking for so much if they were not leaning towards hiring me. So, I am taking this as a positive sign. One thing that is still a tad anxiety filling is that I still don’t know what grade level(s) they are considering me for at this point. During my first interview, one of the panel members mentioned that they had been given a glowing review for me working with older grades due to my tech skills-so I have a feeling I will be either upper elementary (3-5) or extending into middle school (6).
Stay tuned for updates…
On Friday, I went in for my first real (non-student teaching/intern style) interview for a teaching position. It has been a while since I interviewed for any job, not to mention, interviewing for my dream job at my dream district.
Prep I did: I researched the district, even though I student taught in it, to make sure I was familiar with the whole picture. I practiced my answers to lots of common questions that I found online. I did a lot of positive self-talk. I applied for the two listings that covered TK-5th. Before my first interview, the HR contact asked if I would be willing to consider 6th as there is someone who has a slot that they have not found the right fit (after tons of candidates), I said yes because this IS my dream district.
Reflections on prep I did not do: I regret not going out to recruitment fairs for places beyond my target regions. There were several earlier this year that I got word of and opted against attending since they were way beyond my commute range. I was wrong. My advice, drive beyond your target range early. Attend as many walk-in recruitment interview opportunities as possible so you get to practice, that way when your dream or even just second choice districts call for interviews you are prepared, plenty of practice under your belt.
Stay tuned for updates…
I found myself thinking about the idea of personalized learning, a popular buzz phrase in education these days. South Carolina is making a big push statewide on the idea of personalized learning, something I enjoy reading about. What is personalized learning? I think I could write a whole series on this idea but for today I will stick to a simpler break down. The four pillars of personalized learning: learner profiles, personalized learning paths, student ownership and flexible learning environments.
- Learner Profiles
- We need to understand who they are, what their ability levels are, what motivates them and what their goals are in order to truly support their individualized success
- Personal Learning Paths
- We must hold all students to high expectations which are clearly communicated to them and their families.
- Those expectations are based on their individual learner profiles (learning progress, motivations, goals, strengths, and needs)-they are custom fit, not cookie cutter.
- This means students are regularly and continually assessed to determine competency level. Once competency is demonstrated they advance/earn credit/move onward/etc.
- Student Ownership
- Students have a voice in their own education, they are empowered but also held accountable.
- They know what they are doing and why every step of the way.
- Flexible Learning Environments
- Different students learn and grow in different ways, Adaptive
- Student’s needs are the deciding factor, they are given the time, space, materials and support to succeed.
- Time and Support allocations include direct instruction and teacher time activities: 1-1 student consultations, small group instruction, whole class mini-lessons-how much time, how long and how frequent
- Space: How can we maximize the space that we have for the maximum function for the students?
- Group & Collaboration: How should students be grouped? This could encompass bridging grade levels for diverse collaborative experiences. As we prepare students for the “real-world” having them work with a variety of team-mates prepares them to face real-world diversity in skill and communication levels present in adult society.
I find personalized learning to be an exciting prospect, especially when combined with technology. Researching the idea of adaptive personalized blended learning programs is one of the things driving my summer to do list (that, learning to code and submitting my TPAs).
I created a Digital Breakout for my second-grade students to review all of the concepts they learned this year in Math. I was so excited to try making my very first breakout style game after running physical locks one with my fifth-grade placement. After trying a digital style and physical locks both, I think I would prefer a physical style. Maybe just a digital lock or two for more complex puzzles with older students. However, the students loved it. They said it was the best party day they ever had (which is awesome since this was a lesson before we got to our afternoon party). I included a script on the project page for people to see how to move through the game since they do not have all the materials. I created a EDU Breakout with the resources and instructions that are needed to recreate this activity. Now I just need to wrangle it all together and submit it to an actual Digital Breakout site so people can run it themselves without having to re-create the materials.