Looking Back & Looking Forward

When I look back………

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New projects can be intimidating, scary, and just plain stressful. Everyone has experienced these feelings at some point when looking at the face of a new assignment or project. Sometimes it’s not easy and you want to avoid it at all costs. Sometimes that is how I felt while doing this project. One thing was the lack of confidence I had in myself.

Could I really get creative and write a blog?

Do I really think I am capable of being an author? 

I can’t do that. 

So many thoughts ran through my head as I continued to work on this blog throughout the semester. When I look back at my first blog, I realize that it could probably use some work. A face lift. But that’s the growth that I see when I look at my older posts to my most recent posts.

Through this practice of getting out of my comfort zone, researching about my future career, and learning, I have realized that I enjoyed it more than I imagined I would. Blogging is a creative outlet and a great way to engage people. My perspective has changed throughout the semester when I reflect on blogging. It can be fun and a creative way to get my thoughts out there. I have a lot to learn about it still, but it has been a unique ride in creating blog posts.

When I look forward………

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No matter where you are in your life, career, or education, everyone can continue to learn. No one should ever think they have arrived and quit learning. This blog has grounded me in the thought of learning more and more. This has put me out of my comfort zone, gave me an opportunity to get creative, and learn something new. I am thankful for that.

A New Level of Multitasking

We all say we are good at multitasking, right?

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Teachers have been put to the ultimate test during a strange, strange time in history. Stuck at home, having small children of your own, family around 24/7, cleaning, cooking, but life goes on. Pivoting remote instruction can be tough and uneasy at first. How do teachers now maximize value for their students? I’m glad you asked! Below are tips on how to go about online teaching. They aren’t perfect, but you may come across one that you didn’t know you needed.

Don’t convert your entire lecture to video.

This can get boring real quick and it won’t engage your students at all. Strategically reducing your goals can have a huge impact on your students during this time. Focus on the main points you want your students to know and understand by the end of the lesson. Use those points to take hold of your lecture, if you decide to go that route. Having a video that is an hour long isn’t beneficial and will most likely have your students lost. Cutting down the time and engaging them with the most important information is more relevant and they will learn more. Less is more, right? Give your students more grace. This is all new to them also.

Don’t rely on live video.

Although this can be a fun and creative way to have your class “all together,” it’s not always the most adequate. The quality of live chats aren’t always the best due to internet connect. This can also cause some stress on you and even your students, more than it can be helpful.

Invite student engagement and feedback.

This is a big one. Depending on your age group, this can also be difficult to get the feedback you want or need. Feedback and engagement from parents is helpful also. Set up your course so that students can go at their own pace and time. This takes away unnecessary stress. Why have a child do an assignment in two days with 70% effort when you can give them the entire week and receive some of their best work? Hear your students. A common misstep is when teachers don’t value their students feedback and voice. They are a part of your classroom and they can either take away a lot or a little. This could depend on how well you interact and listen to their voices.

Check in with students often.

Last but not least, know where your students are. I believe this is the most important. In a time where everyone is stuck at home, going a little crazy, and perhaps not at their best, checking to see how your students are doing is huge. Engage with them. Show them you are there for them in a time that is so strange and unique. Go the extra mile. Have them engage with one another. You are a teacher and a super hero in my eyes, but that doesn’t mean you can do it all. Your students relationships with one another is important.

Don’t forget to keep moving.

One more thing. Releasing endorphins is good. Getting sweaty is good. Don’t forget to get up and move! This is beneficial to your body in so many ways!

Beginners’ Yoga Poses

Build a foundation in yoga with these beginners’ poses – appropriate for those just starting out with yoga. Explore lunges, cat-cow, happy baby and more.

11 Fun Exercise Routines For Kids At Home – Get Fit, Get Active!

If you’re looking for fun exercises and physical activities for kids to do at home then this is the right video for you! Kids get bored easily and in today’s…

“We should not bring a ‘sink or swim’ approach to online teaching, it’s not the right attitude to a pandemic.” -unknown 

Oh, how the tables have turned.

Never again will people say that teachers have it easy after all of this is over, right? Parents are now the teachers.

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Life right now is challenging to say the least. With a sudden turn of events, people off work or working from home, children stuck at home who need to do school work, how does one get through all of this? Life was already busy and crazy, but shifting to a new normal can be difficult and uncomfortable for a moment. Believe it or not, there are ways to make this time at home more bearable and smoother. How? Let me give you a few tips!

Create a dedicated space

Perhaps a playroom or another room in the house can be made into a learning center for your child. If you don’t have the extra room, no worries! Setting up a table, or using the kitchen table works just fine! Take a day or two to recreate the room and make it inviting and welcoming. If it looks pleasing to the eye, your child will want to spend time in it. Its psychology! If it is a separate room, your child can focus on the tasks that need to be done and accomplished. This goes into my next tip.

Our Homeschool Room – Teach Beside Me

Limit the distractions

We live in a tech savy world. Phones, tablets, TVs, etc. are everywhere for us to watch, touch, and engage with. But these are also some of our biggest distractions. Limit time that is allowed on devices. Use this time to have your children get creative and learn how to old school play without the technology. They will thank you later.

Five Ways for a Homeschool Mom to Avoid Distractions - The End In Mind

Set a schedule

During this time, it can be so easy to wing it each day and not have a set schedule. Although this “down time” can be fun in a way, creating a schedule may be just what you and your family needs. This schedule wouldn’t have to be implemented strictly every day. After all, they are just children, and they need some freedom too. However, having a schedule for a few days a week can really set the tone. During these days, following the schedule can have you focused on the day and what needs to be done, but don’t get hung up on homeschooling for hours on end. Let the children play and be kids. Play is their work.

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These are just a few tips that may help your family ease into your new normal for however long. Use this time to see the positive and get creative with your children. No one said it would be easy, but attitude is everything. More than ever, your children are watching you and you have the control of how you respond, always.

Here may be some more helpful blogs and sites for you to breeze through! Enjoy!

Remote learning during coronavirus: How to make your home into a workable school

My friend Heather has four kids under the age of 9 – all suddenly stuck at home in the San Francisco Bay Area under some of the strictest shelter-in-place orders in the country. Life right now she says, is “challenging,” to say the least, but heading into week two of homeschooling, the Carlson family is making major headway.

Why this teacher says letting kids get bored is the best homeschooling

As schools continue to remain closed throughout the country due to coronavirus, more and more parents are finding themselves with an unexpected and challenging new job title: Teacher.

Tips for managing children at home during COVID-19 | Autism Speaks

This article is provided courtesy the University of Rochester, a site in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. Translations into Spanish and Vietnamese provided by Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at University of California-Irvine. The following are some tips that may

What strategies can we use to teach ELL’s in the classroom?

ELL Students in the ClassroomImage result for Ells clipart

You have a new student. He speaks no English. You don’t speak his. Problem? Growing experience? Difficult? Challenging? Possible?

As a teacher, you will come across many different children. Children who have their own personalities, are unique in their own way, and even may not speak the same language as you. And that’s okay. Being the same would be boring. But how can teachers who may not know a lot of Spanish, German, Russian, or any language different than their own teach these students?

Bilingual education in various settings produces a wide variety of outcomes in terms of language proficiency, cultural awareness, and scholastic achievement. It creates diversity and shows that not every child is the same. What better time to be introduced to bilingual education or students then in pre school? In my placement, there are about four students who are bilingual and can speak English and another language. Because of this, it helps the teachers out a lot. For a student who doesn’t speak a lot of English, a bilingual student can talk to and help this student out, sometimes even more than the teacher can. I have experienced the teacher asking a student how to say a work or a phrase so that she is able to talk to each student. This is huge. 

This requires the student to think and be able to use their own language in assisting someone else. But as a teacher, there are so many ways to help these students who are in your classroom. Your students and even yourself, may be uncomfortable at first, but taking it day by day and learning, will have everyone in your classroom learning better.

Making it visual is key. In my classroom, the teacher has every labeled along with a picture. Speaking everything out makes it more difficult for children in the classroom to comprehend. Having visuals, whether pictures, demonstrating, or writing it out improves the learning of those who are not proficient in the common language.

Building in more group work is a great benefit and will go far in the classroom. Sometimes students learn best from each other. This also helps there social skills and is constantly creating new opportunities for them to learn and grow in any language.

Most importantly, learn about the cultural background of all your students. Making them feel at home and secure in the classroom is huge and will go a long way for them. Knowing where your student comes from, literally and physically, will enhance the student-teacher relationship. It will show trust and your willingness to want to know them more.

A classroom is so unique with a variety of different learners. Some days it can be difficult but nonetheless rewarding when a goal is reached. Having ELL’s in the classroom may be challenging, but treating them like everyone else in the classroom is important.

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To find out more:

Rowe, L. W. (2018). Say It in Your Language: Supporting Translanguaging in Multilingual Classes. Reading Teacher72(1), 31–38. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1673

12 Ways to Support English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom

Listen to this post as a podcast: A note on terminology: The acronym ESL is used less often now in schools than it used to be, because we recognize that many students who are learning English already speak several other languages, so English would not be a “second” language.

Teaching, Dreaming, Learning – My Gurus!

Everyone in the education field understands one another and pushes one another to become a better educator. Individuals who are in this field understand the pros and cons of teaching, the passion it takes, and commitment it takes as well. People who are not in this field don’t see everything that educators do, nor do they understand the reason behind wanting to educate the future. My professors all through my college career have pushed me to see past the negative and look for the positive and golden moments in teaching. My professors have stretched me and have reassured me over and over again of why I am becoming a teacher. I have run into people and ones who have asked me what I am going to college for. When I tell them to become a teacher, they jump to the usual “Oh so you’re gonna have summers off,” “That’s easy,” or “That doesn’t pay the best.” What they don’t know is that they have missed the whole point. Completely. I am not becoming a teacher to have summers off or to have a job that doesn’t pay the best. I am becoming an educator because I want to change the world and I get to see the future right in front of me. I’m becoming an educator to love on children in my classroom and to make a classroom a safe haven for students and not a chore or challenge for them.

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A person that is so close to my heart is my sister-in-law, a teacher herself. Ashley is someone who stretches me to become the best teacher I can be. She tells me about her hard days and her good days. She doesn’t sugar coat the events that may take place in her classroom or during the school day. Ashley never fails to reassure me that the good days far outweigh the bad. She expresses to me that there will be tough days, even weeks, and perhaps months. Ashely speaks truth and life into me as I am becoming a future teacher. She teaches me about the why of teaching and the how. Every child is different and will need guidance a little differently than their classmates. This is the beauty of teaching because every child is different and unique in their own way. 

Technology is becoming a huge part of the classroom and used to enhance teaching. Technology is creating new ways for children to learn and to differentiate in the classroom. Ashley shares new insights with me that can be used to better teacher students or enhance their learning. She shares new apps or websites that can be used creatively in the classroom.

As I am learning more and more about how to become a teacher, many pedagogies are shaping my path and my own philosophy. Two theories that I resonate the most with are Jean Piagets and John Dewey’s. Jean Piaget believes that they produce knowledge by their experiences. This is more of a “hands on” type of learning. Similarly, Dewey believed that children learn by doing. This means that children must interact with the environment to learn and adapt. I believe that children learn best by moving and not just sitting at a desk all day to be lectured at. By having students get up and move, they are exploring and learning new things.