Archive | May 2016

A Teacher’s Summer To Do List

muchjoytoyou

It’s here!! I cannot quite believe it, but we’ve successfully wrapped up another school year. One of my favorite things about our profession is the closure. Given our leanings (there’s more to do, let me try one more thing, I think if I just do this and that….), it’s such a blessing to have a definite stop date. And given our nature(s) and the all-consuming nature of our profession, it’s imperative we take a month or two to recharge. This all starts up again in two months! To all of my friends in education, here’s my advice for a great summer. I think even my friends working a second job, going to school, or teaching summer school can do most of these:

  • Give yourself time to mourn if you need it. I’m more emotional than some, and I needed this first weekend to cry. Goodbyes-to the “babies” and parents and…

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“Happy Summer” Prayer

muchjoytoyou

May is a crazy blur of activity. As I gradually take down the anchor charts, attend the inevitable retirement parties, graduations and various ceremonies, and say goodbye to so many little people, parents, and colleagues moving on, I’m battling many thoughts and emotions. Too many…. Like all educators, I’m ridiculously weary. I’m so proud of what my kids have done. . . I marvel at the miracles in front of me! I’m teary as I think of our final day together. I don’t like goodbyes and change is hard. I’m anxious about the next year. What will it bring? And I’m so excited about two months of rest! Early morning walks, vacations, relaxing, and visiting with family and friends–summer is so restorative.

Not surprisingly, the idea of crafting a post before the final week of school didn’t excite me, but I can pray. I can always pray.

“Father, I thank…

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Dear Parents, Thank You!

muchjoytoyou

Dear Parents,

As the school year is winding down, I feel so many things–elated at the thought of some much-needed rest, saddened at the thought that my journey with your child has ended, incredibly proud of the accomplishments we’ve made, excited about my summer plans. And I feel tired, so very tired. Can I get an “Amen!” from my fellow teachers?

Before we hug goodbye, I need to say a few things.

1. Thank you! Thank you for sharing your child with me this year. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for partnering with me. I am well aware of the precious, awesome gift that is your child. I tried to honor this incredible gift daily. I’m human and I failed some days, but I assure you I tried every day.

2. Even though our daily relationship is ending, my love and concern for…

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A Mother’s Love

muchjoytoyou

God bless all mothers! Today, I honor you all. You have one of the most important “jobs” on the planet, and yours is often a thankless one. Today, I pray you receive the appreciation you so richly deserve. I also pray you are granted a glimpse of the importance of what you do every day. It matters. Youmatter. Happy Mother’s Day!

“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.” ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin

“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.” ~Mildred B. Vermont

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman…

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A Parent’s Summer To Do List

Ahhh, summer. Don’t you love it?! Summer is a time for enjoying family, vacationing, cooking out,  slowing down, and learning. Yes, learning. I know, I know.  Hear me out. You know I love your kiddo and I want only the very best for himAs one who knows what next year holds for your child, I offer the following suggestions for your child’s summer break, because summer truly is a time for learning. 

  1. Play!! Most kids don’t play enough.  We can place the blame on the testing culture in America, on the often well-founded fears of parents that keep kiddos indoors more and more, or on the overall busy, busy, busy lives we all lead. Whatever the reasons, we need to ensure that kids get to play. Organized play (teams) are great, but I also love seeing kiddos outdoors, tossing balls, chalking up the sidewalks, and just running around. I also recommend board games and things like Legos for encouraging problem solving, strategizing, critical thinking, and cooperating with others. See the learning going on? 
  2. Read. Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about reading. If your kiddo isn’t really “into” reading, try reading TO him. Make it a daily ritual. Or try joining the local library’s summer reading program. Reading regularly is key to your child’s success. Don’t stop with merely reading. Talk about it, too. (We call our talks “book club” in my classroom and it’s a wonderful way to assess understanding.) Discuss predictions about what will happen in the next chapter. Discuss how a character feels and why. Chat about how a character changed throughout the book or what the lesson in the story is. Discuss interesting new facts you discover in nonfiction texts. (Once my students are hooked, I cannot stop them from sharing interesting facts.)  Introduce a new genre to your child. If he only reads about dinosaurs, introduce a biography to him. Read, read, read!!! And, don’t forget when YOU read, you’re modeling for them. Successful people read. Period. 
  3. Get bored! Oh my goodness, I feel so strongly about this one. It’s only when left without stimulation, without smart phones, without movies that kids get to enjoy letting their imaginations soar. Take a slow walk and let your kiddos lead the conversations and observations. Take a road trip with no DVDs or smart phones. Let them stare out the windows, get bored, and learn to entertain themselves. 
  4. Rest. We push our kiddos so hard in school. They need time to relax. 
  5. Travel. If your budget allows, travel out of town, out of state, and out of the country. Let the kiddos SEE national monuments instead of reading about them. Let them observe other cultures. Let them EXPERIENCE what mountains are, what the ocean sounds and smells like. If your budget or work schedule don’t permit travel, try hometown field trips for your family. There are obvious choices -museums, farms, zoos, acquariums. You can learn anywhere, though. Restaurants and grocery stores provide myriad lessons (socially acceptable behavior, reading, estimating costs, adding prices, making change, figuring tips….)
  6. Cook. Cooking can be such fun and can create wonderful memories. Your child will learn so much about healthy choices, reading recipes, measuring ingredients, cooperating, and so on. 
  7. Plan ahead. Your child may have mixed feelings about returning to school. Make it as fun as possible. Pick out special school supplies and clothes. Meet the new teacher before school starts. Plan a special first day dinner. And about 2 weeks before DAY 1, start the school routine. Go to bed and get up at the same times you will once school officially begins. It will make the transition easier. If you have any special concerns about the year, try to talk to the teacher privately as soon as possible. Trust me, she wants you and your child to have a great year! 
  8. Relax. You’re doing a great job, parents! 

I’m sure I’ve left out some great suggestions. Feel free to add to my list in the comment section. As always, I wish you MUCH joy!