January Blogging Challenge: Renew and Reflect in 2015

What are the benefits of connecting with other educators? How am I going to make sure I do this on a regular basis? 

It’s more like what aren’t the benefits of connecting with other educators!!! I feel so lucky to get to follow, tweet, and learn from such an amazing group of teachers out their in the cyber world. I get so much of my inspiration and ideas through reading my twitter feed  as well as pouring over the unlimited pins on Pinteret and from the many teacher blogs that I continually check in with throughout the year. I am forever grateful for all the work that these teachers, administrators, authors, bloggers are willing to share with other teachers.

January Blogging Challenge: Renew and Reflect in 2015

What challenges have I faced during teaching in 2014 that had helped me to grow professionally?

I guess I would have to say teaching a new grade. In the school year 2013/2014 I went back to teaching in the primary division, grade 3. I hadn’t taught grade 3 for five years. So the challenge for me was readjusting to a new grade but still taking all the things that worked for me as a teacher and applying them to a different grade. The other part isn’t a challenge that I faced, but it did help me grow professionally. One of the benefits to moving back to grade 3 was that I lucked into a great teaching partner. We really work well together and we compliment each other with our strengths and weaknesses. So last year I really felt like I grew professionally in teaching literacy. I really worked on my guided reading practice and getting my students to see literature in a new way. This whole growth in this area is due to my work with my teaching partner. So even though it was a challenge changing grades, I ended up gaining so much more in terms of my professional growth, not to mention a good friendship.

January Blogging Challenge: Reflect and Renew in 2015

How am I going to update myself professionally?(Resources I should take support of).

I’m very interested in the whole mindset (fixed mind set and growth mind set) and how it affects the way teachers teach and the way students learn. I plan on reading the book by Carol Dweck called Mindset the Psychology of Success. I’m also doing some work in Inquiry Based Learning as well as STEM, both key words that you hear in the hallways and in meetings. So my teaching partner and I have been hard at work finding ways of incorporating those into our teaching.

January Blogging Challenge: Reflect and Renew in 2015

What advice can you give a new teacher as to the priority or focus for energy as they begin their careers?

If I were to give a new teacher advice as to where to focus their energy I would remind them of this quote thatI once heard; are you a sage on the stage or a guide by the side. I would encourage any new teacher to remember to be a guide by the side, letting their students do most of the learning and the discovering because that is what makes teaching worthwhile. I would also encourage them to focus their energy on asking good questions, questions that lead to good discussion, questions that lead to critical thinking, questions that lead kids to DO the thinking themselves.

January Blogging Challenge: Reflect and Renew in 2015

How do I stay positive and share/encourage that positivity in my students?

This is something that has been on my mind for awhile now. Before the holidays it seemed that I was struggling with staying positive myself and felt that this attitude was trickling down towards my students. I was definitely aware of it and really wanted to snap out of it. So now it’s back to school and it’s still on my mind and I think I just have to remember what kind of teacher I want to be, I can’t necessarily change my students but I can change and/or be mindful of my positivity. So that is my goal, remembering to be positive, to stay focused on the good, and to not sweat the small stuff. I also have to remember to have fun. I think sometimes as teachers we forget to have fun and allow our students to have fun. Sure there needs to be a balance, of course, but sometimes it’s important to remember that teaching and learning can be fun. I think that if I am more aware of my own positivity, then hopefully that will trickle

down to my students. Here’s to positivity!!!

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January Blogging Challenge: Reflect and Renew in 2015

What is one area of my learning and teaching I want to develop this year?

One area of my teaching and learning that I would like to develop this year is my approach to teaching math. I’ve learned and applied so many new approaches to teaching math in the last year and a half that I know that my math program is solid, but I also know that there is a bit of a comfort zone still there and that I am interested in making my math program the best it can be for my students. So, I’ve already started at the end of 2014, my teaching partner and I sat down with the Math instructional leader and I have already learned and applied some new thinking to my teaching. I know that this will continue to grow and develop in 2015 as we are having some professional development centred around this and I am really excited about it. I am also lucky as my teaching partner is willing to try out new things and approach lessons in a different way, so it gives us the ability or opportunity to bounce ideas around with each other and see where we will go from here. Here’s to math lessons in 2015!!!!

January Blogging Challenge: Reflect and Renew in 2015

What is one area I know I need to work on? What actions am I going to take to improve?

One are that I know I need to work on is keeping myself motivated and trying to not doubt myself as much.  Before the winter holidays I was finding it difficult to keep myself motivated and to maintain a positive attitude, I was probably tired like many teachers at that time of year, but after doing some reflecting over the holidays, I want to make a conscious effort to keep a positive attitude for my own sake as well as my students. The actions that I am going to take are going to be to:

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As well, I’m going to remember why I do what I do:

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And probably most importantly I am going to:images

January Blogging Challenge: Reflect and Renew in 2015

What do I consider unique about my teaching?

I guess one thing I would consider unique about my teaching has nothing really at all do with actual teaching, but with the behind the scenes teaching. I’ve mentioned it before, I’m a big proponent of building a culture in my classroom, as well as building relationships with my students. I find that it’s one of the most important parts of being a teacher, is getting to know my students, figuring them out not only academically but as people. When I look back on my years of teaching, I can’t really pinpoint a specific part of my teaching practice that is unique, but I can proudly say that I take the time to make connections with my students. Those connections are what fuels me so that I can do the kind of teaching that I love everyday.

January Blog Challenge: Reflect and Renew in 2015

What are my beliefs about how students learn best?

I’m a couple of days late in joining, but happy to be back taking part in this blogging challenge.

There are many influences that affect how students learn best. In my opinion, students learn best when they have a teacher who believes in them. I mean, we are the face that greets them every morning at 8:30 am, we are the ones that they look up to (sometimes literally) so having a teacher who believes in them and sees them for who they are is pretty powerful stuff.

Students also learn best when they are challenged, are pushed gently to take risks in their learning. Teachers who can see what students are capable of and their potential is again pretty powerful stuff. It’s not only in the seeing of the potential but in doing something with it, taking the student to the next level.

I’m a big believer in building relationships with the students in my class, getting to know them, noticing when they walk in on a Monday with a new haircut or a different pair of glasses. Asking them about their favourite sports team or their after school activities. It’s all about believing that someone is in their corner, someone who believes in them and wants to be their for them.

November Blogging Challenge: Attitude of Gratitude

Nov 22 What are your family traditions you are most grateful for?

I am most grateful for weekend family dinners, and for holiday get togethers. Whether its a turkey in the oven, apples and honey for the new year, or matzoh and horseradish sandwiches, it is these family traditions that put a smile across my face and the reason my family and I try to continue to bring these traditions forward year after year.