Self Improvement, Class Improvement

My very lofty goal this year is to try to blog at least once a week. This will be beneficial for me as I reflect on my growth and development as a teacher and will also be fun to look back on after the year is over. This week I’ve been focusing a lot on self-improvement and goal setting, so I thought why not bring this idea of self-improvement and goal setting into the classroom. We started MAP testing this week, so our schedule has been completely thrown off. This is the first time these kiddos have ever taken a MAP test. Although it was long and tedious, they powered through and were able to complete the test while trying their own personal best.

Personal best is a quote that I use often, especially working such an incredible differentiated district. Everything we do for our students is differentiated and created for their own individual growth, so this mentality carried over to the MAP test. The students really focused and did truly try their personal best. My favorite thing to see were the kiddos who typically struggle, trying their best and getting an on level score!

This week in guided reading groups I conferenced with each one of my students to set up an individual goal that they will be focusing on. I’m lucky enough, since it’s the start of the year, that the guided reading groups by levels, also have very similar strategy goals. The students each received their strengths and their goals and we discussed the strategy they were going to try first to improve this goal. Just bringing their goal and strategy to their attention really made a change in the way they were reading. This was extremely evident with my group who was working on fluency. I use Jennifer Serravallo’s book, “The Reading Strategies Book”, to find strategies that will work best for them. We focused on paying attention to punctuation and making our voice match the punctuation at the end of the sentence. After the students seem to have a general understanding, or mastery of this, we will move on to focus on punctuation within sentences.

Fluency

In another one of my guided reading groups, our goals were to work on stopping at difficult words and taking ownership of our learning by finding out what strategies work for us to decode words. Here’s an example of the personalized anchor charts I gave to each of my students. While they were reading, they were able to reference the chart and select strategies that helped them to decode difficult words.

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The kiddos seemed to really love hearing their goal and take ownership of their learning. It gave them something to work towards and I think they appreciated hearing their strengths as readers as well. Think about it, who doesn’t love hearing when they do things well? Thanks to Jennifer Serravallo and Colleen Noffisinger from Lit Loving Gals for the tips and ideas.

I’m also loving how we hold them accountable for a “stop and jot” every day. It’s a quick formative assessment to see what the kiddos are reading about, what connections they’re making and what predictions they might have. It’s also really great when they utilize something we’ve done in small group or whole class as their stop and jot. #happyteachermoment.

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Continuing on with the theme of self improvement I created a growth mindset bulletin board outside of our room with pictures of the kids trying their hardest while working. I put the normal mindset quote next to the picture of them with the growth mindset quote underneath their picture. Here is a close up of each individual poster and then the board as a whole.

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I also took the time to create a little door motivator found through my aunt’s suggestion and then Molly Malloy on TPT, to hang outside of our classroom. I am a firm believer in creating a team and a family in the classroom and I’m hopeful that when the kiddos see this they will understand how much they mean to me already.

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I’m excited to watch their personal growth and team growth as we move into October.

I’m also super jazzed to be the leader of the iSWAT team at Irving and am anxious to see what kiddos join in this incredible club. For those that don’t know, iSWAT stands for “I Am a Student Willing to Assist with Technology”. These kids will run their own professional development meetings for teachers and students to attend about technology and beyond. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.

As far as the self improvement goes, I have been working a lot on getting back to my old self. I have battled with my weight my entire life and three years ago too a stand and lost over 80 pounds. Unfortunately, I did gain the weight back and just have not been feeling like myself lately. I took the initiative to become a member and distributor of an incredible product called Herbalife. I replace two meals, breakfast and lunch, with a shake per day and am already down 5 pounds. The shakes are so delicious and I am truthfully never hungry. I’ve also been getting up in the morning and getting a 2 mile run in everyday as a means of getting active again and also trying to avoid eating until I am hungry. I already feel so much better and am so energized to continue on this health journey back to where I was.

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Last night after my sister’s volleyball game the sky looked so incredible. I had to take a picture. As I sit and reflect now on the month that has passed I can’t help but think how blessed I am love what I’m doing in every aspect of my life. I can only hope it continues to be this wonderful. Now all that needs to start back up is Chance to Dance and Revelations Dance Company and my life will be complete. I hope everyone has a great rest of their week and enjoys this beautiful fall weather. Here’s our quote of the week in our classroom that I hope you take a minute to reflect on and utilize in your own life, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.”- Maya Angelou

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