Monday, August 2, 2010

Back to School

After a wonderful and relaxing summer vacation, today I am officially back in the working world.  This week I am attending a summer institute focusing on reading and math.  I have chosen to participate in the new teachers session because this will be my first year as a general education classroom teacher (previously was an ESL teacher for 3 years).  I'm going to teach 3rd grade and I have a mix of emotions that range from excitement to fear.  I am looking forward to the challenges and all the success that I know is to come.

I wanted to get back to my blog, as I have abandoned it pretty much all summer.  I cannot make any promises on the frequency of my updates, as I am not an avid blogger who updates on a consistent basis.  In fact, I'm at the point where I am really blogging more for me than for my audience (sorry folks), but I appreciate those who read and leave comments, especially when sharing personal experiences or offering ideas for my classroom.

Anyhow, I just wanted to give myself a quick reflection of today's training.  I want to push myself to reflect frequently this year on what goes on in my classroom so that I may continue to improve.  Today's session focused on math and the components that make up the math block.  Our presenters modeled many of the activities we would be doing in our classroom and encouraged us to experience them from the perspective of our students.  We started with Morning Meeting (singing songs and everything), then went through most of a math block, participating in the problem of the day, a building number sense activity, the mini-lesson, and reflecting at the end.  What I appreciated about today's session was that it gave me the jolt I needed to get my head back in the game, and the ideas started flowing.

For the past few weeks I've been trying to do some educational reading and planning, but often felt stuck.  I would start but then come to a point where I wasn't sure where to go next.  Being in a room full of teachers once again, and having the instructional coaches take us through a math block modeling and discussing what we noticed was just what I needed to set me in the right direction again.  Tonight, I even came home and watched a few presentations from The Reform Symposium, which sparked some ideas for other activities I'd like to do with my class this year.  I hope this feeling lasts and that it will fuel me during tomorrow's planning sessions so I may map out the first 20 days of school.  Sometimes I bog myself down with planning because I am so detailed and focused on "doing it right".  But that's another topic for another day.  Overall, I left today's session feeling that I have a good understanding of how the math block is structured and what goes in each component of the block, so I can begin to incorporate that into a concrete unit plan tomorrow.

Welcome back to school y'all!

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