Welcome to My Blog!

Welcome to my blog! I use my blog as a way to reflect, share, organize, and re-conceptualize my views as an educator. Enjoy and feel free to comment, post, disagree, and share your opinion. The more perspectives, the better!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Different Directions

It is decision making time. I have been getting ideas, strategies, "rules" and suggestions from so many people and from so many settings that I spent most of this week extremely overwhelmed. Instead of getting a  better picture of my first few weeks teaching from all of this support, my first few weeks were becoming less defined.

Today has kind of been a turning point for me. I have stopped listening to "must do's" that everyone seems to have and began to take them as opinions on what a classroom should look like. I need to regain my OWN view of a classroom first and then I can incorporate some of the very helpful suggestions I have been given. I also created a series of lists (I am a big list maker) to help organize myself. I have the following lists: Ask Emily (my team leader), to buy, to make, bulletin boards, centers, and teacher to do. Everything fits on a list and even though I have not started a single thing on my list, I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!

I also received the keys to my classroom portable (aka trailer) today and even though there are some things I am definitely not thrilled about (post coming), I have a better idea of how I can set up my classrooms and classroom processes. Again, a huge step to making me feel better about the next few weeks!

The moral of the story: stay true to yourself and ideas, but be open to making changes and modifications based on the feedback of others.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Cost of Dropping Out

NPR is starting a week-long series on the cost of dropping out of school. Their goal is to discuss the economic and emotional consequences of dropping out of school by putting faces to drop out statistics. Even though I have heard many of these statistics before, I am humbled by the magnitude of the achievement gap.

I look forward to reading this series and I cannot wait to meet my students and help give them the opportunity to an education that will hopefully help keep them in school. My goal is to create life-long learners--students, that no matter their circumstances, want to learn and will continue to keep learning. In my classroom I hope to start this by instilling a sense of independence into my first graders. I want them to realize from an early age that they are responsible for their own education. I believe that this will "plant the seeds" for not just staying in school, but benefiting from it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Institute Debrief

Well, I am finally back from Institute and a long weekend of moving and driving. I am semi-settled into my new house (until the POD with all of my furniture and boxes gets to Nashville) and we have started Round 0 orientation.

Institute is over and with so much driving time I have had time to think of some key take aways. The thing about the majority of TFAers (myself included) is that we are very critical--especially of ourselves.We see a problem and we want to fix it. My Institute experience is no exception. The reality is that I failed my students. We did not meet our goal as a class and the majority of my students did not meet their individual growth goals.

So my question is..What went wrong? The answer...a lot of things! Most of these things have been written about in previous posts as I was going through them, but the major things that I believe I need to change for next year so that my new class does not have mediocre growth are:

- Spend more time on investment...There is a huge jump in our data after the three week mark. I felt the difference in relationships with my students and the numbers proved it. Once I started learning about my students and having some fun with them, they started achieving. The other side of investment is helping the students to understand that what they are doing in the classroom, that the goals we have for them, are important to their current and future success.

- Build strong routines and procedures...I really want a classroom that functions independently. My students are more than capable of doing many of the things I did for them this summer and, as a result, I lost a lot of time for individualized and small group instruction.

- Give students more opportunity to experience and engage with material. I felt like I was talking all of the time and the reality is that while I was talking very few students were learning.
- Differentiate more...I saw so much growth during AIT and I need to make sure that small group and individualized instruction has a strong place in my classroom.

- Find what works for me as a teacher...All of these things above, and so much more, are things that I knew going into this experience, but knowing and doing are two very different things. I lost sight of who I was as an educator and what I could give to my students. As we moved further into weeks 3 and 4 I became more comfortable with my teaching style and how my style impacted my students.

These are all things I am working on building into my classroom vision and plan that we are working on during Round Zero. I am confident that my new students will benefit from my mistakes over the summer because I refuse to let my classroom and my students go in a direction that I am not comfortable with again. I am in the process of making changes and I will never let my classroom be a place where the teacher's mistakes hinder student progress.

So there is the bad and what will come of it. Here are some of the good things that have helped rekindle my teaching "fire"....

- all of my students eligible for promotion (including special project #1) who met the attendance requirement met their goals for promoted! Together the first grade team using a collaborative AIT model promoted 8 students to first grade. There are so many statistics to support the urgency for students to achieve promotion in the early grades and we helped make it happen for 8 students!

- All of my students showed growth in both math and reading. Even though it was not the growth we wanted our students still learned SOMETHING over the summer.

- As a teacher I learned about how to use data to drive my classroom and my students. Assessments are so much more purposeful and meaningful to me now than they ever were before.

- I am leaving Institute with a strong network of support and many resources to explore.

I am leaving Institute on "The Brain Train." I have been motivated to learn more, to do more, and achieve more. Not only have I put faces to the Achievement Gap, but I have a better understanding of my role in helping my students get to "Destination Success." I made an impact on my students and they have made an incredible impact on me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tomorrow is...


What an experience this has been! Tomorrow is an early morning to what is going to be an emotional day so I am going to leave it at this has been a life-changing experience and I am sad to leave my students when I still feel like there is so much progress that can be made, but PUMPED for my return to Nashville and my own classroom!


Teacher training model


This is an interesting approach to teacher training and something that I think is mirrored by the combination of both the ECE program at UC and my TFA training so far. I might be getting ahead of myself, but it worked for me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

UC Partnership

Reading things like this makes me wish I was still a UC student so I could be a part of this:

The level of partnership with the Cincinnati community in CECH is unprecedented and I, for one, am a much better teacher (and person) because of it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Different Side of the Delta

Look at these pictures. These pictures show the familiar landscapes that I see out my window during the commute to and from school each day. This is the Delta I came to Mississippi expecting to find. 

This, however, is not the Delta that my students know. I cannot tell you how shocked I was to find out that only 5 of my 19 students have ever been on a farm. My students are surrounded by farm land, drive past it everyday, yet they have never set foot on a farm. To me this shows the unbelievable limits poverty can place on opportunities. The reality is that the experience my students, most of which come from low income backgrounds, is more similar to that of what you would expect inner city students to face. While there are some major differences, the strength of religion and respect and the  being a major difference, I am realizing that my Delta students are faced with so many of the same challenges that inner-city students face. There have been several small things to build towards this realization, but a conversation with my roommate who teaches secondary literature really pushed me to start thinking about the similarities. She had a conversation today about pressure with her students today and it shed light on drug, gang, and familial issues that forced me think about the similarities and differences more seriously.

I really wish I had spent some time at the beginning of this experience seeing the towns that my students call home. I feel like it would have helped ground me and also help me pull from experiences prior to TFA to better serve my students. 

In the end it really comes down to the achievement gap. We came here to help close the gap. We came here because the gap is every bit, if not more, real for my QES students as it will be for my students in Nashville and in urban populations nation-wide. We came here to give students opportunities and while 5 weeks cannot change everything, it can change something. 

CH and SH sound unit

My students  have been really struggling with their first digraphs: the SH and CH sounds. This is the plan I created for the week to help them distinguish these sounds from other sounds and from each other. Today was the first day of teaching this unit and I loved the simplicity of it. Below you can find an overview of the unit and then I have linked to some of the resources I used. Many of the resources were borrowed so I cannot put them up until I have permission. Enjoy!

Objective for week: SWBAT spell, decode, and distinguish words with sh and ch digraphs

Materials for the week:
-          M,T,W,TH,F Do now worksheets
-          Picture cards and workmats for SH, CH, and “Other” word sorts
-          Dry erase boards/ markers
-          “Shelly’s Shell Shop” and “Chip the Chimp” from A to Z reader(7 copies)
-          Crayons and pencils
-          Chart paper “mad lib”
-          “Writing” paper for spelling test

-          “Do Now” Trace and Write SH words by the pictures
-          INM: Reintroduce SH
o   Brainstorm SH words
-          GP: Do a picture/ word sort… Which pictures are SH words which pictures are not
-          IP: Circle SH words on a work sheet
o   RW 19, 20 Give “Shelly’s Shell Shop” and have them read it in pairs and when finished color SH words with a crayon
-          “Do Now”  Fill in the sound SH words
-          INM: Reintroduce CH
o   Brainstorm CH words
-          GP: Do a picture/ word sort…which pictures are CH words and which are not
-          IP: Circle CH words on a worksheet
o   RW 19, 20 Give “Chip the Chimp” and have them read it in pairs and when finished color CH words with a crayon
-          “Do Now” Write SH and CH words, underline the SH sounds and Circle the CH sounds
-          INM: Review on Sh and ch while focusing on the difference between the two words.
-          GP: Sort pictures between CH and SH categories
-          IP: Circle the correct sound for each picture

-          “Do Now” Circle SH sounds and CH sounds
-          INM: Review SH and CH and do a quick word sort between the two sounds.
-          GP:  As a class we will write a CH/SH mad lib. I will create a frame for a story and students will volunteer words to put in our story.
-          IP: Students will complete picture sentence pages

-          “Do Now” Read SH and CH picture sentences from yesterday (with blanks filled in). Circle CH sounds and underline SH sounds.
-          INM: Review how to spell and say our sounds with other letters.
-          IP: Spelling test: ash, shop, she, chop, chin

Do you believe in me?
That's right they do.
I can do anything
be anything
create anything
dream anything
become anything
because you believe in me.
Do you believe in me?
Because I believe in me,
and you've helped me get to where I am today.
Thank you.
--Dalton Sherman

Inspiration is the best when it comes from the mouth of child.

What do Morgan Freeman, Kermit the Frog, Native Americans and Tamales have in common?

Q. What do Morgan Freeman, Kermit the Frog, Native Americans, Tamales, birthdays, coffee shops and lesson plans have in common?
A. My weekend! (and the Mississippi Delta)

I spent this weekend playing "tourist" in the Delta. After a long week (though seemingly shorter than weeks 2 and 3) I resisted my Friday and Saturday afternoon naps and decided to explore a little bit. It was a great choice and I really appreciated the "life lesson" (or life reminder b/c I am pretty sure I have had to re-learn this lesson more than a few times) that there needs to be a balance between work and play. Even though I didn't really catch up on a lot of sleep, I feel refreshed and energized in a different way...like I am mentally ready to take on the week (although physically my body is angry at me for deciding to climb a 5 story Native American mound in 100 degree heat and follow it by too much cake, fried food, ice cream and beer).

Check out the highlights of my weekend:

Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club

Leland, MS: Birth place of Jim Henson
Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog Birthplace Exhibit

Hot Tamale Heaven: Road Side Stand
Best Hush Puppies I have ever tasted!

Winteville, MS: larges concentration of Native American mounds in one location.
Home of the tallest known mound in the United States. The mound is 55ft high and was built by  Native American communities who moved earth from the MS river (about 15 miles away) by carrying it in baskets on their shoulders!

Checking out the Mississippi River and imagining
Huck and Jim floating down on a raft  up the river. 

Celebrating my suite-mate and soon to be roommate's birthday!

Great weekend! I think I appreciated the Delta region so much more this weekend. It has become more to me than hot weather, mosquitoes, and 20 hour days. Early mornings start back tomorrow and once again I am updating the blog instead of sleeping. I really don't have time to be blogging like this, but I have realized how important it is to take the time to process my day and blogging is an easy outlet to do this. It is nice to have an outlet while at the same time allowing for me to go back and think/ relive things at a later date.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Integrating subject matter isn't just an ECE thing!

Check out this article in NYT about how two scholars are integrating science and art---each using an artistic medium to explore science. I read this article and was really excited. I am already thinking of ways to incorporate art and science in my classroom in a way that includes more than just coloring!

"Ms. Miebach and Mr. McCrory may appear to be engaged in very different pursuits, but their goal is the same: to promote understanding by finding new ways of seeing the world. They’ve never met, but both are invested in the idea that better visualization leads to better thinking"


Saturday, July 9, 2011

"What's on yo' lips?"

E: "Miss Prinzo, What's that pink stuff on yo' lips?'

Me: "It's called lip gloss."

E: "Why do you have it on your lips?"

Me: "To make my lips stand out a little bit more."

E: "Oh, well you should never wear it again."

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Number Line Lesson was...

PERFECT! Well not perfect, but it went over very well with my students and in a very short time I believe I was able to help my students refine their number sense, counting skills (forward and backward) and reinforced the idea that they need to be able to count forwards and backwards from different places to add and subtract.

The real test will be tomorrow when I teach subtraction by counting backwards with the number line as a tool.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Bad Do You Want It?

It has been a Tim McGraw kind of day. This was the last song I listened to before getting off the bus tonight and it is perfect for my day. 

I get to make my living
Doing what I love

Today I decided that my teaching was not good enough for my students and that with only 7 days left, I need to live and breathe making changes for my first graders.

Every night I give my heart and soulSometimes that ain't enough...  

This is hard becuase the reality is I cannot handle my students on my own. Yes, I can control them, but it takes a lot quality teaching time and a lot of energy and stress that detracts from my lesson. Not to mention the fact that my five students with chronic behavior problems (for those non-teacher out there...students who continue to misbehave and do not respond to warnings and consequences...you know the type of student I am talking about. We found out today that our 5 students were separated over 3 different rooms last year, but we are lucky enough to have them all together. To put it in a nice way our FAs explained that the four of us would be more than prepared for the 'classroom from hell' next year after this summer...) continually are removed from the carpet and other classroom learning.

Can you feel it?
Can you taste it?
Can you hear it ohhh knocking at your door?

This is not okay, this is not helping us reach our goals. My collab partner for this week and I were both very unsatisfied with this and decided that it was time to make some changes happen.

How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?

We have a really good chemistry together and decided that tomorrow we would team teach. This is not something typically acceptable because it can hinder our own development, but the two of us were adamant that this is what is best for our kids. We called an "emergency" meeting with our CMA and presented our plans. With some critical feedback we are on track to team teach for tomorrow.

We also are on track to completely change our math calendar for the last week to focus on quality over quantity of objectives. Our review starts tomorrow and we are moving away from an assessment/ objectives based lesson for the day and giving our students a strategy to build number sense. We are teaching number lines!

It gets EVEN better...not only are we team teaching, reviewing a requisite skill, but I am taking my kids outside and teaching a 100% kinesthetic and verbal lesson. I don't have to teach on the carpet tomorrow!

Tomorrow is a make it or break it day.

Are you eatin', sleepin', dreamin'
With that one thing on your mind?

It could be awesome or it could fail miserably. Regardless, this is the best I have felt going into a day all institute. This feels like me. This is my style of teaching. Yes, my LP could be more thought out, but the plan is in my head and I have a whole bus ride to get the details together. I have my past experience and my new TFA skills and I am hopeful that this is the balance that I am looking for.

As much as this lesson is for my students, it is a lesson for me. It is a lesson to bring some of my personality back into teaching.

How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?

Cause if you want it all/ You've got to lay it all out on the line.

Samurai, layers, and cheerleaders oh my!

Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A. 'er ranger.

I love asking young children what they want to be when they grow up. Their answers are fantastic. Here are a few from my students:
-Cheerleader and tee-ball player
-football and basketball player
-police man

My challenge? To convince them that reading and math will help them reach their very ambitious career goals.

In all seriousness, every once and a while you can SEE a student's  eyes light up. Children have a look of pure excitement and joy. I got that today from one of my most serious and hardest working students. I was doing her investment survey and I told her..

"Did you know cheerleaders need to use math? When they learn their cheer leading routines and dances, they learn them by counting to 8. This is called an 8-count."

I had her stand up and do an 8 count with me and her face lit up like the Fourth of July. It was such a simple thing, but so worth it.

These are the moments I love teaching the most.

Special Project #1 update

Remember special project #1? My student who is very excited about learning, but has very little control? Are you ready for an update?

I will give you the bad before the good (it is always nice to end on a positive note).

MJL had a really difficult day today. He was the only student to reach silent lunch in the consequence chart, was removed from math session #1 and sat out for my guided practice today. All of this on top of the fact that he spent an extra 10 minutes today walking up and down the halls with me until he could show me what it looks like when a first grader walks in the hallway. That was our day and the reality is that MJL's days tend to look like this.


Last week we were told about MJL's kindergarten year. This student was pretty much out of control. When he wasn't sent to his own space in the back of the room to put his head down and check out of the class he was running around the room, crawling under the tables, drawing on everything in sight and could not keep his hands to himself.

MJL is lucky that he had 4 teachers that recognized very early into the year his passion and excitement for learning. He is lucky that we were able to create opportunities for this child to earn praise in the classroom, and he is even luckier that his 4 teachers realized his potential.

We had a "come to Jesus" meeting with our two FAs and the school lab teacher today about our management in the classroom. It was not a pretty meeting (nor unexpected), but one take-way from this meeting was that all three teachers could not stop saying how much improvement they had seen in MJL. The three of them sincerely believe that he has shown so much growth in his behavior and is really beginning to act like a student. Why is this so important? The data shows that this student learned enough to get close to promotion EVEN when he was separated from the class and removed from learning the majority of this past year. If we can teach him how to behave in the classroom, how to be a part of the community, and how to be a positive role model in the classroom, I have no doubt that he can handle the academic work. Imagine how far ahead this student will be if he actually gets the chance to participate in class.

Today I made a positive impact on this student. This is the feeling that teacher's live for. It is the feeling that will drive me to get up tomorrow and it is the feeling that will drive me to make sure I get my lesson and management right. MJL deserves it. All of my students deserve it.

Tomorrow is a new day. I have goals for all of my students, but MJL in particular. My plan is to engage him so much that he doesn't have a chance to act up. He will be my model, my special helper, and he will walk like a first grader in line. Why? MJL craves attention. He is at a stage where he is just learning to understand how to get positive attention and be a part of a classroom community. I need to do my best to give these tools to him.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Song of the day: Firework by Katy Perry
Do you know that there's still a chance for you
Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth

Yes, that's right...my inspiration from the day was Katy Perry, but I mean the 4th of July in combination with a new week and a semi-change in attitude. It's kind of perfect. 

So I came into this week with the mindset of looking ahead. I am looking ahead to Nashville and how I can combine my teaching style with what I am learning at Institute. I am looking ahead to gaining some confidence. I am just ready to move on in general. The reality is I am "over" Institute. 

This attitude put me in a much better mood, at least for the morning, but then I realized one important thing. This mindset was not one that would allow my summer school students to move forward. So I had to change it. This is easier said than done...I had created this mindset as a way to get through Institute and now I have to break it down to a much more vulnerable, stressful place. 

And today was stressful, but three important things came out of it. (1) With the help of my CMA I was able to create a plan for blending a little bit more "me" into my lesson; (2) I picked two major focus points for this week..student engagement during lessons and combining the BMC with positive narration; and (3) I was able to admit and vent a few things that I had been internalizing and work through them.

So back to Katy Perry. The part of the song that really stuck with me is "ignite the light." To be 100% corny I need to "ignite" my students. I need to engage them and I need to make time to pull students for intervention to ensure that every student gets what he or she needs. 
Pictures are from the 4th of July party that the city of Cleveland, MS held for us. 
I LOVE the Delta hospitality. 

The PS 22 Chorus version of "Firework": The PS 22 Chorus has been brought up in a few different sessions. Tonight it was to look at the faces of the children singing and to try to bring this type of expression into reading fluency. Last week we were encouraged to think about the teacher actions that led to the students being such phenomenal performers (and so engaged in what they are doing). Food for thought.

After a hurricane comes a rainbow. Good night!

Monday, July 4, 2011

DIY Dry Erase Boards

Thanks to one of my collab members, our students have awesome dry-erase boards to work on. The best part? We made a class set for under $10.

- white poster board, cut into 8.5" x 11" sheets
- sheet protectors (don't be cheap...get the ones that are extra sturdy)
-dry erase markers (might put you over $10 if you buy good ones like EXPO or BIC)

1. cut poster board into 8.5" x 11" sheets
2. Slide in sheet protectors

- We cult pieces of felt into small pieces for erasers and then slipped an eraser and marker into each sheet protector. It makes for really easy distribution and clean-up.

The even better than best part? We can slide math and word-study worksheets into the sheet protectors and the students can have wipe off practice pages.

I am in so excited to make these for my classroom! Picture to come!

Standing Outside the Fire

"They're so hell bent on giving, walking a wire 
Convinced it's not living if you stand outside the fire."

I heard this song today. One of my favorites and realized how much my experience lately matches this song. One of the best things about Institute is that we are pushed to our limits (or at least close to them). It is not easy. TFA does a really good job of helping its CMs to realize that teaching is one of the hardest jobs in the world. We are so in the fire it is not even funny. 

The difference with TFA in comparison to many education programs is that they help us get through it. We are thrown into the fire, but we are also given amazing resources and support to get through this summer and the next two years so that our students have the best possible chance of succeeding. I truly believe that students in a TFA classroom will have a better educational outcome than many of their peers...especially if they are lucky enough to have a few TFA or TFA-like teachers in their paths. 

Right now we are not there yet, we are admist the flames. We are giving everything we can give-- We are living our lives so that other students can have what we were lucky enough to be given---a great education. 

Garth Brooks is my motivation for the day (with a little HP mixed in...how could I give you the regular version when I found this gem on YouTube?)

I am the decisive element in the classroom.

" I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized." --Dr. Haim Ginott

In our CS session on Friday we were given this quote and asked to write the following "I will..." statements on the back. Here are mine:

I will create a welcoming environment by... being aware of my students; being open to their questions and concerns; and preventing and addressing issues of community and culture.

I will uphold a welcoming environment by... building relationships with and taking responsibility for all of the needs and feelings of my students.

TFA*Nashville Bloggers

One Institute...a lot of perspectives! Check out some of the other TFA*Nashville bloggers:





Friday, July 1, 2011


"Ability is of little account without  opportunity."
 -Napoleon Bonaparte

This was shared during our Literacy Session today as a reminder that students need the opportunity to become great writers. Their ability is far less important to their growth in comparison to genuine and many opportunities for writing. A great teacher-reminder and an even better life-reminder. 

I get by with a little help from my friends

This has not been a week of my finest moments as a teacher or as a student. I was (and still am) tired, frustrated, and most importantly ready to make a change.

Our Nashville staff told us over and over again during Induction that there are no selection mistakes in this program (as long as you were honest in your interview process) and that we were selected to join TFA based on a combination of the following things: leadership, relentlessness, and our understanding of the achievement gap and a belief that we can make a difference in closing it.

We are not the type of people who run away from our problems and the majority of us hate to not be good at something. Right now, we are not exceptional teachers. We have our moments, but we are not there yet. So what makes us different? We cannot stand that we are not exceptional. We will do whatever it takes to become exceptional teachers. We might complain, but we know it is worth it. We know our kids deserve exceptional teachers. Like I said, we do not tolerate not being good at something.

That is where the selection criteria comes into play. We were chosen because TFA knows that we are the type of teacher that will do whatever it takes--whether it be working 20 hours a day for 5 weeks straight for free, moving across the country, missing weddings and graduations, or driving a student home each night so he/she can attend after school tutoring--we will do it. Even more importantly, we work to develop personally and professionally. We are hungry for feedback and though we might not like hearing it, we take criticism humbly and learn from it.

I believe that I was given this opportunity for a reason and I believe that I can make an incredible impact on my students now and future students in Nashville. I really believe this, but at the same time this week I needed a reminder of that. I realized that this week I was miserable, my students, were miserable and to be perfectly honest there was no learning going on. I realized on Tuesday that I had set low expectations for myself that were impacting my students. It was enough to get through a lesson or enough to have a few students get it. Mentally I had had enough, but this is not acceptable for me. I needed to take ownership of my classroom and student learning and get back on track. Tuesday was a terrible day, but by the end of it I was ready to make some changes. I am lucky enough to have the support to make so many changes and quickly.

Shout outs go to all of the following who helped make my action plan turn into a reality...

- My FA who observed Tuesday's Train Wreck (pun 100% intended) and helped coach me through Wednesday to start a turn-around.
- My CMA who stayed an extra 1/2 hour with me to talk through my observation debrief and my plan for the rest of the week.
- My Collab who let me re-arrange our classroom for a way that worked better for me, worked as a team to problem-solve behaviors certain students were exhibiting, and joined forces as we quadruple teamed them on Wed (it is all about consistency).
- My roommate and fellow CMs who listened to me vent and/ or shared and empathized through shared and similar experiences.
Wine Wednesday: A new tradition, classiness will increase
 upon moving out of the Delta State dorms. Eventually we will
move on to glass cups and our own corkscrew!
...and finally...

My friends from home. On Tuesday night my TFA roommate and I talked about how we had both lost a lot of confidence in ourselves over the past week and that we were starting to feel like our identity was being controlled by TFA. The reality is that we were not feeling like ourselves and all of those things that we were selected for were not showing. We missed having lives and being people beyond institute. Our students needed to have real teachers and to do that we needed to feel like real people. So I reached out to some of my friends and asked that on Tuesday they send me some love via text. I cannot tell you how much better they were able to make my day. Each one of them said something and did something that helped me get back on track. I got my first text as soon as I woke up in the morning and my last one after school had let out for TFA day (Totally Free Afternoon....another amazing part of my day).

I have my texts from each of them locked in my phone. I am sure that there will be other days like Tuesday, but these texts are little pieces of inspiration and motivation that will be there for when those days happen. I will probably look at them on the great days too.

One friend went above and beyond a text message.
I could not be luckier to have friends this awesome.
Sorry for rambling...I am tired and wanted to get as much of my life out on "paper" as I could before bed time. Good night :)

Investment Update.

I realized something really important today...I don't know my students. I know their behaviors and their test scores, but I do not know them. I realized today that over half of my time with them is over and I don't know most of my students favorite colors, if they have siblings, what they like to do, their favorite foods, their favorite books, or even what part of the county they are from. I know absolutely nothing about the majority of my students.

To put it in perspective, two weeks into my student teaching experience I could have talked for at least 30 minutes about each of my students' interests, likes, and dislikes. I can't talk 30 minutes about those things for all 20 students now. This is a problem, and starting tomorrow I am going to fix it. I am going to start with the five I have been responsible for parent communication with and work my way to each student. By this time next week, I want to be able to tell you about my students...not just their scores and behaviors (though I expect these things to get better as a result of knowing them better).

The bottom line is I need to know about my students to help close the gap for them.This starts now.