Saturday, August 27, 2016

Five for Fraturday - (Not Quite) Ready for a New School Year

Ready or not, here it is! Summer's over and on Monday, I'll greet 21 (or more) freshly minted second graders. This is my 20th school year and I've never yet felt "ready" to begin the year. Such is the nature of teaching. There is always way more to do than I have time to do (no matter how early I start or how many hours I work). After beginning several years feeling anxiety over not being ready, I've found a comfort in making sure I'm "ready enough." 

With that being said, here's this week's Five for Friday...well, since it's Saturday, we'll go with Five for Fraturday. Thank you, Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting!

Tuesday is the day our district sets aside for in-service opportunities. I signed up for a great one by REAL School Gardens. The half-day workshop focused on using school gardens as an outdoor classroom to teach literacy, math, and science (and some social studies, too). The program sounds great and my colleagues and I will be talking with our principal about getting started at our school. Here are some photos I took during the workshop.

We were invited to explore and discuss bees (dead ones, of course) at our tables. The presenters then threw out several questions and interesting facts about bees.  Did you know they have hair all over their bodies? Even on their eyeballs! Wouldn't second graders love this activity?

We were encouraged to think about what and how we would teach in each part of the garden. Wouldn't this be a great spot to encourage writing about peace?
  • Persuasive writing during the planning stage: Why should we have a peace garden? 
  • How-to writing during the implementation: How to plant a garden.
  • Poetry writing: What does peace mean to you?
  • Informational writing: Who was Muhammad Ali?
How else could we use something like this to encourage authentic writing?

The curriculum is structured using the 5 E Model of Instruction. All the activities we explored were based on this model. This is exactly how I love to teach!

The garden was divided into different geographic areas. I love knowing that children are learning about where different plants come from. I can also see doing some lessons on invasive plants. Students could study why some species, like Kudzu, are harmful to native plants.
Do you have a school garden? How do you use it?

On Wednesday, we had a school-based in-service to learn about teaching children who have experienced trauma. Here's a quote that really stuck with me. Sometimes, we punish the behavior without addressing the cause of it.

It was a scramble getting my room ready for our Open House on Thursday. I kept reminding myself that no one would notice the things that weren't done. I worked on getting "ready enough." 

I'll share more pictures of my room later this week, but here's a shot of my math center. I haven't put the header up for my math word wall and there are a few more math tools to put away, but I think it looks pretty good so far.

Books, books, and more books. These somehow made their way onto my front porch this summer.  I have a problem, I know. But don't they look wonderful?!

I don't have a picture for this one. I know some of you are already well into the school year, some, like me, will be starting on Monday, and some are getting ready to start after Labor Day. No matter what stage you're in, I hope all of you have the 


Until next time,


  1. I like your attitude of being "ready enough"! The kids are coming whether I'm ready or not so I may as well not stress about it!

    Primary On The Prowl