Sunday, April 10, 2016

Trying to be a good teacher AND a good daughter

Let's be honest, being a teacher is hard. I teach kindergarten and there are days I go home completely spent. Having given so much of myself to my students. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching, I love my students but their needs are never-ending. It can be exhausting. But we are also mothers, daughters, sisters, friends. If you are lucky enough to still have your parents continue to cherish them, love them, laugh with them. For the vast majority, we will one day watch our parents die. Being part of that eventual transition of being the child to becoming the caretaker for our parents is often an emotional one. To watch a powerful father who commanded respect become so sick that he is confined to a bed wearing a diaper is awful for him and awful for you. To see your mother, who took care of everyone and everything, need you to be her voice, to ask for her pain meds, to feed her. It can be unbearable one second and feel incredibly noble the next.  No one gets out unscathed. We will all have our day when we lose the person who loved us the most, who saw the very best in us. Losing that person changes us; we are never the same. Never recover.


The transition of illness to loss is a painful rollercoaster. Often filled with tears, fear, and loneliness. But we must continue either during the illness or after they are gone. Our job is hard. Our students need us in a way that an accountant will never understand. For goodness sake, we can't even go to the bathroom when we need to. Every teacher I know has trained her bladder to go hours without being emptied. There is no relief to walk away and have a moment after or during a loss. 

So to those of you out there that are suffering from an ailing parent and trying to be an excellent teacher, here are my words for you. You are not alone. There are hundreds  thousands of us traveling the same path. Let's reach out a hand to our teacher friends and lend a smile to those who are smiling on the outside and crying on the inside. Let's start this week with kindness and support in our heart for our fellow warriors. Let's focus on the humanity of the teacher. Let's stand together. We may be "Mrs. Larsen" from 8:30-3:00 but we are "my loving Della" the rest of the day and into the night as we sit in a hospital room hour after hour watching our parents slip away. 

Let's remember to always be kind and gentle to those around us fighting a battle no one knows about. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My top five reasons for using task cards.

                      My top five reasons for using task cards.

I LOVE task cards, and to be honest so do my kids. I have center time every day in my class and you can be sure one of those centers will have some type of task card.  There are lots of reasons people use task cards and here are my top 5.

#1 The kids are independent. Task cards are designed for kids to be able to complete the work by themselves.  The work I add to  task cards is generally review and practice. Although the kids don't think they are practicing.  There's something about squeezing those clips that makes the kids happy.

#2 My kids will take risks. No one wants anyone to know when we make a mistake and kids are no different. We are always assessing them and it must become exhausting to them to be constantly under the microscope. With self checking task cards no one will know if they make a mistake. They can check their answer and make the adjustments by themselves. I think the kids are willing to take more risks if no one will know if they made a mistake. 

#3 They are hands on. I use a variety of task cards. Some require clothespins. My kids LOVE clothespins, I'm not sure what it is about clothespins but when they see them they want to go to the center. I also use paper clips, and dry erase markers and brads. The kids get a chance to manipulate the cards and somehow it's WAY more fun than answering with a paper and pencil.

#4 I can differentiate easily. Task cards are perfect for differentaiting instruction. I can have kids working on a variety of cards. Each child can be working on completely different skills. 

Check out my favorite task cards from traditional to a little bit more fun. 

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