Saturday, May 23, 2015

11 Days..

With only 11 days left in school, it is important as we prepare our students for their state exams, we are provided them with HOPE! See how you can give your students HOPE, which leads to success for all students!

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Passion Became My Purpose...Now It's My Profession!

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. This school year will mark my 15th year as an educator. My story is not the traditional one.

I didn't get a degree in education from Anderson University, but one in Human Services and Resources. After graduating, I did not find a job in that field, so I went back home to Kingstree. While in Kingstree, my wonderful uncle got me a job with the county. Of course, I knew my destiny was not there. I knew this was not my calling, but I needed a job. My husband, then boyfriend, suggested I apply for a teaching position in Salisbury North Carolina. After submitting an application on line and sending resumes to principals, I got a call! I traveled to Salisbury to interview at Knox Middle for a Home Economics position. The principal at the time was wonderful. After my interview I returned to Kingstree anticipating my first job acceptance. In my heart I knew I already had the position.

I will never forget the day that I got that call. The principal said he wanted to offer me the position and was recommending me for hire. I was so excited, I left work, packed my little car up and headed to Salisbury that same day! By the time I got there, the principal had already contacted my husband to tell him that the board denied his recommendation. My first educational rejection, but definitely not the last.

I fought for a chance to get employed with Rowan Salisbury. I contacted the interim superintendent, but no luck. He said his hands were tied. Refusing to accept defeat, I applied for a position in Charlotte Mecklenburg. Here I was again starting this procedure all over again. After submitting my application and resumes, I waited again.

 A few days passed and I got a call from the principal at Bradley Middle School. I knew this was probably going to end the same way the last one did, but I gave it a shot. Failure was not an option. I went to the interview and he said he needed a sixth math teacher. Math was not my best subject in school, but I knew I could do the job. After the interview, he said he would give me call. My thoughts went immediately to the last time I heard these words.

As I was walking out of his office, I noticed his degrees hanging on the wall. He was a graduate of the Citadel. I told him that my sister graduated from there also. We continued to talk about South Carolina and he said he went to this bar-b-cue restaurant in Pawley's Island that had the best bar-b-cue he's ever had. When he said the name of the restaurant, I immediately starting smiling. I asked him did he want to meet the owner's son. How ironic that my husband was sitting in the car. The restaurant was my husband's father restaurant. After introducing him to my husband, I felt a calming spirit in my heart. I felt good about this interview. Praying that God would order my steps and having faith that he will do what He said, I was at peace.

A few hours later, I got the call from him saying that he recommended me for a lateral entry position as the sixth grade math teacher. This was on a Wednesday or Thursday before school started on that Monday. Although not certified, I knew that God had a plan for me.  It wasn't until that Saturday that I got the call asking me to come to Open House that Sunday. My first teaching position...

I started my first teaching experience with nothing at training, no room decorations, no resources. But the one thing that I had was passion! The passion I had ignited in me a fire for teaching students mathematics. My passion drove my desire to be great.

Since August 27, 2001, I have been driven to motivate and inspire students in education. I always knew I was different than most educators. I wanted to make sure my students were engaged in learning math through creative and innovative lessons and activities.

I love being an educator because it is my purpose. Every step that I took prepared me for this journey in education. God blessed me with a gift to teach. He knew that being are educators, but only a few are purposely designed for this role. During my time in education, I have inspired many students, received my Masters in School Administration, presented workshops, and created educational resources. I don't just teach...I inspire...empower...motivate...educate... I do what I have been called to do!

I experienced my first rejection in July 2001 and have had over twenty more. From being rejected from other teaching positions, assistant principal positions, facilitator positions, and awards. I know my purpose is still inspiring others. I may not be a great fit for other schools or not great enough for awards, but I do know I have been great for about 1,000 students. I know I will face many more rejections, but those who I have inspired will continue to outweigh those rejections.

So don't ever give up. Keep inspiring your students to be great. Let your passion motivate you to be great. This year during Teacher Appreciation week, reflect on why you became an educator. For many of us it is our purpose, our calling. For others it is only a stepping stone for something else. Regardless of the answer, just know God has a plan for us all. You were meant to be in this very moment in your life right now.


Leave a comment below telling me why you became an educator.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

HOPE - Having Opportunities to Pursue Excellence - Success Plan

In the past few months, I have been excited to try a few strategies to ensure my students' overall success in Math 1. My principal introduced me to several of these strategies and I creatively selected parts of them to create the ultimate educational success plan for my students.

These strategies will be shared in my resource guide that will be released this summer...

HOPE Success Plan! 

Be sure to subscribe to get updates on the release date.

All of the strategies that I implemented had one unique factor...the opportunities it provided students to have HOPE. Each strategy uniquely gave students a sense that even if they failed at a certain task, they had the opportunity to reach success.

These HOPE Opportunities built resilience in my students. It was amazing how hard they work and the data showed it. In our district, Benchmarks are given three times during the semester. Our first Benchmark assessment was given during the first three weeks of school, after the first Benchmark, I began to implement my success plan. The amazing growth my students made on Benchmark 2 was phenomenal.

I can't wait to share the HOPE Success Plan Resource Guide. This Guide will include strategies, activities, projects, reproducibles, and more.  

If your students struggle in Math and are unmotivated to learn, HOPE Success Plan! will definitely provide them with the opportunities to help them pursue excellence. 
If you are interested in me doing a workshop for your staff on HOPE Success Plan!, inbox me for details. Dates are limited, so be sure to reserve yours now!

Don't forget to Subscribe! 

There is HOPE for your students! 

The Profile of a Modern Teacher

By Wayfaring Path - Reid Wilson

Friday, April 24, 2015

Avoiding Teacher Burnout

For many of use, we are close to ending our school year!  This is always bitter sweet for me. I am excited to get my summer break, but I truly miss the students. So as we end our year, let's push through it and end it with fun and excitement.

For many years I experienced the signs of being burn out as a teacher. From my own experience I was...
-feeling exploited 
-had lack of motivation
-negative attitude
-dreading the workday 

These are 8 things that have helped me  prevent feeling burn out. 

1. Ask for help. 
2. Take a mental day. I like to call it Me Time. 
3. Rekindle your passion. Rediscover your passion for teaching. Attend a workshop or conference.
4. Try something new in your classroom. I began integrated technology. 
5. Use PLNs like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.
6. Get a hobby. I started crafting and baking. Such a great stress reliever. 
7. Read! Scriptures and quotes are the best. 
8. Exercise. Sweat out the stress! Dance, run, lift weights, whatever it takes. 

I'm sure there are many other ways to avoid being burn out. Just don't give up or give in. You can do this. Through all things The Lord will strengthen you!

Do you have any tips or advice?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Formative Assessments for the 21st Century Classroom

Here are some cool digital tools students can use for formative assessments.

1. - Originally to create quotes, but great for students to share what they have learned in class. You can have them create one and post to your class Facebook page or Twitter page. You can also have them download it and post it to your class blog or website.
2. - A place where you can generate fake iPhone text message screenshots and share them. It can be shared to any social media account or the image can be shared as a link.

3. Wordle Summary - Give students a wordle and have them create a 2 - 3 sentence summary using as many word from the wordle.
4. Selfies - What student doesn't love selfies? Give students a topic, word, or question. They can write it on a sheet of paper and then take a Selfie.

5. Doing for the Vine - Vines are perfects for recording short videos. Students can respond to a question or topic through a recording.

6.  Memes - Students  create a Meme that shows their understanding of  a topic. 

7. Twitter - Have students tweet their understanding. Many students get creative because they can only use 140 characters. Assign a unique hashtag so all your tweets are curated together.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Having Fun in Common Core Math with Digital Learning Tools

Who Says You Can Not Have Fun with Common Core Mathematics

The beginning of the school year brought forth many challenges as our district implemented the Common Core Mathematic curriculum. I faced the challenge of a brand new curriculum with no effective training (in my opinion) to effectively implement these new standards.

I began the first semester as I was instructed to. Placing students in groups to complete the investigations, having them complete the Check Your Understanding and Summarize the Mathematics independently or in groups. My students were getting frustrated because of their low reading levels did not give them a fair chance to understand this new math.

As the semester continued, I wanted to find ways to motivate my students to learn the new Common Core Mathematics Standards. Since I had a class set of iPads, I began to research and find ways I could add a little fun into my curriculum with the use of digital learning tools.

From apps such as Socrative, Study Blue, Sonic Pic, and Screen Chomp, my students began to get engage in learning. I saw a difference in their motivation to experience the Common Core journey with me.

By the end of the semester we were beginning to have fun in Integrated Math 1 (the new name given to the course, although now it has changed again). Students completed assignments using their iPads and Macs. It was amazing to see the difference in their attitude to complete Investigations with digital tools versus using their textbook.

I knew I had to give my students the opportunity to experience this math at the beginning of the new semester. I embarked on a new journey to find ways to make Common Core Math fun. I created lessons, assignments, and projects that would integrate Common Core Mathematics and digital learning tools. An integration of standards and digital learning tools that would allow students to understand the standards and do it in an engaging way. Although a long process, I innovatively created the ultimate resource tool for my first unit.

For our new semester, we start with Unit 2, Patterns in Data. I created a Digital Learning Pack filled with activities, strategies, and projects that will capture the essence of the standards in an innovative way. Students will be engaged in learning statistics using animated video software to learn vocabulary (Go Animate), Speed Dating and Gallery Walks to share ideas, graphic organizers to organize notes, blogging (Kid Blog) to answer the Summarize the Mathematics, micro-blogging to participate in conversations from Think About The Situation, and choice boards to summarize the unit using a multiple of digital learning tools. Investigations will include a Skittle project, Height project, and a project of the student’s choice.

I am very excited to give my students an innovative way to learn the new Common Core Math. Whoever says the Common Core Math cannot be fun just hasn’t taken the time to find ways to integrate fun into the curriculum. For the Unit 2 Common Core Pack, visit my Store to get your pack today!