Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I need this book!

I love browsing and every time I look at the "Recommendations for you" section on my account they are eerily dead on. Today I noticed this book and wanted to share it. It's a must-have for my classroom library.

"Seen from space, our planet looks blue. This is because almost 70 percent of Earth's surface is covered with water. Earth is the only planet with liquid water -- and therefore the only planet that can support life. All water is connected. Every raindrop, lake, underground river and glacier is part of a single global well. Water has the power to change everything -- a single splash can sprout a seed, quench a thirst, provide a habitat, generate energy and sustain life. How we treat the water in the well will affect every species on the planet, now and for years to come. One Well shows how every one of us has the power to conserve and protect our global well."
(Description provided by the publisher on

Monday, June 28, 2010

"We've made these test scores the be all and end all of existence...they're not."

I came across this video featuring renowned and inspiring educator, Rafe Esquith. He discusses his newest book Lighting Their Fires and how he strives to instill character traits in his students, "trying to raise honorable children in a world that is often dishonorable." He addresses our emphasis on test scores and that, although he believes in assessing children, the standardized tests aren't measuring what's important.

If you are not already familiar with Esquith, I recommend reading his books. I have read Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire and was inspired by his passion and belief in integrating music, theater, and real-world experiences into his classroom.

"A library card and a musical instrument and your child is set for an extraordinary life." - Esquith

Friday, June 18, 2010

Current Reading

A few books I'm reading for my action research as well as personal professional development...

And now it begins...

I'm Kat.

I am a teacher. (Wow! It's exciting to be able to say that!)

As the daughter of a kindergarten teacher, I've spent my whole life in the classroom (before, during, AND after school). Over the years I went through phases of wanting to be a teacher and thinking I'd NEVER be a teacher. I saw how rewarding it was, how much fun it can be. One year Mom was moving to a new school. As she cleaned out her classroom I dove into the bins of discarded materials and took home all the stickers, outdated teacher's editions, and posters I could manage. My next door neighbor and I set up a classroom in her garage complete with a dry-erase board, classroom library, teacher desk, and two student desks made from boxes and turned-over paint cans as chairs. Oh, and a prize box of course. Our students were our little brothers. While we enjoyed forcing our siblings to do worksheets we'd made up, their interest didn't last long. All they wanted was recess and a trip to the prize box. So that's what our "school" consisted of: recess and prizes. If we didn't give them their way, we'd no longer have students, you see. However, we did sent stern letters home to parents that we insisted be signed and returned.

I suppose we thought that was what teachers did. Of course, as I grew older I became more aware of the work my Mother really did both in and out of her classroom. I no longer considered teaching a profession I thought I could handle. It wasn't until my senior year of high school when I began thinking differently...

My school was just down the road from the school where my Mom taught. Each morning I would work in her classroom until I had to leave for school. Being there from day one, meeting the kids, getting to know them, and watching them grow throughout the year made me realize what an incredible experience it is to see children actually learn and love to learn. And what an incredible gift it is to be able to play a part in setting the foundation for someones life, helping them realize all they are capable of and all the possibilities in life that await them!

So that was that. I was going to be a teacher.

In 2006 I arrived at Stephens College. Quite honestly, I couldn't have chosen a more perfect place to receive my education. My experience in the classroom began my first year. I taught in the Stephens College Children's School on campus as well as a public school, Lee Expressive Arts Elementary, a few blocks away. The faculty and staff of the Education Department became my mentors and resources. My fellow students became my family. And most importantly, the classroom became my home. It just felt...right.

I think when you find something that you feel like you're meant to do, something inside you wakes up. Something that was waiting for you to find it...your passion...your purpose. A part of you that you didn't knew was there suddenly feels alive. That's what it felt like for me.

I graduated this past May with my BS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. I have just begun Graduate school at Stephens and am working toward my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. And......

I'M A TEACHER! I will be teaching at the Stephens College Children's School in the Multi age classroom. (For those who are unfamiliar with this, it is Kindergarten through 5th grade together in one classroom.) I will be teaching pre-k/kindergarten age children. But the best part is, I will be doing action research during this year for my graduate program on how integration of the arts across content areas will enhance learning and learning outcomes. We shall see...

The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences in the classroom, my thoughts and ideas on teaching and learning, and to share books and other teacher resources I find valuable. I also wanted to become more familiar with blogging and other technology to incorporate into my classroom.

Well, I've come a long way. Turns out, teaching is more than stickers, worksheets, and recess. (Thank goodness!) Teaching is more than I even know yet. But I do know that teaching is one of the most important, rewarding, and fulfilling things a person can devote their life to. I'm one of the lucky people in this world that has this opportunity. In about a month I'll enter a classroom...not as a volunteer, college student, or student teacher...but as a teacher. I'll still be a learner, though. That's one thing I want my students to know. Everyone in that classroom is a learner and a teacher.

We are all in pursuit of knowledge.