A few tips on how to stay motivated until the end of the year.
We have all been there. The countdown is on (8 days, 16 hours, 3 minutes, and 27 seconds….but who’s counting?) Students are getting antsy and teachers are tired. And the end of the year does not come without its own type of crazy. There are field days, celebrations, field trips, final projects, report cards, grades, paperwork, meetings, testing, testing, oh and did we mention testing?
With so much chaos happening around us, our focus can become skewed and our energy can start to wane. How can we stay motivated to end the year strong? How can we keep our energy up for our students and for ourselves?
Here are some things we have done/are doing to help keep us motivated and focused during the end of the year craziness!
In college, as I was learning and preparing to become an educator, during the summer I was a camp counselor. I counseled junior campers (3rd grade - 6th grade, junior high campers, and senior high campers. I LOVED being a camp counselor. I loved the hussle, the relationships I built with campers and other staffers, planning activities, you name it, I loved it. Looking back, it definitely was the right job for me becoming a teacher!
The reason I bring up this experience is because I learned something very valuable at a very young age and at an early stage of my career…. Read the dang book!
You may be wondering how camp counseling and read alouds go hand in hand? Well, one thing I did as a counselor is every night before lights out, or even after with a flashlight, I would read aloud. EVEN TO MY SENIOR HIGH KIDS! I read aloud every single night, no matter the age level I had in my cabin. And do you know what, every age level loved it and would end up asking me to read more than one a night by the end of the week.
This experience showed me then and reminds me now, that kids need to hear us read those dang books! NO MATTER THE AGE! Whether they are a kindergarten experiencing school for the first time, or a sixth grader finding his/her own way in the world, or a junior in highschool making decisions for their future, they are all still KIDS. They are all still looking for the fun, the adventure, the escape a read aloud can bring.
As teachers we often get so rushed by the events of our day that we so easily push that read aloud aside, especially the older our students get. I want you to take a second and think, how often do you read aloud to your students? How often do they hear you or another teacher read to them? Studies have proven the benefits of students being read aloud to, but somehow it can feel difficult to squeeze into our day.
I encourage you now, pick up that book and read it to your students! Make time for it in your daily routines. Read alouds are powerful tools in the classroom and at home.
Some of our favorite read aloud books are:
1. Andrea Beaty books like Rosie Revere Engineer
2. Peter Reynolds books like Word Collector
3. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
4. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
5. Sandra Markle books like What if You Had Animal Eyes?
6. You are Special by Max Lucado
7. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
8. The Old Women Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant
9. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
10. Who Would Win Books
11. Say Hello by Jack and Michael Foreman
12. The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald (the same authors also wrote The Bad Seed and The Good Egg)
We hope this list might give you some new book ideas to pick up and read! We would also love to hear from you about what some of your favorite read alouds are too! Comment below! Happy Reading!
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Thank you to all of the educators out there who do so much for students everywhere.
Most influential teacher….Mrs. Parks hands down! Mrs. Parks was my first grade teacher. She is one of the major reasons why I wanted to become a teacher. She made learning engaging and always did it with a smile on her face. As children, we do not remember the grades, we remember the relationship we had with our teachers and the experiences they created for us in the classroom.
My final year of college when it was time for me to be a student teacher, I was able to go back to that same classroom and teach alongside Mrs. Parks. As I began my journey into education she was finishing hers. She would be retiring that year. Watching Mrs. Parks teach her students from a teacher's perspective was eye opening. You could see the care she had for each and every student in her room and they responded to her with an eager to learn. I am now in my 11th year of teaching 2nd grade and am still in contact with Mrs. Parks. She will always hold a special place in my heart and in my classroom.
When thinking about influential teachers, I have been blessed to have many along my educational journey. But there is one that sticks out in my memory as one who not only impacted my academics but my heart and the teacher I am today.
3rd Grade. Mrs. Miedema. Walking into her classroom felt like home. It was a space where I felt safe and that no matter how I scored on a test or how well I performed on an assignment, I was always welcome. I was not what some teachers would qualify as the best student. It took me a longer amount of time to catch onto concepts, especially in math. She never once made me feel inferior to my classmates, but covered me in encouragement, support, and love. Because of that, I strived to be better. I didn’t want to disappoint her.
Her example has stayed with me, even all these years later (not going to say how many years 😉). I strive to show that same encouragement, that same support and love to my students. I strive to be that kind of a teacher, not only because I know that is what is best for my students, but also because I know how much of an impact that can make on a student, even if it's just one.