Yesterday I shared five of the school-based reasons I’m looking forward to the new school year; today I’m going to share the homework assignments that have me excited about the upcoming year.

Kindergarten! My daughter starts kindergarten this year.  I have loved watching her grow through pre-k, and I can’t wait to see what happens in kindergarten.  She wondered aloud the other day whether or not she was ready; I assured her that she was, and she responded with apprehension, “but I’ll have to spell hard words, like bus.”  In her last week at summer camp, she created a “secret message”  because she didn’t know how to write the words.  (Shhh!  I hope she won’t mind that I’ve shared/translated it below!)   As much as I love her nonlinguistic representation,  I can’t wait to watch her become more and more literate.

secretmessage

Pinterest. I’ve shared before that I resisted Pinterest for a long time, but now I’m hooked.  I spent the last year exploring and pinning, but I’m going to become much more deliberate with my pinning.  A colleague, who was once my intern, jokes that whenever she is in doubt, she just thinks, WWJD–“what would Julie do?”  I’m approaching Pinterest with that same mentality–if I were in my own classroom, these are the things I would do–the bulletin boards I would create, the websites I would frequent, the procedures I would implement, and the lesson plans I would teach.  I definitely will do many of them in collaboration with teachers in my school and will be sure to share with you the successes and the ways in which we will tweak them to make them better next time!  So, if you’re interested in seeing all the things Julie would do, follow me on Pinterest.

Reading.  I read a lot this summer, and it’s the first summer in about five years that I’ve been able to read like I used to read. It felt good.  I mostly read the young adult books that were part of our new reading adoption, but I also finished a couple of novels and two professional books.  (I’ll share the highlights in future posts.)  I’m going to keep it up throughout the year.  I might even try to reestablish my old book club.  Now that we’re all moms, according to my Retro Mama calendar, it might be mandatory!

TeachersPayTeachers.  Exciting things are ahead for TpT and I’m glad to be a part of it.  The whole organization is growing and will continue to grow with a new CEO who knows the in’s and out’s of internet business strategy.  I follow some of the business talk in the forums and appreciate that the staff is doing such a wonderful job to support teacher-entrepreneurs (and the extra money’s not bad, either).  But what I really love is the opportunity to hone my own craft.  I’ve been revising an old Emily Dickinson lesson plan for about a month, and it is still not quite ready for publication.  The process of adapting my work for others is truly a form of professional development.  It causes me to stop and ask “Why?” and to fully explain the rationale for each piece of a lesson.  I find myself constantly reflecting back on the reasons we teach, the standards students need to learn, and the value of time–both for teachers and students.  I want my lessons to save teachers time, and to make the most of the time students spend working on the assignments.  In my quest to become a better seller, I have become a better teacher.

Balance.  I’m going to be sure to take the “me” time I need this year, too.  It’s not only my reading that I’ve neglected over the last five years.  I’m going to find make the time to do things that are important to me–write, read, improve my Spanish (have you tried Duolingo?), garden with my daughter, and get back into running.

And, of course, I am most excited to share the highlights of both my in-school and extracurricular activities here in this blog.  I’ve planned out an exciting year of topics for blog posts and left plenty of space in the calendar for those day-to-day revelations that make teaching such a rewarding career.  Here’s to a great year!  Cheers!

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