Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

Welcome to the "bright ideas" blog hop.... today I wanted to talk about what I call "school-year resolutions".  So here we are, one month into 2014... and we've already failed at keeping our new year's resolution.... those 5 pounds that magically appeared over Christmas break don't seem to be going anywhere, and the house isn't quite as clean as you'd like it to be, right? How many of you can relate? See, here's the thing about new year's resolutions.... it's hard to start something new in the middle of the school year... I've never quite understood this mentality... perhaps it's because January is cold, dark, dreary, and frozen here in Utah, so I'm not exactly motivated to do much of anything when I leave school and it's already dark outside at 5 o'clock at night... but also because for as long as I can remember, my new "year" always started in August.... school usually started in August, dance classes would start in September... so that's when I would set goals... by January, I was already working hard on my goals, and didn't need to resolve to change anything, because they were already in place (and because in my school-year mind, January was NOT the beginning of a new year.... I was still in the same grade, I was still in the same dance classes... you get the idea).  Today I'm going to share with you a few of my SCHOOL-YEAR resolutions... maybe you'll find an idea or two that you like that will make your life a little bit easier :)

Resolution #1: have more of a life outside of school.... I talked about this at the beginning of the year when I talked about burnout... as teachers, we know that our job is never done... there's always one more thing that could be done. Is it any wonder that out students think we LIVE at the school? I decided that this year, that was not going to be the case. Yes, there are days when I leave, and things aren't quite as ready as I'd like them to be.... but as long as everything is ready for the next day, I take a deep breath, walk away, and tell myself that there's always tomorrow. My friends and I organized a monthly craft group, and we've had lots of fun finding ideas on pinterest and getting together to make them... we bring a treat to share, talk, laugh, and have a great time... and best of all, it's something OTHER than school.  Another group of friends and I buy groupons for various workout classes... I've been enjoying cardio ballet as of late... (well, I don't enjoy being sore for DAYS after class is over, but it really is a great workout! Gotta get in shape for HAWAII!)  I also bought season tickets to a local theater with some of my friends... it's great to have a scheduled girls night every once in a while.

Resolution #2: Not bring school home with me on the weekend... Ok, this one is a *little* bit hard for me... But I decided it was time to stop spending my Sunday nights hunched over my table, stressing about lesson plans for the week. I am not allowed to load up my rolling cart and bring all my planning materials home with me. I broke my rule ONCE this year, and guess what... the rolling cart never even made it into my house (something about carrying it up 15 stairs from the garage wasn't all that motivating either)... so I dragged it home for nothing.  I have to have my weekend AWAY from school. Now, this means that SOMETIMES I might stay at school REALLLLLLY late... but I'd rather put in one late night than drag stuff home. One quick example: back in December, the weather forecast said we were supposed to have a really bad snowstorm on the last day of school before Christmas, I knew that the school would be open for a few days over the break, but I didn't really want to spend my holiday break at school... so I stayed at school until around 7 one night, making sure that everything was 110% ready for the whole first week of January... let me just tell you, when I woke up on the last day of school before the break, and we had a good 10 inches of snow outside, I was SO GLAD I had stayed late to get things ready.... Here in Utah, we pretty much NEVER have a snow day, and this day was no exception.  It felt really good to walk out of the building at the end of the day without a SINGLE thing in my hand, knowing that the whole first week of January was mapped out and ready to go.  This was quite possibly the best Christmas present I've ever given myself.

Now, there's one little exception to this resolution... I bring papers home, but I don't correct them. My mom recently had to stop working due to some health issues, so she is stuck at home all day, and loves playing "teacher" for me (and thankfully she lives close enough that I can drop things off to her on my way home from school). I realize not everyone has this luxury, so here's a few time-saving tips to help with correcting papers:
  • choose ONE assignment to grade after teaching the skill a few times... put stickers on the other pages and don't worry about a score. 
  • if you have parents who want to volunteer, ask them to help with correcting papers {make sure this is okay with your administrator... we have the parents sign permission slips at the beginning of the year authorizing the students and volunteers to correct and/or pass back papers that have been graded}
  • correct some assignments together with the students... my kids feel so "official" when they get to use the "correcting pens" (aka red or blue ballpoint pens from Target).  Correcting their own paper can provide the kids with a great learning opportunity... they see their mistakes and fix it with the correcting pen... then I can just quickly look over the paper they have already corrected :)
Resolution #3: be okay with just being "GOOD ENOUGH" (big surprise, right?) I'll be honest here... I look around at other blogs and definitely feel overwhelmed... I am surrounded by SO MANY amazing bloggers who are far more experienced than I am... I see pictures of classrooms on pinterest, and I wonder how many hours (and $$$) it took to look like that... I see visual lesson plans posted, and I wonder when these amazing ladies even sleep!!  I have so much respect and admiration for them, but I have to remind myself that we are all at different points in our teaching journey, and at the end of the day, my students are still going to learn and grow in my "good enough" classroom.

Keep hopping along for even more great ideas.... up next is the ever-so-talented Alyssha at "Teaching and Tapas"... she has a fun blog post ready with some "minute to win it" activities that I know you're going to love! Alternatively, you may visit the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. There's also a great board on pinterest that is filled with "bright" ideas.  Thanks for stopping by today :)


  1. Oh my gosh I love your blog title "good enough" and letting go of perfection. Your resolution #3 is me to a T and even I've been blogging for quite some time. How have I never found you?! I'm so glad I did.
    - Sydney
    Lessons Learned

  2. Love your resolution #3! I absolutely needed to hear that and be reminded that my students will learn in my "good enough" classroom also! Thanks
    More Than Math by Mo

  3. I know what you mean about looking at everyone else's blogs and having mini heart attacks. When does all that stuff happen?! Anyway, I guess I'm good enough too. Haha! Thanks!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  4. It's so hard not to bring school home with me!! (Even though 9 times out of 10, it just sits there and I end up doing it back at school at the last minute!!) I think it's totally worth it to stay a bit later to make sure it's all DONE! Great resolutions for all of us to think about!

    Katie :)
    KTP: Keep Teaching and Planning!

  5. AGREE!!!!!! I really liked this read. its okay to be good enough some times in order to gain your sanity back!

  6. I like your idea of "good enough!"

  7. Your goals are awesome and really reflect my own! I have worked hard to have a life outside of school and to be happy with doing the best I can do. It has added a lot of balance to by life - well, at least a lot compared to where I was a few years ago. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Leaping into Teaching