Making Over Third Grade!: Starting again...
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Starting again...

Hi! This is my third attempt at blogging.  Each time I start I end up abandoning it thinking,  "What do I have to say that others may want to read?" The answer was difficult to come up with so I would stop before I really began. This time is going to be different, I promise! Three things have made me change my view from "What do I have to say that others may want to read?" to "How is this going to help me become a better teacher?" It is amazing how that shift in questioning then allowed me to think of this blog as a way to share my ideas, experiences, and goals in writing (!) with myself, and I hope with others.

So what were the three things that changed my mind about how this blog should work? First, I attended a CUE Rock Star conference in Tulare and during a seminar presented by John Miller ( and a Skype conversation he conducted with a friend of his who is a head master of a school in New Zealand.  He stated that when looking for new teachers for his school he always reviews their websites and blogs.  At that point I thought, "Wow! I really need to get on that again!"  It's not that I haven't had a website before, I have, some years the parents liked it, some it was just more work for me and for my principal to admire.  As for the blogs, well, I have explained that already.

Second, part of the Skype chat was with a 14 year old girl, Emily, who has been blogging since February (check out her blog here) and has seen her blog explode.  She talked about how blogging has made her more reflective and a better writer due to the fact that it had an audience of more than one or two people (herself and her teacher).  This was an "a-ha" moment for me as I LOVE to write and have been journaling off and on most of my life. I am a huge talker and can go on and on (and on) about my favorite topics, one of which is my classroom. So why not combine the love of both?

Third, and perhaps the most significant impetus for this renewal of blogging on my part is due to a tweet by George Couros (@gcouros) about why teachers should blog. The article, Why Should Educators Blog?, really made me think about what my goals as an educator are and how I can best achieve them.  I LOVE learning new things and have an obsession with learning.  (As I write this I have homework for my last course for my Autism certification waiting for me.)  This year as I implement 1:1 iPads in my third grade classroom from day 1 (rather than starting in March like I did last year) means that I must rethink how I teach, what learning looks like in my classroom, and what that means for me, and for the kids.  How better to process plans, goals, and reflect on what worked and what didn't work, than to write about it? Perfect! So then I asked myself what would keep me from doing all this wonderful reflecting than doing it on a blog about my classroom.  It seems a perfect fit!

Now, about the name, "Making Over Third Grade," why that name? Well, because essentially that is what I feel like the CCSS and 1:1 implementation have required me to do.  Working at a site where for years we were told to teach the adopted programs with fidelity, the dawning of the common core has been a breath of fresh air.  But how to teach it with meaning and rigor while also teaching tech was a question I had to quickly answer by realizing that I was no longer really teaching, I mean I was teaching, but not in the way I had in all my previous years in the classroom.  This was different, the kids were moving the discussions, they were commenting on the work of others, they were helping each other in a way that I had tried to have them do all year but in a way I couldn't imagine.  In the span of just a few short weeks I went from being a teacher to more of a facilitator.  I want my classroom next year to reflect that so I am making over how I approach my classroom, my teaching style, and my room (well of course that had to change if everything else was right?).  I hope that this blog will be a record of our (mine and my class's) successes and of course, our failures, as we move through the new school year.  I have already begun working on ideas for lesson plans, room arrangements, and of course redoing the classroom, I am in the midst of redoing the library now. I will post about that soon!

So in closing, welcome to my blog, I hope you stick around and comment, and that we can learn from each other as we venture through the new school year.  Thanks for stopping by!