Learning something new everyday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preparing for a new year....

As our first day (Sept. 4) quickly approaches I've been asked many times, "Are you ready for a new year?" and "What do you do to get ready?".  The short answers are "No" and "Lots".

No, I'm not ready for a new year quite yet! While it is true that autumn is one of my favourite seasons, (as much for the fresh start and new relationships the start of school provides as for the weather, food, and clothing that comes with it),  I'm so enjoying carefree, flexible days of summer with my own kids. We do live in Canada after all so let's celebrate the seasons! During the school year I find myself pulled in so many directions I have a hard time maintaining a balance between my personal and professional life. I love teaching young children and feel passionate about being the best teacher I can be (as I do about being the best mom, wife, friend, daughter, Christian...I can be). For me, this means much reading, time to think, conversing with my PLN, more time to think, writing, and relaxing. When school ended this past June, it took me a couple of weeks to truly unwind. More than two full weeks of family vacation at the beach never felt so good! The faces of my students from this past year still seam so fresh in my mind however, I am beginning to feel that spark of anticipation and excitement  for Sepember and the new little faces.
Each is an original, never two the same.

Yes, I do lots in preparation for a new year!  I spent lots of time at the beginning of summer reading. I read both for pleasure  and for my profession. I have a large stack of great professional books I've collected recently. I read in the backyard with my kids, at the beach with my family and on the pool deck. My iPad has more books and articles as well.  The most engaging and applicable information I have found though, is via Twitter. Although I still consider myself a newbie to social media and to technology in general, I have jumped in and embraced a steep learning curve alongside my students. Here are some of the things I've been working on besides reading:

  • Signed up for Global Read Aloud.  We will be reading Charlotte's Web and collaborating with classes around the world in many ways. I have to familiarize myself with Edmodo and Skype.
  • Applied for and was accepted for a Flat Classrooms Project and opted to do a spring project.
  • Created a new "class" blog where I will be sharing with families and others as an extension  of the learning we do in class.
  • Worked on creating some Smartboard lessons as my Smartboard is new to me as of December this past year.
  • Collected supplies for my classroom.
  • Designed a new floor plan to make better use of the space and accommodate the new technology we have purchased.
  • Planned a couple of field trips.
  • I will be doing a few summer ProD sessions. One with my school on digital portfolios as well as Dr. Stuart Shanker's Self Regulation  and Fun Friends.
  • I enrolled in Fins Friends for the 2012/13 school year.
While I have done much in the way of preparation for the new year, most beneficial for me has been to relax and enjoy time with my family. I believe I can be a better teacher and more "in the moment" if I am relaxed and refreshed as only a summer vacation will do. So I will be making the most of the next couple of weeks (yes, I will go in to set up my classroom too)!


  1. Lora, I'm totally curious to see this new class blog of yours. I've done a lot of reading and writing myself this summer but I just can't seem to finish a book. I think I have five or six on the go. This evening I'm going to prioritize and get them finished. I try not to think too much about my actually classroom until the PNE starts (Sat ;-( ) but I have done a ton of professional learning and connecting for the summer. I too am in the FlatClassroom project for the Spring (although I may withdraw) and I'm hoping I'll get the okay to do the global read allowed as well (need to speak to a grade 4 teachers first). The Fin Friend's program is great and I've also done Fun Friends and they work well together. I can't wait to see what our year will bring for us. So many possibilities and hopefully one includes our classes doing a project together. Now about those field trips of yours... where are you heading?


  2. Hi Karen,
    My class blog is attached as a page at the top. I am getting excited about the new year but wondering if I've over committed?? I think it would be great to do a project together, ideas? I have booked a Green Timbers guided nature hike and looking at tentative dates for art wkshp.
    Every time I do a post I think of you and am thankful for your support!