Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Perfect Summer

Things I love....
1. Summer Vacation
2.  Summer Vacation

Oh my heart is full up on love...after all what's not to love about summer time? Yes it's hot and the mosquitoes and fire ants are out in full force (those little jerks just don't stop)...but summer time is beautiful! It's easy to focus on the not so enjoyable things...lord knows nobody likes to sweat... But it's far easier (and more enjoyable) to look around and appreciate the beauty of the season. My love for summer has deep roots in the memories of my childhood. Life was easy, brilliant, and full of watermelon in the summer. I swam all day without a care in the world. Afternoon thunderstorms were the perfect opportunity to grab a quick nap with a favorite book and let's be honest life is always a little sweeter with a tan (if you can't tone it tan it right???). Although I'm not a little kid anymore the chirping of the crickets at the end of a hot summer day snaps me back to that carefree state of mind. Nothing can ruin that care free feeling faster than a back to school commercial when it's not even July yet....come on Kleenex pump the brakes on that for a hot little minute!

I decided to ease the shock to my heart that Kleenex caused with a little time on Pinterest (&&& ok, ok a glass of Biltmore wine). While browsing for the better part of an hour I came across THE perfect pin. It was called.... A Teacher's Guide to THE PERFECT SUMMER. The caption included a hash tag (#) and given my current obsession with those little things I knew it was too perfect to not reflect on and blog about. It's broken down into 15 simple steps...everybody loves simple right!?!?

Before the list even starts it says...RELAX you've enjoyed it. Check...triple check got that covered!
Now the fun begins....
1. Read a Book that Has Nothing to Do with School.
Already on my bucket list so I hit up my Nook and found The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank. I've read a few of her other books and loved them (the settings of the books are mostly in Charleston) and so far this book is just as good as the rest. My next goal is to read The 5 Love Languages...not a fun read but I'm fascinated by the concept. Neither of these are school related so check that one off too.

2. Go to the Movies on a Weeknight.
This is easy too...popcorn, coke, and sour patch kids=my language. The Hangover 3, The Heat and Despicable Me 2 are on my list...definitely none of those crazy devilish haunting movies...I don't get the obsession with evil themes. It creeps me out, I have nightmares, and then I have to sleep completely under the covers (not even with a foot hanging out for cool air) out of fear that the creepy thing will grab my toe because its under my bed...yes I'm a baby and yes I'm ok with it.

3. Sleep Past 5 A.M.
I have this one under control...I've succeeded every single day of summer break with reaching this goal. Today I slept until 10 (my internal Kathy Lee and Hoda Woman clock woke me up I'm sure of it). My super sweet and early bird husband suggested we get up at 5:30 and go run together and I looked at him like he had five eyes and underwear as a hat (much like the looks I get from my kids during the school year when I ask them why they tried to glue their hands together). I'm forcing myself to love cardio again, but it can wait until a decent time of day. I should probably note that I usually don't sleep until 10...I'm usually up around 8 or 8:30.

4. Take a Walk Outdoors
This is on my summer bucket list too and so far I've failed at making it happen. We're still in the process of getting our townhouse rental ready (because I want our renters to love it as much as we did). I hate walking both dogs by myself...seriously they're little but they act like they're gigantic and always ALWAYS find a way to tangle me up in their leashes and embarrass me like no other...I think they are conspiring against me for not giving them enough frosty paws lately. Once all of the face lifting of the rental is through a nightly walk after dinner is a definite do...for all 4 of us.

5. Pin Something Other than Teaching Ideas
Got it covered... from my secret baby board (I'm not trying to have babies yet so I don't need any rumors starting--I'm a planner and like to have ideas going before the actual event takes place) to my Put a Straw In It (everybody likes a drink now and then) I've got the non teacher related pins covered. Have I mentioned I love Pinterest??? Because I do, I do, I do-ooooo!

Next, Dream:
6. Reflect--Ask Yourself Questions
What kind of teacher do I want to be? What kind of teacher am I now? How am I going to bridge the gap? Well this year is full of changes--we're taking Common Core by the horns and riding the bull that it is. So to start I want to be more thoughtful with the activities that I use. Am I pushing them enough? Am I teaching the standard with enough rigor? Do I want to crumble up the unit plans made by the district and put them in the trash? Maybe. I hate the thought of being told what to teach and how to teach it...they say it's not going to be that way, but there is a smidge of "big brother" lurking around the corner that I can sense. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem teaching to the same pacing guide as everyone else in the district is. I have no problem giving the same major assessment that everyone else in the district is giving. BUT I do have a problem with spending time on tasks that are designed to trick my kids (not push them to greatness) and tasks that are not meaningful enough to occupy the amount of time required to complete them. Telling me what to teach...fine...telling me how to teach it...not ok. End of rant...positivity back on my radar.

7. Think BIG
I always think big...I'm constantly thinking about ways to make what I did last year bigger and better. So yes, I'm checking this one off too.

8. Immerse Yourself In Positivity About Teaching and Kids
As I stated before, it's easy to focus on the negatives in life, but it's a beautiful thing to focus on the absolutely fabulous things that exist around you. No need to go into a lengthy explanation.

9. Make Your Passions Part of Your Teaching
I have a lot of passions- -loving others, crafting, and loving yourself. Making it part of my daily classroom life is easy. I'm always preaching the golden rule (it should be tattooed on my body somewhere I say it so much) and I'm constantly coming to the rescue of my students who doubt themselves. It breaks my heart to hear a 6 year old say that they "can't" when they haven't even had a chance to see what makes them amazing or how powerful believing in themselves can be. Crafting is a no brainer...if you've read my blog before you know I throw a craft in on the weekly...the district's blah blah plans won't take that away from me. It's a part of me that makes my classroom what it is and I love giving my kids a chance to learn with their hands.

10. Take an Online Course
Grad school is too fresh in my mind to take any online courses so I'll pass on this too. I have however been eyeing cake decorating classes and sewing classes. There's plenty of summer left so we'll see where it takes me.

Finally, Plan:
11. Complete One Back to School Task Every Day
Easy...I started making new labels for my classroom library today. All of my scrapbook paper is at the school and I can't get back into my classroom this early with getting a lot of dirty looks so it's to the craft store tomorrow and I'll have this one in the bag. (well atleast part of it in the bag).

12. Make a Calendar
Done...the template is made, but the planning still needs to take place as a grade level to make it fully functional.

13. Meet with Your Grade Level
Oh this is so easy it hurts. The entire grade level is headed out of town (and staying in the same house) for a team member's wedding this weekend. A grade level that plays together stays together...planning is more in line with what this goal is about, but that'll come later. Work hard && play hard...lord knows we've earned the right to play for a little bit.

14. Introduce Yourself to Students
If only we got our class rosters to do this early enough. Sadly, this is one I won't be able to complete. #sadface

15. Forget Elaborate Decorations
Ok this one I absolutely can't do. I love decorating...it's one of my biggest passions. If I didn't decorate and have a classroom that I was in love with something would be missing. Besides, kids (and parents) love a well put together classroom. If it's inviting and has that warm/welcoming feeling some of the anxiety of back to school is eased and excitement takes its place. So, I'll keep the decorating...because it doesn't take away from my summer being perfect. I'm itching to get back in there and put the pieces back together. . .the planning, ehhhh not so much.

&&& that's it! 15 simple steps to make your summer perfect. The dishes in the sink are screaming my name (not a part of a perfect summer, but a clean kitchen is)...Until next time, live, love and make your summer absolutely perfect. :)

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