End of the Year Rambles

Wow. I can not believe that another year has come and gone. When I think back to 2 years ago, walking across the stage graduating college, I really never imagined I would be where I am today. It's been an awesome two years. So here are my end of the year lessons learned, lessons taught and rambles.

I first have to start out by thanking my absolutely amazing husband. I met Josh my sophomore year of high school (had a major crush) and was lucky enough to date him my senior year. I was even luckier to marry him 2 years ago. God knew what He was doing when he placed JB in my life. He came at the perfect time and has been there through a lot of tough times. He has supported my crazy ventures this year with so much encouragement and believed I would be successful when I wasn't so sure. We celebrate our 2 year marriage anniversary next Monday, and I seriously can't wait to celebrate many more. You're the real MVP! :) I love you, Josh! 

This year has been a tough, yet rewarding one. I've learned so much as a teacher, wife and daughter. My very first love, my sweet Diddy, battled cancer this year. As any daddy's girl out there can imagine, that put the rest of my life on hold for a while. I won't ever forget sitting in the waiting room at Vanderbilt, praying prayers I had never had to pray before. I praise God for His healing hand, faithfulness despite my doubting heart and peace when it seemed unfathomable. There is no love like a Father for his daughter (Heavenly and Earthly). I am forever grateful that my parents taught me who the true love of my life is. All to you I owe, Jesus. Nothing I have accomplished is my own. It is Him working through me. 

And teaching! Teaching is my absolute passion. I knew in college I was where God intended for me to be. But when I got my own classroom, everything changed. There are things college can never teach you. They can't teach you about that "one kid", about how nerve wracking observations are, about how to eat your lunch in 15 minutes, about not going to the bathroom but once a day, or about the amazing friends you will make along the way. So, here are my top 5 lesson learned (or taught) from this year.

1) Be grateful and have an abundantly patient heart. 

Is this hard to do or what? We all have those certain things that totally work our nerves, our children being one of those things sometimes. I have had some trying times this year. Each time things have seemed to get the best of me, I have to stop and look into the sweet faces of the kids at my school. Every one of them has a story. They are so much like me. They face challenges that seem unsurmountable (like reading a paragraph or parents divorcing). It's in those little moments that I regain my patience. It's in those moments that I am so thankful God placed me in their life. To love them in their worst moments, to remind them someone cares, to show them I am not perfect. I have learned to apologize this year to my kids when I fail them, and to rejoice with them in our successes. My heart is fulfilled most when I am with my kids.

2) Remember when lessons bomb.

We all have them. Those lessons that are supposed to be so awesome. So filled with "rigor". Sooooo engaging. Then they bomb. Like full on, face-palm to the head, bomb. I can remember a specific lesson this year. I had slaved over it (I was getting observed on it). I was so super sure it would be great! I knew my kids would rise to the challenge and be awesome. It was going to be the best lesson to be observed with. 

Until it bombed. 

It was too long, not as well thought out as I thought and extremely challenging (which isn't always a bad thing). I was so upset that day. I thought what's wrong with these kids, this was a great lesson! Then I realized it wasn't the kids. They had tried their very best. So (about a week later mind you), I brought it up with my kids. We laughed and talked about things that could have gone better. We formulated a new plan and it went so smoothly. It is times like these that humble me (and help me remember what to put a big red X over in my plan book). Hard to imagine, but teachers are *not* perfect! 

3) Be thankful for supportive co-workers and friends. 

I am really lucky to work in the best school in TN. (or so I think :) ). I get to teach with some amazing teachers who inspire me to be better. We are like a big family. We laugh, cry and rant together. We fight with each other and stick beside each other. I've been really blessed to spend my first two years in a school like this. I know not everyone is as lucky as I am. 

I'm also blessed to be able to have some of my best friends teaching in the same county as I am. They are my constant cheerleaders, lesson sharers and dinner dates. They are way more creative than I am and some of the best teachers I've ever met. I wish you all could meet them and love them as much as I do. Alicia, Nat and Ken - you guys rock. 

AND to all my amazingly awesome TpT/Teacher Blogger friends - thank you! You have taught me so much about this exciting new venture, listened to rants and answered many questions. I have loved collaborating with you all, you guys are incredible!

4) Remember to laugh.

Some people just take themselves too seriously! Teaching can really get the best of you sometimes. It's important to remember to laugh it off. We all have those kids who make us wanna scream, those lesson plans that bomb and those after school meetings. Find joy in each of those situations. It's important not to take yourself so seriously! 

5) Your kids deserve the best of you.

I don't know about you but this is hard for me. To leave my problems at the door and teach my heart out everyday. But these kids deserve it. When you think about some of the hurdles these kids overcome, it is truly inspiring. Many kids at my school come into Kindergarten or Pre-K knowing NO English. By the time they get to 2nd grade, they've had 2 or 3 fearless teachers who have worked incredibly hard to bring them to where they are. I always tell my kids how amazing it is that they can speak 2 languages at the age of 7. 

Kids are awesome! They will rise to the occasion if only we believe in them and believe they can. I get it. We get tired. We get sick of explaining a skill 1,000 times before it clicks. But, if not us, then who would do that? Our students deserve for us to have a desire to teach them. They need to be loved, taught and cheered on. We have the best job on the planet. (Most days ;) ). 

As Ron Clark would say, "Be a runner, not a rider".

So, those are my end of the year blurbs. I am overly excited for summer (which begins in 4 days!). I am thankful to have some time to get refreshed and go back into my 3rd (OMG!) year of teaching. I am also excited to set sail on an anniversary trip with my amazing hubby in T-minus 4 days... Tropical places, here I come! Enjoy summer friends!

Winner Wednesday: ELA Interactive Activities {CCSS Aligned}

I am so excited to link up with my awesome friend Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do for a new linky party called Winner Wednesday! This fun linky party will give you a chance to win a product every month from different TpT sellers/Teacher bloggers. 

This Wednesday I am giving one lucky person my ELA Interactive Activities.

This is totally one of my favorite resources to use! I was in a creating rut for a few months and kept putting this on the back burner. I am so glad I finished it! My kiddos and I have used this like crazy the past few weeks as we have been reviewing for our state assessment tests. 

This packet covers 5 different ELA skills (I made this with 2nd grade CCSS but it could be used in lots of others grades as well). Included skills are Prefixes, Suffixes, Compound Words, Irregular Plural Nouns and Collective Nouns. Each different skill has a word card hunt, puzzles and an interactive journalling page.

My sweet babies absolutely LOOOVVVEEEE to be moving. So I incorporate a "read the room" or some kind of "hunt" whenever I can. They love searching for the different cards! Here they are in action. :) 

These are what the word hunt cards look like. I try to print these on cardstock and laminate them. I put tape or sticky tack on the back of these and hide them around the room. Part of the fun for my kids is making them tricky to find. I enjoy it too! :) (Sorry for my lack of pretty colors. The only cardstock colors I have left are green and bright red!)

The kiddos use the clue on the recording sheet to find the corresponding word card that goes along with it. 

Yay for puzzles! This is a super easy, yet effective, center we use during our rotations. I prep it the same way as the other cards, cardstock then laminate!

Here is a picture of our interactive journal page for collective nouns. My kids keep an ELA journal the entire year. We go back several times to review skills we have already learned. If you don't do this in your classroom, I highly suggest it!

Now to the good part... You can win this for FREE!! All you have to do is enter below! :) Don't forget to stop by Jennifer's Blog to enter her giveaway and see who else has linked up too! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! You guys rock!!

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