Monday, December 31, 2012

Balance for the New Year

I'm terrible about not creating New Year's resolutions.  Things are usually so hectic that I don't even think about them, and if I do it's usually during a conversation with my husband in the car, and they're totally forgotten by the time we get home.  This year is going to be different, because I'm writing them down.  For everyone to see.  Be sure to ask me about these in a few weeks to keep me in line.

2013 Professional Goals

  • Don't sweat the small stuff-I may have to remind myself of this one every day.  I've got to relax and just do what I know how to do.  I get so caught up in following mandates, curriculum maps, standards, and all the extra stuff.  I just need to worry about my students and my instruction.
  • Keep fighting-Even though I'm going to let go of the little things.  I have to fight even harder for the big things, mainly my students.  I want to do every single thing I can to provide the best education possible for each child in my classroom.  
  • Be positive-Send home one positive note or make one positive phone call a day.  It's so easy for me to pick up the phone when someone's misbehaving, but I need to remember that positive feedback is important too.
  • Try something new-I want to give some new techniques and/or lessons a try.  I don't want to ever become closed minded and unwilling to try new approaches.
  • Don't freak out when it comes to testing-Now some teachers may have no trouble with this, and I wish I didn't, but I get so worried about testing every year around the middle of February.  It's one thing to take them seriously and to prepare students, but it's another thing to literally make yourself sick over something like testing.  I'll just do the best I can and let that be that.

2013 Personal Goals
  • Be in the now-I'm always looking ahead at what I need to do and reflecting on what I should have done differently.  I don't think that's a bad thing, but I don't want to miss out on the present.
  • Priorities-I need to keep my priorities straight, not just in my head, but in my actions and the time I place into them.  I definitely need to spend less time on the computer.
  • Have fun-I'm such a worker bee that I sometimes find it hard to stop relax and just have fun.  This year I want to work a little less and play a little more.
  • Be more healthy-This wouldn't be a real resolution list if I didn't include eat right and exercise.  I really do want to improve in this area though.  Those last five pounds of baby weight apparently don't just fall off.
  • Travel-I want to go somewhere I've never been before this year.  Right now, warm and sunny sounds great!

2013 TpT/Blogging Goals
  • Blog once a week-It's been hard to blog while I've been out on maternity leave, but I'll be back in the swing of things next week.  I really, really want to be a more consistent blogger.
  • Take pictures-I am awful about not taking pictures.  I get so caught up in whatever I'm doing that I totally forget to get out the camera.  I need to just put my camera on my desk every day and have it ready!
  • More interaction-I'd love to spend more time interacting with other teachers and bloggers.  I can't think of a better way to learn from each other!

When I return to school next week, I want to get back into the groove of things with several of the activities from my New Year Goals product.  I didn't get to use all of this last year, so I really want to try to squeeze in as many of the activities as possible. Everything's been updated for 2013, so I'm ready to go!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Language Arts Common Core Assessments

My days on maternity leave are quickly fading away, and I have very mixed emotions about it.  On one hand, I really miss my students and being in the classroom.  You know that feeling you get toward the end of summer where you're really excited about the new year....well that's how I am right now.  I'm ready to see my kiddos, try out some of the new lessons I've made, and I can't wait to see my teacher friends on a regular basis.  Heck, I was working on bulletin board lettering today!  On the other hand, it's going to be so hard to be away from the babies.  I learned with my daughter that this stage goes by in the blink of an eye, and I'm sad to miss parts of it.  I know they'll be in great hands though, and that makes a huge difference.

One great thing about maternity leave, is that I was finally able to make Common Core Standards assessments for language arts.  After I made my Common Core Math Assessments, I had many requests for a similar language arts version.  But school started back, and my brain couldn't handle teaching AND creating language arts assessments.  I was on Common Core/RTI/EIP and your general teaching overload and just couldn't get them done.  Thankfully, during my time off I was able to get my thoughts together and get it in gear!  I finally finished them and let me just way "Whew!"  That was a big project!

I've created a brief 1 page assessment for almost all of the reading and language standards.

The language arts assessments are a bit different from the math, because not all of the standards are easily assessed through a worksheet.  This is especially true for the writing and speaking/listening standards, so I've created rubrics and checklists for those standards, as well as a few reading standards.  The rubrics are all available in Word, so you can make changes as needed.

I've also included a checklist for all of the language arts standards, but as a Merry Christmas to everyone, you can download them here for FREE.  Just click <here> or on the picture for your copy!  If you want to see the whole assessment pack, just click <here> or on the pictures above.