Friday, April 29, 2011

School Year Successes

I joined the linky party over at Ladybug's Teacher Files! Head on over there to share your own successes!!

I've had a very difficult time trying to come up with what I consider a "success" in my classroom this year. I feel like my kids have had successes all over the place, but I have such a *diverse* class this year, it's hard to pin down one that I really want to brag about more so than any other. Then I considered that maybe it just doesn't have to only be about my kids!

I'm highly critical of myself. I'm also a people pleaser and just want to be patted on the back, accepted, and told I'm doing a good job. Much like the dogs I cherish so much at home! I'm also very passionate. When you mix all of these up together, I'm just one big bundle of sheer complicatedness. Combine these qualities and add some self doubt cast by a previous principal who was about the least supportive administrator I could have ever asked for, and I walked into this 3rd grade position three years ago with my tail between my legs and ready to do what anyone told me to.

This is now my third year in 3rd, and I told myself in August I wasn't going to try so hard to just "go with the flow" and I was going to do what I wanted to in my classroom. Now don't get me wrong, I've always kind of done what I wanted to, but I wasn't consistant with it nor was I ever fully confident in myself that I could truly pull off the visions I wanted to with my class without the support I desperately was seeking from my team and admin. Now, I'm not for one second criticizing my team or admin... they just come from completely different teaching schools/eras than I do. It can make it really difficult to get the approval you think you need when there is huge air of unfamiliarity about what you're trying to do.

In my fifth year of teaching and my third in the same grade level, I walked off the plank with my eyes closed and never looked back. I dove into my vision of what a reading workshop needed to look like - a combo of Daily 5, CAFE, some Debbie Miller, and some Fountas and Pinnel and started swimming furiously. I truly think God blessed me with the class I have this year to enable me to push them which in turned caused me to push myself. I've had my share of behavior challenges (among other things) but I've never been so proud of where my kids are only 5 weeks from the last day of school.

On our last reading benchmark, I had 100% passing and 15 of my 21 were commended kiddos with just a couple more ready to burst through the barrier. I've never had such outstanding scores, but I've also never had the confidence I had this year to really pursue what I felt I needed to be doing in my classroom. So because of my success at pushing myself to be who I wanted to be as a teacher (which is, of course, still evolving!) I enabled my kids to have great success as readers. :)

They took their reading TAKS test on Wednesday, and I watched their little faces as they embarked on their very first standardized test. They were calm, they were focused, they were ready to take on the world. They read the stories, read the questions, flipped back to the story, and answered the questions with an ease that lifted tons of weight off my shoulders. I didn't teach my kids any acronyms to tackle this test: I taught them to become voracious readers that simply flip back and re-read to find what they're looking for. Yes, this was a gamble on my part, but I've never felt so satisfied that my kids can discuss any book, quote straight from their reading, argue opinions, etc... 100% of my babies could pass the reading benchmark in March with no maybe dots, paragraph numbers written next to their answers, without circling captions, pictures, and charts. My babies are true READER'S. And these little reader's are fierce when it comes to standardized tests because I've already pushed them and asked for more than any multiple choice question on that test could. I've never felt so calm watching them take their TAKS tests... I can't wait to see how much they shined!


  1. wow, what an amazing year! I am really inspired. I want to delve even more into my reader's workshop planning this summer...will you be blogging about yours?

    Thanks for linking up, it's so nice to meet you! I'm a follower of your blog now :)

    Ladybug's Teacher Files

  2. Thanks! :) I have every intention of blogging about it...I'm just still on hiatus about next year. I have no idea what I'm going to be teaching! I'll try and keep you posted! ;)