Saturday, August 1, 2015

Currently - AUGUST!

Seriously, how did this happen?

It's August and I'm trying to cope, while I link up with Farley for Currently.



Oh, summer - I love you.  Hearing my kid laugh, staying up late to watch someone build Tiny Houses, having an empty schedule...oh, I love summer!

I'm leaving tomorrow for Teacher's College in New York to attend the Summer Writing Institute.  I'm excited to learn as much as I can to share with the teachers in our district.  I'm also freaked out that my suitcase might burst open on the scale at the airport.  

I took 2 grad classes this summer.  I'm working on a educational leadership certification. Both of the classes were jam packed with interesting learning and encouraged me to reflect on some improvements I could make personally as a leader and that the district could make in general. However, cramming what is usually a semester long 600 level class into 6 weeks is no joke. My brain is not feeling refreshed.  It's feeling kind of full.  Let me just tell you the major victory related to this summer of intense learning is that I did not drink Diet Mt. Dew once. In fact, I have not had a drop since January 1.  Go me!

I don't really want to learn to mediate, but I keep reading about how good it is for busy people to meditate.  If someone could just hit the off switch on my hamster wheel brain, then I could get started.  Focus on my breathing...I read that in a brain research journal this morning.  I haven't tried it yet.

This will be the first time in 17 years that I have not "set up a classroom" in August.  I thought I would feel kind of "free" from the mountain of laminating and open house packets.  But, my random act of back to school kindness this year is going to be to offer my "Slide on the Side Laminating" services to a few of my teacher friends.  Truth be told...I love cutting out laminating.  I also love to write on name tags.  My SOTSL business will be opening at the end of August and I can't wait to surprise a few of my best teacher pals!

Check out what everyone else is CURRENTLY doing on Farley's blog!




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Time for Tieks!

Oh happy day!  
I'm talking about the day the mailman delivered a package 
from Tieks and Stitch Fix on the same day!  


I confess that sometimes I let other people try trendy things out first (Pinterest, Instagram, Erin Condren, Stitch Fix).  I'm not even ready to talk about Periscope yet - unless it would help me spend more time with my kids somehow. I'm a review reader.  Eventually, I get on board if the reviews are good enough.

That's how I ended up ordering my first pair of Tieks!  I'll admit, I struggled with the both the price and the color choices at first.  Since I have never met an unhappy Tieks owner, I decided to go for it!
Then came the color drama.  There are so many beautiful colors to choose from at the Tieks Boutiek! My husband laughed when I whined to him about being torn between pop pink and cobalt blue.  He actually suggested that I just buy both if I really like them, which means he was unaware of the price.

Sensible me appeared right after I put pop pink in my shopping cart and I ended up buying matte black instead.  There are only so many days I can wear pop pink, right?  That's what I keep telling myself.

The folks at Tieks know how to do things right!  From the fancy box to the handwritten note inside, it is clear that customer service is a priority.  My daughter tried to snatch the "headband" off the box before I could take this picture.



So here they are, my new matte black Tieks!
Dreamy... 
 Almost too pretty to wear...incredibly soft leather, a carrying case for when I pack them in my suitcase and a cute little card!
Let me just tell you - yes, they are really as comfortable as everyone says they are!
I tried them on with jeans, a skirt and a dress - LOVE them!


I'm picky about my shoes and comfort is a priority.  I rarely wear heels, but dress up daily for work.  I've been searching for a pair of flats that had enough support and was comfortable enough for me to walk in all day.  Cha-ching!

I'm going to really put these Tieks to the test when I travel to New York for a conference later this summer.  I'll let you know how that goes in a few months.

For now, who knows where these Tieks will take me?
(Please excuse my rolled up yoga pants summer uniform.)

 I do know that I think pop pink might be callin' my name...

The answer is YES - Tieks are worth it!




Thursday, July 16, 2015

Get Your Fix!

If you have not tried Stitch Fix...maybe it's time!

Last summer, I tried Stitch Fix for the first time.  For busy, working moms like me it is dreamy.  I do like to shop, but finding time to do it is a problem.

It's simple and easy.
You sign up and fill out a profile to help your stylist get to know your preferences.
You pay a $20 styling fee, which is applied to anything you buy.
You choose a delivery date and wait for your surprise package to arrive.

Here are some snapshots of the things in my most recent Stitch Fix delivery.


I must confess, that when I opened the box I was not going to try on the jeans with the 1980's zipper ankles at first.  However, I've learned to try on everything Marisol (my stylist) sends me.  She rocks! So, I tried on the skinny (even though I'm not) jeans with the funky zippers.  They were sooooooo comfortable and they actually looked nice on my under 5 ft body.  The looked super cute with the shirt above (which happens to be Detroit Tiger colored). The neckline on the shirt was a little low on me, which would mean that I would have to find a navy high necked tank to wear underneath - another short person problem I suppose.  

When I ordered up this fix, I asked them to help me find a cargo jacket.  Yep, you can do that and they will try!  Marisol sent this cargo jacket, which fit really well.  However, I avoid ironing at all costs and since the box turned it into this wrinkly mess...I decided this one wasn't for me.


The last two items in my box were this super cute dress and the necklace.  I am definitely keeping both of these!  The dress is perfect for work meetings and or presentations and the necklace is exactly what I've been looking for (although I never shared that with Marisol).  

Very rarely do I ever go into a store and try on 5 things that fit, so having a box delivered with 5 things that fit for me to choose from is completely refreshing.  I am still trying to decide if I am going to keep the super comfy funky zipper ankle jeans.  They are expensive...but soooo comfortable.  Do I even care if my pajamas jeans have zippers on the ankles when they snap, zip and I can breathe when I sit down in them?

Another successful delivery for me!  You can click on any of the images above if you'd like to try Stitch Fix yourself.  If you order a fix after clicking on my link, I earn a referral credit.  However, you don't have to order if you just want to visit and find out more about the Stitch Fix craze.

Dear Marisol,
You rock!
Love,
Kimberly

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2 Types of Readers


When I reflect on my years as a classroom teacher, I think about my students as individual learners. I spent a lot of time reflecting about teaching and learning this summer. It became clear to me that 2 types of readers have passed through my life.

The 2 types include those who get lost in books and those who read until the timer goes off.  In fact, the two different types of readers are represented in my own house as well.


My daughter read over 100 books in 6th grade last year.  Big books.  She has her nose in a book while she walks around the house.  I frequently find her reading under the covers with a flashlight long after her bedtime.  She has stacks and stacks of books waiting to be read in her room and frequently runs out of things to read.


My 9 year old son is a good reader, but he reads approximately 25 - 30 pages a day with a timer in his hand. When the timer goes off, he happily drops the book.  He won't pick up another book until I remind him about what research says about summer lag the next day.

This summer, I'm collaborating with some of our 5th and 6th grade teachers and our Instructional Support Team to re-read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  I have read this book six times and each time it leaves me reflecting on different ways to reach our young readers.

The first step for me (although I'll admit that it is painful) is accepting the fact that not all readers are born with a natural love for books.  The second step as a teacher (and a mom) is to let what we know about the reader and the books they choose "whisper" (as Donalyn Miller says) to us so we can support them as readers.  The third step is to never give up hope.

I'm hopeful that my son will soon fall in love with a series or genre so much so that he no longer feels the need to read for only 20 or 30 minutes. Until then, I'll keep modeling a love for reading.  I'll keep exposing him to different authors, genres and series.  Most importantly, I'll let the choices he makes whisper to me so I can support him even if it is for only 25 - 30 pages a day (for now).


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July - Currently!

It's July 1st - How did that happen?  I'm pretty sure I have not posted since June 1st, but I'm scared too look.  Either way, today is a new day (and a new month).



The last day for students in my district was June 5.  My summer officially started this week, because of extra training and projects I was working on for my position.  We enjoyed a visit with my college roomie and her family at the lake and had dinner with friends last night.  This morning, I worked on my grad work inside while I listened to a conversation that a family was having on a fishing boat about 350 feet out in the lake.  I'm sure they have no idea that I can hear every single word they are saying.  Note to self:  sound travels differently on the lake. Yikes.


I love having time with my own kids (and husband) in the summer.  Focusing on them and us is so important.  Staying up late to talk, taking long walks together, teaching them new things, practicing things that get pushed aside during the school year and laughing together fill our summer days and I am so grateful for this time.

Thinking - no Vegas for me.  Last year, I felt a little left out (and slightly annoyed after a while) when social media seemed to be completely taken over by Vegas posts.  Let there be no misunderstanding that I am happy that so many educators, bloggers, Tpt'ers have the opportunity to enjoy this time together.  It is a powerful networking opportunity!  I'm super grateful for the blogging friends I've connected with over the years.  I'm also ok with being one of the few people who are not going to Vegas again this year.  I have two full weeks of training this summer, plus several other days to work.  I'm also taking 2 grad classes this summer.  So, the rest of the summer is family time and that's ok with me.  I do hope ya'll have a great time!  

I've been wanting to find more time to read and write.  I do a lot of professional reading for my job and for my grad classes.  I need to make more time to read and write.  I recently started a journal. However, I quickly discovered that when you are super, super busy the journal that you intended to be a place to let ideas flow freely turns into another giant to do list.  

Needing to refocus is a little tricky.  I really need to do that since I have so many things going on.  I'm sure this time at the lake will help.  

All Star  - I'm really good at taking on challenges.  I talk about the challenges I face to help me gather feedback, vent about things that are not going well, reflect about things constantly and try and try again.  Staying the same is frightening to me.  Change is an opportunity to improve.  

It feels so good to be "off the hamster wheel" for a bit.  Make time to relax and enjoy your family and friends today!

Please visit Farley to read about what others are currently doing!  Thank you, Farley, for hosting!  You will have a great time in Vegas!  I'll pray for you to be able to relax on the flight. :)







Monday, June 1, 2015

Currently...It's June!

It's June and it is time for Currently!
Hosted by Oh Boy 4th Grade as always.

I've been  doing a ton of reflecting lately.  This June is different from any other June I've experienced in the past 17 years.  Since I am working as an instructional coach this year, there are no children to say goodbye to, no memory books, no CD's of pictures to burn, no report cards, no field day, no ice cream sundae parties, no reading celebrations, no grandparent tea, no Camp Read A Lot, no students who will "miss me so much they don't want to get on the bus to go home" and no waving at the bus as they drive out of the parking lot.  Honestly, that part is kind of depressing.

Instead, I am up to my eyeballs in school improvement planning, summer work coordination, professional development planning and scheduling madness.  Do I like my new job?  Yes, because it brings new challenges each day and I actually like challenges.  I love my new team!  I enjoy having the opportunity to work with team members who are focused on change to make a great place even better. All that doesn't change the fact that I miss the little ones like crazy.

And currently...


Head over the visit Farley to read the word on the street for June!  If it's not your summer yet, it will be soon.  Time to recover, relax and recharge.  You deserve it!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Good Teacher, Bad Mom

Sometimes being a teacher makes you feel like a really bad mom.  At 4:15 this morning, I put my daughter on a bus to Toronto.  She is going on an overnight field trip with her 6th grade class.  Many of the moms I know from dance, soccer, church and baseball were there with clipboards ready to chaperone the trip.

My daughter was super excited about the trip and I'm excited for her to have this experience.  When we arrived at her school, I signed my daughter in, found her chaperone, snapped a picture of her and her friends and kissed her goodbye.  On my way out the door one of the moms who knows me said, "Kimberly, aren't you glad you don't have to do another field trip? Teachers probably dread field trips."  I said nothing.  Isn't that what you are supposed to do when you don't have anything nice to say?  I cried on the way home and sat in the dark on my front porch thinking about the truth.

The truth is that I have never been on a field trip for either of my own children.  Since I'm a teacher, I've taken hundreds of other children on field trips over the past 17 years.  I have only been able to go to 2 class parties for my own children.  As teacher, I've hosted several class parties each year for the students and families in my class.  My own kids don't ask me anymore if I can come on a field trip or to a special event that is hosted during the day, because I'm a teacher and they know I can't.

Since I am working as an instructional coach this year, I could have gone on this trip.  I have more leave days than I'll ever need to use.  My boss would certainly let me go since I am not directly responsible for students.  So, I volunteered when the chaperone forms came home.   I didn't get chosen.  The moms who held the clipboards this morning are the same moms who have been the volunteers on my daughter's field trips since Kindergarten.

Sometimes the chaperones send me pictures of my own kids on their field trips.  They almost always say something like, "Wish you were here"  or "Thought you might like this since you can never come".  While I'm grateful for the pictures that I can't take myself, it is still a reminder that being a good teacher sometimes makes me feel like a really bad mom.

My daughter won't know that I was upset on the way home today.  When my son wakes up I won't share it with him either.  I'll pretend I wasn't crying for an hour on the front porch and I will wait for my pictures.  I'll silently be the teacher mom who does not dread field trips with her students (for the record), but that wishes somehow I could enjoy all of these things with my own children too.