Sunday, July 14, 2013

What is your New {school} Year Resolution?

My summer is almost officially over *sad face*. Tomorrow is the last day of freedom before returning to work on Tuesday. Of course I'll probably be in my room tomorrow (as I was for a couple of days last week) getting a head start. I have to say, though, that I am super excited about this school year, it's a big one for me, year 10! I'm looking forward to meeting my new 5th graders and having an awesome year together. I have two new team members which I've already chatted with quite a bit, and I get to catch up with my teacher pals! Plus, this is the first time in about 7 years that I will be able to see my former students around campus.

My real-life colleague and friend Angie from Fall into First is hosting a linky party to help kick off the new school year.

Resolution #1 - Launch {and maintain} Readers/Writers Workshop

I am SO EXCITED to start Reading/Writing Workshop this year. I had "heard" of other blogger teachers using this in their classrooms, and my friend Dana from Learning Required, started using it in her room already, so I just had to find out more about this amazing program. This summer I read four books on Reading/Writing Workshop, and I have one more on it's way. I love all of the ideas I've gathered, but I am still shaky about getting started. I know that the lessons (especially those for the first few weeks) are already outlined for me, so I know I'll get the hang of it soon enough.

Resolution #2 - Just Say NO

As teachers we are expected to accomplish infinite tasks, yes, we ARE superheroes, but even superheroes have limits. In the past few years I have found my self stressed out, physically exhausted, and emotionally drained, and it isn't helping me to be a better teacher (rather it is having the opposite affect). I hate to say no, but I am learning to do it, and it is already helping me feel calm and ready. I'm planning on using time I would have spent on those extra tasks for deeper lesson planning and me time (getting to the gym more, reading that pile of books by my bed, and spending time with my family/friends)!

Resolution #3 - Track Student Data

I've mentioned this before, but there has been a lot of talk in education about the importance of tracking individual student progress. I see value in this, but I think it will be even more valuable to have the students involved in and in charge of their own data tracking. I want to keep it simple this year to get a feel for data tracking, so if anyone has any ideas/resources to share I'd grateful.

Your turn! Blog about your New {School} Year Resolutions and link up with Fall into First.

Also, I am so overwhelmed with the blog love lately! Although I prefer Feedly, I'm lovin' that BlogLovin' helps users find other blogs they'd like. I almost have 200 BlogLovin' followers! Wow! Also, I've had about 5 or 6 Liebster Award nominations from some awesome bloggers. Including:
Teaching in Cardigans
Life in Room 24
Shepard's Shining Stars
Nerdy Nerdy Nerdy
The Teacher's Desk 6

If I missed you, please let me know!

Do you know what the Liebster Award is? Well, basically it's a chain letter for blogs. Continue reading after the jump.

For a few reasons I am not going to fully follow the award's guidelines (but that's ok, because they change all the time-as chain letters often do). It would be very time consuming to answer all 55 blogger questions, plus, I don't like to share too much personal stuff on my teaching blog. So, I'll answer a few questions.  Instead, if you have never been nominated, and would like to be, why not self nominate! Go ahead!

  1. What made you decide to be a teacher? I was inspired by my high school English teacher. She is amazing, and I am still in contact with her!
  2. What do you enjoy most about blogging? Besides connecting with other amazing teacher-bloggers, I feel like blogging helps me be a better teacher. 
  3. One place you want to visit before you die? I would LOVE to go to Egypt to see the pyramids, mummies, and artifacts. I'd also love to go to Japan. 
  4. Do you have any pets? 4 cats, 2 rats, and 2 gerbils.
  5. What three 'must haves' are in your possession when you travel? My dslr camera, the perfect bag to carry everything, and emergency snacks!
  6. What was your favorite TV show as a child in the grade that you teach? When I was in 5th grade I absolutely loved Tiny Toons - my friend and I would spend our recess on the swings singing the theme song. 
  7. What do you keep in the trunk of your car? Yoga mat and reusable grocery bags. 


  1. What books did you read on the readers/writers workshops? I'm implementing them for the first time, too and new some help! I'm feeling overwhelmed!

  2. I love Resolution #2 - Just Say NO! This is something I need to work on too and I am really going to try to do better this next year :)
    Angie @

  3. Sarah, I first read The Daily Five to see what the hype was all about. It is just another take on the workshop model. There is some good stuff in there that I will use, but not the entire program.

    Then I read:

    * Workshops That Work! : 30 Days of Mini-Lessons That Help Launch and Establish All-Important Routines for an Effective Reading and Writing Workshop by Kirsten Widmer and Sarah Buxton

    * Day-to-Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop : Making Informed Instructional Decisions by Franki Sibberson and Karen Szymusiak

    * Launching the Writing Workshop : A Step-by-Step Guide in Photographs by Denise Leograndis

    These all had great/useful stuff in them, but I was recommended Guiding Readers and Writers : Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

    I haven't received it yet, I'm waiting impatiently for it to come in the mail! I was told that it has the first 20 days of instruction for launching a strong workshop.

    Good luck! I'm really excited, but also overwhelmed about starting this.

  4. I'm so glad you posted the books you read to prepare for your reading workshop. I am not aware of anyone in my current county implementing Reader's Workshop and I am so intrigued with the idea but I didn't know which books to read. Thank you, Thank you!! This excites me!

    Live, Love, Learn in Fourth Grade
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