Sunday, November 15, 2015

Weekly Wardrobe Rewind: Snazzy Skirts

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Well it has been gorgeous weather this week and I've been loving the last chance to wear some of my favorite snazzy skirts to work!

Scarf: Merona Berry Scarf (similar here)

Scarf: Merona Polka Dot Infinity Crinkle Scarf

Necklace: Target Fashion Necklace (similar here, here)

What did you wear this week?  Link up till Saturday and spread your inspiration!  :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekly Wardrobe Rewind: Feeling Like Fall Colors

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Welcome to my first edition of the Weekly Wardrobe Rewind!  What were some of your favorite outfits this week OR what are you wearing next week? Show off your snazzy style and inspire others below (don't forget to grab the button and link back to this post!)

Scarf: Merona Watercolor Oblong Scarf (similar here, here)
Skirt: Forever 21 Mustard Scuba Skater Skirt (similar here, here)
Boots: Charlotte Russe Cognac Bow Boots (similar)

Pants: LOFT Mustard Marisa Straight-Leg Corduroys (similar here)
Necklace: Modcloth Rosette Bib Necklace (similar here)

Necklace: Target Gold Link Long Necklace (similar here)

Friday, September 25, 2015

What's In a Name? The Story Behind the Stacks

First of all, welcome to all my readers, old and new!  For those of you that found your way over from my old blog Fun in PreK-1 & Kinder, thanks for making the techie tech through cyber space (I promise I'll have goodies for you over here too)!  You may have noticed, it's been a bit quiet over there.  Quiet as in I haven't posted since... oh, August 2014?!

There's a good reason for that.  Simply put, I'm not teaching anymore.  It was a hard decision that I agonized over for a long time both before and afterwards, but in the end it opened up the door to something I love even more (most days)!  Why did I leave teaching?  That's a long story...  And no, it wasn't because of this:

It may have had something to do with this:

But during job interviews, I always play it off like this:

In hindsight the writing was on the wall.  I'll never forget the excitement and the nerves I felt before being observed by my host school's principal.  I was student teaching in sixth grade and man, did I really want that letter of recommendation for when I faced the tough job market!  Our class was about to embark on a "How-To" writing unit in one of those writing curriculum programs that's pretending to be a workshop model but isn't.  Every single dang piece of writing those poor kids did had to have a "target" on top of their notebook entry, such as "T: Use proper punctuation."  First the kiddos had to copy what the teacher wrote on the left hand side, then they did their independent writing on the side.  They never saw a writing model outside of the scripted curriculum teacher script, and they never got to write for themselves, either.

Well, that just wasn't going to fly with my fresh out-of-college self.  So I decided we were going to dig into genre study the good old Katie Wood Ray way- through immersion.  Before even trying to tackle a "how-to" piece ourselves, we were going to look through a whole bunch of real-life mentor texts first.  Cookbooks, DIY articles, you name it.  I broke the class into groups and together we analyzed, shared our findings and created an anchor chart with all the major features of the genre we could pinpoint. Only then would we start brainstorming topics and start making outlines.

Success!  For the first time all semester my sixth graders were acting like they were interested in writing.  I couldn't wait to hear what the principal thought of authentic writer's workshop in action.  (I'm sure you can guess what happened next... the long and the short of it is, I was told to stop taking liberties and start sticking to the curriculum).

Nearly everywhere I taught it was the same story.  Be on this page on this day, no matter if the class got the last lesson or not.  Waste instructional time and force the kids to take weekly reading fluency and comprehension tests on the computer to tell you things you ALREADY know because you read with them in small groups.  Take dramatic play and traditional centers out of Kindergarten except for half an hour on "Fun Friday," despite the abundance of research on the importance of play in early childhood.  So on and so forth.

You know.  If you're teacher, you've been there.  But after three and a half years I was tired- not of kids, not of their parents, but I was sick to death of the system- and I was angry.  I felt like God was wasting my time and talents (if you couldn't tell, patience in His plan is NOT my strong point).  What was the point of giving me the gift of working with children if I wasn't even going to be a teacher?

The started to remember the pride my kinders felt when they read their first chapter book.  I remembered checking my mailbox in the summer and finding a thirty page rough draft manuscript sent by a former student.  I remembered going to the bookstore with a parent to help find books for their reluctant reader.  I remembered reading Turkey Trouble with a terrible southern twang and sending my kiddos into gales of laughter.  When my hubby suggested I start volunteering at the library, I couldn't think of a better way to combine my great love of reading, kids and outreach services.  Soon after that I started pursuing my Master's in Library Science.  After feeling lost and searching for many months, I found my new sense of purpose.

So that's the story behind the Stacks!  A part of me will always love teaching and want to go back.  But in my new role I find I'm able to help families and educators so much more.  I can be an advocate for children's literacy without worrying about pissing off my administrators.  I can help kids discover the authentic joys of reading without having to tell them to "code their thinking" with three sticky notes per page, please.  Yes, I still don't have enough funding to do what I need to do.  Yes, I still struggle with a work and home life balance.  BUT I am making a difference again and I couldn't be happier!

So what will you find while you're Searching in the Stacks?  Well, my admittedly ambitious plans for this blog will cover a lot of topics: things for teachers, families, fashionistas, librarians, bookworms... you name it!  Thanks for reading my story and here's to the next grand adventure!