Daily Reflective Practice for Teachers

The article Designing Reflective Assessment for Workplace Learning explicates why I believe reflection is imperative to my teaching practice,
The capacity to reflect on one's own strength and weaknesses, to learn from constructive criticism, and to practice critical reflection by monitoring one's own work performance and interpersonal interactions is essential to the ability to learn from experience and is the cornerstone of the journey to becoming a lifelong learner (McNamara & Field).
Reflection is one of the successful keys in teaching. My education professors ensure us that we are our best resource when it comes to growing in the teaching field. My pastor stated the following about being a Christian; however, I think it fits well with teaching too: "When we are green, we are growing. It is when we are ripe, we begin to rot." In order to grow, we need to know where we have been as well as where we are headed. Which is why reflection is a very important part of the art of teaching.

Let us not forget, the Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching (which our school district uses for teacher evaluations) Professional Responsibilities. The components in Domain 4 represent the wide range of a teacher’s responsibilities outside the classroom. These include reflecting on teaching, maintaining accurate records, communicating with families, contributing to the school and district, growing and developing professionally, and
showing professionalism.

Each lesson assigned to us throughout the education program, in one form or another includes a reflection piece. It would be impractical as a teacher to be able to reflect on every single lesson completed throughout the day; however, the key moments that stick out at the end of the school day are teachable moments and ought to be taken note of. When doing research for my student teaching placement, I found an article entitled, Reflective Teaching the author of Fairy Dust Teaching shares insight into the reflective practice and provides a free daily reflection sheet.

The sheet includes several questions to gather your thoughts about the daily activities and as you write about them in a way that would assist you in becoming the best teacher you can be. I had every intention of printing out tons of these and placing them in a binder so that I can make a habit during my student teaching semester. Instead, I made a reflection sheet in my RocketBook!

I recently learned of the RocketBook and made a plea to my family right before Christmas. This week, I was gifted with an executive size and letter size along with a set of colored pens to use with them! My family is the best. I plan on using the smaller one for home/church and the larger one for school/work. Technology is so very cool!

I created the sheet with stickers and permanent marker (I found a different one that will not bleed in the future). This will stay on the page; however, I can erase the daily reflection piece. I will be able to write on this note in my RocketBook each day, scan it, and it will go directly to my student teaching folder saved as date/reflection (which will make an incredible artifact for my student teacher portfolio). Then I wipe it off and use again the next day! This way I can keep track of my growth this semester and then in the future as a teacher.

How do you organize your reflections? Please let me know in the comments below.


The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey

Super busy over this last month; teaching Kindergarten Sunday School at my church, finishing up my last semester at ISU before student teaching, preparing for Christmas, and spending quality time with my family. BUT, I have still been reading!!! I am planning on doing a weekly post here on my blog about the books I have read rather than a daily post as I see my schedule becoming more intense these coming months. I would like to have a variety of posts through the week (lesson planning, student teaching, reflecting, what I wore, devotionals, meal planning, etc). 


Today, I read The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey. The school in which I will be completing my student teaching in is a Leader in Me School. I have begun reading both The 7 Habits of Effective People (again) and Leader in Me. These were gifted me when I visited my fifth-grade teacher team before Christmas Break. 
The book is a combination of seven stories, each one highlighting an example of the seven habits used in Stephen & Sean Covey's books. I like how the characters are relatable to primary grade children so that they are able to understand what it is like to have this principle in their life.
  1. Bored! Bored! Bored!: Habit #1 Be proactive
  2. Goob and the bug-collecting kit: Habit #2 Begin with the end in mind
  3. Pokey and the spelling test: Habit #3 Put first things first
  4. Lily plants a garden: Habit #4 Think win-win
  5. Jumper and the lost butterfly net: Habit #5 Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  6. Big bad badgers: Synergize
  7. Sleepy Sophie: Sharpen the saw
Watch the 7 Habits of Happy Kids Trailer by Franklin Covey:



I was able to listen to the entire book in less than an hour, it would be easy to share one story at a time based on the habit in which you are teaching. The audible book was read by Sean Covey and included his children in the recording as well. 



I have a rating system I use for those books I have read and reviewed on my blog, you may check it out here. I have given this book five cups, I love this book a latte!
I read this book as a part of my #ReadtheRainbow Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn MillerMy goal is to read at least one children's literature book from various genres every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

...nevertheless, I persisted.



The following story is one that is represented by the ellipses when I write ...nevertheless, she persisted. 

   
     In 1995, I graduated from high school with two goals: move away from my verbally abusive father and become a teacher. In the Fall of 1995, I succeeded at my first goal of leaving my father’s home and began my journey toward my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher by attending, Wenatchee Valley Community College (WVCC). Here I had a difficult time transitioning into college classes, living on my own, and budgeting my money. I obtained a retail job to assist me in my financial issues; however, this provided me with an additional burden of balancing both a part-time job and a full-time college schedule. With no support from family or a close group of friends nearby, I failed. I became depressed and ready for change, but not willing to move back home and give up on my dreams. After consideration and discussion with the administration, I chose to leave WVCC and continue my studies at Peninsula Community College (PCC); the other community college in Washington State with a dormitory. At PCC, I worked toward my teaching degree, obtained a retail position, and fell in love. Through these experiences, I moved out of the dorm and moved into an apartment with my fiance; I also chose to focus more attention on my job and my future role as a wife. Financially struggling and my fiance having a difficult time finding a job, we decided that he was to join the Army and we would travel the world together. With no money, we left PCC in 1997 and temporarily moved in with my father. At this time, my college career was on hold until further notice.

     Fast forward seventeen years; I am remarried, have three children of my own and two step-children, living in Twin Falls Idaho. It is 2014, my youngest child is starting Kindergarten in the Fall; I decide that it is time to obtain my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. The plan was to complete my associate's degree at College of Southern Idaho (CSI) and then my bachelor's degree at Idaho State University - Twin Falls (ISU-TF). I take my college assessment and find myself needing to take a plethora of remedial math classes to be eligible to take the required math courses for my associate's degree. Overwhelmed, I discuss my plans with my college advisor at CSI and an advisor at ISU-TF.



With support from my family and friends, I successfully graduated with honors in the Spring of 2016 at CSI with an associates degree in Elementary Education.








 
  Fall 2016, I am accepted into both ISU and the College of Education. A new degree plan is created with the assistance of my college advisor and I have been on the Dean’s list every semester that I have completed here at ISU. This last year, my advisor and I updated my degree plan so that I can complete an emphasis in both English and History. Today, I am eligible to graduate in May 2019. Next semester, I will be taking 14 credits; completing my bachelor's degree with my required student teaching internship to prepare me for my role as a teacher.


     As a young adult, I experienced many hardships which have made me the person I am today; resilient, dedicated, and strong. Although, I did not complete my degree at the time WVCC and PCC; the classes provided me with foundational knowledge that I have used toward my education classes at both CSI and ISU. Even though it took me extra remedial classes at CSI, I deepened my critical thinking skills and raised my self-confidence through each required course completed to obtain my Elementary Education A.A. degree. Now at ISU, I further my knowledge as a future upper-elementary school teacher. It has been twenty years since I began working toward my dream; I am so very excited about finally achieving my second goal!
 

Preparing to Meet my Cooperating Teacher


This week, I have the opportunity to visit my 5th-grade classroom to meet my cooperating teacher and students! I am so very excited to get to know who I will be learning with during my student teaching semester.

My mind is going in a million directions, I thought that I would create a list of questions that I would like to know. If you have any additional ones that you recommend me asking, let me know in the comments below. 

Questions to ask my cooperating teacher:
  1. What is your favorite part about 5th grade?
  2. What is your least favorite part about 5th grade?
  3. What is your teaching philosophy?
  4. Have you been a cooperating teacher before?
  5. What are your expectations for me in your classroom?
  6. What is the best way to communicate with you?
  7. What is the Bell Schedule?
  8. What are the contracted hours for the teacher?
  9. What is the Classroom Schedule?
  10. When are staff meetings held?
  11. Where are we going to be on the pacing calendar when we return from Christmas Break?
  12. What Standards will we be focusing on January 7th-April 12th?
  13. When should we meet with the University Supervisor (W, Th, F 7:30 a.m)?
  14. Will I have a space set aside for me in the classroom?
  15. What should I bring to the classroom?
  16. How do you feel about me completing #classroombookaday (picture book reading to the class every day)?
  17. How do you feel about me completing letter correspondence throughout the semester with the students?
  18. Are there any additional routine schedules I should be aware of (bus duty, in-service days, etc..)?
  19. What is your favorite coffee beverage?
  20. What else do you think I should know?

Click here for an editable handout, 20 Questions for your Cooperating Teacher, to assist you during your initial visit! Please open the google document and make a copy before editing. I will return after our meeting and provide you with a reflection on our first encounter. Until next time ...

Guest Post by Anna Levine: Planning Your Picture Perfect Day

For those of you joining me from the Women on Writing Blog Tour, welcome to Read Write Sparkle Coffee, I am so glad that you are here. To my readers, I am participating in the Women on Writing Blog Tour for Anna Levine's new book, All Eyes on Alexandra.

The following article is a post written by author Anna Levine! This Tuesday, December 11th I shared a review on her new book, All Eyes on Alexandra ndra. Now, she shares a writing about creating a special day based on the story.

Theme days are great fun for kids. Here are a few ideas for planning a day based on All Eyes on Alexandra.
1. Wake up to bird song. Step outside and listen to the world. Take a walk around the block or to the local park. Try and identify as many sounds as you can. Back home listen to https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/bird-song-hero and see if you can find the bird you heard.
2. If you have binoculars, take them on your walk and see how many birds you spot. Try and look for identifying marks on the bird. Back home search for more information to find out which bird you spotted.
3. “We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.” Bring along a camera (you’ll need the photos for the next activity). Find birds of different colors, species, poses and backgrounds. Take lots of photos.
4. Make a bird calendar. Discuss the different months of the year and the seasonal changes. Don’t forget to add the important dates like birthdays, holidays and events you’re looking forward to. You can choose 12 different kinds of birds from photos you’ve taken or find them on the internet. Dedicate a month for each bird. Add some fun bird facts and maybe a few silly jokes.
Q: What do you call a very rude bird? A: A mockingbird.
5. Dance! Birds have an innate sense of rhythm. At the end of All Eyes on Alexandra, Alexandra dances with the chicks. Watch this video of the parrot Snowball dancing to Queen’s, Another One Bites the Dust:


6. And at the end of the day, curl up with a book and read. Research shows that reading to kids develops their imagination, relaxes and makes them feel secure and calm. http://www.nea.org/grants/facts-about-childrens-literacy.html

I hope you enjoyed this post by Anna Levine! If you have not checked out her new picture book, you can read my review here! Until new time .... 

All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine

For those of you joining me from the Women on Writing Blog Tour, welcome to Read Write Sparkle Coffee, I am so glad that you are here. To my readers, I am participating in the Women on Writing Blog Tour for Anna Levine's new book, All Eyes on Alexandra.


In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it's time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel's Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?

Based on the true story of Israel’s annual crane migration.

Image: Amazon.com
I enjoyed the reading of this book where I was entertained about the story of Alexandra Crane and her family; as well as learned about Cranes. This picture book with incredible illustrations by Chiara Pasqualotto assured readers understanding of the material presented. A nice combination of both fantasy and information! The book concludes with an explanation of Israel's Bird Migration.

In addition, All Eyes on Alexandra shares an important lesson on family. Although Alexandra maybe be difficult and may not do things like the rest of the family, she has her strengths and uniqueness that makes her different her brothers, sisters, and cousins. While some may be caught off guard by her differences, I think things go best when the family allows her to be herself.


Anna Levine is an award-winning children’s book author. Like Alexandra Crane, the character in her latest picture book, she loves to explore new worlds. Born in Canada, Anna has lived in the US and Europe. She now lives in Israel, where she writes and teaches.
I have a rating system I use for those books I have read and reviewed on my blog, you may check it out here. I have given this book four coffee cups, Cool Beans!
I read this book as a part of my #ReadtheRainbow Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn MillerMy goal is to read at least one children's literature book from various genres every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

Anna Levine’s WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR OF All Eyes on Alexandra



Tour Begins December 3rd
Book summary
In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee.
She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it's time for the
Cranes to migrate to Israel's Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried.
Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise?
Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?


Based on the true story of Israel’s annual crane migration.


Print Length: 32 Pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub
ISBN-10: 1512444391
ISBN-13: 978-1512444391


All Eyes on Alexandra is available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and NobleTarget and Thrift Books.


About the Author, Anna Levine


Anna Levine is an award-winning children’s book author. Like Alexandra Crane, the character in her latest picture
book, she loves to explore new worlds. Born in Canada, Anna has lived in the US and Europe.
 She now lives in Israel, where she writes and teaches.


You can find Anna Levine online :

About the Illustrator, Chiara Pasqualotto,


Chiara Pasqualotto was born in Padua, in northern Italy, currently teaches illustration and drawing classes
to children and adults, in particular in Padua during the summer at the 
Scuola Internazionale di Comics and in Rome.
Since 2008 she's been living in Rome and working with illustration professionally:
her first picture book, 
Mine, All Mine! was published in 2009 by Boxer Books (UK), since then she published with
Oxford University Press, Giunti, Terranuova and some American publishers (Paraclete Press, Tyndale,
Learning AZ, Kar-Ben Publisher).


You can find Chiara Pasqualotto online:

Blog Tour Dates

December 3rd @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you visit WOW's blog today and read an interview
with the author and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book 
All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 5th @ Cassandra's Writing World
Visit Cassandra's blog where she shares her thoughts about Anna Levine's picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.


December 6th @ Break Even Books
Visit Erik's blog where you can read Anna Levine's guest post about how to jog your inspiration.


December 7th @ Coffee with Lacey
Grab some coffee and visit Lacey's blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine's
picture book 
All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 8th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Visit Anthony Avina's blog today where he joins in the fun of celebrating and shares information about
Anna Levine's book 
All Eyes on Alexandra.


December 8th @ Christy's Cozy Corners
Visit Christy's blog and cozy up while you read her review of Anna Levine's picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.


December 9th @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey's blog again where you can read Anna Levine's guest post about designing your ideal writing spot.


December 9th @ Christy's Cozy Corner
Visit Christy's blog where you can read Anna Levine's blog post about how she decided to use crane's in her story.

December 10th @ Thoughts in Progress
Visit Pamela's blog where you can read Anna Levine's guest post about how authors use anthropomorphic animals.


December 11th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.
Make sure you visit Jeanie's blog today and read her thoughts about Anna Levine's book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 12th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog
Visit Anthony Avina's blog where he interviews Anna Levine, author of All Eyes on Alexandra.


December 13th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.
Make sure you visit Jeanie's blog today and read Anna Levine's guest post about building a theme day
around a picture book.


December 13th @ Oh for the Hook of a Book
Visit Erin's blog where she shares her thoughts on Anna Levine's book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 14th @ Growing with Science Blog
Be sure to visit Roberta's blog and read her review of Anna Levine's book All Eyes on Alexandra as well as read
Anna's guest post about five fun bird-themed activities.


December 14th @ Wrapped in Foil
Visit Roberta's blog today where Anna Levine's book All Eyes on Alexandra gets featured on the weekly
STEM Friday post (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math books!).


December 15th @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra's blog where she features Anna Levine's book All Eyes on Alexandra in a spotlight post.


December 17th @ World of My Imagination
Stop by Nicole's blog today where you can read her review of Anna Levine's book All Eyes on Alexandra.


December 18th @ Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Visit Erin's blog again where you can read Anna Levine's blog post featuring activities for young
children to explore their world. 


December 19th @ Cassandra's Writing World
Visit Cassandra's blog again where you can read Anna Levine's blog post about naming your characters.


December 19th @ Linda's Blog
Make sure you visit Linda's blog today where you can read her thoughts about
Anna Levine's book 
All Eyes on Alexandra.


December 20th @ Word Magic: All About Books 
Visit Fiona's blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine's book All Eyes on Alexandra.


December 21st @ Bring on Lemons
Make sure you grab some lemonade and stop by Crystal's blog today where she reviews Anna Levine's
book 
All Eyes on Alexandra.


December 27th @ Linda's Blog
Visit Linda's blog again where you can read her interview with author Anna Levine.

December 28th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Visit Beverley's blog today you can read her review of Anna Levine's book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 31st @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog and read Anna Levine's guest post on learning about families and different cultures.

January 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Visit author Anthony Avina's blog where he shares his thoughts about Anna Levine's
picture book 
All Eyes on Alexandra. 


January 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Visit Beverley's blog again where you can read Anna Levine's blog post about getting into the head
of your middle-grade characters.


January 4th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Visit author Anthony Avina's blog again where you can read Anna Levine's blog post about using
fiction to write non-fiction.


January 7th @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog
Visit Wendi's blog again where you can read her thoughts about the book All Eyes on Alexandra
by Anna Levine.