Teacher Summer

Do you spend your days mid June-August tossing and turning in a hammock that’s strung up between two trees near the ocean, in the mountains, or maybe even just in your back yard? Do you get so bored during those days that you decide you actually WANT to get a work out in? Do you lazily give yourself some TLC- you know, trim up your dead-ends, take off the 2 month old nail polish, pluck your eyebrows, moisturize your skin, take a long shower while contemplating what Pinterest-y lunch/dinner/dessert you’re going to attempt to whip up that afternoon? Do you take 3 naps a day, dive deep in to stranger’s Instagram’s, and eat a disgusting amount of ice cream? Do you do this same thing more than once a week?
If you answered yes, to at least half of that, or thought “no, but I do ______ instead”, than you’re probably a teacher, just like me!
This summer I have spent most of my time on the beaches of Cape Cod. I know, right? Most teacher’s dream. I spent my days catching a tan/burn/more freckles and my nights checking out the yummiest ice cream spots. I’ve kayaked in the ocean and marshes, biked the roadways and paths, talked to the seals, saved some turtles, played with the bunnies living in the yard; I’ve watched sunsets, danced the streets of Provincetown, watched the stars from Coast Guard beach, spent fun drunken nights with friends and snuggled up on the couch with the man who brought me to this beautiful relaxed life.
I definitely do not have a beach house here, nor can I afford a seaside hotel room (or an in-town hotel room for that matter). I don’t have family money that lives here, and I didn’t win a free trip to the Cape. My boyfriend is a Law Enforcement Park Ranger here at Cape Cod National Seashore. His job is to patrol the park roads, beaches and other park-owned property- keeping the people, animals, and environment safe; and he gets to live 5 minutes away from the gorgeous (yet touristy) beaches (yes, beaches- as in plural, as in more than one- yes, 3!). He lives in a fraternity-style house with 4 other park employees, and they all love (read: tolerate) me enough to let me stay a few days a week (my pay is dinner) while I escape my reality that is Maine (I know, I know, Maine is beautiful, but during summer vacation my time in Maine is spent waitressing and preparing my classroom for the upcoming year- not necessarily the relaxing vacation I so need, and well, deserve!)
I have 2 weeks until I get my 24 (or -my fear- more) cute little kindergarten sweeties, and only 1 more week left here- I plan to spend as many of those days in this hammock, on the beaches, with my boyfriend and our friends, as I can. I have pink skies to see, sun rays to soak in, salty water to wash through my hair, ice cream to savor, and Downeast Ciders to drink with friends who make me already miss this place I haven’t left yet.
Excuse me while I go turn my face to the clouds that brighten the sky with their white glow and picturesque features.

 

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Getting Back into the Swing of Things!

I’m at the 3 week mark for “back to school”. 3 more weeks of preparing, prepping, and yes, relaxing. I’m currently on the Cape, feet up, books at my side getting ready to plan the first 2 days of school read alouds. But before I got to this point, I slept in until 11am, moved to the hammock where I spent an hour swaying and stretching, then spent 2 hours getting a nice work out in down on the beach while I watched the seals play! I went to the store and got groceries and finally got myself one of my first “adult crisis” purchase- anti-wrinkle eye cream. And now, here I am, waiting the return of my boyfriend who is working until 9pm, and getting just a couple hours of work in myself.

Along with planning my read alouds for the first few days, I’m also planning my morning routine. I found a fantastic idea called the “sign in book”, where each day the students “sign in” as a way to 1- let me know they are here and 2 (most importantly) to have them practice their name writing skills! The book has 6-8 spaces on a page, and a child’s name in each box. The child needs to find their name, and then in the space below, write their name, or “sign in”! I plan to use a highlighter for those kiddos who I see struggle until they can get it! I am really excited to create this book and implement it starting at Open House night! I plan to have the students that show up “sign in” with a special pencil! They will get to keep the pencil they choose! 🙂

Along with that, I am looking in to my Morning Choices. I have a BUNCH of ideas, and quite honestly, a bunch of the boxes already made up, but I’m trying to decide how many choices to have, and how many kiddos at each choice. For example, I have a Lego box, a stringing beads box, magnetic shapes box, play-doh with toothpicks, etc. Last year I only had 2 at each choice, but this year I’m wondering if 3 or 4 could work. I also want to create a choice for students who maybe come in one morning and wish to be on their own. Maybe a quiet reading box or a coloring box; I’ve learned that sometimes students just want to be alone, and I want that option to be available if they choose.

I’m also just super unsure if this should be an every day morning routine or if I should keep it switched up like I did last year. Monday was Choice Boxes, Tuesday was Morning Writing, Wednesday was a Worksheet of some kind, Thursday was a “Think Outside the Box” page, and Friday was “Free Choice”. I really like it this way, however, after reading this article, I’m having second thoughts!

http://mrdovico.blogspot.com/2017/02/rethinking-morning-work.html?m=1

I truly understand the power of letting students choose, and I love the idea of creating such a “fun” and engaging morning. So now I’m thinking more along the lines of Morning Choice Boxes each day- but giving the OPTION of doing another choice- so on Tuesday the “special choice” may be to write/draw to a writing prompt, on Wednesday the “special choice” would be a worksheet, and on Thursday the “special choice” will be a Think Outside the Box sheet. Any thoughts/ideas/opinions about this?! Would love to hear 🙂

I’m off to read a few fun books and plan the first 2 days of school!