Budding Bloggers Showcase: Teaching in the Tongass

Today is my anniversary (14 years - wow!) so I'm spending some time AWAY from the computer with the hubs, but I have another fantastic blog to showcase for you today!  Read on to find out about the Tongass (I never knew what that was!), a king-style author's chair, a memory binder, and much more!! :)  

So you might be wondering what the Tongass means.  If you didn't already know, the Tongass National Forest is our nation's largest forest and it's located in Southeast Alaska.  It's 17 million acres of rainforest awesomeness and I live smack dab, right in the middle of it all.  This coming fall will be my 6th year teaching 2nd grade in my hometown of Juneau, Alaska.  Check out my blog by clicking the image below:   
Personal life?
I am a wife to a wonderful, handy-man husband, a mother to a 1 year old chunk baby who we nicknamed Cheeks, and we have a yorkie named Buggaboo.  We live in a house built in the 1960s and have been remodeling it for the last 3 years...fun, sweat and tears! Here's one of my favorite pics of Cheeks and I (at his 1 year photo shoot):
What is your favorite subject to teach?
I love teaching 2nd grade. Looove it.  My favorite subject to teach is Writing Workshop.  It is the only subject area my school doesn't have a required curriculum to use, therefore, I have a little more freedom to teach the Common Core how I see fit.  This, to me, means being able to get ideas from Pinterest and buy things on TpT!  I love being able to see the dramatic differences in student writing from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, it's a very rewarding feeling after a lot of hard work on ours and our students' parts, and probably one that keeps me loving my job.  

What would we see if we dropped by your classroom?
If you dropped by my classroom, you would see lots of color, but nothing that matches! I have anchor charts everywhere (organized by subject area of course!) by the end of the year, a bright word wall, a king-style author's chair my husband made, a microfiber chaise lounge chair (I picked up for free from Craigslist!), and a U-shape table where I meet with students and also where I do my own work (I got rid of my teacher desk last year...liberating!).

What do you do when you are having one of "those" days?
If I'm having one of "those" days, I immediately go to my memory binder.  It's full of appreciations that, as our counselor would say, make my heart smile!

What's one teacher resource you can't live without?
One teacher resource I could not live without in my classroom is my volunteers!  Before I had my son, my mom, who is a retired home daycare provider, came in about once a week and volunteered with prep work or helping students, whatever I needed.  Now, she watches Cheeks while I'm at work (Get this: for FREE! Love her!).  I was worried how I was going to leave every day at 3 to be the mom I want to be (we have a union with contract hours 7:30-3:00), but it turned out more than okay.  I'm not sure how it happens, but for one reason or another, I usually end up with lots of adult help.  Those extra eyes, ears and hands make A HUGE DIFFERENCE.  I had a student teacher a couple of years ago, which connected me with her Advisor, who teaches an Introduction to Teaching class where students need to complete 25 hours of classroom time...I was fortunate enough to have 3 college students in my room (that's 75 hours!) this year completing their hours!  2 of them even came in regularly after their hours were completed and continued helping!  I also had a high school student volunteer for an hour every day in the morning, which made Math a breeze!  I had 2 regular parent volunteers that came in and/or worked on projects at home for me.  I keep them busy with everything from copying, working with kids, making bulletin boards, and chaperoning field trips. I'm incredibly grateful and fortunate, especially for the time it allowed me to be with my son instead of working on the weekend.

Give us a glimpse of your teaching style by sharing a brief summary of a favorite classroom activity/project.
My favorite classroom activity is Muffins with Moms and Donuts with Dads.  This is a day where an adult (could be aunts/uncles, grandmas/grandpas, friends, etc.) comes in to visit in the morning.  I hold my Donuts with Dads in December and Muffins with Moms in March (because it is easier to remember!).  I send out an email asking for food/drink/supply donations and usually have more than enough people happy to bring something in.  This year, I even made a little muffin craftivity and donut craftivity for students to do, and they were a hit!
 I start the morning off with a quick welcome and thank you, followed by juice and pastries while the students read to the adults.  There are, of course, students who don't have a family member or friend to partner with...NO BIGGIE! I have extended the invitation to my volunteers who are there for that exact reason! After a while, I pass out crayons and a template with a face/neck for everyone to take turns drawing their partner.  While they draw, they interview one another.  After it looks like most of the drawings are done, students come up in front of the room and introduce "their" adult and tell some things about them.  Then we take a group photo, say thank you and the adults leave.  Altogether, one and a half hours of fun!    

What is one of your blogging goals for this year?
I am so new to the blogging world (I began in February), that my only goal is to just continue documenting my life.  I love looking back at previous posts and seeing what I was doing just a few months ago...a virtual diary!  I actually never thought I would have as many followers as I have now, and although it's a great feeling, it's sort of weird to know real people read my blog!  A few of them, I consider to be celebrities even, so that's even more weird.  Not that my husband knows who The Fern Smith is, haha!   
If you'd like to know a little more about my hometown, check out my post about life in Juneau by clicking the image of the Northern Lights lighting up the Mendenhall Glacier below:

1 comment

  1. Thank you so much for this opportunity! If there's any way I can pay you back, just say the word!


Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing ideas! I love to read your comments. I like to reply back by email, so make sure you have that option enabled so we can chat! :)

Back to Top