So far this year 

Though this is the best group of kids I’ve had in a long time, they’re still little humans and they’re flawed.  Why can’t you hang a coat, bookbag, sweater on the hook? It’s really not that hard! Augh.  


Jeans passes are back! I will be trendy and wear a #bowtie, but probably won’t tuck my shirt.  

My kiddos are reading! They all could use more work and a deeper appreciation for reading just for reading sake. However, I am not going to front. They’ve taken to all my accelerated reader challenges.  Currently we’re well over our goal for the semester and we’re trying to hit our year goal by December! 

You know that I am loving my coaching sessions @ CFSC this year. When people help you become better at your trade then compliment that they see you growing that’s a good feeling.  Oh and I like Boba Tea! 

So for some reason my class asked if my birthday was October 13th (actually that’s my mom’s birthday) . I, mistakenly thought I had been pretty not subtle about the fact that mine is in April.  None the less two students brought me gifts on my faux birthday! Besides the huge smile that brought me, we had to have a Whitaker’s fake Birthday Party Friday.  Of course the gift givers got the bigger cupcakes and a well deserved laugh. 

CrossFit Level 2 certification class

wp-1460569688949.jpgThis past weekend I was able to sit in and take the CF Level 2 certification course. I enjoyed my Level 1 course, but this one was so much more hands on and instructional. It really explained HOW to coach a class effectively and see results from the elements discussed in the Level 1. I could see this being a class one would take again, because it really addresses the questions, problems and concerns we see on the floor everyday.

  • The seminar staff was amazing. Huge shout out to Chuck, Jenni, Bobbi and Leah! Hands down well worth the investment.
  • I want more hands on instruction. Once I started seeing ALL the holes in my game I wanted to spend MORE time ironing them out.  Really, they did such a good job I could have set up shop going over the fine details of what I need in my toolbox.
  • The pressure of coaching in from of really well trained eyes wasn’t nearly as bad I thought it would be. Everyone was supportive. Everyone had something wrong and whenever you botched something up really bad you could just say “I wanted to see if John would catch that. Good job.”
  • Not everything I do is bad. Yeah, there are some areas that need tightening, but overall I’m not that bad.
  • The cues and helps I learned were amazing! I filled by toolbox with quite a few visual, verbal and tactile helps I could use to help athletes along the way. This session was chocked full of great coaches and owners. I picked up a lot from the participants as well.
  • This is a shared skill. The more I share it and practice it the more I retain and grow.

Something was said about my coaching that went right back to my own struggles in the classroom. Let me set it up for you .

During my demo coaching session it was pointed out that I was TALKING a lot. I talked so much that my demo was really short changed and not as effective.  It’s what I do. But Bobbi made a comment, because she’s seen other teachers in this same situation. She said, “You have to give the kids time to make a draft”.

Clearly she didn’t mean my CF athletes she was really speaking to my lovey 1st graders. I have to get out of the circle, take the focus off me and let the kiddos do their work. If it needs help or isn’t on par that’s just their draft. We’ll fix it and edit it and do it again.

So this week I’ve been working on giving instructions, assignments and going to sit down next to a kid or work in my group. No more stand in front being the focus of attention. Let them focus on their work and create their draft. So far so good.

Back on the floor tonight. Got quite a few new ideas I’d like to implement.

 

 

2016 has started off…

This year has really been a mind bender. I’m SO used to resolution/goal setting/Daniel fasting/starting off with the end in mind/blah-blah-blah. This year however, I didn’t do any of the usual. I am sticking to what worked as I ended 2015 and not doing what didn’t work. That just seemed easy enough. Coming off our epic Christmas I have had ZERO interest in over stressing myself. So I’ve kept it all very low key. Let’s talk about it.

Family

  • We’re spending a lot more time together. The girls have so much going on that our little moments together are pretty special.
  • Family planning time. We have so much going on that we need to spend some time looking at and planning our calendars.
  • Um…yeah. We all are going to have to pitch in on household stuff. No reason to fake that any longer.

School

  • I love my little class. We’re struggling to make the gains that we need, but we can do it.
  • Each student has a chart of their place on our “gains train”. They all know just about what they need to do each week to get to the end with success.
  • I also LOVE my school. I can’t say enough about them. That being said I would like to just stay there, learn how to address the needs of this community and help DES become the school it’s supposed to be.

Crossfit

  • I am going to go get my Level 2 certification soon. Why not? I enjoy CF and I want to be better as a coach as well as a Crossfitter. The next certification will help me with the coaching aspect.
  • I want to find more ways to meal prep! I know that’s crazy cause I already to every meal and snack that I eat, but there’s some more that I’d like to do.
  • I can’t express how much I get out of Olympic lifting. I feel better and I feel amazing going at it on the platform.

Finances

  • Team Whitaker is in a good spot. That being said there are some areas that we’re not addressing. We’ve skipped them for YEARS and truth be told we just don’t know enough to be good in these areas. So…we’re going to fix that.
  • Sometime this year Team Whitaker will increase our streams of income times 2. More later.

Faith

  • I want my family to be able to properly sort and discuss matters of faith without feeling they’re not properly equipped. No need to wait for someone else to “defend them” they’re able to discuss these matters on their own.

I will expand on all of these more and more as the year moves on. Can you believe that we’re half way through January? Amazing how time flies.

My second Oly Lifting Meet

This past weekend I competed in my second Olympic Lifting meet in Savannah, GA. I do believe that I’ve found a niche’ outside of CrossFit that fits me. This is pretty exciting. Let’s do a SWOT.wpid-img_20151115_135945.jpg

Strengths

  • I increased my lifting weight in every area.
  • I was able to complete all three of my snatches.
  • Overall I was relaxed and I didn’t feel rushed.
  • I was able to keep my nutrition on track. The time from the last time you lifted up to the time you lift can be my nemesis. I find myself stressing about it. I didn’t do that this time at all.
  • My coaches are very understanding, supportive and on their game.
  • I hit 4 out of 6 lifts.

Weakness

  • I missed two of my clean and jerks. I have no idea what I was thinking, but I missed them none the less.
  • I didn’t qualify for the Pan Am games in June.
  • Though no one every gets all 6 lifts, I feel I let myself down by missing those two lifts.

Opportunities

  • I am more hungry to train than I’ve ever been. I’m focused on my eating even though I can legitimately relax. I’ve incorporated lots more mobility work into my everyday routine and I feel the results.
  • There’s a lot to learn from failure and I’ve looked over the video of those missed lifts just as much as I did the successful lifts.
  • There are a lot of Olympic lifting meets coming up that will allow me to qualify for the Pan Am Games in June.

Threats

  • Doing to much.
  • Not taking the time to get better. Expecting improvements overnight.
  • Taking a little time off during Christmas/New Years can be a go

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Cookies & Kilos

Last week I was able to compete in my 1st Olympic Lifting Competition at Crossfit South Cobb. It was outstanding. The best I can do to describe it is give you the Good/Bad/Ugly.

GOOD

  • Just about everyone from CFSC was able to medal.

  • Our coaches were on point!  You feel safe when your coach is calling your times, giving you the weights and letting you do your thing.

  • The skill level here was fantastic! I learned so much about this craft, myself as well as how to be coached from this event.

  • I was successful in hitting 4 out of 6 lifts. I hit 2 Snatches and 2 Clean and Jerks.

  • I did earn a Gold medal in my age class.

  • I learned a lot about how much I need to work on my mobility on a regular basis. I’m completely won over.

  • I am doing another competition in a few weeks. As long as I do what I did this past week I should be able to do well.

  • My nutrition was on point. I felt strong and alert.

BAD

  • I wanted to hit 6 for 6 lifts, but it didn’t pan out that way. It’s just a goal for a 1st time lifter to hit all 6 lifts. It’s not always possible, but I wanted to pull  off a hat trick. You can see my reaction when I missed the 1st lift.

  • I was exhausted by the end. Really took a lot of “gas”. It was a LONG day.

  • Though I earned a gold medal, I won’t get my medal until next week.  They didn’t order enough medals.

  • I didn’t stick to my lifting techniques. I could have maybe hit the two failed lifts if I had done what I knew to do.

UGLY

  • My right shoulder didn’t make it out un-injured. I pulled something in my shoulder and I have been very vigilant to take care of it.

  • Where were the COOKIES?!

First full week in review.

This week was OUTSTANDING!

I love this group of kids! I’m so very happy to have come aboard. Now let’s review this week in pics.

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 The 5th grade team thought it would be nice to start everyone’s week with a special card. They were right. That was kinda cool.

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My neighbor who’s a 1st year (Shout out to The Most Beautiful 1st Years in the World, Perry and Davis) and I combined classes to help all our kiddos get the grip on how Number Talks work. Ms. Storie is a great teacher! We had so much fun doing this.

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I like centers a lot. I did an inventory and I found that I have almost 65 handmade centers for 2nd grade. Since I’m in 1st grade and I can’t use 65% of the things I have from last year I guess all I can do is…make more! So expect an explosions of charts soon.

After Centers time I asked my dear, precious ones what kind of educational experience they’d make for a classmate using these random bags of manipulatives. They might only be a few weeks out of Kindergarten, but they’re pretty bight. They had some neat ideas. I will showcase these new centers when we put it together.

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The lunchbox saga has been solved. I scored a great Norchill cooler bag that can hold almost 2 days worth of food along with a 64 ounce growler (The Tank)! That’s a lot of space. Most importantly it keeps stuff cold sitting in my classroom.

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We set some reading goals this week. I know they’re afraid to read, but I am going to get them out of that real quick. I’m looking for a creative way to post these around the class so the kids can check off as they read. Maybe to a class total chart as well. That would be cool. Of course having them read to me, write a book report or read to a Book Buddy.

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Oh, yeah I wore a few bow  ties this week. I think I’m going to give in to the Jeans Friday. Thought I’d be stanch stickler for my tie, but I find myself moving around on the floor, running and doing more now. The tie was to restrictive.

How was your first full week of school?

Do you blog? Why not?

I am all about blogging. I may not be the most consistent and I certainly don’t have the most page views. Most of the time I sit down and type out some thoughts and hit post. That being said I think everyone to should blog or get their ideas out in an electronic format.

Here’s a couple of reasons why I feel this way.

  • Blogging allows you to get your ideas out of your head. Most people aren’t going to journal or write in a diary. But if you have a regular way to clear all the clutter out of your mind it can’t be a bad thing at all.

  • You have a story. Even if you think your thoughts are “foolish” or even trivial, someone may find your story interesting. I mean seriously, I write about how great a job I have, CrossFit, meal prep and bowties. If someone reads this blog, someone will read your blog about sea snails. But even it no one reads it, it’s your story and you’ll have somewhere to go back and look at…

  • Your  journey needs to be captured. If you lost a lot of weight. Discovered a new talent. Build something from ground up. Slowly watched something you thought that would last forever dissolve. No matter what it is your journey should be written down. Your story has to be told.

Blogging, CrossFit and Meal Prep came to me because someone else shared their stories and it clicked in my life. Now I can’t imagine how my life would be different without these. So your story is valuable to someone. Even if you want to guess blog here I will gladly post your story until you feel comfortable with your own writing. Let me know and if I can help you start your journey in writing I’ll do all I can.

And so it begins

This school year started off with very little fan fair. That’s a good thing, trust me. I’m OK with easing into gear and a slow take off to cruising altitude. Let’s look at the current state of affairs.

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The Exciting

  • I have 15 students. Most are of Hispanic descent.

  • I have more boys than girls in my class. I like my class theme. Whitaker’s Bookstore. The kids seem to like it as well.

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    Day 1 room configuration

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Another shot of Day 1 room set up

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Now that we know how to do let’s change the room around to allow you to move better.

  • Reading and getting everyone to read on level is HUGE and at this very moment almost the only thing that matters.

    Got to give this guy credit for being a snazzy dresser

    Got to give this guy credit for being a snazzy dresser

  • I have some spirited students, but everyone else knows why they come to school and are ready to work.

  • My new school is SUPER supportive. Lots of support staff ready to help in any way.

  • I’ve met almost all my parents. Some don’t speak English, but I have me them.

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    Thanks for all the great supplies to stock our class for learning!

  • That being said EVERY parent has brought me a huge bag of classroom supplies. Yahtzee!

  • My team is six deep. Never had that many co-workers on a grade level. Lots of good ideas and mind share.

  • The ethnic mix of teachers/students and staff is cool. Not all one ethnic group or even gender. Lots of males in my school.

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Aren’t we adorable?

  • 1st grade is GREAT! They’re so small and funny. Kinda remind me of my own DD2 in size.

The Kinda Big Deal

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My lunch box and water bottle take up my entire rolling cart. Sup wit dat?

  •  I don’t feel l have a full grasp on my daily schedule. Praying every second no one does a “walk through” on me.

  • It’s a LONG school day. 6:25 – 3:45 is a thing for sure. Add in Coaching or Training at CFSC and I’m wore out by days end.

  • I am not eating enough and sometimes I find myself going  long stretches of time sans food. Not a good idea at all.

  • Though my school is considerably closer to my house. I still have a lot of turns to make so it ends up being 15-20 minutes.

  • I get paid once a month. That’s odd. But let’s just praise God that I GET PAID!

  •  I can’t use most of the charts I made in my previous school. Can I sell ’em?

OMG! It’s time to freak out!

I can’t have a fridge in my class! I’ve spent 30000 man hours trying to find a reasonable cooler I can bring with my everyday. (It’s really that big a deal, trust me.)

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Yeah, my lunch box is big. What’s it to ya!?

This year is off to a great start. I know there will be some hiccups along the way, but I’m very pleased with the start. Now, if I could find a Yeti cooler for sale.

 How’s your year starting off?

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No more 2nd grade for me. 1st grade has stolen my heart.

Let’s go ahead and talk about this 2014-2015 school year

This school year’s body isn’t cold yet and I’m ready to start an autopsy. So much to say about this year!

  1.  Off the bat, this year was very, very challenging. There were the usual challenges, yes. There were a lot of others as well that no one saw coming. There were some unique behaviors that really left my gobsmacked. Wow, didn’t see that coming at all.
  2. The Common Core isn’t exactly what I want and I can understand the concerns about it. That being said CCSS makes it very simple to collaborate with teachers all over the country. Couldn’t do that before.
  3. Teachers can be some of the easiest people to work with. They understand the “struggle”. No one is trying to get over on another. We all see the importance of our role. I love my co-workers and my teamies. #MissMrsJonesAlready!
  4. Routines. Routines. Routines.
  5. Complaining about students not following the routines, isn’t teaching the routine.
  6. The more you talk about reviewing the routines as a punishment the more you’re going to have to teach the routines.
  7. Sometimes seeking and getting parents involved is a bad thing. The Helicopter Parent is REAL. But to that point when you have concerned, engaged, useful parents you’ve hit a gold mine.
  8. Turning water into wine was a major miracle.
  9. Do not assume that because you’re doing right/good/going above that people notice.  People will ignore them.
  10. CrossFit saved my sanity more times than I can count. I can not say how thankful I am to be coaching now. I get to fully decompress from the teaching day in a creative and tough way. Thanks Team CFSC!
  11. I need a classroom theme next year. Stay tunded.
  12. My anchor chart system worked like a charm. It’s just that next year I may have a lot less space. So back to the drawing board.
  13. Everyone without a book bag is not unprepared and everyone with book bag is prepared.
  14. A classroom of 17 that sees 9 students come and through the year is going to have a tough time building team.
  15. Meal prep also was spot on. It helped so much with keeping me fed so I didn’t start gnawing on chalk.
  16. Oh, Promethean boards are amazing!
  17. The more kids read on their own the more they understand. Grade level is good, but if they can’t read on grade get them reading in the area of focus on the grade level they can digest.
  18. Read the standards. Know the standards.
  19. Small meaningful projects have a lot of use and give you a lot more bang for your buck.
  20. Paperwork can be managed. I’m not certain I did a perfect job. I know I didn’t do a perfect job with paper work, but I can say I didn’t have a mountain to pass back on the last day either.
  21. Using Journals to capture all the in class work was a great idea. It also worked like charm for homework!  Now to fine tune it.
  22. There is zero reason for me to have a classroom desk what so ever. Not like I ever did, but you get my point.
  23. Get data, use data, get more data.
  24. Class Dojo is still the best thing cooking! I know there are other programs out there, but as a fore runner to those CD is still out pacing them all.
  25. Teachers should become scientists. So much can be done by applying the scientific method to teaching.
  26. People say things to male teachers that, I am confident, they don’t mean.
  27. I have so much fun with my bowtie game. I can’t really explain WHY as much as it just makes me feel like I’m on point. Given that most of the time I’m huddled up in the fetal position wondering why I do this. I need as much confidence as I can muster.
  28. The most challenging student needs love. They need to know that even at the basic level “this person cares about me”. They are going to make it tough, but they need to you to care about them.
  29. They also need some degree of respect. Even when they behavior in the most vile, disrespectful manners. “Going there” with them doesn’t do anything, but solidify that they have to act a certain way to “demand” respect.
  30. I AM STILL WINNING THE PENCIL WAR!

I do have some news I want to post about my teaching career. Most of my family, friends and co-workers know. I am taking a position in another school district closer to my house. I’ve never been apart of my school community. I will NEVER run into my students at the market or out with my children. So to get closer to home and my own kids I’m moving from APS in August. It’s been an enjoyable adventure. Besides all the tissue I’m going to use up on our last teacher day I’m taking some fond, fond memories. Thanks to everyone!

 

Working wounded

Anyone who’s worked 15 minutes knows what it’s like to work wounded. Maybe your physically sick, but you can’t take a day. You might really not “feel” like work today, but you also know you need to be there. You may have 1000 other things you’d rather do than go to work, but you go.

Many people also know what it’s like to still go workout because you love your sport, your committed to the challenge or someone is going to be looking for you. You’ve worked wounded.

Here’s a little kick in the pants to keep going after your goals and keep adapting.