I love the new school year. I always have. I love shopping for school clothes and supplies. I love crying kindergarten parents. I love the excitement of the students to see old friends. I love the look of satisfaction on our new students faces as they navigate the playground, the new teachers and the new buildings. It's one of my favorite times of the year.
This year we have had some big changes which I have previously written about. We moved the Learning Lab. That was big. I started the year without a co-teacher (thank goodness for my friend, Kristin Teske). We hired a LOT of new staff. We welcomed new students with unique needs to QAE. All these things are okay; in fact, some of them are super great! But... they have left me with more needs than I realized.
Our PTSA has been supremely wonderful. They have supplied me with necessities for teaching our children. They have also supported little things that make the students and teachers more comfortable in our new space. However, as we have moved and grown we have realized that there are bigger needs too. Some that have not been budgeted.
We try to anticipate what are kids will need. We buy books and supplies. We have technology and programs to further learning. In the world of special education it isn't always that easy. See, kids are unique. And kids with special needs are REALLY unique. They may need assistive technology, or different curriculum, or sensory tools, or specialize furniture.
I pride myself on knowing my students well. I work very hard to get to know who they are and what will allow them to learn best! This year we were thrown a curve ball with moving to the portable. And... we got some new and fantastic students! We have need for new items.
Please check out my donors choose page and let me know if you can support the learning lab so that we may be able to add these items to help our kids. If you support us within the next three days and use the code word INSPIRE donors choose will match your donation!
What a week! For some students, including my son, the honeymoon of the first three days is over! Kids are showing their true colors and true personalities and it is awesome! Queen Anne Elementary is gifted with some incredible kids. What has struck me the most these past 8 days is our new friends, both teachers and students. We have several new teachers who are learning the "QAE" way! The best part of this is that our kids are teaching the the grown ups! I have been so honored to help these great teachers and show them how we roll.
Highlights from the week:
*seeing the learning lab come together (thanks PTA, Carolyn Holt and Heidi Roth for planting beautiful flowers and bringing over a fabulous orange bench!)
*A random first new first grader learning to trust me and my staff and showing us how fantastic he really is!
*Social skills lessons in Ms. Leckie, Ms. Martin, Ms. Ward and Ms. Dickens!
*New second grader coming over to my room and learning about Superflex!
*Fifth graders experiencing Islandwood and getting Ms. Teske back!
*A kindergartner finding the "right" tool for sitting on the carpet and telling his teacher such!
*Supporting a second grade student by scribing a spelling test and realizing he could spell about 95% of the words!
Welcome back! I'm glad you are here!
And just like that we are back at school! I've been teaching since 1999 on and off and the first day of school is by far my favorite. It is so exciting to see all the kids again and the kindergarten parents cry! It happens every fall and it is amazing and beautiful. I often cry too, by the way, because for every family the first day of kindergarten is a huge milestone.
Welcome back! I'm glad you are here.
I want to first thank you for the emails and comments about my last post! I appreciate your creativity and thoughtfulness. I'm compiling all these ideas and working with the amazing Amy Janas and the PTSA to make it all a reality. It may not look beautiful yet but my corner is always open for you to stop by.
What's more important is the beauty that is on the inside of the Learning Lab. I'm so pleased to be working with our wonderful tier 2 support teachers again (stay tuned for the blog post regarding tier 2). These two ladies are amazing with kids! They are a wealth of knowledge on so many levels and make me smile daily. If you haven't yet made their acquaintance allow me to virtually introduce you. Lara Francisco is our math specialist. She has a background in intervention and is the master of teaching quick techniques in math- seriously! Laura Cooper, is our reading specialist and may be the most passionate advocate for student with dyslexia that I have ever met. Plus, I can refer to both of them as "La(u)ra squared".Bonus!
We are so fortunate to have our beloved Ms. Lorentz back this year. As the year got on to such a crazy start Ms. Lorentz was my stability. I knew that I could send her into a classroom to support our kids and she would know them all by name (she will have the kinders memorized by next Tuesday, I bet) and be there for anything they needed.
Speaking of fortunate... We have a new instructional assistant this year. Please make the acquaintance of Ms. Tobi (Nussbaum). Tobi comes to us with enthusiasm and experience with all ages of kiddos. She is familiar with different learning styles and instructional strategies. I know she has already connected with some of our kids even after two days! Please say hi if you see her. She is the teacher with the longest hair!
Alas, I had to say goodbye to my amazing co-teacher Kari Minas last year. I cannot tell you how much I miss her as we kick off the 2014-2015 school year. It was hard to say goodbye as we worked so well with each other. I had hoped to have her replacement by the start of school but forces went in other directions and we continue to look for that perfect teacher. I'm confident that we will find someone and if you are interested in helping in this search please let me know.
Amazingly though, when life gives you lemons the universe gives you Kristin Teske! Until we find my perfect counterpart I have Ms. Teske! Kristin has graciously stepped in to work with me. I cannot thank her enough or possibly convey to you how fantastically wonderful she is with kids and staff. QAE is a better place with Kristin! Watch out, we may never let Sam Teske graduate from 5th grade!