Saturday, December 27, 2014

home is where the heart is

i always love to go home. Home on the right side of the Rockies...right? Well yes. And, too. i've made my place in Utah, found my niche, and created a life for myself. That life is still slowly being built, but it is there. i can't deny that; i don't want to. i've grown to love Utah.

This was the first year that i didn't get to go home for Thanksgiving, the first year that i only got one week for Christmas...and while it makes me sad to leave, i'm ok with it. i got to spend a good amount of time with my siblings and parents individually (for the most part. AKA Morgan! What a bum having to work so But that's just it. i got to see everyone and since i know i can't stay forever, i'm ready to get back to the life i'm creating across the mountains.

My heart is split in two with a seam keeping the halves together. i love Colorado. i love the family and all the time i get to spend with them. i love joking and playing games and never-ending chatter. Yet...i love Provo. i love my roommates and my friends. i love my routine and my job. i absolutely love my students and the opportunity to teach them. i love having girls' nights with Miss Calah and babysitting Li'l Miss Evie.

They say "home is where the heart is" and to that i say "too true". it just so happens i have two.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

a lesson on kind words

We had a rather powerful peace lesson on Wednesday. The purpose was to talk about hurtful words versus kind words and their effect on us. 

in the morning, we all drew our own self-portrait (the teachers included). in the afternoon, we all began with our own picture. We then rotated pictures one person to the left. i then told the children that they had to crumple the paper they now held. They looked mortified. None of them wanted to, but for the purpose of the lesson they did. We then rotated left once more and crumpled the pictures again. Afterwards, we gave the pictures back to their owners and I told the children to smooth out all of the crinkles from their pictures. None of us could.

i explained that our words are like the crinkles in our pictures. What we say cannot be taken back, whether kind or hurtful. if our words are hurtful they create crinkles in our friends. No matter how we try to smooth out the hurt, it's still there. Saying sorry is a wonderful thing but it cannot take away our words. 

i explained that i noticed that none of them wanted to ruin their friends' pictures and hurt them, so why would we want to say hurtful words? They agreed that we wouldn'tWe agreed that we would be careful of our words to ensure that we weren't "crinkling" our friends, moms, dads, or siblings.

The lesson became rather emotional and some of the children did cry. i was told by many of them that they hated this lesson. i had to tell them that i did too. it was a difficult conversation but a necessary one.

i explained to the children that they are all wonderful, smart, beautiful students and that i know they are friends. But sometimes we just need reminders. When the lesson ended, one of the third-grade boys asked if we could read the notes from the friendship box (students can write notes about the kind things their friends and classmates have done or said). 

On Thursday, we made new self-portraits to display in our classroom.

On Friday, whilst the littles were in art class, i put all of the pictures on the wall with a banner that reads "NO MORE CRINKLES". it was amazing to see them all file in after art; once they saw that i'd hung up the pictures they frantically looked for their own. They found all of their friends and complimented the hard work that they'd put into their pictures.

it was beautiful. Those are the moments that i love. The small moments that i know will last. The small moments that make a great change. They're beautiful.

our crinkle-free pictures displayed on the wall

it's chaotic but i love it

The last few months of school have been wonderful, chaotic, full, magical, stressful, busy, and all the kinds of adjectives that you can think of.

All throughout college i was told that the first year of teaching would be the hardest; i would simply be trying to keep my head above water because it would be so difficult. While that definitely has an alarming amount of truth to it, it's also not quite so...awful as it had always been made out to be. The staff at my school has been absolutely amazing by making sure that i am as successful as i can be. 

Yet, i will admit that there have been those days where it's all i can do to not cry because of the stress. There have also been those days when i do go home and cry because i simply can't hold it in.

Thankfully, those have been few and far between. As chaotic and stressful as it is, i can see where it's blending together.

A couple of weeks ago, i had the opportunity to go observe another Montessori school with Miss Liz. it was one of the best things we could have done. Neither of us have seen a full-fledged Montessori classroom before; so to see the way another school functions was really powerful. We were able to see the similarities in both schools and what we could add to our classrooms.

i have loved my first year of teaching so far; my students, the staff, my classroom,...all wonderful. i'm excited to continue finding things to add to the room and see my students grow academically and socially. They make all of the work worth it.

So i guess that's it. School effectively consumes the majority of my time but i love it. And i honestly wouldn't trade it for anything.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

beginning a new life

it's week three of my new life as a real honest-to-goodness elementary school teacher. Let me tell you, it is no walk in the park; but i love it to pieces. The first day was better than i could have hoped for. i introduced myself, everyone met everyone, and the class began on some basic regular works as well as some free works. it went smoothly and surprisingly all of last year's students now returning as second and third years remembered me (mind you, this is after i only met them a couple of times and then didn't see them for three months). it was adorable! i got so many hugs and it just melted my heart.

The following two weeks have not been the easiest in my life but they have been fulfilling. While it's difficult work and i can feel myself beginning to let the stress in (some tears may have been shed yesterday) it's a work i love and i'm excited to go back each day. My 26 little students have become so precious to me and i want to see them all succeed and grow to their fullest potential. Some days are tough for different students; this makes it a little tough on me and Miss Julie. However, it never makes me love those students any less. i may not quite understand their situation or their choice to do something, but i love them anyways because they are my student. By taking on this role as teacher, i have chosen to help teach them how to make better choices. How else are any of us going to learn the ins and outs of anything without a few mistakes along the way?

Why, just the other day i incorrectly taught how to write a 'c' in cursive. i thought it looked rather funny and it wasn't until i had written it in a word that i realized my mistake. Right then i called for my students' attention and let them know that i had made a mistake and fixed it by showing them properly. The responses were heart-warming; "it's ok Miss Emme, we all make mistakes", "Ya, we're not always 100% right all the time", and so on.

You know, even though the beginning can be a wee smidge rough, it's the moments like those that tell me that am 100% in the right career. i couldn't imagine not being there to see the light shine behind those children's eyes and see them grow, if only a little so far (even when they don't particularly love a work they've been assigned).

My thoughts are a little haphazardly woven together but that's ok. At least my professional notes are well-articulated. As i explained to one second year girl who asked why i love that sideways eight so much (the infinity symbol), i love the idea of good things forever. That's what i think when i see infinity and that's what i think when i teach these children. They are at a new start of forever and i want to help them develop all the good things for a great forever.

Friday, August 1, 2014

weekly doodles pt. 8 (the end)

My weekly doodles have come to an end, dear folks, as my summer training itself has ended. it was a good week full of geography, history, and making materials for the classroom.

There was so much going on that i didn't even have time to doodle very much. Although, all of those puzzle maps did help me get 169/197 countries on Sporcle's "Can you name the countries of the world" quiz. Score!

(i'm kind of obsessed with this song right now

a lighthouse is a beacon of light

Monday had a rather stressful morning...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

becoming a Montessorian pt. 2

it's nearing the end of my summer training and i will admit that it has been as intense as everyone had told me; thankfully, it was mostly due to having so much information given to me in such a condensed period of time (granted, there was some regular homework stress thrown in every once and while).

The summer journey has been amazing, to say the least.

To say the most, well, i'll tell you.

The last eight weeks have been filled with arithmetic, botany, zoology, language arts, music, history, geography, and the Great Lessons. The vast majority of those content areas are commonly taught in the traditional school system. However, the Montessori method utilizes materials that take children from the concrete concept to the abstract. A lot of it is even foundational work for what they'll be learning down the road in middle and high school. These materials (like the golden beads, nomenclature cards, and puzzle maps) have helped me and my colleagues to even understand these contents to a greater degree.

it's kind of humbling to see just how much even we, as teachers, still have to learn in life. We certainly don't know everything because we are lifelong learners; yet, the amounts of extra knowledge (some of it review and some of it new) is essential to be able to provide those same experiences for my students.

it's also astounding to see how close i've come to my new colleagues. Eight weeks is a short amount of time, but spend eight hours a day with them and they've become great friends. Everyone comes from a different background and has been drawn to a Montessori school for a different reason. But we all ended up here in this training program together and i've come to appreciate everything that they have to offer. We've all come to work together as a team over this short period of time and i am sad to say that i won't be seeing them everyday after this week. However, i am happy to say that they are all going to be amazing Montessori teachers in their new classrooms (plus, we still have our Tuesday night classes to look forward to).

This week has also brought with it the great reality of becoming a teacher. Emailing parents, putting together testing schedules, checking curriculum maps, updating my planner with all of the school's all coming together. i just about panicked Monday morning when i wasn't exactly sure what i needed to be sending to my class parents and how do i word the email and how much do i say about myself just yet? Thankfully, i have an amazing staff and director to work with who were able to answer all of my questions and the emails were sent without fear (well, without MUCH fear). i have received some fantastic responses and i can honestly say from those replies that i could not have asked for a better group of parents and students to work with this next year. it's helped to begin calming my own nerves as a first-year teacher.

The nerves will come and go (as they always do) but i'm confident that i'll be able to make it through. it's all a part of the journey to becoming a Montessorian and i am still very near the beginning of that.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

weekly doodles pt. 7

Your weekly doodles from week 7.

PS that means that there is only ONE WEEK LEFT!

indiana jones (as requested by Mattycakes)

Godzilla attacking the Eiffel Tower (as requested by Mattycakes)

tower of fruits and vegetables (as requested by Mattycakes)

Star Wars (as requested by the Lawyer)

Chewie for President poster (as requested by the Lawyer)

ghosts and hauntedness (as requested by Mattycakes)

hauntedness continued

dinosaur bachelorette (from Miss Alyss's funny dream)

awkward proposal date (from Miss Alyss's funny dream)

Twilight (in honor of Mattycakes' first viewing of the film)

"how do i love thee? let me show the ways"

stargazer lilies (my absolute favorite)

i love cupcakes!

tasteybevs aka fountain drinks

witches brewing potions (as requested by Mattycakes)

a kangaroo being interesting (as requested by Mattycakes)

my favorite memory from an amusement park (as requested by Mattycakes)

 Mattycakes having fun at Lake Powell (as requested by Mattycakes)
Also, i didn't realize Lake Powell does not have trees. Whatever.
things that are purple (as requested by Mattycakes)

animals flying that don't normally fly (as requested by Mattycakes)

cottage on the shore with fields of heather

Sunday, July 20, 2014

weekly doodles pt. 6

This week included a lot of countries, FRIENDS, and a variety of adorable turtles.

Canada (as requested by The Lawyer)

Australia (as requested by Mattycakes)

epic battle scene (as requested by Mattycakes)

Haiku written in class

"i love the mountains..."



chimera (as requested by Mattycakes)

space scene (as requested by Mattycakes)

Koopa & Troopa - sung to the tune of Super Trouper by ABBA (as requested by Mattycakes)

Michaelangelo (as requested by Mattycakes)

Filbert - not the one from Rocko's Modern Life (as requested by Mattycakes)

Harold Hippo

North Pole & South Pole (as requested by Mattycakes)

scene from Jurassic Park (as requested by Mattycakes)

This is..Arrested Development


Space Jam

soccer (as requested by Mattycakes)

ice age (as requested by Mattycakes)