My husband came to me with the idea of creating a golf tournament a few weeks ago. He is an avid golfer and continues to get better every time he plays. I don’t golf (maybe one day) but I love planning, creating and organizing so we knew this event was something we could pull off. We then had the idea of turning the golf tournament into a fundraising event to help give back to the Black Lives Matter movement which we strongly support. This created Classic at The Nile.
The first step was choosing which organization to donate to. This was challenging because there are many amazing charities to choose from. We decided on American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) because of their core mission and values. “For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.” Some other organization I discovered specifically focusing on supporting Black youth and education are Black Girls Code, Pretty Brown Girl (PBG), The Conscious Kid.
The golf tournament consisted of 6 teams with a 4 man scramble (24 people total). This means that all players teed off, chose which shot was best, then all played their next shot from the best location.
The players were each given a golf goody bag upon their arrival. I used Canva to create this custom invitation to put inside each bags.
My best friend and I spent the afternoon following the players around the course, documenting the tournament by taking photos and videos. We left about half way through the tournament so we could get everything set up for the banquet. I used 1 hour photo at Walgreens to print pictures of the teams and gave them to each player as a souvenir to take home.
After the scramble, the golfers headed over to the outdoor banquet located nearby at our friends property (They graciously helped and let us host there. It couldn’t have worked out better). We spaced out tables and chairs in order to property social distance and provided individually wrapped Tubs Sub Sandwiches along with other ‘Covid friendly’ snacks and drinks (all food was prepackaged and individually wrapped – thanks Costco).
And what’s a golf tournament without awards and prizes? Here is what was awarded:
Scramble Champion – $50 Amazon gift card for each player on the 1st place winning team
Longest Drive – $100 Gift Card to Puetz Golf Superstore
Closest to KP – $100 Gift Card to Puetz Golf Superstore
Amazing Hospitality – Portable Speaker and Husky Golf Head Cover given to the family who owns the banquet property
My husband handed out certificates with each award which I created on Google Slides. You can download an editable copy of them here.
We also had two options to receive prizes at the banquet. One was a challenging chipping game where the goal was to chip a golf ball into a large bucket. One golfer was able to do this and he received a $50 Amazon Gift Card. The other was How Many? where golfers guessed how many golf balls were in a jar. The prize was a golf cooler bag to hold beverages on the course.
Classic at The Nile was an incredible success. We raised $2,000 for ACLU while safely hosting a competitive and fun golf tournament! I am so very proud of my husband and all of his hard work on this. We had a blast organizing and creating this special day and feel empowered that we could make a small impact in giving back to the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m already looking forward to planning next years event!
Lately it feels like I have heard many opinions about teachers with schools being closed due to COVID-19 and the plans for reopening in September recently coming out. Opinions on what it takes to become a teacher, how hard/easy our job is, how much money we make. Opinions from politicians, parents, random people – many coming from those who are not actual teachers. So I thought I would put together a list to clear up five common misconceptions about teaching that I regularly hear and read about.
Myth #1: Teachers don’t make any money.
I hear this phrase or some form of it all the time, “Why would you ever want to become a teacher? Teachers don’t make any money.” First, there are endless reasons why I became a teacher. Check out my blog on 10 Reasons Why I Love Being A Teacherif you’re curious about this. Second, this myth depends on so many factors. Where do you live? What district do you teach in? How many credits to you have? Do you have your Master’s Degree? Do you have your PhD? How many years have you been teaching? Do you have your National Boards? All these factor in with how much money a teacher makes. I’m very fortunate to work in a district where teachers are highly valued compared to other districts in the country and our pay reflects that. Starting salary for a first year teacher with a bachelors degree in Washington State (in my school district) is about $58,000 a year. After teaching for 14 years the salary jumps to about $124,000 (this does not include all stipends). I know $124,000 isn’t much compared to an Amazon or tech employee, but I feel many can live happily and comfortably off this salary.
Regardless though, the teachers I know don’t teach for the money.So please stop asking teachers, “Why would you ever want to become one since you don’t make any money?” Instead, try asking teachers what they love about their job or what drew them to the profession.
Myth #2: Teachers constantly work every weekend and at home each night.
Sure, this was true for me with my first year teaching. I spent hours working at home after school. Many times I would go to my classroom on the weekend, creating resources and making sure I was prepared for the following week. Designing, laminating, cutting. I was fresh out of college, learning what I needed for my students and was learning what I needed from myself. Now, eight years later I don’t need to go to my school after hours. I try to leave at 4 pm each day (our designed time) and I don’t take home unnecessary work. Over the years I’ve learned how to successfully manage my time throughout the day so that I can feel accomplished while I’m at school. It’s all about time management. This being said, who knows what this year will bring since teaching and learning will take on a whole new environment with at-home learning. Bring on the challenge!
Myth #3: Once teachers have their degree, they don’t need to learn anything new.
Getting a teaching degree is the first step to becoming a teacher but it is certainly not the last. In Washington State, once you earn your degree and pass your tests, you are awarded with a residency certificate that is valid for 3 years. During that time, the goal is to earn a continuing contract where you then renew your residency certificate every 5 years. In order to renew your certificate, teachers must have at least 100 clock hours and complete the STEM renewal requirements. Clock hours are earned through professional development trainings, seminars, online workshops, etc. Clock hours also help teachers earn credits and move up on the pay scale. This means that teachers are consistently taking classes, participating in book studies, attending trainings, etc., to further develop their knowledge and teaching practices. Many teachers are in this profession because they enjoy learning and enjoy growing. And think about it – in March teachers were required to drop everything they knew and were comfortable with and learn how to teach kids remotely in a matter of days. If this isn’t resilience I don’t know what is.
Myth #4: Teaching is easy because teachers just teach the same thing each year.
To me, one of the most amazing things about being a teacher is that each year is so different. Different kids. Different families. Different learning styles. Different behaviors. Different strengths. Different struggles. No two years are ever alike. One year I had a student who came into 2nd grade not knowing his letters and sounds. The following year I had a student reading at a 5th grade reading level. Another year I had a student who didn’t speak English and a different year I had a student who didn’t speak at all (selective mutism). These are only a few of the many examples of how each year is so very different (just think about Spring 2019 to Spring 2020 – WOW!). Teachers are constantly adjusting their practice and their instruction to meet the direct needs of their students for that particular year. This skill is far from easy.
Myth #5: Anyone can become a teacher.
This one really causes me to pause. Anyone can become a teacher? Anyone? I hear people say this all the time. Or there’s that other saying, ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ In my experience, those who say this have never actually been in a classroom before and have no idea what it is like. To me, it’s not just about the what you are teaching. Sure, many people could teach a child how to add numbers – But what if that child has a learning disability? Or has a hard home life and can’t concentrate at school? What do you do if the child recently lost a family member and is acting out in the classroom? It’s not just about the what you are teaching but more importantly it’s about the how.How you interact with your students. How you model the behaviors that you want the kids to exhibit. How you teach young 7 and 8 years old to collaborate. To communicate. To have empathy. To show generosity. To demonstrate teamwork.To show kindness to one another. Anyone can spew out facts, but few can be called a teacher.
Teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle – a calling. And those of us who do it and do it well can’t imagine doing anything else!
When I think about the 4th of July, fireworks, BBQ’s and sunshine typically come to mind. I think about coming together on this holiday and spending time with loved ones. This year though, making plans to celebrate the 4th of July felt…different. Not only are we in the middle of a pandemic but leading up to this holiday, thousands of people across America have marched to protest the death of George Floyd, police brutality and systemic racism.
When the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, many Black American ancestors were still slaves. I question – what is this holiday truly about? Is it mainly for White people to celebrate their patriotism? How are Black, Brown and Indigenous people represented? How can I celebrate freedom and independence when this is not the case for everyone, even today in 2020?
Leading up to this 4th of July I thought about these questions frequently. I talked with my family to understand their thoughts on this while scrolling Instagram to try to share other peoples perspectives with them, and to learn more. Instead of having a big typical 4th of July celebration, Tommy and I decided to spend the day with our close friends. It didn’t quite feel right completely decking ourselves out in patriotic clothing so we opted not to. We went to an outdoor BBQ in the afternoon then later cruised around Lake Washington and caught the sunset on our friends’ boat.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time! We ate the most delicious slow cooked brisket and the classic BBQ foods (hot dogs and all the salads..fruit salad, mac salad, pasta salad). Tommy jumped into Lake Washington off of the Bow even though the water was frigid. We watched the sun go down behind the trees while seeing pockets of fireworks light up the sky above local docks. Also the moon has never been brighter. It was a truly beautiful night.
So I think about the 4th of July today, and yes – there is a lot to celebrate. But there is also a lot of work to do. I think it’s important that we keep listening and keep having the tough conversations with each other as we reflect on what this holiday is all about.
On Friday I finished my last Zoom meeting with my second graders for the 2019-2020 school year. So many smiles, lots of laughs, a couple of tears and so much love. I can’t believe the school year has already ended. Hopefully this is the first and last year it will end online with a Zoom meeting (crossing my fingers we can teach in person in the fall). As I reflect back on the year, I think about just how much I love this job. Below are 10 reasons why.
1. EACH DAY IS NEW AND EXCITING.
Some people enjoy a 9-5 routine job in an office (and that’s great!). For me though this is not the case. I love that as a teacher, each day is new and fresh from the previous one as no two days are ever alike. Some days are challenging, some are spectacular and some might fall somewhere in between. It’s very difficult to have a boring day at work when you are a teacher (the time often flies by). You always leave with at least one exciting, funny, or interesting story to share. This is true even with virtual learning through Zoom meetings!
2. THERE IS A ROOM FULL OF SMALL HUMANS SO EAGER TO SEE YOU EACH MORNING.
Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? I know I have. Typically when I have these mornings I feel cranky up until I am greeting by my smiling kiddos. “Mrs. Kanuch! Mrs. Kanuch! Did you know I got a new pet?” “Guess what Mrs. Kanuch, I won my soccer game last night!” “Hi Mrs. Kanuch! How are you? How is Edgar?”“Mrs. Kanuch, can we play Kahoot today?!” It’s hard to have a bad morning when each day you are greeted with so much excitement and enthusiasm (especially on a Monday when the kids haven’t seen you for two days). I love this about my job. It’s seriously the best!
3. YOUR CO-WORKERS + TEAMMATES BECOME YOUR BEST FRIENDS.
Being a teacher is hard work. It’s important to have people who you can talk to throughout the day and vent to when things become challenging at school. People who know what it’s like when you are dealing with a difficult parent or behavior problem. Who you can lean on and who can give you advice when you need it most. You also need people to share successes, dress up and have fun with! To exchange ideas and grow with. My most memorable friends are those who I’ve learned from, laughed with, and who have made each school day a bit brighter (plus we always have the best times together outside of the classroom). Love all the teachers in my life!
4. KIDS ARE VERY BLUNT AND HONEST.
I remember one year reading a story called Bugs in my Hair by David Shannon. It’s all about lice. One of my students stood up out of no where and said, “Yeah uh I had lice. Yes me, I had lice. This is why, you see…my head is shaved (as he’s rubbing his head). My hair is gone because of those lice.” The way he said this was so matter of fact and so serious (honestly it was hard for me to keep a straight face). Another student came up to me randomly, “Um, do you know why I was in the bathroom so long? (gets real close and whispers in my ear) I poooed” and then she did a smirk face 😏. Lipstick on your teeth? Hair out of place? 7-year-olds got your back. One year I was thinking about writing a book on ‘Things Second Graders Say‘ because there is honestly no filter. Kids are hilarious without even trying! And when they tell you you are beautiful + nice + kind, you know they really mean it.
5. YOU ARE TREATED LIKE ROYALTY.
Teacher walks down the hall. Student whispers to a friend, “Look! That’s Mrs……, she’s so and so’s teacher! I know her!!” All the kids know who you are. Anytime you are passing by and a student sees you, they will say hi. Half the time you aren’t even sure who the child is but of course you say hi back. A teacher drops something on the ground? 10+ kids will immediately run over to pick it up. End of the year yearbook signing? There is always a huge line of kids waiting for you to sign your name. Yep, just your name. A student sees you walking toward a door? They will wait an extra 30 seconds before you get there, just to make sure they can hold it open for you.
6. YOU GET TO CELEBRATE ALL THE THINGS.
Harvest Party? ✔️
Christmas? Ramadan? Diwali? ✔️✔️✔️
Valentine’s Day AKA best day ever in 2nd grade? ✔️
Celebrating holidays as an adult is great. But celebrating them with a room full of kids? SO MUCH FUN! The best part is learning about the different cultures and traditions individual students celebrate each year. Not only do we celebrate holidays in second grade but we celebrate accomplishments throughout the day. Published a narrative story? That calls for a writing celebration! Finished our geometry unit? Let’s celebrate by building 3D shapes out of toothpicks and marshmallows! Met our reading goals? Free choice partner reading time! As a teacher, it’s easy to find something each day to celebrate – big or small – since kids are constantly growing. It’s amazing to be able to watch your students grow and achieve their goals, and to be proud that you were part of the process that helped them get there.
7. THAT FEELING WHEN A STUDENT HAS THAT ‘AHA’ MOMENT.
This is what it is all about. Maybe you have been working for months with a student to help him with his blends and digraphs. Or a child has been struggling with subtracting 3-digit numbers. They may begin to feel discouraged and say things like, I don’t get it. This is too hard. I’ll never be able to do this. You try teaching them the skills in different ways to meet their direct needs. You encourage them. You support them. You never give up on them. Then suddenly….they get it! Aha, I did it! I’m so proud of myself! I can do this! Here, let me show you how I can do this! That feeling of helping your students find success is absolutely amazing.
8. YOUR INNER CREATIVE SIDE GETS TO COME TO LIFE.
From setting up your classroom before school starts, making anchor charts, creating class systems, displaying student work in the hallway, making unique bulletin boards, designing engaging lessons, throwing parties/celebrations, teaching outside the box, etc. – being creative occurs in all aspects of teaching. I love the freedom we are given as teachers to design and create our own work environment.
9. YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY SO MUCH LOVE.
It’s so rewarding to be able to work in an environment where you are surround with love from 20+ little humans. They tell you all the time by saying things like, I love you! You’re the best! Best teacher ever! I wish you could come to my birthday party! I want to stay in your class forever! My very first year teaching I created a ‘Love Book’ and since then I have filled it with art + pictures + letters that my students have given me throughout the years. Sometimes during a busy or stressful day, I can open up that book and it instantly puts a smile on my face.
10. YOU MAKE AN IMPACT ON LIVES EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Do you remember your second grade teacher? What about your third? Fourth? Or any teacher who had a positive impact on your life? I know I do. I can’t tell you all the concepts I learned in second grade or what specific skills were taught, but I do remember lots of little things. Like how I misspelled the word ‘Halloween’ on the spelling test and how I was always so nervous to be called on during reading groups. Most importantly though, I remember the way I felt being in that classroom: safe, happy and loved.
Teachers impact the lives of students in more ways than they may ever know. A student might hear the words, I am proud of you. I believe in you. I care about you. for the first time ever from their teacher. Teachers teach beyond the textbooks and curriculum. They teach students how to collaborate, how to problem solve, how to express their thoughts and their ideas. They teach students how to learn from their mistakes, to be kind to each other, to have empathy, to stand up for what is right. These skills are so important, especially with the state of the word we are in right now. Having a positive impact on students’ lives every single day is one of the greatest gifts of being a teacher. 💞
A couple of months ago I wrote a blog post about my Weekly Goals to try to hold myself accountable on things I want to accomplish each day. I have updated the goals template and discovered a way for you to download and edit your own goals right on your computer.
Click here to download, make a copy and start keeping track of your own Weekly Goals!
I have found this to be so helpful during quarantine and while teaching from home. Some days I really don’t feel like doing much at all or even getting out of bed. Having a check list of things I want to accomplish throughout the week has helped me stay on track and stay motivated. I also use it to reflect on the previous week. I hope you find this helpful as well!
The other day I was out walking my dog, heading to our usual park, when I noticed a mother and her young daughter walking in the opposite direction of me. The girl looked like a first grader, about 6 or 7 years old. I overheard her asking her mom where they could go explore. They were looking to find rocks to paint. She was so excited, smiling from ear to ear and loudly bouncing ideas off her mom about what she could paint. “A puppy! A sunflower! A pet rock for my teacher!” were some of her ideas. The mom’s smile and enthusiasm were just as big as her daughters. It was the shortest, most simple conversation but one that I continued to think about for the duration of my walk.
I couldn’t help but smile thinking about this family and this first grader. It was early afternoon on a Tuesday. The girl should have been in school (like me) and perhaps mom at work. Yet because we are in this pandemic, they were able to spend quality time together – exploring, painting rocks, having fun, making memories.
This made me think about how life can be perceived in many different ways, and what matters most is the way in which we choose to view it (the girl should be in school right now but can’t go, she’s falling behind because of the pandemic vs. the girl gets to have a special day spending time with her mom which she wouldn’t have had on a typical Tuesday). I thought about the many things to be grateful for right now during this uncertain time and decided to make my own list. Because when all of this is over, these are the things I want to remember.
I’m grateful for:
1. My husband. Being quarantined with my favorite person.
2. Our health. The ability to exercise. To wake up each day, pain free.
3. Our loving families. Their health.
4. Having the sweetest pup to go on long walks with. To keep me company.
5. The freedom to choose how I want to spend my day (while maintaining social distancing guidelines and getting my work done).
6. Zoom meetings with my best friends. Having people in my life who check in on me.
7. The ability to stay connected with my students. To see their smiling faces each week. For their parents and all the work they are doing at home.
8. Still having my job that I love. My paycheck. Financial freedom.
9. Our home. That feeling of comfort and safety. Where we live – the lake and parks surrounding us.
10. All the incredible essential workers working tirelessly, taking care of our community and keeping us safe. Including my mama.
Even the most simple things are things to be grateful for:
Sunshine (and sometimes even sunburns).
Delicious meals made right from our kitchen.
Long drives. Trips to Bellingham.
Netflix (especially The Office right now).
Sushi take out.
Barre workouts on Zoom.
My cozy weighted blanket.
Fuzzy house slippers.
John Legend live concerts on Instagram
Days of rest. Days of work. Days exploring
Secluded picnics. Beautiful views. Sunsets.
Conversations that make me smile.
Time – to slow down and to reflect.
Even with the world in the state that it is in, there is much to be grateful for. I think right now more than ever, it’s important to pause and think about these things. The things that bring us joy, that we appreciate, that we are thankful for, big or small – even if it’s something as simple as painting rocks.
Perception truly matters. What’s on your grateful list?
It’s challenging to plan a birthday party in the middle of a pandemic, especially a 30th birthday. My husband Tommy turned 30 on April 10th and for his birthday we were planning on taking a two week road trip from Seattle to the Grand Canyon and back.
We were going to travel to Helena, MT to visit our friends, hike and then camp around there in this log cabin. From there the plan was to drive to Yellowstone, head to Salt Lake City, go to Antelope Canyon, travel to the Grand Canyon and end our trip in Portland. We wanted to rent a van from Escape Campervans (with a queen bed, kitchenette and everything you need for a great road trip) and we were planning on bringing our pup Edgar to make this a family adventure. Unfortunately we canceled since we’re in the middle of a corona crisis and had to come up with plan B for Tommy’s birthday.
I saw this Birthday Parade idea from a teacher I follow on Instagram who posted about celebrating her sons birthday. They had a parade of cars driving by, honking, yelling out the window, cheering, etc. So I thought, why not have a Surprise Drive by Birthday for my 30 year old hubs. This way he could still see all his favorite people while still maintaining social distancing. And WOW…it was amazing.
We started his birthday like any other person in quarantine would; by sleeping in late, lounging around the house, not getting dressed and staying in our pjs. We purchased the game Crash Bandicoot for xBox and played this for a good part of the day (I was obsessed with this game when I was younger, if you’ve never played I suggest getting it). Between racing on Crash Bandicoot for hours and getting up for parts of the day to be productive, I baked Tommy a birthday cake and we had Bloody Merrys (he still had no idea about the surprise planned for later).
Eventually I asked Tommy to shower and put on real clothes (remember we were lounging living the quarantine life) because I told him I wanted to take a picture of him opening his gift. For part of his gift I needed to have my laptop projected onto the TV and asked him to help me with this. At this point he was starting to wonder what was going on and said he was getting worried. He thought I was going to surprise him with a Zoom Birthday Meeting with all of his friends (something he specifically said he did not want).
I assured him we would not be having a Zoom meeting and instead played the video I made for him; 30 Reasons Why I Love You. By the end of the video we are both teary eyed and cracking up and I told him it’s time for his second surprise. Oh no, what. Oh no what are you planning, what are we doing; was what Tommy kept asking as I had him walk outside to the street.
I showed him the sign and balloons on my car and told him this was the surprise, to wait there so I could take his picture. At this point he’s starting to get suspicious, looks down the hill and sees the long row of cars about to drive up. He couldn’t believe it.
So many of Tommy’s closet friends and family members came out to celebrate him on his 30th! Cars were decorated with balloons + banners + streamers, bday signs were out, dogs + kids + babies in the backseats, sunroofs open, gifts passed through car windows (lots of delicious baked goods because ya know great quarantine hobby), lots of honking, lots of cheering. 14 cars total. It was awesome.
Among all the balloons and gifts was a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, so naturally Tommy got down on one knee and chugged it. After the parade a group of friends and family members parked on the street and the drive by parade turned into little block party (all while maintaining social distancing), with some champagne and cake to follow.
After everyone left, Tommy and I enjoyed the cake to ourselves since he blew out the candles and we didn’t want to spread germs to anyone. But dang! Three layer cake…it was good. Recipe from Half Baked Harvest. Highly recommend and I’m not usually a baker.
His final surprise was aVirtual Birthday Cardfrom a website called Group Greeting (Thanks Brann for recommending this site!). You can choose from a variety of cards, send the link to friends + family to have them sign and then it gets emailed out whenever you schedule. You can also turn it into a PDF to print out and deliver in person. (Some offices have been using these to stay connected. Also there are more than just birthday cards on this site, could be used in lots of different ways).
Perhaps a Birthday Parade will become the new normal for a while. It might sound like a silly idea, but the impact of seeing the people who mean the most to you on your birthday is just incredible (even if it is just for a quick drive by moment). I definitely recommend planning or participating in this if you know of an upcoming birthday and are looking for a creative way to celebrate. Great for all ages, something to look forward to, gets the whole family out of the house, very unique, lots of laughter, lots of fun and so very memorable.
If you are a parent trying to teach your child at home while still taking care of your house/pets/husband/wife/chores/meals/career/etc ..this learning at home thing is probably both new and challenging.Or if you are a teacher learning about new technology/answering emails all day/staying up late worrying about your students-are they safe? are they happy?/doing everything you can to stay connected to them..this learning at home thing is probably new and challenging for you as well. Just know, we got this!
I feel fortunate to work in a school district that is doing what they can to make things as smooth as possible for both teachers and families at home. Last week, our superintendent helped deliver over 1,000 Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to students so they would have access to technology at home. Breakfast and lunch became available each day for families through a rolling pickup line. Teachers were provided with online professional development trainings through webinars, Zoom meetings and self-paced online lessons.
And although this is all so amazing (and I’m sure many other districts across the country are doing similar things), it doesn’t even begin to take away from the anxiety, the uneasiness and the stress that I know many parents, teachers and most importantly our students are feeling on a daily basis.
One of my second graders (7 + 8 year olds) sent this to me today in a GoogleDocs for our daily writing activity (I removed the name for privacy):
“I feel not good because the corona virus is not stopping and we can’t go walking outside because it is cold and it used to be way hotter. But know it is cold and yesterday me and NAME got to met him in google hangout he said other people were coming but they did not join so it was just me and NAME we did it because my dad told me that NAME is feeling lonely so we did it.”
This just makes me so sad. This is why I am doing whatever I can to make sure ALL my students still feel connected to their teachers and to our classmates. I am also very lucky to have an amazing team of 2nd grade teachers who I work with.
Here are some resources we are using to help connect our students and help our families with At Home Learning:
Zoom This is similar to Skype (anyone remember Skype?) where you can host/join a video chat with multiple people at once. It can be used to record and teach students a lesson (using video and/or sound), to share your computer screen with others, with powerpoint presentations, etc. My second grade team and I have been using Zoom to collaborate and plan weekly resources for our students and provide daily parent support. Parents – your child could use Zoom to share their work with their teacher/classmates. They could also use this to connect to friends and family members living in different household such as grandparents, uncles, etc.
Padlet My team and I created a shared 2nd Grade Padlet where our students can upload photos of themselves while learning at home. We are using this website as a way to see each other and to stay connected. The kids can also comment on their classmates photos. All teachers need to do to incorporate this with their class is create an account (free) and share the link with the students. I absolutely LOVE checking this each day to see what the kids are up to (and they also love when teachers share photos of what they are doing at home).
FlipGrid I just discovered this site and I love it! I plan to post weekly videos where my students can watch and then respond back to me by creating their own videos/messages at home. The kids can also view, comment and respond to each other. It’s free to sign up, and you can make your account private so only the students and families who have the code can view and record.
GoogleSlides Each week, we create a new GoogleSlides Presentation to send out to families with specific links and resources for each subject that the kids can access from home. Below are two examples from GoogleSlides.
At Home Learning Calendar This is used as a resource for students to check off items that they complete. This also helps parents know what their child can do at home each day. I use this editable Learning Calendar Template from TeachinginRoom6. Below is an example of the calendar I sent out to families on Monday.
Lunch Time Doodle I came across this site featuring famous author, Mo Willems, where every weekday at 1 pm he will be sharing a video to help learners draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing. This could be an excellent “brain break” or lunch time activity or really anytime activity your students/child can do at home! There is also a step by step activity page on the left side of the website families can download and use as a directed drawing.
GoogleClassroom My Second Grade team and I use a shared GoogleClassroom to store all our uploaded documents/worksheets, directions, links and resources. If you are an educator, I highly recommend setting up a GoogleClassroom for your students! Everything is all in one place, kids can turn in assignments and you can give them instant feedback.
Animal PostCards I shared this idea on a previous blog post but wanted to share again. I plan on mailing these animal postcards to each student, surprising them with a little message and telling them how much I miss them. Also, a former colleague of mine had an amazing idea – the kids can do a research project on the animal they get in the mail. Then they can present their animal through Zoom/FlipGrid and share on GoogleClassroom (Thank you Cassandra for this idea!). Parents – you could have your child write postcards to their family members/friends and mail them out!
These are some of the main resources I’ve started to implement with my second graders since my school closure on March 16th. We are all still learning how to navigate this new at home learning lifestyle caused by the coronavirus, but it doesn’t mean we have to do this alone. If you are a teacher looking for online resources or looking for ways to stay connected to your students, please reach out! If you are a parent who needs some support or guidance with at home learning, I am happy to help! Or if you are implementing something at home with your students/with your kids that is working well, please share! I would love to collaborate with you as we navigate this uncharted territory together. Remember, we got this!
Is there a certain smell or scent that you just can’t get enough of? Maybe a favorite perfume or the smell of a home cooked meal that reminds you of special memories? Or maybe you just think of the name of a scent and can instantly imagine the smell. Maybe you can instantly imagine the feeling it gives you. That’s how I feel about the smell of lavender, I absolutely love the smell. I can honestly smell this scent right now just typing about it. Lavender reminds me of Calm. Beauty. Sunshine. Happiness and Home.
I remember looking out the kitchen window when I was younger to our little backyard, and seeing this giant tree with purple flowers that would blossom every Spring. Growing up, I always thought these beautiful purple flowers were lavender. My mom used to cut them and bring them inside, filling our little home with the sweet smell of happiness and tranquility. We used to cut the branches together and would make bouquets to give to my elementary school teachers. Well it turns out, the beautiful purple flowers were not lavender branches at all but instead was a lilac tree (Unfortunately, I still have yet to develop my green thumb). I finally discovered this when my best friend’s mom gave me a small bunch of lavender tied together with a pink ribbon to put in my room. Even though the two smells are different, I grew up loving both. That’s why anytime I think of the smell of lavender (and lilac too) I am instantly reminded of the sweet smelling memories with my mom at our home. Of calmness, beauty, sunshine and happiness.
Since I cannot get enough of this scent, my best friend Amber and I (the girl whose mom helped me realize the difference between lavender and lilac oh so long ago) decided to go to the Lavender Festival in Sequim, WA. We went last summer on a beautiful sunny Sunday in July and wow…what a day it was!
We took the Kingston Ferry from Edmonds Ferry Terminal and drove about an hour to Sequim (actually I think it took us a little longer since we got lost and missed the exit on the way there due to traffic). We started at the main event, The Sequim Lavender Festival Street Fair. Here you can find a variety of food, drinks (lavender infused cocktails), music and shopping booths to please all types of people. Many booths are run by local business owners around the community. (The lavender infused ice cream was amazing, highly recommend. Also, the lavender chapstick – my fav).
From there you can pick which lavender fields you want to visit. There are TONS. I recommend printing or saving the Driving Guide, which lists all the fields around the area. Oh yeah, this event is dog friendly, so bring your pup(s)!
Amber and I went to B + B Family Lavender Farm and cut lavender to take home. You can cut as much or as little as you like, and can choose from a variety of lavender bushes (some 20+ years old) which are all a bit different. It smelled AMAZING. We stocked up.
The festival is always held the 3rd weekend in July. This year it will take place from July 17 – July 19, 2020 (fingers crossed that things with coronavirus settle down by then).
This is a wonderful day trip but be prepared to wait in lines of traffic on your way back home (especially on a Sunday evening, I recommend having some different podcasts queued up and ready to play for the drive back). You also need to plan to catch the ferry at least an hour ahead of time unless you want to drive around through Seattle. And be prepared to have your house smell INCREDIBLE if you decide to take a bunch of fresh picked lavender home (I dried up the bouquet I brought home and left it out as a centerpiece in my kitchen for a couple of months).
Maybe you will discover your favorite smell, a memorable scent from your childhood, even a cherishable memory. What’s your favorite scent? What does it remind you of? Either way, you can’t beat the smell of lavender (and lilac too!) at this festival.
My husband Tommy and I absolutely love dogs. Some might say we are a little obsessed with our crazy pup Edgar. He is a Miniature Australian Shepherd and requires lots of exercise and lots of love. But living in the Pacific Northwest means constant unpredictable weather, making it challenging to take Edgar out for walks (because I am not a fan of walking outside in the wet and cold).
Luckily we discovered this amazing indoor/outdoor off-leash dog park called Dogwood Play Park (just north of Seattle), for days when the weather isn’t so great or when we want to go out without leaving Edgar home alone. Oh and the best part, there is a bar there! So not only is this an amazing place to let your pup run around and play, but also great to go and socialize with friends.
They have a large selection of beer, a small dog area, a large dog area, tennis balls to throw, a dog bakery for treats, and plenty of space (indoor and outdoor) for your pup to play and run around. They also have a separate space that is available to rent for events.
Since many of my friends are also obsessed with their dogs, one friend and I decided to throw a joint 1st birthday party for Edgar and his best friend Toby. We rented the space at Dogwood so everyone could get in for free. We went all out. Printed invitations, birthday cakes from The Seattle Barkery, bow tie souvenirs, treat bags to go, small bites and snacks for the humans and we even made a photo-booth area. Below is a video from the party.
The 1st birthday party event was very ridiculous but also so much fun. Since then Edgar and I have been back several times.
So if you are looking for a space to escape the Seattle rain, let your dog run wild and enjoy a drink with friends, check out Dogwood Play Park. It costs $12 per dog to enter and they must have current vaccinations up to date. An excuse to get together with friends and play with a bunch of amazing pups…who wouldn’t love that?