Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Road Blocks and New Paths Week 1

Aaand I'm back.  Inspired by a mentor/friend/supporter/person to lean on to document the stages of yet another new journey I've selected for myself. Last year was the 4th to Kinder jump.  This year it's the CA--> Maryland jump; and I chose to teach in a new county instead of where I taught before, Howard County.  As with all change, so begins the Ashlea's phases of acceptance.

I've learned a lot about myself these past few years as I've changed grades, school sites, districts, and states.  I LOVE to choose change for myself but always go through the Ashlea Phases of Aceptance:
Phase 1: Panic
"I can't do this. I don't want to do this.  What I had before was so much better".
 Phase 2: Action
"You have no choice. This is what you wanted. What do you need to do to feel successful? What information are you lacking? What can you learn to feel more confident?"
Phase 3:Analysis
What's working? What's still a road block? How can I work around it to make sure I'm doing what I believe is best for kids? (A.K.A: Sometimes breaking rules with intention).

This week back was NEO (New Educator Orientation).  I attended the first day, and was disappointed by the content provided for teachers.  It's surprising to me that school systems want teachers to create experiential learning opportunities for students, but in teacher trainings don't model that same mindset.  Riddle me that.

As I begin this new chapter , I plan to document each week with a brief t-chart style reflection and maybe some thoughts if I'm not too exhausted.  Challenges/Roadblocks, and then Work-Arounds to make sure what I'm doing is best for KIDS.  And in some cases, my mental sanity (hence not attending the "Curriculum spray and pray" session today).

Road Blocks week 1 as I entered my new county and classroom:

I'm excited for the journey, and honored to have the privelege of doing what I do every day.  It's not always easy but man is it worth it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Give It A Try: What Are you Afraid Of?

Today marks the end of Week 1 of the second most intense (Master's year takes the cake) learning experience I've ever participated in.  It had me feeling overwhelmed and lost.

This week, for MERIT, we were tasked with creating a video of us teaching anything we want (literally limitless) as long as it is within 90 seconds, and planning a lesson or project that uses technology as a tool to enhance student learning.  Now... you may be thinking, "That doesn't sound so bad! What is she so stressed about?"

One:  I have NEVER used any sort of iMovie or video creation software.  EVER.  Two: I am moving from fourth grade to kindergarten next year.  That's like moving from Earth to Mars.. Ok not possible, but still.  You get the point.  It's a whole new planet for me and it's really freaking me out. Three: While I am not proud to admit it, I am not confident using EdTech tools regularly... YET.  Which brings me to my point...

To conclude week one, our Directors coordinated MERITCon where we heard from presenters and teachers alike- all sharing the incredible things they have done and plan to do in their classrooms.  It's heartwarming how energized I feel after attending these types of events.  

Afterwards, I couldn't help but force myself to step back and reflect on why I applied to MERIT, and why I was selected: I identify myself a passionate learner, and with that I will always encounter discomfort and unfamiliarity, and that's OKAY...  Diane Main said exactly what I needed to hear to get up and get back out there with tackling these projects without fear.  In her words, "The journey is the destination. It's why we are here. The destination is not exciting anymore once the journey comes to an end!"

I leave you with the one thing I came back to with myself while driving home today: What are you afraid of? Get out there, and...
From: Kevin Brookhouser


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Reflecting on Learning to Revolutionize.

My district buddies and me
on Day 1 of our MERIT journey.

Today marks the end of Day 3 of a Summer Intensive program I have the honor of participating in: MERIT.  In one phrase, MERIT is an intensive year you plunge into with a cohort of equally-eager-to-learn teachers surrounding you to lift you up and support you.   


While I'd like to say I'm feeling empowered with a million and one tools and ideas to take back to my classroom, quite honestly, at this point, I'm feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.  I am being pushed out my comfort zone and exposed to SO much new, it's hard to remember all we've been shown.  

Cheers to 7 more days that will undoubtedly bring more clarity, knowledge, and energy to keep me doing what my heart loves to do!  I hope you'll join me on this journey outside of what's comfortable! Stay tuned. :)


Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Currently... from the West Coast!!!

Wow.. It's been 2 months since I last posted.  Life has been insane!! We have officially relocated and begun our lives here on the West Coast.  California is beautiful... but there really is no place like home.  I am blessed to have a great school community where I am teaching now.  However, I definitely have my days where I miss my old school and my MD people.  Time heals all.. at least that's what my mom always says. :) Anyway, on to my Currently... 



Listening....  Ryan and I are watching Modern Family as I write this... we love this show!  Always a good laugh.  Lately, I have been needing that.  

Loving...  The cool nights and sunny days of California.  Our apartment is always open!  I love it.  However, the sunny days could be a bit cooler... if I'm going to be picky... I miss the feeling of fall days!  

Thinking...  I could do one of these with my students on our class blog!  Yep, that's right!  Authentic, engaging writing experiences are coming to our class.. starting Monday!!!!

Wanting... more hours, fall clothes, and TOMs.

Needing... more sleep, more exercise, and yoga.  Since we moved I have been less than my best about running and going to yoga!  I miss my running buddies in MD. :(

Trick or treat...  Treats please!  Lately I have been loving York peppermint patties!  Anything chocolate and nuts or chocolate and caramel.. Yum!


I hope you enjoyed catching up a bit on my life... I sure have missed this blogging world.  What's "current" in YOUR world?  

~Miss McDonald :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014-2015 Goal Setting


One thing I would like to get better at is setting reasonable goals for myself.. both personally and in my professional life.  I am realizing that I don't exactly handle stress well and my go-to way to handle it is to get super intense and try to hammer everything out at once...  Instead of creating lots of sub-goals to achieve along the way, I try to do it all at once... While still effective at getting jobs done, it's definitely not best for my overall health!

So.. in an attempt to turn over a new school year leaf, I am linking up with....Simones Math Resources 
 to set my goals for this year. :) Here they are!


All self explanatory, and while they may seem simple, I really think achieving them will leave me feeling successful and satisfied at the end of this school year..

On another note, I am trying to spread the word about my blog.. If you, or a bloggy friend you know, are hosting a series of Guest-Bloggers, please let me know!  I'd love to participate!  After guest-blogging for...

4 The Love of Teaching

I realized what a great way it is to network and meet other bloggers.. I am actually considering hosting one myself!  Let me know if you'd be interested!!  

Have a great day!
~Miss McDonald :) 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Guest Posting at For the Love of Teaching!

Good Morning!!

I will not be posting on my own personal blog today.. I popped over to Lana at For the Love of Teaching to share some of what has worked for me when it comes to creating a community of students who WANT TO READ!! Interested?  Click the picture below!

http://4theloveofteaching.blogspot.com/2014/07/guest-blogger-ashlea-miss-mcdonalds.html


See you over there! :)

~Miss McDonald :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July Currently.. and a Guest Post!

Today I am linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her July Currently.  Things have been crazy here in MD for our little family.. can you guess why?  Read my Currently and see if you can find a common theme...!  :)



listening... to Robert Irvine kick some butt!
loving... the weather here... It has been beautiful!  Low humidity, mid-high 70's, sunny and blue skies.. I think Maryland is begging us to stay..
thinking... about how drastically my life is about to change.. we are moving our entire life across country.. I just freak out thinking about it. 
wanting... this move to be over so we can settle and get used to where we are living.. that includes meeting my new classroom! :)  It is killing me that I can't buy anything for it yet! 
needing... a pedicure.. which I am getting tomorrow with a great friend of mine. :)
4th plans...we ate, sipped wine, played cornhole, and enjoyed the company of our great friends (who I am really going to miss)!

So... did you find the theme?  Have you moved long distances before?  Do you have any tips you can offer me?  We are headed from Maryland to California... aaahhh!

Also... I will be guest posting over at For the Love of Teaching on Wednesday all about READING!...  Make sure to stop over!  I will post the link into my post on Wednesday so you can stop by.
 
Happy Reading!
~Miss McDonald :)