Friday, May 10, 2019

Why My Kids Didn't Have Birthday Parties

My boys are 19 and 16 and I can count on one hand the number of actual birthday parties they have had.  Why, is that you might ask? It's because they had the unfortunate luck to get stuck with me for a mother.  I am not a planner.  I despise planning things.  I don't like making decisions. I hate being in charge...and that might surprise people that know me.  But there is a difference between being a planner and getting things done.  You see planning means thinking ahead of time - What needs to be done before?  What needs to be set up? What needs to be purchased?  I am not a prethinker... I am an in the moment, get things done person.  Being a planner means seeing the big picture, how all the pieces fit together.  That's not me either - I'm a tunnel vision kind of girl. I try very hard not to take the lead on things.  I would much rather be the back up, gopher, task-doer, grunt worker than the one in charge.

I have always known this about myself, but it was made crystal clear this week as I an event I was in charge of loomed over me.  Some of my 4th and 5th grade students wrote a book with a local author and tonight was the book release event. I planned an "Evening With Our Authors" to not only celebrate the book release, but also writers from other grade levels that teachers wanted to feature.  Talk about stress to the max!  Because the event was from 5:30-7:00 in the evening, we wanted to have food - but how much?  We never know how many people will show up to events at our school and I wanted to have enough, but not have an ton left over.  Decorations? I am not a crafty person.  How do you make a cafeteria look special for an evening event?  Then there's the layout of the event.  Where should the authors sit?  Where should the food go? What about the book fair?  What time should we start setting up?  What time should we pick up the food and the cake?  So many things to think about and PLAN!  All I wanted to do was curl up into a ball until it was over.

I thought if I just kept putting off making decisions, someone else would make them for me.  But as the event got closer and closer, I realized that wasn't going to happen this time.  I needed to put my big girl panties on and just  My amazing assistant held my hand as I ordered food and decided on decorations.  And today because I am not a big picture person, my timing was all off and I didn't think about how we were possibly going to be decorating, moving the book fair from the library to the cafeteria, attending to people at the book fair and picking up the food in the two hours that we had between after school and the start of the event.  Lucky for me there are AMAZING people at my school that stepped in and helped this afternoon.  First and foremost I am lucky to have a FABULOUS library assistant who is the pinteresty planner that I am not. Our technology specialist, family specialist, intervention specialist and a special education teacher also all jumped in and started decorating and setting things up while I went to get the food. And besides trouble with the microphones, I think the evening went pretty great!





While I was taking down decorations after the event, my family specialist said, "Sara, next time you do something like this.." and I interrupted her and said "Oh, there won't be a next time! No way!" I will leave the event planning to people who enjoy it and are good at it.  They can tell me what to do.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

What I Learned From Having 5th Graders Do a Digital Breakout

I created (yes, created! From scratch) a digital breakout for my 5th graders to review some skills before their state assessment.  It was a great two days of learning in the library for me as well as for them.  Here are some things I learned...

1.  Sometimes the "smartest" kids aren't the most capable of thinking differently.  The students that we thought would be able to solve the puzzles or figure out the clues to get to the actual math problems were the ones that were at a loss as to what to do.  

2.  Some 5th graders don't like to do work.  Even though we told them that this was a math review and that they had to solve math problems to unlock the locks, some groups spent a lot of time trying to guess the answer to the locks instead of just working the math problems. 

3.  Even though we only had a handful of groups get all of the locks open, most of the students seemed to enjoy themselves and all were introduced to a new and engaging way to review for the upcoming test.  

I will definitely do another breakout with these kids this year.  Now that they have been exposed to one, I think many more will be successful the next time.