Education, End of the Year, Spanish Classroom, Stay Sane

It’s finally here!

The end is in sight!!!

We’ve done it! We’ve hit May and the official countdown has begun! If you’re anything like me, at this point you are simply running on fumes and everyone is just lucky that you made it to school with pants and the little patience you have left! There is so much left to do at this point and so little time to get it done, but fret not! There is light at the end of the tunnel and that tunnel’s end is quickly approaching. We just have to make sure that the train doesn’t crash before we get there. So, make sure that seat belt is on and get ready to ride…

1.) Get that coffee brewing, baby!

Start your day with a good ole cup o’ joe! If you think that you’re excited about the impending finale of the school year, just think about the group of 25 restless children who are also just as, if not more, keenly aware of how close their summer vacation is! You cannot handle the crazies if you, yourself, are not pepped up, energized, and on your ‘A’ game!

(Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao)

2.) Have a plan.

Whether you’re required to turn in plans or not, the last month should be full of plans. These don’t have to be explicit, descriptive, step by step plans with modifications, assessment explanations, reflections, and the whole she-bang. However, I would not survive the last month if I didn’t have a day by day game plan. I teach Spanish 1-2 times a week to groups in first through eighth grade. Everyone is on a different unit or lesson. Some groups test while others don’t. By the time I get to one group’s class, I don’t always remember what we did the week prior because everything gets jumbled up! To stay focused and organized, I make a very simple day by day (or week by week) plan on a Google Spreadsheet (stay tuned for my post on the many uses of Google in the classroom!) that acts as an excellent time management resource for the last week of school. On top of your school work, the end of the year also brings about many end of the year festivities such as field day and pow-wows! This gives you an excellent opportunity to internalize these events and not be surprised if you don’t have that class you planned on using for your final!!! (What a pain!) Check out your school’s calendar of events to make sure you include these! Create your own on Google Sheets. The left hand column has the date that we have class and the right hand column has our general plan overview for that day. This is usually as simple as “No class: Talent Show”, “Kahoot Review: Palabras Interrogativas” or “Unit Test: Los Pronombres”. Talk about a game changer!

3.) Create a to-do list!

There are so many things to do on my end of the year to-do list. I am constantly adding things to this. The key is to make sure you have your list ready to go so that you can see, revise, and add things as they come to you. Don’t tell yourself that you will add that item to the list later. With everything else going on, we’re bound to forget! Here are a few (haha!) of the things I currently have on my list:

  • Organize text books
  • Throw out dry markers
  • Print out unit tests
  • Print out review packets
  • Make a cleaning schedule list
  • Create a job list for students
  • Make list of anything that needs repair (technology, wall paint, chairs etc)
  • Create explicit last week of school list.
  • Send textbook order to office
  • Return borrowed dice and baskets
  • Write letters to homeroom students

The Pinspired Teacher has some great products to help organize your lists!
Click here to go to The Pinspired Teacher’s TPT page.

4.) Stay on top of things!

We’re at the end and you’re running on steam but just dive in. Don’t put those tests on the back burner to grade later. Don’t wait until the morning of to plan your day out. Just go for it. These things pile up and boy do they pile up fast. Nothing stresses me out more than a huge pile of papers to grade with minimal time to get it done. Listen to Nike and “Just do it!” You got this. Then, mark that bad boy off of your to-do list. Doesn’t that feel so good!

5.) Expect ruined plans (and be ready to deal with them)

Expect plans ruined by impromptu events and unforeseen circumstances. No matter how well you have planned your last few weeks, there is bound to be some sort of issue or unplanned event that messes up your immaculately and strategically created schedule. Unfortunately, there is nothing your can really do to fix this or even plan for it. Just don’t let it kill your vibe. Which brings us to our next tip:

(Photo Credit: Steve Johnson)

6.) Just breathe.

…and breathe again. Deep breaths. It will be fine. The end is in sight and everything will fall in to place. You can stress or you can just relax. Either way, the end of the year is going to come. Try not to place unnecessary stress on yourself. You’ve got this. Pace yourself.

7.) Treat yourself (because you are a warrior)

Read that book. Take that walk. Buy that thing you wanted the other day. You deserve it. You are in the winner’s circle! (BTW, Happy Derby Day!)

(Photo Credit: Joanna Kosinska)

Education, Spanish Classroom

Duolingo in the World Language Classroom

Image result for duolingo

Duolingo has been one of the most worthwhile and efficient programs that I have integrated into my Spanish classroom. If you live your life as a world language educator, chances are, you know about Duolingo. With that being stated, its use has been tremendously helpful in regards to multiple facets of our classroom. We use Duolingo as a reward, as friendly competition, for homework assignments, for review, for a filler for early completion of classwork, and the list can go on and on.

10 Benefits of Duolingo:
1.) Extremely user-friendly.
—The website and the app are very well organized and easy to use. Additionally, there are excellent references and support measures to help you with any question or concern you may have.
2.) Good for a wide variety of ages.
—I have used Duolingo in my middle school and high school classes. Even my seven year old uses Duolingo at home.
3.) Fosters independent growth.
—The app and the website follow at an individual user’s rate. This helps immensely in the classroom when you have students who are excelling at different speeds.
4.) Can help both language learners and native speakers.
—Now, bear with me on this one. If you have a native Spanish speaker working on Duolingo for Spanish, it can probably be assumed that he/she will not get as much out of the program as his/her non-native Spanish speaking classmates. With that being stated, Duolingo also works with provided spelling and grammar tips/pointers that some native speakers may need.
5.) Progress Monitoring
—Teachers are able to monitor student progress and usage through the Duolingo School component. Simply add your students to your “classroom” and voila, you are now able to see which lessons and vocabulary your students have mastered and how many days they have practiced!
6.) Assignments
—Through Duolingo, you can schedule homework assignments to your classes. These assignments can range simply from spending x minutes on the program or can focus on finishing lessons in reference to a certain set of vocabulary.
7.) Listen to Podcasts in your target language
—Duolingo offers easy to listen to podcasts in your target language that are easily accessible through a variety of different platforms (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts etc).
8.) Interactive Stories
—You can listen to a wide variety of interactive stories that help practice your listening skills by asking you to fill in blanks with what you heard.
9.) Constant updates
—Duolingo is also adding additional vocabulary and lessons so that you can continue your educational growth whenever you need. As of the beginning of 2019, Duolingo offers extensive courses in 24 different languages.
10.) It’s FREE
—As if this needs explanation, it’s FREE…and even better…It does not constantly bother you to purchase the premium upgrade. All of the above mentioned is included in the free program. Unbelievable!

Education, Uncategorized

Meet the Author

I am a psychiatrist.

I am also a counselor, a nurse, a body guard, a dancer (not a good one), a singer (again, not a good one), a comedian, a drill sergeant, a writer, a therapist, a detective, a manager, an events coordinator, an editor, a mediator, a clerk, an interior decorator, an artist, a secretary, a nanny, a communications specialist, and subsequently probably the largest coffee consumer in the world.

You guessed it.  I am a teacher.

Sound familiar? I bet it does.

An extremely wise individual most likely once said, “Only the strongest, bravest, dedicated, most awesomely fantastic, super-cool people can be teachers.” I can sort of almost guarantee that this was said at some point in time.  Those exact words. They may or may not have also included the adjectives “crazy” and “insane”, but that’s beside the point.

All of those wonderful things they said were about you…you wonderful thing, you!

So, let’s do this thing! Let’s band together.  Show me yours and I’ll show you mine! How do you  crack in to those beautiful skulls and bring out all that creativity and expression, all while keeping your coffee hot? No, seriously.  Help a girl out.  Momma has a job to do, but momma also really needs her coffee hot. Iced coffee’s just not cutting it.