Wake Up Call & "Aha!" Moment for Teacher!

I don't know what's been going on with me lately - the full moon last week (that made my class CRA-ZY!!!), or the change in the weather that brought snow and cold, cold weather to Ohio, but I feel like I've changed direction in my class in an important way.

You know that feeling, when something just isn't right, but you can't put your finger on it?  That's kinda what I had been feeling. I had an "Aha!" Moment of my own one day during language arts.  I was deep into the daily activities, and realized (for the 200 Gazillionth time!!) that I wasn't going to get all of the day's language arts activities completed.  That's when it hit me - I have waaaaaayyyyy tooooooo many activities, lessons, skills, strategies, "THINGS" scheduled.  I was hoping that if I threw enough "STUFF" at my students, some of it would STICK!!  

So what was this wonderful "Aha!" that I mentioned?

Have you heard of the acronym KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid?  Well, I don't really like the "Stupid" part, but it does help to make "KISS" cute and catchy!

So KIS (without the "Stupid"), is my new mantra.

I've stopped spreading myself so thin during Language Arts.  We have about 80 minutes for spelling, grammar, writing, reading, vocabulary, phonics, fluency, on-and-on-and-on!  YIKES!  I always felt OVERWHELMED by the volume of "Stuff" that I was supposed to be covering during those 80 minutes.  Plus, I was BORED by the stories in our adopted (old) reading program.  They were too basic and not the fun, rich, enticing literature that the kids (and I!!!) really wanted to sink our teeth into!

I strongly believe that kids learn best when they are enjoying themselves and don't feel "forced" to learn by having random, isolated SKILLS forced on them constantly.  Yep, I realized that I had been trying to jam-pack all of my lessons with important skills - no skill was too big or too small!  Then, I'd try to offset all of the serious work and skills by incorporating some fun stuff - interactive notebook lessons, and seasonal and holiday activities that went over GREAT (!!!), but I would always have that sinking feeling in the back of my mind that I was losing important, valuable time - and we all know that every tick of the clock brings us closer to those SUPER FUN (excuse me while I choke!!!!) state tests!  Tick-tock, Tick-tock - I know you hear it too.........

How can I squeeze more hours into my day???????
Live, eat, breathe the skills!  Ugh!

No More! 

 I think my KIS can become KISS with the 2nd "S" standing for  Streamline I am learning to KISS and Streamline my language arts block.  I've stopped trying to DO IT ALL!!  I can't do it all.  My new motto is "KEEP IT SIMPLE and STREAMLINE!"  By trying to do EVERYTHING - I was jumping around from Cool Idea to Cool Idea without coherence.  Time for an honest moment -I was a slave to my textbook - I was a Jack of All Trades, but a Master of None.  I have since narrowed down our daily routine so that we can now go deeper within those skills and strategies that I have decided to keep.

KISS - I no longer feel like I'm just shoveling skills and strategies down my students' throats.  I feel like we have a moment to breathe and actually enjoy the moments - and the learning - and each other!  We are discussing freely, without me GUIDING (forcing) their discussion towards the outcomes that I have in my lesson plan book.  I have to say that I feel less stressed.  

Do you need a KISS wake up call??

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