Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Did It!

I know this blog is normally more about the kids and our family, but I just have to take minute to share something very exciting.  After much blood, sweat and tears (well actually, probably just sweat and tears), I passed my National Board Certification for teaching!!!!

About a year and a half ago, I found out that several teachers were going to try to go for their board certification.  This had always been a goal of mine and I had actually gone to a meeting about it before Mia was even born.  At that point it I was burned out since I had just finished my Masters Degree and needed some time off.  This time though, knowing so many others were doing it and that I would have that for motivation and a built in support system, was a very good incentive for me to go for it.  That and the fact that the state was willing to subsidize $2000 of the $2500 fee. :)  I made the somewhat impulsive decision to do it and started my journey.

When the 2009-2010 school year started, I was forced to dive right in.  It was an overwhelming, stressful, but very rewarding process that I know has improved my teaching.  A lot of people have asked me what the process consists of.  In a nutshell you have to complete 4 portfolio entries, 2 in which you videotape yourself teaching and have to reflect on your teaching.  These entries require you to be very analytical about your teaching and to do a LOT of writing and reflecting.  This is a pretty simplistic explanation seeing that these entries took a ton of work and a ton of time to complete.  It is also a good idea to have other National Board Certified teachers review your work to give you feedback.  I was lucky to have several wonderful, helpful people to critique my work and give me ideas on how to improve it.  I had until March 31st to complete the portfolio and then it was time to focus on the test.  The test contained 6 essay question in which you had 30 minutes to complete each one in a highly guarded-intense test taking facility (they did palm scans-pretty crazy!).  I took the test right before school ended at the end of May.

The worst part of it all was spending practically a year doing all that work and then not being able to find out until November.  Since there is so much content to grade and they want it to be as fair and unbiased as possible, it took that long for all the applicants work to be scored.  Scores were released the week before Thanksgiving and I can tell you that I was shaking logging into the computer to see if I made it.  I am happy to say I did!!  I also am appreciative to my friends and family for listening to my whining throughout the year, my coworkers for being part of the journey with me, and especially Cort, who spent LARGE amounts of time with the kids while I was glued to the computer working on my portoflio.  THANK YOU ALL!!  I couldn't have done it without you.  :)

Terrible pics, but here is me the day I mailed off my portfolio.  It was terrifying to let go of all of that work, and pray that it arrived safely (of course I made copies!!!).  This is me and the infamous blue box.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Putting Up the Christmas Tree

I have once again fallen off the blogging bandwagon, but am hoping to get back in the swing of things.  We are currently in the middle of enjoying a very nice, very much needed, LONG Thanksgiving weekend.  Every year we put up our Christmas decorations Thanksgiving weekend and this year was no different.  What is different this year is that the kids are super-interested in helping with everything we do.  :)  They are very excited for the holiday season...

Getting ready to start-Mia is clearly very excited!  (Ignore the terrible, blury picture)
Cort with the kids after they put the top on our tree
The kids anxiously awaiting directions
Mia helping out
Cole helping out
Handing branches to daddy

And as always Zip has been a total pain!
We also got Mia's tree up (still need to do Cole's).  She had a blast going through her ornaments and choosing spots for them on her tree.

Our tree is currently up with lights and Mia's is completed.  Hopefully this weekend we will get ornaments up and Cole's tree up too. These things take time now that we have kids! :)  Hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Day in the Life

This blog has been sadly neglected lately.  I will be better, I promise!

Here is a quick snapshot of Cole.  This is pretty representative of our little 2 year-old right now.  He loves his cars and he loves his trains.  If you know Thomas, you know that there are tons of trains all with different names.  It is crazy, but he knows them all!  The worst is when he requests a certain one and I have no idea which one it is.  Thankfully they are labeled on the bottom. :)  This is a day in the life at our house...