Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Make This Your Best Year Yet!

These last two days have been amazing and overwhelming and awesome and just a little scary....  These days have been my first 2 days as a new teacher in the Lancaster Community Schools District. They have been filled with so many different emotions.  
Yesterday began in the Winskill Presentation Room.  While this should have felt very natural for me, I was NERVOUS.  I have been in that room many times for different events that involved my kiddos.  Yesterday was different.  It was about taking a risk and making a change.  That time in the presentation room meant that I needed to own my new position.  I was now a 4th grade teacher at Winskill!!!

The morning was led by Mrs. Strobush.  What an energy and passion she brings.  All the new staff members introduced themselves via a pinky shake activity and then we opened our bag of goodies and shared with our tables what all the above items could mean.  

There were some words by administration and we met for a bit with Mrs. Whitford.  Then Ms. Uppena led a little Kahoot activity to check what we knew about Lancaster Community Schools.  Before long it was time to board a bus and tour the community.  The tour ended at the high school for lunch.    Did I mention that we were given a TB skin test, too?  Yep.  

We had some time to work in our rooms and then we met again in the presentation room for a little Q and A session with last year's new staff.  

While it would have been easy to go home after the first day and hibernate in the air conditioning of my house, I took another risk and went to the potluck on Monday Evening.  It was wonderful to visit with new coworkers and still be home by 7 (wanted to watch the Emmy's (although I really couldn't tell you today any of the winners....I was trying to multi-task while watching TV)!! 

Today it was exciting to get back up and go to work right here in the community where we live!!!  It is a huge deal and I do feel lucky.  My "luck" got even better.  I got to ride up to the high school with a kind coworker who I look forward to spending time with.  I got to eat breakfast beside a teacher that I admire and adore.  AND THEN.....

We heard the words of Mr. Jimmy Casas.

I took notes  HERE.

Since the day was still young, we walked to Memorial Park for lunch.  We returned to the high school for some SLO work.

It was wonderful to wrap up the day with a shower for Kate's 5th grade teacher.  I was glad to hug my kiddos when I got home, but I wouldn't have changed a thing.  These past 2 days have eased my worries and reassured me that THIS IS WHERE I AM MEANT TO BE!!!  This is going to be the Best School Year Yet! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Help Me Build A Better Classroom

Hi Friends,

I want to make sure my students have the materials they need to succeed, so I just created a request for my classroom at DonorsChoose.org:

Chromebooks Connecting our Classroom

Give to my classroom by August 29, 2014 and your donation will be doubled thanks to DonorsChoose.org. Just enter the code INSPIRE on the payment page and you'll be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100).

If you chip in to help my students, you'll get awesome photos and our heartfelt thanks.

Thanks so much,

P.S. If you know anyone who may want to help my classroom, please pass this along!


Friday Funny

Humor is such an important quality.  I can't imagine what I would do if I weren't able to laugh A LOT.  Many times as  I reflect on things that have been said in my classroom I can only imagine what others might think but this conversation is too good not to share.

Let me set the stage just a bit:
   Indoor recess on the last day of summer school.
   Students were all talking about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Student A - My sister said she couldn't do the challenge last night because she was wearing makeup.  I am so glad I don't wear makeup.

Me - I am so glad that I do wear makeup.   You wouldn't want to see me without my makeup.

Student B-  Yep.  We'd see all your warts and stuff if you didn't wear makeup.

I don't think anyone knew what to say after that.  Good thing it was the end of recess and we were parting ways. :-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Works for me Wednesday

Can you believe that this is the 2nd installment of this little fe
ature?  In an effort to stick with my 3 things alliteration the last time, I am going to go with things that are working for me this week that start with Rs.

Running is working for me:
   Ran 10 miles on Monday and 5 miles this morning.  Monday's run resulted in a little rough up skin...  No biggie but I am thankful that it hasn't happened before.  4 am runs are pretty dark and I guess I need to be able to see the sidewalks a little bit better.

Reading is working for me:
  I've had some time to read some picture books, some novels, and some professional texts (including the new Instructor Magazine that came in the mail last week).  I always love the evenings when I can sit and read without interruption even if it is for just 15 minutes.  I love all those quiet reading moments.  I love getting time before I leave for summer school to sit and read the newspaper, too.

Relationships are working for me:
  The Winskill Mystery Trip gave me a chance to visit with my new co-workers.  Great time.
  I attended the CESA 3 Mentor Day with my mentor on Friday.  It was so enjoyable to visit with her and get to know more about her.  We have so much in common and I'm excited to work with her.
  The 4th grade team met on Tuesday to plan things.  I am so excited to work with this grade level team.  We really are going to be FABULOUS and FEARLESS!

After I had written this little reflection with Rs, I also thought of some things I wanted to add in here as REFLECTION....(I was stretching a little to make it fit with R).
  I have really enjoyed team teaching the enrichment portions of summer school.  I have learned so much from my co-teacher and from the students.  These last few days I have been with the IPAD/Technology class.  We worked with some fun creative apps (Lego Movie Maker and VideoStar were 2 favorites on the IPADS).  On Monday we introduced Voki.com to both the 3-5 group and the PreK-2 group and one reflection I  had after all was said and done was how creative the younger group was.  They weren't afraid to get creative with what their voki said.  They were much more willing to take risks than the older kids.
  On Tuesday I got to learn 2 new computer pieces:  Build Your Wild Self  and Tumblebooks.  I love seeing the creating that happens when technology is available.  These summer school classes have been so much fun because I have been able to be a learner as much as a teacher.

What's working for you on this wonderful Wednesday?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Get to Know the Teacher - Mrs. Bussan

This is a very difficult post to write... Strange I know 
since I am the thing that I know best about!  It's always hard for me to talk about myself, but I will give it my best shot.

I graduated from Thomson High School in 1994.  Thomson, IL, is a small town in the northwestern corner of the state.  I spent my first summer after high school at DePaul University as a Golden Apple Scholar.  For 6 weeks that summer I worked in the Chicago Public Schools Extended School Year Program.  My job was in a classroom of 6 autistic boys that ranged in age from 4 to 7.  When school began that fall I went to Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.  I enjoyed the small town feel of WIU and I felt very prepared for my classroom experiences as a pre-service teacher.  My second summer of college was again spent at DePaul.  I loved the chance to explore the city while learning more about instruction and teaching.  Summer Institutes were a great opportunity to learn more than what other education majors learned during their university coursework.  I was truly blessed to be a Golden Apple Scholar.

All through college I would work weekends and long breaks at Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor in Galena, IL.  When I graduated from college and began teaching I was lucky enough to be teaching just 12 miles from Galena so that I could continue to work weekends at Happy Joe's.  

In July of 2000, I married Roger.  He had just graduated from college and was starting his career in business management.  His first job was as the general manager of the Galena Happy Joe's where we first met.  My husband, Roger, and I now own a Happy Joe's but it isn't in Illinois. 
In May of 2002, we took a leap of faith and moved to Lancaster, WI, so that Roger could own and operate the Happy Joe's there.  I continued to teach in Illinois at River Ridge.  In April of 2004, our daughter, Kate, was born.  She will be starting 5th grade at Winskill this fall.  In April of 2006, our son, Will, was born.  For the first time ever all 3 of us will be at the same school.  What's even more exciting for me is that we will all be on the 2nd floor of Winskill.  Will is in 3rd grade, I'm in 4th, and Kate is in 5th grade.  Even though this will be my first year teaching in Wisconsin, I bring to the classroom 16 years of experience
Now for the fun stuff......
These are a few of my favorite things....
My family, Diet orange sunkist sodapop, running, reading, learning, purple pens, and Lucky Charms cereal.

If you weren't a teacher, what would you want to be?
I love technology and I have a strong interest in reading so I think I'd be a librarian.  If that weren't an option,  I would love to be a nutritionist or health educator.

Three little words that describe you.
Compassionate, loyal, ambitious.

Finish the sentence, "___________________," said no teacher ever!
There just isn't enough paperwork.

It's your birthday and you can invite anyone (dead or alive) to the party.  Who are you inviting?
Patricia Polacco and Jodi Piccoult
(just 2 of my many favorite authors)

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Smiles while Running and Reading
(that might have to change.  this question was a tough one to answer.)

You get to pick one superpower.  What is it?
Exceptional Empathy
(maybe that isn't a real superpower but I would like be able to sense how others are feeling and be able to help them feel better whenever they need it.)

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Hands-down a morning person.  I love going to bed before 9 pm and getting up at 4 am.

Share something we might not know about you!
Hmmm.  I have a hard time sitting through movies.  I don't sit still very well at all and so even though I want to watch a number of movies, I probably never will because I can't sit long enough to see the whole thing.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

K-2 IPAD/Computer Class Resources

These links are all clickable.     Here's to hoping this makes our final 6 days of summer school productive and enjoyable!


A Symbaloo with all different Kindergarten things!!!

Another great K symbaloo

1st grade symbaloo

A 2nd grade symbaloo

Symbaloo for 3rd graders

4th grade symbaloo

Monday, August 11, 2014

Adventureland 2014--Building Coasters

Adventureland 2014

Check out some of our amazing work from the first 6 days of summer school!

Visit the Book Fair!

If you are a book lover or even if you just wish to be a book lover, make sure you check out the scholastic book fair.  You can purchase books in person at Open House Night (August 28) or you can order online anytime between August 22 and September 11.  Link for online ordering. 

Can't wait to hear all about the books that you are reading!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Works for Me Wednesday

I decided that with my new blog I would also start some Weekly Topics.  Wednesday will be What Works for Me Wednesdays. Today's Works for Me Wednesday is about what works for me in finding balance.  I'm hoping that this school year will show signs of great balance as I have less of a commute.  I'm looking forward to all the ways that I can SHARE my passion.  Want to know what's been working in our summer school classroom so far?

1.  Confidence works for me
   I love confident kids.  I'm seeing lots of that in my classroom and I love it!  I wonder what the 4th graders will think when they find out the real secret to the Magic Number Wheel!

2.  Curiosity works for me
  One of the Enrichment Classes that I am helping with is Adventureland.  The curiosity and the way that the kids are stepping up to the challenges are so exciting.

3.  Compassion works for me

  The kindness that I see from the students is so authentic and that's what I LOVE!  I also appreciate the compassion that has been shown for me as I don't always know "the routine."  I saw compassion from the kids when I forgot to give them their nametags today.  Nobody got upset---thankfully.  My day was MADE by the compassion shown by a student who gives her all and gave above and beyond with a kind note and a gift today.

Things are working for me this week and my passions continue to grow.  Thanks for being along for the journey.

Shine On!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Vacation Time is Winding Down

I hope that you are all as excited as I am for this new school year!  I can't wait to meet my summer school students on Monday Morning.  Until then we are enjoying one final mini-vacation.  I'm running the Zooma Chicago 1/2 Marathon tomorrow.  Until there's more to share with you, enjoy your days!