Ready for the First Day

“I can’t wait for the first day of school,” commented my ready-for-second-grade niece one day at the end of June. There are others anticipating the first day too. Some of you are looking forward to starting this new occupation called teaching. Beginning teachers fall into varying categories. You may have dreamed about this day since you were an elementary student.… READ MORE

Do All Students Have the Same Advantage in Your Classroom?

Can we predict if students will succeed or struggle before they begin their school journey? Over the past several years, I have had the privilege of screening students before they come into kindergarten or first grade at two local Mennonite schools. I have then followed-up with the teachers as to how the students continue to progress through their school years.… READ MORE

Let’s Pray

“Don’t forget to pray for Monster!” This request was called out just as I was preparing to pray at the end of the school day. I had to think quickly—“Who is Monster?” Then I remembered: Monster is a cow that has a hurt leg. So we prayed for Monster. Prayer is a vital part of our school day. We pray… READ MORE

This Eternal Kingdom or That Mini Kingdom?

Imagine this scenario: You want to be the leader of a new civilization on a beautiful island in the South Pacific, so you apply and get accepted to this position. You hire a personal tutor to educate and train you in everything you need to know for your new life and your future responsibilities. This guy is really, really good… READ MORE

Tasting the Seasons

Imagine with me a walk in the woods or along a path in a state park, carrying a foraging basket. You bend to pick a purple violet, marvel at its velvety petals, sniff its sweet scent, and then you chew it slowly, sensing the delicate essence of the season. There are so many violets blooming, it is easy to pick… READ MORE

Lord Willing

“Tomorrow we don’t have school, because the teachers come to work. Monday when we come back, we have music and library.” This was my end-of-day announcement on March 12, 2020. Little did I know that was the last end-of-day announcement I would make to that class! We had a teacher in-service day the following day, and at the end of… READ MORE

How to Make a Book

“I can’t wait ‘til journaling time. We get to start our books!” The class they’ve been anticipating for the past few weeks has now arrived. First grade students will embark on their big writing project of the year as we explore what it means to be an author and an illustrator. They will write their own stories, illustrate their work,… READ MORE

Prayer of the Teacher

Not a Good Day “The directions say I am supposed to find fourteen adverbs in this story,” she said. “I only found three of them, two not’s and one very.” I was tired of this day and of this conversation, and inwardly I rolled my eyes. Of course, she would recall the words that always are adverbs and forget the… READ MORE

A Sweet Spring Treat

One of the best things about seasons is the excitement as a spent season rolls over into a brand-new one. While we all have favorites, spring is especially exciting with new life popping up everywhere. Who doesn’t feel their sprits rise with the return of the songbirds and the benevolence of the sunshine? It’s a great time to celebrate! We… READ MORE

Getting Along

“These girls are just not getting along. I think at one point each one has felt left-out or bullied. I don’t know how to help them!” worried a new first-grade teacher. “Teacher, they won’t let me play with them.” “They ran away when I came to play.” “I don’t have anyone to play with.” These are comments heard after recess.… READ MORE