Friday, January 6, 2012

"Paw Prints on our Hearts"

Last year around Christmastime/Hanukkah & mid-January I lost both my dog and my father. It was a hard time, but knowing in my heart that they are together in heaven made it less painful. Koko loved my dad. The saying "Man's Best Friend" definitely applied to my family. This blog, is dedicated to both of them. Dad always told me pursue my dreams and find something I love to do. I love dogs and I love teaching, so I decided to combine the two! Thank you dad.

After having graduated from Drexel University, and having spent months looking for a job, I am now the Educational Technologist (technology teacher & coordinator) for a K-8 Jewish day school in East Brunswick, New Jersey. I'm half way to my dream job -- to be a Kindergarten teacher and a technology coordinator. While I had anticipated teaching only younger children, I am enjoying my time teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade.

Being the Educational Technologist, it is a little unusual to have a classroom theme that is not technology or computer related, but all through college I knew that my classroom, no matter what I taught, would have a dog theme. So I embraced it and was able to integrate it with technology. My bulletin board at the beginning of the school year had pictures of dogs on computers with a paw print border, and my room has paw prints scattered across the walls in different colors. The school theme this year is 30th anniversary, so I integrated that as well by creating a numbered list of 30 things each grade will learn this year, and printed it with a dog watermark, courtesy of DJ Inkers "Dog Daze Classroom Download." Even though a "dogs" theme is more appropriate for the lower grades, I have found that the upper grades enjoy it. It makes me seem like the "fun" teacher, but they also know, that they are here to learn and while I may be the youngest teacher at the school, I do not accept inappropriate behavior.

Searching the Internet, you read about other people using a "dog" theme in their classroom as well, but they never post what they actually do, or ideas they have besides what to put on a bulletin board. If you are truly going to use a theme in your classroom, you need to embrace it and embed it in everything you do. For the holidays find dog themed holiday units. If you are teaching addition, use manipulatives that look like bones or dogs. There are soo many ideas out there and ways to incorporate something you are passionate about into your classroom and that is what this blog is designed to do.