Saturday, January 2, 2016

Loan Forgivness

I want to begin by saying I don't know everything about this process.  I encourage you to contact your loan provider and read the resources I'm going to link in this post. The purpose of this post is to help others through the process by describing my own experience.

School loans....WOO HOO!

I went into grad school anticipating no loan forgiveness because I do not teach at a Title 1 school.  I saw a post by Education to the Core on FB about loan forgiveness and decided to investigate.  My search led me to this site:

If you've done any searching on this topic, you've probably seen this page.  Upon reading it I discovered this link:

On my first attempt searching the directory, I found nothing.  This search box is extremely picky.  If you don't type the school's name EXACTLY like it is listed, it will not turn up in your search results.  I searched my state's entire directory and found my school.

Three big things to look out for.  You must have taught at your eligible school for five consecutive years.  Your school must have been eligible for those years.  You cannot have school loans prior to 10/1/98.  

The rest is all paperwork.  This needs to be completed by you and your Chief Administrative Officer.  My CAO was at our central office.  This document also has information about your personal eligibility.  Just because your school is eligible, doesn't mean you are.  Read carefully.

I faxed my paperwork and the waiting began.

Word to the wise: complete it exactly as directed.  I began this process in August and it was sent back three weeks later denied because I didn't write the date correctly (M/D/YYYY instead of MM/DD/YYYY).  I was a little irritated.  It also said I had not completed my fifth year at my school (the end of the 2014-2015 school year).  That made me even more irritated.  

After submitting the paperwork again at the end of September, I didn't hear anything for a month.  I called the loan provider and they were able to tell me that I had passed their level of the application process and it had been sent to the US Department of Education.  The loan provider also told me that the fall is when they have the most requests so things took longer than normal.  I would not be expected to pay anything within a grace period as long as I was waiting for a response.  


Hope this helps!  Let me know if I can help you in any way.  I have some "free time" now that I'm finished with school. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

March Currently

Haven't blogged in a week.  Last week only got crazier and this week is looking to be the same.  I'm so excited about my new unit (as you can probably tell by all my IG posts).  I decided to do a  Farley Currently.  

This year has been extra challenging, and as much as I try to block out the negativity of lower grades, their warning of the years to come aren't any comfort. Challenging years make me a better teacher.  Just not sure how many more challenging years I can handle.  Today I felt like I was being pulled in a million directions.  Kids crowding around my desk, all talking at the same time, and a parent observing to boot.  (Watching her child, not me BTW.)  IEPs every day, final PST meetings, awards, grades, parties...I'm not sure when "teacher tired" is worse: August or May.  Right now, I vote may.  12.5 DAYS!!!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

What Works! Teacher Appreciation Linky

There's no one who appreciates teachers more than another teacher!  I've joined this link because I believe in the power each of you have to make a difference in a child's life.  While it isn't all cotton candy and gum drops, at the end of the day it is worth it.  

I've included a few of my "secrets" that help me keep my sanity in the midst of empowering students to reach their potential.
In my students' interactive notebooks, I have them keep up with their grades.  Each new grade, I grade them in a timely manner (usually by the next day), return them to the students, and they record their grades.  Together we then practice averaging them.  I just started this recently and it has saved me.  

At any given moment, any of my 83 fifth graders know their reading average.  I was having a huge problem with parents complaining about not knowing their child's grade.  We send home graded papers, put grades online, and send home progress reports.  Evidently, it wasn't enough.  Now students feel more ownership of their grades.  
Document.  Document.  Document.
I document everything from missing assignments to behavior.  After reading Harry Wong's books, I made it my mission to keep parents informed and have documentation in case it was needed for referrals. I created my own version of the "pink slips" and "choice slips."  You can find them on my TpT store!

Now I'm excited to reveal our first prize bundle!
Don't forget to enter multiple times by completing the rafflecopter giveaways.

Just take a look at everything you could win...One lucky reader will win this entire prize package!!!
Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
We aren't finished yet....take a look at everything a second lucky winner will win!!!
Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

You won't want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers!  Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

You Are Appreciated!!!

You don't want to miss out on what's coming up on Monday!  Follow me to find out more!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Moment of Reflection

Today I was reminded how little I know about the lives of my students.  Sure my students share with me, but what they don't say speaks louder than what they do say.  As a teacher, I don't pry for details about my students' lives.  I'm afraid to find out the worst.  Just when I think I know the worst of it, I find out more.  Ever been in a situation where you want to do more for a student (outside of academics), but were afraid a parent would be offended?  It has happened more this year than ever before.  God tugs at my heart strings and I just trust Him.  I follow through with what He wants me to do, praying He will take care of the rest.

Whether it's clothes, shoes, food, or just an extra hug, students need us.  We are on the front lines.  Constantly scrutinized and under appreciated.  But for those of us called to teach, it's not about that.  Yes, we like to be appreciated, but something within us is deeply satisfied when we can help a student feel loved and cared for.

Just today I saw a former student at Target.  He asked if we had read Maniac Magee and I had given everyone a Butterscotch Krimpet.  He may not have remembered learning figurative language or theme with the book, but he remembered those moments with a great book.

I have 16.5 days left with my current group of students.  I pray I take advantage of all the moments and create more memories.

Friday, April 24, 2015

What My Kids Read

It seems like with each new class comes new tastes in literature.  Mythology.  Historical Fiction.  Anything Diary of a Wimpy Kid like.  Fairy tales.  Superheroes.  With each year, my classroom library grows.  I thought I'd share what my students love and hope you find something here that you've been looking for!

The Never Girls Collection
by Kiki Thorpe (and various authors)

I stumbled upon these at the beginning of the year.  I had quite a few girls who didn't like to read  between the third and fourth grade level.  It only took one girl to get hooked before these became the most sought after books in my classroom library.  The series follows four girls who find themselves in Neverland.  Complete with fairies, fun, and friendship, The Never Girls series is a hit.  (also has an interactive website)

Spy School
by Stuart Gibbs

I read the back and I was hooked.  I knew it was the perfect book for one student in particular.  His name also happened to be Ben like the main character.  My fifth graders love books about middle school, so they absolutely loved a book that had a middle schooler in SPY school!  A number of student requested that I buy other books by this author because they loved it so much.  With the EVIL Spy School sequel, these are perfect for your classroom.

I Survived Series
by Lauren Tarshis (and various authors)

These books are so popular they never make it back to the shelf!  They go from student to student with a never ending wait list.  My students love historical fiction this year.  Whether it's about Titanic or WWII, these books will be find themselves in the hands of eager readers within seconds.

Ever After High Series
by Shannon Hale
Along with The Never Girls, these were a hit with my girls.  The children of the fairy tales all attend high school together...royals and rebels.  The size of the books intimidated some of them, but they were so enthralled with the story that they finished it before they realized it.  With my own obsession with princesses and fairy tales, I have added these to my own reading list!  (interactive website)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"Do Schools Kill Creativity?"

Every now and then I run into an assignment for graduate school that gets me fired up.  I watched this video and shouted, "Amen!"  I even clapped!  Sir Ken Robinson delivers a TED talk explaining how schools are killing creativity.

"If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original...  
We now run our education system where mistakes are the worst thing you can make.  
We are educating people out of their creative capacities."

Every year I have students with special gifts in the arts.  While some of them attend classes outside of school for these gifts (dance, music, art, etc), many do not.  They feel defeated because they don't make grades like so-and-so or they never "clip to the top of the chart" because they are always getting in trouble.  Public education has put intelligence in a box.  These students are so out of the box, they don't know where the box is!  By the time many of them get to me, students are so discouraged by the snickers and remarks from their classmates that they won't even attempt to answer.  They won't ask questions because a teacher thought their ideas were crazy or didn't make sense.  It hurts to know that at such an early age they've learned that their differences in thinking are wrong.  

My goal next year is to do more activities that promote different talents.  One of those ways is project based learning.  I want students to feel successful in my class.  My favorite assignments in graduate school are when I get to be creative....use my clip art, cute fonts, etc.  

How do you incorporate creativity in your classroom?