Category Archives: reflection

A teacher’s path to continuous learning

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Lori Rice teaches fourth grade at West Elementary in Wamego and is the current Kansas Council for the Social Studies elementary teacher of the year. You can find Lori on Twitter at @MsLRice. She also blogs on all things teaching (not just social studies) at The Educator’s Room.


Twenty years ago, I took a special education class for my undergraduate degree.  I have been teaching in the regular education classroom ever since then, and have honed my craft each year. Each new class and school-year brings with it new challenges, and so my learning continues as well.  However, I could have never foreseen this year’s learning curve. I would have never guessed a month ago that I would spend the last nine weeks, with this class, in a completely new classroom, a virtual world, where my honed skills had to be pushed, restructured and reimagined to conclude the year with continuous learning.

Twenty years ago, in that special education class (which I don’t recall the title of), the instructor shared a poem, Welcome to Holland , written by Emily Perl Kingsley, a beautiful prose about becoming a parent.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Pexels.com

The journey in that poem described by Kingsley, was a brilliant metaphor comparing the excitement of becoming a new parent to planning a trip to Italy.  Teachers, just like new parents, are planners, but those plans don’t always work out. This school year we have implemented ¾ of our plans with our current classroom, however, the plans suddenly changed a month ago.

As in the poem, the plans we made no longer work.  The curriculum, field trips, and activities we had planned all school year long, are just out of our grasp.  These are the things we’ve always looked forward to.  The excitement and joy of teaching in the spring is always a highlight.  New teachers are wrapping up their first year with reflections of successes and failures they will use to strengthen their craft next year.  Veteran teachers are longing for traditions and classroom activities that bring smiles and further build community within the classroom as the school year winds down.  The journey had been planned.

In her poem, Kingsley writes: Continue reading A teacher’s path to continuous learning

Start the New (Finish the School) Year Strong

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This week’s contribution comes from Kansas Council for the Social Studies secretary Lori Rice. She teaches 4th grade at Wamego West Elementary school and is the 2018-19 KSDE Social Studies Teacher of the Year.


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The time between the end of December and beginning of January is magical for teachers as schools across the state shut down for “WINTER BREAK”!! The alarms are shut off. The coffee is hot! And you may have even read a book that was simply for your own enjoyment or caught up on that Netflix/Hulu series you love. As with all good things, winter break must come to an end.

Over the next week, classes are starting back for teachers and students. Alarms are ringing, coffee is cooling and the responsibilities are mounting again.  In classrooms, it is generally back to business as usual. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind as you gear up for the second semester: Continue reading Start the New (Finish the School) Year Strong