April 17, 2013

Wednesday Blogger Showcase: The Fab Jessica from Joy in the Journey!!

Jessica Lawler, “Joy in the Journey”
~Joy in the Journey~

Where do you teach and what do you teach?
I teach 5th grade in a private Christian school in New Jersey, 7 miles outside of Manhattan.

How long have you been teaching?
This is my second year of teaching. I know, I know – I’m a newbie. But what I lack in experience, I make up for in enthusiasm!

What is the hardest part of your job and what do you do to get through those hard times?
The hardest thing is trying the meet the needs of all of my students. I have a very diverse group and differentiating is tricky with the time constraints that I have.

What is your favorite thing about teaching?
 My favorite thing is investing in the lives of these boys and girls for one year. I feel being a teacher is a high calling - a weighty one. My students are at a crucial age where they need a role model, someone to look up to, someone to talk to. I want to instill in them a love for learning that will outlast this school year.

Why did you become a teacher?
My love for teaching started when I was five years old. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Gory, was stupendous. She instilled in me a love for learning, helping, and leading in the classroom. My passion for teaching continued to grow as I did. In high school, I was the Vice President of the “Students Today…Teachers Tomorrow” club and got to do valuable practicum hours in a local elementary school. I was also a part of a special class called “Teens and Tots” in which pre-school children came to our school three days a week and we each took turns planning, preparing for, and implementing circle time activities, lessons, crafts, and games. 

What grades have you taught?
I did my students teaching in 2nd grade and have taught 5th grade for two years now.

Which grade/subject is your favorite?
I had always thought I would prefer to teach 2nd or 3rd grade, but when I graduated from college, I had four interviews…all for 5th grade! I was beside myself! I didn’t know how to teach fifth grade – I had done practicum hours in every grade PreK-6 except 5th! But, God knew what he was doing…I absolutely LOVE working with these 10- and 11-year olds. They are bright, caring, eager, and enthusiastic. They are independent and thinking critically, but are not “too cool for school”…yet. 

My favorite subject to teach is Reading. I believe that books open up the world to a child – they allow him to go on great adventures to faraway places, to try new things, to learn new skills, and to broaden their perspective on life. It is my prayer that my passion and enthusiasm for Reading will be contagious to my students.

Does your state use the Common Core?
Yes we do. My school has started to implement it this year.

What are your thoughts on the Common Core?
I have mixed feelings about it, as do, I’m sure, most teachers. I think it’s good to have a structure and cohesive sequence to what is taught when, but I think we cannot let it steal our joy when teaching. It should motivate us to stay on track, but we cannot be so focused on timelines and standards that we lose focus on what’s truly important: the kids.

What are some of your “go to” blogs?

Ohhh I have so many blogging buddies that I visit. Besides “Crofts Classroom” (of course), here are some of my “go-to” blogs:

·        Collaboration Cuties

·        Ideas by Jivey

·        Fifth in the Middle

·        Compassionate-Teacher (my best bud in real life!)

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging because I wanted to share ideas from my classroom with YOU! We do a lot of fun and engaging activities (most of them that I steal borrow from others!) and I wanted to give you all a glimpse into my world. I was a blog-stalker for a few months before I decided to take the plunge and start a blog myself. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience – I have loved forming relationships with bloggers around the country (even around the world!)

Do you sell/buy on TpT or another site?

YES! I started selling on both Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook in December and it sure has been a wild ride! I absolutely love making and selling products – the support and feedback I have received has meant the world to me. When I look at my first products compared to the ones I’m creating now, I’m amazed at how much progress I’ve made in only a few short months. I have been on a roll lately pumping out products and now have over 90 products listed! I try to post at least two new freebies per week.

Here are some of my newest projects:

Who are some of your favorite sellers on TpT or another site?
I have been bitten by the clip art and borders bug lately! Some sellers I go to often for these types of items are:
·        Ashley Hughes

·        3am Teacher

·        The Library Patch

How many students are in your class?
We’re differentiated, so I have 33 fifth graders in all, but only half at a time. There are 17 students in my homeroom.

How many teachers are on your grade level/subject team?
Only 2 – my partner, Rosie, and I are called “the dynamic duo”

Do you do PLC’s? How does your school run PLC’s?
Yes – we usually have meetings one Wednesday afternoon a month. I LOVE them!

What is your schedule like for your classroom?
Like I said, we’re differentiated, so I have my homeroom students for Bible and Social Studies. I teach Reading, Language Arts, Writing, Penmanship, and Spelling to all of fifth grade.

Here’s a typical day’s schedule:

8:40-9:20 Specials (having specials first thing is a blessing and a curse at the same time!)
9:25-10:25 Reading Block #1
10:30-11:30 Reading Block #2
11:30-12:20 Lunch and Recess
12:25-1:00 Bible (Wednesdays are chapel)
1:05-1:45 Language Arts Block #1
1:50-2:30 Language Arts Block #2
2:30-3:00 Social Studies

Thank you Jessica! I LOVE seeing into other classrooms and am loving Jessica's TpT store. He blog is amazing and she is SO CLOSE to 200 followers. Everyone make sure to follow Jessica and let's get her to 200 before the end of April. Seriously, only 25 more followers people! We can do it!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the awesome feature, Tina! I'm honored to be your first!

    You're awesome :)

    Joy in the Journey