Thursday, February 23, 2017

How I Organized My Student Teaching Lesson Plan Binder

I've mentioned this before but I definitely do not want Prep In Your Step to become a teaching blog. This blog has always served as a creative outlet for me and with teaching on the horizon it is my hope that it remains that way. With that said, a number of y'all have been asking for some posts that incorporate a bit of my experience or ideas when it comes to teaching which I think is fair. If I've learned anything from the education department at my school or student teaching so far it is that as a student teacher there is just no way to do it alone. Planning can be overwhelming and each day is so different that you never fully feel prepared. Since that is the case I figured that if I could help ease someone else's experience in any way then I definitely would like to.

Furman sets the standards for us very high so if you are student teaching then you may not be required to have the same sort of things for your supervisor when they visit. I thought it would be fun to share a look at my lesson planning binder with y'all since the organizational aspect of this was something that my friends and I struggled with. I have finally found a method that works for me and am aware that my method is very different than some other people's. It is all about finding what works for you that also works for your program and your cooperating teacher so don't be too worried if it changes around over time (mine already has a little bit).

I am a very visual person so when I started out and organized my lesson plans by week it completely threw me off. I felt like I was always searching for something and didn't feel all that prepared even though everything was right there for me. I eventually decided that organizing my lesson plans by days would be helpful. Furman makes us re-write our teachers' plans into their specific template so each of my lesson plans is typically between two and three pages. I place them behind one of the dividers (labeled A-Z but I have 2 sets) in order of when I teach them. So for us, math is first thing in the morning so that is the first plan I see followed by science, social studies, writing, and reading. The dividers I have at the back (labeled 1-12) have the teachers plans for the week. The teachers at my school all pretty much fit their weeks plans onto one sheet of paper so that is nice to reference when I am just trying to review for the day. 

At the beginning of my binder I made a calendar that outlines when I am teaching various subjects. This is helpful for both myself and my supervisor since we are encouraged to ease into our experience. I also have a course assignment due date chart that I made as well as other resources from readings I've done that I would like to implement into my own classroom some day. Another helpful sheet that I made was a brief run down of my students' learning styles and any medical issues they may have. This is great to reference when I am planning lessons to ensure that I am reaching all students learning modems! 

After I have taught a lesson I like to put a post-it note directly on it of what went well, what didn't, or anything I'd change for the next time I teach it. I also include information about timing or changes I'd make to specific resources that go along with it. I know this will be helpful to look back at in the future so it is worth taking a minute or two at the end of the day to do. 

After each subjects' lesson plan I like to include any resources we are using. I print out powerpoint to have on hand, student note sheets, observational notes I've taken, and even answer keys just so they are all in one place. This is really nice when I am reading over my plans and making sure that everything is ready for the week ahead since I am so visual when it comes to things. 

So there you have it, a quick but seemingly thorough glance at how I have my binder organized thus far. If there are any teachers out there reading this who have any tips at all please do not hesitate to share. Collaboration is crucial to teaching and I have definitely felt overwhelmed by everything at times so I would love to hear your insight!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Blush Pink & White

Yesterday was just the *best* day. If anyone knows anyone really high up when it comes to government holiday making & calendar printing I wouldn't be opposed to you suggesting that every weekend should last three days. I was in the best mood and had the most stress free Monday and could really use more of that and the relaxation it provided in my life. Although, with the relaxation came a little bit of a cold that I have been downing emergen-c to try to combat it!

I think the groundhog may have gotten it wrong when he claimed that we were going to have six more weeks of winter (come on, Phil). It is supposed to be in the seventies this week which means deciding on outfits when it comes to student teaching may be even harder than usual. Let's just hope the weather stays this warm since Spring Break is only 2 weeks away and I'd prefer not to have a sudden cold snap! 

Usually I am quite the rule follower in every aspect of my life but realizing the added outfit options possible in my closet by wearing white jeans in the winter has caused me to become a bit rebellious in this sense. As February continues on I find myself constantly wearing dark pants and grey sweaters which can be kind of sad since in my world that is lacking a lot of color. White jeans have become the perfect alternative and when paired with a nearly neutral blush I've come to realize just how much color can affect my mood. This is the type of outfit that makes moderate February days feel a bit less dreary and more welcoming of spring! These white jeans are my absolute favorite and are a staple for the whole year at under $60. The white color is crisp and the fit is flattering without being too skinny or suffocating. I've had this blush sweater in my closet for a while now and had yet to find the perfect way to wear it. After seeing numerous bloggers style blush all year round I figured that I would give it a go. I now know that this will be an easy to reach for outfit when I want to look put together yet feel completely comfortable. I'm also pretty positive that 2017 is going to be the year of slip on shoes because this pair from Dr. Scholls takes the cake when it comes to comfort and adds a slight cool factor when it comes to any outfit. 



While I am certainly hoping to be able to wear all of my spring clothes soon discovering the versatility of white jeans in the winter will hopefully make dressing for the season slightly more bearable! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Step Into My Week

Happy Monday! It certainly is a happy Monday for me because I got to sleep in (aka past 5:20 so waking up at 8:30 definitely felt that way). The school I student teach at is off for Presidents' Day so I get to hang out at Furman today which is actually really nice since Furman classes are still occurring today. 

I know Step Into My Week posts typically happen on Fridays but somehow Thursday nights become a bit too busy for me to make sure that they go up then. I think from here on out I'll be doing Step Into My Week posts on Mondays so that I can ensure that I have a post go live on Fridays and include my weekend while it is still relevant in my SIMW posts. Hope y'all are ok with this switcharoo! 

Last weekend I had my meet up at Swoozies in Greenville which was really fun and I talked about it here. The rest of that weekend was pretty laid back with homework to be done and a lot of hanging around.

pajamas // mug 

This week was definitely an interesting one. With Valentine's Day on Tuesday the kids acted as though every day was Friday which became its own challenge. I went to dinner with friends on Tuesday night, to a barre3 party on Wednesday night, and actually was able to enjoy my weekend so I am hoping that I am finally getting the hang of this whole student teaching and college student balance (although I know that isn't entirely the case). Below are the outfits I wore this week to teach in and I can't tell you how ready I am to bring all of my spring-y clothes back to campus to make things more colorful again!

left: striped shirt // flare skirt // loafers (similar)
right: pants // boots // blouse

left: sweater // necklace // pants // booties
right: dress // boots

sweater (similar) // pants // shoes // necklace

Hope y'all are ready for a little story time because I definitely have one from Friday. As I was headed to school around 6:30 on Friday morning I had the pleasure of experiencing my car stalling. I've never had any major car issues before aside from a flat tire on the way home for Easter one year and this was quite the eye opener. I somehow managed to hit my hazard lights as fast as possible to avoid having cars run into me as the light I was stopped at changed. When no cars were coming I was able to put my car in neutral and back it off to a side street. I tried turning my car off and back on and it started to shake and various lights came up on the dashboard. Fortunately I was right across from a gas station so I walked across the highway got some gas and attempted that although I didn't need gas. When that didn't work and the car still shook I knew I was kind of SOL. I called a friend that happens to student teach at the same school and she offered to drive me but first I had to figure out what to do with my car since it was very much so in the way. I tried calling some guy friends to see if they could attempt to jump my car so I could park it in the gas station parking lot and quickly discovered that most of them do not answer their phone so early in the morning and didn't actually know how to jump a car. NOT HELPFUL. If there are any guys reading this if you're ever in this situation I would highly recommend that you still offer to come and help or send a friend that could help. Eventually the girl at the same school that I student teach at came and a nice guy who happened to graduate 4 years ago from Furman stopped to help since we clearly looked pretty clueless (also it was freezing out so that wasn't ideal either). He attempted to jump my car and when that didn't work I had to call AAA to have my car towed. We were an hour late to school (fortunately our teachers and supervisor were more than understanding) and I was frazzled all day long because of my hectic morning. My car was fixed by the afternoon which was really nice but it was quite the way to end the week. 

Friday night I went to a date function with Nell that was themed "you are what you Netflix." We went as Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper which everyone thought was funny and made a pretty easy costume. Saturday morning Nell and I took a bunch of blog photos and went to breakfast at Tandem (a great crepe place in Travelers Rest) before I headed to Charlotte to visit my big. I got to Charlotte around 4:00 and Caroline (my big) and I spent time catching up before heading to dinner at Seul Gastrolounge, a delicious tapas place. After dinner we went to a friend of hers house before heading Uptown for the night. We went to a couple of different bars and it was interesting to see the difference between Charlotte nightlife and Greenville's. We finally got back pretty late and went right to bed as we were pretty exhausted. The next morning we walked to Sunflour Cafe which was delicious and walked the Light Rail for a while before I packed up and headed back to Furman. When I got back I did a little bit of work, Nell and I went for a walk, and then made a delicious dinner before chapter (recipe here). 

I am spending my morning cleaning and preparing for the week ahead and am excited to spend some time in the library this afternoon to embrace actually being on campus prior to two meetings tomorrow. I know waking up tomorrow bright and early again won't be quite as relaxing but I'm hoping that a slower day today will help me prepare for another week of teaching. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Casual Chic Bow Back Sweater and H&M Grand Opening Event

This post is sponsored by H&M and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Prep In Your Step possible!

When I find a new piece of clothing that I love, I have to do everything in my power not to wear it every day. This white sweater was precisely one of those pieces when it came in the mail last week. I may have worn it four times in one week but the style is so versatile that I could easily change up the way I styled it to create a completely different looking outfit.

I found this sweater at H&M and was immediately drawn to click on it due to its unique silhouette and soft looking texture. The last thing I needed was another white sweater but when I saw the oversized keyhole back tied together with a bow I was sold. While it looks just as good with brown riding boots as black over the knee boots for a more sophisticated look, I keep finding myself tossing it on with tennis shoes on more casual days and that may just be my favorite way to wear this sweater. Throw on a pair of jeans and grab a neutral bag and this outfit looks like I put more time to style it than I did.




sweater (c/o) // jeans // shoes // bag // necklace

If you’ve been following along for a while you may remember my summer obsession with H&M (here, here, here, here) that has followed me into the fall (here) and now well into winter. I find myself scrolling through their new arrivals at least once a week and there are always a number of items in my online cart just waiting to make their way to my closet!

As much as I love shopping online sometimes it is hard to know what size to order. Recently near my hometown an H&M opened up but now I don’t even have to wait to head home to be able to try items on in person since H&M is opening a store at Westgate Mall in Spartanburg, South Carolina! The store will be hosting a Grand Opening on February 23rd (a week from today!) at noon and you won’t want to miss it if you’re nearby! Some lucky shoppers in line at the opening will receive an exclusive Fashion Pass, which may be valued up to $300. This Fashion Pass is a scratch off valid on opening day valued anywhere between $10 and $300 and the first 100 shoppers in line before the grand opening at noon will receive one. If you’ve never shopped at H&M before you may not know that $10 can buy you a brand new piece of clothing or an accessory since the store has great deals year long but especially at Grand Openings! Some of the opening offers start at $5 and continue all week long. In an effort to give back, if you bring in a bag of unwanted clothing (gotta make room for the new pieces you’re sure to find) before the grand opening you can enter to win a gift card valued at $250!

I am hoping to make my way to the store soon since I’ve found so many great pieces at H&M this past year (including ones appropriate for student teaching). If your town doesn’t have an H&M you can still find loads of their cute pieces at great prices online to shop in the comfort of your pajamas! I’d love to know if you have any favorite items from H&M that I should check out!

Some of my other H&M favorites include:


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