All posts by mckhart4

About mckhart4

My name is Amy. I finally am doing this. I am becoming a blogger. I am at the end of my credential program with the light shining at the end of the tunnel. I will be student teaching this fall, and finalizing my program!! I am excited to share with others online, in regard to the education field. Teaching is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I have had life happen along my path, however, that has not discouraged me to follow my dreams. It may have taken a detour or two, but I am here to get things done! I look forward to sharing lesson plans, activities, ideas and such with other teachers and instructional assistants. I have been an assistant for quite some time, being an important cog in the education wheel. I am ready, however, to steer this ship now, and can't wait to see what the voyage brings!

New Beginnings!

Wow!  I can’t believe how time flies.  It has been a crazy, busy, fun week.  I have been hired to teach first grade at a local Catholic elementary school.  I was just hired last week, and school starts on Wednesday, the 20th.  As luck has it, the wing that I am teaching in had to have the floors waxed, and I could not get into my classroom until three days ago.   Being in the “pressure cooker” turned out to be okay.  I have a lot of my room almost completed, and will have pictures up at the beginning of next week.  I will look forward to showing them, once the room is all done, and as the students “leap into first grade.”  I bet you can guess what kind of theme I have going!  Stay tuned to see pictures.


5 Time Saving Ways Teachers can use Google Forms

Google has so much to offer. Thanks Indiana Jen for sharing this…

Indiana Jen

This is reblogged from my original post at Edudemic. It is part of my Google Drive series which includes “10 Things Every Teacher Should be able to do on Google Docs.”


One of my favorite features of Google Drive is Google Forms. If you’re unfamiliar with this, think of it as a way to create quick surveys that can be used for a number of applications. Google automatically aggregates this data into a Google Spreadsheet, making forms a great way to quickly collect and share information. I have seen educators and administrators use Google Forms in the most creative and inventive ways. If you’re just starting with Google Forms, here are five ways that you can use them to streamline your classroom!

Collect Contact Information

At the beginning of the year, I find that a great ice-breaker with my students is to share a Google…

View original post 599 more words

SAMR Swimming Lessons from: Hooked on INNOVATION blog

SAMR Swimming Lessons.  As I was reading blogs that I follow this morning, I found this amazing article from “HookED on INNOVATION.”  It is definitely worth the read.  The analogy of the pool is amazing! This is a first that I am forwarding to my readers on hartmansheartfelthappenings.  Enjoy teachers.  You don’t teach?  You will love the analogy of the pool and trying something new with technology.

Inspired by Vision

Today’s blog may be a short one, however there is a lot behind the following statement.  Having a vision will keep a person going!  That’s for sure.  As mentioned previously, student teaching and interviews are within my grasp.

I explained to my in-laws yesterday.  Having a vision of what my classroom will look like keeps me going.  I can’t wait to show off my “About Me/Meet the Teacher area by my desk, along with all the sayings that will go along with an owl theme in my room.  Our class will certainly “give a hoot!”  These visions are the power behind my determination!

Student Teaching and Interviews!

I am so happy student teaching is right around the corner.  According to my advisor, “It’s in the works.”  I am planning on student teaching at a local public school that I have worked as an assistant, previously.  I will be working with a fabulous teacher that I have known and kept in touch with, via social media, since my departure from the school.

As I am excited about student teaching, it is difficult to see all the need for teachers in the private school system.  As I have five years experience with them as an instructional assistant, I know many of the principals through my work, and through my own children’s education.  I have always stated that I want to do this the right way.  Two principals have been holding me my word.  I think I can say, thankfully.  That allows me to want to push myself through the next three or four months.

Here’s the thing…my program requires student teaching at the end of the program, not like programs my coworkers have been involved in.  Student teaching is not paid, for those that do not know, and no…internships are not this college’s preference.

I have been able to go through the program, conveniently, as it is online.  Busy family…busy mom…online works to my benefit as I can do school work on my clock!  I had struggled with the tests that I needed to pass.  Thankfully, I have passed them all.   I also have had the benefit of the program’s patience when I was diverted off my path for a bit.

I just need a little more patience, as I am so close to the finish line.  There are interviews out there to be completed.  I will be completing them!  Contacts are important, even if this is all in God’s time!

A Collaborative Classroom

Preparing a lesson for student teaching led me to think about times in the classroom that require collaboration among the students.  In my opinion, collaboration needs to occur as soon as all members of the class enter the classroom walls.  During Back to School week, I like the idea of providing periodic ice-breakers.  This allows myself and students to get to know each other, along with getting to know each other better.  Some students will have been together since Kindergarten, learning new information, even in seventh or eighth grade.  When new students join the school, this helps to alleviate any anxiety they may have.

Collaboration does not take place one hundred percent of the time, however, when taking place, it is imperative for all to participate.  Implementing group work, it is crucial to pre-arrange student groups.  In thinking about student placement, I recommend scaffolding the groups, in order to have differing abilities within each group community.  To the seasoned teacher, this is not a surprise.  It offers opportunity for instructors to observe the groups, as well as give table and individual assistance when needed.  These groups will most likely change over time.  As students alternate groups, they are able to gain experience from unique backgrounds each student brings to the table.

I am a believer of giving each child a fresh start at the beginning of the school year.  One may hear stories of students from previous years.  Academics history may need a new teacher’s attention, in order to determine needs.  When considering student behavior, I like to think of each student walking through the classroom door with a clean slate.  That being said, it may take time to determine who works best with which group.

In working as a long-term substitute last year, I was left with a list of student needs, which was a benefit, however I determined the helpers and the students in need of assistance.  This allowed me to provide students with cohesive, complementary groups to collaborate when working in stations and group projects.  Also, there were opportunities for lessons in tolerance as well.

Overall, collaboration helps build strong communities, who in the end have opportunity for much success!



Resume, Lesson Plan, and Curriculum

I have spent the day creating a fiction unit, updating my resume, and looking at curriculum.

It was a busy weekend.  We found a bed at IKEA for our daughter’s new apartment.  My husband and son were both incredible sports, coming along, while we maneuvered our way through the maze.  Note to self…don’t go to IKEA on a Sunday!

Sentimental about my daughter’s soon departure to her vacation, before she leaves us to go back to college, I have been going through old pictures of the kids.  Take a peek under the family tab.  These two have grown up right before our eyes!

I needed to be productive today.  Getting some housework done early was a plus!  I spent the rest of my day finishing my fiction unit that I have been working on.  My resume is updated, and I am about to continue digging into the fourth grade curriculum

Study of Curriculum

As I have studied curriculum for a while now, I am excited to have received it for fourth grade, once again, as that is the grade I will be student teaching.  Within the excitement, and careful recovery of my elbow, I have been working on a Fiction Unit for a Language Arts Reading/Writing Study.  I have adapted a lesson from Mrs. Griswold of Queen of All Saints School, where I was employed for a long-term substitute job this past spring.  I have made a few adjustments to the lesson, previously taught, and I want to give credit where credit is due!

Readers will be seeing a bit of this unit, in the near future, as I study Common Core Standards that accompany it.  I will be happily learning along the path!

“Celebrating with cartwheels in the bleachers!”

This weekend was such a big weekend for our house!   On Friday night, as mentioned,  we got the news that I passed my CSET Exam.  Many people have supported me throughout my testing journey.  Thank you all for your sweet notes on Facebook.

Our son also played in a lacrosse tournament, after being invited to play for his high school team.  While there, i returned to the bleachers, thinking of all the great things in our lives.  Our daughter is home from school.  All four of us were at the tourney.  I finally passed my test.  I was enjoying the beautiful weather, and then…kerplunk!  i trip over a bleacher bench, fell flat on my elbow, and fractured it.  It’s a non-displaced radial head fracture.  From what I understand, it’s the kind of this  type I want, as it can heal without surgery.  Also, it’s my left elbow, thankfully, as i am right-handed.

As there was quite a crowd around my fall, it was embarrassing, however with the help of my husband, daughter, a friend keeping me calm, and the league staff, I was taken care of greatly.  I always try to look at the bright side of things.  It was my niece who helped me with this in the text exchange bellow!  Love you, E!

Me: “Hey…Did you hear I passed my big test?”

E: “Yes! Congrats!  I heard you celebrated by doing cartwheels in the bleachers!”

–Making lemonade out of lemons!

Last CSET test taken and passed!!

Those that have taken the CSET Exams for a teaching credential know the time and dedication it takes to pass them.  I am happy to be blogging tonight, that I received the last of my CSET results; having officially passed all three!!

Have you ever been one half or three-quarters the way up a tall mountain such as Half Dome or Mt. Kilimanjaro, and were not sure if you could finish?  This is how I felt one year ago, when I received word I did not pass the CSET I had just taken.  I feel like everyone is building a story that they can keep to themselves or share for others to learn from, in life.  Maybe my story can spur someone on to do success in an area that is needed.

Over the last year, I have had the obstacles of my sister’s death due to the accident she was in, mentioned previously, along with my father’s passing ten short weeks later.  Some may wonder how I didn’t crawl into a hole and disappear from these “piggy-back” deaths, while grieving.  Believe me, I have learned how to be kind to myself while healing.  It has been a struggle, but from those struggles we receive strength.

I like to believe that my sister and my father both were part of the driving force that was steering me to accomplish the above.  The other part of that force was all the love and support that I have received from my family and friends.  The belief in me that has surrounded me over the last two months and more, while I was preparing for this last round has been an enormous gift; one that I will appreciate for a long time to come.

I have been waiting to shout from the roof-top that I am finished with the CSET Exam portion of my credential program.  Tonight, I was able to do just that!