Friday, March 8, 2013

Escaping the Doldrums

So after years and years of avidly reading other teachers' wonderfully well-written, thought-provoking, and often truly helpful blogs...I've decided to take a stab at it myself. 

 I thought I'd start with a quick introduction of myself, my motivations for blogging and why I chose this theme for my site! 

 I'm currently a 5th grade teacher in Central Pennsylvania, but I'm still really new to the world of 5th grade. This is only my second year! I spent my first 10 years teaching Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 1st/2nd Multi-age. My beautiful wife and I moved here to Pennsylvania five years ago to escape the smog and traffic of the big city. 

I am lucky enough to work in a great school, with staff and admin that share the same values I hold dear; democracy, environmental conservation and focusing on making great kids, not just great test scores. I'm sure to post more in the future about some of the things I think we're doing right at my school! 

 The move to 5th has definitely been a learning experience, and has made me feel like a brand new teacher more days than not. Pulling late nights, scouring the internet for good ideas, learning the things myself so that I can teach's been a journey. 

One part of that journey meant finding a whole new set of blogs to follow! Reading about the experiences and ideas from other 4th and 5th grade teachers really helped me last year with getting my feet wet in 5th. I've always thought blogging seemed interesting, and Lord knows I like to talk, so I finally decided to give it a try! Maybe one day some of the ideas I share will help another teacher! 

 Finally, when it came time for the important job of choosing a name and working out a theme I had to give it a lot of thought. I finally settled on using one of my favorite books of all time as inspiration, The Phantom Tollbooth. 

To me, this book really embodies what teaching is all about. Milo begins his story bored and uninterested, but by the time he reaches journey's end his world is full of color. His quest to find the Princesses Rhyme and Reason, and his encounters with all the characters in the book, remind me what I should be doing as a teacher. Help kids escape the doldrums. Introduce them to numbers and words and rhyme and reason, and you fill their worlds with color. 

 Happy reading!



  1. Welcome to blogging! I hope you love it as much as I do. It has certainly helped me be a better teacher...and it is so encouraging.

    I bet that is a big switch moving from the primary grades to 5th. Thank goodness for blogs and Pinterest.

    I am happy to be your newest follower. I would love for you to hop over and visit when you get the chance. =)

    Heather's Heart

    1. I'm already starting to feel like I could get addicted to blogging...and that's only after one post!

      Checking out your lovely blog really made me miss teaching those primary kiddos! One of the fun parts of moving up is that for the next few years, I get to see/teach my old 1st and 2nd graders again after they've been away for 3 or 4 years!

      Of course I had to follow you so I can grab up all your great ideas for my friends downstairs!

  2. The Phantom Tollbooth is my FAVOURITE read aloud EVER! I start every year with this book, and then find myself referring to it for the rest of the year. We do a lot of "jumping to conclusions" and "escaping the doldrums" as we go along. Come and check out my blog, even though I teach grade 6 I post a lot of ideas/freebies which can be used by any junior grade. Welcome to world of teacher blogging:)

    1. Of course after setting up my blog I couldn't resist breaking out my copy of the Phantom Tollbooth for a fresh read!

      Unfortunately for me this year I discovered that some of my kiddos' teachers last year read it to them already!

      It freed up a block of time for us to read "Wonder" though, and for that I'm grateful. It's now going to be a yearly read for my class.

      I love your blog and I'm your newest follower! I love that my blogging is introducing me to new blogs to add to my feed!

    2. Ahhh thanks Nick! I was just reading about you smashing an english muffin into a donut shape! LOL. I go to McDonald's each day to get a large coffee and cranberry orange muffin, and now that I am on break I am finding it hard to turn anything I have into a muffin! I went through the drive thru today in my pajamas!! I have not read the book Wonder but I have read about it. Now that I have seen you comment about it and you LOVE the same book I do (Phantom Tollbooth) I must go out this week and buy a copy! I'll get you a donut while I'm there...not in my pjs!

  3. Welcome to blogging Nick! I love what you've done so far and I've become your newest follower. I can't wait to read more from you. I'm a substitute teacher still awaiting my own classroom! :) I have not read this novel yet, but you have made me to find it! :) Thanks for the idea!

    The Adventures of an Occasional Teacher

  4. Love The Phantom Tollbooth, one of my favorite books! Also, I just read Wonder, what a perfect book for kids today.

    Welcome to blogging! It looks like you're off to a great start!
    Upper Grades Are Awesome

  5. Hi Nick!
    I could have sworn I already followed your blog, but must have done it on my iPad and it doesn't always play nice w/ bloodspot. Anyway, here I am. I absolutely love the Phantom Tollbooth, even though it took me years to get past the cover. I always thought I'd be a primary teacher, but found my home in 6th grade and never looked back.

    Looking forward to your future posts.
    Desktop Learning Adventures

  6. ...and then there's that stupid "I know what you're thinking and you really don't want to type the word you just typed, so I'll change it for you" auto correct. Not bloodspot... blogspot. (That, alone, took me 3 times to override various forms of the word!) Yikes, you'd think the website would like its own word!
    Desktop Learning Adventures

    1. So strange, I read it as blogspot automatically in my head and had to go back to see the bloodspot!

      Thanks for stopping by because now I've found your wonderful blog!


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