I have officially wrapped up my 10th year of teaching.  It’s crazy that I’ve been in the classroom doing what I love for 10 years.  It sure doesn’t seem like that.  But it’s true!  How do I know??
Well, I got this 10 year pin from my district….so it must be true!
Don’t be jealous of my awesome 10 year award….
So the other night, I was doing what all teachers do late at night…laying in the bed…  I was on Pinterest and found this image:
And I thought…what a great idea for teachers at the end of the year!   (But I’m not going to that many of each…)  So here are some of my real and honest reflections on the school year.
Working with a new population of students!  This was my first time working with an almost entirely EL population!   And it was AMAZING!   15 of my 18 students were EL and a majority of those Spanish.  I also had one Mandarin speaker and one who spoke Arabic.    Can I just say how much I loved these kids and their love and respect of school and learning?   
Getting a large classroom shaped like a square!   My old classroom was tiny and shaped like a W!  So this large, bright, open space was amazing!
New technology!   I teamed up with Alive Studios to bring augmented reality into my classroom and it was amazing!  We used Letters Alive and Math Alive as part of our instruction.  Mind blowing stuff!

Growth and progress!   Every year I am amazed at the growth and progress I see in my students!   But this year it was different.  When I think about my students coming into the classroom not knowing letters or how to write their name AND not knowing the language, I am floored to know that we left kindergarten READING AND WRITING!    That’s a powerful testament to the hard work and perseverance of my ‘staches!
The Kindergarten Smorgasboard of course!   This blog and my social media pages allows me to keep in touch with teachers all over the world.  These teachers inspire me, teach me, and help me be a better teacher and person!   And I get to share my passion and love of teaching!     
Game Changers
Augmented Reality.  Game changer.  This new technology brings learning to life in an amazing and hands on way!

Flexible seating.  No tables and no desks is a huge game changer every year.  It totally transforms the space and the learning.  Every classroom should be doing it!
Click the link and the image for blog posts about no tables no desks!
This year I focused on my students and my classroom more.  I tried to ignore the “stuff” that surrounds teaching and kept my eye on the prize:  the kids.  Because really, it’s all about them and that “stuff” doesn’t matter!   Bonding with my students and their families made a tremendous impact on our classroom and what we accomplished this year!
Guided Reading.  I really tried to buckle down on our guided reading lessons and tried to protect that time as much as possible.  It worked!   Our reading scores were great.  All but 2 of my students are at grade level.   
My transition to a new school was tough.  I wasn’t accepted and was looked at as the principal’s favorite because I was one of a handful of people he brought with him.  My methods were questioned and frankly, people didn’t like me and they openly admitted that.   That’s hard.  But again, I tried to focus on the students and rise above.  And if we’re being honest, I could have done more to bridge the divide and work on that relationship.  I am pumped for next year and I think it’s going to be a great year.  I’m going into the school with a fresh attitude and a desire to build relationships with my co-workers so we can make our school THE BEST school in our district!
There were so many things we didn’t get to do….space, dinosaurs, missed science experiments…those things always disappoint me.  
Vocabulary.  I dropped the ball on vocabulary instruction and this is something I want to do better with next year.  I’m thinking TPR (total physical response) to teach new words and definitions.  I’m thinking lots of vocabulary charts with pictures.  This will be focus area next year for my instruction.
And of course, the biggest disappointment in this year was the sudden loss of my mom.  I told my families on our last day that I couldn’t have made it through the last 2 months without my ‘staches.  They’ll never know how much they helped me this year.

And so my 10th year of teaching saw the hardest year of my personal life but the best year of my teaching career.  This group of students pushed me and challenged me and got me through the lowest days of my life.  This group will forever be my favorite students ever.   I stumbled as a teacher and a person many times, but I got up, dusted off and learned from my mistakes.   Next year will be a new and bigger adventure and I am excited to share my journey with you!
THANK YOU for the support and friendship and encouragement and inspiration you give me each day!   I am truly blessed by each person who stops by The Kindergarten Smorgasboard!   Ya’ll make me and the world a better place!

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  • Reply Sarah May 27, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing your ups and downs and goals for next year! I need to sit down and do the same thing. I know flexible seating is on my agenda for next year. Tried it a little at the end of the year and saw my kiddos working so much harder than at their tables. Thanks again for sharing!

  • Reply Janet Greaves May 27, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Congrats on your 10th year of teaching and another wonderful and inspirational year! You not only inspire these precious children but us teachers' as well. I just love reading your blog and look forward to each and every post. Thanks again! 🙂

  • Reply Jacqueline Durant-Harthorne May 28, 2016 at 12:59 am

    I know that being different can sometimes be lonely. People snicker, question, and sometimes doubt and hope for your failure so that they do not have to look inside their own practice. I too had a hard year with professional relationships. Thank god for a super principal who believes in me and encourages me to be me.

  • Reply Karyn May 28, 2016 at 1:47 am

    I just love you!!!! You are ALWAYS looking at the positive and striving to be better! You are honest and always willing to share your knowledge with others (even things that didn't work)! I'm so glad I've been able to follow you from the beginning and have had the opportunity to learn from you! You rock Greg (and Jason too)!!!!!

  • Reply Veronica Segura May 28, 2016 at 7:30 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • Reply KinderCawley May 28, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Loved your post! You are an honest, humble, down to earth teacher, who i really admire! I purchase so much of your creations on tpt because they are engaging, well-created, and down-right awesome! Thanks for being you!

  • Reply Linda Groce May 28, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    This is a great post, Greg! Happy 10th anniversary. Awesome that your district acknowledges that! I have been reflecting all week about my year and I'm going to go to my blog and write about it in the same format, too…just so I will have a record of it. I really want to try the flexible seating for next year. Just got to think about how to make it work!
    I am so very sorry about your mom! I'll be praying for you as you work through the grieving of it all. It hurts so much when someone you have known and loved all of your life leaves this earth.
    Enjoy your summer and keep periscoping! It's always fun to watch and listen to your Periscopes! Linda's Learning Loot

  • Reply Misha Bartolomei May 28, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Congrats on 10 years!! I remember feeling that was a major milestone for myself as well, but I didn't get any sort of recognition from my district. I'm glad your district acknowledges your commitment and dedication.

  • Reply Ashley Cauthen May 28, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I am so sorry to hear that you had a rough transition. There are so many people who think you are fantastic. You have changed how I teach and I know you have made a difference in so many teachers lives. You have not only effected your students, but so many other students through teachers because of your ideas. Keep working hard and fighting for your kids! You're doing great.

  • Reply SDNana May 29, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Such a wonderful post! Hugs to you on the loss of your mom! No matter how old you get you will always miss your mom. I just finished my 33rd year! I wish I would have reflected and written about each one of them Good luck next year-you have a wonderful outlook and I believe wonderful things will happen.

  • Reply Alana Stanton June 3, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    This was so helpful Greg and I will write one of these for myself tomorrow. I cannot wait to hear about the vocab ideas. What has helped me is google images and quick you tube clips. I always show the kids these quick clips to help them better understand what we read. They love seeing these clips each day to start our sci/ss lessons. Builds more schema. Thank you for allowing me in your room during May. Game changer for me!
    Alana Stanton

  • Reply Unknown July 12, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I am working in my classroom now, as we speak, getting pumped to reach all my learners this upcoming school year. I also just finished my 10th year, and find myself just amazed at how many options are out there to improve my craft. This year I am doing the flex seating (a little nervous) but SOOOOO excited. Anywho, thanks for being such a great beacon and pioneer. Your successes pave the way, and your misteps help us all re-group and try again. Excited to see you in October for Kindergarten Conference!!!

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