Thursday, October 20, 2016

Don't Run With Scissors

Have you ever been in a spot where you were sure as gold that you were supposed to take that leap of faith, so you jumped.

Not so recently, I jumped. I fell. I fell flat!

I don't think it was because I made the wrong choice. I just wasn't prepared enough in the transition in a variety of areas, mostly in my heart. I thought I was, but I cried everyday I came home for the first month.

I could easily make this post all about me, but it is not going to be. I am going to a conference with a theme: Stronger Together, so this is about seven educators who rallied around me at a point where I wanted to run with scissors and let me cry, vent and spoke life back into me and I put the scissors down.

This is a thank you.
Thank you Mark French and Bret Domstrand. Thank you for being excellent leaders in my life and showing me for several years now what strength looks like, yet also showing your willingness to be vunerable so that you can speak to my heart. I heard you. Some people take this teaching thing one year at a time. You reminded me to take it one day at a time and to celebrate the small successes. You reminded me that students matter. Epic feelings of failure are real, but not the truth. You shared from your own experience and your own moments of questioning and my perspective changed. Thank you Lee Graves for several discussions and taking my pulse and offering hope.

I wanted to thank my sisterhood of friends who listened to me and set my feet higher on a ground and gave me a safe place to fall apart at the same time. Thank you Fran, Krisanne, Jenny and Sandy. Thank you for being pillars of educators in my life and for speaking not just encouragement into my life, but truth as well.
Maybe you feel like me right now, you are wondering if you maybe jumped wrong and instead of flying, broke your ankle. Maybe you did, it will all be okay! Maybe you didn't and it will all be okay. It all gets better. Maybe you have been in this business for a long time like me and have a bit of a pride issue. Let me encourage you to take a deep breath, to seek out authentic council and to open your heart to their wisdom. Be vulnerable. Have hope.  The tide comes and the tide goes. Roll with the tide and give yourself grace.

We are stronger together. I love you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Filled Up & Ready to Pour
It is easy to be a teacher on the go even throughout the summer. However, we spend nine months pouring ourselves out for the students and their families until there is nothing left of us. Oh sure, we get the little breaks here and there for a sanity boost so that we don't totally fall apart, but that is not enough. It is certainly not enough for me. My favorite part of the summer was shutting down, turning off and tuning in to nature, my family and the world I am part of that has nothing to do with teaching for the month of July. I took all of July off with the exception of #edcampSurfIA hosted by my friend Steve Kwikkel, which ended up to be a road trip with my besties and my daughter.
In the end, it doesn't matter what you do to relax, to debrief, to unplug, to undo. It matters that you do just that because if you do not, you won't have enough in you to pour out on your new students and families when the year starts!

Wishing you all a fantastic school year! Be the change!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Everybody WINS In Math (Guided Math)

Image result for guided math
Guided Math allows for differentiation using a flexible framework to meet the needs of all learners. It is NOT whole group instruction, nor is it an emphasis on pencil and paper learning so as to become a worksheet wonder. Instead, by providing more opportunities for 1:1 engagement and observation, I can use guided math then to observe so much more closely what the standards the students are excelling in and which they need more help in.  I find that my background now with Guided Reading and my four years so far of Guided Math have helped me understand the content so much more deeper so that I can reach right to where the student struggles. I really enjoy this process.

Everybody WINS In Math is a vigorous schedule. I use the word vigor over rigor on purpose (see below).


1. a (1) : harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment : severity (2) : the quality of being unyielding or inflexible : strictness (3) : severity of life : austerity b : an act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty
2. : a tremor caused by a chill
3. : a condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable; especially : extremity of cold
4. : strict precision : exactness
5. a obsolete : rigidity, stiffness b : rigidness or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli

Does that sound like fun? NO. That is a horrible horrible way to learn.


1 : active bodily or mental strength or force
2 : active healthy well-balanced growth especially of plants
3 : intensity of action or effect
4 : effective legal status

Here is the debut of how I will use Guided Math in the 5th and 6th grades starting this school year 2016-2017.  Here is my previous blog post a few years ago about BUILD math, which still is very effective if you have a longer class period.

I wish you all a great school year!

Kimberly Hurd Horst