We’re so excited for Teacher-Author Kristine Nannini: She authors the wildly popular blog Young Teacher Love – 5th Grade Blog AND she just got married! In fact, if you follow her on Facebook, you can watch the trailer of her wedding video. Read more to see what else she’s been up to.
1. Kristine, we love your blog. What’s your advice for teachers who are just starting out with blogging?
Thank you! I believe that if you have ideas you feel other teachers might benefit from, share them! That’s what being a teacher-blogger is all about. My most popular blog posts always involve fun new ways I’ve taught something or topics that I’m passionate about. Ultimately, you want to make your blog a place where teachers can visit to gather new ideas and find fun, new twists on lessons.
My 5th Grade ELA/Literacy Assessments and Teaching Notes is one of my favorite resources, for a few reasons. First, this resource was such a massive project and took me more than eight months to plan, design, and edit. Many late nights were spent on my couch trying to make the vision come to life. Also, the English Language Arts standards are not easy to assess, so planning and designing this resource challenged me creatively. Some of the assessments involved year-long observations, multimedia presentations, speeches, etc. In order to assess each standard, I had to write reading passages and writing prompts, embed videos, and develop rubrics. With the huge amount of detail and time commitment involved with this resource, I’m very proud of the end result.
My second favorite resource is my Student Data Tracking Binder. That’s because I truly believe in the efficacy of having students track their own data. I did the research on student data tracking, implemented the binders in my classroom, and was stunned by the results and growth that I saw in my students. When students track their own data, they take ownership of their learning, are intrinsically motivated, and perform better on high-stakes tests.
My favorite free resource is my Teaching Dialogue in Writing freebie. After reading through some of my students’ published work, I noticed that they needed some help adding dialogue to their writing and punctuating it correctly. So I developed this resource as a fun way to help students with this skill. The freebie includes a number of interactive activities that are great for hands-on learners!
3. How do you decide on what resource to make next? How does a resource go from an idea phase to “I’m going to make this”?
To come up with resource ideas, I’m always thinking about what students and fellow teachers might need. I also keep a pack of sticky notes in my purse, and jot down ideas for resources all day long. While I currently have about 100 color-coded sticky notes full of different resource ideas, I tend to pick the one that excites and inspires me the most. It’s hard to explain, but when I get that giddy feeling imagining the finished product, I know it’s the right resource to create.
Once I visualize a resource, I just start creating. Throughout the creative process, I always get more ideas about how to make the resource even better. It’s a constant process of creating, and stepping back to ask, “How could this be even better?” I’m obsessed with detail and I usually go through about five rounds of edits before I feel satisfied with the end result.
4. In addition to teaching and making resources, how else do you like to spend your time?
I tend to be a workaholic, so I try my best to unplug and step away from it all as much as I can. One of my favorite things to do is travel. On a typical weekend, my husband and I will pack up the car and make the drive to Northern Michigan. My family has a cottage there, and we enjoy going up there as much as possible. For my husband’s birthday this past year, we explored all of the different wineries throughout Traverse City and Old Mission Peninsula (Author note: That’s the happy couple in wine country in the photo up top). Besides Northern Michigan, we’ve enjoyed traveling to Mexico as well as different places throughout the United States. However, my absolute favorite trip was when I backpacked throughout Europe for an entire month. It was an incredible experience.
When I’m not traveling or working, I enjoy decorating my home, gardening, and clearing out my DVR! 😉
5. Congratulations on your recent nuptials! What’s a favorite memory of the day?
It truly was the best day! My husband (I’m still getting used to saying that!) and I have been together 11 years now, so it was a truly special celebration for all of our family and friends. The best part of the day was when I was walking down the aisle with my dad. My husband and I decided not to have a first look, so he saw me for the first time walking down the aisle. When he saw me, he got emotional. It was so sweet and special.
Kristine, congratulations and thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. We look forward to the rest of your wedding video and the new close reading resource you’re working on!