Preparing for Curriculum Camp – 2019 edition

Last year’s Curriculum Camp was a huge success. Brief summary – my teacher BFF and I no longer work together but have always said [during the school year] we need time to just sit with like-minded people and like…. GO THROUGH all this stuff and actually PLAN IT (rather than be in survival mode during the year).

Well; we realized that WE ARE the like minded people and nobody was going to call or email us and offer to babysit us through our teaching journey. So Curriculum Camp was born. It’s literally just the two of us going through all our crap and attempting to organize our thoughts together. Early on in the summer while the school year is still in our minds – we meet, spread out all of our saved (smudged, crinkled) papers, open up all our tabs, and get to talking.

This year, I have two additional things to plan; 1) Adding level a level 3 class (every year I add a new one b/c I’m building a new program) and 2) my maternity leave Sept 16 – Oct 25. A caveat to my maternity leave plan – Thanks the the amazing national, Illinois and specifically rural Illinois teacher shortage… I don’t think I’ll be finding an actual Spanish teacher (let alone Spanish SPEAKER) for my maternity leave. It’s possible it will even be filled by multiple people. So… that’s been on my mind for the past year basically (yes, that’s before I even got pregnant when I was deciding if I even WANTED to, considering how obsessed I am with my new teaching position). ANYWAY….

This year, Frau is in Austria right now and we’re meeting later in June. But since my planning anxiety has been around for 1,000 months now, I’m getting started. I thought I would use a blog post to 1) organize my own thoughts for Frau and myself and 2) share with others what I’m thinking about this summer.

I know a lot of teachers and teacher-moms are unplugging this summer. Taking time for themselves and families, etc. Reading for pleasure. Not on social media, etc. THAT’S JUST NOT ME Y’ALL. I LITERALLY CAN’T. Doing this planning and daydreaming and obsessing makes me feel good, it’s who I am, so – if this stresses you out and you’re trying to just enjoy your summer, then BOOKMARK this for later and close this page now!

So… what am I doing to get ready?

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Sun’s out… Input IN!

It is evident from my blog history that I am only able to write as the semesters wind down. Blogging just doesn’t make the cut during the weeks and months I’m trying to survive teaching and momming. I’m hoping to get organized this summer and attempt to use this blog as a sharing platform AS WELL as using it as a personal reflection platform. Anyway – I have a lot I want to write over the summer as I look back on the year… but thought I’d share this out today while people are still in school so you can use it or make something like it for your kids. We don’t live in an area that has a Spanish-speaking community near by and my kids don’t have a TON of flexible transportation options. So what can I do to get Spanish into their ears and eyes over the summer?

Here is a link to it on Google Slides that I used to design it – this way you can make your own copy and change the lingo (mine is VERY “me”) and change the links or Netflix suggestions if you’d like to.

Exams – end of Semester 1 – in a class using NOVELS, CI, and a teacher who is kinda into ACTFL 3 modes

First of all – I don’t know if I’m supposed to call them midterms or finals. I prefer midterms – Spanish is a yearlong class and the Midterm is in December. Apparently, I’m wrong. I know – unbelievable. So anyway – This post is referring to the Exams that kids take in December to end 1st semester when they are going to come back and see you in January for 2nd semester.

I’m pretty into how it went. I’m gonna go ahead and turn this into an autobiographical, tell-all post that is way longer than it needs to be. Ready?let's go!

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Back to school – January 2019

Here’s a cool thing I did in class today. I stumbled across this book in the pile of books that our Pre-K library didn’t want anymore. Most of these books are super old, stinky, outdated, etc. However, being the typical teacher-hoarder and mom of a Pre-K kid, I tend to sift through these outcast books before they’re sent into the great beyond. Perro Grande…Perro Pequeño was one such book. When I find a bilingual book at all in the pile – I can’t really say noo, CAN I?!?! NO, claro que no. Well I hung onto it for a while and at one point my 3yo son found it and thought it was for him, so I let him keep it in his room for a while, but now that My HS Spanish 1 class is reading Brandon Brown quiere un perro… I knew I could use it in some way. Read more about how I’m using Brandon Brown here.  level 1 curriculum outline

This year, My Spanish 1 class has looked like this ————>> Continue reading

I survived DEVOLSON – barely.

Sunday, December 23. I don’t even officially count this as break yet – because it still feels like a normal weekend. Tomorrow when my alarm DOESN’T go off… THAT will be break.

Teachers that blog during DEVOLSON… who are you?  What are you? My son and I just watched Lilo and Stitch for the first time and I’m pretty sure if you are blogging during DEVOLSON you are an alien created by an evil genius alien in another galaxy. Just sayin.


I have a list of things to blog about – maybe I’ll drop them like a surprise Beyonce album again (hey – she did it more than once too…right? Is my pop culture reference correct? I’m I too old for this ????)

Alright y’all. Check ya later.

A return to authenticity – “beginner’s mind”

When I started this blog my goal was to use it as a space to explore both my personal and professional growth. When people who don’t get it say “try to separate the personal from professional” I’m like nah… that ain’t me. They’re the SAME. This is WHO I AM.  That’s why “Authentic Señora” seemed to be a fitting title. It was learning about #authres and more real, personalized teaching, and if I had $1.00 for every time I heard and read the word “authenticity” or “authentic” in my counseling MA program, well… I wouldn’t have student loan debt. Continue reading

Droppin’ blog posts like a surprise Beyoncé album

I’ve had lots of ideas for blog posts in my brain. I thought I’d come and write one called “Summer, Teacher BFFs, and Curriculum Camp… and who am I?” But it became clear that this one post would be like 5,000 words, so I decided to break it up and drop them all like a surprise new Beyoncé album – all at once. So:



#FrauandSkinner Curriculum Camp

Now that you know all about me and my teaching history and all about my BFF Frau and her teaching situation… I feel ready to discuss our Curriculum Camp at my house this May/June.

Frau and I have been teaching for several years in various schools and departments. We were both educated at U of Illinois. We started attending professional conferences together while teaching. After several years of self-doubt and budding self-confidence (We strongly believe that it is vital for human beings to be able to hold contrasting thoughts in their minds and hearts at one time) we asked ourselves… Continue reading