Welcome to Mrs. Blake's Fourth Grade Class! (2016-2017)

Classroom teacher's photo. How it all Started:

I've built my life around teaching. As one of eight children, in a family of ten, my siblings and I learned the importance of taking care of one another. As an elder sibling, I grew up reading bedtime stories to my younger and quieter brother, "Fuffy" (Jeffery). Fuffy is almost fifty years old, and after all these years he has held on to that very same book with fond memories! I never knew this until years later and this touched my heart deeply! You never know when your own actions will have a positive impact on someone or who that person might be.

As an elementary age student, I spent many afternoons at the extra-long pine trestle table helping my four younger brothers (known as "the Frye boys") with homework. I felt honored when my mom would enlist me as the "teacher". It made me feel smart and capable. It was not a chore...to me it was indeed a compliment!

Also, as a child, I would love to "hide" in my top bunk bed and read! Reading took me to special places in which I could escape the noise and chaos that comes with the fun, loving "big family" package. And by the way...my family was called the "loud" family and still is!

Throughout our childhood, Bonnie (my year older sister) and I would tirelessly play in the creeks and explore the woods, unaware of the passing of time until Mom rang the bell to come home. Outside exploring is where most of my learning took place. Later, when I became a mom I

shared this with my sons. Currently, one son is a successful farmer and the other son, an environmental Engineer. They are fine young men, genuinely care about others, and do what they can personally and career wise to make the world a better place. I know they make my world a

better place!

I would have to say that my fondest early memories are of teaching my baby sister, Cindy, how to count and recite the alphabet! I would enthusiastically take out my cassette tape recorder while Cindy would eagerly dictate, "One...un, two..oo, thre..ee, dragging out each word into many syllables. Reluctantly, in sixth grade I would walk Cindy to kindergarten, accompanied by my friends who thought she was incredibly adorable! Mortified, after dropping her off she would say to me, "Bye, Poopie!" My friends, of course, would chuckle! Well, one day not much later, we were walking alone together and she said, "You're my bubby." I knew Cindy had meant buddy. Those few words told me that I was so much more than a big sister to her. Bubbies we were, and still to this day we affectionately refer to each other as Bub or Bubby.

Soon after I turned sixteen, our dear mother became quite ill. Without being asked, I naturally took on my responsibilities to help "keep the family together". The youngest child, little Bubby, became very special to me and her happiness meant everything to me. In my world, it was not,

"all about me".

My parents always encouraged me to set and attain the highest goals for myself. In spite of life's uncertainties and challenges, I did set goals. After years of twirling lessons and hours of practice, in high school, I became one of the elite "Reading Rockettes". We were a baton squad that presented twirling routines and our notorious, Chuckie's Kickline and dance (named after our choreographer). I lived for those football pep-rallies, pregame, and half time shows. Academically, I was naturally gifted in literacy and science ...math phobia would remain with me for years. Dad would spend countless nights with me on the living room couch, talking me through algebra and yuck, those endless word problems! Dad, an electrical/mechanical engineer, never gave up on me. With his help and guidance, he walked with me on my path that curved from Nursing School and ultimately to the field of education, my true "fit". In my senior year in college I was honored in receiving the "Student Teacher Competency" award.

Teaching is not just a job for me. It's always been inside of me and never rests.

As an interesting side note, I must share that later, my little Bubby grew up and earned a spot on the baton squad, also became a teacher, and had two sons (just like me!). As young married adults with children, we decided to go back to school together and with each other's support,

completed Master's Degrees in Special Education! Before our ceremony I showed Cindy the top of my graduation cap that glowed with the words,"I Love U Bubby!" in bright pink nail polish.

I did not mention my other beloved family members whom I've been blessed with, but they have equally contributed to the woman I've become, my journey, and have provided me with a true sense of what the important things in life are. And those important "things" are the ones that can only be shown through our own actions.

Unfortunately, as a teenager, I learned about loss and grief, sooner than most. As years passed, I built a resilience and found the confidence that I could adapt to change and persevere. I don't believe in luck or bad luck for that matter. What I do believe, is that you are responsible for the direction of your own future. I believe that we need each other to be happy and successful. Be cognizant of your actions and words ...they may influence those around you.

Boy! You can do astounding things when you know there is support from someone that will never give up on you. I had people in my life that never gave up on me and as an adult continue that legacy with my family, my children, and the students that come into my life.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart!

SPECIAL INTERESTS & HOBBIES:

Reading, crocheting, oil & watercolor painting, sewing, cooking (especially pies and tarts), refinishing antique furniture (and shopping for pieces to work on!), planning "get togethers" with my large family and forcing them to sing on my Karaoke machine, being on my porch in the early

hours and identifying birds by their unique songs, making jewelry, making soap (yes, that's correct, not soup), country music, salt marsh stewardship, teaching myself to play my guitar and pretending I'm a country star, snowshoeing or taking walks in the forest with my husband

and going for rides on the back of his motorcycle, playing trivia games with my three sons and laughing when it becomes competitive....oh, laughing....I do laugh quite a bit (sometimes maybe a bit too loud). I think I should probably stop now so I can leave some mystery about myself!

EDUCATION:

High School, Reading Memorial High School, 1982

Nursing Program, Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Medford,

MA, 1982-1983

B.S.Ed., Westfield State College, 1983-1987

Certified in Project Read: Linguistics, Framing Your Thoughts, and Report

Form

M.Ed., Special Education, Salem State College

Reiki 1 Certification (just for fun!)

Still continuing!!!! Almost at Masters +30 credits!

Teaching Career:

Summer Camp Counselor (many summers) in my hometown of Reading, MA

Lead Prekindergarten Teacher, Nursery School at St. Dunston, Succasunna,

NJ

Teacher, The Children's House, Newburyport, MA

Substitute Teacher, Newburyport School District

Long Term Substitute Teacher, Grade 2, Kelley School, Newburyport, MA

Long Term Substitute Teacher, Kindergarten, Kelley School, Newburyport, MA

Infant Caregiver at KinderCare (summer)

Special Education Tutor (summers)

Special Education Teacher, Paul F. Doyon Memorial School, 1996-1998

MCAS Long Comprehension Scorer for the state of Massachusetts

Grade Four Teacher, Paul F. Doyon Memorial School, 1996-present

My Heartfelt Mission for All students and for Myself:

Be true to yourself.

Always do the right thing, even if it's difficult.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Learn what your strengths are and expand upon them.

Take a risk in learning.

Know that we are all connected and are important to one another.

Discover that your "best" and someone else's "best" will not be the same.

Learn how to compete with yourself. Do not compare yourself against another. We have different gifts!

Celebrate your unique talents and make a commitment to use them to make the world a better place.

Give the best you have to offer every day; so you will be ready for your

future, and your future will be ready for you.

Donna J. Blake

"About the Teacher Page" Copyright 2016 by Donna Blake

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Important Information

April 24, 2017

Monday
Back from Spring Vacation!!

Tuesday
ELA MCAS

Wednesday
ELA MCAS

Thursday
Inclass project due: State Tee-Shirts

Friday
ELA MCAS

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