I'm always on the hunt for easy gifts students can make.
Dads get shafted a bit sometimes when school gets out before Father's Day. Help your students prep a gift now, so they'll be ready in June even if school gets out before then.
This one is an app. You can get it on your tablet (or phone) for students to use. It costs just $2.99. First, have students prepare a list of 5-10 words they want to use to describe themselves or they can choose words to use as a hidden message for their dad. Snap a picture of the student with the tablet (or phone). Next, have the student tap on the T to enter their words. Then, they can tap the Style button to choose the look they want. Once they're done, the pic can be sent to a printer. Create a frame with construction paper and it's done!
Print the card pages (back to back) and the token sheet on card stock. Students create a card with slots to place the...
Summer reading is a requirement at many schools around the country. While I'm not a fan of checklists and reading logs, I am fan of reading.
So many students have wonderful teachers who've matched them with books and made reading purposeful and exciting. Their students have learned to search for good books and to love books. You've have caught their hearts, and they will be readers for life.
Here's a few ideas for making summer reading purposeful for students and have it flow right into lessons for the first weeks of school.
Order caterpillars for September. Perhaps the summer read for incoming kindergarteners is the Very Hungry Caterpillar and as many Eric Carle books as they can get their hands on over the summer (parents can read to them aloud). Then, you can start September with these and an author study on Eric Carle. Read a bunch of his books, talk about...
This is the time of year where we're not only prepping for the end of school but thinking of what we'll do the same and differently next year. It's funny how those things are intricately tied together.
I've got a few things for you for end-of-year, summer boosts and gathering all those thoughts and ideas for next year as well. Wow! That's a lot of stuff, right?! No worries, I'll make it as simple and easy as I can.
As we near the end of the year, it can be difficult to keep track of all the moving parts to get things wrapped up, packed up and ready for summer. Here's my [free] End-of-Year Checklist to help you with that.
While you probably know I'm NOT a fan of summer homework, you might not know this bit. I'm a HUGE fan of sneaky ways to get kids learning and reading without even knowing it's the dreaded "practice" they want to avoid. So here's two items to help you support parents in this quest.
I think we can all agree that sight word knowledge is important to fluent reading. Since sight words are functors, the glue that hold sentences together, they're everywhere in our reading. Once students have a good sight word vocabulary, their reading takes off. In short, students struggle less and reading becomes more pleasurable. Knowing sight words is just one more tool we can give students' to put in their reading toolkit.
As much as we want students to know their sight words, we have to use caution in choosing how to teach them. Making sight word instruction another chore is stressful for everyone. We know stress inhibits our brain's memory system. The more stressful we make learning, the less students remember. So...
Here's a system that's super easy and takes only few minutes to do with each of your small groups. Once I started using it with my students, I realized it was a game changer....
I'm sure we can all agree we got into this teaching gig with the same enthusiasm and expectations for our future success as teachers. We looked forward to making a positive difference in students' lives, to helping them to love learning, to help students learn exponentially and to contribute to their become amazing people. It wasn't going to be our job; it was going to be our vocation.
Sure we do a lot of what we hoped to accomplish but we're worn to the bone. Why are we so tired and overwhelmed all the time? Well... there are lots of factors contributing to that. We could go on and on, right?! But, let's deal with the ones we can actually control.
Here's the ones we can control (off the top of my head): energy level, sleep, self-care, preparation, knowing how to say no, confidence, time management, classroom management, how much work we...
Someone once told me...
Classroom management is like that. It's also the one thing that can make or break your school year.
When we're at university, we spend a lot of time learning how and what to teach. We also learn about laws, theory and all kinds of minutia. Classroom management is taught, but it's such a hard thing to grasp until you're faced with an entire class on your own.
When you get to make up the rules, begin the year any way you want and every decision rests firmly on your shoulders, classroom management is an entirely different animal. It seems so simple. You have rules and consequences and the students fall into line, right?!
Nothing could be further from the truth. There will always be those students who are natural "rule followers" and "pleasers". On the other hand, there's always those who have to push the envelope, nudge your boundaries...
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse in our personal and professional lives, right?! Well, I can't help you with your personal addiction to your feeds, but your professional habits are another story.
Full disclosure: I'm a "moderation in all things" kind of girl, so you're going to be hearing about limits too.
The first thing you need to do is turn off all of your notifications in any platform you use. The more you use them, the more notifications you'll get. Ugh! Too distracting!
That said, let's jump right in. if you don't use social media for teaching ideas, inspiration and connections, it's time to change that.
As we head into the latter part of the school year, we can all get a bit grumpy. Let's face it, life in a crowded place can wear on us. As I tell my kids, "sometimes it's just too much togetherness." Occasionally, we just need a break and chance to be grumpy for a bit.
Helping students both understand their feelings and find appropriate ways to cope is a big part of effective classroom management. I find picture books to be a great way to do that while teaching content at the same time.
Jim woke up grumpy and got grumpier the more everyone tried to tell him what to do about it. When Norman finally tells Jim, "It's a wonderful day to be grumpy." Jim finally starts to feel a little bit better. There's just something about being understood that's more helpful than the most well-intentioned advice.
Well...you know me. I...
Yes, your consistency matters, but great classroom management is more than that. It's more than cute tricks like lights with the volume level on them or a bell or chime to get students attention. Classroom management might start with your boundaries, rules and consequences, but it also includes your systems and how you train (or don’t train) your students.
No matter what classroom management systems you use, you MUST take time to train your students or it will fail. Why? Well, it will always be you managing your student's behavior. What we really want, even when we don't know it, is for our students to learn how to manage themselves. We owe it to our students to teach them self-management. It's a life skill.
Sometimes we forget that students don’t just "know" how to “follow the rules” or even how to reasonably move about the room.
As a new teacher, I set up...
Do you ever come to school with nothing left? Seriously. There are times I get up in the morning and think, I have nothing left to give. I’m not being lazy or selfish, just out of gas.
Well, our students have those days too. Actually, some students have a lot of those days. Here’s what to do about that.
Become a bucket filler. Figure out what helps each student feel cared about. It's actually pretty simple. Ask students in your class what they would like best out of a few options. Make a graph and give each student 2 post-its to put their name on. Have them place the notes on their 2 favorite ways to know they're cared about.
For some kids it’s a random high five or a class handshake. An acknowledgment of their hard work can really make some students days. Perhaps it’s taking time to talk with them, ask a question or share a joke for minute. They just want a little snippet of your time. Other students...