A Teacher Gift Your Students Will Treasure All Year!

In years past, I have struggled with what to give my students for gifts.  I usually defaulted to candy and pencils.  Such gifts didn’t break the bank of a first year teacher, but it wasn’t really what my students wanted. However, they took the bags with a smile. Flash forward to my first year at a new school and my usual teacher gift of candy and pencils just weren’t going to do the trick as many of my students weren’t all that crazy about sweets or needed extra pencils. What to do, what to do? Continue reading

How To Conquer The Early Finisher Syndrome

We’ve all been there…It’s small group and station or center time.  You are in the middle of small group when you hear them!!! Those words of horror… “I’m done!  What can I do now?”  What do you do?  Sweat pops out between your shoulder blades and your mind goes blank.

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Teachers…Overwhelmed? Stressed? Help is on the way!

It’s the start of a new school year…excitement, challenges, classroom set-up, professional development, meetings, forms, IEPs, standards, meetings,  weekly or daily focus walls, lesson plans to be submitted weeks in advance, meetings, classroom management plans, etc.  You get my drift!  You begin to feel lost in maze of meetings and  a jungle of forms that all needed to be turned in yesterday!  And it’s only the few first weeks of school!!! YIKES!

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My Mistakes Will Make You A Better Teacher!

 

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And so it begins!!!

It’s Back to School time!!!  I am pulling out my list of things to get done before school starts and here is the first thing I put on my To-Do list!!!

Whether you are a brand new teacher entering your first classroom or a veteran teacher, there are always mistakes made, that if you aren’t careful, will  have you wondering if you chose the right career!!!  Read on…

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What Happened in the Classroom When I Posted the Schedule

I was recently asked what advice I would give a brand new teacher.  Well, I’m not a new teacher but I felt like one when I moved to a new school last year.  After my experiences last year, I would always suggest posting a daily schedule!!   Who knew a classroom schedule could be a game changer and bring calm to a classroom of fifth graders?

Up until last year, I was a departmentalized 5th grade teacher with no control over my schedule.  All that changed last year when I moved to another school.  Suddenly, I had a lot of control over when and what I taught AND I was self contained… meaning I taught all subjects except specials and science to a fabulous group of 5th graders.  Wahoo!!! There was just one problem….due to the specials, not one of my days’ schedule was the same!

Looking back,  “Hello, Captain Obvious.  a posted schedule is the answer!”  Well, I never claimed to be the sharpest pencil in the box!  It was a rough couple of  beginning days….”What’s next?”, “What books do I need this morning?” “What specials do we have today?”  I could go on, but it is just too embarrassing!!!

About the third day, after answering way too many questions about “What are we doing today” or “What books do I need to have?”,  I had a moment of clarity after the students left!!! I literally walked over to the white board at the front of my room and wrote the next day’s schedule on the white board.  My classes were listed in one color; specials and non-academic activities such as assemblies in a different colors.

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Nirvana!!!  No, not the grunge band…but perfection!   No more, “I don’t have my math book!”, “I thought today was computers, not media!”   No more clamoring from the students as to what the day would bring as students came in.  Suddenly there was peace in the classroom!

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graphic by http://www.mycutegraphics.com

 

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Let me know what you think.  Leave me a comment!

 

 

Be The Change!

If you have been on any social media in the past few weeks, you know there’s been a lot of tears shed.  It’s left me feeling helpless and wondering what I can do.  How can I, one person, make a difference?  I have three kids and six grandkids and I worry about their future.

Well, I found my answer in a most unexpected place…FACEBOOK!  Say what?  Yup, I was kind of surprised myself.  I was rolling through my feed this morning and there it was. I am friends with a neat lady who has a Facebook page titled, “Read Like A Rock Star”.  She, too, was shocked and upset with what has been happening AND she had a plan!

Her plan is simple and yet so powerful that I felt that I needed to let everyone know about it.  Here it is… Acts of Random Kindness… with a twist.  Read Like A Rock Star has a plan and I want all of us to get on board with it…that’s why I am writing about it.  She has a store on Teachers Pay Teachers, but this won’t cost you anything more than a moment of your time.

She has created a ARK  board of ideas that each of us can implement on our own!  You could cut the board apart and hand the individual cards out to people or simply choose an act to work on each day.  I have already downloaded my own copy and I plan on starting today!  You DON’T have to be a teacher but you will need to make an account…doesn’t cost a dime!!!  You also don’t ever have to download any thing else from her store.  As she says in her description,

“It’s time to take action. I am a strong believer in being the change you wish to see. One of the happiest times in my life was when I printed A.R.K (Acts of Random Kindness) cards for myself that said, “This act was performed by me, but inspired by God. All I ask in return is that you perform a random act of kindness for someone else.”                                     be the changeHere’s her link…https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Be-the-Change-2639829

BE THE CHANGE WITH ME!!

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Get Ahead of the Summer Slide!

Are you worried about your K-2 reader losing some ground as summer rolls in? There’s a quick and easy game you can play with your K-2 child that will help them keep their reading skills sharp!  Here it is…

Slide1Outdoor Bingo! Picture and Word Game K-2

Here’s the better news!!!  It’s on sale right now until June 5!  Have fun!

Sue

Do You Need to Engage and Excite Students? Use these words!

The words are, “Shall we play a game?“, which  is a throw back to an old 1980’s movie…”War Games”.  Sometimes trying to get our students excited about class work can be like a battle.  I have a very competitive group of students this year. They really love to outdo each other but I also want them to pull together as a team.

I tapped into that competitive streak to get them excited about doing classwork earlier this week.  I have a game I call “Captain and the Crew”.  It takes nothing more than a worksheet, white boards, markers, and erasers.  This game really appeals to them as it pits the class against me!!

As the teacher, I am the “Captain” of my class and my students are my “Crew“.  I handed out the worksheet and then wrote the words “Captain” and “Crew” on my whiteboard at the front of the room. The students work a problem independently.  When the lid is on the marker of all the students, we are ready to share our answers.

Students hold up their individual white boards to show the answer.  If everyone is correct, the students earn 2 tally marks.  If even one student is wrong, I earn 5 tally marks.  That’s not fair, you say? The students were more excited about beating me and me not being “fair” then really had them fired up!

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How did I use the worksheet?  I had the students use the worksheet problems as the questions for our game.  See the results of our first game below…

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I already have my students begging for a rematch!  Who knew a worksheet could be so fun?

Let me know what you think and if you use it in your classroom!Signature

 

 

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The Free Dictionary Game Students Will Beg For!

Here’s the dictionary dilemma, teachers!  We want our students to increase their knowledge of vocabulary in all subjects, but too often our go-to assignment has students  looking up the words in a dictionary and copy the meaning into a notebook.  For myself, even I used to shudder at the idea of looking up  unknown words in the dictionary!

Engage students are learning students and the best is when they don’t even realize they are learning!!!  I was racking my brain for a new way to introduce the vocabulary in a novel I wanted the class to read.  It came to me like a flash!!!!  I find that most students get very competitive in a game situation and that is what led to, TA DAH!!!  DICTIONARY DASH!!  Even better, the game is free AND easy to implement!!!

Here’s how it works in my room.  I have my students get themselves into groups of three.  Each group gets a dictionary.  Because my students are so competitive,  I have the students put their hands on the closed dictionary BEFORE I write the word to be looked up on the board.  On the board I have drawn a chart.  Word/Part of Speech/Definition.   After the word is written  on the whiteboard, they can’t start their search until I say “Go!”

The first group to find the word yells “We got it!’ and they send one of the students to the board.   The chosen student writes the part of speech and the definition on the whiteboard.  I will check the student’s choice of definition to make sure it is the one needed for the day’s reading.

The other students are reading the meaning of the word as it is written on the board.  After that, the groups put their hands on the closed dictionary and the game continues until all vocabulary words needed for that day have been defined.

That being said, let me add a few pointers about the game:

  1.  DO NOT use this game every day in all subjects!  Anything done a lot gets boring and that’s what you’re trying to avoid!!!
  2. DO NOT use this game to look up EVERY vocabulary word in the lesson.  Why?  See #1!
  3. DO use it in subjects other than just Reading.  Students need to see the need for increased vocabulary in all subjects.

I have the students put the vocabulary words and meanings into their subject journal and glossary. We then jump into the lesson.

That’s it…that’s all it took to get my kids excited about using the dictionary!!  What’s the worst?  You lose a bit of time…What’s the best? A new game that takes little to no prep and excites students!   

If you try the game, let me know how it worked.  If you have some fun ideas for vocabulary, share those too!!!!  Thanks!

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