New Years Is A Time For Change

Promises, Promises!

I’ve never been one of those folks who sit down on Dec. 31 and make all kinds of “promises” about changes I planned to make in the coming New Year.  So why the title?  Wellll…I can explain

As some of you may know, I have a store, Susan Mescall, where I sell lesson ready products.    While I personally may not be making any changes, I have started looking at my store products and noticing that one of my earlier products needed a makeover…in other words…A CHANGE!

Who’s That?

I’m a fifth grade teacher and my students and I often share what books are being read out of school or during independent reading.  Somehow the subject of adventure books were being discussed and I mentioned Kidnapped.  One of my students wanted to know who the author was and when I replied with Robert Louis Stevenson,  no one in my class had any idea of who he was!  Kidnapped was my first experience with a “classic” adventure book when I was a kid and it bothered me that my students had no idea who he was.

What to do? What to do?

It really concerned me that my students had heard of the book, but had no idea about the author.  I decided to introduce my students to people who had impacted the world around them, but because to time, had been “forgotten”.

I began to search for people and their words of wisdom.  I have included such well-known people as Oprah Winfrey, and Mohammed Ali.  I have also included lesser known people as Jaime Escalante and Marva Collins.

Cha-Cha-Changes!

(apologies to David Bowie!)

Imagine my dismay, when I took another look at my early product and discovered errors in grammar and the fact I no longer liked the look of my product.  So I have spent time changing, and hopefully you’ll agree, improving my product.

I changed the name to “Journal Responses for Students”.  I have taken out the clip art and made the pages and font larger.  I have also enlarged the author’s picture and updated information.

  So I guess you can say that Change is in the air today!!!

                    Let me know of any other folks you think today’s students should know about!

Journal Prompts for Students

 

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Want To Start the New Year on a Positive Note?

Who Usually Gets The Teacher’s Attention?

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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.

whiteboard

 

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!

children-happy

graphic by http://www.mycutegraphics.com

 

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

 

 

My Favorite Thing For Back To School!

I am a part of a group of bloggers who are sharing their favorite go-to item for back to school.

My first thought, when it came to blogging about my favorite go-to items for back to school, was I need them all!  How can I narrow down my goodies to just one or two things?  How could I pick?  So I gave my list a hard look and chose my MUST HAVE favorite!

My flash drive is my favorite, can’t live without it,  back to school MUST have!  It carries my lesson plans, activities, and any other educational items I might need,  in a tiny item that is no bigger than my thumb.  I remember a time when, if I came across an activity or an idea that I might use in a future lesson, a copy would be made, put into a folder and that folder was labeled and  put into a file cabinet.  I would have to remember where that activity or lesson was located and pull it out to be copied.  It would be put on my desk (the less said about that, the better!).  I would then have to copy my chosen activity or worksheet.  That’s a LOT of remembering…not my strongest suit! Too often, the activity or copies would be lost in the “dark” area known as MY DESK!   As I would pack up for the summer, I might run across the folder, “Oh, I totally forgot about this!”  and back into the cabinet it went for next year and my remembering process would have to  start all over again!

Or how about this scenario…I would see an excellent resource on the Internet years ago and I would have to print it out…See above for what would happen next!  When I was first shown a flash drive and how to use it, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  No more remembering papers or folder labels; I could search my flash drive for what I needed!  Not only that, I could simply create folders and put my ideas and activities in them.  No more papers to carry, file in a cabinet, or lose! No more forgetting copies,either.  I could simply plug in that wonderful little tool and make copies on my home or classroom computer.  My flash drive is almost the assistant I don’t have anymore!

My biggest school panic is when I cannot find my flash drive!  I kid you not, every night while school is in session and before I go to bed, I make sure I put my flash drive into a particular pocket in my purse, after I have finished working with it!!  I am not even that careful with my classroom key!  While school is still a few weeks off for me, I know I will be walking in prepared just about anything, thanks to my flash drive!

Be sure to check out the links below for many opportunities to win gift cards and also read what other teachers are sharing about their favorite back to school items.  Happy reading!!!

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