November 16, 2016

Teaching is HARD... YOU are doing AMAZING!

Typically this time of the year is when we start to feel it.. “Burn-Out SEASON” I have been blessed this past year to work hourly… and even so I feel it this time of the year. I do not know if it is the great weather that we start to feel in the FALL- we would prefer being outside? Or if it is all the long hours and hard work that just catches up with us? Countless hours are spent outside of teaching [planning, grading, conferences, meetings, IEP meeting, ARIP meetings, SPED meeting, liaison meetings, meetings, meetings, oh did I mention meetings?]. Who knows, but I do know that we start to feel the burn- out, the desire to just give up! Most teachers have a life outside of the classroom, most of us help manage a household. We are supermoms, super-dads, super-grandparents, super-aunts, super-people! We try to do everything, and be the best at everything, and it just catches up. It gets to the point that this is the time of the year that substitutes phones are ringing off the hook! Yup, either our immune systems get sick or we just need those MENTAL HEALTH DAYS! Right? Who is with me?
 

Just last week this was a conversation I had with a close teacher friend of mine.
[The name is changed to keep the anonymity].
Me: Hey girl, how is it going? How is work? Are you feeling better?
Chantel: Hey girl, it’s going… I am just exhausted. Ugh, I need a break
Me: Girl, is it work? Are you happy at your new job?
Chantel: No, girl. I love my school, and my team. It is just the whole thing. I cannot even start explaining. I am having the toughest class this year. I get to school every morning at 6:30am and leave every day at 6:45ish. By the time I get home I eat junk and just want to hop to bed. It is getting bad. I am so moody.
Me: Girlie, what can I do to help? You need to just leave, do not worry if you do not finish what you are working on, just leave. Can you do that?
Chantel: I wish, I try but we sometimes have after school meetings, and I have so many kids that need modified work, or I am responding to emails, grading, prepping. If I do not catch up I get so behind and it is just hard. I wish I could TEACH! Teaching is fun, it is all the extra!
Me: Girl, I understand, you truly need to remember: THIS IS A JOB, THIS IS NOT YOUR LIFE! You will stop loving it, if you keep doing this.

This is such a common conversation I have with so many teacher friends. So what can we do to help? How can this change? I will tell you, the paperwork, meetings, the grading will not go away. So you need to come up with a system. You need to change your mindset. You need to remember- this is a JOB! As much as you lobe teaching, it cannot consume you. You will BURN OUT. You need to take time for yourself. Here are a few easy tips I used that might help you…

1. NOT everything needs to be Graded. Yes, you can stamp it, place a sticker, and send
home. But it is ok to NOT grade every single thing! Make that a GOAL!
2. Plan early in the week for the next week. Start planning on Tuesday so it gives you a
few minutes each day to start copying and prepping for the next week. I would use the first
10 minutes of my planning each day to start prepping for the next week. So on Friday I had
everything set aside for the next week and all I had to do was write it out.
3.Use your time Wisely at work. I arrived 45 minutes before my students arrived. I would
answer emails, file papers. And organize. During my planning, I met with team, called
parents, met with admin if needed.
4.LEAVE everyday at a set time! If it is not complete, leave it! It will get done tomorrow!
5.REMEMBER to never compare yourself to anyone else! YOU are YOU, and YOU rock.
And… it ok to take a day off to RECOUP! It is called a MENTAL HEALTH DAY! Do not
forget to do that!
 
REMEMBER this is a job, yes you LOVE it and want to be the Best. But you can only be the best when you feel your best and take care of yourself. You are amazing, teaching is hard! Thank you for your hardwork! I wanted to leave you with a FEW fun Posters to HELP YOU! You can display them! The ultimate thing is just enjoy being a teacher and if you ever need anything, reach out for help, I am here, and many more of us! We are going through it, too and sometimes we just need a BIG shoulder!
Here are some FUN posters to INSPIRE and MOTIVATE YOU! Lots of Blessings to YOU!  You can use on Social Media, or Print and Display [if using on social media- shout outs are much appreciated!]
 
 
 
 

October 29, 2016

Tips on Growing Writers in Your Classroom

Writing… it is sometimes the most dreaded subject in school. In the past 16 years in the field of education I rarely stumble upon a kid that says they LOVE writing. So, my goal as a teacher is always researching and thinking of ways to get my kids to WANT to write and to grow as writers. I want to share with you some tips I have used that are tested and work!

1. Model, Model, Model: Yes, you want model good writing skills for kids to see. Use anchor charts, your smart boards, white boards, your writer’s notebooks. Write with your students. Let them see you write and help you write. Write together!

Assign an open ended prompt (ie: Best Day Ever) and show students the writing process steps one-by-one as students help along.
Act it out while writing. Prompt the students to help you in writing your story.
Let them hear you THINK as you write. Let them see you mess up, make changes and truly write! 
The students no matter what age will LOVE watching their teachers go through the writing process on each story as they are writing their own.

2. Creative Writing Prompts: Are you thinking and using great prompts that will motivate and encourage writing.

You need to change up writing genres every so often. You cannot always rely on Narrative or Expository Writing. You can have students write Book Reviews, Recipes, How-To’s, Songs, Poems, Plays, Mysteries, and much more.
Your goal is to grow writers in all Genres! So changing it up and trying different types of writing will encourage students to grow in different areas, and you never know, some may really show their skills in one area and surprise themselves.
 
3. Writing Tools: When your students begin writing they should have all the tools needed to make their writing time smooth. When I say tools I mean an area with all the necessities: Dictionaries, thesaurus, WORD WALLS, markers, pens, pencils, sharpener, erasers, paper, sticky notes, notebooks, helpful writing tools. This could be a little nook in your teaching area. The students should know that if they need something they can visit the area and get tools to help them be the best writer ever.

You can visit my Pinterest Boards: to see some great examples of classroom writing center areas. I love how many teachers organize it to meet their students needs. It doesn't have to take up tons of space, but having an area set aside will really help your little writers.

4.  Publishing Their Writing: Do you allow students to publish their writing? Have you taken the time to try out different publishing ideas? Of course, you complete the published works after the students went through the entire Writing Process. Students LOVE seeing their final work on display and take pride and getting to that point. Imagine all the hardwork and seeing it on display. After EVERY.SINGLE.PIECE of writing I would have my students publish their writing! It builds them up for some great writing. My students would work so hard on the writing process to SHOW OFF their writing at the end. I TOTALLY let my students share when they are ready with their published pieces. I noticed when I started allowing this in my classroom my students took pride in their work, and it helped GROW some fabulous writers!
Some PUBLISHED WRITING IDEAS I use are [see images for my student examples]
FANCY paper to publishing paper [you can create or buy fancy paper].
Writing booklets to create a cover, the writing, and the back.
Index Card Booklets
Powerpoint Presentations Published Pieces
Using Large Chart Paper- allow students to decorate and write on chart paper
 
5. Revisit and LOOK Back: Now, what does look back mean? That means you have your students revisit and look back at their past writing samples and see how they have grown as writers in your classroom. They sometimes want to improve their writing they completed at the beginning of the year. I allow this, it shows me how much they appreciate us taking time to revisit their past writing. I never allow my students to throw away ANY writing they complete in my classroom. I tell them that everything we complete is a masterpiece and we save everything.
 
I truly hope that these 5 quick easy to use tips will help you in your writing class. As teachers we are always looking for new ways to grow our students to the best of our ability. I want to share with you some ways I took writing to a whole new level. I am giving you a sample of some of my writing resources.
Year LONG Writing Prompt Bundle- Narrative, Expository, Opinion, Creative Writing with over 170 Writing Prompts. Each set has double the pages because of the options given to the teacher for student success! Plus Graphic Organizers for Narrative, How To, Expository Writing and Publishing Pages!
Picture Weekly Prompts- I created these to include a weekly prompt, revision & editing paragraph, and step by step writing process for students to follow each day of the week.

Picture Writing Prompts [ Quick Write, Narrative, Expository Writing]- These prompts are written with a picture and a prompt, plus a writing checklist.

Writing Prompts: Photo of the Week-  This is a set to use your entire school year! These Writing Prompts are a perfect activity to complete for warm-ups, bell work, independently in literacy groups, homework, extension work, and more! It is set up by: Monday: Inference and prediction writing using writing prompt| Tuesday: Notice and brainstorming | Wednesday: Introduction {Hook Writing} | Thursday: The body of the story | Friday: closing and ARMS and CUPS

Picture Writing- Quick Write Set #2- These Quick Write Prompts will encourage fabulous and motivating writers! These prompts are written with a picture and a prompt, plus a writing checklist [who, what, when, why, how- to encourage writing].
 
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September 27, 2016

Fall FUN Activities for Your Classroom

Autumn is definitely my favorite season of all… I love seeing all the color and feeling the change in the weather. It is the time we pull out our fun boots and cute scarfs! This is also the time of the year when we have established our students expectations, routines, and most things are smooth sailing in our classrooms. That is why I decide to I pull out some of my fun and engaging reading, writing and poetry resources.  My students LOVE these lessons. Sometimes I think my love of the activities comes through during my teaching, because my students will usually vote them as some of their favorites for the year!
I scoured over my many favorite Fall Activities that work in the classroom to share with you today. I want to share a few that I found and some that I use with my students. Also, there will be an activity that I want to share with you to use this season.
Here are my top 5 Fall Activities
I LOVE my monthly Reading Comprehension Passage Sets. The October Reading set is a perfect activity for you to use as: guided reading activity, bell work, homework, or assessments. Each set focuses on: Summary, Context Clues, Author's Purpose, Inferencing, and a Writing Skill. You cam easily project these on a SMARTBOARD or create monthly printable packets- answer keys are provided! They are quick mini passages that you will LOVE using with your students. I will create a monthly theme packet for each month. YOU will love grabbing these sets to use monthly with your students! I recommend using them with grades 3-5- every set has different genres from Poetry, Nonfiction, Fables, and Fiction! 

My absolute favorite fall activity to do is to study Fables in the Fall. I even call it FALL FABLES UNIT. We study and read many fables. We usually work on this unit for 2 weeks at the beginning of October. I use this resource and have my students develop their very own fable with a FALL TWIST to it! For example: the tortoise and the hare might race within a corn field or a Haunted House. The kids have a blast coming up with CREATIVE stories!

I also love focusing on Mysteries during the month of October. It goes so well with the month and kids really get into this unit of study. We read mysteries and really analyze them. The best part is having the students create their mystery and sharing them. I usually display them, the kids take so much pride in these units and published writing samples. I even found these cute notebooks at Target in the Dollar Spot that would be perfect for this unit.

I never leave out Halloween, I know how important this special day is for my kids and students. So I created a Halloween Activity Packet with the perfect amount of Writing, Poetry and FUN! My kids absolutely love the Writing Prompts. A good tip is to place these in a writing center and let students pick a few to focus on. The roll and write I would assign as an extension activity or homework assignment. There is so much in this packet you will have a blast in October!

I also love my Halloween Pennants- All you have to do is TEACH-GO with these! They are perfect interactive activities for any class! I have the How to Carve a Pumpkin or the Halloween Writing Pennants. 

Here are some of my Fall Favorites Blog Posts from some of my friends that I wanted to share with you all:

•Check out this amazing IPAD/ APP Activities for Halloween: 
•This is a great post on Teaching Synonyms  and has a great freebie:
•Another one is this several great resources that I wanted to share:

Thank you for being a subscriber to my blog! I would like to offer you this monthly Fall Freebie that I hope you enjoy using with your students! If you are a current subscriber just respond to this email for your personal link to receive this freebie before October 10th. 
If you would like this freebie click here: FALL FREEBIE to get yours today, plus 3 other freebies! YAY!
 
Don't forget to SAVE Pin for later
 

August 29, 2016

Teaching About The Presidential Election

Have you decided if you are teaching your students/ kids about the Presidential Election? It is a tricky subject and many times we- as teachers/adults- like to keep this tricky subjects away from kids.... 

However, I can tell you the first encounter I had with Presidential Elections was in 2nd grade. I remember our teacher allowing us to do a class mock election. We privately voted, she counted our votes, and showed us a bar graph on the chalkboard. I remember who I clearly voted for! I remember he became a very LOVED United States President the next day! I remember cheering for him at night when they announced the winner! I was involved all because of what my teacher did for me in that lesson. So.... isn't that our purpose as teachers? Aren't we suppose to engrave memories, encourage life long learning and love for history? Well, I know she did her job with that lesson because all my friends and I in 2nd grade spoke of it for a few weeks. We understood the election process and we knew who our new President of the United States was.
As teacher, I always take advantage of this special time in teaching my students about Government. I do it by integrating many subjects from Writing, Reading, Social Studies, and Math. The kids LOVE our Election Unit. It truly becomes a favorite unit for all my students. Some of the things we do...
⚫Writing Prompts on Being President... and more.
⚫Class Mock Election 
⚫Researching Past Presidents - finding fun facts, presenting to the class. I would assign each kid a President to research.
⚫Researching the electoral process.
⚫Predicting Winners in race.
⚫Read newpaper articles
⚫Read fun Presidential/ Voting Picture Books.
Some of my favorite books I read to my students daily throughout this unit are...
I LOVE our class picture book read aloud time, usually following we do some writing to reflect on book. Look below because I wanted to share with you some writing prompts I use with my students during the Presidential Election. 

This year my favorite activity I am having my kids I work with create is this Election Day/ Presidential Pennant. I LOVE displaying their work and this is such a unique interactive activity! I know my kids will love completing these and seeing them displayed throughout the election! You can grab yours on sale through the election: CLICK HERE!
I also have students create their Presidential Research projects during this time. These packets includes all U.S. Presidents and ANY FUTURE Presidents will be added. Your students will LOVE seeing these displayed as they learn all about the U.S. Presidents. I decide between using the Pennants, or Brochures. If you would like to see these: CLICK HERE!


 This is a freebie I want to offer to my subscribers to my newsletter! It is an exclusive freebie for YOU until election day! If you are a current subscriber just contact me in the next week [by: Sept.5, 2016] and I will give you your code to grab yours!

New Subscribers to grab yours CLICK HERE!