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February Resources YOU will LOVE

Wow, can you believe it is already February! I wanted to share with you some resources I LOVE using this time of the year. We begin the rigorous season of test prep, however we still have lots of fun with some seasonal activities in February! As you know February is the MONTH of History, so we study and research: Influential Black Leaders of History, we celebrate our U.S. Presidents on Presidents' Day, and celebrate Groundhog Day, and whew...Valentine's Day. This month is exciting, especially when you are wanting to do QUICK Interactive Activities as I will share with you!
I try to have some cute and inexpensive treats or sweets for Teachers, Co-Workers, and others in our life. These mini containers were in the Target Dollar Spot! Perfect Find! I just added some cute Silhouette Lettering, a ribbon, some candy and they are ready!
In my shop I have some CUTE and EDITABLE student gifts for you to personalize and hand out to your students on Valentine's! Teachers and students LOVE this very inexpensive gift!
Click here for the Valentine Student Gifts
As you know I am the PENNANT Lady! LOL, I have been called this so many times by my customers and my friends! I have created some fun and Interactive Valentine Activities for you to use to celebrate this month! These are a few of my favorites! I also LOVE my Valentine's Day Flip Book! It is perfect for reading, writing, and spending time celebrating Valentine's Day!
Click here to see the Valentine Writing Pennant

Here are some other GREAT February Resources that I love using in my classroom! We usually focused on Black History month all month long so my Pennants, Brochure and Lapbook are great options! You will love these all!
We also celebrate our U. S. Presidents, you will LOVE all the resources I have available for this special unit.
Don't forget to become an exclusive subscriber to get a FEBRUARY Freebie plus two other freebies: Click here
Would you LOVE $20 to shop in my store plus $20 to shop on AMAZON to buy all your teacher needs for the month of February? YOU have a chance, enter this quick and easy giveaway!
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Teaching About Influential Black Leaders of History

The celebration of Black History Month are right around the corner. This is a beautiful time to celebrate diversity in your classroom! I have been researching and gathering tools to help in the celebration. I enjoy having my students research and study the influential leaders that have impacted our society. I want to share some of my favorite resources I use and created, some great books to read, and of course I want to share with you a great freebie that you will love using during your studies of Influential Black Leaders.

I have always believed with the dynamic diversity we have in our classrooms that it is important to teach students about different cultures and people who have impacted our society. Many of the leaders we focus on these next 2 months are important heroes. My students love studying and learning about our great leader Dr. Martin Luther King. We begin our unit of Black History with his celebration and continue our research and celebration the month of February. There are some wonderful books that I use that truly inspire our learning. 
 These are a few of my favorite. Most of these books can be purchased via Barnes and Noble, Scholastic, and Amazon. I read aloud one picture book every week, my kids love rereading them and sharing their new finds from the library. 

I would assign students to work on these Black History Month Activities individually or in groups. As you see there are 12 influential individuals that we focused on. [see below]. I created several activities to choose from for our month long study. At our campus I was in charge of Black History Month, so I created lots and each day of the month we celebrated one individual on the announcements. It truly was a meaningful month of learning and inspiration. 

My favorite activities that we used are:
For my activities we focus on these individuals famous individuals due to the research available. I would allow students to conduct research at the library or kid safe internet sites- I included sites I used for research in all my packets! As a teacher I know that having enough research is difficult... so a handy tip I used is: Print all the research from each individual ahead of time [from your favorite sites] and have it available for students. I do this mainly because of the lack of technology per classroom for each student to research at the same time. Here is a list of some of the individuals we focused on:
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Sarah E. Goode
  • Ruby Bridges
  • Rosa Parks
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Jesse Owens
  • Marcus Garvey
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Booker T. Washington
  • a total of 29 in the Pennant and Brochure Packets!
  • And a blank slide to study any other influential leader
Activities we worked on:
They can choose from my Pennants, Brochures, and Lapbook! I have them complete the following research on the following: 
  • Information on Early Life
  • Information on Adult Life
  • Important Events
  • Legacy and Famous Quotes
  • We Celebrate... Because...
Students would present to class and learn about all these Famous Individuals for Black History Month. It is wonderful because the students love sharing all the information and research they discovered. On the back of the pennants the students would post real images that they found through the research. Click on any of the below to see what I use with my students!
Thank you for visiting and finding some ideas to teach your students!

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!]

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].

Don't forget to pin for later!
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