Monday, August 31, 2015

Fabulous Facebook Pages

Sometimes I need a little motivation or inspiration in teaching. How about you? Here are some great Facebook pages that will offer you wonderful teaching ideas and practices, really good deals, and a little bit of humor to make your day!
                                                        Teaching Blog Traffic School
                                                                Clever Classroom

I hope you find inspiration this year!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Teacher School Supplies

Gathering school supplies can be a time consuming task but I finally found something that works for me and honestly I'm wondering why in the world have I not done this before.  My friend Robin from Class of Kinders labeled a collection of tubs for me to help organize all the school supplies that came in during Meet the Teacher Night.  The students and parents unpacked the supplies together once they entered the classroom.  Abracadabra all my supplies are organized!!!  

So now that the classroom supplies are ready to go it was time for me to get my teacher supplies in order.  Here are a few supplies I made sure I had for the start of my school year.

My Teacher Supplies

I love this retractable ID badge and key holder.  

You can never have too many Sharpie Markers!!!  
Perfect for labeling everything at the beginning of the school year.  

Well sometimes you have to eat school lunch.  I always have a BIG bottle of these 
available for all my teacher friends.

Don't forget your vitamins!!!

Cheaters!!!  I have LoTs of these in the classroom just in case I 
forget my glasses at home.  I am lost without them! 

No need to explain these.  

I wash my hands 100 times a day.  This is easy on my hands and 
the lavender scent brings out some calming vibes.

I don't have time to be sick!!! I use this on many surfaces in the classroom 
when my students are out of the classroom.

Walking on air!!!  These are so helpful with my flats!

Love everything Burt's Bees.  The tinted lip balm comes in many shades.

These are my Big Girl bandaids.  
With all the hand washing I do these really do stay on all day. 

Everyone should have a pair of 3PM

Emergency chocolate is a MUST but it only works if you share it with a friend :-)

These are just a few of my teacher supplies for the new year.   
Wishing you all an endless supply of crayons and glue sticks!!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Surviving Back to School: Advice From the Pros!

There is no tired like the tired a teacher feels the first few weeks of school. One year I had a newborn baby and missed the first few weeks of school. Even with middle of the night feedings and constant infant care, I actually felt like I was more rested than my friends who were teaching.

One of the things I LOVE about being part of the Planning in Paradise blog is the support I get from this amazing group of teachers. I am returning to teaching after taking a two year leave of absence to be a mom and teacher author. It goes without saying that I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to do it all. I know I can get through the first day like a pro, but then I have to go back and do it again. Every. Day. Five. Days. In. Row. Until. June. GULP!

After considering hyperventilating into a paper bag or crawling under the covers and refusing to come out, I realized that I needed to take the survival advice I give to new teachers. I tell them to find the teachers they admire, seek out the teachers whose classrooms make you wish you were in school again, look to the teachers who make it look easy, turn to the teachers are who you want to be, and ask them for advice! Ask how they have wonderfully crafted lessons. Ask how they have such cute outfits on daily basis. Ask them how they manage to feed their family, have matching clothes, get the kids to soccer practice, and plan a fabulous lesson every day.

So I did that. I sought out these teachers who are some of my favorite blogger and TPT sellers and asked, “How do you survive the first few weeks of school.” These are the gems of wisdom I got. I am so grateful for the answers. I feel like I can do this. I’ve got this! I do not need a paper bag to breathe in (however I will accept any and all donations of chocolate)!

Here are the gems of wisdom:

Practice Routines and Procedures
“Practice routines and procedures until it looks exactly the way you want your classroom to run. Wow them with engaging activities right from the start and show them how much you care and express your highest expectations for them all. Believe they all can reach them. 
Plus, have ready made meals on hand for the first 2 weeks. Prepare your family for lots of pizza and peanut butter and jelly. And try to enjoy the journey!”

Find Opportunities to Collaborate
“Look for opportunities for positive collaboration with other teachers. The best ideas and classroom solutions come from the synergy created by positive teachers working together.”

Use Team Building and Class Building Activities
“Take time to play class builder and team building games where the kiddos get to know each other and you. Use these games to reinforce skills for everyday tasks like shopping for books, getting new pencils, going to the bathroom, etc. Let the kiddos get to know routines before throwing any standards in the mix by using the year before standards to practice whatever routine it is you are working on.”

Cara from Kindergarten Boom Boom

Collaborate With Your Team
"Collaborative team planning is a must this time of year!  Get together with teammates to share ideas and resources instead of planning on your own at home on Sunday night!  You'll have more fun and your instruction will be even better!  Be sure to designate someone to bring the chocolate!"

Schedule Time to Practice Routines and Procedures
Build time into your schedule during the first week (and maybe even the second week) of school to teach and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE classroom routines and expectations.  Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • How should my students enter my classroom?
  • What should they do as soon as they enter my classroom?
  • What should they do when they have completed morning work?
  • What is my procedure for getting their attention?
  • What is my procedure for when a student needs to leave his/her seat (to use the restroom, sharpen a pencil, get a drink or a tissue, etc.)?
  • How should students line up?
  • How should they walk in the hallways?
  • What will my dismissal routine look like?
Don't be afraid to spend AS MUCH TIME AS YOU NEED on establishing routines.  Practice until they have it perfect!  If you put in the time right from the start, it will allow you more time throughout the school year to teach meaningful content rather than managing student disruptions. Trust me, you'll thank yourself later!  

Find Time to Laugh
"Even though you'll be knee-deep in procedures the first few days, find ways to make your students laugh (frequently if possible)!"

No New Shoes!
Make sure that you "break in"  any new shoes.  After being in flip flops all summer squeezing into tight enclosed shoes is miserable!  Your feet are already going to hurt!!

Prepare Easy and Healthy Meals
Food is important! Buy & use a crock pot so your dinners are ready for you when you come home. Also, all your lunch meals need to be easy to eat for the first few weeks. Sandwiches and finger foods are perfect! You're so on the go but you can't forget to eat!! (Pack a cookie or two for lunch too!) 

Take Time for Routines, Make Friends, Communicat3 WIth Parents,  and Find Teachers Pay Teachers 
Tip #1: Find Classroom Management. Take as much time as you need to establish the routines and expectations in your classroom. If it takes two week, so be it. If it takes a month, so be it. Do no take any short cuts. Do not skip over it. Classroom management will make your the proudest teacher ever ...or the lack thereof, will bring you to tears!  

Tip #2: Find a friend. Find that someone at school who you can go to for help. It is hard to know what to even ask…so find that person who will listen, who will understand and will offer advice.

Tip #3: Find a way to communication with parents regularly; daily folders, emails, and classroom blogs.

Tip #4: Find small ways to keep your custodian happy…you want them in your corner.

Tip #5: Find, there is a wealth of free and paid teaching resources at your fingertips. Take the help others offer because it is impossible to do it all yourself. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Five Of My Favorite Freebies!

Teachers Pay Teachers is such an awesome place for buyers and sellers alike! There are other forums to buy and sell teaching resources, but hands down... TpT is my favorite! I always go there first. NO. MATTER. WHAT. Whether I need quality resources for my classroom or I am making them for my classroom to offer to others...the Teachers Pay Teachers Marketplace is undoubtedly the best place for us (and in the end, our students!) On any given day teachers can browse (I have been guilty of doing this in my pajamas) for just about anything from lessons, to readers, to posters, to power points ...and all that is in between! (And if you happen to be reading this on August 3rd and 4th there is a Back To School Sale going on! Enter code: BTS15 at the checkout.) There are some brilliant and creative teachers who have fabulous items for sale in their TpT stores. But, they also have made products for us for free. (I just leave a little feedback as a thank you and many times, follow their store.) A free TpT product is icing on the cake, very sweet indeed!

As a teacher of Kinders and First graders, I have collected five of my most favorite (many tried and true) free items from TpT teacher-authors. I picked these because they are just PERFET for the Beginning of the School Year:
How cute is this weather spot for your calendar area, from TpT'er Laura Scoma.
Want to make it? Click HERE

These little direction icons are a lifesaver for those first weeks of school when 
the kids stare at us like a deer in headlights! Put these
 right up on the whiteboard. It's from Miss Kindergarten Love
Want to make this too? Click HERE

How about a little fun and engaging ABC game for the first day of school? 
This one is sure to capture and keep their attention for at least a few minutes!
Love it! It's from First Grade Blue Skies.
 Click HERE

Wouldn't these be perfect sitting on the students' tables as they
come in the first day? Just add a pack of crayons!
It's from Kinder-Craze.
Click HERE
If you are like me the camera is in the classroom waiting to capture the kids
for those special days. Here are some signs for first day photos!
What a colorful prop for them to hold while you snap their picture!
It's from Teacher to the Core. 
Click HERE

Decorating your classroom?
How about some motivational posters that send a positive message for
those who enter. It's a little freebie from me, Class of Kinders.
Click HERE

I hope that it is an AMAZING year for you!
I am hoping for one too…here, in Paradise.