Sunday, September 17, 2017

Teacher-Approved Shoes

Teacher shoes have to fulfill many criteria: Comfort, durability, professionalism, and reasonable price. Read my post to see the brands teachers recommend the most!

My personal favorite: Crocs Mary Jane. 


Teacher-Approved shoes for comfort, durability, and professionalism.





You can search Amazon for so many diffferent styles of crocs: 
boat shoes
ballet flats
wedges
loafers
heels

Most of them are indistinguishable from expensive brands of dress shoes and they provide the comfort I love in my crocs clogs. 


Other brands my teacher friends swear by:

Tieks
Sketchers
Sperry
Birkenstock
Vionic 
Dansko 
Clarks
Toms
Dr. Marten's


Do you own any of these brands?  Do you have any suggestions of brands that should be on the list?  I'd love to hear about them!




Friday, September 15, 2017

Ways to Calm an Off-Task Class



Procedure and practice!    


Walk around the room as you talk. 


Utilize the students by asking questions, then have another student verify.  

Talk in normal voice, don't raise or yell.  


Use phrases to catch their attention or get them focused as if you have the coolest info in the world and you can't wait to share it.   


Don't lose it!  You are in control! Good luck!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Constitution Day Activities

Are you searching for meaningful activities for Constitution Day?  Would you like to be able to conduct your Constitution Day activities during multiple core subjects?  If you said yes, then this post is for you!

Constitution Day activities that can be done in Language Arts and Social Studies or Civics class.   Vocabulary graphic organizer for the Preamble to the Constitution.



I always like to try to combine my social studies curriculum with my language arts, and Constitution Day is no exception. Combining my Constitution activities during both subjects means I'm not confined to a single subject or block of time.

First, I like to make an anchor chart as a class of freedoms at home and school.  I keep it up for reference during the Constitution Day activities.  More on that later!
After making the anchor chart, we read a book I LOVE, We the Kids, to teach the preamble!  It's great for read-aloud or you can assign parts of it to older students to explore.


Constitution Day activities that can be done in Language Arts and Social Studies or Civics class.   Vocabulary graphic organizer for the Preamble to the Constitution.


Flipped Classroom idea:  There's also plenty of videos on YouTube of people reading the book. You could assign the video for homework the night/days before Constitution Day.  Then, students can come in and be ready to talk about it without a read-aloud.

After reading the book and/or watching the video, we revisit our anchor chart and put stars beside the freedoms that were also mentioned in the Preamble.  

Next, I like to explore the vocabulary of the Preamble because it is so challenging robust.  I love the language used, but most students don't have any background knowledge of words like "posterity".  To do this, I use a graphic organizer.

The first version of the organizer provides support with pictures and synonyms for the meaning of the Preamble vocabulary.


Constitution Day activities that can be done in Language Arts and Social Studies or Civics class.   Vocabulary graphic organizer for the Preamble to the Constitution.



The second organizer is a "challenge" for students who are ready to tackle synonyms and vocabulary independently.


Constitution Day activities that can be done in Language Arts and Social Studies or Civics class.   Vocabulary graphic organizer for the Preamble to the Constitution.


If you'd like to pick up a copy, click here.

Do you have Constitution Day activities or materials that make the day fun?  I'd love to hear about them!



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Grandparents Day Mini Writing Unit


Would you like to show some love to your grandparents this year?  Do you need to teach descriptive writing and poetry?  Read my post on how I combine the two!


I start out by reading some mentor texts aloud to the class that demonstrate how other kids describe their grandparent's and the experiences they share.  Some of my favorites:

Grandmother’s Book of Promises by Karen Hill


Grandparents Day Mini Writing Unit: Grandparent interview, descriptive writing, grandparent poem.




Grandpa's Face by Eloise Greenfield

Grandparents Day Mini Writing Unit: Grandparent interview, descriptive writing, grandparent poem.

I give several more mentor text suggestions in my Grandparent's Day Mini Writing Unit.

After reading the mentor texts, students interview their grandparents and use that information to write a poem in their honor.  


Grandparents Day Mini Writing Unit: Grandparent interview, descriptive writing, grandparent poem.



Grandparents Day Mini Writing Unit: Grandparent interview, descriptive writing, grandparent poem.



On Grandparent's Day, the students eat lunch with their grandparents and then read their poem to them.  It's really sweet.

My Grandparent's Day Mini Writing Unit includes:
Students will interview a grandparent through either calling, emailing, or visiting them. Students will use the answers from the interview to write a poem about their grandparent(s).

This packet includes:
~Mentor text suggestions for Grandparents Day
~Grandparent Interview letter
~Template for a “You Are” poem to honor grandparents.  In this poem, students use descriptive words and phrases to describe their grandparent(s).
~Differentiated lessons for students needing scaffolding and ready for a challenge

~Rubric


Do you celebrate Grandparent's Day at your school?  If so, what mentor texts do you use?  What activities do you do with the grandparents?  I'd love to hear about it!




Sunday, August 27, 2017

Secondary Brain Break Ideas

Want to start the year off with scheduled physical activity and downtime in your classroom?  Read on to find out how I use both to capture my secondary students' attention!

1.  The Music Break: This is where I put on a song and everyone is required to walk (no running) around the classroom. They usually end up doing laps around the room, but some like to zig-zag between desks. They can also chat if they want. When the music goes off, everyone returns to their seat. 

Here's what you'll need:
Your phone Or Bluetooth-enabled music device
Appropriate popular songs (I download the instrumental version of songs with no lyrics)




2. The Review Break: This is perfect for reviewing things like procedures and expectations or chunking larger pieces of information into smaller bites. 

I have students stand up, find two people from a different table, and tell each person the answer to a review question. For example, "What are the required materials to bring to class each day?"  That means that each student has repeated and heard the answer to that question at least four times. It reviews information and gets them moving and communicating. 


3.  The Whole-Class Longer Reward Break:  My classes earn points for demonstrating responsible behavior each day. Once the class has earned 20-30 points, I allow them to spend 20-30 minutes doing a chosen activity. Some of my favorites include:
Hour of Code
BreakoutEdu Digital
Online learning games
Sustained reading
Vocabulary games


What can you add to this list?  I'd love to hear your ideas!



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Get-to-Know-You Name Tags

This get-to-know-you activity is quick and allows the teacher to quickly find out students' names and interests. They also share teacher interests with students.

I have supplies and name tag examples on each table. The examples share my information with my students, as well as show students what the finished product will look like.


Get-to-Know-You Nametags:  First day of school activity



This is the front (first and last name). We used construction paper and I asked them to make little "feet" to make it stand upright.

Get-to-Know-You Nametags:  First day of school activity



These are the the general categories on the back.  Students used markers to write their own answers. I write different things on each example so I can talk about different things with each table. For example, I might write "kickboxing" beside sports or "90s" beside music on a different name tag because I also like those things.

Some other categories I used:
Favorite band
Favorite author/book series

Feel free to change any of categories to meet your interests or needs of your students. 

What categories would you include?  



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep

Would you like to get to sleep faster?  Do you wish the sleep you do get was more restful?  Then this post is for you!


Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep



Teachers!  This time of year can do a number on our sleep if we let it. Confession: I have to really work on my sleep.

The following are the time-tested things that help me. 


1. Dim the Lights an Hour Before Bedtime
That includes all electronics, especially your phone. Change your phone's setting to "night shift mode". This is what it looks like on an iPhone.


Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep





2. Take a Warm Bath or Shower
There's just something soothing about washing away the day's cares. Plus, I like knowing I won't have to rush to shower in the morning. 


3. Essential Oils

Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep


I use a roller bottle of cedarwood, wild orange, frankincense, and serenity blend (DōTERRA).  I put it on the bottoms of my feet and big toe before bed. It gives me such amazingly restful sleep!  On nights I forget to use it I toss and turn a lot more. 


4.  Get in Bed 1/2 Hour Before You Need to Go to Sleep
This one is pretty simple. Put the papers that need grading and the to-do list down. Get yourself in bed with a good book or a meditation podcast. You know, things that make you feel relaxed. 


5.  Use White Noise or a Fan

Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep



For white noise, I use the White Noise Baby app. It does cost money but it's got a bunch of different noise options, such as air conditioner, hair dryer, and vacuum. Oddly enough, I always opt for the fan noise. I also like the real thing. So don't be afraid to get an actual fan if that appeals more to you. 



6.  Use a Sleep Mask

Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep




This might be too much for some people, but I swear it's increased my quality of sleep.  I like the Drift to Sleep mask


Those are my must-haves for a restful night. What are yours?  I can never have too many tricks up my sleeve for sleep!