Tuesday, November 15, 2016
 
Random Acts of Kindness

Easy and Engaging
for
Students


I challenge my own daughter to a least show a random act of kindness at least once a month. We've been doing this for a little while now, and I love it!  There isn't a feeling like the feeling you get from it.

This got me to thinking about how I could easily empower students to perform Random Acts of Kindness and tie into a favorite Christmas act.

I came with this because I truly believe your students will enjoy counting down and keeping track of their kindness.









Monday, November 14, 2016

Getting Through the Holidays in the Classroom

Getting Your Classroom Through the Holidays

Tips and Ideas to Help YOU
Get Through the Holidays


Whether you are a new teacher or have been in the profession for a while from Thanksgiving to Christmas will always prove to be fun and challenging.

I've done it all.  I've worked my kiddos through it trying to keep them focused on anything BUT the man in red.  I've jumped right into it and let the man in red have a little too much fun.  I finally found the right amount of both to help keep my kids learning, but still able to enjoy the holidays.

Part I:  Tips

1.  Do not take yourself too seriously.  Nothing is more important than the wonderful experience you are giving your students.  Think about the students in your classroom who will not have a nice Christmas tree or a fun memories to associate with this time of year.  It is up to you.  You've got this.

2.  It is okay to stray from instruction for a minute.  If you start singing "Frosty the Snowman" out of nowhere, you should embrace it.  The reaction from your students will be fun and memorable.  

3.  Let the kids decorate.  I spent so many Thanksgiving weekends getting my classroom ready for December.  Let them help.  If they don't get that chance at home, they are missing out on some the fondest memories that I know you cherish from your childhood.

4.  Think outside of the box.  Instruction will most likely need to look differently during this time.  It is okay.  Give yourself permission to give the students permission to dance a little when their favorite Christmas song comes on.  Use Christmas music to calm them or motivate them.  Use the volume to control their volume. Ask Christmas movie trivia as they come in the door.

5.  Make memories.  Whether it is a special project, Christmas present to parents, or just something fun, help them make memories. I made gingerbread houses with my first graders every year. Sure it was an hour of instruction they won't get back, but those are some great memories that will last them a lifetime. Parents came into the classroom if they could and great times were had.  Come up with your idea and make memories.




Sunday, July 17, 2016

Getting Back to Your Classroom

Anyone else ever felt like this?  


Every year, about this time, I was headed back to my classroom to start organizing, picking through what I didn't need, and begin labeling all sorts of wonderful things with students names.  The floors were freshly waxed, the rooms were quiet, and the supplies were new.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.

What do you do first when getting ready for back to school?





Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Homework Questions

I would like to gather some information about homework, and I know you all can help.

1.)  Do you assign homework?  Please tell me what state you live in, grade you teach, and the kind of homework you send.

2.)  Do you assign a grade for that homework?

Thank you!!!




Monday, January 11, 2016

5 for Friday!!

EVERY Friday in January come check out 5 for Friday!  I will put together 5 products from my TpT store for the LUCKY price of $7.77!
Click the picture to find 
5 for Friday!!






Saturday, March 29, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SALE!!


Come join the birthday fun with 20% off of my ENTIRE store!!!  Click the picture below for great deals!






Thursday, March 13, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Sale

Are you preparing for Monday?  I have just the thing for you...SALE!!!  10% off of all 23 of my St. Patrick's Day products.  Come take a look and save yourself some time and money.






Monday, March 3, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Giveaway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you ready for St. Patrick's Day??

I have just the thing to help you get ready!  Come check this product out, enter my giveaway, and have  A LOT OF FREE TIME WITHOUT PLANNING!!! 


 Happy St. Patrick's Day!






Friday, February 28, 2014

Student Learning! Student Learning!

If you've seen my posts about plagiarism then you know that I've had a little bit of trouble with my students using the internet to write their entire papers.  After diagnosing what the true problem was, I planned several lessons to help them learn the steps to using passages and research to write their own paper.  Here are the pictures that led to them finally writing a paper on their own!!!


This was the chart that I made for them after they decided on the three main points of a passage about Abraham Lincoln.

 I then divided my students into 3 groups.  I gave them sticky notes and told them to find details from the passage that would back up their main idea.  I also explained that at this stage they did not need to write sentences on the sticky notes, but simply use phrases that would help them remember the passage.


When they finished with this they had to go through their sticky notes to analyze which 3 for each main idea would be the best at helping them remember the passage. 



This is what they ended up with.  I then gave them a sheet to take these main ideas and notes and write about the passage about Abraham Lincoln.  It was great.  I could hear their voices in the papers.  I knew they understood what they were writing about, and the best part...NOT ONE BIT OF PLAGIARISM!!







Getting Ready for St. Patrick's Day

I thought I would try something new with my kiddos over the next couple of weeks.  I picked up this t-shirt and hat at Wal-Mart the other day for less than $10. I used magnets and put it on my board with a message that said "Details on Monday."  Of course I did this on Tuesday so they have been driving me crazy all week, and I've loved EVERY minute.
Over the next couple of weeks the students who don't get a "check mark" (our discipline system) will have a chance at winning either the shirt or the hat. I'm excited because there will be 2 winners, and I'll have some of the best behavior for at least 2 weeks.  :)
This is not the only part of this surprise for my students, but you will have to come back later to see what it is.






Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day Fun!!

My first "BIG KIDS" Valentine's Day Party and it was SO very much fun.  I wanted to share some pictures of what we did.  Our party lasted 3 hours!!!


Here my students are sitting at the "Paper Heart Chain" station making heart chains and gossiping away.  

 Here they are using dollar stickers I bought at Dollar Tree as well as red paint to make a Valentine picture.  What a mess!!  :)

They LOVED playing Tic-Tac-Toe with M&M's!  Who wouldn't when you know you get to eat them when you are done???


Here they are playing balloon ping pong.  Boy, this got wild, but they were having so much fun!!







Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Getting beyond plagiarism to summarizing

We've all seen papers that look and sound so wonderful until we realize that there is NO WAY that student wrote that paper.  As a new middle school teacher who loves to get her students to write I am faced with this problem all the time. 
After talking with my students I realized that they are NOT committing plagiarism in an intentional manner.  After a quick discussion with them I saw that they simply don't know how to look at information and summarize what they've read.  
With that knowledge, I've decided to systematically teach them how to best summarize information to put into a paper so that they won't be accused of plagiarism.  

I would love it if you follow along as I take this journey.  I will blog each night about how my lessons are going and which direction my plan will go next.  

It is my hope that I can help someone to help their students write their thoughts rather than copying and pasting from the internet.



Day #1


This is how I started. 

 I supplied my 8th grade students with a passage.  They got into groups and read the passage.  

After reading the passage they were told to highlight 6 important facts in the passage.  

After they did that I had each group share what they highlighted.  We had a quick discussion of why they chose what they did.  
Then I told them to go back and take out 3 of the 6 so that all that was left is what they felt were the 3 main points of the passage.
When they completed this we discussed that they could use those 3 points in a thesis statement if assigned a paper.

I will be doing this lesson with my 5th-7th grade tomorrow as well as extending the lesson from today with my 8th graders.  

I'll be back tomorrow with more information on how this is going.  
I'd LOVE any ideas that you have on this skill.


Day #2
Today went so well!!  
All my classes really began understanding how to read a passage and look for what is important.  
When they first began they were choosing details rather than looking for 6 important details.  I also heard them saying things like "that's interesting."  When I heard that I knew I'd need to deal with that.  
Through discussion with the groups as they worked they came to the conclusion that interesting facts may not always be important.
I plan to continue this practice for the rest of the week and then show them another method and then move on to our next step.  
I hope you come back tomorrow to see how it's going.  
Day #3
Day 3 was more of the same practice.  They are getting so much better at this.  
Day #4
Today my 8th graders took this a step further and one of my special education kids said, "This is so much easier."  This thrilled me!!


I had my students go back to a passage that we had already found the 3 major points to.  I showed them this anchor chart and we discussed what part of the passage would go in each section.

We took the three points and put them on the board in a chart like the one above, they found details in the passage, and then in groups wrote 1 paragraph each.  I took the paragraph from each group and read them in order and one of my kids said, "Cool!  We wrote a paper in 10 minutes and we didn't cheat!"  

I love it!!  They will continue to practice this tomorrow, and my 5-7th grade is going to work a couple more days on finding the 3 major points of a passage.

I hope you come back to find out how we're doing.




Friday, February 7, 2014

From TEACHING to STUDENT LEARNING




When I began my new journey into teaching middle school (5th -8th grade) social studies I was scared out of my mind.  After 14 years of only teaching 1st grade I just knew I would fail miserably.  After some crying and eating I decided to make lemonade.
I began studying for hours and hours to refresh my mind on topics that I hadn't seen in more than 20 years or in some cases not at all.  I spent hours preparing for lessons in which I would do most of the talking.  That had to be the right way to do this, right?  I mean after all that is how I was taught.
Well, it didn't take long for me to get bored with this and I realized that if I was bored then HOLY MOLY they must be VERY bored.
So, what did I do???
I changed my method of delivery.  People, in general, only get out what they put in.  They are only responsible when they are made to be responsible.  
With this in mind, I put the learning in their laps.  Here are some example of what I did and some great WEBSITES that are my NEW BEST FRIENDS.

 My 7th graders needed to know about some of the majors rivers in the world.  They had to know why they are important to people and the growth of the people in the area of the river.  
 Rather than stand at the front of the room and tell them why or create a in depth power point to show them why I did a couple of simple things.

1.  I Googled each river and found the MOST WONDERFUL website.  http://www.ducksters.com
2.  I printed information from Ducksters that I knew my students would be able to use.  I also printed information from other sites, but Ducksters has by far been the most helpful.
3.  I copied the information and made packets for students so that I could put students into groups and let them "research" the rivers. Each group studied one river.  I had 4 groups.

That is the ONLY WORK I did!!!  They got into groups, found what was important to answer the questions of what they needed to learn, and then shared it with the class.  I provided a flippable for them to complete to help them study and they worked on that in their groups too.  

ALL I DID WAS walk around the room, sit and talk to the groups one at a time about what they were learning and laugh at some of their discoveries.  THE LEARNING WAS AMAZING!!



 My 5th graders needed to know about some of the contributors to the Revolutionary War.  They had to know why they were important to war.

 Rather than stand at the front of the room and tell them why or create a in depth power point to show them why I did a couple of simple things.

1.  I Googled each contributor and found the MOST WONDERFUL website.  http://www.ducksters.com
2.  I printed information from Ducksters that I knew my students would be able to use.  I also printed information from other sites, but Ducksters has by far been the most helpful.  I really love biography.com and historychannel.com

3.  I copied the information and made packets for students so that I could put students into groups and let them "research" the Revolutionary War Contributors.  Each group studied one contributor.  I had 5 groups.

That is the ONLY WORK I did!!!  They got into groups, found what was important to answer the questions of what they needed to learn, and then shared it with the class.  I provided a flippable for them to complete to help them study and they worked on that in their groups too.  

ALL I DID WAS walk around the room, sit and talk to the groups one at a time about what they were learning and laugh at some of their discoveries.  THE LEARNING WAS AMAZING!!


As you can see, I did the SAME thing for both grades.  I've done this with all of my students.  Of course, I read the information and gain the knowledge for myself.  The only thing different is that I've put the learning on them and therefore made it more meaningful.  I am in love with this method of delivery of information and will try variations of it to keep them from getting bored.  As I find variations that I have tried I'll share them with all of you.

If you teach Social Studies or Science you MUST go to 
www.ducksters.com