Thursday, February 28, 2013

More Classrooms, More Ideas

I have seen this concept in a few classrooms I have stepped into. 

These displays accomplish four things:
1. Display the students' names
2. Display the students' numbers.  If you assign each child a number (the first student at the top of your alphabetized roster is 1 and the last student is the last number). It can make alphabetizing MUCH easier if you have your students write their number on all of their assignments. 
3. Display students' jobs and makes it easy to swap and switch.
4. Display students' work.

A vocabulary word wall:

Students are always very excited to find one of their vocabulary words in a book they are reading. Instead of having student after student come up to your desk. Make these stars (or any shape) accessible to your students. Give them a format on how to fill them out and display them on a wall. Watch the wall grow....ooh grow - there is a thought...maybe a vocabulary tree!

Whatever you choose your students will be so excited to be a part of it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Teacher is Missing

My good teacher friend Miss G informed me about the best writing prompt ever. This writing prompt works for a substitute teacher OR a teacher planning to be out for the day but doesn't tell his/her students why.

The prompt is  called My Teacher is Missing. Your students have to write about where they think you have gone for the day. Miss G got a funny response from one of her students. A student said she was probably sick in bed watching the Real Housewives of New York.

This prompt is a great activity for a sub to have students do as a funny thing for their teacher to come back to and it takes up some time if you need a time killer. As a teacher it's a great way to assess your students' writing and I'm sure give them something exciting to write about.

Here are some free pre-made prompts from TeachersPayTeachers:

Prompt 1

Prompt 2

Having students simply write their response on lined paper will work just as well especially if you are a sub who doesn't want to carry around copies of worksheets or worry about printing. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Real Classrooms, Real Ideas

These tips are from a 3rd grade classroom I was in yesterday. It is a great way to keep a routine going in your classroom. Every day of the week your students will know what they should be doing in the morning. This organization will help you as the teacher know what you need to have prepared for every day of the week. 

 The teacher did the same thing with their S.S.R time:

When it comes to bathroom sign outs their is a sign for a boy and a girl.

When a girl or boy goes to the bathroom they take the sign and put it on their desk. That way only one boy and one girl can go to the bathroom at a time. It can get confusing when there is a sign out sheet and more than one person asks to go to the bathroom. You find yourself asking the whole class "Who just left?" and "Is a boy out? Is a girl out?". With this system you look up by the door frame. If a sign is gone you know a boy or a girl is out. It is much simpler for you and your students to follow.

I will leave you with a tip of my own:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Teacher Spotlight

I noticed a trend through facebook and instagram the weekend leading up to Valentine's Day. Teachers were preparing, preparing for a WEEK full of Valentine's Day outfits. That's right outfits for the week. We teachers are spunky and get overly excited for most occasions, so we have to do it big and do it right.

My teacher friend Miss B was kind enough to document her outfits for the week of Valentine's Day. She is currently a long term sub for a group of first graders!




Thursday a.k.a Valentine's Day:

Thanks Miss B. !!!! She had a great variety of outfits for the week and all were teacher budget friendly and appropriate!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Classroom Tips

Here are some great ideas from some classrooms I've been in this month!

1. Reading Side-Kicks

 These popsicle sticks with eyes glued on are from a kindergarten classroom. The students call them their reading "side kicks". When they read a book they hold the sticks under the words they are reading to help keep them on track as they go. The students really enjoyed them!

2. Independent Reading Storage

Instead of having students' independent reading books stacked on their desks assign each child a box and a freezer sized zip lock bag. At the beginning of the week let the children fill up their bags. When it is independent reading time allow the students to grab their bags and put them back at the end.

3. Pencil Sharpening Station

 Give the class a designated "sharpening" time. Then make sure to keep freshly sharpened pencils in the sharpened bin for the day. Students can trade their unsharpened pencils for sharpened pencils through out the day. This will save you from the horrid sound of a pencil sharpener all through the day!

These ideas should help keep your day running smoothly. The reading side kicks should help excite young readers!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Homemade Teacher Gift List

My previous post has a list of gifts for teachers you can order online or buy at a store. If you want a more personalized touch and/or gifts on a budget then this post if for you. It may only be February but the end of the year will be here before you know it. Teacher Appreciation Week will be here soon too (May 6 - May 10).

***After looking at my gift list I realize purchasing items are required but with smart shopping (coupons, dollar store...) you can get a lot for your buck with these gift ideas. 

1. Teacher Survival Kit

This is such a great idea especially if you know the teacher well you can really fill it to suit their needs. If not here are some ideas.

- Band-aids
- Advil
- Cough Drops
- Hand Sanitizer
- Hand Lotion
- Tide Stain Remover
- Tic Tacs
- Candy/Chocolate
- Lip Balm

Once you have your items find a cute basket/bucket to put it all in!

2. Water Bottle

Find a cute water bottle and fill it with instant coffee packets or flavored water packets. I swear by the MIO flavored water. It's so delicious and it comes out as a syrup not powder. You can personalize any clear water bottle or coffee tumbler with something as simple as a sharpie. 

3. Beach Bag

A beach bag is a great gift for a teacher at the end of the school year. It's a nice send off into summer. I did this for my co-op as my thank you gift to her. 

A Subbing Update

Hello all,
I realize I haven't posted a lot about my subbing adventures quite as often as I should have. Subbing has made me quite an emotional person. It can be a big adjustment going from district to district, school to school, and grade level to grade level every day. I am with a new group of students every day. I enjoy the weeks where I am in the same classroom for two or more days back to back. What makes me an emotional person is the constant adjustment and getting to do what I love...sort of. I get a taste of a wonderful classroom where I can feel all my ideas and creativity coming out and then I have to leave only to follow another teacher's lesson plans the next day and the next day. Some days are truly wonderful and others are not so much. The pros of having a bad day with a group of students who are just OFF with you is that after that day you go home and you don't have to deal with that type of day with that group again if you choose. The con of course is that you don't have a classroom all to yourself and doing what you love with that group, teaching and watching them grow. Substitute teaching is a means to an end for many of us searching for that full time position. It will most likely help all of us subs get a future position this is us just paying our dues and gaining experience. I have learned so much in the 6 months I've been subbing and I have such an appreciation for subs and what we have to go through with constant change and not always being in the loop (school procedures, student behavior, etc). I get to be in different districts and get a feel for how the schools run and see different curriculum and management styles even with the classroom teacher being absent.

I have had the best day subbing and the worst both in the same two week span. I wanted to share both with you all.

Let's start with the worst:
This picture is some of the aftermath of a child having a bad day. He did not get a reward at the end of the day because he was put on "yellow" on the class behavior chart. It is hard to know what to do in these situations. This second grader threw his desk on the floor and began destroying the classroom minutes before all the students had to be dismissed. Thankfully, he had an aide that advised me to remove all of the children out of the classroom while she tried to calm him down. She called the office for help and they proceeded with their protocol to help him. In the end it was a bad day for everyone because there were no winners. I learned that remaining calm is always the best policy and to ask for help! Of course, this wont be the last something like this happens but it definitely makes it harder when you aren't familiar with the students.

Moving on to one of my best days subbing:

I subbed in a third grade classroom (it was actually my first day in this district) and I would say I had a pretty average day. The class had some highs and some lows. We got most of our work accomplished. I cleaned up, got to briefly meet the teacher when he came in at the end of the day to supervise an after school club, and I went home for the day.

Two days later I woke up to the nicest email EVER. This teacher saw my business card that I left on his desk. (You can read more about that here) and sent me an email about how much he appreciated me being in for him that Tuesday. He said he loved that I left his desk neater than he left it and that telling him what material we got to and didn't get to really helped him jump right in the next day. He also said he would request me in the future.

I am putting this on here not to brag but to show that your hard work as a sub can really pay off. It is easy to not feel noticed or appreciated in many jobs but sometimes these little things are what gives you the motivation to keep doing what you are doing.

So keep on keeping on substitutes. You're doing a great job!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Keep This List Handy

Do you have a birthday coming up this year? Do you know a teacher and don't know what to get them? Are you a teacher and are you ready to treat yourself? Here is a teacher wish list for all price ranges to help enhance a teacher's life.

1. L.L Bean Tote Bags
Price Range: $20-$40
These bags can be monogrammed and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Perfect for lugging all of our teacher "stuff".

2. DYMO Label Maker

Price Range: $29.99-$199.99 This Model: $59.99
I got the label maker shown for Christmas and I really do love it. It has made labeling storage and files much easier and more uniform. It includes a USB cord that allows you to connect to the computer. I was able to use different fonts I had downloaded.

3. Cricut Machine

Price Range: $69.99-$349.00 This Model: On Sale $99.99
This is a cutting machine. It is perfect for cutting letters and images for bulletin boards. They can create stencils. It can cut on your choice of paper, contact paper, and/or fabric. The cricut website has everything you will need including ideas and tons of help! This will be the first thing I treat myself to when I have my own classroom!

4. Vera Bradley Breakaway Lanyard

Price Range: $12.00-$16.00
This is a great gift for a teacher. For safety reasons it is very important to have a breakaway lanyard and for style reasons it is important to have a cute one!

 Coming soon: Great Homeade Teacher Gifts