Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Give Your Teacher Brain a Break

You've just worked 10 hours. You want to come home and enjoy your family. But... your teacher brain just keeps on THINKING. And THINKING. And THINKING. I'm about to start my 20th year of teaching, and I still have trouble leaving work at work and staying balanced.
Welcome to Happy Teacher Tip Tuesday! I'm linking up with Marla from A Word on Third to share some ways to help you give your teacher brain a break.  

1. Use to-do lists. They'll keep you focused and productive. If you don't get to absolutely everything before you need to run out the door, the to-do list will be there to help you finish the rest the next day. Writing things down also prevents thoughts from swirling around in your brain all evening. Jot it and then don't think about it until you're back at work! 

I make lists as I plan.  I place a sticky note for each day on a piece of colorful paper. As I plan, I jot down what I'll need for each day.  Then I can easily prioritize if my prep time is limited. And our prep time is always limited, right?  
2. Find a low-prep hobby. I keep an adult coloring book and markers on a table next to my recliner so I can unwind at night. I listen to audiobooks in the car on my way home from work.
3. Exercise. In this case, I don't always follow my own advice! Making exercise a habit is hard for me. I've found though that I'm just so much happier when I make the time to get my heartrate up. My favorite thing to do is pop in a DVD. I attempt to do Tae Bo or beginner's Zumba.  Attempt is the operative word! I look ABSOLUTELY silly. My kids make fun of me. I scare the cats. But I smile more when I take the time to work out. 
4. This last tip is for teachers of faith. PRAY, particularly when you are worried about a student. The Lord loves them even more than you do. Worrying won't help. Place them in His hands. 
I hope these tips are valuable and that you have a balanced and wonderful year. Head over to Marla's blog, A Word on Third, to read more teacher happiness tips.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Campground Skunk and a One-Day SALE

One-day SALE!
First things first... Tomorrow only you can get up to 25% off at Teachers Pay Teachers. Now's a perfect time to move some items from your wish list to your cart. My already-discounted emergency sub plan bundles will be even less expensive during the sale. You get plans and all materials for 3 days.

My entire store, included bundles that are already deeply discounted, will be 20% off. Teachers Pay Teachers will give you an additional 5% off when you use the code BTSBONUS at checkout.

If you follow my blog, you might know that we took up camping a couple of years ago at the suggestion of my best friend. 

The first year, my two kids and I tried to sleep in an itty-bitty tent and got TOTALLY rained out the second day. That's my daughter rinsing her toothbrush in the rain.

Last year, my air mattress deflated and my tent was defective. Oh-so-very defective!

This year was nearly perfect, but we had a very LOUD skunk visit our campsite the first night. We had foolishly left a nearly empty trash bag out. It had two teeny-tiny lettuce leaves in it, and that's all. We thought SURELY those teeny leaves wouldn't attract any animals. After all, we were camped on an entire field of fresh grass, weeds, and other assorted herbage for a hungry skunk to enjoy. Well, we were wrong. The skunk insistently and LOUDLY clawed at the bag from 11:30-12:15ish! While clawing he made irritated-sounding, high-pitched grunting and growling noises.  Perhaps he was hoping the bag held something more delicious than lettuce?  Here are some photos from the other parts of our trip.
Here's the cot I bought last year after my air mattress failed. Cots don't deflate!

Early morning bubbles and early morning visitors
The campground we visit is near an ocean beach. so we always make time for a beach day.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Gift Bag STEM and a Huge SALE

First things first. Teachers Pay Teachers is having a back-to-school sale on August 1st and 2nd! 

My entire store will be 20% off, and TPT is offering an additional 5% off when you use Promo Code BTS2017!  

Even my already discounted bundles will be on sale!

If your district requires you to have emergency sub plans ready to go, I've got you covered! I have bundled plans for grades 1, 2, 3, and 4. Individual sets are available as well.

Click on the images below if you'd like to get your sub tub prepped and ready to go.

My children and I will be heading off to a birthday party in a few minutes. I  bought gifts. I wrapped them. But, my daughter had other items she wanted to give her friend. So, she made her own gift bag with paper, tape, and pipe cleaners. It was a self-motivated STEM project, and I just had to share it. 

 Have a good day! Click here to visit my TPT store for the sale.

Friday, July 28, 2017

3rd Grade Place Value With Freebies

Back to school for me always means PLACE VALUE review. It builds number sense and is a foundation for so many other 3rd grade skills.

That's why I've rounded up a few activities I like to use to build place value review into my classroom math block.  (Did you get the double meaning? ROUNDED up?)

Place Value Towers
I'd love to take credit for the brilliance and simplicity of this idea, but I can't! Ashleigh has some amazing place value products in her store, and place value towers was included in this unit.  I use this the first week of school, and it's always a a huge hit. It provides solid review and also allows me to see how well the students work collaboratively.
Place Value Bullseye
Alas, this is not an original idea of mine either! Amy Lemons shared how she uses googly eyes for place value in this blog post.

I adapted her idea for older students. 

Grab copies of the differentiated sheets I created by clicking here.

Spinners and Dice 
Using a variety of materials for practice is key. The kids love them, and it's easy to pull them out for early finishers. Kids can simply spin a number and then write it in standard form and expanded form. 

Choral Counting and Charting
I always start my rounding unit by having students skip count by tens and hundreds chorally. We chart as we chant! I like to do this because it reinforces the idea that "tens" don't stop at 100. 

After we chant and chart I show students a number, and we determine which two multiples of ten the number would come between. We place a piece of sticky note or washi tape between those two tens. We usually do several examples.  I use the same approach when we round by hundreds. I find that providing this foundation helps students round numbers later on. I leave the charts up for reference.

Round and Roll
Lots of practice is essential, and it has to be engaging! I have a freebie that can help! Click here to grab it. 

Other Products That You Might Find Useful
Many products in my store include place value practice. I also have some additional freebies available.
Click here to find it.
Click here to find it. Although it says "back to school", it is perfect for any time of the year.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Preventing Perilous Piles

Marla from A Word on Third hosts a biweekly linky, and I'm happy to be participating.


This week, I'm sharing an organizational tip that should help prevent those dangerous, gravity-defying piles of papers!

Confession: I used to be a piler. For real. It's embarrassing to remember, really. I've decided to be transparent and show you what I mean using photos. That's my son 9 years ago with my sister-in-law. Look behind them!

Admittedly, pile-ups sometimes still occur in my classroom. But the piles are less tall and don't hang around as long! Here's what I do now.
I have a file crate with dated files for 3-5 weeks. Whenever I copy something I'll need, I automatically place it in the corresponding file. 

Parent volunteers, paraprofessionals, and inclusion team-teachers know about my system. If any of them make copies for me, I always jot the date that I'll need it so they can place the sheets in the correct file. 

On Fridays, I take a few minutes to change the dates on the empty files.

Tip: Save time and sticky notes by using pencil to jot the dates. Then you can just erase and fill in the correct dates without removing the post-its.

Visit Marla's blog to read more Happy Teacher Tips. Perhaps leave some of your own tips in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday July

Happy Friday! I'm a few days late for the July edition of Show and Tell Tuesday, which is hosted by Stephanie at Forever in Fifth Grade

We've been to the beach several times this month. I'm so thankful that I live within easy driving distance of the ocean. I've discovered that LARGE PRINT books are best for me at the beach. I can wear sunglasses instead of reading glasses and still see the words! Win!

My kids and I tried letterboxing for the first time. A local plant nursery with six spectacular greenhouses has set up a letterboxing adventure. I don't grow things. Ever. But I love wandering around in their greenhouses. In one of the greenhouses, there's a Ponderosa lemon tree that's 117 years old. In the picture above, you'll notice several types of citrus growing on one tree. Different types of fruits have been grafted in. 
My kids LOVE to read as much as I do. We've been to two used bookstores this month and to the Salvation Army store. We leave with armloads of books. One of the used bookstores we just discovered yesterday, and it's right in our town. We've also been spending lots of time in the library. Gabrielle has been all about logging her books online and doing challenges.
I've read two professional books and lots of "just because" books. I highly recommend Grammar Matters by Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty.
I've been trying to eat lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and other healthy options this summer. But, sometimes you just really want roast beef! My husband, the kids, and I went on a jaunt to this place to get delicious roast beef sandwiches and coffee milk. Coffee milk is a Rhode Island thing. In fact, it's their official state drink!

You'll notice that this post had very little school-related content. I'm in full summer mode! Head over to Forever in Fifth Grade to read other Show and Tell Tuesday posts.