Sunday, July 31, 2016

BEST YEAR EVER SALE, Sunflowers, and Sub Plans!

The Sale
First things first... Teachers Pay Teachers is having a BACK-TO-SCHOOL SALE! It's to help all of us get ready for The Best Year Ever!
Thank you to Glitter Meets Glue Designs for the graphic!

My ENTIRE store will be 20% off. Already-discounted bundles will be an additional 20% off as well. 

If you use promo code BESTYEAR, TPT will give you an EXTRA 10% off!

The Sunflowers
A farm in our neck of the woods plants fields of sunflowers every year. My kids and I walked through the sunflower maze and took photos of the other field. Fields of sunflowers make me smile. 

The Sub Plans
I've finished two sets of sub plans for 4th grade! Each set is over 60 pages and includes detailed lesson plans for reading, spelling, writing, and math. Everything needed to implement the plans is included as well. I've also included extra language arts and math materials in case fillers are needed. 

Here's a peek at some of what's included:

I also have sub plans for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. They can be purchased individually or in money-saving bundles. 

for 3rd Grade BUNDLE

Happy shopping! I'm off to move some items from my wishlist to my cart! Thanks for visiting.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Teaching!

My first year of teaching was wonderful, but I struggled!  I loved my students, and I worked really hard. But, I had a lot to learn.  This fall will be the start of my 19th year of teaching, and I LOVE my job! I'm truly excited to go to work every single day. (Okay, ALMOST every single day. Some winter mornings are dark and cold, and I'd rather stay home in my sweats!)

I thought I'd share a few of the things I wish I had known nineteen years ago. My first year would have been much less stressful.

1. Sleep! Rest! Balance!

4:30 in the morning... Still dark outside... I sat on my couch bawling like a toddler with my plan book on my lap. It was my first year of teaching, and I was a wreck!  I was sleep-deprived and ridiculously stressedThe year got much better once I learned to SLEEP and balance my priorities.

Teaching is a job that requires a great deal of patience and quick thinking. It can be stressful. You can spend almost every waking moment working and thinking about work, but it isn't good for you OR for your students. You'll be crabby. You'll feel frustrated. 

You will need to work hard, and you will need to work outside of school hours.  Remember though to give yourself breaks and take care of yourself!  Balance your job with the rest of your life. 

Now onto more practical, how-to tips! 

2.  The Magic of Calls and Responses

Get your students' attention and be thought of as the most delightful teacher alive! Try calls and responses. 

I read Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids  by Chris Biffle last summer and read about Class! Yes!  Basically, you say, "Class!" Students use the same voice you used to respond, "Yes!"  There are endless variations! You could say, "Classity class!" They respond, "Yessity yes!"  You can whisper. You can cheer.  There are lots of other fun variations, too. 

Macaroni & Cheese - Everybody freeze!

Hear ye, hear ye - All hail the queen!

Skunk in the barnyard - Pee Yew!

Mama mia - That's a spicy meatball!

OH, my class - Oh, my yes!
If you use these all the time, they lose their magic. But throwing them in now and then makes your classroom a fun place to be.

3.  Throw out classroom job charts! 

I'd always forget to switch the jobs and our already-limited learning time would be wasted while kids called out things like, "But I was the paper passer yesterday!" Without fail, a student would TRY to change the jobs for me and they'd get all mixed up. Or, you'd have those sly "helpers" who would manage to make themselves line leader 17 times each month if you didn't watch them.  

An easier way to get tasks done is to pick two helpers per day and let them run errands, organize the book baskets, etc. I keep a class list handy and check off kids' names once they've had a turn. 

4.  Make To-Do Lists

Believe it or not, I only started making to-do lists a few years ago. Before that, the things I needed to do would swirl around in my brain in a muddled mess! Just writing things down works SO much better and keeps you focused and organized.

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?  

5.  Refuse to Be Negative

Teaching is hard, and there are lots of things outside of your control. I don't agree with every state-mandated decision. I don't agree with every curriculum shift. I don't love that I seem to test more than I teach sometimes. However, I can't control everything. Complaining and getting angry about what you can't control is not helpful. Focus on what you can control, and spend your time with people who do the same.  It will make you happier, you'll accomplish more, and your students won't get stressed out by an irritated teacher.

Do yourself a favor and read "Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers" by Jennifer Gonzalez at Cult of Pedagogy. I won't spoil it by trying to explain it here. Just go and read it. Really. Whether you're new or you're a veteran, read it! It's a post for everyone.

You can get a beautiful color reminder to "Be Someone's Marigold" by visiting this post by Lisa at Second Grade Stories. I'm going to print one out to hang near my desk. 

Thanks for stopping by. I'd LOVE to read about the most valuable things you've learned about teaching. PLEASE share by leaving a comment!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tell All Tuesday: Summertime Recharge!

Teachers recharge during the summer. Jayme at Teach Talk Inspire and Diana at My Day in K are hosting another tell-all Tuesday this week about that very thing! How do you recharge in the summer?
My family loves to hang out together, and my home is my favorite place to be. The best thing about summer is there's so much TIME. 

My husband and I stay up late and watch TV after the kids go to bed, and I can sleep in the next day! Lately, we've been watching Rizzoli and Isles on Hulu.

The kids and I get to take day trips to the beach, the pet store, and the library. 
My cats hang out in my lap while I read and read and read. 


Now, believe it or not, one of my favorite things to do in the summer is work in my classroom! It's fun, because I don't feel rushed. My kids have been coming with me for years! Gabrielle's first visit was spent in a pack and play! I don't have photos of that! I was too busy trying to do as much as possible before she got cranky. That was the year my husband came and put up my bulletin board for me!


How about you? How do you recharge during the summer?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Five for Friday

This week was the perfect balance of hanging out at home and spending time with friends! I'm sharing what we've been up to by linking up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

I sang I'll Fly Away at the farmers' market. I probably embarrassed my children. A man was there playing his guitar and singing with his grandchildren, so I joined in! I surprised myself by remembering all the words. This video is how I wish I had sounded.

The kids and I relaxed and watched Dolphin Tale 2. We had kettle corn, which we purchased at the farmers' market. The cats just relax all the time. 

On Monday, Crystal from Crystal Clear Teaching and I met at the beach! Our kids had fun, and we had time to chat. 

My friend and I took the kids bowling on Thursday. My high score was 64. Sad. Very sad.  My husband encouragingly pointed out that more than half of my attempts were NOT gutter balls. 

Back to school shopping has begun! I ordered nametags and desk tags from Amazon. The index cards are for my Super Improvers wall. The liquid chalk is just FUN. 

I celebrated the 2-year anniversary of my blogging habit on July 19th. If you missed the FREEBIE I created to celebrate, click HERE to grab it.  

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tell All Tuesday: Summer Snapshot

It's time for Tell All Tuesday: Summer Snapshot!  This weekly summer linky party is hosted by Diana over at My Day in K and Jayme at Teach Talk Inspire.  Head over to their blogs to join in the fun!

This week's topic? Summer snapshots!

Our family always stays fairly close to home, but we do fun day trips. We've been to the beach three times, Old Sturbridge Village twice, and to the bison farm.  It was hard to pick one thing to share! 

I decided to share a couple of images from our trip to the bison farm. 

We had lunch and ice cream then took a wagon ride out to the field to see the bison up close. The babies were adorable. The adults weren't very willing to share the grain with them. Poor babies. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

FREEBIE to Celebrate My 2-Year Blogiversary!

It all started two years ago with this blog post. To celebrate the fact that I'm still greatly enjoying my blogging experience after two years, I've created a FREEBIE to share! Just click here to download it. 

I put my son and daughter to work testing some of the materials for me. My children often serve as guinea pigs! 

(More about their past experiences as guinea pigs here and here!)

Thanks for celebrating my 2-year blogiversary with me! 

To grab last year's blogiversary FREEBIE, click here

If you like the freebie, you can find similar items in my TPT store. Here's a peek at some of my other Math and Literacy Activities products.

Apple Season Math and Literacy
Fire Safety Math and Literacy
Thanksgiving Math and Literacy
Christmas Math and Literacy
Valentine's Day Math and Literacy
St. Patrick's Day Math and Literacy

Thanks for visiting!