4/30/2016

Teacher Appreciation! You Are Loved!


Dear Teacher,

You are loved. Each and every year, Teacher Appreciation Week comes around and teachers all over the country are shown that they are loved. But do you feel that way daily? Maybe not. We deal with loud children, *sometimes* upset parents, and the stress of...test scores, children's home lives, and our own mound of paperwork.

 
But...when the day is done, we know that we have made difference. Well, I may not feel this way every day, but most days...yes.
 
 
We are hired to do a job: TEACH CHILDREN. Right? I mean, in so many words, that is what my contract states. But we do so much more than that!
 
Take this sweet woman for example:
 
 
Who is she? My child's teacher. She teaches him sight words, colors, numbers, and all of the things he is suppose to learn for Pre-K according to the state of Texas. But to us (and him) she is so much more than just someone who teaches him those things. She is the lady that counted her 18 children a million times on the field trip because she wanted to make sure she hadn't lost one. (Thank You) She is the one that helps him work through arguments with his friends in a kind way so that he doesn't learn poor problem solving (and social) skills. (Thank You), and she is the one that comforts him when pressing pause on the movie scares him (who knows why that scares him--but Thank You!) She is the person that cares for my child...9 hours a day...and sees him more than I do during the week. She is the person he talks about all night.
She. Makes. A. Difference.
 
Now, we are all different, and have different teaching styles...but I would venture to say that we all feel pretty much the same about teaching. IT. MATTERS.
 
So to all teachers---Thank You! You are amazing.
 
And to show you just how amazing I think you are, I have provided two goodies for you this week! They are nothing big but might make your life a little easier.
 
Number One: An Editable End of the Year Poem for your students! You can personalize it so that it is special for them! It is free, so go grab it if you would like!
 


 
Number Two: An Editable Behavior Chart. Some days those babies just aren't so sweet, you might need this when school starts! :)
 


 
I hope you enjoy these freebies and even more importantly, I hope you enjoy your fabulous week! I am sure you will be shown lots of love...but even if you have a bad day...you are loved.
 
So when Monday morning comes...REMEMBER THIS!
 

4/12/2016

TPT Made Me a Better Teacher!



Many people have asked me..."Why do you do Teachers Pay Teachers?...I don't have time to do all that, it's not worth the extra money."

Well...I (of course) always respectfully disagree. Finding time to do it all is hard, but I have figured out that finding time to do it all makes me a better teacher, teammate, mom, and wife (in no particular order.) 

When I started TpT in 2013, I was looking for a way to step away from the textbook. I was a semi-new teacher and having a hard time finding resources that thought "outside the box." I was quickly finding myself spiraling into the dark hole that is...stifled thinking. 

It all started with a character traits chart. lol. My first product was a character traits chart that I could not find anywhere and wanted for my students journals. I just made it myself, and shockingly...I loved the way it looked! I am, no doubt, my own worst critic but I loved it. The rest is history. 

Now you may be thinking, but how does it help you become a better teacher, teammate, mom and wife? Well here are a few ways TpT has helped me improve all areas of my life!

Collaboration: 


TpT allows me the opportunity to collaborate with teachers all over the country. So many times we are stuck in our bubble and never reach out to other teachers. Through TpT, I now have friends across the country I can call, text, or e-mail to ask "teacher questions." We meet up, join forces, and help each other in every way!

TpT also makes it easier to collaborate on my team here in Texas. I work with two other TpTer's on my team and we love coming up with ideas for our students and bringing them to life. These ladies share my passion and love what TpT stands for, so together we feel we can use our 3 brains (or three hundred brains when we discuss across other states) and create lessons that knock the socks off of our children!

Deeper Teaching:


Having limited resources was limiting my teaching ability. I know it probably shouldn't, but it did. When I discovered TpT, I felt I now had an endless amount of resources at my fingertips. Now, I head to my computer and either 1. create what I need or 2. find another creative teacher (via TpT) that has created an amazing resource for my students to use. TpT's teachers and products are higher level, encourage deep thinking and include wonderful hands-on lessons that engage students from the word, "GO!" 


Differentiating Instruction:


I also love how TpT allows me to differentiate instruction for my kids. My husband says that sounds cliche...but it is TRUE! I am able to grab (or make) 3 or 4 different activities for my class in a quick amount of time. These activities allow me to meet the needs of all my students and know that I am reaching them at a level appropriate for them. So instead of trying to pull from four or five different books, I have all of my resources in one place...the computer.

 

Easier Lesson Planning


Ahh, one of my favorites! Lesson planning can be painful. Sure, it is necessary but again...it can be painful. My TpT journey has made my lesson planning PAINLESS. Instead of flipping through countless books, trying to piece together resources (hoping it meets the needs of all of my students)...I now can gather resources from my TpT wishlist, my own products or friend's products and I am done...with an addition of some fabulous read-alouds, of course. 


More Time at Home


Lastly, I am creating a better ME by allowing myself more time at home with my family. How? Well, look above...all of those other reasons allow me to be more available at home and not spend hours at the school. I truly love my job and my students, but I need to be home for my family. So now...I have all of my work done and I am out the door in time to pick up my babies from daycare by 4:00 or 4:30. Truly a blessing...because my first 3 years of teaching had me at the school until 5:00 or later every night. 

Now, am I trying to pitch TpT to you? No. I am simply stating the truth of what TpT has done for me. My teaching is deeper, my collaboration better, my instruction is more differentiated, my lesson planning is easier, and I have more time with my family. Can you say win, win...win? I am grateful for every opportunity I have been given by this amazing company and look forward to many years of growth with other teachers (friends.) 

As always, I would love to collaborate with you or hear about your journey if you are involved with TpT. Connect with my via Instagram or Facebook and/or feel free to comment below some kind words about TPT and what it has done for you! We are community and we support each other! Being a better us...makes us stronger for the people who need us most!



4/10/2016

Exit Tickets To Assess

I have recently fallen in love with Exit Tickets. Why? I love quick (meaningful) assessments. I am not a "testing" teacher...meaning that I am not a fan of the standardized tests or any other test that stresses out a child...and/or me (the teacher.)

Exit Tickets provide a great deal of information for the teacher while assessing the child on a specific skill.

This week we are focusing on reviewing every skill before our "big, important" test next week. I wanted to "assess" the kids in a way that is fun but meaningful! I have been creating Exit Tickets for a few months now, and we have used them off and on. The kids really love them and I knew that a little more exposure to this type of quick informative assessment would be helpful! The kids do not even know they are being "assessed." And I love that!

We started on Monday with Analogies...these are so hard for the kids. I have this anchor chart in my room though, so they were able to use it to guide their thinking.



I set up cups for the student to turn in their Exit Tickets. (I teach 3 classes a day so organization is key!)

Here is a look at the analogies tickets we did the first day!


The students did really good on these, I know the analogy poster was a HUGE help but whatever works!! :) I am mad at myself though for not getting any photos of these in action!

We moved on after that and works on different skills on different days. Text Structure proved to be a challenge for some of my kids. The ones below did great...but a few did not!


I had to give a few of these back to some students so they could try again. But, that is okay, it was a great teaching moment!


I took each of them through the paragraph again and we discussed key words.


Then we wrapped up with another one! They did much better on this one!


I also strongly encourage the kids to use their interactive journals IF they are having trouble. If they can do it without the support, then great...but I want them to use their resources if need be!




We finished off the week with point of view, main idea, and inferencing. Time got away from me and I did not snap picture of those. (I did of point of view, but a blog post is coming later on that day! lol.) 

I hope this glimpse into Exit Tickets has helped! My kids love them and they are an excellent tool for the teacher as well!

Remember to follow my instagram and facebook page for more freebies and giveaways!







Engaging Readers in Informational Text

Do your students gravitate more toward fiction books? I have often faced this problem as well. When I think about it, maybe it isn't a ...