I feel like Olaf, singing about summer! That blessed, glorious time is finally upon us and has been upon us for a week now. It's a time to kick back, relax, and enjoy being free from school.
I did that. For like a week. Now I'm back on the computer, browsing Pinterest and dreaming up ideas for the next school year. I don't know about you, but I just can't spend all of summer doing nothing. I've got some good ideas simmering for next year that I want to start fleshing out, I'm thinking of moving away from interactive notebooks this year so I've got to start thinking about that...there's lots that I want to do this summer, both school and non-school. So here's my short little list of what I would like to accomplish this summer:
1. Relax. Binge watch Netflix/Hulu. So far, this summer, I have binge watched the entire new season of The Flash and am halfway through the new season of Arrow. Then I had to take a break from Arrow and all its teamy angst so I discovered Timeless which totally speaks to the history teacher in me (and has a really attractive main character so that's a plus). One of my main goals for the summer is to relax. I get bored quickly but I do enjoy just chilling out on the couch. I'm also kind of watching a movie every night (or almost every night) and so I'm enjoying that!
2. Exercise. I'm trying to get in the groove of walking my neighborhood each morning before it gets ridiculously hot. So far I'm doing okay at it. I did 3 mornings last week and so am hoping for 4 this week. Baby steps! I've got a bridesmaids' dress to fit into in July so exercising is a big goal.
3. The Animal Shelter. Enjoy being with my shelter friends and shelter pups. I'm trying to set a goal of not going to the shelter more than 1 weekday as well as my typical Saturdays. Often, when I get bored or when I just have some free time, I just go to the shelter. I'm trying to do some other things as well although I'm hoping to do some overnight fostering/weekend fostering and maybe see about taking a dog for a hike day or something. We'll see!
4. School Prep. Those people who think that teachers have all of summer off are crazy. Now, there are probably some teachers out there who leave school in the beginning of June, set their automatic reply on their email, and never look back until August. I am not one of them. I am usually always thinking of things I can change for next year, ideas that I really want to flesh out over the summer, and ways I can improve my classroom. This summer, I'm re-reading Teach Like a Pirate (which is one of my favorite teacher books), and working on a time-travel idea for my classroom this year. I'm also using Pinterest for some professional development (because Pinterest should totally count as PD hours) and I'm going to start my application for my school library certification. I tell myself I'm not going to do anything school-related until July but it just never happens. Now I don't spend hours thinking of school stuff but I do work on it some.
So how about you? How do you spend your summers off? Do you travel? Stay home with the kids? Gallivant all over your city, exploring new things? How much time do you spend on professional stuff in the summer? I'd love to hear how you spend your time off! Sound off in the comments.
For now, that's a wrap!
Monday, June 18, 2018
Friday, June 15, 2018
Okay, okay, okay. I know...I've been MIA for a while now. Like a month. Probably no one has even noticed but if you have, my apologies. The end of the school year is crazy and then I just wanted to lie around and do nothing this first week of summer. But today I am starting to browse Pinterest for lesson ideas and so I thought I'd get back into my blog with today's installment of "super awesome book you should definitely read and recommend."
You all know that I absolutely love Gordon Korman. When I go to book sales, the first books I look for are ones by Korman (although I'm pretty sure I'm getting to the point where I own all of his books). When my mom goes to book sales and asks me what I want her to look for, my first answer is always "anything by Gordon Korman."
My mom recently procured me two new Korman books and one of them is the focus of today's blog post. It's called Ungifted and is about a young boy who ends up in a gifted school by accident after destroying a statue and his school's gym via a prank. The book focuses on Donovan's adventures at the gifted school and how he comes to have an impact on these nerdy, awkward, smart kids - at the same time that they're impacting him. Like all Korman books, this one is a great read. It's engaging, fun, and quick. There are lessons (don't judge someone by first impressions being one of the main ones) that are subtly hidden behind wit and entertainment. The book is just. plain. good. This is what I love about Korman. His books are always good. I don't think I've ever read one that I didn't like or that I didn't highly recommend. I can't wait to put this one in the classroom library and encourage students to read it.
What about you? Do you have an author that you absolutely recommend hands-down to your students? Have you read anything new this summer? Sound off in the comments - I'd love to hear about it.
For now, that's a wrap!
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Hopefully, by now you've set up your initial classes and are ready to get going. Whether you are using this for the remainder of this school year or waiting to bust it out next year, you probably still want to know how Classcraft can be used in your classroom. This is probably going to be a shorter post than usual because most of the features are ones I've touched on already in previous posts as I've explained the nuts and bolts but here we go!
The first way that you can use the Classcraft program within your classroom is simple - use it as a 'behavioral management' tool. This is probably the number one way to use Classcraft in the classroom. You can do this by actively using the HP and XP features to reward or punish behaviors. By consistently taking away HP or giving students XP, it is possible to bring more discipline to your classroom. I think that one way that I haven't been as successful with this aspect this year is that it took me a while to get used to using it. And I wasn't 100% sure what to do with customizing in the beginning so a lot of the "Sentences" were dumb things that I didn't follow through on, meaning that students were then not concerned about falling in battle because their sentence probably wasn't going to happen.
Therefore, I recommend starting out strong with HP and XP. Be consistent. This doesn't mean you have to open up your Classcraft app every time someone receives a consequence or does something good. Perhaps you simply keep a list and add/take points at the end of class. This is what I do with warnings. I write my warnings and consequences down throughout the period and then take the points at the end of class. You can also use the app on your phone to do this throughout the period. Know what you want your punishments to be, as well. And then follow through. Don't use "assigned seat for a week" if you already have assigned seats. That's pointless. Don't use "essay question on a test/quiz" if you know you won't add an essay question. That's dumb. Make the 'sentences' things you will actually follow through on.
Consistency is key!
Like I said, a shorter post this week (but after the epistles you've been slogging through the past few weeks, you're probably not complaining). Really, the best feature of Classcraft in the classroom is the use of it as a 'behavioral management' tool. Do you agree? Disagree? Is there a way you're using Classcraft that I haven't thought of yet? I'd love to hear about it! Sound off in the comments as always! Thanks for reading!
For now, that's a wrap!
Monday, May 7, 2018
At my school, our front office staff consists of two women. One has been at the school for years. She is awesome. We'll call her Mrs. D. The other is Mrs. G and she's been with the school for two years. She's equally awesome. I always stop by first thing in the morning to say good morning to Mrs. D and chat for a few minutes. It just starts my day off right!
We're lucky to have Mrs. D and Mrs. G at my school. They truly do make the school run. If I need anything yearbook related or student related, I have only to ask and these two will try everything in their power to get it done. It's very important to create that relationship with your front office staff because they're the ones who can look up student files for you, find an administrator for you, etc. My school has a high Hispanic population so we're lucky that Mrs. G is bilingual and more than willing to make parent phone calls to Moms and Dads who don't speak English. If you're nice to your front office staff, they're more likely to help you out when you're in a bind.
You also want to befriend and be nice to the attendance clerk. At my school, Mrs. F does the attendance and boy, oh boy, I would not want her job! She has to check those attendance records to be sure no student has been marked absent in one class (meaning a phone call home to the parents) when the child is actually in class. Yikes! Attendance clerks have a tough job and it's always good to be nice and helpful - and actually take attendance.
What's the set-up at your school? Do you have a secretary and attendance clerk? Are they as awesome as mine? I think the school is secretly run by our front office crew. I'd love to hear stories about your super awesome office crew! Sorry for the short post but I'm a little short on time today! But I'd still love to hear from you - sound off in the comments!
For now, that's a wrap!
Friday, May 4, 2018
Basically, the story centers around a girl named America who lives in Illea, which is located in the remnants of North America - dystopian, remember? America is in love with Aspen but he's in a lower caste system than her so their relationship has to be kept a secret. Then they have a fight and she enters into The Selection (the prince's way to find a wife), sure she'll never win...until her name is drawn as the girl from her province. She's whisked off to the palace, glad for the excuse to leave Aspen. From her very first meeting with the prince, Maxon, you know that it's going to be a roller coaster. At first, she promises to be a friend to Maxon because she's still in love with Aspen so, even though she's not interested in a romance with the prince, she's not ready to go home.
Then, Aspen gets drafted and shows up at the palace, declaring his love for America to still be strong. And...cue the love triangle as America struggles with her old feelings for Aspen and her burgeoning feelings for Maxon. This triangle isn't as corny and bad as Bella-Jacob-Edward, don't worry!
Check out The Selection today! Have you read The Selection? Got any new recommendations for me? I'd love to hear them. Sound off in the comments!
For now, that's a wrap!
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
This week's post focuses on how to set up a classroom. I'll be showing you step-by-step what to do, along with some tips that I've picked up. Each step will start with a picture so that will hopefully allow you to keep it all straight. Let's dive in!
Here, you can set the duration of the game as well as how many hours a week the class meets. This sets up how quickly AP (the points students need to use their powers) regenerates. I recommend just setting the game to run from Day 1 of school to Day Final. Input your class-specific details and let's move on.
And that's it! Whew! It seems complicated but it's really not. Classcraft is also great with the tutorials, FAQs, and help if you need it, too. So how'd you do? Your classes all set and ready to go? Was this helpful? Sound off in the comments and wish me luck in my PD!
For now, that's a Wrap!
Monday, April 30, 2018
Those people are...your coworkers! Specifically, the teachers you teach with and work with.
It is so important to have great teachers around you. You want to surround yourself with other teachers who are dedicated to the profession and the students, teachers who radiate positivity and don't mind having a good laugh during a planning period. Teachers who spend their time thinking up ways to engage the kiddos and yet still have time to listen to you vent.
I'm lucky at my school to be on a super awesome teaching team. I can't speak for elementary schools or high schools, but at my middle school, we are in teacher teams - 1 ELA, 1 Math, 1 Science, and 1 Social Studies. Our teams meet once a week for a "team meeting" to talk about our upcoming lessons, important information, and our students.
But since my team is so awesome, we just enjoy hanging out with each other. Sometimes, we all congregate in the Math teacher's room during a planning period just to chat. We eat snacks and sometimes throw candy at one another. We commiserate over hard days or difficult parents. We work together to help our students, which isn't always easy!
The best part about my team? They're always there when I'm having a bad day. Our ELA teacher is always there to listen to me and give me encouragement. Our Math teacher is always good for a laugh. Our Science teacher always has the candy! I'm very lucky to have a great team and even luckier to have other coworkers on the sixth grade hall who are uplifting and positive. In fact, I'm lucky in that I have lots of great coworkers all over my school - 7th grade teacher friends from when I taught on that hallway, SPED teacher friends, 8th grade teacher friends...the list goes on!
How about you? Are you as lucky as I am to have great people to work with? No? I'd love to hear your stories! Sound off in the comments!
For now...that's a wrap!