Sunday, April 23, 2017

Keep Your Sanity, One Pencil at a Time & Freebie


Hi there!
Soooo, it's been a long time since I blogged...seriously, a  LONG time.  But, I posted a little picture on my IG account that I didn't think anything about.  It had pencils, a sharpener, marker, tape, and scissors in it.  Whatever, just another Sunday night as a teacher.  Well next thing I knew, this little picture went viral!!  Viral for me, at least:)  Over 13,000 people viewed the picture...WOWZA!!

So, that little picture and your active engagement is what inspired me to write a blog post!!  For that, I thank you!

I want share what I implemented in my classroom in-order to keep my sanity for the rest of the school year.  A few years ago, I found "The Great Pencil Challenge" by Ladybugs Teaching Files on Pinterest.  If you click {here} you can read her blog post and click {here} and {here} to get her freebies on TPT.  I thought it was such a great idea, but, I've never had a reason to implement it.  I've always have a large supply of pencils that I purchase at the beginning of the year and generally parents send in tons of extras.  Well, this year it was different.  I didn't receive a lot of extra supplies. And, who knows what my students have done with their pencils...lose them? Break them? Eat them? Whatever they were doing, I was running low, quickly!  I finally had an "AH-HA" moment...The Great Pencil Challenge!!

The weekend before the start of the third quarter, I went home armed with pencils, masking tape, and a marker. As I binge watched The Walking Dead, I wrapped three pencils, for each student, with masking tape, marked it with their student number, and initialed it.  I made a little poster and brought everything to school on Monday.  What was the big reward?  An ice cream party!!!!  If they could keep all three pencils for an entire quarter (45 days) they would get an ice cream party!!!  Most thought it would be easy...well, it turned out to be easy for some and impossible for others.   There were other rewards too...keep two pencils, earn extra recess...keep one pencil, earn a green ticket (token system)...and unfortunately, if they had no pencils with tape, sorry Charlie.


To keep things manageable, I did weekly check-ins.  Every Friday, I would check their pencils.  They need to have three, sharpened pencils in their pencil box for the upcoming week.  For each "Pencil Challenge" pencil they had, they were allowed to move that many spaces around our PBIS track (school-wide behavioral management system).  If they were missing pencils, I gave them new ones. It just wasn't taped and labeled; which meant it didn't count toward the end of the quarter challenge.
waiting patiently
3 pencils!!
In addition, if the tape was ripped or the pencils were too short, I would replace them.  In order to make things even easier, I have a Pencil Sharpener job.  One student is allowed to sharpen pencils each month.  They sharpen student pencils during arrival and dismissal each day.  This is a great way to make sure your sharpener doesn't break mid-year.


All in all, it was a success!!  I had nine students earn an ice cream party, eight students earn extra recess, three who earned a green ticket, and two student got nothing.

As a matter of fact, it was so successful, I figured we could do it for another 45 days!!  The students were SO excited when I came back after Spring Break with three new, sharpened pencils for their fourth quarter challenge!  Check out my little helper (starting him young)!  He definitely made my job a lot easier...haha, joking!


I've kept the rewards the same, since they were so motivating.  We are four days in and all of my students still had their pencils on Friday.  They weren't impressed but I definitely was!!!

If you're interested in keeping your sanity and not losing all your pencils, make sure to check out Ladybugs Teaching Files blog post.  You can also download this free, editable poster for your classroom.  Just click on the picture below.

That's all for now!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Continuing Professional Development


Hi there!  I hope you are finding time to relax and enjoy the summer!  I can't believe how quickly the new school year approaching.

Many of you are already planning and prepping your return.  I know I am!  However, along with supply buying, blog stalking, pinning, team meetings, and a little bit of actual planning, I also need to make a plan to renew my teaching certificate.


In our district we need to renew our certificate every five years.  In order to do so, we need to earn six continuing education credits; which can be through our County or at an accredited college.  It's great to take them through the County because they are offered at a discounted rate and we get fully reimbursed once we finish.  However, they are just that...CPD credits.  They are not college level credits.

If you are in need of your Masters, Masters +30, or Doctorate they do not count.   I usually like to take summer classes, but it just didn't work this summer.  So, since my certificate expires at the end of this upcoming year, I need to finish getting my credits during the school year.  As you know, life can make it difficult to physically attend classes at a college.  Luckily, there's tons of websites that offer on-line classes.  I never really thought I would like an on-line course.  I'm more of a...meeting with others~listening to an instructor~taking notes kind of student.   But, I had to take an on-line course last year and LOVED it!  I could do my work in my pajamas, laying in bed, at any time of the day.  YES!!!!!

Recently, a friend of mine directed me to an on-line campus called, Professional Development Institute.  They offer semester and flex courses.  A semester course has a specific deadline with assignments due by that date.  If you take a flex course, you have up to 1 year to complete your assignments!!!  That's right, ONE YEAR.  So, if you're not in any rush this is definitely for you!  I just registered for, Implementing the Second Grade Common Core Lit Standards/Flex Course.   I'm looking forward to delving into the ELA literature standards and sharing ideas with others on-line!

Other courses available:
Class Management
Technology
Teaching Strategies
Reading
Writing 
Math
Common Core
Courses are available Pre-K through High School.  There's something for everyone!!

If you are interested in registering for courses, download the flyer below.  When registering, I would appreciate it if you mentioned my name in the checkout screen box.


Thanks for listening to my rambles!!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

End of Year gift idea

Hi there!
Can you believe it...we are STILL. IN. SCHOOL.  Yup, thanks to the snow days our last day is TOMORROW!  The end is finally insight, as well as sunshine and pool time!

I wanted to share a quick and easy end of the year gift I made for my students.  I definitely can't take the credit for this one.  I was scrolling through Pinterest...eh hem, writing lesson plans and I came across this adorable gift!  The original idea came from Confessions of a Teaching Junkie.  I created my own "Just One Word" recording sheet for my kiddos.  Our introduction was a great review of positive character traits.  We brainstormed as many as we could think of for students in our class.  Then, I let them go!  They had so much fun!!  They even asked if they could add our ESOL teacher, team paraeducator, and an assistant that works in our math class.  I was surprised with how excited they got.
The whole project was created in Wordle.  If you've never used Wordle, it's pretty awesome.  The more you type the same word, the larger it will get.  You'll notice that their names are the largest on the paper because I typed them eight times each.  The other word sizes were determined by what the other kids said about them.

Here are a few examples...

 


Thanks for listening to my rambles!
Happy SUUUUUMER!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Favorite Teacher Items

In honor of Ashley's birthday, this week's post is about our favorite teacher items.  Who can resist teacher stuff?!?!  One of my absolute favorite times of the year is in August, about 2-3 weeks before school starts.  I make my rounds to all the teacher supply stores and big box stores to get the best deals and stock up on things for my classroom.  I also enjoy getting little teacher gifts in my mailbox during Teacher Appreciation Week, my birthday, or for no reason at all!!!  Who doesn't love getting stuff for their classroom?!?!

Here are just a few of my favorite items...
I LOVE mechanical pencils!  These are my favs, but they have to be .9mm, I'm a little tough on the lead.  I even let my kiddos use them in class, they love it!

Post-its...enough said :)
Fadeless paper is a MUST for bulletin boards!  It can be a tad bit on the expensive side, but I leave the same colors up for two years and just change the borders, as needed.
If you use the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking Assessment System, you know how awesome this calculator/stopwatch is!!!  With the push of a button it calculates reading rate, percentage of accuracy, and self-correction ratio.  Click {here} to check it out!

Last, but definitely not least, is this amazing Jan Richardson Flip Chart!  It's a teacher cheat-sheet to Jan Richardson's Guided Reading Comprehension strategies.  It offers step-by-step scaffolding of  each comprehension strategy.  If you could use one in your classroom, simple Google "Jan Richardson flip chart" and look for it in PDF form.

To see what Ashley loves and to enter her Favorite Teacher Items giveaway, click {here}.

Thanks for listening to my rambles!!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Birthday Blowout~Week 1 giveaways!!

Hi there!
No, it's not my birthday.  I am helping Ashley from Teaching in the Net celebrate her birthday ALL. MONTH. LONG.  Each week, Ashley and a TON of TPT sellers are giving away products to celebrate her special day!  In addition, Ashley's entire TPT store is 20% off all month and on her birthday, June 11th, some items will even be 50% off!!  Wait...that's not all....she's also having flash freebies on her Facebook page.  Can you believe how generous she is?!?!?!  I just hope I can keep up with all of the fun happenings! Click {here} to view her official blog post and get all the details. You can also enter BOTH of her Rafflecopters right here on my page...keep scrolling :)

Enter to win this END OF THE YEAR Prize Pack below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now, that I've shared THAT giveaway, you may also enter to win one of four amazing products...are you ready for this?!?!?  You could win a $50 gift card to Sit Spots, over $300 in TPT store credits, A Few of Ashley's Favorite Things, or a $50 clipart club membership to The Creative Art Teacher.  To see more details, head on over to Ashley's blog {here}.

You have until Thursday, June 11th (at midnight EST) to enter to win these prize packs.  4 random winners will be drawn on Friday, June 12th.

HUGE Birthday Blowout Prize pack (runs May 31-June 11) - drawing will be on June 12 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for listening to my rambles!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Western Themed Teacher Appreciation & a Giveaway

Hey there!
How was your Teacher Appreciation Week?  Did your PTA or administrators do anything special for the staff?  How about your parents?  I have to admit, I believe we have the best PTA around!  This year our PTA planned a Western-Themed Teacher Appreciation Week.  Talk about amazing!!!  From the invitation, to the decor, to the treats...it was simply a fun-filled week!!

Here is the invitation...

And, here are a few pictures...
There were decorations all over the building.  Here are a few highlights from the teacher's lounge.  Our lunch table was setup as a covered wagon!  I didn't even realize there were wagon wheels at the bottom until Thursday!  So creative!!

ROBBERS, BANDITS, AND OUTLAWS, OH MY!!

These were on all staff doors when we came in on Monday.  The notes are from students!!


The cake is from one our very talented parents.  If you are in the Baltimore-D.C. area, check out her Facebook page, Batter Up Cakes.

In addition to everything above, everyday we found a little treat in our mailboxes...handsoap, Hershey kisses, a Slim Jim, notecards, and, my favorite, S'mores treats!! 

We truly are lucky to have the PTA that we have!  We are extra lucky to have such a creative rep, Mrs. P, to make us feel special during this week and throughout the year.  Thanks to them!!!

Thanks for listening to my rambles!!

Friday, May 8, 2015


Hi there!  Need any last minute ideas for Mother's Day?  How about planning ahead for Father's Day?  Check out my post at  Classroom Tested Resources.   I've shared five, fun activities that can be done in your classroom or at home with your own kiddos!!

Thanks for listening to my rambles!!