Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back to School Linky, Giveaway and Freebies!

Are you ready? It is back to school time and the bloggers from I Teach are hooking up to bring you lots of freebies to start your year off right, plus an amazing prize giveaway! Keep reading to learn all about it.
Make sure you visit all our blogs (links will be at the end of this post) to see what everyone has for you, grab those freebies, enter to win, and share with your friends so they can join the fun between August 11-14.
First, let's discuss prizes! We are giving away THREE, YES three, $50 TPT gift certificates. WOW! Imagine how many back to school goodies you can snag with a $50 gift certificate. Amazing! Simply use the Rafflecopter below to enter!
Now it is freebie time! I chose a fall themed freebie from my Teachers Pay teachers store for you. I teach second grade and I always enjoy having my students do some writing prompts in the fall. I learn so much about them, what they like, their interests, and where they are in their writing and spelling skills from these prompts. The prompt in this freebie (it comes with a checklist for student accountability to help them learn to check their work, and three types of lined paper to write their response on) is a great one to try as the weather starts to get a little cooler and signs of fall start to arrive. In it, students have to explain if they enjoy the seasons changing or if they would rather live someone where it was warm all year and why. Simply click here or on the image just above to grab it from my store. If you can take a few seconds to leave feedback on it, I would truly be grateful!

Best wishes for a terrific fall and good luck with the giveaway! Enter below in the Rafflecopter and be sure to follow the links to everyone's blog to grab your freebies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 7, 2016

$75 TPT Gift Card Giveaway!

Wow! How awesome would this this be? You could win a $75 TPT Gift Card! Thanks to the amazing Kelly Malloy of An Apple for the Teach!  Check in the Rafflecopter to see how to enter and good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Teacher Meme Extravaganza

Teacher Video Meme Extravaganza:  check out all kinds of video memes for teachers that you will totally be able to identify with!
I have been busy making teacher-themed video memes this summer. I first got inspired to try themed when I learned you could a) put text on top of videos in iMovie and b) link together gifs in video form. I usually post them on my Instagram account and Facebook but thought I would share a few with you here!

Here's my recent one I made and posted since I notice a lot of folks have actually started school this week or are about to start (yikes!)!

I also made some shorter ones - check these out!

Here's one for that moment when another teacher does something small but great for you!
This one got  a lot of positive reactions. It was about the emotional ups and downs of the last day of school.
This bugged me! I mean it's the beginning of summer. I don't even have kids in the school district.
Most e-mail seems so blah these days. I get pretty jazzed when there is a genuinely great e-mail I come across. Plus Fuller House is cute!
Does this happen you at school? You blink and bam! You are on another committee! 
I love Parks and Recreation and there are some great memes out there with the actors! Ben feels my pain about summer being too short.
The Hills made for some great meme moments. Whitney Port knows you can easily get TMI about a                                             parent (or a former student ) on social media.

Lauen Conrad memes are epic. This is good one for when we feel a bit annoyed that it is the very end of the year and someone still doesn't know the classroom routines.
This is several video gifs linked together to show what I hoped to accomplish the first day of summer!
And here is the first ever video I made with a bunch of gifs linked together. I was inspired to make it when I found out, with 5 days of school remaining, that 3 of the days would be lunch in the classroom. Lunch in the classroom is no good!
This was an early one before I figured out a text @ReadingandWritingRedhead might be better than a dissolved blog button. 
Here is another one I tried, made with  a bunch of short video clips put together with reactions to a cancelled staff meeting!

Which video meme is your favorite? Do you have one you saw somewhere else you love? Let me know in the comment section! I have more so I will share them soon and be sure to watch my social media to catch them right away!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Interactive Notebook GIVEAWAY!

Hey y'all! Can you believe it is almost AUGUST? What happened? Seriously, I say that at the end of every July, but what happened? I am heading out to get some Wilson Language training (their Just Words program) BUT before I go I wanted to tell you Kelly Malloy from An Apple for the Teacher has been hosting these amazing giveaways at her blog and this week, she is helping me giveaway a copy of my very popular Second Grade Interactive Notebook! WOOHOO! Thanks Kelly! It is chock-full with 170 pages of activities for your students to work on that cover writing standards and address persuasive writing, expository writing, writing friendly letters and more. It also has tons of activities to help your students with the building blocks like grammar and punctuation!

Enter the giveaway by using the rafflecopter below and head over to An Apple for the Teacher's blog to see what else she is giving away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Save Big with Black Friday in July

Yes, yes, I know I am late to this party what with Prime Day being a week ago and all sorts of other big sales last week but I wanted to do something fun and help you get ready for back to school with some awesome deals!
First,  over at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, all my interactive notebook products are half off! Yes 50% off on interactive notebooks! Yippee!  All Back to School Packs are 30% off! What? Yep! Get organized and ready for back to school and get a great deal. My social studies products, Geography and Mapping and Coming to America: an Immigration Unit are going to be 50% as well! All fall themed products are 30% off too! And any bundle is also 30% off, such as the Mystery Word Bundle, the Writing Prompt Collection Bundle, Story Problems Bundle and the Fractions Bundle. What a bargain! So start looking now by clicking here and add what you want to your wishlist, then on Friday you can grab the deals! Also, if you love Pinterest like me, you can look at my board for all my TPT items here to get an idea of what you'd like!

For a sneak peek at some of these products, check these out. Each image should be clickable so you can head over to TPT for more info.
The Second Grade Interactive Notebook is chock full of awesome activities to help your students learn how to write well including activities for the building blocks of writing like parts of speech, complete sentences and more. An anonymous buyer reviewed it on TPT saying this: "I have bought different Interactive Notebooks. I love this one the most. It is spot on for second grade. It will be easy to read for my second graders, and then there is minimal cutting. The shapes are easy to cut out without a lot of "parts" that they have to keep track of! Love it!" Texas Texas T also reviewed it, saying: "I've been waiting for a language arts INB specifically for second grade. So nice to see it appear! The lessons and management tips look great. By the way, I *appreciate* the easy-for-students-to-read fonts that follow capitalization rules. Just what I needed. Thanks". Awesome! So glad ladies and thanks for the reviews!
The Primary Grades Spelling INB would work for grades 1-3. Check and out and see if you would like to try it this year. It would be a fun way to practice spelling and includes options for prechecks and assessments, too.
This covers many of the CCSS for Reading in grades one, two and three!
This interactive notebook covers measurement, time and money. Buyer Dronica reviewed it, saying "Engaging way to have students compute math problems!"

The Back to School Starter Kits are key to getting your year off to a good start. It includes beginning of the year assessments, getting to know you activities, and helps  you to build classroom community. They cover math, reading, writing and spelling and include games too!
This includes all of my writing prompt products and will have your students inspired and writing all year long!
Last year, I introduced two new social studies products - Coming to America: An Immigration Unit and Geography and Mapping. They have been super helpful as I teach social studies with them myself. I found it hard to find first, second and third grade appropriate products for immigration, and didn't see exactly what I needed for geography so I made them myself. Lol. Let me know if you already have them or if you are planning to try one or both this year!
Also don't forget I have teamed up with a bunch of terrific bloggers to give away an ERIN CONDREN TEACHER PLANNER! Sorry for the yelling with all caps but it's so exciting. Check that out here and don't forget to enter to win! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Erin Condren Teacher Planner Giveaway!

Oh my gosh everyone! Whenever you see anything about the Erin Condren Teacher Planners, doesn't your heart like skip a beat? Well I am so excited that I have gotten together with some amazing teachers and we are giving away one of these gems! Woohoo! So thrilling. I mean these planners have been helping teachers get and stay organized for years and I know you want to get your hands on  your own. Here is the scoop!

The prize:  Erin Condren Teacher Planner

Giveaway was organized by  Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)

and is cohosted by:
Mrs. Roltgen
Reading and Writing Redhead
The Tally Tales
Momma With A Teaching Mission
Sliding Into 1st
Tried and True Teaching Tools
Heart 2 Heart Teaching
Mrs. Irvin's Toolbox
The Literacy Garden
Schoolhouse Treasures
 Mrs. Humphries Class
Third Grade Giggles
Teaching With Hope
Growing Grade by Grade

 Rules: Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Giveaway ends 7/25/16 and is open worldwide.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Why I Won't Let You Go to the Nurse

What has been one of my biggest classroom management challenges this year? Requests from students to go to the nurse. If you are an elementary school  teacher you understand. I am pretty sure I get 300 or more  requests  to go to the nurse  during the 180 days of school. And imagine all the requests my students have given to recess teachers, cafeteria staff, and and specialists. I'd guess that would add at least 100 or more (at least one or more happens every day to my knowledge and I know there are plenty I don't know about.  I wonder if middle school or high school students ask to go to the nurse as much as the younger ones. Comment and let me know.

And disclaimer here before I start, which I will elaborate on more below, yes, I do SOMETIMES let kids go to the nurse. Probably 1-3  times a week I say yes. There are definitely emergencies such as a kiddo falling down at recess, a bloody nose, someone is throwing up, or when I look at a kiddo and they look green, white, flushed or just "not right" and I know they need some help, help you can't give them in the classroom. And for those of us lucky enough to have a school nurse, we are VERY lucky! I can't imagine how it is for those of you who do not have a full time nurse, have only a part time nurse, or no nurse at all (what the heck is wrong with that picture, right?). 

So why do I rarely  (note, I say rarely, not never) let students go to the nurse?  Read on to see and if you think this post is useful, informative or helpful, please feel free to share it on social media!

1. She probably doesn't really don't need to go to the nurse
She might need some TLC or attention. She also could need a break or to move around, or a combination of both which we call a movement break at my school.

2. She might just need to cool down from recess
Enough said. I can't tell you how many days in the spring once it hit about 65 degree or warmer that kiddos came in from recess saying "My head hurts" or "My tummy hurts" or "I don't feel good". Not surprisingly, those types of post-recess somatic complaints increased along with the increase in temperature as we got into May and deep into June. Most of the time,  once kiddos' heart rates come down, and they get a drink and stop sweating (unless of course, it's 90+ in the room, in which case the sweating continues), I don't get any repeats of the complaints.

3. She needs a drink 
Speaking of that, many times, it seems my magic response of "Try taking a drink or two from the water fountain" (or your water bottle) seems to clear it right up.

4. She might be stressed or anxious
In which case, the nurse is not the right person for this- at least not in most schools. Most school nurses are completely overwhelmed and overworked with students with injuries, requiring med administrations, inhalers, students who have vomited, have lice, etc. With vague complaints, a nurse might take a temperature and then send the kiddo back to class. If the student is experiencing real anxiety, her parents, the guidance counselor (or if the school is lucky enough to have one, school psychologist) should help you support her, and if it is an ongoing issue, school staff sometimes will recommend the parents talk to a pediatrician about it and maybe even consider an outside therapist. Sometimes with our kiddos, there is real anxiety there, a diagnosis can be made, and we can implement useful accommodations to help. I truly respect the intelligence, talent, and hard work a school nurse does, but shuffling a kiddo to the nurse that might be anxious in most cases only delays addressing the core of the actual problem.

5. She will miss out on vital learning time
This actually sometimes goes along with number 4. Sometimes students feel anxiety about learning and their schoolwork but if  she is nervous about the assignments, or feels she  isn't doing as well as she should, by going to the nurse, she may miss more important instruction and come back feeling confused and behind her peers,  reinforcing the cycle.

6. She nurse is swamped
I don't know about you, but for example, right after recess, the nurse at my school is completely overwhelmed. Between legitimate injuries, giving kids inhalers and nebulizers and dealing with at least one or more kiddo with an imaginary injury or illness, she often has 6-10 kids in her office. As I explained to my last class several times, if all the teachers in the school send one kiddo to the nurse at the same time, she'd have at least eighteen students!

7. The nurse visits should be for students who really, really need it
See #1-#6 

8. The nurse spends her own money on supplies
At our school in the past (but honestly, I don't know about last year or this year) I know she has bought cough drops for kids out of her own money, and once a few years ago she told me she ran out of bandaids and bought some herself, and I replied, "We teachers can ask parents to send in boxes of bandaids to donate for you" and we got a bunch to hook her up until the school restocked her bandaid supply. I don't know about your district,  but our nurse just should not be put in the position where she is buying her own supplies. I don't want kiddos who don't need things from the nurse to be taking them, since they should be for those who really need them.

Okay, so you ask, if I am a teacher, how do I deal with the problem of lots of nurse requests. This is what has worked for me. If you have suggestions to add that have worked for you, please comment and let us know!  

  • Keep band aids in the room and in individual desks.
  • Don't allow kids to "walk" their friends to the nurse-unless the friend is extremely upset or can barely see where they are going (such as when I had the girl who accidentally stapled her finger. YIKES).  The friend who is just walking someone to the nurse sometimes mysteriously ends up with a bandaid, ice pack or cough drop.
  • Discuss it with parents at Open House or Back to School Night - let them know your policy and ask parents to email  or send a note if their child is injured, might be in pain, or is coming to school but has symptoms of illness.
  • Communicate with parents as soon as you start noticing a kiddo who asks a lot.
  • Nurse Passes- if you have a "frequent flyer", try giving them one or two nurse passes they can use during the week and when they are out, they are out of luck (except of course a real emergency).
  • Incorporate movement and relaxation breaks into the day with GoNoodle or Youtube/your own resources.
  • Discuss and explain your reasoning to students. Some, even very young students, will really get it.
  • Incorporate the The 3 B's rule: Students who are bleeding, barfing or have broken bones can definitely go to the nurse - but other situations will likely get a no reply.
  • Try a nurse log. We have talked about, but not yet implemented, a nurse pass/log system. We sometimes send kids to the nurse with a "stomachache" but they come back with an ice pack on their head. We discussed having a paper we send down with the symptoms and time, and she signs off on it they complained of the same issue, or a different one and what she does. Have you tried this? Does it work or help?

Let us know what works for you when you get tons of nurse requests. Do you have a school policy? Your own? How does it all work?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Best Back to School Books for Teachers

Hey folks! It is hard to believe that some of you are getting ready to go back to school! Some of you may be new teachers or with just one year under your belt. You may be a seasoned teacher like me (this year will be my 18th year teaching!). Back to school always creates excitement and lots of lots of preparation. If you're like me, you like to read to learn and prepare yourself with new ideas!   Here are some great reads for  teachers as you get ready to go back to school! Clicking on any will give you more details and information from Amazon.
Best Back to School Books for Teachers: need one more book before school starts up? These will motivate and inspire you for the best school year ever!
This is of course, a classic, but he now offers the book with a DVD! Wow! When I read it, it was the late 1990s, but his advice and tips remain extremely relevant and useful. 
Best Back to School Books for Teachers: need one more book before school starts up? These will motivate and inspire you for the best school year ever!
So many teachers have already read this book, maybe you have too! Great ideas that teachers can use to encourage students to become lifelong learners.
Best Back to School Books for Teachers: need one more book before school starts up? These will motivate and inspire you for the best school year ever!
This is a short, but inspiring read for those of you who want to reinvigorate your teaching and making your classroom an exciting place where great learning takes place!
Best Back to School Books for Teachers: need one more book before school starts up? These will motivate and inspire you for the best school year ever!
You definitely have heard of this one! This one actually has aspects of  it that speak to improving both your work and your life in general!
Best Back to School Books for Teachers: need one more book before school starts up? These will motivate and inspire you for the best school year ever!
Hilarious, but you have to like dark humor and coloring books - or even if you just like teacher humor such as Blair Turner's @teachertroubles on Instagram or Facebook or @2boredTeachers on Instagram or Facebook, you'll love this! 
Best Back to School Books for Teachers: need one more book before school starts up? These will motivate and inspire you for the best school year ever!
Well, obviously! He is down to earth and realistic and tells you how it is. I mean seriously, why didn't Lesley College explain how to communicate effectively with parents, or why didn't anyone warn me I should have an extra pair of clothes in the closet, including shoes (someone did actually throw up on my shoes on my very first day of teaching!).
Best Back to School Books for Teachers: need one more book before school starts up? These will motivate and inspire you for the best school year ever! 
And of course...
Very helpful and inspiring as we trudge through the 180 days of the school year.
Best Back to School Books for Teachers: need one more book before school starts up? These will motivate and inspire you for the best school year ever!
So what books would you recommend? What should I add to the list as teachers get ready to go back to school again?