Sunday, September 28, 2014

September Stinks…

There, We Said It! Somebody Had to…


Teachers everywhere are already tired.
Parents everywhere are already tired.
Students everywhere are already tired. 
It's been 1 month since we started school...ONE month. 
But, we’re still going. We don’t give up. We don’t give in. We never, ever sit down. For if we do, we will crash or get sick...or both.
September as a teacher...
It’s like waking up one day and running a month long marathon.
It’s like getting engaged, planning a wedding and getting married all within one month.
Sleep is a long lost friend and Non-Stop Work just handed us the other half of their BFF necklace.

It’s exhausting. Exhausting.

But, you’re not alone. We’re all feeling it. The daily grind. We are jumping through the hoops. We are attending data meetings. We are assessing to drive instruction. We are calling parent conferences before and after school. We are selling the standards. But above all the things that weigh us down, we remain passionate about one thing...The kids. We will go to the ends of the earth to protect them, teach them and instill a love for learning that will set them up to be lifelong learners. We are, for lack of a better term, working our butts off! (No butts were actually worked off through that statement…They are still there…And more out of shape than ever because who has time to exercise right now!?!)

We all want our classrooms to get up and running smoothly. 
Pay now or pay later, we always say. 
This is what good teachers do... 

But, at what cost?

We see teachers in tears, imploding under the pressures of moving mountains without enough time or tools to teach and reach students.

We see parents in tears, imploding under the pressures of new standards, higher accountability for their babies and the dreaded syndrome of too much homework.

We see kids in tears, too young to comprehend the "rigor" and "fidelity" we are being told to bestow upon them when all they want to do is play. 

Is this how we develop a love for learning? 
Is this how we set our students up for lifelong success? 
Our text to world connections tell us no, unfortunately it is not. 
Something has to give...Something has to give...

Our own families stare at us awkwardly on Sundays as we half listen because our minds are wandering to such thoughts as, 
What on earth am I going to teach during guided reading? 
How can I get them to stop picking their noses? 
Maybe if I rearrange my entire classroom, that will help them focus.

We are lucky to stay awake past 9:00pm on a good Friday night. We may get grumpy (our husbands made us add that)…We are tired. Just tired.
We take school work with us wherever we go. 
Waiting 20 minutes for a doctor’s appointment? 
We can grade papers!
Sitting for a relaxing pedicure? 
We can write lesson plans!
Waiting in the car to pick up kids from school? 
We can cut lamination!
Sounds all too familiar…But, this is the reality of  many teachers' lives.

A few years ago, we compared notes and decided it was imperative to our sanity to just embrace the nuttiness that September bestows upon us...For this is the path we have chosen. To teach...

Each year, we place the same sticky note to ourselves on our September calendar at home that reads, 
“September is crazy! You know this, but you forget...like child birth. Don’t plan anything…Don’t do more than you can handle because school is nutty!” 
True story…
So if you’ve felt the life being sucked out of you this September, just know you are not alone. We teachers are in this together. 
We can do this! 

Remember why you are doing this...because you love kids. 
They deserve a good teacher, and you have a gift that truly makes a difference in molding and shaping the future through teaching. 
We will make it through. The calendar says so...
So, bring on October! 
It really isn’t as scary as it seems. 
We hope…

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

GoNoodle Giveaway!

Does your class use GoNoodle? It has quickly become our favorite time of day in our classroom. 
 
We're sharing 3 Genuis Tricks for Using GoNoodle as bait with our students over on the GoNoodle blog today...Yes! They have a blog...And, there's tons of great ideas, freebies and fun! So, be sure to read our post {here}. But before you go, head down to the end of this post for a swag bag from GoNoodle of your own! 
 We're giving away a bag of tricks to one lucky reader. 
Plus, 5 winners will win a class set of GoNoodle Stickers too!
Winners will be announced on Sunday...Good luck!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Shoe Tying Take Home Freebie

The BEST gift you can give a primary teacher is giving them a class full of students who know how to tie their own shoes. Seriously...The End.

It may not seem like that big of deal. 

                                              But, make this movie in your mind...
A student has their laces undone...
The teacher just bends down and ties them quickly and moves on with their delightful day. 
Only they don't...move on...because for every one untied shoelace, there is another. It's what some refer to in this business as "a pair"...

And for every pair, there are usually 10-20 more pairs patiently waiting behind that not such a big deal little lace that was initially waiting to be tied...
It's what some refer to in this business as "a domino effect"...

And as moms we can confess and call out a few mamas out there in jest who have opted to ignore this little life lesson by investing in what some in the business call "lazy shoes"...AKA velcro. ;)

As Moms, we could drive our soccer mobiles from here to Velcroland a million times a day, but as teachers we have to stop the bus...
One of the first assessments we give our new class is the 
Great Shoe Tying Challenge
We made that up...Sounds important, huh?

If we have a student who needs to give their laces a little love, we send home a Shoe Tying Take Home Kit. We've gathered a few shoe tying books over the years and we stick one along with a parent note and incentive sheet into a zipper pouch bag and give them 1 week to loop those laces so they last!
Most of them get a little help from their families and they're on their way. A few don't and we make sure to spend a little time teaching them this life skill ourselves at recess or in between activities. Why?
And we believe kids deserve to feel proud.
Plus, it is kind of weird for 18 year olds to still be asking their parents to tie their shoes. 
We're just doing our part...

Have a few folks who need to sharpen their shoe tying skills too? You can grab our family note and send them on their way!

Shoe Tying Take Home Freebie

The BEST gift you can give a primary teacher is giving them a class full of students who know how to tie their own shoes. Seriously...The End.

It may not seem like that big of deal. 

                                              But, make this movie in your mind...
A student has their laces undone...
The teacher just bends down and ties them quickly and moves on with their delightful day. 
Only they don't...move on...because for every one untied shoelace, there is another. It's what some refer to in this business as "a pair"...

And for every pair, there are usually 10-20 more pairs patiently waiting behind that not such a big deal little lace that was initially waiting to be tied...
It's what some refer to in this business as "a domino effect"...

And as moms we can confess and call out a few mamas out there in jest who have opted to ignore this little life lesson by investing in what some in the business call "lazy shoes"...AKA velcro. ;)

As Moms, we could drive our soccer mobiles from here to Velcroland a million times a day, but as teachers we have to stop the bus...
One of the first assessments we give our new class is the 
Great Shoe Tying Challenge
We made that up...Sounds important, huh?

If we have a student who needs to give their laces a little love, we send home a Shoe Tying Take Home Kit. We've gathered a few shoe tying books over the years and we stick one along with a parent note and incentive sheet into a zipper pouch bag and give them 1 week to loop those laces so they last!
Most of them get a little help from their families and they're on their way. A few don't and we make sure to spend a little time teaching them this life skill ourselves at recess or in between activities. Why?
And we believe kids deserve to feel proud.
Plus, it is kind of weird for 18 year olds to still be asking their parents to tie their shoes. 
We're just doing our part...

Have a few folks who need to sharpen their shoe tying skills too? You can grab our family note and send them on their way!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Class CHAMPS Classroom Management for Little Champions

About this time 5 days ago, the words, "We're getting our butts kicked by 6 year olds" might have come out of our mouths gone through our heads. 

But fortunately for three day weekends, we did what any teachers who are getting their butts kicked by 6 year olds have a 3-day weekend would do...
We devised a plan!
CHAMPS Classroom Management for little champions
CHAMPS Classroom Management for little champions
We've been using CHAMPS behavior management for a few years now. But, since we were getting our butts kicked by 6 year olds started school last week we decided to kick it up a few notches. We needed it to make sense to our little learners, so we gave it our own twist. We spent our weekend laboring away and we are really excited to go back to school to start training our little champions!
CHAMPS Classroom Management for little champions
CHAMPS Classroom Management for little champions
We've just added our Class CHAMPS Classroom Management for Little Champions to our TpT Shop in case you're getting  your butt kicked by 6 year olds (or 4, or 5, or 12 year olds for that matter) too!
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