Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Free eBook by Seth Godin

Although most of Seth Godin's writing is directed at business, his latest work asks the question "What is School For?"  Seth Godin's free eBook is available for download in several formats here.

I haven't finished reading the book yet.  I am already inspired to take a deeper look at my classroom and see where I can make my lessons more relevant despite a test-driven environment.

I invite you to download his book and come back to discuss with me how to make our schools better.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Leap Year Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers

This Wednesday Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale.  Many of your favorite sellers will be discounting their materials by 20%.  With the coupon code L2P9Y that will bring the total discount to 28%.

Everything in my store will be on sale this Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quote of the Week -- February 26, 2012

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."
Albert Einstein

Friday, February 24, 2012

People of Integrity

I have a tough time leaving my students with a substitute -- or as I prefer to call him/her -- guest teacher.  There are days when the person who comes to take my place has amazing skills and can manage and TEACH my class.  I tell my students that no matter who is in charge of the class I expect them to do what they are supposed to.  I have them make a list called, "People of Integrity" and they write down names of students who are following directions whether I am watching or not. 

When I come back, students who are on several lists earn Privileges and Coupons.  I find that we are all more focused on the positive, and there are fewer people in my room whose poor choices I need to address.

Updated January 4, 2013
Here are some other ways I use Privileges and Coupons:
1. The Desk Fairy
2. Privileges and Coupons -- my incentive system
3. 30 Days Till the End of the Year

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blogs I Enjoy Following

As an upper elementary teacher, I am responsible for teaching all the subjects.  I enjoy teaching math and explaining concepts comes naturally for me.

Scipi's blog Go Figure has some great explanations for difficult math concepts.  As she writes on her blog, "My math mission is to cure one math phobic at a time."

Go Figure

Monday, February 20, 2012

Question of the Week

When I taught in the primary grades, I needed more parent volunteer help for material preparation and working with individuals and small groups.  Now that I have upper elementary students, my volunteer needs have changed. 

How do you involve parent volunteers in your classroom?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness -- Our Progress

It's been a little more than two weeks since I started the Random Acts of Kindness project in my classroom.  The jar I use to collect the slips has filled more rapidly some days than others.  I also use kindness questions as my journal questions for the day to keep the focus on doing nice things for others.

1.  How has someone shown you kindess this week?

2.  Who do you plan to show kindness to today?  (Try to make it someone you don't usually work with.)

3.  Who do you think you will notice being kind?

At the end of each day, I pull out the slips from the jar and mark the chart.  I find that as I read the slips aloud others remember to fill out slips.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blogs I Enjoy Following -- Classroom Magic

Classroom Magic
If you are not familiar with Classroom Magic, go check it out.  Selina Smith is an experienced upper elementary and middle school teacher.  She has great ideas on her blog and often free printables.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Question of the Week

Today is Valentine's Day and I am having a small party and Valentines exchange with my students.  Are you having a party?  What grade do you teach?  What is your school or district policy about holidays and parties?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quote of the Week -- February 12, 2014

"An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less."
Nicholas Murray Butler

Friday, February 10, 2012

Privileges and Coupons -- My Incentive System

I started giving out privileges the day after the school kitchen ran out of hot food and half of my students ate cold cereal for breakfast and lunch.  After an afternoon of mutiny, I decided we all needed to refocus on the positive.
Privileges are little squares of paper that can be traded for extra opportunities in the school day.  They can be spent on a night off from homework, extra computer time, extra art time, and reading in the hallway when finished with other work.  Notice that none of these rewards cost me any money.  They have to be spent at an agreed to time between teacher, student, and in the case of homework coupons, parents.

I have posted this as a freebie at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blogs I Enjoy Following

After reading Daniel Pink's books, A Whole New Mind and Drive, I subscribed to his blog.  As teachers we are constantly having to motivate others.  His work has given me something to think about.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Question of the Week

This week I am getting my semester report cards complete.  How often do you fill out report cards?  What strategies do you have for keeping grades and notes on your students so that report cards aren't such a chore?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Quote of the Week -- February 5, 2012

A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blogs I Enjoy Following

Josh Stumpenhorst writes Stump the Teacher.  He teaches sixth grade near Chicago, IL and also is the Illinois Teacher of the Year for 2012.

Congratulations, Josh!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness -- Free Printables

I plan to have my students focus on kindness during the month of February.

This activity is not original to me.  Two teachers at my school have had their classes do this beginning with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and ending with Valentine's Day.  I believe the idea started with Devon Hamner’s lesson plan.

I missed starting this in January because of a week of snow days, so I plan to do this in February.  It will fit into my plans for Valentine's Day and the one hundredth day of school. 

Click here to download the four page freebie from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click here to download the four page freebie from Teacher's Notebook. 
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