Saturday, September 9, 2017

Celebrate Freedom Week

Okay, y'all.  We are two weeks in, and there's a light at the end of the first-days-of-school tunnel.  Those first few weeks are always so chaotic!  I feel like I'm putting out fires more than anything else!   From trying to get passwords and usernames to gas shortages to long-lost math programs to chauffeuring my children all over creation for football, swim, choir, auditions...  It's EXHAUSTING.  But we're starting to find our rhythm, and I sure am grateful, because I'm kind of already over September.

Next week is Celebrate Freedom week, and I also kind of love US history and talking to my students about our country and the sacrifices that have been made for them and for me.  A couple of years ago, my own children were wanting details about 9/11.  I'm not really the kind of parent who sugarcoats the truth, so I really had to think long and hard about what I wanted them to know.  I ended up telling them the truth, and showing them images from that day.  The effect was profound.  They didn't get scared or have nightmares.  What they got was a thoughtful compassion that can only be found in knowing the truth behind the tragedy.

I haven't shown my kiddos this film, yet, but I plan to someday when they are a bit older.  I watched it shortly after 9/11.  Two French filmmakers were making a documentary about the life of a NY firefighter.  They just happened to be shooting on 9/11.  Without knowing it, they were about to make history.  This documentary is the real deal - if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

In my classroom, I try to stay true to the facts, as well, while understanding that not all parents share my philosophy.  So I'm very careful to stick to the facts and keep the images G-rated.  I'm a very passionate teacher, so sometimes it's hard for me to temper my emotions, and maybe (just maybe) I've shed a few tears in front of my students.  But I think that's okay.  We are models, and if I'm modeling compassion through my tears, then I'm pretty sure I've done my job, and then some.

For Celebrate Freedom Week, I created a guide of materials to engage my students in learning about the foundation of our country, its charters, and the freedoms we enjoy as its citizens.  There are booklets and flap books, posters, and a super cute Freedom Cube that the kiddos make to show what they learned.  In honor of our country's freedoms, I'd like to invite you to download a free copy of this guide to use next week with your kiddos, and I hope that you will share with them your passion and your compassion for all those who sacrifice for our country.

Click here to get your free download!


Friday, August 18, 2017

Teaching a Growth Mindset

The countdown is on!  A week of teacher inservice, and then my classroom will be filled with 21 bright and shining faces, ready to learn every single thing I have in my bag of tricks.  The thought of those faces is what is going to get me through a week of meetings, staff development, more meetings, online training, even more meetings, convocation, and still more meetings. UUUUGGGHHHHH...

And also...  I get SO excited when I'm able to add a new resource to my bag of tricks!  I've been working on a couple of the things this last week that I plan on using WEEK ONE (gulp).  My fingers have been flying across my keyboard with excitement (and maybe a little anxiety) as I try to get all my ideas onto my screen.  Maybe my kids have been living on frozen waffles and Lunchables.  Maybe the animals don't get fed 'til the wee hours of the night.  Maybe the dishes keep piling up in the sink.  But it will all be worth it when I'm finished with everything!

I FINALLY finished one of the goodies, and I'm thrilled to get my Growth Mindset Resource & Activity Guide out there!  Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my motivation, and about two weeks ago, I ordered a ton of picture books with the idea of using them to teach my students how to have a growth mindset.  They sat in my teacher bag while I contemplated just how much energy I had left to start this endevour after setting up my classroom.  Turns out it was just enough!
Have I said how much I love Amazon Prime?
I read each one of these books, and MY, OH MY!!! I SIMPLY. CANNOT. WAIT.  I created a ton of activities to teach growth mindset, and then I created another ton of activities and discussion questions to go with each book to reinforce the importance of growth mindset.  My plan is to use all of these resources...just about 15-20 minutes each morning as we establish a routine in those first several weeks.  Crossing my fingers it all works out!

Check out some of the activities included in the guide!  I've even made it FREE for the first 24 hours!  Click on any of the pics to snag your copy!

Best wishes to you all for a fantastic year!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

It's August, Ya'll

I have a love-hate relationship with August.  I love that it's my birthday month.  I hate that I'm a year older.  I love my 50% discount at Kendra Scott.  I hate that I can't get out of that place with JUST ONE ITEM.  I love the FRESHNESS that is the new school year.  I hate that our days sitting poolside are swiftly coming to an end.  Sigh.

I found at least 14 items I wanted, but my bank account said NO!
Let's  reflect on where we are in our summer timeline, shall we?  The bickering is at an all-time high. Most of my children are in a YouTube-induced trance for approximately 90% of the day.  The kitchen has become a 24-hour buffet.  Half of us have summer reading that that HASN'T. EVEN. BEEN. TOUCHED.  Mention the word "chore," and suddenly everyone under the age of eighteen is catatonic.

And I've just been too summer-lazy to give a care.

But it's August.  In a few weeks, I will be FORCED to give a care.  I'm sure it's nothing a little school-supply shopping won't cure.  Because let's be honest,  the MOST awesome thing about being an elementary school teacher (aside from those 22-26 shining faces, of course) is buying school supplies.  Sorting them.  Organizing them in cute bins.  Labeling said bins.

In honor of the upcoming school-supply shopping binges (and, if you're from Texas, the tax-free weekend coming up on August 11-13), I'm offering my supply labels for FREE for the next 24 hours. They come in two sizes - large and small.  I use the large at Meet-the-Teacher to display on the walls above where I want the kiddos to place their supplies.  I use the small in my closet, cabinets, shelves, etc. to label where everything lives.  I allow my 5th graders to get new supplies when they need them.  I know, sounds crazy, right???  But with the exception of a few "off-limits" items that are occasionally snagged, it works out pretty well.  I'm totally okay with a few pilfered pencils if it means I don't have to be in charge of passing out new supplies!

Click here to snag your free set!
At Meet-the-Teacher, I collect small supplies in tubs from Walmart.  They stack easily for storage, and I can use them throughout the year for other things.  Thank goodness they are cheap, because I buy new ones every year.  They are like socks in the laundry!  I don't know what happens to them, but somehow they VANISH.  Somewhere out there is a sneaky little troll with a cave full of socks and plastic dishpans.

Looks like they sell them in bulk - 8 for around $14!  WOOHOO!!!
Hope you enjoy the freebie!  Just a few more weeks of freedom, friends!