Indoor Recess

Indoor Recess......

Who knew those two words could invoke such a strong emotional reaction inside someone.  If you're an elementary teacher, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Your students need their time for movement, and while that's understandable, it's sometimes hard to achieve with 24 students inside this one small room. 

Our go-to game is Mum Ball.  They take turns throwing the foam ball around the room.  The rules are simple: catch it and stay in, miss it and you're out.  As exciting as that sounds (note my sarcasm here), the kids really do love to play it.  The issue we experience most is if it was a fair throw or not. 

The problem with Mum Ball and other games of this sort is that while they're getting physical activity, once you're out, you have to sit.  Sitting leads to boredom, and boredom leads to trouble.

Enter the greatest solution ever (especially for my 4th graders)..................The Electric Company!

Straight from PBS Kids is the…

Crazy Days Make You Thankful

I had quite a morning.  We've all had those, nothing goes right, running late, every kid needs your help, IEP meeting at the crack of dawn, printer jams, phone is ringing off the hook in your classroom, feverish kid complaining, trying to get attendance done, and your Dr. Pepper spews all over you, your desk, and your bags.

Okay, so maybe the Dr. Pepper part only applies to me.....

Anyway, sometimes as a teacher, it's so easy to get overwhelmed.  Your kids see your frustration even if you don't mean to show it.  But then you get a note like this...

Who knew an index card would totally change my outlook on the day?  After getting this, I felt like I had the power to take on the world...even with a huge Dr. Pepper stain on my shirt. 

To anyone who doubts that teaching is what they were called to do, just have faith.  You may get an index card that will change your attitude too!


My kids literally run to my classroom in the mornings and rush to unpack!  Want to know my secret....

If you've not tried this as an elementary math teacher, let me assure you, it is a GAME CHANGER!
Prodigy allows you to set up assessments that are already aligned to the common core!  Doing place value? Fractions? Geometry?  You name it, they've got it.  
Simply create a FREE account and add your students.  Using the calendar, create a plan that aligns with what you're teaching and when!  Don't feel like doing that constantly?  That's ok!  Prodigy will test your students to see what level they are on and give them material on their individual level.
Not only is it simple, easy, and useful for a teacher!  The kids LOVE it!  I mean literally cheering when I say, "Okay, you can play Prodigy."  There's not much in the entire world that gets that kind of response!  Think Pokemon meets math.  They answer questions to battle other students.  They can earn th…

Let Me Tell Ya 'Bout My Best Friend

Do you ever have this breakthrough and just think, "Yes, I have officially become a genius!"?

I did...yesterday!  And it's all because of this phenomenal website: Seesaw

Seesaw is my BFF.  We've been good friends for awhile now, but I'm beginning to see what a game changer it can be for a teacher.  In case you haven't used it, Seesaw is a way for students to post to a digital journal that is shared with their teacher and their family.  It's a great way to keep everyone connected.  Some of the kids even think of it as their own "YouTube Channel" because of the way they can upload videos.

First of all, my students LOVE IT!  They beg me to do Seesaw posts about anything and everything.  How often do you have kids begging to do something that's educational?  The really cool thing is that you can use it in EVERY SUBJECT!
-We make posts in reading on a weekly basis.  Sometimes we do videos, others we do pictures and add captions.  We do summaries,…

Creating Community

I've been teaching for 10 years....yes, 10.  In those years, if I've dealt with any one big problem, it's been relationships.  If they're good, they're good.  If they're bad, they're REALLY bad!  Kids thrive on the relationships around them!  They do, however, have a hard time creating positive, meaningful relationships with each other in the classroom, and it is our job, as educators, to show and model what they should look like.

I'm sharing a list of 5 ways to cultivate community in your classroom.  This is not intended to be a quick fix, but instead a group of strategies for you to employ as you bring your classroom together.

1.  Group 'Em Up
Not only will it help your sanity, but arrange your kids into groups they wouldn't naturally select on their own.  Sitting with new people encourages them to talk to others that they normally wouldn't on a day-to-day basis.  They just may find that they have more in common with someone than they exp…