Winter Break

I meant to get this out before winter break began, but was unable to do so! The craziness of the holidays has passed for now so I figured I better post something while I can!

Before we left for break, I gave my students a reading challenge. I was surfing through Pinterest one day and came upon a few ideas for winter break reading. I really liked the ideas I found, here are my favorite:

Cookies and Cocoa!

TPT Store Link to Winter Break Marshmallow Challenge by More Than a Worksheet

These ideas got me thinking…”What are my students going to do over break?” (Besides play video games and sleep all day???) I really wanted them to read over the break, but I didn’t want to make it boring and tiresome. So, I combined some of the ideas I found and made it my own!

I challenged my students to complete each day’s activity. Some days required them to read more than others, some days are more active than others, but each activity was meant to get them to read something. In order to make it more fun, I included an incentive for those that decided to do some of the activities: Hot chocolate, marshmallows, and cookies! (I got this incentive idea from the Cookies and Cocoa blog post!)

Here is a link to my TPT store where you can download a copy of my challenge for free! It is editable so you can change it up how you like! Winter Break Reading Challenge

Even though this was meant for Winter Break, I’m sure you can change it up for Spring Break or even a fun reading challenge during the winter months!

Happy New Year!!!

New Subject, New Classroom

I’ve mentioned before how I’m making a change this year. I’m switching from Social Studies to English Language Arts (ELA). I’ve had to completely change my mindset and thought process from teaching history and geography to teaching reading, grammar, and writing. I also had to make a change in classrooms. I even moved classrooms!

The move allowed me to get rid of some things I really didn’t need any more and gave me the opportunity to redecorate. What teacher doesn’t like to do that from time to time?

So, I thought I would share what my room looks like now. Maybe it will give some else some inspiration. If you need other ideas, get on Pinterest, follow my New Classroom board. (I pinned a LOT of ideas!)

New Classroom

I used bright colors as accents. I actually regrouped my desks soon after this photo. They are now in 6 groups of 4 desks.

New Classroom

I went to many garage sales this summer and picked up as many pillows as I could. I allow students to use these during reading time.

New Classroom

Writing center includes places for students to write, supplies for writing, and posters for inspiration.

New Classroom

My letters for the bulletin board in the back didn’t arrive on time, but it should say “Exit Slip” as the title. This is a quick way students can reflect about a skill we worked on in class. I also have an area for class jobs, hashtags, and DoJo awards.

I created some posters based on famous characters of popular book titles.

I created some posters based on famous characters of popular book titles.

Please reply in the comments if you have questions! Hope you have a wonderful school year!

Formative Assessment

Formative Assessment. Yes, formative assessment, you know what teacher’s do on a regular basis, but district’s and the state want the “evidence” for. Well, below you can find several tools that might make sharing that evidence of learning with the “powers at be” a lot easier.

My principal recently sent out a link with digital formative assessment tools that can be used in the classroom. From the list, I’ve only used two…that’s right, two. I had thought I was totally “in the know” when it came to digital assessment. Well, I’m not. Here is the link that was shared: GlobalDigitalCitizen.

The two that I’m familiar with using are Poll Everywhere and Google Forms. I have used both in my classroom. I love them and so do my students. My students really enjoyed pulling out their cell phones in class to text in their response for the Poll Everywhere question and thought taking quizzes on Google Forms was easy. I have used Poll Everywhere for introducing a new topic and checking for understanding. Students love to watch the poll update as results come in! I have used Google Forms for surveys, quizzes, and tests. I love that you can change the type of questions, add images and videos, and you can even grade the results using Flubaroo! (If you don’t know what Flubaroo is or how to use it, check out this link: Flubaroo)

 

*I will caution you about allowing students to use their cell phones in class. You have to watch them like a hawk. The minute they think you aren’t watching, they will get on Facebook, Snapchat, etc. Now, I know, you are probably thinking, “Duh, that’s why I don’t use tools like these.” However, I would say to you that if you really set the tone and enforce good digital citizenship, the use of technology like cell phones can be really effective and fun.

With the huge push for formative assessment, I love checking out new tools like the ones listed in the link. If you have used any of these tools, please share your experience below! I’d love to hear from you.

First EVER blog post – Thoughts on Teachers

I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about starting a blog. Well, I finally did it! I’ve read so many blogs and have enjoyed reading so many different stories. Now I’m going to add my story to the mix.

I don’t think this is going to be the perfect blog and I’m sure I will mess up a time or two. I hope to use this a means to share my teaching stories, resources, and thoughts with others. I’m sure I’ll get a little personal from time to time as well.

Honestly, I need an outlet for all the things I’ve experienced as a teacher thus far. It’s still early in my career and I’m sure there are plenty more experiences ahead of me. I really needed a place to share them! Thus, this blog has been created. I hope you will join me in this journey and help me along the way.

This school year will be the beginning of my 7th year of teaching 6th grade. (All my first year students are seniors in high school this year!) I’m making a transition this year, going from having taught social studies to teaching ELA. I’m a little nervous, excited, and certainly overwhelmed! Such a transition makes me reflect back on my first year as a teacher.

As a first year teacher, I didn’t know what I was doing – even though I thought did! I came from a small town and found myself teaching in a much larger school district. I had to learn the ins and outs of the school as well as the ins and outs of having my own classroom. It was difficult, but I made it through.

I managed to make it through such a trying time as a first year teacher. I’m confident I’ll make it through this trying time of transition because of my own grit and determination and veteran teachers.  I have been blessed to work with some AMAZING educators. It is through their selflessness and encouragement that I kept on going my first year. It will be through their selflessness and encouragement that I make it through this year.

The world of education is often criticized, but if you live in the shoes of a teacher for a day, you might not be so quick to judge. Educators, whether veterans or not, are compassionate, kind, caring, giving, encouraging, hard working, and resilient people. Amazing educators, like the ones I teach with, think not only about their students and their learning, but about their fellow educators. I love that I can confide in and ask for advice from my colleagues.

Thank you educators for the work you do every day that rarely gets noticed!

Now, just a short note about the title of my blog: Teaching For The Thrill. I came up with the title because it is what I love to do, it’s not about the money – let’s face it, educators don’t make that much. Teaching is a lifelong passion of mine, it’s what I believe God has called me to do. There are many times in the past 6 years that I have been so thrilled with what was happening in my classroom. So…Teaching For The Thrill…because teaching.can.be.thrilling!