My Favorite Websites For The Classroom

My fellow teacher friends out there, I know you will agree with me when I say that we are always looking for good (and often free) resources to use in the classroom. I know I am! Right now since I teach technology to grades preK-8 I find myself doing this even more. I will say I have found some that I like better than others and the main one that I am using now I do have some pro’s and con’s, BUT I do have a small list for you!

 

1. Google Classroom

Now I will say that this is probably my number one favorite tool for the classroom, especially if you’re a middle school or high school teacher. This resource will be a game changer for you I swear. I will say that I’m not using it right now, but I do have it in the works and I’m hoping that my school will start to use it soon (my hope is next year!). But I was first introduced to this amazing tool when I was doing my student teaching. I was back in my old high school with one of my favorite teachers and a lot of things had changed. This was one of them. The school now had an iPad for every single student in the building and every teacher was being taught how to use Google Classroom. With this resource you’re able to post homework and the students can then put their answers straight onto the document from their iPad and submit it back to you. Umm hello who doesn’t love not having to run off 30+ copies of assignments?!? And no more taking home piles of papers to just not grade them! (Now you can just carry your iPad or laptop back and forth and still do the same thing…I kid….kind of!) Having this also meant that the students didn’t need 7 or 8 different notebooks for their classes. They could take their notes on their iPads and if you uploaded a PowerPoint presentation then it was right there for them and they could take their notes right on the slide.

I mean I could honestly talk forever about Google Classroom. It’s just an overall great resource for the classroom especially for older students. The only reason I have not set it up myself is that an administrator needs to initially set up an account for your school. But like I said it’s in the works! Now I know if you’re like me you might be worried that your kiddos might not stay on what they are supposed to be working on. But you my friend are in luck! Thanks to @mrswelchknows (on Instagram) I found out that Apple has created a free app to monitor student use! It allows you to “force up apps, lock the screen, see exactly what the students are doing and so much more” (her words! please go give her a follow on IG!!).

 

2. Kiddom.co

Now I wouldn’t say that this is my second favorite resource by any means, however I would say that if you can’t get access to Google Classroom right now, this is your second best option. (At least that I have found!) A teacher that I work with actually introduced this resource to me, he is currently using it with his 5th grade class and when I looked at it, it basically reminded me of Google Classroom except you don’t need an administrator to get it set up. Kiddom has the same basic setup as Google Classroom. You have different classes that you set up and name and add your students to (using a class code).

Kiddom does have a few different options than I remember Google Classroom having. When you post an assignment you can set a due date and if a student doesn’t post it by the time the assignment is closed then it’s late (obviously) but then there’s no questioning that you lost the work that the student “turned in” when in reality they didn’t do it. You can attach a point value directly to the assignment and you can also attach rubrics and standards to them as well.

In all honesty Kiddom is a great resource, but there is just one issue that I have with it. If you upload a document and when the student goes to download is, if they accidentally hit “submit” without realizing it then you can’t undo that action. You have to completely delete the assignment and start from scratch. Which I know is a first world problem but when you have this happen multiple times it gets frustrating (been there done that!).

Now I am of course still playing with this resource and I do not know everything about it. But what I do know, I like. I’m sure that there are tips and tricks that I haven’t come across yet. If I do I will be sure to do an update!

3. Starfall (free or paid)

If you have little ones this is great! Now I will say that last year we only had the free version and although the free version is great now that we have the paid version (we bought a subscription for our school) I would never go back.

Like I said earlier I teach technology to preschool – 8th grade and when I have my K,1 and 2 kiddos in there more often than not I already have Starfall up and running with headphones plugged in and all they have to do is sit down and play. Let me tell you I have never had them that quiet. It’s amazing. There are so many different things that they can do on there and it’s all educational and they love it. It makes their time in the computer lab go by so quickly they get upset when I tell them it’s time for them to go!

We even use it in the classrooms. I help out in the first grade room a lot and the other day we had the tablets out with our kiddos and we had them logged into Starfall and they were silent for a good 45 minutes, maybe longer. It amazes me every single time we do it how focused and quiet they can be on this site!

4. ABCya

Now I know a lot of my teacher friends probably know all about this one so I won’t stay here too long! This site is amazing for students all the way up to grade 5 and the games are awesome too! My kiddos love this one too! They have math games, word games and themed games. Personally I love using this website around a holiday because they have several themed games for that specific holiday that the kiddos can choose from and they are of course distracted for the full 30 minutes they’re with me. They love it, I love it and everyone is happy!

 

Now I know that there are a lot more websites and resources out there but like I said these are my favorites and my go-to ones.

Do you have a favorite website, app or other resource that I didn’t mention?? Leave it in the comments below! I would love to check it out!

XoXo Shelby

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Bullying & Cyberbullying: Things We Can Do To Stop It.

The first federal uniform definition of bullying wasn’t released until 2014 by the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education. The first definition included some very important key points that are still included in the current definition today.

Bullying. Unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power of imbalance. Behavior is often repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Those who are bullied and who bully others may often times have serious, lasting problems.

Now, you will notice that in the definition that I wrote above I left out some key words. I left out the word “kids” and “children”. Though I know that bullying and cyberbullying are most common among school aged children, I am also aware that bullying doesn’t just stop once you finish school. Therefore I believe that the definition shouldn’t just be geared toward children. For the purpose of this blog post I will however be focusing on bullying and cyberbully in schools.

blow out candle

 

In order to define behavior as “bullying”, it must be aggressive and include the following:

  • An imbalance of power: the kids who are doing the bullying will often use their ‘power’ (this can be physical strength, information about a person that could potentially embarrass them, or even their sense popularity) to control or even harm others.
  • Repetition: bullying behaviors will more than likely happen more than once and if they haven’t they will have the potential to happen more than once. This repetition is often what makes the situations more difficult for the person(s) being bullied to deal with the issue. Knowing that it is going to continue or could potentially continue is very difficult to deal with.

 

Bullying actions can include but are not limited to:

  • threats
  • spreading rumors
  • attacking someone (physically or verbally)
  • excluding someone from a group on purpose
  • name calling
  • inappropriate comments
  • taunting
  • excluding someone from a group
  • hitting/kicking/punching
  • spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • taking, breaking or messing up someone else’s property
  • making mean or rude hand gestures or comments

 

Most of the time people assume that bulling only occurs at school. While it is often most common for bullying to occur during school hours it can also occur after school or even at home. With the heavy presence of the internet in the lives of our children today it is a lot more common for kids to be bullied at home and often times they might not even know who is really doing the bullying.

Statistics

 

Whenever I look at the stats for bullying or cyberbullying I am always shocked. I know that kids are bullied. I know that kids can be just down right mean. But when you see it in numbers….it brings a new perspective to it. I mean just look at the difference between the LBGT students and the non-LBGT students. We went from 20% and 9% to 55% that’s a huge jump!

I feel for the kids that have to deal with this day in and day out. I really do. I hope that this article if nothing else educated those that read it enough to be able to help at least one child that is being bullied. I hope that one day we can stop bullying all together. Now I know that’s a long shot. There are always going to be kids that are going to pick on another kid for one reason or another. But one can hope right?

Keep reading for a few ways that we can help to prevent or maybe even stop bullying.

(All of the above mentioned information and facts were found at http://www.stopbullying.gov if you would like more information about bullying please check out that website)

Continue reading “Bullying & Cyberbullying: Things We Can Do To Stop It.”

5 Reasons I love Science

I know science is one of those “love it or hate it” subjects. There’s really no in between and to be honest most people probably hate (or dislike) science more than they actually enjoy it. Most of the time it tends to be girls who stray away from things involving science (and math) because a lot of times they think that they’re not going to be any good at it. For years it has been planted into young girls brains that it’s “okay” to be “bad” at science and math because they’re “not geared towards girls”. As a teacher that breaks my heart. Was I the best at math? No! I can even admit that I struggled a little bit with a few topics in the science field. But did that stop me from learning the material and doing my best? No. BUT that is honestly could be a completely different blog post (and I might just do that!). Now back to what this post is actually about….now I know for a fact that I could come up with more than 5 reasons that I love science. I mean I didn’t major in it for nothing. I obviously love the subject a lot. But I wouldn’t want to bore you with a long list of reasons as to why I love science. So I have narrowed it down to my top 5 reasons why I love science!

1. Bill Nye The Science Guy – I mean who didn’t see that coming?!? I know for a fact that even if you don’t like science you know who Bill Nye is. He had (and has considering he came out with a new series on Netflix) the best educational show out there! When his new show came out on Netflix I literally geeked out and spent a whole day binge watching it. Yes I said I binged it. Call me a nerd that’s fine by me! When we were young he made science fun! But he’s also not afraid to be serious. He just has a way about him that draws you in and engages you in whatever he’s speaking about. He is just amazing!

2. Experiments! – I mean who doesn’t love to blow stuff up occasionally?? I’m kidding….kind of! I love science experiments because I love the hands on learning experience that they give. I’m more of a visual learner than anything else so if I can do an experiment or something like that to help me understand a concept them I’m better off. Do we occasionally get to blow things up or do other cool things like that? In chemistry yes, in college we did a few fun experiments that involved blowing things up outside and I loved it! But those experiments are few and far between. But there are other fun and exciting experiments that can be performed! One of my favorites from high school was the flame test. You were given different elements and you tested a small amount of them over a Bunsen burner and the different elements would burn off a different color. For example Potassium would burn off a lilac pink color. It was super fun!!

3. We get to study the things around us – I mean how awesome is it that we can look out our window and there is science?!? Science is literally everywhere! Once you learn to ask questions, observe, construct possible answers to your questions, develop and conduct experiments and think independently, you can begin to find life more challenging and worthwhile. Even the smallest thing in our every day life can reveal volumes about the world around us.

4. I love a Challenge and Science Challenges Us! – Studying science brings such a challenge into a persons life. You can explore and study so many different things in the world! But I also love the challenge of keeping students engaged in science. Science is one of those subjects that students tend to shy away from or tend to zone out during because they find it “boring”. But there are ways to make it not so boring. I mean just ask Bill Nye, he made science awesome!

5. So Many Awesome Career Paths – Science can open the door to so many amazing career paths for those who chose to purse them. You can be an astronaut, a doctor, a nurse, an engineer, a lab technician…the possibilities are really endless. I know I could list so many more things that you can do with a science background.

 

Like I said I could list so many more reasons that I love science, but I don’t want to bore you with a long list!

What is/was your favorite subject in school?? I also really loved English, I bet you can’t guess why! (I hope you can sense the sarcasm there!)

XoXo Shelby

The #1 Movie Every (Catholic/Christian) Teacher Should Watch

First of all if you haven’t seen God’s Not Dead…what are you doing?!? You need to check it out! It’s a great movie and it will forever be one of my favorites.

The name of Jesus is becoming less and less welcomed in the world (especially in schools) with each passing day. If we as Christians don’t take a stand now, who knows what will happen.

God’s Not Dead 2 welcomes us back to Hope Springs where a beloved teacher Grace Wesley (played by Melissa Joan Hart) helps her students to understand and enjoy history. Her love of her profession, her love for her students and her love of life in general all stem from the same place…her love of Christ and her love for her faith.

Now this is where it becomes tricky, Grace doesn’t work in a private Christian school, she teaches in a public school where bringing up the name of Jesus or God is tricky and can get you into a lot of trouble. By sending your children to public school it allows a separation of church and state, by discussing religion in the public classroom it violates that separation which can anger some parents. Non-believers can often view someone discussing their religion as them trying to push their religion on a person who might not believe exactly what they do. Though that is often not the case, it is often how it is perceived.

During the movie, Brooke, a student grieving the loss of her brother, reaches out to Grace at a local coffee shop. During their conversation Brooke asks Grace (Mrs. Wesley) how she deals with certain things in her life, naturally it brought Grace to sharing how she finds hope and comfort in Christ.

Now you’re probably sitting there thinking, how is that so wrong? They were outside of school and all she did was be honest with her. Brooke asked her a question and she gave her an honest answer. There should be nothing wrong with that…but it will later be used against her.

A little later into the movie Mrs. Wesley is giving a history lesson about Gandhi and his teachings Brooke raises her hand and asks a question…bringing up Jesus.  Thinking very carefully, Mrs. Wesley contemplated how she was going to answer this question, or if she was even going to answer it. But she did. Though her answer was very reasonable, it will later land her in big trouble. Her principal and superintendent join forces with a zealous civil liberties group and Mrs. Wesley faces an epic court case that could cost her the career that she loves so much.

Now I won’t spoil the movie for you and tell you how it ends. I mean I wouldn’t tell you about it if I didn’t want you to go watch it. But let’s think about it for a minute. Could you imagine being asked a question by one of your students and feeling like you can’t answer it because it could ultimately cost you your job? I couldn’t even imagine.

I loved this movie for so many reasons. It came into my life at the perfect time to be honest. I was going through a rough patch in my life. I had lost my grandma and several other people very close to me and I was having a hard time staying connected to God. I was angry and I was upset, I didn’t understand why God was taking all of these amazing people away from me, and all at once. It was heartbreaking and devastating and I wasn’t sure how to handle all of it. Instead of turning to prayer for answers, I let my anger and confusion consume me. I felt like God had abandoned me when I needed Him the most. I know that sounds crazy but I honestly believe that everyone goes through it at least once in their life.

I remember the first time I watched it and I felt this overwhelming feeling at one point (I would tell you what point but I feel like that might ruin the movie), and I remember just crying, sobbing really. I remember sitting there realizing that it was silly of me to think that God wasn’t there for me. I knew that God was there for me, He was always there for me and He always will be. I had just been so angry and confused and upset that I decided to block Him out. But watching this movie helped me wakeup and realize something that I should’ve known all along.

“Lord you said that once I decided to follow you,
we would walk side by side through life,
but when I needed you most, I saw only one
set of footprints in the sand.

The Lord replied, ‘I love you, and I would never
leave you. During your times of trial and suffering.
When you see only one set of footprints it was
then that I carried you’ “.

I have been a Catholic all my life, 25 years to be exact. Now I haven’t always known what it really meant to be a Catholic. As I grew up I began to understand and as Catholics we are taught that God will always be there for us. If you read the Bible it’s true, God is always there for us whether we realize it or not. Those times that we think that He is not there…I feel like it is really us blocking Him out. I know that’s exactly what I was doing. I was angry and instead of letting Him guide me through the pain and the troublesome times I blocked Him out. But the good thing about God is, that even if you do block Him out, when you’re ready to go back to Him, He is there waiting with open arms. I may have blocked God out from my mind during those difficult times in my life, but I know that He still carried me through them. How do I know that? Because I don’t believe that I would’ve made it through them if He hadn’t.

My point is, that if you’re a Catholic teacher and teaching in a Catholic school, realized that you are blessed because you get to share your faith daily with your students without fear of being punished or potentially losing your job. As for those teachers that aren’t that lucky, keep your faith strong and don’t be afraid to be who you are.

If you check out this movie, pleases let me know! If you have already watched it, let me know what you thought of it. I know this can be a controversial topic, so please no arguing in the comments. Let’s be respectful of each other’s opinions please.

XoXo Shelby

What’s in my teacher bag?!?

All of my fellow teacher friends out there, if you’re anything like me (and I know most of you are!!) You probably have way too many things in your teacher bag that you probably could leave at home….or school…but why take that chance, right?!?

So I thought it would be fun if I shared with all of you a list of things that I carry back and forth with me between school and home! (Some necessary and some not!)

 

Continue reading “What’s in my teacher bag?!?”

Healthy Teacher Lunch Ideas

Eating healthy at lunch or even getting a lunch as a teacher can be difficult! Sometimes we end up working through our lunch, plus we have recess duty and who knows what other crazy interruptions. Instead of relying on coffee, diet soda (or soda in general) and unhealthy snacks let me give you a list of some quick healthy things that I enjoy packing in my lunch!

  1. Yogurt – it’s quick and easy and it tastes good! You can even back some granola and put it on top for a little added crunch!
  2. Veggies and Hummus – one of my favorite things to pack! Carrots, Celery, Cucumber, whatever your favorite vegetable is and add some hummus on the side and you have the perfect protein filled crunchy meal!
  3.  Veggies and Dip – for those of you that don’t like hummus you can always switch it out for your favorite veggie dip!
  4. Lettuce Wraps – There’s nothing like a good sandwich for lunch, but sometimes I don’t want all of those heavy carbs loading me down after lunch. Instead of using bread I like to make lettuce wraps. **Here’s a tip, pack all of the toppings and your lettuce separately otherwise it could potentially get soggy and messy and assemble it at lunch**
  5. Salads – I know this is super basic and anyone could think of this but seriously salads are one of my go-to lunches. They’re healthy, there’s only one dish and it’s super easy to eat too!
  6. Soup – now that it’s getting cold outside I like to either buy a healthy soup or make s big pot of soup in the crock pot and take it with me to work. It’s warm, it keeps me warm and it’s filling which is always nice.
  7. Chicken and rice – this is one of my go-to lunches on the days that I have to teach at the gym in the evening. It’s a little bit heavier of a lunch but not too heavy that it would weigh me down or make me feel groggy after lunch. The chicken and rice mixture is a good source of protein and carbs to help energize me a little bit more for the rest of my day.
  8. Chicken salad and pita chips – I love chicken salad, chicken salad sandwiches or even just chicken salad on some pita chips. The chicken gives you some protein which will give you a little boost and I enjoy the pita chips as opposed to bread because it’s less carbs and it adds a little bit of a crunch.

 

Those are pretty much my go-to lunches. Occasionally I will pack leftovers from the night before or change it up a bit. But these are my favorite things to pack. On a rare occasion I will buy a lunch from the school cafeteria but I try to stay away from that. When I do buy a lunch I tend do be hungry before it’s time to go home and then I find myself snacking on things that I shouldn’t.

What are some of your favorite lunches to pack?? Did you see any ideas above that you want to try? Let me know in the comments!

XoXo Shelby

Teaching is easy…said no teacher ever…

I am going to try to keep this short because well to be completely honest I could talk about this forever.

When I was in college the amount of times that I heard that Education is a “lazy major” made me cringe! Sure from the outside looking in it looks easy, but have you ever tried keeping a room full of 20-30 little ones not only quiet long enough to hear instructions but interested in what you’re saying….or even worse teenagers! It’s not as easy as it sounds. And once you do have their attention have you ever thought about how difficult it is to get all of them to actually understand and retain the information that you’re teaching them?

Imagine this you have a classroom of 30 kids and you have to get those 30 kids to understand a certain topic. Amongst those 30 kids you will have a handful of visual learners, audio learners, hands-on learners, and a few students who can learn and grasp things in multiple formats. What do you do? You can’t teach the lesson in 5 different ways because that would take up way too much time and there are only about 6 or 7 hours in a school day. As a teacher I can tell you what I would do is to try and teach whatever lesson it is in a way that is going to reach the majority of my students. Why? Because then those students that need the extra help have multiple resources (myself and their classmates) that they can reach out to in order to get help fully understanding the lesson. I would also switch it up every once in a while, instead of lecturing all the time throw in some group work and some labs and other ways of allowing the students to learn than just one way.

Not only do we have to teach these kiddos every day, but it’s our job to make sure that their behavior is on point…and let me tell you that is not easy! The amount of things that I have had to remind students not to do….sometimes I think I could write a book! I’ve had to remind students not to lick certain things because they have germs on them, not to put pencils or other sharp objects near their eyes….the list could go on and on! I mean I could get specific but…..I might have to start collecting these things and make that a totally different blog post! I’m sure ya’ll would get a kick out of that!

Anyways…I think I got a little off track so let’s refocus!

Other than teaching being an “easy” profession…I think the number one thing that I hear “non-teachers” say to teachers is how we should love our jobs because we get “summers off”. Oh honey how I wish that were true!! We have personal development that we must keep up with in order to keep our licenses, we have to tear down our classrooms so that they can be cleaned and then we have to set them up again, we have to start doing lesson plans for the next school year….I could continue on with this list to be honest. A number of us also have a second job, which we often will pick up more hours at during the summer. So for all of my non-teacher friends out there…I’m sorry we don’t exactly get summers off.

Like I said, I’m going to keep this one short, so I’ll just stop there! Really this was nothing more than me venting a little bit about how some people tend to think that teaching is easy. Hopefully I didn’t offend anyone. To all of my teacher friends, did I forget anything?? Has anyone ever made a comment to you about our profession that made you roll your eyes?!? Leave it in the comments below!

Xoxo Shelby  

I do it for the money….(NOT!)

If you’ve been here since the beginning you might remember that my very first (or one of the very first) blog posts was about “Why I became a Teacher”. You probably noticed that one of those reasons was not because of the amount of money that I get paid.

I remember being in college and so many people telling me that becoming a teacher wouldn’t make me a lot of money and that I should probably reconsider my major. I also remember a lot of people telling my that being an education major was an “easy” choice…but that’s another blog post.

I already knew that I wasn’t going to be making a ton of money becoming a teacher. If I were in it for the money I would’ve stayed in nursing school. But I wasn’t in it for the money. The money honestly doesn’t matter to me. Money doesn’t make me happy, you know what makes me happy? Working with my students every day and helping them to accomplish their goals and become better learners is why I became a teacher!

I can guarantee that if you ask any teacher; no matter where they teach or what they teach, they will tell you that it’s not about the money. It will never be about the money.

Xo’s Shelby

Classroom Update!

I’ve shared a few pictures on social media with friends and family but I wanted to do an official blog post about how I updated my room! But before I talk about it I just want to give a huge thank you to my schools, Home and School team! If it weren’t for them none of this would have been possible!

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With that being said, this is my second school year taking on the task of teaching technology to preschool – eighth grade at my school. I spent three days a week last year in my room trying to think of how I could make it more functional and more up-to-date for our students. This is what my classroom looked like at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. We were beginning to update the space by purchasing new monitors and a new smart board. But, the more I sat there the more I realized that the tables that I had in my room….needed to go! None of them matched, they were uneven, and the size was ridiculous for the amount of space that I had to work with….but for the year I made it work. I just knew that I had a vision where my kiddos could come in and have plenty of space to sit comfortably and work together without feeling like they were all sitting on top of each other.

I did my research and found some amazing tables that I knew would be perfect for the lab! After taking my proposal to Home and School, they agreed with me and with their help I was able to purchase my beautiful tables!

 

When the tables came in I was so excited and happy! I couldn’t wait to get them put together and arrange them how I wanted to. Let me just say that to have a vision and watch it actually come to life….was amazing! I couldn’t be more excited to finally have my tables in my room! It took my dad and I a whole day to put them together and arrange them in just the right place so that everything would work in the room. Talk about an exhausting day! But I am so pleased with the room that it didn’t matter. (A huge shout out to my dad for all the hard work he did to help me get my room ready….I’m really not sure what I would have done if I didn’t have his help…oh wait yes I do…I would have been sitting in my room in a corner rocking back and forth sobbing uncontrollably!)

No of course you can’t have a new setup like this without some new decorations right?!? I’m not gonna lie my room was a little sparse in the decoration department last year, but to be honest that was because I just didn’t have that much room to work with and my mind couldn’t come up with any ideas that worked with the room. But now, I have more wall space (that I can actually get to) and I was able to find some amazing decorations on Teachers-pay-teachers to help me out!

The first thing I changed up were the bulletin boards behind my desk. I added an apple boarder to the one and added a banner that I made with my Cricut (best Christmas present ever…thanks mom and dad!!) Then I changed my rules board to match my room a little more and I love it so far! (No my desk does not look like that right now, it’s actually a lot neater but I took these pictures while I was still in the process of working in my room…I promise I’m much more neat of a person than that!)

The next thing I added was a rewards system (Bitcoins…shoutout to Linda Kamp from TpT and AroundtheKampfire.com for the resource!!) The way that I am using this reward system is by having each class earn a set amount of “Bitcoins” based on good behavior, for example if they as a class stay on task and are good listeners then they earn Bitcoins for that class period and if there are any issues during the class period I will take away Bitcoins). As a class once they have reached 50 Bitcoins (preschool and kindergarten) or 100 Bitcoins (1st – 8th grade), they can turn their Bitcoins in for free time on the computer. So far the kiddos seem to love the idea (especially the older kids! They were super excited to hear about this!). The next thing that I added that I didn’t have last year were classroom jobs (for preschool – 5th grade), I am hoping that these jobs make cleanup time and transitioning between classes a little easier!!

Last year I had these wonderful colorful buckets at each table next to each computer, inside each bucket I had the headphones that went with that specific computer. Since we bought new monitors and new tables, there’s just not enough room on the tables for the tubs. Originally that made me sad because I love the idea of having the headphones in a bucket and out of the way instead of on the table or hooked over the computer monitor. My original plan was to get a bookshelf that I could fit 36 of these little tubs on so that the kiddos could come and get their headphones when they needed them. But my dad came up with the idea to use the shelves instead and let me just say that I LOVE the idea so much! Not only are the headphones in their tubs, but they are out of the way and look super cute! I also thought it would be a cute idea to have a printing station – basically my printer, paper, pencils, a stapler, 3 hole punch and pencil sharpener are all in one area so that the kiddos know exactly where everything is. So far I am loving it so much!

Of course the only thing left to do is show you the final product!!! I could not be more excited or happy with how it turned out! Again I would like to thank Home and School for helping me out with all of this, my dad for helping me set everything up (and being so patient with my when it came to moving the tables around for about an hour straight…) and of course my mom for helping my print, cut and laminate about 1,000 different things for my room!

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Here’s to an amazing school year! To all of my other teacher friends out there I hope you had a successful first week/couple of days back!

Xo’s Shelby

5 Tips for Classroom Management

As I have said before, I have not had a lot of experience when it comes to being a teacher. I’ve only been doing this for 3 years, but one thing that I made sure I had a good handle on, even during my student teacher, was classroom management.

If you have a rowdy class, or even just one or two students who tend to get a little out of hand, it is important to have a plan in your head before it happens.

  1. Start The Year Strong….then you can back off (but not too much!!): What I mean by this is, if you start the year off letting your students know who is boss (you), then they will respect you. Have your rules for your classroom set in stone, be harsh about them, do not cut any slack whatsoever. If you have clear rules and clear consequences set in stone from day one, the year will go smoothly. To help your students understand exactly what you mean when it comes to the classroom rules, show them. A large number of the population learns better when they can see someone doing whatever it is that they are being taught. Lead your students to understand your rules by example. Take the first couple of days to really hone in on the rules and show them examples of ways they would be breaking or following a rule. Then there will be no questions about it later. Then after maybe the first month or two of school you can let the reigns go a little.
  2. Be friendly and Smile: Something as simple as a smile can build such a strong relationship between a student and his or her teacher. A smile helps them to know that you not only care about them, but you are also being polite and kind, which they will then return back to you. As silly as it sounds, if your students like you, they’re more likely to want to listen to you. Another thing to add to this, say hi to your students (past, present and even future) in the hallways. You would be surprised what a simple “Good Morning, Alex” could do for a student. They could be having the worst day, and something as simple as a teacher taking a minute to say hello, and use their name, could change that completely around.
  3. Have fun! : Learning is very important, but that doesn’t mean that the kiddos don’t deserve to have some fun too! In my computer class there will be days when I have a lesson planned and ready to go, however if a class walks in and I notice that they seem like they’ve had a rough day, I might give them a free day. There is no reason to not allow them a little bit of time to relax. Or we might play a quick fun game before we start a lesson. There are so many different ways that you and your students can have fun and still be learning! Take advantage of those opportunities, I promise you and your kiddos will thank me later!
  4. Find a fun and effective way to get their attention: There are so many ways to get your students attention. You can even let them help you pick out how you get their attention that way they know what to expect. With my smaller kiddos some of my favorites are: “1 2 3 eyes on me” and then they will repeat back to me “1 2 eyes on you”. I also on occasion will clap a pattern and they know they are supposed to repeat it back to me. Now sometimes you could try every little trick in the book and they’re still not going to get it. So what do you do when that happens?? I talk in the quietest voice possible, sometimes I’ll give a command. For example; I’ll whisper, “If you can hear my clap 3 times” and maybe 1 or 2 kids will clap. Then that will get some more kids attention, keep going and soon enough you’ll have the whole classes attention. One thing that I have noticed that is not very effective (although I have been guilty of this many times, especially with my older students), is standing in the front of the room with your arms crossed….waiting. The problem with that one is then you have students saying “shhhhhhh!!!!!” and that just adds to the noise and you begin to waste valuable instruction time.
  5. Stay Calm: Yes that may be easier said than done, especially if your class is having a particularly rough day. But if they can look at you and know that you can keep it together (even if on the inside you feel like running and hiding in the corner to cry and rock back and forth…yeah we all know that feeling!), then they are more likely trust you and listen to you. Staying calm gives the students the opportunity to be in a safe learning environment which is only fair to them. If they feel safe, they are more likely to succeed.

 

Like I said, there are so many more tips that I could give you. However these are the ones that I try to focus on each year! To my fellow teacher friends out there, leave in the comments below what works for you and your classroom!

Xo’s Shelby