Organizing & Planning a Field Trip!

Teacher friends we all know the stress of planning and organizing your first field trip!

I did mine last year and I can honestly say that without the amazing help of the first grade teacher that I work with I would have been absolutely lost and forgotten about 100 things!

So I’ve come up with some tips and tricks on how to cut the stress for planning your first field trip!

 

 

1. Make A List

To Do List(1)

Okay now that we have our “To-do” list, let me tell you a little bit about why I put each item on my list.

1.Pick Several Destinations

This is on my list because you never know if the place you have in mind might be booked. Also if you’re taking multiple classes it’s good to rotate your field trips. That’s what we’re doing. Last year we went to a place called The Works and then this year we are going to The Ohio Historical Center, next year back to The Works. See what I mean? Since we take two classes no class will attend the same field trip twice.

2.Do Research on the Destinations

When trying to decide on a destination for your field trip it’s important to do your research. Do they have special offers for field trips? What are their hours? How far away is it from the school? Is there a place for you to each lunch? Do you need to pack a lunch? (The answer for that one at least for us is always yes it’s just easier that way!) How much is it going to cost? (so you can figure the cost per student) Are teachers free? What about chaperones?

See what I mean? It’s insane! There are so many little things that you don’t always think about! I know when I planned my first field trip (last year!) I didn’t think of half of these things! I’m glad I had some help!

3.Pick Several Dates

Granted most of the places you’re going to take your students will already suggest this but it helps to do it ahead of time.

4. Coordinate Transportation

This is one of the most important parts! I believe I did this backwards when I planned our field trip. Coordinate the transportation FIRST. Get ahold of the bus company (if that’s what you’re going to use as transportation) and make sure that they have the date that you want (or any of the possible dates that you might want) available. It doesn’t hurt to do it after you’ve talked with the places you want to visit but it might make your life easier to do it before just so you know that a bus will be available the date that you want to take your field trip.

5. Fill Out Permission Slip

Of course you already know that you need to do this and why you need to do this so we’re just going to move it right along!

6. Create Student Groups

I like to do this ahead of time so that I have plenty of time to move students around if I need to. Especially if a parents ends up deciding to chaperone or what not I’m not frantically trying to figure out groups right before we go on the trip. I like to do it as I’m planning. It just makes it easier in my opinion.

7. List of Possible Chaperones

For me this is super important because Since I work at a private Catholic school parents have to go through certain steps in order to be a chaperone or to help out with the students. If they don’t have certain things and meet the requirements then they cannot go on field trips with us, so the office is super helpful about getting us a list of those parents that are able to chaperone. This gives me an idea of how many students I can put in each group and gives me a chance to make sure we can get enough chaperones as well.

8. Decide on Lunch and Attire

For us we always have our kiddos pack a lunch but sometimes we let them dress down. Most of the time we just have them wear their uniforms just because it’s easier to keep track of students and they have a gym uniform they can wear that’s still comfortable.

 

BONUS TIP!

The first grade teacher that I work with and I were talking and we decided that it would be a neat idea if we stuck with two different field trip destinations and flipped them each year. So last year was our first year doing this, we went to The Works and we took the first and second grade class. So in order for the second grade class to get a different field trip that’s why we decided to do a rotation. This year we are going to The Ohio Historical Society. For me, I have to be organized and I like to have everything ready to go so I created a “Field Trip Organizer” and printed it out and placed it into a binder. (If you click the link you can see the PDF of what I did). I literally just made it in PowerPoint and added some cute clip art to make it festive!

 

What are your tips and tricks for planning and organizing field trips successfully? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to know!

 

Blog Ending Card

 

 

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What Teachers Really Do On The Weekend

Coming up with blog post ideas I was sitting there one day and I thought to myself, I bet sometimes a lot of people wonder what we (teachers) do on the weekends. Like what we really do. I know a lot of people seem to think that we spend our weekends grading, or kids (students) think that we spend it at school because we all live there right? But we all know what we really do. Now I know that my weekend routine is quite boring.

Friday: I go home after school, change into my pajamas and go straight into relaxation mode.

Saturday: I get up and I’m either teaching at the gym or working out on my own. After the gym if it’s football season I head home and watch the game (Go Bucks!). Either way I’m also spending time with my boyfriend.

Sunday: Occasionally the boyfriend and I will do something then too, if not Sundays are spent with family, couch surfing and watching Netflix. Occasionally (not very often) I will do some work for the upcoming week. Then of course from October – December and January – April (ish?) my Sunday nights belong to The Walking Dead. 9 o’clock comes around and I am like a hermit crab in my room, and don’t talk to me until The Talking Dead is over at 11. Yes it’s that serious!

Then I realized….that’s a really short and boring blog. No one wants to just know what I do on the weekends. So I turned to some of my fellow teacher friends on Facebook.

I recently joined a group called Teacher Blogger + Seller Network and it has literally been the best thing I have ever done. I always knew that networking was an important part of blogging and any “business” (I use that term very loosely because I am doing this for fun! But blogging can totally be a business), but I had yet to find the right place. Let me just tell you I have found it! This group of educators is amazing and supportive and I couldn’t be more thankful that God lead me to this amazing group.

So I reached out to some of them and asked them to tell me what they do on the weekends. Let me just tell you I am loving their answers! Continue reading to see what they said! (Links to either their blogs or their Instagram pages will be listed at the end of this blog, please check them out and give them some love!)

Continue reading “What Teachers Really Do On The Weekend”

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

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

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?!?”

55 strange things teachers have had to say to their students!

If you’re a teacher you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re in the middle of a lesson and a student does something that makes you think “What the actual F is that kid doing” and then of course you have to remind him or her that their behavior isn’t exactly…..appropriate or something that they should be doing.

I’ve only been in the classroom for 3 years now so I don’t have that many of these stories. So, to help me out I reached out to some of my teacher friends on Facebook and I got 55 hilarious…and sometimes shocking things that they have had to say to their students! Here they are….

 

Continue reading “55 strange things teachers have had to say to their students!”

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