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?!?”

My Top 10 Teacher Essentials

Every teacher has their list of things that they can’t go without for the school year and I don’t blame them one bit! There are things that over the past couple of years I just know I need and then there are a few things that I have just recently discovered. So before I begin rambling, here are my top 10 teacher essentials!

1. A Planner: Now you can of course pick a planner that works for you, well all have different needs and we all like different styles. BUT, for the past 3 years I have been purchasing the KitLife Planner. If you have no idea what that is, a KitLife Planner is a planner that “encourages productivity, thankfulness, healthy habits, and a spirit of giving” (I quoted that right off the front of my planner — and this planner does ALL of that!). This year they added the new “teacher” edition which comes with all of the normal things that a regular KitLife Planner would come with but it has extra stuff in the back. Some of those things include; a place for a daily schedule, a weekly schedule, special needs/allergy list, classroom notes, special occasions and birthdays, contact cards, progress tracker, parent communication log, student logins, volunteer log and some extra pages for whatever you want to use them for! I love this planner so much! It makes my life so much easier and I don’t go anywhere without it!

planner
In case anyone is interested this is the “Festival Style” planner and these planners run between $48-$73 depending on what style you get!

 

 

2. Pens: Now you’re probably thinking “duh everyone needs pens” but I’m not just talking about any pens. If you’re like me (which you might not be and that’s okay!) I need to have everything color coded otherwise I will lose my mind! Now there are a lot of different options that you can choose from but my favorite pens are the Paper Mate Flair Porous-Point Pens, Medium Point, 1.0 mm. I bought the package of 24 and the colors are amazing! Literally every color that you can think of is in this pack! They have their own special place on my desk in their own special cup. Yes that might be a little obsessive but what can I say I like to be organized!

pens

3. A Good Water Bottle: Now I’ve gone through my fair share of water bottles over the years. But I will say that my favorite water bottle so far has been my 48oz Bubba cup! This thing is just amazing! It keeps my water cold and I don’t feel like I’m running to the water fountain every 5 minutes to fill it up. I drink 1 whole one by lunch time then I can fill it up at lunch and I’m good to go for the rest of the day! Get yourself a good water bottle friends!! You will thank me later!

4. Cute Coffee Cup/Mug: Honestly coffee in general should be a teacher essential!! I know without it sometimes I just wouldn’t be able to make it through a day! But I will say that I do enjoy my coffee a little more when it’s in a cute cup! Whether it’s themed for the season/holiday or if it’s just a special cup that one of my students has given me. I love my coffee! If you don’t drink coffee and you prefer tea there’s nothing wrong with putting your tea in a cute cup/mug! 🙂

5. Teacher Bag: Now I’m sure that every teacher knows you need a good teacher bag! When I first started out I was carrying the same bag that I carried in college. It was a good bag and it had plenty of room in it and was easy on the shoulders! But another teacher that I was working with that year bought me a personalized bag that I have been carrying ever since and I absolutely love it!!

6. A Cute Lanyard: We all have had those moments where we’ve lost/misplaced our keys and our ID. One way to be sure that you don’t do that is to have them on a lanyard!! Now mine isn’t necessarily “cute” (it’s The Walking Dead themed) but I love it just the same!! It helps me make sure I always have my keys and my school ID. It’s also a handy place to hang the walkie-talkie when you’re on recess duty and you don’t have pockets!

7. A Nice Watch: Now I’m super into fitness so I own a Fitbit (specifically the Fitbit Blaze) so it doubles as my watch. I love it not only because of the watch function but because I can track how often I’m moving throughout the day. I like to stay active and keep myself moving. My goal as a teacher is to not teach from my desk, I like to move around the room. Sometimes that’s hard to remember to do if the kiddos are just silently working on something. My Fitbit will remind me to move around every once in a while!

8. Cute and Comfy Clothes: I’m the type of person that enjoys being comfortable but still looking cute. But I’m also the type of person that doesn’t like wearing the same outfit over and over again….yes I have a lot of clothes! Personally I wear a lot of dresses and skirts in the warmer months and a lot of leggings/pants and oversized sweaters in the cooler months. If you have a hard time finding oversized sweaters that you like I have a little tip for you…have a husband or boyfriend (or for those of us that might still live at home –> your dad), borrow their sweater, it’s probably perfectly oversized!

9. Cute Classroom Décor: Now this year I will say that I did a lot more decorating than last year and I love the way my classroom looks! It’s not exactly where I want it to be but it’s getting there! Cute classroom décor keeps me happy and helps the kids feel like they have a fun, safe and happy learning environment. (To see some of my classroom décor take a look at my blog post about my update classroom!)

10. Classroom Doorbell: Literally the best invention that I have ever heard of! One of the teachers that I work with had one and then another teacher bought one and she bought one for me as a gift for my room and let me tell you I love it! Now you’re probably thinking, what do you need a doorbell for? Well if you’re a teacher you know that there have probably been times when your room full of 30+ kids is just too loud. At this point you have 2 options, try to yell overtop of them or if you have one blow your whistle. Me personally I don’t want to yell and blowing the whistle sometimes scares the students that are doing what they’re supposed to and I always felt bad doing that. This doorbell gets plugged into an outlet and then you push the button and whichever sound option you choose will ring. The students hear it and they know to “stop, look and listen”. I love it so much and I think every teacher should get one, especially if you work with little ones!!

doorbell
Boomile Wireless Doorbell Waterproof Door Bell Kit, 1000 Feet Operating, 36 Chimes, 4 Level Volume, LED Indicator (purchased on amazon!)

 

My fellow teacher followers what are your teacher essentials?? Leave them in the comment section below!! I would love to hear from you!

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!

IMG_1235.JPG

 

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

Kids Notice EVERYTHING!

Anyone who has ever been around kids has probably realized that they notice everything and they are also very honest with you!

I work with kids every single day so this is no surprise to me. However, sometimes I am still shocked by the things that my kiddos say to me. To be completely honest sometimes the younger the kid, the more interesting the things that they say are and I love all of it!

So about two weeks ago, I was at work, and it was lunch time. So we took the kiddos to lunch and I’m standing there eating my lunch, drinking my water and keeping an eye on the kids, just kind of minding my own business. Then the next thing I know one of our preschoolers is at my feet, and the conversation goes something like this…

Preschooler: Miss Shelby!
Me: Yeah?
Preschooler: Why do you have such big water??
***Side note, I had one of the large 50+ oz bottles of SmartWater with me that day***
Me: Well….I really like water, and it’s good for me and makes me feel good!
Preschooler: Oh…okay….well then I am gonna like more water too!

Conversation over…and she walks away with a huge smile on her face. This goes to show that kids are watching everything we are doing. We as adults need to lead by example. It was honestly the cutest thing. Her face was so serious when she asked me why I had so much water. Of course she’s at that age where she asks “why” to everything but it was still adorable!

Do you have a funny kid story to share?? Leave it in the comments below, I would love to read them!

Xo’s Shelby