Enough Is Enough.

Happy Monday Friends. I had a different post planned for today but in light of recent events, I had to make a change in my posting schedule and get this off my chest and just share with you some things that you can do.

 

In case you didn’t already know, on Wednesday afternoon as most of us were winding down from a fun filled day of Valentine’s Day celebrations, nothing but love and kindness (or if you’re like me and you work in a private Catholic school you probably celebrated the day before and had been at Church that morning as Wednesday was also Ash Wednesday); students, teachers and staff were fighting for their lives in a mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

17 people woke up Wednesday morning, got dressed, ate their breakfast, maybe drank some coffee. 17 people went about their morning routine, went to school/work. Parents dropped off their kids. Teachers and staff said goodbye and I love you to their loved ones at home. Not knowing that they could potentially not make it home that night. 17 people didn’t make it home that night. 17 families lost a loved one. A whole community has been changed forever. A whole school has been completely shaken, terrified. They will never forget the things that they had to do, the things that they heard, the things that they saw. Their lives have been changed and they will never be the same. Why? Because a teenager was able to have access to an Automatic Rifle (an AR-15 to be exact) and was able to take it to the school and open fire on them, after pulling the fire alarm in order to attract more people into the hallways so that he could intentionally kill more.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news then this is nothing new to you. Sadly, this is nothing new to any of us. School shootings have unfortunately become too common in today’s world, and in order to change that WE need to stand up and make changes. We need to use our voices, otherwise things are never going to change. More teachers and more students are going to become victims of an awful tragedy, and I don’t know about any of you but as an educator….I prefer not to have to go through that. I don’t want to have to shield my students from bullets. I don’t want to have to worry if my colleague down the hall has all of his/her students safe.

Every time I hear about this on the news (which is all too often anymore), I think to myself “What would I do in this situation?”. But see the problem with that question is…on any given day I could be in a different classroom. I teach computer two days a week, the other days I’m usually in one or two rooms…but sometimes I get asked to sub, which means I’m in a different room. Luckily for me I know the school I work in like the back of my hand, because I went there. But that means that I have to have several different plans in my head. Which is fine…but the thing about it is, I shouldn’t have to. No teacher should have to think “what can I do to keep my kids safe?” or “what can I use to hold my door shut while I get my kids out or hidden?”. But the reality of it is…right now we do. We have to take active shooter trainings. We have to do all of these things because our government wants to make it easy for anyone to have access to a gun.

Now don’t get my wrong, I am all for the second amendment. I do not mind someone having their CC. I do not mind people owning guns to hunt. But there should be stricter rules and laws with this. More training, more knowledge, more background checks, your mental stability should be checked every so many months. I am not saying that every school shooting is directly associated with mental instability but often times those are the words we hear. Could it be part of it? Yes. But the main problem is that it was easy for that person (mentally stable or not) to access a gun. THAT is where change needs to be made.

I could honestly go on and on, as I’m sure many of you could too. As educators, parents and just citizens of this country no one wants to hear that a school filled with innocent children is in any sort of danger. Let alone the danger of an active shooter.

What I don’t understand in particular about this school shooting is that there were signs. The FBI was notified that this shooter had made a comment on a YouTube video saying that he was “going to become a professional school shooter”. Now it has been said that the FBI tried to trace the comment back to a source and couldn’t. Fine. But his user name was literally his name…Nikolas Cruz. His Instagram…was FILLED with guns and other things that should have been noted as questionable and should have raised awareness which could have potentially made this less deadly. Now before the comments are flooded with attacks I know you cannot predict when things like this are going to happen. But you can have better precautionary measures in place. The school did have police officers on sight…but 17 innocent people still died…people are still in the hospital, some still in critical condition.

There are some things that we can do in order to prepare in the unlikely event that an incident does occur. We can talk to our kids and our students about violence, we can teach the all of the procedures and the things that they are supposed to do. But most of all we can pray to God that in that moment (if it ever happens) that we act accordingly, because you never know how you are really going to act. For most of us, adrenaline will kick in, we will go into full protection mode, all while on the inside feeling nothing but panic and wanting to cry and scream. But we’re staying strong for our students.

Unfortunately we have normalized gun killings to the point that we must reassure the world that if and when (although I was told in our active shooter training this summer that it is not a matter of if it’s a matter of when) an active shooter comes into a school that we have plans in place to keep those inside safe. That to me is sad. But if you think about it…most school shootings are by someone who knows the school so if they know the school that means they probably know the protocol for lockdowns…which does the school no good.

I read a post on Facebook called A letter from a furious teacher (click to go to the article) and I couldn’t agree more with some of the things that she said.

“No where in my contract does it state that if the need arises, I have to shield students from fun-fire with my own body. If it did, I wouldn’t have signed it. I love my job, I love my students.”

She goes on to talk about how she herself is a mother and a wife. Though I am neither of those things right now…I would like to be someday. But right now I am a daughter and a girlfriend…and I still worry about the same things she stressed. Going home safe to my family. But also making sure my kiddos would get home to theirs.

“I chose to be a teacher knowing that on most days I would not be able to use the bathroom until 4 pm. I chose teaching knowing that I would be grading papers all weekend and working far beyond the hours of my contract. I chose to teach even though it meant that I would miss every awards assembly and field trip that my daughters asked my to attend. I even signed up to sit in a counselor’s office with a teenager on my lap, holding her as she sobbed through an anxiety attack. I signed up to as a child if they were considering committing suicide and then relaying this terrifying information to a parent. It seems like a lot to agree to, but I truly knew what I was getting into.”

Nowhere in our contracts does it ask us to shield our students as our classrooms and schools are sprayed with bullets from an AR-15 or any other weapon for that matter. However she made a good point when she said…

“At the end of my teaching contract, it says that I will perform ‘any other duties to be assigned’. I do not interpret these words as ‘bleeding to death on the floor of my classroom’.”

Honestly, no teacher would…no teacher should. But I can tell you that if it came down to it we would all be that teacher that was deemed a hero because we risked our life and ultimately lost it because someone tried to hurt our students. However, I am with the surviving students of that High School in Parkland, Florida. I am 100% done with the school shootings. I want this to be the last one (though I don’t think this one should have ever happened…2none of them should have ever happened).

So I have list of things that you can do to help. Ways that you can help us as educators take action.

 

1. Register to vote

This is probably the most important thing. If you are not registered to vote and you can register, please do so ASAP. I don’t care if you never vote for a president or anything else, but in order to make a change on election day we need your vote. So please register to vote and encourage others that you know are not registered to vote to do the same.

 

2. Text “ACT” to 644-33

What this does is shows that you are interested in joining the fight against gun violence. It will prompt you to then reply with your Zip Code and you will then be given a website which will show you events in your area that you can attend.

 

3. Download the 5 Calls App

This will give you the numbers to contact your local government officials. What you then do is call and talk to them or leave a message. If you are nervous about talking to them (I know I would be) then what you can do is read directly from the script that they give you. It takes about 1 minute per call, 5 minutes of your day. Please do this.

 

4. Text “RESIST” to 504-09

This allows you to turn your text message into a letter to your representative. Honestly this takes 2 minutes of your time. Not sure what to say? Just speak from your heart or do a little research and I’m sure you can find the right words.

 

5. Teach and Show Kindness and Love.

This is probably the most important one. As educators each and every day we do our best to show our kiddos that we love and support them. We do our best to teach them to be kind to their classmates and to be kind to other in general. But I am not going to lie, there are some days where I myself snap. There are days where I think to myself that a certain kid (or multiple kids) are getting on my nerves. But what I am going to try to do more and be better at is taking a step back. I do not know 100% what these kids home lives are like. I might have an idea. I might hear rumors about it. But I am not there. Even if they have a good home life they might have had a rough morning…we have all been there. It is not fair to me to lash out at them without knowing.

This quote resonates with me now more than ever…

Quote

As educators I think that we need to remember this now more than ever. The students that we see as behavior problems are the ones that are really crying out for help. The little one that yelled at you because you asked him to sit down…might not have had breakfast that morning. The eighth grader that is giving you lip because you asked him to tuck in his shirt, might have gotten yelled at for not getting his little siblings ready for school on time. Our students these days have more responsibilities than we did as kids and I think that we sometimes forget that. So when we add more to their plate than they already have and we lash out at them…we wonder why we get lashed out at as well. Or we wonder why they zone out and don’t listen.

Sometimes what we need to do is sit back and think before we act. If we can show our kiddos kindness and love even when they aren’t showing it to us, then I bet that we can work to make the world a better place.

 

Do you know of other ways that I didn’t mention above that people can help end the violence? Please let me know in the comments below so that I can share it with other people. Enough Is Enough. I’m ready for change and I know that other people are too.

 

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Oops I Did it Again….

Now I know you’re probably thinking “didn’t you JUST completely re-do your room over the summer” and the answer to that is yes, yes I did. BUT hear me out! The way I arranged the room gives me (and my kiddos) more space to move around and I added new decorations too! So I thought that I would share that with all of you!

 

Before you see the new photos here’s a look at what it looked like before. Actually you know what, I lied, let’s take it ALL the way back and look at what it looked like at the end of last year!

IMG_1235

This is what I was working with all of last year. Honestly I wish I had a picture of what it looked like before I set the tables up this way. They were all around the room so some of them were facing the walls and then some of them were in the center of the room in rows. It just drove me insane! So I set them up like this, and though it was better my desk was at the front of the room and I couldn’t see what the kids were doing and honestly it was a pain in the neck to walk through the room and I felt like I had no freedom to make it my own. So for the year I worked with what I had and I did some planning and at the end of the year asked home and school if they would help me out and buy me some tables….

Well….I got them!

classroom

I absolutely love them and I am so grateful to the home and school board for making this room look amazing and giving out students the opportunity to learn in an up-to-date environment! But let me tell you, it took my dad and I almost a whole day to get this setup like this because I couldn’t figure out how to fit all of these tables (36 computers, 4 computers per table, 1 very small classroom…in case you can’t tell I’m in one half…yes I said one half, of a modular but we make it work!)

So after a few months I started to realize that there wasn’t a lot of room still and that I could be utilizing the space better than I was. So we had a teacher work day recently and I decided that it was time to move things around yet again, and let me tell you it is even better than the picture you see above!

 

classroom updated

I mean seriously look at how open that makes the room! Really all I did was take apart the groups of tables (except 2 of them) and placed single half tables up against the wall around the room in 5 different spots, then in the center of the room is where I placed the two groups of tables.

I love this setup so much and I don’t think that I will be changing it for a while. However, I did add a few things to my room that I am loving and so excited that I finally got to get them up! My goal was to have them done sooner but…life happens, right?

headphones

Okay this first station is only partly new. Each year my school is given a donation from our local Kiwanis Club and this year my principal asked me if there was anything that we needed for the computer lab. Honestly at first I almost said no, but then he mentioned headphones (in this case ear buds) for each of our students. Now granted last year we did purchase a new set of headphones and though they are nice (I still have them for testing and for my kinders and preschoolers), some of them were falling apart and some of them stopped working all together. So of course I said yes and I am so glad that I did! (I think I’m going to do another post later on about how I organized the headphones and the labels that I made for all of my buckets so stay tuned for that!)

The sign on the top shelf says “Live Love Laugh” my mom made it for me! It’s an apple chalk board piece (we used these for my college graduation party as center pieces). The one on the second shelf says “Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder” and I got it from Target in the dollar spot (I believe it was $3).

Okay moving on because I could really ramble about all of this!

QOD

Please ignore the “Christmas Tree”…in my defense I took off all of the Christmas decorations and since it has snow on it I thought that it would be a cute winter decoration and there’s still snow on the ground so….don’t judge okay? Also, don’t pay attention to the messy first shelf…I’m still working on cleaning things out and organizing. (Of course by the time I do that I’ll probably be out of here and in my own classroom…in case you didn’t know my degree is AYA 7-12 Life Science). But that’s besides the point! The letter board is of course from Target…(I believe this was also $3…someone please correct me if I’m wrong!). Anyways, I love it so much and have been using it as a way to display a “Quote of the Week”…if you follow my on Instagram (if you’re not…what are you doing with your life??) you know I love my quotes! And the Scentsy warmer was a gift from a friend for graduation (can you tell that I love the “Live Love Laugh” quote? I told you I love my quotes!).

Moving right along!

 

 

calendar-organization.jpgThis area used to be just my “catch all” and my paper storage for the printer, but since I recently moved my printer away from this (though my printer paper is still on it…I just haven’t moved it yet) I decided that I would use it for something else. Now these bins used to be used to hold the giant headphones that all of the students used. I had 36 bins, one bin for each computer. However, since we received the new earbuds I had all of these left over bins. I knew that I had wanted to better organize my calendar stuff because it was all in one box and honestly it was a hot mess and I hated it. I was planning on purchasing a hanging organizer or something like that for it, but then I saw all of these bins laying around and thought to myself that I could definitely use them for my calendar pieces! (Again I will be doing another blog post on how I organized these and how I created the labels that you see on the front and maybe what is in each bin…though some bins are more full than others…I’m still working on that!).

CalendarSorry for the glare! I tried to fix it and though I feel I’m pretty savvy with technology…editing photos is not one of my strong points. To be completely honest I’m not 100% sure why I’m including this because I just got some major inspiration from a teacher on IG…and of course now I can’t find it and can’t give her credit…so angry at myself for not writing it down! When I find it I PROMISE I will edit this post and let y’all know who it is! (Again all of the information about my calendar will be included in another post so please keep an eye out!)

Now it’s time for my FAVORITE addition to my room!

The Tech Word Wall!!!! Eeek!

Word Wall

All of the words and the “ABC” letters came from a bundle on TpT from Brittany Washburn (if you’re not following her….what are you doing?…click her name and it will take you directly to her TpT store and the product that I used). I am a huge fan of Brittany and love all of her stuff! When I found her by accident a few years ago (as I was stressing out because technology is not what I went to school for…my degree is in science…) I was so thankful because she gave me some great insight and ideas on what to do with my kiddos! Oh and she has helped me make my room more engaging! Now granted it is February and I’m just getting this up…but better late than never right??? I love it and I know once the kiddos see it done they will love it too!

 

Well friends, that is my classroom update! I will try not to do another one of these for a while! It takes a lot to move all that stuff around! (A huge shoutout to my dad for helping me…again…I’m so glad he retired!!) What do you think? I know it’s difficult to see in pictures but let me know in the comments below!

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A Week of Outfits

Hey friends!!

So today I thought that I would do something a little different and do a week of teacher outfits!

Monday:

The top and bottoms for this outfit are both from Kohl’s. I got them last spring so I’m not so sure that you can still find them.

Boots are from Zulily (if you’ve never shopped zulily you should it’s amazing!)

Tuesday:

Black pants are leather in the front and regular pant material in the back. I believe they are from Target. The sweater is honestly so old I don’t remember where I got it. And the White top was a Christmas gift. I wore this with the black flats which are from Target.

Wednesday:

One of my favorites! A shift dress (with pockets!) Both the dress and boots are from Zulily.

Thursday:

I told y’all this was one of my favorite outfits. I bought it in purple too! Same shift dress just a different color and same black boots!

Friday:

Usually on Fridays I wear jeans and a T-shirt or a nice shirt depending on what we have going on. And of course I have seemed to have lost my Friday OOTD pictures. So my apologies!

What do your outfits look like throughout the week? I would love to know!!

Teacher Memes

Friends! We all know that we deserve a good laugh every once in a while right?!? Well I compiled some of my favorite teacher memes and thought that I would share them with all of you! Happy Monday!

 

 

coffee

I mean this doesn’t exist but I think it should…anyone else??? Especially on a Monday morning!

 

you is teacher

I mean….true. Just a week or so ago I spent $40 alone just in the Dollar Spot at Target…the DOLLAR spot! That’s crazy! But the Dollar Spot is irresistible….am I right?

 

 

Winter BreakThis was also me last week after having Monday off for MLK Day and then having a snow day Tuesday and Wednesday and then working Thursday and then a Teacher Work Day on Friday….I mean…what day is it? What time is it? Where am I? hahah

 

Why

I mean this really couldn’t be more accurate. I think they find it enjoyable to test us like this.

 

summer break

Well I mean it is nice to have summers off….but we really don’t get summers off. With professional development and worrying and planning for the following school year. If you have kids of your own…add that into the mix and you definitely don’t get a summer break!

 

Stay in your seat

Oh my best friend just got up to get a tissue…I suddenly also need a tissue! Susie needs a tissue, Jimmy needs a tissue….NO! It’s not a party at the tissue box or the trash can!

 

Sick Kids

Or the kid that said they puked before they got to school yet mom and dad insist that he/she is fine. NO! You are infecting me and my entire room and the rest of the school. Please stay home! I love you and I want you to learn but I do not want to nor can I afford to be ill!

 

Seating Chart

I mean really does this even need an explanation? No it doesn’t. We’ve all been there.

 

Mental Break down

Or throw a kid out the window….or accidentally cuss. Just breathe and count to 10…or 100. Whichever helps.

 

Line leader

This one is one of my favorites. Especially with the little ones because there’s always that one kid that just needs to be first or it’s the end of the world!

 

Giving Directions

My favorite line when this happens, “Please pay attention next time, and ask a friend/neighbor that was listening” they love when I say that! (Please note the sarcasm!)

 

Cold

This is how I feel when one student gets sick…one gets it, we’re all getting it. That’s when the airborne and the Lysol come out hard! No sickness for me!

 

Bleeding Dying

This is my favorite line. I mean seriously sometimes I feel like I have the whole class at my desk or at my hip for the smallest thing! Billy looked at me funny. Susie is playing with her crayon box. JUST SIT DOWN! Unless you or your neighbor is on fire, bleeding or dying please sit so I can teach! Sometimes I humor them and let them tell me whatever it is, but sometimes I just can’t!

 

Bathroom

Yeah no. Not happening. You only want to go because your friend did I’m sure.

 

Assembly

Or for those of us who teach at a Catholic School….church. I hate when I can’t get a kids attention and I have to climb through rows of kids like a crazy person to get them to knock it off when they know better!

 

Well friends I hope that these gave you a laugh on this Monday! I hope you have an amazing week!

What is your favorite teacher meme?? Drop it in the comments below!

 

**Also please note I got these off of Pinterest and do not know who the original owners are but none of these are my photos and I not taking credit for them**

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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!

 

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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

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