Sunday, August 14, 2011

I've stumbled upon an AMAZING website called This digital initiative was created by the Penguin group and the Pearson Foundation. For every book that is read online on this website, they will donate a hard copy book to a campaign they support. To sign up for this great community literacy awareness tool, all you have to do is go to the website, sign up for an account, pick one of the campaigns that are on their website to support, and read a digital book. There are no limits to how many digital books you read, and like I said, each time you read one, a real one gets donated to the campaign you chose when you signed up. What a great way to get books into the hands of children! The books on this website are appropriate for children up to age 10ish. Pin It

Friday, August 12, 2011

School's Here!!!

Well, school started this week for teachers. The best way I can describe going from summer time to school time is that it's like going from 0 to 60 in about that many seconds. The new school year brings so many hopes and excitement for the coming year. We had our Sneak a Peek/Back to School Night last night, and it was fun seeing all the little ones and getting to meet all my new students. It was also fun seeing my old students and having them come say hello. Relationships are so key to teaching, and it is important to work on them first and foremost, whether with students or with the parents. One of my old students used to need a little extra TLC in dealing with him, and it was so good to see him come out of his shell and blossom, knowing he was in a safe environment. He came to visit me last night, threw his arms around me, and said, "I really missed you this summer." It is those types of moments that remind me of why I am a teacher. Pin It

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Primary Teacher Lingo and Phrases for Beginners

"Friends"     -     Students
"Buddy"     -     Boy student
"Sweet pea"     -     Girl student
"Shushie"     -     Be quiet
"Hush a billy hilly"     -     Be quiet
"Sit on your pockets"     -     Sit on your bottom
"Criss cross applesauce, spoon in bowl"     -     Sit cross cross and put your hands in your lap
"Scootchie bootchie over"     -     Scoot over
"Get what you get and don't throw a fit"     -     Don't whine
"Dot, dot, not a lot"     -     Don't put globs of glue on your paper
"Bumpers up, marshmallow mouth on"     -     Line up with arms crossed and puff your cheeks out like you have lots of marshmallows in your mouth so you won't talk in the hall
"Bleeding, barfing, or dying"     -     Don't interrupt guided reading groups unless you're doing one of those things
"Awesome possum"     -     Good job
"Wowser bowser"     -     Good job
"Give me 5"     -     Look at me and give me all of your attention without talking
"When I say go...."     -     Don't dare move until you hear that word
"What would your mom say if I called her right now?" (said while pretending to dig for phone number) - I think you may not be telling the truth
"I'm about to poke my eye out"     -     I'm frustrated (generally said to other teachers not the students)
"NO"     -     No Pin It

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's That Time Again...

You know what I'm talking about - the end of summer days and the start of a new school year... I always know summer is almost over when I start seeing the back to school ads and specials in the Sunday newspaper. Staples right now has some 1 cent specials going on, but truthfully, other than a few brief glances, I haven't fully gotten myself into school mode anticipation yet. This was my first summer to not work full time, and I have to say, it's been refreshing. Now I know why all my fellow teachers take the summers off - what a perk!!! In a few weeks it will be full blast, non-stop, craziness. This is the calm before the storm. If you are in education, I sure hope you are enjoying it! While I always feel a little bit torn at this time of year (half of me is dreading August, and half of me is excited), I know that when the tornado of crazy hits in 3 weeks, I will be ready for it! Pin It

Friday, July 8, 2011

Best Teacher Magazine

I've had a couple different teacher magazine subscriptions over the years, but Mailbox magazine is by far the best one. Even though many school libraries have it, it is nice to have your own copy. If you were ever going to invest any of your hard earned money, I would suggest it be in this subscription. Their issues only come once every 2 months, but it is well worth the wait. They have tons of tips, ideas, and printables (including games, worksheets, templates, etc). They also have a "companion" website that you can use if you own a subscription. The companion website allows you to print some of the templates right from your own computer. It allows for you to create and edit their items to meet your own needs.

I look forward to my copy in the mail every two months, and I read it greedily, looking for new and fun ideas to incorporate into my classroom. While it may not quite be as entertaining as reading celebrity gossip each month (i.e. People magazine), it's almost as good. ;-) Pin It

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Oldie but a Goodie - TrackStar!

TrackStar has been around now for ages, but it is still a site worth mentioning. This is a terrific, free website that "bookmarks" sites that you approve and pick out from around the web. It's a great resource, because you can either create your own tracks or you can browse premade ones from other users. You are also able to annotate the different sites you set up.

You can find TrackStar at

I use this site to handpick websites that I think will be beneficial for my students and that match our curriculum and standards. I create math and reading tracks, and I put a bookmark for each track on the laptop desktops for my students to use during centers (I usually go in and change the icon to a "star" also so they can access it and see it easily). This ensures that the students are only going to the websites I've approved of and not just randomly searching the web (this still takes training though with young students). I also sometimes send these tracks to the parents so their children can use the same sites at home for consistently. Enjoy exploring this wonderful resource! Pin It

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Classroom Cheers and Every Pupil Response (EPR)!!!

Primary kids love cheering on their classmates and friends. K-2 students do not mind being "silly", and the movement of cheering can stimulate blood flow to the brain and just provide a simple way to add some excitement to the classroom.

Instead of just clapping or using round of applause, we like to use "fun" cheers in our class. These cheers include things like "The Lookin' Good Cheer" (where students pretend they are looking in a mirror and slicking back their hair on each side while they say "ooh ahh" - then they point at the person(s) they are cheering for and say "lookin' good"!), "Hip Hip Hooray" (where students put their hands on their hips, and say hip hip while moving their hips from one side to the other, then saying hooray while putting their hands in the air), and "Snap, Crackle, Pop" (where students say snap while snapping their fingers, say crackle while rubbing the palms of their hands together, and say pop while clapping once loudly). There is a whole set of cheers cards at There is a link in the 1st paragraph to get the Adobe Acrobat version of the cards. Press that link, print, laminate, and hang up on a ring in your classroom for easy access.

I keep these cards on a hook in my room, and I refer to them often. The kids absolutely LOVE it. I introduce 1 or 2 cheers a week at the beginning of the school year until the students know them all. Once the class knows them all, we rotate and do different cheers each time! Over the years we've made up some of our own cheers, but this list will definitely get you started.

We also use some of these cheers for EPR. When we ask the class a question, we allow the students think time. To show they are ready to share, they have to do whatever cheer we ask for. Then the teacher knows when the students are ready to share with a partner/group/friend/class. We use the above mentioned cheers, but we also use some EPR "movements." For instance, we might say, "when you have thought of your answer, show us by doing chicken wings." Some of the other actions we use in addition to the cheers include: elephant trunk, spider on your head, raise the roof, fist pump, funny nose (thumb on nose while wiggling fingers), mickey mouse ears (open/close fists by ears), sparkle/sparkle fingers, and sign language applause.

These types of activities may seem simple, but the students LOVE them! Enjoy incoporating them into your classroom routine and climate, and they will soon become second nature. =) Pin It

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!!

I hope all my fellow teachers are enjoying a beautiful 4th of July this year and taking a well deserved break to relax with their friends and families. New posts to come soon! Pin It
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