Thursday, September 26, 2013

Building Relationships

 Do you build relationships with your students?  What do you do with "that" child that pushes EVERY. Single. Button... DAILY, many times???  Have you tried to build a relationship??

After all, it's not simply about teaching.  You bring home not only papers to grade, lesson plans to write, activities to make, but you bring home every student, especially THAT one on your heart each and every day.

That's what makes you a great teacher.  No matter what the impossible situation.  No matter, how tired and exhausted you might become.  It really is all about the students.

I'm sure you've had lots of different scenarios in your own classroom. In my 25 years of teaching, I've had plenty of my own.  I've built some great relationships and made some new friends.

I know for a fact, that I understood exactly what it means to build relationships about 15 years ago when I had a student my classroom.  A child, 6 years old.  I was the last person he ever spoke to and I was the last person he ever heard speak to him.  Later, his parents sent me the sweetest letter, thanking me and telling me since they weren't able to be with him, they were so glad I was because he loved me.  I loved him too.  I love ALL of my students.  Even those hard ones...deep down.

I've spent my evening making some phone calls to parents.  I've set up some conferences, encouraged a parent to help her son study his 3s multiplication facts, because he just cannot pass that timed test, called just to say I enjoy having their child in my room.  The extra time and effort I put into this, REALLY makes all the difference in the world.

I have 80 students that I teach this year.  YOWZERS.  It's taking me a while, and I've not been able to make contact with all of them yet, but writing a note in the agenda and e-mailing parents is another big part of my week and a way to make contact and build relationships.

This year, I chose two students that I had contact with in 2nd grade. I knew one had a really bad home life and she wears a GIGANTIC chip on her shoulder because of this.  The other student had already developed a swagger and an attitude.  I hand wrote both of them a personal note telling them how glad I was to have the opportunity to teach them.  I made it very personal about what was going on in their lives and where I could see them at in a few years as they were getting ready to graduate from highschool.  I told them that I believed in them. 

I saw both students read the note, but they never mentioned it to me.  Would you believe that both of them are my two biggest champions?  They try to make sure the rest of the class is doing what they are supposed to do.  They tried their hardest to be the best student they can be.  One of them (in a self-contained eip math group) has made huge gains with only 7 weeks into the year.  It's amazing to watch the turn around in their attitudes... all because of a note that took me about 10 minutes to write.

Building a relationship?  Yes, it takes a little extra time, a concentrated effort, and looking a little deeper into each student.  But, it is so worth the time.

If you were the last person to speak to that student, would you have no regrets?  Build that relationship.  You'll never regret it!

In fact, I think it's time for me to choose two more students to receive a handwritten positive letter from me.  That's just...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happy World Gratitude Day!

Do you know what today is??

Don't feel bad, I didn't either until my bloggy friend Mel, from Graphics From the Pond, informed me that Sept. 21st is World Gratitude Day.   I had never heard of this day, but WOW... what a positive celebration!

There are so many things that I'm grateful for... God, my salvation, family, friends... the list could go on and on!

I have so many blessings in my life.  It's great to be able to share with you, my loyal followers, how grateful I am that you have faith in me and my products.  So, just for today, I am sharing with you a 117 page unit of mine for your calendar board.  I have made it free just until midnight tonight.  So stop by and download your freebie now!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I am so grateful for YOU!

A few of my closest bloggy friends have joined together to make a gratitude blog hop.  So visit Karla at Life in Special Education to find some more love and gratitude and grab lots of freebies.  At the end, you'll also have a chance to enter for a $50 TPT gift certificate!

Happy World Gratitude Day!  Be sure to let others know how grateful YOU are. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Whole Lot of Multiplication, Some Growing Up, and a Love of Cereal Boxes

It's time to be real...

I. am. so. tired!!!

That is all...

The down and dirty!

Can you relate??  (haha...  I'm talking to the choir, right??)

I am so enjoying my move to 4th grade.  I'm not sure if it's the schedule (specials at 8:15 and I don't have another break until recess at 2:10... Yep, just realized 6 straight hours, NO WONDER), the move to a new grade which also means new curriculum to learn, the resignation of our principal, the firing of our superintendent, or just the fact that I'm getting old (CERTAINLY, not blaming it on the last one!  HA).

It seems it's Monday morning and the next thing I know, it's Thursday afternoon.  I barely get planned for one-week and it's time for the next.  At this rate, summer vacation will be here before I know it!  :-)

We've been working hard on multiplication.

We made these lap books from my Multiplication Unit.

Under the property flaps, the students wrote the definition.  On the opposite side, they showed an example equation.  When this is lifted, they drew an illustration to match.

Here is the front cover.  The pocket will hold the multiplication facts they need to practice.

Inside the book, is a multiplication table the student completed and the multiplication strategies for the facts 2-9.

A closer view.

When all the flaps are lifted, the multiplication strategy is revealed.

 We started the year in reading, with my Judy Moody Was In a Mood book study.  
Here is what they want to be when they grow up.  I was really surprised at the different type of answers given in 4th.  A FBI agent, horse jockey, olympic swimmer, cell phone tower climber, were just a few of the more interesting ones.  We did mini-research projects and wrote about the jobs.  Some of those had to be done on line.  We certainly don't have all of those topics in our library.

After we finished that unit (just shy of 3 weeks), we spent a couple of days doing one of my favorite activities...

My student always have such a good time doing this unit.
It is a FREEBIE in my store if you are not one of the 36,198 people that have already downloaded, stop by and get it for your own class.  Just add cereal boxes!!!

I LOVE showing the students that you can read ANYTHING, even a cereal box, because that's just

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Windshield or the Bug?

I know I need to post something.  Afterall, it's been TWO.WHOLE.WEEKS!!!  ...

Two weeks that have flown by with fun, family time, exhaustion, and much more.  It just seems I haven't had the time, desire or heart to put anything into writing.

I will say this... I worried all summer about my move to a new grade.  After all, this is my 25th year of teaching and I'm no spring chicken.  I also remembered this group from 2nd grade.  Overall, they were the worst collective group EVER and I had the worse student I had ever taught in all those years.  Thankfully, the students have matured and I don't have that student even though he is still causing major issues for the other teachers.  Let me just say in the first 2 weeks he was suspended and the police officer has had to come to the classroom a couple of times to escort him.  Yep, I would say I lucked up not having to deal with that another year.

With all of that being said.  I am finding that I am ABSOLUTELY LOVING 4th grade.  They made a choice to departmentalize this year, so just teaching math and reading is probably a huge part of making me love it so much.

I had a friend who shared a cute saying the other day... one that I had never heard before.

Friday, I mostly felt like the windshield, but then @3:30, our world changed and I think every teacher at our school became the bug...  Our principal dropped the bombshell on us that she had turned her resignation in effective as of midnight.  We had had no prior INKLING that this was about to happen!  Twenty-one days into the school year.  She was one the most positive and inspiring principals I had ever had the pleasure to work for.  It's going to be SOOOOO hard to go in tomorrow and hold our heads high and do what must be done.

But we will, because we are professionals.  AND, mostly, because we are there not for her, but because we love our students...  The REAL reason I became a teacher in the first place.

I hope that this week, you are the windshield and not the bug.  I know that's what I intend to be, because, well... 

That's just