Engaging experiences (41 out of 365) #blogaday

“We do not believe that the basics are reading, writing, and arithmetic…the basics are courage, confidence, and life skills because with these, children have fertile ground on which to plant the seeds of academics and to live successfully in the world” (Nelsen, Lott, & Glenn).3 basics postThis quote comes from the “Positive Discipline in the Classroom” book that I ordered. I think it is important for teachers to realize that there are other skills involved in school and success in life, than just the academic content. Today, I incorporated activity stations into my math lesson on subtracting mixed numbers. They included a WAR card game, bingo game, and board game. The students had a lot of fun and were excited to play each game – when I rotated, they didn’t want to stop! My CT liked the activities so much that she wanted them for her file and to send to her team teachers 🙂3 basics post3The students gained confidence in these games because they were practicing the skills in a calmer environment. When I was leading bingo, I made sure to give everyone enough time to solve the problems, picked easy/hard problems depending on the group, and helped the struggling students. They learned some life skills subconsciously of working in a group and waiting for others to catch up or not be stressed by peers finishing before you. 3 basics post2It is important for children not to be struck on the head with the content knowledge, but for them to discover how to do it and have fun learning. Many of the graduate students were discussing how tough it is to come in to someone else’s classroom and start altering the teaching style – Don’t get me wrong, my CT is great! But the way she does math is very worksheet-oriented and I am strongly interested in hands-on math learning. We are all excited to full-time teach in the Spring because your CT then encourages you to be your own and practice your techniques. It is really the term where you try things out and become a better teacher for the first year.


Searching for science (40 out of 365) #blogaday

It is now week 7 of 10 in the quarter, and it is definitely getting tough to have motivation for work. I really just want to relax and push everything off to the last minute (which is not like me at all!) Winter is also difficult for staying positive due to the weather, and slow pace of the classes. I thought I would write about having fun in learning with science to help lighten in the mood. Over this weekend, I was taken on an adventure to Newport – we went to the aquarium, lighthouse, and tidal cove. I had such a great time! It made me reflect on the importance of making science fun for students. There are field trip area pretty close by that can teach them the information in a much more engaging way.The lighthouse and cove had signs with interesting content and hands-on activities too. Aquariums have many different species that you can learn about, and there are placards that explain information about the habitat and other details. It can be hard to coordinate a trip that isn’t too far away, but you can find something to help entertain the students. fun science post2Science is a subject that is pretty new to me in the teaching world. I haven’t observed too much of it because many schools don’t setup a time block for science. The teachers incorporate it into writing or reading time, but there isn’t always a clear science connection. Having places to go or people to bring in from the neighborhood really helps keep students interested in science. It also shows them that science is all around them, but they just have to open their eyes wider and know what to look for. I hope to make teaching science fun for my future students!fun science post1


Heightening “the hugging tree” experience (39 out of 365) #blogaday

I have another tool to share from the “rubber boots and elf shoes” blog! This one is called “The Hugging Tree” and it relates to letting go of worries as well. There is a tree with lots of branches that you give to the students and have them put as many worries they can think of (either in drawings or words) on the branches. They will keep the tree at home and hug it before they go to bed – so that when they let go of the tree, they are letting of the worries that surround it. Young children need different visualizing activities for concepts that they might not fully understand yet, like shrugging off worries. For class tomorrow, there was an article that involved breaking down the steps of how to resolve conflicts. It is important for teachers to go through these types of processes in a step-by-step manner with their students during morning meetings or if an event arises, because children haven’t had much experience figuring out how to handle stress, worries, or conflicts on their own yet.hugging tree post1I look forward to trying some of these activities out on the Kindergarteners – I hope my new CT in the spring will allow morning meetings to be incorporated into her schedule.  I decided to try out Kindergarten next term because I have observed/taught in grades 1, 2, 4, and 5 (and figured grade 3 was similar to second and fourth). Schools will have many openings in Kindergarten teaching positions due to a new all-day law, and I thought I’d try the really young ones and keep my options strong 🙂 Kinders really benefit from activities like the one above because they are still learning basic social skills. hugging tree post2


Re-vamping Valentine’s (38 out of 365) #blogaday

Since it is Valentine’s day, it is important that we all be the ones we love. I wanted to stay true to the blog a day but didn’t want to take up much of the couple time. This post was a fun twist on Valentine’s day with books, and it stood out to me – enjoy 🙂

Nerdy Book Club

Happy Valentine’s Day Nerdy Nation!  When I was awarded the Valentine’s Day post here at Nerdy, I instantly began building a list of my all time favorite kissy books.  When I was awarded the Valentine’s Day post here at Nerdy I started thinking about love and books, books and love.  And since nothing says love for books like arguing over good books, I, along with some of my friends, am inviting you to participate in March Book Madness.  What is March Book Madness?  It is kind of like the massive college basketball tournament that happens every year.  Instead of Kentucky facing Duke in a game you may get The One and Only Ivan battling Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus matching up against I Want My Hat Back, or The Fault in Our Stars trying to crush Divergent.

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Deserving a day off (37 out of 365) #blogaday

As future teachers, we are inclined to keep working late into the night after our field placements or class. It is important to us that we bring our “work” home and plan for the next day’s lesson by prepping materials. However, we aren’t teachers just yet and having class til 8 or 9 at night as well as teaching part-time in the classroom from 8-3 can be very stressful and tiring. Burning out is inevitable if you do not help yourself out and take a breather. day off post4Even though there is homework most nights for a class the next day, you should rest after your time at field placement on the one night we have off. There are always things coming up that you could work on, but if they aren’t long projects, you can put them off a day or two. Stress can build up quickly if you are constantly on the move and don’t let yourself relax with a fun book, show, friends, or by taking a nap. day off post2I took advantage of napping on Monday this week because I could just tell that I was utterly exhausted – my eyes were closing at about 1 pm that day and when I got home at 3, I crashed. I felt very refreshed afterwards, and like I could continue the week without struggle. Yesterday was my day without class and I made sure not to do any homework! I did my blog post, caught up on some shows, and read chapters of my professional development books. I have done work on Thursdays previously, so resting instead was a very good discovery 🙂day off post1


CT’s tools for teaching (36 out of 365) #blogaday

“Some of our colleagues find the job energizing...they work smart, not hard” (Jones).

A few weeks ago when I stayed after school, my CT decided that she was going to change the desk formation. I was expecting her to just rearranging in groups, rather than rows and move one. BUT, she pulled out a book entitled, “Tools for Teaching,” opened to the section on classroom structure, and started naming off various arrangements. I walked over because I could not envision what she was describing to me. She swears by this book!  (She re-reads it every year and finds different things in it every time :o) Naturally, I wrote down the book’s name and author, and found a very cheap one for myself. It arrived today in the mail and it is amazing! I have only read section one, which is two chapters (one about “natural” teachers and prevention). My CT is definitely a “natural” teacher because you can’t tell what her management structure is, but the students are all doing work productively as she walks around and monitors. She only has to say one sound for them to be quiet! tools for teaching post2I really want to practice the fundamentals of “Say, see, do”/Working the room/Meaning business every year and become a highly effective teacher. Right now, it is still difficult in the moment to get used to incentives, hand signals, walking around the room, and teaching all at the same time – I can usually do two of the four but forget the others. Teaching is a learning process in itself and that is why we get to teach lessons in another teacher’s space. Our CT is always there to help when you get in a jam; mine gives me great advice during and after my lessons to make sure I improve each time. I was doing well last week, but am lingering back and forth now a bit. I have to try and remind myself of the things to focus on before I teach math lessons because I can get flustered in the moment. I’ll keep you all updated on the various professional development books, field placement news, and my overall teaching experience 🙂tools for teaching post1


Reading rainbow or reading ruin? (35 out of 365) #blogaday

I have recently started looking for books that I want to read aloud or have in my classroom library. As I was browsing, some articles appeared about why some children dislike reading and how to help them progress. This interested me personally because I hated to read in school, and some of these reasons could fit. The one I ended up reading was a list of “10 reasons non-readers don’t read.” Reading can either be a rainbow or a ruin, depending on if the student enjoys it or not.

nonreaders post1 nonreaders post3After reading the article, some that stood out included: “they always get put into the slow group,” “they have no interest in the material required,” and “they expect to be tested and fail.” I think these three are probably the reasons for most children. I remember hating reading comprehension because I knew I wasn’t going to do well – it still bothered me recently when I had to an entry test for graduate school 😮 The article had a good solution about telling your students that reading isn’t a chore, but a lifelong skill. I also didn’t understand why I was forced to read the books that I thought were boring. I only discovered that I liked reading a few years ago as a summer camp counselor where I was in the wilderness without WiFi or cell service – I fell in love with the mystery genre! It is important for teachers to “find something so compelling that students forget they are reading” (Johnson). This quote is inspiring because reading should be a fun experience where you must know what happens next. Being placed in the “slow” group can put a damper on how the students view reading and themselves. Everyone in the class knows which groups are accelerated and who needs more help – this can make it difficult to build confidence for the students who are struggling. Having group names where no one knows the difference (like colors, animals, shapes, etc) will really help soften the mood. nonreaders post2As a future elementary teacher, it is necessary that I can understand the various reasons behind a student not enjoying to read. Many teachers automatically jump to an inability to decode the words, but this is not always the case. The pressure and act of forcing students to read required texts for homework can make reading into a chore or a task they do at school. Writing can also be affected in a similar way by having numerous papers due and an intense focus on setup or grammar. Try to keep a positive light on reading and learning new vocabulary as a class. I am very excited to read books to my future students – I will probably read lots to the Kindergarteners I work with next term 🙂nonreaders post4


Wishful for the “bag of worries” (34 out of 365) #blogaday

I discovered this blog called http://rubberbootsandelfshoes.blogspot.ca/ and it has some really great ideas dealing with issues that students could be having. The class is Kindergarten so the teacher uses more activities that address feelings, respect, and other basic social skills. I really liked this one called The Bag of Worries (the description is attached for you to read). I would bring in a bag full of worries (creepy monster stickers, small stuffed monster toys, rocks with faces drawn on, etc) and discuss that we all have worries but we must figure out a way to brush them off and not let them get to us. I highlighted some sentences from the guidelines including “as they take out a worry monster, see if they want to give any of them a funny name/ personality /explanation of the worry,” and to focus on “different ways to take the POWER AND FEAR OUT of the worries.” These statements are crucial in letting the students see how they can change the way a worry affects them.bag of worries post1Having activities like this to pull from when classroom dynamics get tough is very useful! You won’t have to think of something on the spot and it can help lead a tricky conversation with younger students. I am very glad that I found this blog 🙂 You should check it out too. There will probably be several tools from it that I post about. I look forward to integrating all the different tools that I have in my “teacher grab bag” from classes, blogs, fellow grad students, and other teachers.


First day find (33 out of 365) #blogaday

I finally came up with a new name for the “self-care” page! 

I chose “Teaching Tools” because I have discovered many different blogs, ideas, activities, etc that would be great to share with other people.

Today’s post is about a first day of school activity. The image below is from Pinterest and I think this is a great way to start the year because the students are able to tell the teacher things that they would like help with. Usually, educators assume that they know their students before the children arrive in the classroom – this cannot be true because they all look and act differently based on the teacher and management style. I am very interested in morning meetings and want to let the students have as much involvement in what goes in the classroom as I can. This activity does that really well 🙂 first day tool postIt is important as an educator to understand your students’ personal lives. What better way to begin by asking them what they struggle with? Children want to feel welcome and cared for in the classroom, which may be their home away from home (it may even be safer than home). School should be a safe haven in case circumstances are very difficult for students. Teachers need to be the mentors and encourage ALL their students to be successful. The necessary thing to do after making this list is to follow-through with it. If students are not getting their needs met after explicitly telling you, the trust and comfort levels will be way down. I don’t want to forget this teaching tool and hope it will be useful in my future classroom.


Journeying to jobs (32 out of 365) #blogaday

I can’t believe it has already been about a month since I started blogging every day! It is definitely helping to keep me more focused and gives me something fun to do before I go to bed or in between assignments

​I usually say not to think about the future because it tends to add more stress about what’s to come; however, when it relates to possible jobs, it helps me stay excited and focused! Putting myself out there with essays, cover letters, and my resume makes me feel comfortable in my accomplishments. I get to look back on all my previous teaching passions and connect them to various concepts related to my personal instruction style.jobs post1With all the homework and projects that I work on, having something to drive me to the end (like applications) can really help keep my motivation up. It is important to have a goal to look forward to and finding teaching jobs in the cities I like is calming. The finish line is just around the corner, which is SCARY because I don’t want to be a full adult yet!

But at the same time, having my own classroom is going to very fun and applying for jobs helps me feel closer to reaching that 🙂

Since the applications that are being posted involve next school year, I need to set myself a deadline for when I want it to be complete. One of the applications has essays to write, which I have been taking more time on than I would like. The others are just sending a resume and references, so I can send them in faster. My supervisors have said to start applying earlier rather than later because you may be remembered and have less of an application pool to be compared to. I already have an interview awaiting me over spring break, which is very exciting! I hope I get some others after applying to more schools. I know it may seem stressful to add something else onto your plate (like applications) BUT it is important to start working on them and it is exhilarating when you click submit -> Good luck! jobs post2