Sunday, June 28, 2015

How to Rock as a New Teacher!!!!

Hi! It's Shannon from over at Bryant's Brain Train...I'm joining up with some of my favorite education rockstars to share some ideas for all of you new teachers!!!  

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out my thoughts on the "Rock as a New Teacher" countdown!
I've loved reading the awesome ideas of others over at the linky, so here are a few more tips from me...
1) Make memories!
I am heading into my 20th year of teaching and cannot believe how fast the time has flown.  Take time to enjoy each class, each parent, each student!  You will be amazed how quickly the time will pass!

2) Stay organized!
Find a system that works for you and follow it!  Managing all that comes with teaching, grading, planning, etc. can be a bit overwhelming...don't let the paper monster eat you alive!  Want to read more about some of my favorite tips for staying organized?  Click HERE!

3) Form meaningful connections with your teaching team!
I have been so blessed to teach with some fantastic teachers over the years!  Be willing to learn from your team and share your ideas with them.  My fellow teachers have been alongside me through some of my best days and some of my worst, and I would't trade those friendships for anything!  An atmosphere of trust and respect makes for an incredible working environment!

1) Don't be a teacher hoarder!  
As hard as it is, it's OK to throw things away.  Your instinct will be to gather and save everything in sight...mine certainly was!  Now--2 decades in--I have a basement, office, garage, and classroom full of teaching materials that I cannot bear to part with.  Unfortunately, if you're not careful, what you can't bear to part with begins to bury you after awhile.  Just say no to teacher hoarding!!! :-)

2) Don't fizzle too soon!
It is so exciting to get your first classroom, your first class roster, your first planbook, your first gradebook.  Just remember, teaching is a marathon, not a sprint!  Take time to rest and refresh!  Enjoy family, friends, and things outside of the 4 walls of your classroom.  Read, pray, rest...all those things that refresh and rejuvenate your teacher soul.  Want to read more of my thoughts about the importance of maintaining balance?  Click HERE!
1) Remember that each day is a new day!
Children are resilient, and so are you!  It is never too late to begin again.  Even if you have a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month, you can always begin anew!  My first day of teaching 4K was horrendous!  I said, "Let's line up for recess," and 20 4-year olds mowed me down running to the playground.  Thank goodness for a weekend to come home and make a new plan.  Day 2 was light years better, and I learned that mistakes are always redeemable and forgiveable!  Sometimes we are our toughest critics!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Click HERE to check out more classroom management goodies from me in my teacher store.  Hope you have a wondeful first year!!!  All the BEST!
Wanna see all of the tips in this linky?  Just visit HERE or HERE to see all of the awesome ideas!

Tips for Teacher Must Haves!

Hope you have had a great Sunday!  After church today I was
L-A-Z-Y...lazy, like 3 hour nap lazy!!!  What in the world?  Many thanks to my sweet husband for wrangling the kiddoes so that I could catch up on a few zzzzzzz's.  He is the B-E-S-T!  
A summer Sunday means more than just rest time for also means it's time for another organizational link up with the Peaches over at the Primary Peach, and this week I am sharing a few of my favorite teacher must-haves for labeling a cute and organized classroom!

Ready for the we go...
Invest in a label maker!  No doubt, this is one of the best teacher gifts I have ever received!  When sweet Erika gave it to me a few years ago, I wondered if I would ever use it...boy, did I ever!  My label maker is perfect for quick labels on files, student materials, notes home, etc.!  My husband even loves using it to organize his home office materials.  
Use scrapbook paper in addition to construction paper to back your classroom labels!  Scrapbook paper is so inexpensive, yet has a million uses in the classroom.  Very often our local Michaels runs individual scrapbook sheets on sale, which is a great opportunity to stock up.  I also love the books of paper sheets that are also available!  An example is pictured here, and when books/paper pads like this are 50% off, you can really get a lot of bang for your buck!
How about using a classroom camera to include photos on your classroom labels?!  This makes classroom clean up a snap for students, as well as adds a bit of pizzazz and personalization to otherwise boring labels.
Last but not least, home laminators are the B-E-S-T!  I used Christmas money from my dad to buy this larger model in December, and literally have already used it a hundred times already!  Laminated labels last so much longer than un-laminated ones, and I have also found the thickness to be better when I laminate on my home machine!

Have a great week, and remember to stop by the Primary Peach so see all of the posts in this organizational linky! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Guest Blogging Today and Sale News!

Happy Saturday morning, friends!  Just wanted to let you know that I am guest blogging today over on the Primary Peach!  

Also, I am throwing a storewide sale in my teacher stores.  What's the reason?  LOL it's my tribute to a rapidly-passing's my June, June, You're Gone Too Soon STOREWIDE SALE!  Stop by to shop and save!
All the Best!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Organizational Link Up...Week 2!

Hi!  Hope you had a wonderful Father's Day weekend!  I am so incredibly thankful for both my husband and my fortunate to have their love and encouragement in my life!
It's time for another link up with the Peaches from over at The Primary Peach, so I wanted to share an easy teacher tip with you for this week...
This week's idea focuses on classroom survival.  As much as I love teaching and feel so blessed to have taught for the past 20 years, burnout and exhaustion have also been hurdles I have had to overcome.  Therefore, this week's tip is entitled...
We all get derailed from time to time...after all, we are human and pitfalls are only natural!  So, my tip for this week is a relatively easy one for you...  

Wanna know something that will truly help your teaching next year and prepare you to start the year on an organized and efficient note?  Take time this summer to rest and recharge your battery!  I know, I know...easier said than done, right?!
For me, this has involved doing some at home clean-up and clean-out that I can not get to during the school year.  Cleaning both my mental clutter and my at-home clutter enables me to think more clearly and accurately as the school year approaches.  

This has also involved carving out some time to spend with my family, sitting with my feet up at the lake/pool, reading, painting, visiting family...doing some things that I really enjoy but don't always take the time to do!
I have to confess...sometimes taking time to be still is harder than it sounds!  My mind often races with things I need to do, tasks I need to accomplish, emails I need to answer, units I need to tweak!  Guilt gives chase unfortunately...

But what I have realized is that there are a lot of people who depend on me!  In order to give them my best, I need to be at my best.  This involves being rested and refreshed before August rolls around again!
So my teacher advice to you this week is pretty basic.  Take some time to take care of you, love on the people who love you, do something that nourishes your mind and body!  Then, you will be energized and ready to face the peaks and valleys that lie ahead in the upcoming school year!  Blessings!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Organizational Tips and Tools Linky with the Peaches!!!

Hi, all!  Hope your summer has been fantastic so far!  We have been out for 2 weeks, and it has been busy, busy, busy!  From VBS to lacrosse camp--in addition to play dates with friends and trips to Mimi's pool--my children have managed to keep the days FULL!  So much for the lazy days of summer... 

To top it off, I decided to start the summer off by cleaning out the most daunting cabinets and closets in my house...YIKES!  The good news is now I am finished, but it looked a bit touch a go for a few days there!  I mean, really...who needs that many nutcrackers in their china cabinet?!
Add that to a few pieces of furniture that I painted, and I feel like I have earned a gold star for productivity!  LOL

 My fellow peaches and I wanted to share a few ideas with you for how we keep ourselves organized throughout the school year.  There are so many papers, notes, files, and learning materials to manage from August to June, and I LOVE seeing what other people are doing  to keep things running smoothly in their own classrooms!

I am going to share 3 tips of my own for staying on top of the paperwork mountain...

1) Find a system that works for YOU!
Not all of us think the same or work in the same manner. so developing a system that works for YOU will really involve thinking about how you work and think best.  Don't be afraid to try something new, abandon a system that is not working, or modify something you are doing already in order to make it work a little better.

2) Once you have developed a system, put it into practice.
Here are just a few examples of the organizational strategies I use in my own classroom.  For my teaching and instructional materials, I keep all master copies organized in binders by unit of study.  I love large binders like these with clear fronts so that I can slide in my own cute cover (like this one I made for my SS Maps and Globes unit)!  Then I store these binders in chronological order, so they are ready when I need them!

I try to make all copies for instruction 1 week to 2 weeks in advance.  This means I need a system for managing these handouts/learning activities until time for use.  I use inexpensive mop buckets like these that I purchased from the dollar store.  Copies and activities for the current week/day go inside the buckets; lessons for the next week go under the buckets.

Other things need organizing too, so don't be afraid to label, label, label!  Library books, signed papers, homework folders, etc.  Labels have truly been the key to keeping things in my room on track!

3) Dedicate a bucket, file drawer, or tub to things you need to address but cannot get-to immediately.
As much as I love my binders, my buckets, and my tubs, there are days when I cannot come up for air, much less file things where they go.  
I keep a milk crate like this under my desk for just such items.  Things I need to file, miscellaneous papers that come from the office, notes in signed papers that need further attention, magazines my fellow teachers want me to look through, ideas that I jot down on sticky notes...those all go in the crate.  Then, when time permits, I go back to these items and put them where they belong.  Having a crate like this keeps my desk from becoming cluttered and gives me a safe place to keep these things until I have time to come back to them.
In honor of today's organizational linky, I wanted to share my classroom calendar set with you, available for a limited time as a FREEBIE in my TpT store.   
Be sure to download yourself a copy!  Here's to a fantastically organized 2015-2016 school year!

Also, if you want to see more about how I keep things running smoothly in my own classroom, there are TONS of classroom management and teacher resources also available.  See examples of these by clicking HERE.   

Be sure to check out the other great blogs included in today's complete linky over at The Primary Peach!