Something that Annoys this Teacher


 

 
Do you have anything that absolutely annoys you?  Things that don't seem to bother other people, yet they get on your ever-lasting nerve.  To some people, this might be called a pet peeve. The dictionary says that a pet peeve is a minor annoyance, but I am afraid that mine is more than minor. What do you call it if it reaches 'major' annoyance?  Good question, ah?  I'm probably getting into some kind of psychological diagnosis when it gets to that point.  HA!
 
My annoyance is  going to seem ridiculous to some, but here goes.......

No, it's not the potato chips and Pop-tarts themselves.  It's the packaging!  I can not stand to hear the rattling of the package.  For example, if someone is sitting beside me and they keep sticking their hand inside the package to get some chips out.  I hate the sound every time their hand reaches in the bag.... over and over again.... so annoying!  If you are sitting by me and you eat a Pop-tart (or anything else in a package), please, please remove it from the package and put it on a paper towel.  The crinkling sound just drives me nuts. I know, it's crazy! ................okay, it's not like I can't ever be in the same room with someone who has to eat from the bag, but hear me now....I'm cringing on the inside... 

My kids and husband have pretty much gotten used to me saying, "That gets on my nerves!"  When I am teaching and it's snack time, my students know the routine from day one....no packages!! Either use a Zip lock bag (not nearly as much noise) or put it on a paper towel.  If they didn't know what a pet peeve was before they arrived in my class, they go home from the start with a new vocabulary word.  Plus, they get a good laugh out of it. We always laugh about it. :-)
 
I am not alone when it comes to stuff like this. Some favorite annoyances shared on the Internet are:
  • People who block the aisles in Wal-mart, talking
  • Pens clicking
  • Whining
  • smacking food
  • People who take up two parking spaces
  • People who drive under the speed limit
  • So many more!!
 It's packages for me, but it's other things for other people.  With me, I probably have some kind of sensitivity to high-pitched sounds or something like that. Either that or I'm just a complete wack-O! What about you, do you have anything that annoys you?

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FREE Birthday Pencil Toppers

I don't do a whole lot for my kids' birthdays, typically just a pencil and a birthday card....maybe a piece of candy.  I have found in the past that they just want to be recognized on their birthday, and something simple can be all it takes to bring a smile to their face.  I made these birthday pencil toppers that you may like.  Just print them off, laminate, and tape to a pencil.  Get them all ready at the beginning of the year and then all you have to do is grab one from the can on their birthday. I cut around mine using pinking shears. I have also included a style that could work for a button instead of a pencil topper. It says, "It's my birthday."  After you laminate those, just hot glue a metal  button backing that you can get in the jewelry section of Wal-Mart or a craft store like Hobby Lobby.  Enjoy!

As always, I love comments, so say hello sometimes when you stop by. :-)

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The can above is a soup can that I spray painted. 
The pencils came from the Dollar Spot at Target.
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Reading Larger Numbers Activity

In math, most teachers start the new year with some kind of number sense activity... place value, reading numbers, comparing numbers, etc.  One thing I have found with some of my fourth graders is that they have a hard time reading larger numbers.  They can break the number down into expanded form. They can tell you the value of the digits.  But, when it comes to reading really large numbers, it can be a challenge.  One thing I have done in the past is refer to the commas as 'last names', meaning that when you hit a comma, you need to add a word.  It goes something like this:

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When you are working on this activity, you might enjoy this I Have Who Has activity. 
 
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Teacher Tips to Start the New Year


Throw out the old-  It has taken almost twenty years to realize it, but if I haven’t used it in two years, it’s probably best to just throw it out.  Don’t start the year again with posters  that have torn edges, the three paper plates that you just think you will find some use for… you know what I mean.


Get yourself organized- after you throw out the old, organize the new.  Get crates, labels, buckets, whatever it takes to give everything its own place.  You  will feel so much better about your classroom.  I’m always more productive in an organized space.


Spice up your classroom -  Something new for the classroom is like sporting a new outfit.  New clothes make you feel good.  So, get a new bookshelf, design a new bulletin board, just do something.  The same ‘ole same ‘ole is just a  boring.

 
Be prepared- It’s a wonderful thing to start the year with a few weeks already planned.  It can be a stressful thing to start the year not knowing what you are doing on day 2 of school.  I would not recommend it.  Spend the time now to get your thoughts in order and know how to get your year off to a great start.


Don’t reinvent the wheel – There are a lot of teachers, former teachers, etc. that are making great lesson plans and activities.  The act of teaching is hard enough, and there is rarely any time left in the day to search all over the internet for plans.  Use sites like Teachers Pay Teachers and teacher blogs like mine and many others in order to streamline where you get your lessons.


Prioritize-  If there is one thing I have had to learn  over the years, it’s that everything does not have to get done today.  The hard part is that there is always something that has to be done. The list of things to do in education just never ends.  Designate  an area of your desk where you stack or make note of things that have to get done and when they need to be turned in or completed.  Put them in order based on when they are due.  It will take some pressure off of you if you realize you just have one thing due tomorrow and not ten.

 
Get out of the classroom – It doesn’t matter how long you stay at school, there will always be a list of things to do.  There will always be a nameplate on a desk that has to be replaced or papers that need to be graded. Yes, there are times when it really is necessary to stay until 6 o’clock between those four cement walls, but on a day to day basis, go home, get out, free yourself.  It's better for you and the students.  The truth is, it may have been so many years since you've done it that don't realize how refreshing it can be.  It took me lots of years to realize it, and I stress that to people.  You can be a great teacher and leave at a decent time.



Work, don’t chat – As much as teachers like to talk, sometimes things just need to get done.  Yes, we need to vent, discuss the happenings of the day, etc., but some teachers spend their entire planning time (which may only be one day a week for some), talking and complaining.  Take that time to actually get things done.  My point is, be productive and don’t waste what little time you do have to get things done at school.  Look closely.  Those teachers that you look at and wonder how they get to leave at 4:00 each day…. Well, they typically don’t waste time during the day.



Don’t be the Debbie Downer-  negativity typically breeds negativity.  People understand when others need to vent a bit.  After all, teaching is hard.  Parents can get under our skin.  Teachers don't always do things our way. We all have things we need to share and get off our shoulders.  But, don’t make a habit of it.  Pick and choose the important topics that are worthy of griping about.  Also, live by the rule if you  don’t have something nice to say about someone, just keep it to yourself.  It really isn’t nice to talk about others, no matter how much we want to, and trust me, I have wanted to.



Close your door and teach-  There are new approaches to education introduced every year.  There are new methods for teaching reading, math,  and everything else.  It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out.  If you look closely, most of the time the method is the same , but the name has changed.  You aren’t really needing to change your way of teaching at all.  So, just close your door and keep on keeping on.  Teach the way that works best for you and your kids.  And if something does change, I always have the attitude that if  I can justify why I do what I do then all is good.  After all, I have taught for twenty years and have two degrees.  That does leave me to be able to make some professional call on how I should run my classroom. I like to try new approaches when I come across them, but I like to pick what will work for me and my students.  Not every new approach works for every teacher and for every group of kids, and like I said, the only thing new about most ‘new’ methods of teaching is the name.  Sad but true.


I hope you have a terrific school year.

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DIY Inexpensive Partner Pocket Chart

When I say inexpensive, I 'm talking like $2.00.  I think that is pretty cheap!!

This little DIY pocket chart will work great for a partner center.  Maybe students are working on spelling, and one student calls out a word to another for that child to spell it.  Then they take turns being the caller or speller.  I can think of lots of different ways to use this little partner pocket chart.  Be creative.

Feel free to pin.  Just hover over the image.

Supplies:  Stapler, Scissors, Cheap Sentence strip pocket chart from Target dollar spot, heavy duty cardboard pocket folder, patterned duct tape. 

 
1.First,  you will  cut off the top piece of vinyl fabric above the top plastic strip.  It is the part that has the two brads for hanging. Leave a little bit of fabric above the strip.  Save this for a later step.

2.Next, cut the pocket chart in the middle of the strips, so that you will now  have 2 sentence strip charts with 4 each one.

3.Now, face the two pieces of vinyl to each other with the plastic strips facing each other.  Make sure the plastic strips are open to the top.  You will staple across the top.

4.Flip the vinyl back over, and the staples should be on the underside with the plastic strips now on both outer sides. 

5.Take the file folder and keep it closed.  Drape the stapled vinyl over the folded part of the folder. The folder will open on the bottom.  You will have 4 strips on each side of the folder. Basically, you have a small pocket chart on each side.

6.Now, staple the vinyl  to the top of the folder.

7.Then staple down 4 sides.  You will hold the folder slightly open and staple the vinyl on the sides to attach it to the folder.  Do this on both sides.

8.Now, pick a colored tape.  I used  a lighter weight tape, but I would probably now recommend  a patterned  duct tape.  You will use this to cover all staples.

9.Last, take the strip that you originally and you will use it to staple to the inside of the folder in order to help the folder stay open at an A-frame.  I cut mine to the inside of the brads, and then trimmed off a little more.  The size you choose will determine how much the folder will open up. 

Once completed, you should have 4 strips on each side.  It's perfect for a partner center, but it can always be used individually, too. 
 

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FREE Independent Reading Poster

Goodness!  At the start of every year, you always have a few reluctant readers... the ones that have to be trained to read independently.  They want to do everything but read.  You know the ones I'm talking about. I call it pretend reading, and I tell my students from the beginning that I can spot pretend readers.  For example, they flip one page then three then back two.  Their eyes wander.  They squirm.  You know the drill.  Anyway, if they can just sit still and focus long enough to enjoy a book then most of the time they figure out that reading is actually fun.  I had a student last year that fell in this category and he ended up really loving reading.  His parents said he would not put books down.  They thought there was no way he was actually reading the books as fast as he was, so they started reading them too and quizzing him.  To their surprise,  he WAS reading.  They really started appreciating me at that point. :-)

Below is another one of my little posters that might work well for you in an interactive reading journal.  The focus is on independent reading.  On the day the students glue this down in their journal, you can have them do a practice independent reading session.  Then you can have them come back and respond in writing to how well they think they did with following the expectations.  You can also watch the kids and then give them some suggestions of things they may need to improve on, which they could also make note of in their journal.  This is a great list to have, especially once independent reading gets into full swing.  When you see a child not doing one of the expectations, have them take out their journal and tell you which one they are not following.

As always, I love comments, so drop me a hello in the comments section. :-)


Feel free to pin this activity.  Just hover over the image.


You may also like this book buddy chat activity.  My students love it.  Most any student loves to talk about what they have read.  Plus, this holds reluctant readers a little more accountable, as they will want to be able to become engaged in conversation.  After all, if they haven't read their book, they will have a hard time talking about it.  My students actually ask to do this activity :-)


Feel free to pin this activity.  Just hover over the image. 
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What is Reading?

This reading poster is another one that will work perfectly in an interactive reading journal.  For me, I would use this at the very start of the year when I am setting up my readers workshop.  You may even pose the question "What is reading" before you show the poster.  Have your students write a few sentences in their journal to answer the question and then share with a partner.  After letting a few students share their answers with the class, pass out the mini poster to glue in their interactive journal.  Discuss in detail what reading really is, and that it goes far beyond saying the words on a page.  Enjoy.

As always, I love feedback, so say hello by leaving a comment.  :-)


Feel free to pin this activity.  Just hover over the image.



If you teach grades 3-5, you may also like my Readers Workshop Guide.  Many people have been very happy with this product, which you can read under the feedback section.  Thanks for checking it out.

Feel free to pin this activity.  Just hover over the image.

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FREE Determine the Setting Poster

I'm on a kick making reading posters that I hope you will find helpful in your classroom.  This is the third one, and it is on the skill of determining the setting of a story.  The smaller version will work great for interactive reading journals.  Enjoy!

As always, I love to hear from you.  Drop me a comment.  :-)

 

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You may also like this activity. 
 Students will write their own fictional story and will need to develop a setting for the story.


Narrative Writing Story Mini Book

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FREE Describing a Character Poster

This is the second in a series of posters I am making and giving away for FREE.  They are perfect for students to glue into their interactive reading journals.  It can help when reading stories or writing stories. On this poster, the definition of a character is presented, and then suggestions of things kids should think about are also included.  I hope you enjoy, and please do share with your friends and co-workers.

And, as always.... leave me some love.  I love comments. :-)


Feel free to pin by hovering over the image.

You might also like this activity on characters.

Character Traits Activity
Feel free to pin by hovering over the image.
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FREE Making Inferences Poster

Inferring can be so hard for kids to grasp. Here's a  cute poster to use to introduce it to your students.  I have also included a smaller version.  The small inferencing poster would be great to glue into an interactive reading journal.  It is made in color, but it prints out fine in black and white.  Enjoy.

P.S.  I always love it when people leave me a comment. :-)


Feel free to PIN by hovering over image.


You may also enjoy this lesson on determining theme, a skill that uses inferencing. 

Common Adages Lesson

 Feel free to PIN by hovering over image.

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Where Are We Board

Are you looking to make a cute  "where are we board" to hang outside your classroom?  If so, this little project is fast, fun, and costs less than $10.  Every item but one came from the Dollar Spot at Target.  If you are like me, you love to find all kinds of goodies at Target.  I like the way this board turned out because it is the perfect size to hang on the wall right outside of a classroom between the door and where the cork board strips are that you hang work on.  Not sure if everyone has those strips or not, but regardless, it's a great size for a door or the wall. So, here goes.


Pictured above are the items I used.  The little board is actually a magnetic board and it came with the ribbon already attached. Can't beat that!  I then created the stripes using yellow Washi tape, which I found over in the scrap booking section.  You can measure the distance of the tape, but it was easy for me just to eyeball it.  Once the tape was down, I centered the letters on each line to spell out the places the kids go during the day. It only took me one pack of sparkly letters to do my board.  You get 5 sheets of letters for a dollar. You may have different 'places to go' than me, and you may have more or less.  The flower I put in the top left corner is actually a magnet, but I hot glued it so that it would stay.  Finally, I used a diamond shaped clip to clip to the side.  It's great because it comes to a point to show where the kids are.  The clip is easily moved up and down the right side to show where you are.  Plus, there are 3 to a pack in case one happens to break throughout the year.   This "where are we" board project literally took less than ten minutes and cost me less than ten dollars.  Two things I absolutely loved.  And, it can be used for years.  To hang, just just use those removable plastic hangers that don't damage the wall.  Here is the finished product.

Where are We Board
Hover over the image above to PIN it.  :-)

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I'm a Fourth Grade Teacher and I LOVE Teachers Pay Teachers


(update:  the site I refer to changed their original image after I posted this.)

So, there I was... on my way to church this morning when I was introduced to a blog post that started with a picture that said, "NO Teachers Pay Teachers" (TpT), you know the kind of sign I am talking about.  The kind with the circle and a slash through it.  It goes something like this...

Talk about disheartening.  I mean,  I understand  no smoking signs.

 
I even understand no cell phone signs.


But, "NO TPT"??? I just don't get it.

And, now that I am home from church, I just have to respond.

Before I go on, you can find the blog post HERE.  I guess you can call this my rebuttal post.  However you want to look at it, I have a few things to say.  In the teacher world, we can just say I am responding  to literature.  Just pretend you are reading my journal.

I read the blog post once.  I read the blog post twice.  Then I stepped back and realized that the title was more of a hook.  You know, like one of those signs on the outside of the store that draws you in.  It makes you think that there is a huge bargain on the inside, when really there isn't.  I sort of feel the same about this post.  The title is a great hook.  I mean, it drew me in.  If you read the comments, it drew a lot of other people in too.  But, beyond the title, if you read closely, it doesn't seem to be about TpT at all.  It seems to be more about teachers and how they use resources in the classroom.  It seems to be more about how teachers in general decorate their classroom. Quite honestly, it seems to be more about whether you fall in the good teacher category or the needs improvement category. 

I will give him credit that he says teachers are selling great things on TpT (that sort of contradicts the title though), because they definitely are.  He also goes to say that the things being sold can't be edited.  This is an example of why it's not just about Tpt.  I mean, whenever you go into a teacher supply store or order off of Amazon, the printed materials you get are not editable.  When is the last time you bought a Scholastic teacher resource that you could open up on the computer and change it to meet your needs in your classroom.  That's just not how the publishing industry works. And, what do teachers do if they can't find something that meets their needs?  Um, they make it, which is what good teachers do.

He calls teachers of today the laminating culture.  Well, gosh darn.  You bet we are the laminating culture. What teacher in their right mind wants to spend three hours creating, printing, cutting, gluing, and so on, and only be able to use it in one center for one day?  And don't think that is an exaggeration.  I mean, let 32 hands play a game for a day when it hasn't been laminated and you will understand.  Teachers are frugal.  We don't want to have to spend our money over and over again.  And, yes.  It typically is our money.  Plus, we have families.  We don't want to have to spend hours making the game again. It's not like you have a lot of time during school to be making resources.  Between meetings and no duty free lunch, you are up til midnight just making a game for your class.  I'm just not sure I even understand that particular 'dislike' about Tpt  because even if you don't use the laminated material every year, at least you can pull it out again with the next group of kids you think it will work for.  It just seems like common sense to me.  

He says cute is over rated, that polka dots and stripes are a bit much.  To some extent I agree about the cuteness in classrooms.  Actually, it's not really about the cuteness as much as it is about the over stimulating items in the classroom like the huge pompoms and such.  But, there again.  Is that really about TpT?  It's not. Heck, teacher resource stores have been selling polka dotted borders for years.  It's more about whether or not teachers are using the resources mindfully in their classroom.

In response to point four, I partly agree with it.  Sure, in the area of social studies and science, real life images are wonderful.  But here's the deal.  When you go to read the newspaper, do you stay away from the comics just because they are hand drawn or computer generated rather than being photos?  Probably not.  It's all about variety.  There again, why throw TpT in the gutter on this?  I have never come across a teacher that only showed a sketched image of The American Revolution.  Teachers use other resources combined with TpT resources to create their lessons.

It's no secret that I love TpT.  One of my favorite phrases is I Heart TpT.  It's important to keep in mind that the majority of teachers don't use TpT as the recipe for running their classroom. They use it as a resource. And that's what good teachers do.  They gather resources (and sometimes make them) in order to teach the required standards based on their students' needs.  I have yet to meet one teacher that solely uses TpT resources to teach their entire curriculum.  

I have taught nearly twenty years, have a master's degree in reading and literacy, have three kids of my own, been nominated for teacher of the year umpteen (my made up word) times, and let's face it.............those credentials are pretty good for being competent enough to design lessons for the classroom and for being able to pick out credible resources when I am shopping.  I am not alone in that.  There are many teachers out there just like me, buying and selling on Teachers Pay Teachers.  How on earth is that not a good thing?  You have people that love being teachers, are experienced in the classroom, have tried a multitude of methods, and have dedicated their lives to being  fun and creative teachers.  The best part.... they are using Universal Collaboration to help teach kids across the world through blogging, Pinterest, and places like Teachers Pay Teachers.  

Cheers to TpT!

** please excuse any typos.  I'm only human.  :-)
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