Friday, December 20, 2013

Truly Thankful

As Winter Break begins, I wanted to take a moment to just say that I am beyond blessed to be doing what I love. Not everyone can say that they truly like what they do and want to go into work each day. I feel very lucky to be a teacher - a calling that I felt as a young child. 

To my dear students, 
Wherever you may be this holiday, please know that I am thinking of you and wishing you much joy and lasting happiness. You deserve to see that kindness does exist... that there is a lot of good out there even when it seems like not... that you can make a difference... and that I will always be in your cheering section. I am honored to be your teacher, and you have changed my life.
Keep smiling, Your Teacher
Wishing you and yours a very HAPPY HOLIDAY and a fantastic NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Exam Time

Well, it's that time of year... semester exams. What do you do or suggest to help students learn how to manage their stress? This article has some suggestions :)

AND... the countdown is on!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Teachable Moment

“The greatest part of each day, each year, each lifetime is made up of small, seemingly insignificant moments. Those moments may be cooking…playing catch with a child before dinner, speaking out against a distasteful joke, driving to the recycling center…. But they are not insignificant, especially when these moments are models for kids.”+

- Barbara Coloroso (20th Century), U.S. Parent, Educator, Author. Kids Are Worth It (1994)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Everyone Is Important

During Mark's first month of college, the professor gave his students a pop quiz. He was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until he read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. He had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would he know her name? He handed in his paper, leaving the last question blank.

Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward the quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They each deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'". Mark never forgot that lesson. He also learned her name was Dorothy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Starfish

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached, he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

The man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached, the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person, he said: "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said: "It sure made a difference to that one!"

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday's and Football

I absolutely love this time of year... Friday's and football. There is nothing like a community coming together to support and cheer on a team. As I sit back and witness such events (sometimes in complete awe), it brings perspective of pure joy in a world that is so burdened by negativity and stresses. I find that I can escape for those two hours and cheer with all sorts of people - young and old. Watching football is a timeless classic. I also enjoy watching the band halftime shows and the different special acknowledgements/dedications at the games. It allows for celebration and release. It gives everyone a reason to be one - a team. Crisp air and cheering fans coming together. It is perfect.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

Here's the play-by-play for how my Monday morning went down...

- Enter classroom and turn on lights
- Set bags down on teacher desk
- FREAK as a mouse scurries from under my teacher desk and into a cabinet clear across my classroom

Despite my slight freak-out, no mice were harmed. This little guy escaped from one of the science rooms (hallways away, mind you). With the help of the science department, he was caught with a live-trap and successfully made it back to the science world. 

Fortunately for me, no students were around to witness me kinda squeal :)


Sunday, October 13, 2013

College Recommendations

Well, it is that time of year... college recommendation writing. I am always so humbled when students ask me to write them a recommendation for college. This year, I am up to 12 recommendations so far, and I agonize over each recommendation to make sure that it paints a picture of the student as I know them. While I am aware that many people use "form letters" when it comes to recommendations, I like to write personal recommendations for each student and my interaction(s) with them. Since I work with students in a variety of capacities - in my class, in my House (more on Houses back here), in the Junior Class PROM Committee, or in STEM Girls - I strive to include personal stories or anecdotes. What does all of this mean? Each letter takes me quite a bit of time. BUT... I am completely fine with that! Many are applying to schools that I only would dream of attending, and many are seeking degrees in genres that leave me in awe. These students are the future. They will live to make such an amazing impact on our world and society, and I am honored to know each and every one of them.

I wish them nothing but the best, and I cannot wait to watch them continue to grow and leave their mark on this world. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Perspective - Rosalind Wiseman

Last year, my school had the honor of having Rosalind Wiseman come and speak both to faculty and then to students relative to the subjects of bullying, relationships, interactions, and social competency. She shared a perspective backed by significant research and development. I found her message to be quite profound and honest in many ways.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy First Day!

Just wanted to wish everyone a great first day of school! My first day back was today - hard to believe it's already a new year! It was nice to see old students and also equally exciting to meet new ones! I am looking forward to what this school year has in store.

Now, I just have to focus on learning 120+ names!!! Yikes! Wish me luck :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

New School Year = New Decor Ideas

I love decorating my classroom, and it can be challenging to come up with something that catches they eye of a high school student. Here's some of my new creations for this coming school year:

 This is my own spin on the "THINK" acronym - I found the different social media symbols on Google and off I went to come up with this decor! This is a magnetic file cabinet, so I laminated everything and used Staples Business Card Magnets cut to size (10-packs and 100-packs available).

One of the major focuses at my HS this year is school culture. As a I searched for a way to constantly remind students to contribute in a proactive way, I found this gem! I absolutely love the "be" board! I think everyone could use a reminder to "BE..."

 We are in the midst of a lot of standards and curriculum revamping. As a result, I am posting I-Can statements, benchmarks, and weekly goals for each of the classes that I am teaching this year. This is in the front of my classroom so all students can easily see and reiterate the class goals. Each board was $7.99 at Target - they are both magnetic too! :)

To hang the white boards, I used the 3M Command Velcro strips - love love love!!! They hold more hanging weight than the traditional 3M, and they come off the wall easily. You can find them practically anywhere, but I purchased mine from Target.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Start of a New School Year

I don't know about all of you, but the start of a new school year brings with it all kinds of excitement, stress, and planning! I am in the midst of crazy-mode trying to get everything organized.Oftentimes, a new school year means change. Change in decoration. Modification in curriculum. Change in room layout. Possible change in administration. Phew!

I am so incredibly fortunate that my wing of the school was waxed earlier this summer, so I have been able to work on my classroom set-up for the last two weeks! I am SO grateful for that... pictures to come soon! Since our walls are not cleaned from ceiling to floor every year - typically it's just floor to waist high - I was able to leave up all of my bulletin board and my posters (which I conveniently put above waist high all around the room... call it tricky or call it planning ahead, I am fine with it... hehe).

We have all sorts of meetings scheduled for our first three teacher days (Wed - Fri). Wednesday begins with district meetings in the morning followed by building level meetings the remainder of the day. Thursday includes department meetings and team meetings. All day Friday is for teachers to work as they wish to prepare. Probably one of the most exciting changes for this coming year is.... {drum roll} ... a new copier!!! I know, it is hard to contain your excitement!

I just want to take a minute to pass along a few perspectives as this new year is about to begin~

  • For those that aren't teachers, the back-to-school time is one of the most stressful for those in the profession. 
  • For those that say the best part of being a teacher is June-July-August, recognize that most teachers spend the majority of their summer planning, taking classes, and going to meetings to make your child's experience the best it can be.
  • For those that say teacher's make too much money for what they do, I say look at my receipts which amount in well over $500 (I would venture close to $1000) of my personal money spent towards things for my classroom and teaching.
  • For those that think teaching is a breeze, please recognize all that teachers DO do - having to be "on" for at least 7 hours straight - answer 100's of questions a day - spend hours outside of the school day grading 120+ tests if you teach HS like I do and responding to email (because we can't during the school day).
  • Oh, and try not being able to use the bathroom any time you please. Won't happen if you are a teacher.
This isn't meant to be a rant about teaching. It is truly the BEST profession in the world and also one of the most rewarding. This is meant to serve as a reminder to thank a teacher for all that they do to make your child's learning experience the absolute best that it can be. The vast majority of teachers chose to be in the profession because of their passion or desire to teach. In my state, we must have a Master's degree by or within a few years of starting to teach and we earn every bit of it at a cost. We deserve the same respect as anyone else. We are constantly seeking to make each day impact our students in some way. I take that responsibility to heart. I am beyond excited (also a little stressed) for a new year. If you get the chance in the next few weeks, please thank a teacher and pay it forward :) 


(I am not affiliated with this site in any way, but what an awesome way to say thanks -

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Remind 101

This is an absolutely AWESOME website!!! It is designed just for teachers to safely communicate with parents and/or students!

As the teacher, you have the ability to:

  • set up a FREE account
  • create groups for students to join
  • manage groups (add, delete, etc.)
  • write messages to be sent out
  • see message history
  • set up future messages to send a specific date/time
Once you have it set up, you can even print out a PDF with instructions specific to those you wish to join as a handout/flyer! Members cannot see other members nor can they reply to any of the messages!

I have to say - Remind 101 has been one of THE BEST inventions! It has enabled me to better communicate about meetings, announcements, reminders, etc!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Staples Teacher Day - August 2013

I love to snag great deals as the new school year approaches, and I haven't missed a Staples' Teacher Day yet!!!

Here's the details - the date may vary depending upon your location.

20% Staples Rewards for everything that you can fit into this bag + other cool stuff!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Teacher Rewards

I recently got the email below from United Art & Education, and I wanted to pass the information along to all of you!!! It's always a plus when there's teacher rewards involved! :)

Introducing United Art & Education's
All-New Retail Customer Reward Card!

Early Bird Special!
Sign up for your card by July 15th and receive 250 Bonus Points! Every card owner that has registered by 9pm on Monday, July 15th, will automatically get 250 points credited to their account on Tuesday, July 16th - in addition to the 250 points you receive when you verify your account!
Join Our FREE Retail Loyal Program & Start Earning Rewards Today!
With the United Art & Education Reward Card, each eligible dollar you spend at one of our retail stores becomes 5 points, and when you accumulate 500 points you will receive a $5 reward! During your next visit to a store location, ask an associate for a card and we will activate your account for you. You will start earning points that very moment! Then, when you verify your account we will add 250 extra bonus points to start you off right!

Our Retail Reward Program is flexible! You choose when you use your retail reward points. You can claim a retail reward once you reach 500 points, or if you prefer, save your points and claim a bigger retail reward, the choice is yours! The best part? Your points don't expire, ever, until you choose to claim a retail reward. For complete details and to sign up for a Retail Reward Card, visit your local United Art & Education retail store.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Back to School Shopping

Well folks, I am going to say it, my back-to-school shopping has started!!! I know it's July 1st and for most people outside of education this is probably ridiculous, but as a teacher I am always looking for good deals. I typically shop for my classroom year-round as I am constantly looking for bargains, but the official hunt is with August coming before I know it!

Here's some places that I usually do a TON of shopping from when it comes to school items. I will be posting my finds as I go, and I would love if you would share your finds with me too!!!

... I mean, who doesn't love Target?

... pretty decent teacher rewards! I enjoy their "teacher day" each year as well!

... great for organization as well as odds-and-ends

... awesome bulk purchasing and great quality!

... lots of content-specific resources and items for the classroom!
... one of the biggest stores I have been able to find!