April 20, 2018

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Half-day PD, negotiations, and a full week of teaching...I am exhausted (that's why this post will be shorter than usual)! Happy Friday!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

PD's/Meetings - On Wednesday, I had my monthly PD followed by negotiation meetings. OH MY GOODNESS! It was torture! I had to sit in a chair 12:30 to almost 9:30 in various meetings. It was exhausting! I can't handle sitting for that many hours! (This is a huge reason why I have my students moving around quite a bit.)

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Fun Rotation Day - For some reason, with the half-day Wednesday, at one point I ended up with only 10 students in my classroom. It was a nice small group but all my plans needed to be thrown out. I did not want to teach the new material I planned with so many missing students. Instead, while students were working on an assignment, I started pulling out fun materials to let students decide what to work on. We had a pattern block station with different leveled cards, Kindles (with math games, books, and reading apps), and reading games focusing on the main idea. It was such a hit! My students had fun so much fun, were well behaved, and got a lot done.

Surprisingly, the pattern blocks were the favorite of all the activities.

All Caught Up - As I was getting ready to leave today (at only 4:00), I realized that I was somehow all caught up. Lesson plans were ready, copies were made, papers were graded and put in the computer, etc. It's a rare occurrence, and I will definitely enjoy it while it lasts!

How was your week?  
What was good and bad for you?

April 17, 2018

The Teaching Secret No One Talks About

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Do you ever feel like you are a failure as a teacher? If not a failure, do you feel insecure or down on yourself? Then please know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This is the secret that many teachers are dealing with but no one talks about it. 

I personally undergo feelings of inadequacy as a teacher all the time. If I need a break for 5 or 10 minutes and give my students busy work, I feel like I am just being lazy. If my students are chatty in the hallway, I feel like my classroom management is horrible and out of control. If a student doesn't do well on a test, it must mean that I didn't differentiate my teaching enough. All of these thoughts float through my mind all the time.

I think the best example of feeling down on myself came at the beginning of the school year. I was nominated for an award. When I got the letter, I honestly had a little panic attack. While it was wonderful to be nominated, I had the feeling that I wasn't good enough and did not deserve this honor. Deep down I was glad there were issues with our school email system which caused my recommendations not to be submitted to enter the next round of the award.

A friend of mine and I talked recently about how she was feeling overwhelmed and down on herself in her newer position. She was the first person I told about my own feelings of inadequacy. I must say she was a bit shocked that even after all my years of teaching that I still feel this way. (I'm not sure it ever really goes away.)

I've taken the time to open up and share my story in the hopes that others will start to share theirs as well. Maybe then we can all start to feel better about ourselves as teachers.

By the way, if you still need some encouragement or permission:
* Give your students busy work if you need those minutes of peace and quiet. 
* Sometimes kids are chatty. Think about all the times they were perfect in the hallways. Everyone has an off day. 
* Sometimes kids fail tests. The reason probably has nothing to do with you. 
* You are a great teacher! Hopefully you can believe it!

Can you relate to these feelings?
What do you do to overcome them?

April 13, 2018

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

This was our first week back after Spring Break. It was a LONG week! It's hard to adjust after so much time spent laying around. I am so excited for the weekend, because now I can finally sleep!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Fourth Grade Students - Yesterday we had an assembly with the NED Show (Never Give Up, Encourage Others, and Do Your Best were the themes of the show). The show was cute. My problem was when third grade stood up to leave and a group of fourth graders started booing them and calling them losers. I was livid. Way to NOT get the message of the show. 😡

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Donors Choose - My Donors Choose project was funded last week! I received our supplies this week and am super excited about them! We have already been using the seat cushions and reading trackers. This weekend I will get the Kindles ready to use next week.

Scholastic Books - We also got our Scholastic order. I may have ordered quite a few more books since my classroom doesn't have enough books. 😀 This time I focused on building a superhero and video game theme.

By the way, did you apply for the James Patterson and Scholastic Book Clubs Giveaway? It takes five minutes and the benefits are incredible. This school year, I was lucky enough to get it - $500  worth of books. There are tons of winners. Take the time to apply today!

Carousel Review - I sometimes (okay - a lot of times) forget about activities/resources that I have used in the past that have worked well for me. Luckily, I remembered one of my favorites on the drive to work on Monday - Carousel Review. 

   * What is a Carousel Review? Place posters around the room. Have students rotate around the room adding to the posters. They go around like a carousel.

   * Here's how we used it: We wrote different areas of the school on the paper (playground, lunchroom, specials, hallway, bathroom, and classroom). My students had to write down all the expectations of their behavior in each area. The important piece of this activity is that students have to read what is written, because they cannot duplicate things already written. It was a great way to review expectations while getting my students moving!

How was your week?  
What was good and bad for you?

April 10, 2018

Organizing Technology in the Classroom - How to Use Symbaloo With YouTube Videos

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

I am always looking for ways to get myself more organized in my classroom. While my room is definitely looking much better after taking a whole year of organizing different physical areas, there was still one big area for me to tackle - TECHNOLOGY!

I follow a lot of grade level groups on Facebook and in one of the groups, someone suggested Symbaloo. This is a free site where you can store websites and videos by categories. I don't necessarily need help with organizing my websites. To be honest, my go to ones are Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest when I am looking for new ideas. The video part, however, did appeal to me.

In Symbaloo, you can create different lists and link your favorite videos from YouTube. This was a HUGE saver for me. Every time I wanted to show a video in my room, I would have to open it up before school, copy the link, and show it in Safe Share so that I would never get the ads. Every time I decided to wing it and show the video straight from YouTube, it seemed like I would get bra commercials or something just as fun for my third graders.

You can embed the videos into Symbaloo so when you show them in class, you get the video itself, not the ads. Talk about a game changer! I went a little crazy creating some lists for myself. I have a list for Kid President Videos, Schoolhouse Rocks, stories from our reading series, etc. Throughout the school year, I have added seasonal videos onto a new list. Now they are ready to go in the future. Side Note: Having these videos ready also helps for those extra five minutes that seem to happen from time to time.

My favorite part of Symbaloo is that it is FREE! That's my favorite price! You might be saying that sounds great but too complicated to use. Let me help you with that. I made a video (my first every) that has step-by-step instructions on how to upload a video from YouTube and embed it onto Symbaloo. All you need to do is sign up for a free account. Then watch my video to see how to do this. I hope this helps you get organized!

How do you organize technology in your classroom?

April 6, 2018

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

This past week has been a great one. I was on Spring Break. While it may have been a lazy one (I started a load of laundry on Monday and remembered it today), I did get quite a bit done.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Taxes/Salary - I did my taxes this week. It was so depressing to see my salary this year versus last year. It went down...a LOT! Last year was the first year I did not do after school tutoring or summer school. I needed a break and knew I wouldn't have that income but didn't realize how much I would miss out on. My salary is so sad, especially since I have quite a bit of experience as well as my Master's Degree. I can definitely relate to the teachers in Oklahoma right now.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

I got a lot of classroom projects completed this week. They have been on my to do list for awhile so it was a relief to get them done.

I finally finished making these this week. Click the pic to see a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own.

I have been wanting to make a board to hold all of my dice for easy access for my students. I got all of the materials from the dollar store months ago but only got it finished this week. Now I have these on a board that I can hang up in the classroom.

I was given bags with books and hands-on pieces for students to use while reading. For example, The Three Little Pigs has a mask for the wolf, pig puppets, and stand up houses. The bags were a mess to use so I put them in plastic boxes and made labels for all of them. I can't wait to use them in my room!

I send home weekly envelopes and just have a simple sign off form for parents. I needed to update some envelopes, so I decided to get them ready for next year too. One less project to do this summer!

Sight Words - Fry Words: 201-300 - Older Student Version           Sight Words - Fry Words: 201-300 - Primary Version

I even made the next set of 100 sight words for younger and older students (click the pics to see these on TPT). I use the ones for older students with my class. Some really need sight word work but because the level of words are so low, most materials I found are too 'babyish' for them. That's why I love the ones I created. They do not make my students feel like they are low.

It was a productive week. I still would be okay with another week off. I know I am being greedy, but it was too cold to be considered Spring Break and it even snowed last night! Oh well, I still have a weekend before going back.

How was your week?  
What was good and bad for you?