March 25, 2019

Quick Teaching Tip: Highlight the Larger Number When Subtracting

Quick Teaching Tip: Highlight the larger number when subtracting

Do you sometimes forget the little tricks and tips that have worked for one group? I do this all the time! This is probable why I wanted to write a blog, so I could have a spot to remind me of them.

Today's tip is one that I forgot to show my students when we I first was teaching them subtraction with regrouping. It wasn't until I was reteaching a small group that I remembered it.

A student told me that he never knew when he had to borrow. That's when I pulled out the highlighter. We went through each problem highlighting the greater number in each place, the ones, tens, and hundreds. This amazed my student so much that he asked me how I learned all these tricks! When I told him that was all part of being a teacher, he just shrugged and said he didn't want to be one!

This little tip has caught on big time in my classroom. The students I showed this strategy to in the small group went back and showed their classmates. Now our subtraction papers are filled with highlighting marks. At least they finally know when to borrow!

What is your favorite teaching tip?

March 22, 2019

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

This week I was truly a frazzled teacher. I started the week in a bad mood. It didn't get much better from there. It's easy to say it was the full moon. I'll just say that my students were just plain crazy! This in turn drove me nuts!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Constant Talking - My students would not stop talking! This was just a LOUD week. I'm surprised I didn't have a constant headache.

Testing - We started testing today. I dread testing. This may surprise you, but I don't dread it because it's testing. I dread it because it disrupts our schedule. My students go batty anytime we are off of our routine. This is probably why this week was so rough!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Donors Choose - My boxes started arriving from my funded project. It's been like Christmas! We got a lot of nonfiction books as well as a class set of headphones for our computers. Have you tried Donors Choose yet? I would be happy to help you set up your own Donors Choose from start to finish! All I ask is that you please use my referral link to set up your account. Email me at and we can work together on this.

I wish I could think of more to share, but this week was just rough! I'm hoping that next week will be better!

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

March 21, 2019

The Frazzled Teacher Recommends: The Anti-Test Anxiety Society

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Do you love books as much as I do? I definitely consider myself an avid reader! I am always on the lookout for new books while taking the time to reread my favorites. Join me each Thursday as I share a classroom treasure with you. Let me know what you think of the book and what book you would recommend!

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Using them will not cost you anything but will earn me a small commission if you make a purchase.

Do you have testing coming up? We are currently in the midst of our state testing right now! Today marks the umpteenth day of testing this year. I've lost count of all the major tests we have taken! Testing is stressful to both the students and the teachers! That's why I love the book The Anti-Test Anxiety Society.

This book follows a little girl named Bertha and her quest to eliminate test anxiety. In the story, she creates 12 strategies to make testing easier. It's also a great book for Growth Mindset.

I love that this book shows that testing can be a huge source of anxiety but there are ways of reducing/eliminating these feelings. Hopefully reading this book will help your little ones' anxiety and make testing easier to manage.

With testing in mind, I made these brag bracelets for testing time. Click on the picture to get your FREE brag bracelets.

Student Testing Brag Bracelets

If you are looking for other books on testing, check these out:

These are great books with my favorite characters, Miss Malarkey and Mrs. Hartwell. We read their stories throughout the year!

What book do you recommend?

March 19, 2019

The Story Behind the Frazzled Teacher

The Story Behind the Frazzled Teacher

I write these blog posts week after week and realized that many of you don't really know who I am. It's easy for me to hide behind the name Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher because in the beginning I wanted to keep my teaching/blogging separated. Now, I'm willing to share more about me in order to encourage and better support you.

My name is Beth. I am in my thirteenth year of teaching in a small school district right outside of Chicago. Let me back up a little though.

When I graduated college, there really weren't many teaching jobs available in my area. I ended up substituting for a year and a half in the district that I attended as a child. While subbing I also worked part-time at a learning center. During this time, the learning center was expanding and opening another location. They were looking for an Assistant Director to run this new center. The owner and Center Director asked me to apply and I was hired on the spot. This was definitely unexpected since I ONLY wanted to be a classroom teacher. However, I appreciate my time there as it really got me thinking how many students miss the basic building blocks of education. (Plus I made some lifelong friends!)

After almost two years of working at the learning center, I was anxiously wanting to get into a classroom. I applied EVERYWHERE! I got an interview in my current district and started in 4th grade.

My first year was rough! Actually, rough is an understatement. Nightmare is probably a better word. I would work until 7 every night and come home to do more work. In class, I was dealing with one issue after another. I had a student that would try to hurt himself on a regular basis, a student that wrote suicidal notes, one student that was eventually sent out to a behavioral school, etc. Did I mention that a group of my boys formed an official gang outside of my classroom? Luckily, I had a principal that helped me along. I also had the 3rd grade team. Yes, 3rd grade team! The 4th grade team were not very kind (and luckily none of them are there anymore) plus they were all on the other side of the building. If not for the 3rd grade team, I may not still be in the district. (Side Note: My first year that my parents were afraid that I wouldn't make it the entire year, but they didn't say anything until my third or fourth year.)

Luckily, it got better after my first year. I moved to 3rd grade. I eventually found my stride, dealt with crazy principals (one of which I was stuck with as a teacher in my Master's program), got my Master's degree, and have found my stride. 

Don't get me wrong. At times, it has been extremely stressful. I think in one of my more harried moments I came up with the term Frazzled Teacher. I don't want to see other teachers have to be stressed out and frazzled. That's why I started this blog. I want to share tools and resources that have helped me in order to help others.

I truly want to help support all teachers! Feel free to comment below or email me at with what you need help/support on or ask me any questions that you may have!

What else do you want to know about me?
What do you need help with, so you won't be so frazzled?

March 18, 2019

Quick Teaching Tip: Bulletin Board of Read Alouds

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

I LOVE reading aloud to my students! I read them a story or at least a chapter everyday, no excuses! To show what we have read, I created a little display that students see every time they leave the classroom. It looks like a little bookshelf. (Background is bulletin board paper. The "shelves" are borders that look like students reading.) I take the books and type the name of the book and author onto generic templates I created to look like book spines. My helper of the day colors the book spine, cuts it out, and then it gets added to the shelf. (Alternate: Cut strips of construction paper and write the names of books on them.)

This may look a little messy and not uniform but my students enjoy it! We can reflect on past books and see how reading a little each day makes such a HUGE difference in our lives. I also like that my students are actively participating in putting the bookshelf together. 

Want to try this with your class? Email me at for a FREE editable copy of my book spines. Please know that these are definitely not the fanciest or most professional looking, but they work for my students and me!

What is your favorite teaching tip?