September 21, 2018

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Another rough week...this has got to be one of my most difficult starts to a school year. I am not referring to just behaviors. It's also me. It took me a whole month to finish my initial testing. I just put password cards out for my students. I'm so far behind! Although, I think i am finally getting caught up. I need to get into a rhythm.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Student Behavior - I had one student in particular yesterday that was nice enough to tell nearby girls, "Suck my..." He also made an accompanying gesture. At least one good thing came out of this, I loved the look on our dean's face as he read my referral. (Side note: This student was really good today.)

Losing It - I lost my cool on Wednesday. I was on a rampage. The behaviors were just awful. I feel like a lot of my students have no real concept of how to act in a school setting. Each day is like two steps forward, one step back.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Pencil Towers - My students are loving completing STEM activities. This week we made towers using only pencils. It was a lot of fun!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Fairy Door - One of the third grade teachers got a little door for her room. This is for the Desk Fairy to enter. I loved this idea so much, I ordered one and got it set up today. Because it's in a high, inconspicuous spot, my students thought it had been there the whole time. Little did they know, I set it up today. I was so grateful that the "Desk Fairy" got to visit students. This visit was long overdue. My students are super motivated by the idea of an upcoming visit.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

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

September 18, 2018

End of Day Classroom Routine

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

I don't know about you, but the end of each school day is a rough time for me. Getting all the kids ready to go, especially the slowpokes, is a daunting task. Because of this, I knew that I had to find an End of Day Routine that was calming but effective.

First off, my students actually get ready to go home about 45 minutes-1 hour before dismissal. This is because I want them ready before recess. Recess is a great motivator to get students moving quickly. My students have lockers. I don't want to make multiple trips to the lockers to get coats and book bags. Therefore, students write in their planners, get their things from their lockers, and load their book bags with their homework. Book bags are then hung on the back of their chairs. This routine allows us to then go to recess and return for out last subject.

I end of my days with either a Science or Social Studies activity. Since our bags are already packed, we work until bus riders are called to line up. If we are in the middle of an activity, it remains on the desk until morning. 

Originally my goal was to end with an afternoon meeting. I wanted to share something they liked or learned from the day. Unfortunately that only lasted a couple of days. I couldn't give up this time. (We do have a morning meeting that I could never give up!) 

I have, however, begun ending the school day with my favorite routine! My students line up and as they are leaving I make sure to take the time to smile at each student and give them a hug, handshake, or high 5. I leave it up to each child. Most want a hug (some sneak back in line for multiple hugs) while some prefer a simple handshake. I currently have only one boy that likes the high 5 option.

No matter what has happened during the day, we leave on a positive note. I feel better and the smiles on my students' faces are incredible! 

How do you end your school day?

September 14, 2018

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

This week was a very full one including multiple after school meetings and Open House! Needless to say, I am glad it's the weekend.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Open House - I had 1 family show up. That's it. I was seriously disappointed in the turn-out. 

Locker Party - Today students got to stay after school and decorate their lockers. It's a chaotic event. I dread this day each year. I like to stay after school on Fridays to get ready for the following week. It was difficult to concentrate when music was blaring through the loudspeakers and kids were running through the hallways. I'm not going to lie...I may have locked myself in my classroom. I had a ton of work to do. 

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Toothpaste Analogy - This week we did the toothpaste analogy. You have students empty a tube of toothpaste onto a plate. Then you have them try to put all the toothpaste back in the tube. It's supposed to show students that no matter how much they try, they can't get all the toothpaste back in the tube. This is like their words and actions...once they have said/done something, they can't fully take it back.

I have tried this one other time with a class a few years ago. That time my students did NOT get it. They kept insisting they could get all the toothpaste back in the tube. I just didn't give them enough time. I bet that class would still be working on it years later in an attempt to try and prove that words/actions can be taken back. Needless to say, that group was not a nice one.

This group, on the other hand, did a much better job with this activity. They understood the analogy and really enjoyed the activity. While they drive me nuts with their immaturity, they are not a mean group.


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

September 7, 2018

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

For a short week, this one sure dragged on! This week started with Labor Day, followed by birthday, lots of meetings, and tons of testing! I'm glad it's the weekend.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Testing - We had NWEA Testing this week. There was problems with the testing and students kept getting kicked off. That was frustrating! Testing is bad enough but it is made more difficult when technology doesn't work. I also can't get over how low much of my class is...most are in the 150's or 160's.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Saving Fred - Today we completed one of my favorite STEM activities - Saving Fred! This is a great team building, problem-solving activity. If you are unfamiliar with the activity, it involves a gummy worm (Fred) stranded on his boat (a plastic cup). His life preserver (gummy life saver) is stuck underneath the boat. Groups of students get 4 paper clips. They are only allowed to touch the paperclips. Somehow they have to put the life preserver on Fred. It's definitely challenging!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacjer


Donors Choose - I got another project funded! That's my third one this year! This time our classroom is getting lots of basic supplies as well as some flexible seating options, books, etc.  If you are interested in finding out more about how to get your Donors Choose projects funded, click HERE.

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

September 4, 2018

Happy Birthday Students!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

I love celebrating birthdays - my students and my own. Since today is my birthday, I thought I would share (once again) my favorite activities for celebrating my students' birthdays.

Disclaimer: There are some Amazon Affiliate links. Clicking on them will cost you nothing but may earn me a commission for each item purchased.

How to Celebrate Student Birthdays

Student Gifts:
I always put a birthday cup on the birthday student's desk before school begins, so they have something to look forward to when they get there. (This past school year, I finally was able to remember the dates easier, because on the school calendar in the front of our classroom, I put all the birthdays up each month.)

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher
Click the pic to see how to make these cups.

When I get a former student that comes back to give me a cupcake on their birthday, I pull out my birthday box (from the dollar store) and give them a bookmark.  (I don't have the finances to give everyone a Birthday Cup!)


Read Alouds:
This tradition has become a favorite for me.  I filled a dollar store (notice a theme) gift bag up with birthday books.  Students get to pick out the one that they want us to read during our read aloud times. (Please note: the students only pick a book for you to read, they do not keep them.)  Because this is so popular, I even added a Birthday Books reading bin in our classroom library.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

If you are having trouble thinking of birthday books, there are a couple to get you started in the picture above.  I also put some more below to get you started.  They were our classroom favorites.

                  

Extras:
I have created a fun pack of birthday activities that I just put on TPT.  It contains labels for the birthday cups, a spot to record all your students' birthdays, certificates, sheets to create a class book and a few other goodies that I use in my classrom.  Click the pic below to check it out.

Birthdays - Celebrate Your Students

How do you celebrate your students' birthdays?