May 24, 2019

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher: Check out this Frazzled Teacher's week, in which she highlights the good and bad, so you can feel better about yourself! Along the way, she shares teaching tips.

I'm closer to the end of the school year...only 9 more days! This week brought suspensions for 3 students, testing, and a total overthrow of our schedule!

If you are following my home buying tale, here's your update. The sellers accepted my offer. Now I am trying to find an inspector which is tough because of the holiday, but I only have a couple of days left to get it done.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Testing - We had to finish our end of year testing this week. I was so mad at my students while they were taking their reading test. We had to talk about how it wasn't our best work when we are falling asleep during testing (although the sleeping boy had the biggest jump by far), experiencing a HUGE meltdown, looking around the room instead of at the screen, or clicking any answer just to be done (even after repeated warnings to take his time and try), etc. To say I was disappointed in the results are an understatement.

Olympic Week - I HATE this week! It's during Specials and designed to take the place of our Field Day (which I loved). Every time I picked my students up, I got a long list of dramas that I had to deal with it! It's awful. Yesterday was the worst. Because of issues, I had 2 in tears, 1 in the nurse, and 3 boys that were fighting and ended up with In-School Suspension today. What a nightmare!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Friday - I'm just so glad that it's Friday! We are COMPLETELY done with testing, including make-ups. I had 3 boys in In-School Suspension and 4 absent students. Today was a breeze! I could get used to a class this small!

Book Orders - I may have gotten another box from Scholastic this week. New books make me so happy! I need to stop buying books though, my book obsession is getting a little ridiculous. Still, I'm okay with that!

Check out this week's blog posts:


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

May 23, 2019

The Frazzled Teacher Recommends: Sideways Stories from Wayside School

The Frazzled Teacher Recommends: Sideways Stories from Wayside School

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! 

This week's Frazzled Teacher Book Recommendation is Sideways Stories from Wayside School!

* 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.

Since it is the end of the school year, I wanted to end with a chapter book for my students. I still have Read Aloud time daily with picture books. However, instead of reading from our readers, I end with this book because it's a fun one that always gets a laugh out of my students (and me)!

Quick Summary

Sideways Stories from Wayside School was supposed to be built one story tall with 30 classrooms. Instead, the builder accidentally built it 30 stories tall with one classroom per story. The builder did say he was sorry though!

This book filled with 30 short chapters (or I should say stories). Each chapter focuses on a different character, whether it be students or teachers. Most chapters are complete stories on their own. However, it's best to read the entire book as there is a story that weaves through it. 

Extension Activities

Sideways Stories from Wayside School is a perfect story to work on character - character development, character analysis, etc. Below are some examples of activities we complete in my classroom.

  • Compare the two teachers in the story, Mrs. Gorf and Miss Jewels, with a Venn diagram. In order to do this, your students would have needed to read the first two chapters of the book.
  • After reading Bebe's chapter, have students debate whether it is better to complete more simplistic pictures or create fewer pictures but with more details.
  • Make predictions while reading Sammy's chapter. Each time a coat gets thrown out the window, predict what will happen next.

There is so much more that could be done with this book. can just enjoy reading a silly story with your students. 

For those interested, there is a television series that goes along with the book. The episodes are both similar and incredibly different from the book (maybe another Venn diagram is in the future!).

Other Book Recommendations:


There are five books total in this series. They do not need to be read in order. I have all of the books in my classroom library. I find that because a lot of the stories have double meanings, my students have a little difficulty reading them on their own after the second book, Wayside School is Falling Down. 

Looking for more recommendations? Check out some of these past blog posts for more.


What book do you recommend?

Looking for a great read aloud for your students? Then check out this blog post! Sideways Stories from Wayside School is an entertaining book. It's perfect for teaching your students about characters - character development, comparing characters, etc.! The puns inside make this one fun for all! Read how this frazzled teacher uses it in her classroom. #confessionsofafrazzledteacher #bookrecommendation #readaloud {Preschool, Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grade Students}

May 21, 2019

Teacher Growth/PD Through Books

Teacher Growth/PD Through Books

I believe in giving credit where it is due, so let me start off this post by thanking Tiffany L. She made a comment on my Facebook page about wanting to read professional development books this summer. That got my mind racing a million miles a minute trying to come up with my favorite books. There are so many to choose from! I decided to compile a list of some suggestions. Consider this Part 1 of Teacher Growth/PD Through Books. (There are way too many books to include in one post!)

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on them will not cost you anything extra but may earn me a small commission if you purchase through the link.

Biographies and Memoirs

Sometimes a teacher's story is so powerful that it has to be shared! Here are my favorites:

I am OBSESSED with The Book Whisperer! I was originally going to put this in the ELA section but I think this book is powerful for all teachers because she shares such a love of her craft that it's contagious. Don't get me wrong. There are lots of great resources for ELA teachers in this book though. Reading this book (and hearing Donalyn Miller speak in person) has been powerful motivation and encouragement for me to have my students spend time everyday reading in class. I can also say that my classroom library can rival hers!

This book is one that I find myself rereading when I need a little encouragement. Esme writes of her first year as a teacher in Chicago (not too far from where I teach)! While some teacher memoirs have me thinking that I am not good enough (Uuummmm...hello Ron Clark!), this one makes me feel better about myself and inspires me to work at reaching my most difficult students. It helps that I laugh almost nonstop as I reread this story.

Teaching - General 

Last year, I created a private Facebook group and we took a deep dive into this book. At the time, I didn't realize how much I would need this book this year. It was definitely a rough one however I didn't feel the stress as much as I have in the past! This book breaks down different areas in the classroom/school/community into easily digestible "Ways to Enjoy Teaching, No Matter What!"

I really enjoy all the Teach Like a... books. When I read them, I get really motivated to try something new in my classroom! This might be a new technique, strategy, etc. This is the book that started the series off. I would start with this one if you haven't read it yet, but the others are great too!

ELA Teacher Books


I'm combining these two books as they are both by the same authors. The Daily 5 provides a structure to your reading/ELA block. While I like the approach, it doesn't always work with my school's schedule. The Cafe Book, on the other hand, is brilliant! I use this technique in my own classroom. It breaks down reading strategies into manageable mini lessons. This book works well for older students. I think I might reread it this summer.

I must admit that I have not read this book yet. From the reading coaches I follow, this is a must read! I did put it on my Donors Choose. I was hoping that it would fund before summer. Oh well. That hasn't happened yet. At least, I will be able to eventually get a copy of this one.

Math Teacher Books

I admit that I struggled with coming up with books for math teachers. I read this book a couple years ago. While it was a motivating read, I felt math teachers with older students would appreciate it more. A lot of ideas were above my little ones' heads. 

This would be another one that I haven't read. However, I am familiar with Number Talks and would like to become more so. They are a great way to help students explain their reasoning behind an answer. This may be one that I add to my summer reading.

My Summer Reading List


I love Gerry Brooks and was super excited to see that he wrote a book. I have to force myself to wait until summer to read this one. As for The Wild Card, it was a huge hit last summer. I bought it back then but never got a chance to read it. I'm looking forward to getting to it this summer. 

I am sure that I will add to these books. After writing this post, I want to go back and reread some of my favorites. I also found a ton of new books that I haven't checked out yet! Your recommendations are always welcome! Happy Reading!

What book recommendations do you have?

Teachers are expected to grow their expertise through professional development. This post shares books for educators that will actually make a difference in the classroom. Books are broken down into categories ranging from memoirs to subject specific areas. Find out how these books have made a difference in the classroom of this frazzled teacher and will hopefully do the same for you! #confessionsofafrazzledteacher #teachers #professional development {Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers}

May 20, 2019

Teaching Tip: Create a Kaboom Game!

Teaching Tip: Create a Kaboom Game!

Creating center materials/games for your students really add up! There's the time and money that go into them. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth the effort. 

Try this Teaching Tip: Create a Kaboom Game.

The Problem...

I have spent more than I care to share on ready made games/centers for my classroom. The problem is that I don't use them. I forget they are there. When I do remember, I realize that they are not the right fit for my students. Either they are too high or too low for this particular group.

The Solution...

I created my own Kaboom games! These are perfect for any subject, just personalize as needed. Here's what you need.

  • Popsicle sticks (I prefer the larger ones.)
  • Container (Crystal Light or Parmesan Cheese containers work well)
  • Duct Tape (to cover the containers)
  • Permanent Marker
  • Items to Personalize (like play coins for the money game)

To make the money one pictured, I hot glued different amounts of money to each stick. I wrote how much was there on the back side. On two sticks, I did not use any money. I just wrote the word Kaboom. I covered the container in Duct Tape so my students could not look in while choosing a stick.

I have Kaboom games for reading with sight words on them. There are also two sticks that say Kaboom. You can make a game for any subject fairly easy (and cheap).

To Play: Students choose a stick from the container. For the money one, they have to count the amount and check if they were correct. If so, they keep the stick. If not, the stick goes back into the container. If the student pulls the Kaboom stick, they have to put ALL their sticks back into the container. Students continue playing until time is up or someone gets all the sticks (minus the Kaboom ones).

Want More Teaching Tips? Check these out!


 What is your favorite teaching tip?

If you have spent way too much money and time on centers/games for your classroom, then check out this blog post! Learn how to create your own Kaboom games for almost free using materials you already own. These are perfect for ANY subject (reading, math, science, social studies, and more). Find out how this frazzled teacher uses them in her classroom! #confessionsofafrazzledteacher #teachingtips {Elementary Grades, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, and Fourth Grades}

May 17, 2019

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher: Check out this Frazzled Teacher's week, in which she highlights the good and bad, so you can feel better about yourself! Along the way, she shares teaching tips.

This week was a strange one. I had my observation, we had lots of events at school, a half-day, etc. There was so much going on, good and bad!

Personally, I have been sharing my home buying experience. There was one house from last week that really stuck with me. I brought my parents back to see it. It needs a bit of work, but it feels like me. I put in an offer! Now is the real waiting's a short sale so it will have to be approved by their bank. My fingers are crossed!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Today - Today was  just flat out crazy! We started with Special Person's Day. Basically, students can invite various family members in for awkward moments. Only a few come so it's hard to know how to entertain them. We also had high school students come in for a service project for their school. Basically, we have to find busy work for them, if they actually get off of their phones to do any work. Finally, we had the Opening Ceremony to the Olympic Games that the students will have during specials next week. I'm just wondering when I can actually focus on teaching my students. By the way, did I mention I had a girl throw up twice before she was picked up. Yeah, it was that kind of day.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

The Perfect Day - My students had their most perfect day of the year! Everyone was so great that I had to follow through with our class reward - listen to country music! You read that correctly! I HATE country music. My students know that. Some have never heard country music before. Some know some songs and are jokingly threatened to go to the dean if they sing any. However, the class incentive if EVERYONE has perfect behavior for the day, we would listen to a song. Sure enough, we played a song and I still HATE country music! My students, however, talked about that moment the rest of the week! It's amazing how a simple, free reward could really grab their attention.

Teacher Friends - One of my teacher friends made me this adorable flower bouquet for me. It's made up of lots of purple pens, my favorite! This definitely made my day/week!

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Check out this week's blog posts:


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