• academics,  back to school,  classroom,  classroom management,  classroom procedures,  new teacher

    It’s a Teacher Thing: Classroom Management Hack

    If there’s one thing that can be difficult for new teachers, it’s classroom management. You can have the most well-thought out procedures, have your bell schedule prominently displayed, and be ready to not smile until Christmas but the class can still run amok. Last year, my classes pushed me to my breaking point. There were sometimes more than 30 kids in the classes (including several with IEPs or BIPs or 504s or ESOL accommodations) and it was often hard to get the entire class to be quiet. I’ve always struggled with determining who the culprit really is when there are multiple students talking and last year was no exception. I…

  • back to school,  classroom,  teacher

    It’s a Teacher Thing: The First Week

    First, sorry for being MIA last week. It was the week of teacher in-service days and boy, oh boy, did I stay busy! Goodness. The week flew by. Between stressing over getting my room done (I did and might put up another blog post with pictures), preparing for orientation (I met 76 of my students but, of course, the ones with the crazy IEPs did not come), taking a field trip into our students’ neighborhoods (and chasing down a shell-shocked kid to give him candy), and trying to lesson plan…it was a crazy week to say the least. So my apologies to the one person who reads this blog! 😉…

  • academics,  back to school,  classroom,  classroom management,  classroom procedures,  expectations,  new job,  new teacher,  new year,  procedures,  teacher,  teaching

    It’s a Teacher Thing: Setting High Expectations From The Start

    We’re into Week 2 of my new, purposeful blog posting. Last week, everything focused on gearing up for your new classroom through buying supplies and physical materials necessary for success. This week, I’m going to be focusing everything on establishing your expectations and procedures at the start. It is incredibly important to establish high expectations and clear procedures from Day 1. Now, while I don’t necessarily believe in “don’t smile until Christmas” – mostly because I have a really bad poker face – I do believe in the advice that you can always get easier but you can’t get harder. It’s a good idea to go into the year with…

  • beta club,  books,  classroom,  literacy,  new books,  reading,  school,  students,  teacher,  teachers,  teaching,  teaching books,  Uncategorized

    For the Love of a Book, Week 16

    My “For the Love of a Book” series is back!! Mostly because I’m back. I still don’t think many are reading my blog (and that’s a crying shame because it’s awesome) but I’m going to keep resolutely pushing forward! I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer and so today I am going to recommend an author, rather than one particular book. I don’t know how I missed this author and his books but I read one this summer and fell.in.love! Then I read his other four books in like a week. They are that good. His name is Alan Gratz. You may already be familiar with his work…

  • back to school,  classroom,  new job,  new teacher,  new year,  teacher,  teaching

    It’s a Teacher Thing: Gearing Up for the New School Year

    I know I’ve been away from the blog for a while. To be honest, I went to a writer’s conference in Kentucky and kind of got depressed afterwards so I haven’t done much writing. Then, my father passed away and that has kind of taken up a lot of my time and energy so I just haven’t really been focusing on the blog or book much at all. Today, that is going to change. I am “re-starting” my blog and jumping straight into my new goal – helping new teachers. Each week, the blog will focus on a teacher tip (called It’s a Teacher Thing) to help new and relatively…

  • #starringthesixers,  academics,  classroom,  mdidle ages,  projects,  sixth grade,  student engagement,  students,  teacher,  teaching

    Monitor and Adjust!

    As teachers, we are always having to monitor and adjust. Sometimes, you have to change your lesson plan from one class to the next and sometimes you have to totally scrap an idea and go with something totally different. And, of course, there’s always that day when all technology fails and you have to resort to worksheets and textbooks. You always have to be ready to change on a moment’s notice! Sometimes, a brilliant idea turns out to be not so brilliant and you monitor and adjust for next year. This is what happened to me these past couple of weeks. I planned an awesome project for the Middle Ages. Students…

  • #starringthesixers,  back to school,  books,  classroom,  librarian,  literacy,  marshall,  marshall university,  media specialist,  reading,  teacher,  teaching

    Looking Ahead to Next Stages

    I think that, in life, it’s important to find your passion. It just doesn’t make sense to me to go through life doing something you don’t enjoy. Why be miserable when you can be happy? Now, I do understand that some people, through circumstances or choices or whatever, are not able to live their passion in their job but I have always thought that it is important to be happy at what you do. I enjoy my job (most days). I love who I work with and I love who I work for. On most days, I even love every single one of my students, except maybe when they’re screaming…

  • #starringthesixers,  academics,  classroom,  classroom management,  sixth grade,  student discipline,  student engagement,  students,  teacher

    Your Thoughts on Class Size…

    Class size seems to be a hot button topic these days, or at least it is in South Carolina. It seems everywhere I turn on Facebook, someone is posting about class sizes being large and how they are only getting more students and how are they supposed to teach a class of 33? I feel their pain. My classes range in size from 23 to 33 and it’s amazing what you can get done with just 23 kids that you can’t with 33. I’ve heard some politicians say that large class sizes are a good thing for educators.I laughed out loud at that one.Let me tell you what goes on in…

  • #starringthesixers,  classroom,  sick day,  sixth grade,  students,  substitute,  substitute teacher,  teacher,  teaching

    Sick Days are Never Just Sick Days

    There are very few times when I’m envious of a cubicle, 9-to-5 job. One of those times is the ability to use the bathroom whenever you want. There’s nothing like being halfway through a class period, facing a bunch of sixth graders, and having to go to the bathroom like nobody’s business. No amount of thinking “you don’t really have to go, it’s just 30 more minutes, you can do it” can stem that tide. Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to pop up from your desk when Nature calls and go to the bathroom? Ah…office job perks.The one other major time that I wish for that office…

  • #starringthesixers,  bad kids,  classroom,  classroom management,  classroom procedures,  procedures,  sixth grade,  student discipline,  students,  teacher,  teaching

    Positive Training

    I have been struggling for some time with my fourth-period class in particular. Their behavior is usually awful, they’re chatty, and they don’t seem to care one iota about consequences. Lately, it seems like every time I turn my back to advance the PowerPoint slide or grab the worksheets or whatever, at least half the class starts to chat.So last Tuesday, instead of doing the regular “if I write your name down that’s a warning and if you get a check that’s a consequence” I decided to reward the good kids. At the start of the period, I wrote everyone’s name on the board. Throughout the period, I drew blue…