• new year,  students,  teacher,  Uncategorized

    A Whole New World

    Hopefully, when you read the title of this blog post, the song from Aladdin popped into your head. If not, well, your childhood was messed up and you need to go now to Disney+ and watch the movie. Go. I’ll wait. If you’re like me, then this song was immediately what came to mind when you read the title. Of course, I pictured an animated Jasmine and Aladdin but decided to go a little more current for my video link. If you’re nostalgic, you can pop over to YouTube and watch the original video. I’ll wait. Okay, now that everyone’s caught up on their Aladdin, I’ll get into the meat…

  • students,  teaching

    Finding Out What We Really Need In The End

    In March, I would have given anything for a break. I would have given a kidney, a lung, heck, take it all. I needed a break. There were over 30 of you in each class and each one of you wanted something from me. I was tired. I was exhausted and worn out. I couldn’t make it another day. I needed no more hugs. Seriously, I’m holding my fist up to fist bump you – doesn’t that clearly indicate you’ve hugged me enough today? I needed you to stop talking when I’m talking. We don’t care that you’re going to Zaxby’s later or that your dog had puppies – well,…

  • 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…

  • school,  students,  teacher,  teaching,  throwback thursday,  velociraptor

    Throwback Thursday

    For today’s blog post, I’m going to do something a little different. I’ve been working on editing various chapters of my teacher book – since I’m going to a writer’s conference next week – and came across a gem of a chapter (well, okay, gem might be stretching it) that I haven’t looked at in years. And, yes, I know it still needs some editing. It was probably the very first chapter I wrote when I began this process. So today, I am going to share this very first chapter with you. It’s a throwback to when I started this project and a throwback to my first year of teaching,…

  • end of school year,  end of year,  remember,  smiles,  students,  teacher

    Counting Down the Mondays With the Four R’s: Week 2

    I know, I know…it’s Tuesday, not Monday. What am I playing at? Why on Earth would I post Week 2 of a Monday blog series on a Tuesday? Well, it’s because I ran out of time. I started my new part-time job at the animal shelter yesterday and did two adoption events over the weekend so I just flat ran out of time. But I’m here today with the second R in our series: Remember.At this time of year, as the days of summer are looming, it is important to take time to remember the good things that happened this year. It’s easy as educators to get focused on the negative…

  • #starringthesixers,  classroom management,  discipline,  end of school year,  new teacher,  sixth grade,  sixth graders,  student discipline,  student engagement,  students,  summer,  talk the talk,  teacher

    Counting Down the Mondays With the Four R’s

    If you are like me, you are counting down the number of Mondays until the end of the school year. You may not know exactly how many days are left in total but boy, oh boy, do you know how many more times you have to set your alarm clock on a Sunday night.In my district, there are four more Mondays. Granted, just three of those days include students (the last is a Teacher Workday/Exchange Day) but all four include setting the alarm clock and hitting the snooze button at least once in the morning.Therefore, as we wrap up this school year, I thought I’d give some advice for teachers as they’re…

  • #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,  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…