Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Drum roll please...We made it to December!

Alert: Teachers... your students desperately need you! 

Usually towards the final weeks of Q2, you start to see some changes in your students. They have been listening and have made some steps closer to their end goal! Either it's the "Yes, they've finally got it! The light bulb has gone off! " or the "Oh dear, what is happening? How do they not remember this! We've done this so many times before! "... Regardless, WE need to keep moving forward. And, more importantly, help our students to recognize they can keep moving forward. Through any obstacle or challenge you might face, always be there for your students. I know we always say we can do this but do we already remember to keep them motivated or celebrate their successes? It happens. We can't possibly do it all. But pick something to focus on each day that can support celebrating success. Your students may have made some teensy bit of progress in a subject area and need some encouragement. Or possibly they have finally finished an assignment in class on time. Or have remembered to write on the correct side of the paper or put their name on their homework without a reminder. Cheer for them! Praise them! Give them your support! Recognize what they've accomplished, even it is something so small that it can oftentimes go unnoticed. Always try to find a few moments in your day to recognize student achievement, and I know it is packed full! It's important and you will find this helps your connection with those students. 


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Outstanding October has begun!

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***Updates to my TPT STORE ***

This school year I have set major goals for myself, as any passionate and dedicated teacher would. I will be creating custom categories for my products. These will be products for teacher use, printables for students, activities per subject and by grade level. Hope to keep adding to my collection. This is a busy year (being new to the fifth grade world, although it is an easier transition from fourth grade). My focus will be on literacy (both reading and writing) and maybe science as well! I love creating literacy centers and use them every day in my classroom. I have a custom template with my guided reading groups and the weekly rotation activities. I've used it for 4 years and always seem to find new ways to get the students excited about learning. (Fingers crossed I'll be able to upload the editable version soon!) Let me know in the comments below if you are in need of something for your classroom that you haven't already found elsewhere. I'd love to tackle some new projects!

***Updates on this blog***


I hope to post monthly (even if just once a month) to include my classroom pictures, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts, and any new product(s) I've had time to upload on TPT. Please be patient. As we are all busy! I honestly appreciate your support. Feel free to follow me on my social media platforms. I plan to be extraordinarily creative this year and share it with you all!


 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Super September

So HAPPY to have made it through the first 3 weeks of school!


Here is my latest project: Updating my beach chairs under my umbrella for silent reading. And, adding the literacy VOICES and CRAFT strategies to my cabinets. It is acting like a bulletin board for my students to refer to throughout the day. I also am using the RACE reading response strategy with them. These 5th graders are incredible and have accomplished so much already!

As promised, I will be uploading pictures of my classroom. I am in love with certain bulletin boards, reading nooks, signs, d├ęcor, and other areas of my room! I hope to continue to find my groove and improve the set-up. This year is off to a great start. I'm remembering one key thing - prioritize! Remember what is MOST important to tackle first and then add the rest to a "to-do" list. It's so helpful and keeps me sane! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Meet the Teacher 2016-17

New school year, new grade level, and new team!


This week is my pre-service week. It's the week before school starts for the students. Teachers are running around unpacking and setting up their classrooms, while going to meetings, putting in copies, and writing lesson plans in between. Tomorrow is meet the teacher and I wanted a new template that I could just fill in. I love that Pinterest is my go to teacher search engine. I found this beautiful FREE template (credit: At Whit's End).
Just wanted to share! Classroom pics coming :)  
 
 

Proud to announce I just finished my blue and green classroom banners! Check out the new product on my TPT Store. Click HERE for the editable PowerPoint.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Read - MUST!

If you can believe it, my favorite book - HARRY POTTER - has finally produced another story!


I'm thrilled to have been a part of the HP movement. It really touches a part of me and I will always LOVE the HP adventures. I went to Barnes and Noble at midnight to purchase the new release: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts 1 & 2!



For me, the love of reading started with this series. I also liked the Twilight series, but this transported me to the most imaginative place. It made me wish to my bones magic exists and that I could be a part of the wizarding world. In my heart, magic will always be whatever you believe in. I highly recommend this book, which is a screen play, for all Harry Potter fans or those who enjoy fantastic stories. My students, and future children, will hear about all the wonders and stories these books encompass. I hope to instill a love of imagination, or love of reading, to anyone who hasn't found it yet. It was truly wonderful to see a line wrapped around the entire second floor at Barnes and Noble. People of all ages from grandmas to grandchildren, and everyone in between. These books have made a huge difference in my creative thinking and excitement for fantasy. I hope the excitement NEVER ENDS...

video

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Change is in the air

My classroom is DONE AND DONE!

Another year is completed at my awesome school SLE! I can't believe it. I just found out I'm going to be changing grade levels as well. Moving up from 4th grade to 5th grade.
 
I'll miss my new team too! But will enjoy a change. It is similar to the content in 4th. Change is always a bit scary but I'm going to try to embrace it.
 
 

Monday, May 16, 2016

May Madness Teacher Organization

Things to do at the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR:

  1. Go through old files (paper copies, digital, and other resources)
  2. Cleanse the room by purging resources you haven't used all year or are no longer valid. Sometimes students love to take the stuff you no longer want!
  3. Inventory your supplies
  4. Make a to-do list for what the students still need to accomplish and what YOU need to submit.
  5. Pick one task a day that you can accomplish so by the last day you will be relaxed and ready to turn in your keys.
Pictures coming soon!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

#Wise Words Quote of the Week


Feeling inspired by another creative soul, like myself, Miss 5th. She has a neat Keep the Quote idea but I have modified it to fit my classroom. So I am doing a weekly quote: #Wise Words!


Passion For Teaching on Twitter
https://twitter.com/ms_lstephenson
This year my school is really trying to get teachers and parents involved in TWITTER. Posting pictures, videos, ideas etc. of what is going on in the classroom. I want to post pictures each week of my wise words! It will be a quote written by someone and then the students hand in to me. I will choose 1 quote to write out and for 5 days (Monday - Friday) they get to see who is demonstrating those wise words. We choose together who will get to keep the quote, while I post on twitter! Each week I will choose a quote from the students and write it. This process will repeat so it builds a positive classroom community, self-confidence, and a special bond between the students. My hope is to keep them motivated and inspired to learn each day!

How I use #WISE WORDS in the classroom!

  1. Tell your students to think of (or look up at home) a QUOTE that means something to them or gives a positive, motivating message.
  2. Have them write it down on a slip of paper and place it in a quote jar, basket, etc... this way you have all the quotes you need for a few months. They can always put in more than one quote if they find a couple they love!
  3. You (the teacher) will then select a quote to write in fancy lettering. Tell them that the student who exemplifies the quote or shows the quote the most during the week can keep the quote. They can actually get to take it home with pride.
  4. Here's the part that can be time consuming; once you pick the quote, you have to actually WRITE or DRAW IT! Since I love different handwriting ideas and drawing, I will add my own artistic touches instead of just writing it in the handwriting the students see every day. This really excites them!
  5. You could choose their quote on Friday's for the next week. So you have to write the quote on a piece of chart paper and then it's ready for the week ahead. Then on Friday, at the end of the week, the class votes on who is demonstrating those wise words! That student will take the quote.
  6. You can do this so each student gets the opportunity to demonstrate the wise words. That way, every student can "keep the quote" and feel good about themselves!
See Miss 5th's Instagram for how she does this. I was inspired by her keep the quote idea but changed it for my class to integrate the #hashtag for my school's Twitter kick and the name Wise Words because my classroom theme is OWLS! Get it, "wise" words! :)

Since it is something brand new for my class, I will be choosing the first quote. That way, when the students arrive on Monday, the quote will be hanging up for them to see. Then I can introduce it by explaining how they get to keep the quote at the end of the week. I will also say why I chose that quote, so it means something to them. But the whole point is for the students to take ownership on what quotes are meaningful and touches their hearts. I can't wait to post more pictures once I set this up I my classroom!

Here is the first quote I'm doing, "Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody." By: Kid President 
 

@PassionForTeaching

Remember to check out my Instagram and Twitter pages to see how I use Wise Words in my classroom! Hope you feel inspired to build your classroom community!

*Please link back and post pictures of your #WiseWords to let me know how it goes for you!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My NEW PRODUCT on TPT!


I'm so excited to have made a chalkboard (black and white) homework banner for my classroom! I decided I wanted a change...something completely different! Something, shockingly, NOT IN COLOR!

I'm hoping this is helpful for you too! I can't wait until I get back from Spring Break so my students can see the new design on the bulletin board.

I'm feeling inspired! :)

Click here to get this product on TPT!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chalkboard-Homework-Banner-2452206

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Follow me on INSTAGRAM!

Happy to ANNOUNCE:
https://www.instagram.com/passionforteaching/
I now have a teacher Instagram account! I'm going to try my best to finally post those pictures of all the things I'm doing in my classroom! I want to share but it's so hard to find the time. I honestly have no idea how so many amazing teachers can write on blogs daily, create new items on TPT so frequently, keep pinning new ideas, and post pictures on Instagram showing all of the cool things they are doing. TEACHERS ABSOLUTELY AMAZE ME! #teachersfollowteachers

I'm proud to be a teacher. There is so much hard work involved in the day to day routine. There are times I've had enough and I'm stressed out to the max. But there are also times, like while on a nice break, where I get inspired again. I can't believe how many resources, encouragement, creative ideas, etc. teachers are sharing these days. I've always thought of myself as an overachiever but I am NO WHERE NEAR as far along as some of the bloggers or TPT'ers I stumbled upon today. I'm doing this more for me but want to be able to help or inspire other teachers too!


I'd love to reach so many people and constantly be writing on here (and my MANY other social media sites) about what I'm doing with my students and in my classroom, then posting pictures. It's truly incredible! I don't know why there aren't more hours in a day. If there were, I'd probably have time to do all the "extra teachery" things I aspire to do in the back of my mind. I may be just starting out here but I'd love to start sharing what I'm doing in my classroom. I pride myself on my organizational skills and how efficient my routines are. I'm constantly creating new things and using them with my class and other classes. For now, all of my resources will have to be released when I find the time (which is on my to-do list). Hopefully if I can make this my hobby when I get home, I'll feel more enthusiastic every day going to work instead of so-so or burnt out.

*It is that time of year when things are starting to settle down a bit though because we're about to start the last quarter. At least that's how I'm now feeling. Yay for breaks! :)


 NEW! My school twitter page!
NEW! VISIT MY TWITTER PAGE FOR MY CLASSROOM UPDATES! @Ms_LStephenson

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Keep Calm, Spring Break is ALMOST here!


It's that time of year again!

All of the teachers I've talked to have told me how tough this year has been. I can definitely agree. I've been pushed to my limits but I'm still going. It's supposed to be hard...it wouldn't be worth it if it wasn't. Hard work pays off in more ways then one. For me, I can't wait until I have a week off to rest and rejuvenate. I hope that this year I can think of some new organizational ideas for my classroom (which I do all the time), de-stress a bit (which I need to do desperately), and realize that everything I've been doing with my students is paying off (even if it's hard to tell sometimes)! Hopefully if I get inspired I will add some new items or freebies to my TPT store to share with you. 

For now, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I can make it through all of the busy teacher duties/responsibilities. I want to keep up my energy even if I've been battling the flu or parent conferences. There is a reason I keep going to work every day... it's for the kids! I dedicate my life to helping my students succeed and teaching them lessons, including values, so they can survive in the "real world". I need to remember that this job is not easy and even when it gets crazy, I've got this and I can't ever give up because I've got people counting on me to be there for them. 

Life only happens once! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tracking Student Data

Remember to: Like my page on Facebook, & follow on Twitter, TeachersPayTeachers, and Instagram!

Why should students track their progress?

This school year I made student data binders for the first time! On the binder spine, I labeled them with numbers (i.e. Student #1, #2, #3 etc.) that way I don't have to change the names EVERY YEAR thereafter. I also created a Table of Contents page that helps the students stay organized under each divider tab. For each tab, I have created a student tracking sheet. This allows students to write their test score and then create a bar graph for each assessment/assignment. I made one of these tracking sheets for each subject that I teach. It is a "work in progress" because I have it labeled with "Test 1" (the name of the test) not the Standards/Learning Goals per quarter.

On graphing day, students will receive their graded tests back to see their scores. They will be able to file the assessment under the correct tab and then create a bar graph on their tracking sheet. At the end of each quarter, they will have a binder full of tests, quizzes, and other assessments used throughout the year per subject. That way they don't have to keep them in a disorganized pile of doom inside their desks or other sloppy filing system that takes up counter space! The binders seem to be working pretty well for my class so far. 

In my experience so far, the binders were great for student led conferences, parent conferences, IEP meetings, PLC meetings, and other data progression discussions. It's very simple to quickly grab the student binder I need since it has ALL the test scores for every subject! 


Pictures: I will be posting pictures of how I am using data binders and tracking sheets soon!




Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Power of POSITIVE Thinking!

Sometimes we just need to stop and reflect

This year I have been thinking hard about my job. The stressful and the rewarding moments. The good days and bad. The positive and the negative. I think it is time to reflect and here are questions I've asked myself. Now,  ask yourself: What makes you want to go to work every day? Do you want to make a difference in your students' lives? How can you find the positive in a stressful day/week at work? My biggest challenge is finding the balance between work and my personal life. It is extremely important to realize you can't do it all, even if you're used to doing so much every day! Take time to step away. Think about your day and go over the details in your mind. How could you have improved? Is there something you would change or do differently? Guess what... We have Monday through Friday to "perfect" and self reflect. Teach your students that it is ok to make mistakes because that's how we learn! As teachers, it is important not to forget this concept! Strive to be there for your students 100% every day. Do everything in your power to be your absolute best. You can't be better than your best.  


Don't give up on yourself or your students! 

Even if they're not on their best behavior or you are tired/sick/upset, tomorrow is a new day! No matter what, you are shaping their minds. You are giving them life lessons. You are a role model and the person who spends every day helping them learn from their mistakes. We've all had good and bad days. So have your students.  Part of life is learning how to deal, move forward, and let it go. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone. We need our fellow colleagues/family/friends but our students need us. We need to remember we are all in need of guidance and attention. Stay positive because life is short!