On Thursdays my day is extra long because I teach piano and voice lessons after school. I have had the same music students for about eight years and I love them to pieces, so I really don’t mind. But I try to plan ahead and make sure I’ll be comfortable enough to focus on each one of my students, even into the evening. Today I went with my go-to tunic and skinnies from Target and my TOMS wedges (love those). My super awesome husband gave me the rose gold Fossil watch for Christmas last year, and I the necklace is from Forever 21.
Oh! And I have about 12 of those white camis from Tilly’s and I wear them literally every single day. I can’t stand camis with built-in bras, so these are great because they’re just simple and stretchy and one size fits all. They do pill and lose their stretch if you dry them though, so just wash and lay flat to dry. I throw a few out from time and time and replace them for $10 each. That seems a little high to me for a cami, but they’re like a second skin to me; I can’t NOT wear one! I usually go with white, but I have grey, black, hot pink and mint green too, just in case I want to spice it up a little. Best perk: they’re long enough to cover the top of my bum, so I can bend over to help a student without causing an uncomfortable scene.
Do you have any pieces of clothing you just can’t live without?
I came across this quote on Pinterest one day, and I felt instantly convicted. I tend to get a little snarky and sarcastic with my students when they walk in with their middle school attitudes and drama. Usually I am very good-natured with them, but at times I lose my patience and put those crazies in their place with an arched eyebrow, a pointed finger and a subtle insult. Of course it’s necessary to be firm, but instead of snapping, “Seriously? Are you like, five years old? Get it together, Gavin,” maybe I could say, “Gavin, you’re really good at this type of question. Try it out and stay focused, dude.”
On the other hand, I really can’t stand it when teachers talk to middle schoolers like they’re in Kindergarten. You will never ever hear me say, “Good morning, boys and girls! Today we are going to go on a learning adventure and discover how George Washington became the first president of the United States!” Yuck.
But there is a very wide middle ground between being insincerely sugary sweet and practically bullying your students into humiliated submission. Different teachers bring with them different personalities (thank goodness!) so your middle ground won’t look exactly the same as mine. This quote is a great reminder, though, that our words have the potential to ring in our students’ ears. I know people who never forgot harsh words spoken by parents or teachers. But fortunately, it would be fantastic if our students internalized comments like, “That was a fabulous question!” or, “You are such a hard worker!” or, “Wow, this group is lucky to have your drawing skills for their project!” Let’s give them a leg up on that whole finding-your-inner-voice thing while we can. 🙂
These drawers are one of my favorite organizational tools in my classroom. I bought white plastic drawers at Target for about $15, and then I used scrapbook paper and stickers to label each drawer with a day of the week. I like to make copies a few days in advance, so I just store the copies in the corresponding day’s drawer, rather than laying out sets of copies on a table like I did last year. It’s strangely satisfying to walk into my classroom in the morning, open the day’s drawer, and have copies sitting there just smiling at me.
The Friday drawer is bigger than the rest, so I use it to hold art supplies or other larger items I might need for a lesson. I also have two folders at the bottom of that drawer to hold emergency sub plans and copies of worksheets in case such a situation ever comes up.
I’m not gonna lie, I am a little excited to open my Thursday drawer tomorrow and greet the 13 Colonies map worksheet…
Posted in organization tips
- Tagged classroom organization, crafts, education, Friday, lesson plans, List of artistic media, Paper, scrapbook paper, Shopping, sub plans, supplies, Target Corporation, worksheets
I’ve been a big fan of J. Crew cardigans since about age 20. That was probably a little young to jump into a cardigan phase, but by now I have gathered a nice little collection from which to choose “completer pieces” (as Stacy & Clinton would say).
All summer I searched for a great red cardigan. I ordered two or three, but they were all a little too orangey. I wanted a bold red that could almost work as a neutral. This one is a Jackie cardigan in Authentic Red, and as soon as the weather finally falls below 90 degrees, I plan on getting a lot of use out of it.
I think every teacher needs a perfect red cardigan. For some reason, adding a one just seems to make an outfit that much more “teacher-y.” What would you pair it with?
Hall passes really gross me out. I mean, half a dozen kids take them into the bathroom every day and who knows if the kids are setting them on toilets, dropping them on the floor, carrying them back to me without washing their hand, etc. So I never touch them.
I see kids walking down the hallway with really creative and funny hall pass objects. I tried to think of something funny, but I saw this little coffee mug warmer in the dollar section at Target and thought it would do. I strung a ribbon through the bottom and I hang it on my wall near the door. Students grab it on their way out the door and hang it back up when they return. If a student sees that the hall pass is not there, they won’t bother asking to leave the room since only one student can leave the room at a time.
My sixth graders came to me from elementary school extremely well-trained. They have been teaching ME classroom management tips and tricks! I will have do another post about all the great elementary school strategies they’ve been bringing to me. Another reason I just love my little sixth graders!
What do you use for a hall pass?
Ok, I went a little over the top on this one. I can admit it. I just really liked these stickers from Michael’s and I wanted to find a good use for the numbers! I put the bell schedule in the back of my room this year because, really, I’m the only one who needs to see it! Even if students can’t remember to write their own names on their papers, they sure know exactly when the bell is supposed to ring, so a schedule for them is rather pointless.
Actually, though, I have been very impressed by my all of my classes this year when it comes to dismissal. I have always wanted to throw out a, “The bell doesn’t dismiss you; I dismiss you!” but I haven’t ever needed it! I do tend to try and squeeze too much into the last minute and a half of class, but whenever the bell rings, the students brace themselves against their desks and wait for my approval before launching themselves out into the hallway. They’re so obedient!
I am in my room from about 7:30am to 4:30pm every day, so I have to make sure I have some basics on hand to keep me feeling, smelling, and looking good. I picked up this cute plastic box from Target and filled it with a few essentials…
-ibuprofen (it’s no fun to try and teach with a headache!)
-deodorant (it’s been almost 100 degrees outside lately, so I definitely need this!)
-mouthwash (I bring a lot of leftovers for lunch!)
-bobby pins (sometimes my bangs drive me nuts by the end of the day)
-panty liners (it would be terrible not to have one when you needed one)
-bronzer (to help control shine and add a little color to my face)
-nail kit (for toenails or fingernails)
-mint chapstick (it makes my lips feel nice and fresh)
-Tums (you can’t teach with a tummy ache!)
-makeup brush (for the bronzer)
-hair brush (after lunch sometimes it hangs a little flat)
-Cottonelle wipes (I just much prefer these to regular TP)
What else do you always keep in your classroom?
I found these magazine holders at Ikea last summer for just a few dollars. I labeled one for each of my classes. Whenever I collect an assignment, I just store them in the corresponding file. I try to grade and input work right away, but if it takes me a few days to get to it, I know all the papers are organized and waiting for me right where I want them. When I’m ready, I just pick up one file at a time and take it to my desk to grade. I have been thinking about moving my Turn It In Station closer to my desk so that it’s more convenient when I grade papers, but I don’t like students congregating near my desk or wandering over by it with late work. It makes me nervous. And suspicious.
If a student has late work, I never let them give it to me. They must turn it in to their class’ file. And I’ll get to it when I get to it. (I love how students who turn in late work are the first ones to complain that their grades have not been updated yet! Really, you want me to hurry now? Haha).
That phrase “whenever I collect an assignment” sounded misleadingly simple. Collecting an assignment takes training and skill. There is always a student who is in charge of gathering the papers for his or her group. Depending on how I have the seats arranged at the moment, this might be the person in the front row, or the person in a certain spot in a group. ALL the papers in the pile must be facing exactly the same way–they cannot be upside down, backwards, or weird in any way. And if I don’t see names on papers I don’t pick them up. I only collect papers once. If you missed it for any reason, you are in charge of getting your assignment turned in to the right box (facing the right way!). I warn my students that I am crazy when it comes to turning in work, and it is either perfect, or I don’t take it. By the end of the year they are fabulous turner-inners.
This is my happy little corner behind my desk. I covered most of my bulletin board with this world map and added a US History bunting. I made the bunting last year out of scrapbook paper, and I really love the touch it adds to my board. I found this great antique map calendar at Paper Source (my weakness!) and it’s so fun to study to a new place from a different time each month. Even when I am planning lessons and entering grades, looking back at my board makes me feel calm and organized, and it reminds me that I love to teach kids about the world.
Posted in organization tips
- Tagged desk, education, history, maps, middle school, poster, school, school supplies, supplies, teacher, teaching