Saturday, July 1, 2017

New Teachers~ Top 5 things to do Now!

Hello Friends!

I am so glad to be back blogging about a passion of mine.  I had a realization or {ah ha moment if you will} last year when I almost left the classroom to pursue a math coach position.  I knew the job would be assisting others with their math needs as well as working with small groups of children.  It was then that I realized that I was not interested in coaching veteran teachers.  It was also then that I realized that I wanted to work with the future teachers~ the ones who are wide eyed, ask great thought provoking questions, and have that untainted love for teaching.  If you are a just graduated ~just got your first teaching job~ teacher... congrats to you!  I am so happy you are here finding ideas of what you can do to start your new journey.  How exciting! 

So let's get on with it.

What can you do now?  
These are ideas that you can do with or without classroom access. :)

This is not something that you can just think up on the spot.  This is not something that you can create when the first paper airplane flies by.  This is something that you need to think through.  It is something that you need 100% buy in.  If you don't even believe in it, how will your students?

Here are some things to think about:

What will be your classroom expectations?
Will you have classroom rules? If so, what will they be?
OR will you write your rules with your students?
What if a child breaks one of your rules?  What will your consequences be and will they vary depending on the circumstance?
How will you contact parents?
What would the behavior be that would warrant a call home to parents?  
If you want your student to bring home a behavior slip, what will it look like?
See mine HERE

OK... that is just part of it... yes, there is more.

Will you have any type of "system" in place?

Wait, system? What do you mean?
I mean...
Will the kids earn tickets?
Will they clip on a chart?
Will they earn classroom money?
Put a marble in a jar?
Earn a "fuzzy"?
Will this be for... whole group... small group and/or individuals?
Would you consider doing a whole group AND an individual management system?

And what about this... will your students be REWARDED?

Oh boy... and you thought we were done.

Will you have ... {gulp} prizes?

Will you possibly use something like:

As you can see, this is a MAJOR task.  This is something that needs some time and some thinking.  
Make sure it is something that fits YOU.
Just because your best friend/cooperating teacher/blogger you don't know is using it, doesn't mean it is the best idea for you.


Ok.  I think I'm done.  No wait... haha.. just kidding. ;)

Wait a minute.  I thought I just decided on a plan you say.

Weeellll you did.  But that was just your every day plan for a happy, safe, and teachable environment.

THIS, my friend, is for your guided reading block.

Now, you might have a curriculum or district that will set this up for you.  OR you might have a teammate that will share his/her ideal reading block plan.

BUT it doesn't hurt to investigate.

If you teach in the elementary grades, you will most likely be doing a guided reading block.

You cannot do that successfully without a plan of what your other 20 something kids are doing.

So, think about this....

Will you incorporate The Daily 5
Will you do a Reading Workshop?
Will you create centers/task cards for your students?
If so, what kind?

I would reach out to your future teammates and ask about your reading block time.  IF they tell you that you have the choice of what to do during that time, then start thinking this one through.

If you decide to go the Daily 5 route... it is one that I like to start the first week of school and it must be taught.

You can't just say to your students... ok class... I'm going to take these 5 kids and you all just read quietly until I am done.

Umm.... no...just no.

Expectations, rules, what to do if's, all need to be TAUGHT before you even start guided reading.

You can read all about what to do NOW to prep Daily 5 Here.

Yay... a super fun one!  Let's talk... books!!

If you just inherited a retired teacher's entire classroom library (LUCKY) you can skip to #4.  If not, read on...

Accumulating a classroom library is extremely important.  The authors of The Daily 5 suggest a library of 1,000 books or more!  Whaaaat?


Where do I find these books you ask?
Well here are some ideas:

Thursdays- Saturdays find all the garage sales
Savers and Goodwill have a ton
Scholastic Book Clubs
Online garage sales in your town (i.e. "mom groups")
Ask your FB friends for donations

THEN, once you have accumulated a good amount, you need to decide how you want to organize them.
Depending on your grade this might sway your decision.

Some things to think about:
Will you organize your books by level?
If so, what kind of level? (F&P, Lexile, DRA)
Will you organize your books by genre?
Do you need baskets?
Will your students be storing books they have chosen?

You can check out this classroom library management system HERE.  I marked it down just for you. <3

I cannot stress this one enough (which is why It is 3 written 3 times ;)

Procedures can make or break a classroom.

You will spend your first 2-3 weeks talking about procedures and routines until you are blue in the face.

Here are some things you will want to think about and have a definite idea about BEFORE the kids walk into your classroom:

Get a list of the school supplies the kids will be bringing.  Decide ahead of time what will happen with ALL of those supplies.  The first day is a supply nightmare... unless you have a plan.  Decide if you will have any community supplies (like pencils and markers).  Will you keep any extra supplies in a separate place?  I always have a Ziploc bag for each child labeled with their name and ready for extra supplies (like if a kid brings 2 glue sticks--- one for the desk--- one for the bag).
Decide where all the big stuff is going to go like Kleenex, Ziploc bags, Baby wipes etc. because they take up a lot of space.

You will need a plan.
How many will the kids get?
What happens to the broken ones?  How will new ones get sharpened (this might seem silly but if there are any veteran teachers out there reading this they are nodding their heads right now ;)

What are they used for?
Do they need labels?

Where will the kids put papers that are completed.
Where will homework go?
How will papers get back to the kids- do you want mailboxes?

What will your bathroom policy be?
Do they need a pass? {tip- don't let them take a pass to the bathroom (eeewww)- have them leave the pass on their desk so you know where they are at a glance}
 I also use "thumbs up so I don't interrupt" as a signal when kids need to go to the bathroom.

Do you want a signal for kids to listen?
A chime? A rain stick? A chant? Music?
How will the kids transition?
Survey your classroom space- do you have or want cozy areas for the kids to read/ do their work?
Will you try out flexible seating?

There is more but let's stop and let you digest all of that. :)

This is a biggie.  It's your FIRST YEAR as a TEACHER!  Maybe you've dreamt about having your own classroom since you were a little girl/boy and now it is happening!
It will be so exciting.
You will love all of it.
But it will be exhausting.
You will find yourself in tough moments too.
It will be a roller coaster.
No, not the kiddie one.  The big one with the drops that make your stomach go into your mouth.  The one you are terrified at first, think you might die, and then it's done and you are back in line again because it was the best. ride. ever.
Yes, teaching is like that.  Just. like. that.

In those moments when you feel a big drop coming, find your support that can get you through it.

Reach out to your new teammates.  You will WANT their support this year so I suggest getting to know them NOW.
Invite them to coffee and talk about stuff that is not school related.  They will love that you reached out and you are building that bridge.  win win.

Find other new teachers.  Check out Facebook or Instagram.  Chances are they are wondering the same things you are.

I have created a small exclusive group for new teachers just like you on Facebook.  I'd love for you to join us.  Never be afraid to ask questions!  That is how you learn and people want to help you.  We have ALL been there- made mistakes (boy do I have stories!)- but it turns out ok- I learned and survived.

Join my Facebook Group Here :)

Oh, and if you haven't yet, check out Teachers Pay Teachers.  It will be a lifesaver.  I promise.

Because this post is already GINORMOUS... I'll make this part quick.
All links to Amazon are Affiliate Links.  See Disclosure below. 

1. A teacher planner ~ I like this one
2. Flair Pens
3. A personal laminator
4. Fadeless paper (yes make sure it is fadeless)
5. Desk stuff: stapler, scotch tape, masking tape, scissors, paper clips etc. and LABEL THEM ;)
6. Electric pencil Sharpener (the best!)

Then head to the "Teacher Store" if you have one and think about things like: borders, posters, stickers, hall passes etc.

Have fun but don't get carried away- it is VERY EASY to spend your first paycheck on your classroom.

Make sure you ask your school secretary about discretionary funds and/or a supply budget you might get for the year.  Also, your PTA might have funds for you too.  Ask around!

Please let me know of other questions, issues, topics, you'd like me to address in the comments!  

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Enjoy the new teacher ride... it will be awesome.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: Tori's Teacher Tips is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. If you click on an affiliate link on this blog and purchase, Amazon will send a small percentage back to me which will support this blog.  Thank you.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Equal Sign

Hello Everyone! 
 I am here to review an ever so important skill that my students struggle with every year.

Think about this...

how many of your students will answer this question in this manner:

3 + 4 = 4 + 11

My heart sank when about 80% of my students answered this question with 11 (after we had been working on it for a very.long.time!)  I learned that they just skip right over the equal sign and add all the numbers together.

Problems like this even throw them completely out of whack:

___= 8 + 4

Wait what?? you mean the SUM can be first??  Oh boy... we have a lot more work to do on this.

So I told my students that we will be doing a problem or two every single day to practice the equal sign.

I wanted to share a few ways that I have been working on this with my Math Workshop groups.

I love to use a "scale" to show equivalence.  It looks like this:
 We talk about how it is a balance and that it has to be the "same as" on both sides of the equal sign.

I'm sorry I don't have that exact scale to share so I made another one for you (image from Discovery Education)

(click to grab)

We first talk about how the equal sign just means that whatever is on one side has to be the same as the other side.  I use cubes to represent numbers first.

We also talk about what it means to be "not equal"

Then I start adding numbers to show the balance of the equal sign.

Then I start adding equations.

Only some are ready for problems like this.  That is why I love my Workshop groups because I can differentiate my groups depending on their readiness for these type of problems.  It is amazing how complex the problems can get!

This is just another way to show equal and not equal.  AND how important it is to show children that the SUM can be first-- this is so tricky for them!

Another activity I had my kids do is they thought of a simple addition equation leaving off the answer.  Then we switch the boards so that the person next to them had to answer the problem.

Of course most would answer in this way:

But a select few would answer in this way:

It was then that I knew that I had gotten to them. Ahhh the feeling of VICTORY! :)

I made a poster for you that I hope you might be able to use.  I will be hanging it in my room for the rest of the year! :)

Finally, this concept has inspired me to add a BONUS to my Word Problem pack- SET 2 and the Bundled Set (links below)

To see Set 1 click {HERE}
Set 1 and 2 BUNDLE (HERE)

The pages will look like this:
Just copy the page, cut it up and the kids have instant practice... and the problems are already figured out for you!! :)

How do you approach the equal sign??  I'd love to hear your ideas!
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

So in Love with Books Giveaway!

I'm excited to be teaming up with 11 other AMAZING bloggers (again!!) to share some of our favorite Valentine books in a fun So in Love with Books Blog Hop Giveaway!

Along with FREEBIES for each book, we are also giving away a copy of each book!! Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post to find out how to WIN ALL 12 BOOKS!!

I am giving away the book, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Rose!

There are several versions of this book out now (I may or may not have them all ;) and this is a fun one.  I love how the author uses rhyming to create a fun read aloud.  You can also predict what the lady will do with all the "swallowed" items by the end of the story.

I have created a freebie that actually draws attention to three more difficult vocabulary words in the story.  The children can work together (or independently) to learn about these words and share with their classmates!
Your feedback is much appreciated!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Before you hop onto see my sweet friend, Jen over at Teaching in the Tongass, don't forget to grab my number! Each blogger will have a number at the end of his/her post. Collect all the numbers along the way, and when you're done, add them all up and enter the total number in the Rafflecopter below!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

12 Books of Christmas Giveaway!

I'm excited to be teaming up with 11 other AMAZING bloggers to share some of our favorite Christmas and holiday books in a fun 12 Books of Christmas Blog Hop!

Along with FREEBIES for each book, we are also giving away a copy of each book!! Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post to find out how to WIN ALL 12 BOOKS!!

The book I am giving away is
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson.

This is a fun book with a great theme of friendship.  The main character, Bear, wants to stay up for Christmas with his friends even though it is hard as he should be hibernating :)  The book takes you through a fun weave of rhymes where you learn that Bear stays up and his friends fall asleep!

I have a great FREEBIE to share with you that you can use with this story.  First, there is a summarizing sheet you can use after you read the book aloud to your students.  Also, there are rhyming cards to use with the book or as a center activity with your students.

Please click the image below to grab the freebie.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Before you hop onto see my sweet friend, Angela over at Hippo Hooray for Second Grade, don't forget to grab my number! Each blogger will have a number at the end of his/her post. Collect all the numbers along the way, and when you're done, add them all up and enter the total number in the Rafflecopter below!
Click image to go to the next blog!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A PURPLE sharpener?! YES Please!

Hey Friends!
Happy Fall!

I'm excited to be back to share a secret with you... I'm in LOVE!

With a sharpener that is.  ;)

Can you even believe this beauty:

So, if you know me, I love all things PURPLE.  Did you know that my favorite sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies 
now has a PURPLE sharpener??

Yes they do and I LOVE it!!

I this is my second sharpener from this company and it is by far the best sharpener out there.  I even wrote another review back in 2013 and you can see it here

Why is it so great you ask?

Well first, it is designed and made by a teacher.  I love to support teachers.

Second, it sharpens like you have never ever seen a pencil sharpener sharpen.  Like Ever.

Third, it is very quite- unlike my electric sharpener.

Fourth, they are extremely affordable. (and make great gifts!)

Fifth, they come in super cute colors!!
(like: blue, red, green, black and now PURPLE!)

Sixth, it is super easy to use! Even the kids can do it! 
Take a look here:

It comes very nicely packaged and even comes with a clamp to hold it in place if you prefer that.

I decided to try out those dollar store pencils- you know the kind.. the ones that  usually come out in shreds after sharpened.

Just pull it open and it will lock in an outward position.

Then hold the clamps together, this will create an opening for your pencil and hold the pencil in place.

As you sharpen by turning the crank, the pencil will move and then you will feel when the pencil is done- no over sharpening!

Just release the clamp and pull out the pencil.  My heart goes pitter patter every time I see a pencil come out... just look at that tip!  AND no crazy wrapper mess from those dollar pencils- just a perfect sharpen every time.

I even had my seven year old try it out.  His response- this is easy!  

Hahaha... this was his look when he pulled the pencil out.  I think he even said... "holy cow."  

Say NO to broken, unsharpened pencils that leave you unhappy.

Ahhh that's better!

Look no further... this sharpener is super duper great.  I promise.

You can check it out HERE.

I'd love to hear if you have one in your classroom!

Thanks for reading and have a fabulous Monday!