Practices to put in place that will help your classroom run like clockwork

The time period between Halloween and the end of the year is probably the most challenging teaching time in the classroom.  Classroom management strategies that worked at the start of the year may not be as effective.  Your students’ minds quickly move away from content material to the bulletin board that counts down the days until Christmas (whose idea was that?!) or the Elf on the Shelf  or the gathering snow clouds out the window (“I saw a snowflake!” Class… Read more »

Four ways to make your lunch break more meaningful.

I’ve asked my dear friend Dayle to write a post for this month’s Healthy Teacher installment since she is all about bringing balance, movement, and a joy to people.  I love the insight she offers as an opportunity to transform our crazy lunch schedule into something meaningful and calming.  Check out the end of this post for a special offer.  Thank you Dayle! Adult children, arm-in-arm with parents, walking granny pace down endless stretches of boardwalk; couples smooching as they… Read more »

How to use homework scorecards.

Welcome to the monthly Teacher Talk blog hop! This month I thought I’d address a topic that everyone has an opinion about:  homework. If you have Parent/Teacher conferences after the first grading period, homework is usually a hot discussion topic… too much, too little, too easy, too hard, not done, never done, graded, completion grade…the list is endless. As a teacher, I work hard to make homework meaningful and effective.  Homework can help me speed up the pace of a class,… Read more »

Why should you teach poetry all year? The whys and hows are all here!

If you love National Poetry month and feel sad when it’s over, consider teaching poetry all year! I’ve written a guest post for Rachel Lynette’s blog Minds in Bloom that includes ten reasons why you absolutely should teach poetry all year — and seven simple ways how to do it. My favorite strategy I like to just share a poem with students by reading it and asking them what their favorite part is…and then moving on to our lesson of the day! It’s… Read more »

Ready to Simplify Grading? Are you ready to put away your red pen?  I use a simple tool that helps me simplify grading and increase the the productive time I spend with student writers. I wrote a guest post for the Middle School Mob blog on using my “Notes from your Teacher” product to help speed up grading and create differentiation in your writing workshop. Pop over there to read the post and leave a comment as well! Hoping you… Read more »

Six easy ways to make "Meet the Teacher" night painless.

“Meet the Teacher,”  “Curriculum Night,”  “Parent’s Night”  whatever you call it, it can be stressful.  Parents you might not see for the rest of the year are going to visit with you for maybe just a few minutes…yet they’ll be judging what kind of teacher you are! No pressure, right?! Here are a few hints to make the event a bit easier:  Parents are curious about you!  They want to know that their child is in good hands.  Be sure… Read more »

Organize and manage time better by using checklists in your classroom!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed even though school is just beginning, read the  “Checklist Manifesto” post I wrote for the Middle School Mob Blog. Get your Checklist On! I just love a good checklist (or two…or three…).  And using them will help you stay organized.  Plus, they help ensure you won’t miss a step in a process — like a writing assignment, long-term project, or a series of formative assessments. Pop over to the blog to there to learn the whys… Read more »

Need help with classroom management? Check out these 5 simple tips.

When you’re studying to be a teacher, you dream of a classroom filled with eager, well-behaved children enraptured by your carefully-crafted lessons.  Then you step into your first classroom…and quickly realize you need behavioral strategies — ASAP! A “perfect” class doesn’t just happen.  It is created through consistent, compassionate, and well-planned classroom management strategies. Here are five tips to get you started on creating and maintaining your own “perfect” class. 1. Get your hands on a copy of The First Days… Read more »

Don't forget yourself when you plan your classroom for the school year. Here are 9 tips for eating right all year long -- and keeping you away from those faculty room temptations!

Your classroom is decorated, supplies are sorted, the Dollar Store has been ravaged, class lists are printed, lockers assigned, books sorted…yes, you feel ready for your students. But something is missing. It’s not the glue sticks or index cards…it’s how you are going to care for YOU this school year. We’ve all seen the faculty lounge — a landmine of donuts, snacks, leftover birthday cake, fast food. Things that we know we shouldn’t eat, but there they are…glittering with all… Read more »

Organization tips for teachers. 7 ways to organize paper and clutter in your classroom. #5 is my favorite!

  It seems like some people are born organized (take my sister!) and some people, not so much (ummm, that would be me). But that might be a slight exaggeration…because while I have no idea where my running shoes are or what I did with that recipe for tofu surprise, I DO know where my copy of Pride and Prejudice  is and where my secret chocolate stash is hidden (and I’m not telling!). I suspect that many people are like… Read more »