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  • Five Tips for Teachers Changing Grade Levels

    As teachers, so much is constantly changing in our career. State standards, professional requirements, our students…there is so much change to anticipate from year to year! And sometimes, for various reasons, we even change the grade level we are teaching. For some this might be an exciting change; for others, not so much. I’ve changed grade levels twice in my career. I taught kindergarten my first year teaching because, well, it was a week before school started and that was the only job offer I had. I wasn’t really in a position to be picky! I had zero experience with kinder, and much preferred upper elementary. A year in kindergarten…

  • Building a Strong Classroom Community + FREEBIE!

    One thing that I never did much of until this year was focus on building a strong classroom community. I felt like I had good relationships with my students, but I realized I wasn’t very good at fostering my students’ relationships with their peers. How important that is! If students aren’t valuing and respecting each other, then it can be really hard to get much accomplished during the day. So this year, after learning more about Responsive Classroom and building classroom community, I decided to put that at the center of my planning. Allowing time for my students to interact with each other and encourage each other during class was…

  • 7 Tips for Classroom Organization in a Small Space + FREEBIE!

    Anyone who knows me knows how much I obsess over keeping things organized. I am by no means a Type A person, but organization is necessary for my sanity.  My third year teaching, I started a new job at a charter school that rented its space from a church. The church uses our classrooms on Wednesday nights and Sundays, so we have to break down our rooms twice a week. This wasn’t too much of a challenge my first year there as I was in a big room with lots of storage space. The next year, however, I moved to 2nd grade — and a smaller classroom with little storage.…

  • 3 Ways Student Engagement Makes Your Life Easier + FREEBIE!

    I have a HUGE passion for student engagement. This passion has been a fairly recent discovery, though I’ve always loved making learning fun and felt that it’s important for students to love school. However, last year, in the middle of my fourth year teaching, I was feeling a little burned out and bogged down with curriculum and doing the same old thing every. single. day. I felt like I was failing my students and I sure wasn’t having any fun teaching. I was losing my why and feeling a little demotivated. I had been hearing a lot about the newly released book, The Wild Card, by Hope and Wade King,…