Monday, August 7, 2017

Post This! Not That!

We've all seen the headlines;  a teacher makes a post on social media, and it ends up costing him or her their job. Using social media can be one of the most powerful tools a teacher can use to transform their teaching...and it can also be their downfall.

How can teachers effectively using social media and leave a responsible digital foot print at the same time? Continue below to read my top four tips!

You NEED a crisp, professional profile picture for your social media accounts! Do not leave your profile pic as the dreaded generic silhouette. You are not an egg, pet, flower, video game character, or your child. You're gorgeous I promise! Do you want to know who you're collaborating and interacting with? When you view a dating profile (don't act like you haven't done it) you don't swipe yes to the person with no pictures. Unless your in the witness protection program what do you have to hide? 

This next tip has been an ongoing debate with teachers; posting pictures of students on teacher accounts. My opinion is a student's face is off limits even with a district release form. Why? That release form may or may not apply to your accounts. I get it, we want to share what's happening in our classrooms. From the cute clothes they wear, to the amazing art they create, and the precious notes they write to brighten our day is too good not to put out there! By all means share the amazing things going on with your students just be careful with how you choose to share it.
In my opinion, unless you are close friends or family with the student don't show their faces; show a picture of your student's hands or the back of their head instead. 
Fyi, the picture on the right is me in first grade in all my 90's glory!

This tip should be a given, but as the saying goes common sense ain't so common. DO NOT post drunk pictures! DO NOT post anything that may even suggest you can't handle alcohol!
You're an adult, and have every right to enjoy a beverage with friends for Friday happy hour after school. You've certainly earned that beverage after a long week giving your best to your students. Please be smart. Stop and think before you post. Remember, some parents love to "research" their child's teacher on social media and see what they post. 
You don't want to be that teacher plastered all over the local news for posting drunk pics and videos on social media. Pictures of you and friends enjoying a nice dinner/fun night out are perfectly fine. 

Teaching isn't for the faint of heart y'all! Can I get an amen? We all need to vent with teacher friends every once in a while. Those vents belong in private threads and texts, not for the world to see. 
On the left in the picture above is an example of FB messages. Clearly we're having more light hearted conversations here. When there is a time to vent, I know who I can contact in a safe place to do so. On the right, is an example tweet that I DIDN'T send. A tweet or post like this can lead to major consequences.
Be very careful not to post something with temporary emotions that will have a lasting effect. Even if you are justified and correct with what you need to get off your chest doesn't mean it belongs out in cyberspace for the world to see. 
 As we head back to school, there will be TONS of information and images we'll want to share. Just remember to stop and think about what your posting before you hit that share button! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Don't Feel Guilty!

Ah the sweet sounds of summer! No lesson plans or emails to answer. No packing lunches or picking out clothes for the next day. Hopefully you're already enjoying your summer break, and if not then hopefully there are only a few days of school left for you.
Remember your health and well being are an important part of being the best teacher you can be. It's fine if you aren't knee deep in laminating materials for next year or reading a book on professional development just yet. You may or may not see social media posts from others and feel like you have to get a start on next year ASAP. Don't feel like you have to do anything right away. 
You deserve to enjoy your family. You deserve to float in the pool all day if you want. You deserve to take all the summer naps! Take the time to appreciate the space your in right now and relax. Curriculum, lesson plans, and school supplies will still be there when you're ready. Have a great summer! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Attention Dallas Area Teachers!

Do you enjoy meeting new teachers and sharing ideas? Are you counting down the days until summer break begins? (Let's be honest, who isn't?!) Would you like to mix and mingle with fellow teachers while learning new tips and tricks to finish the school year?

Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting an event in Dallas later this month! Join me and other area teacher bloggers for a fun afternoon filled with laughs and learning! We'll share our favorite ideas to help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the end of the year. 
This event is FREE! To register simply click this link to RSVP. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Finish Strong

Can you believe the school year is almost over? I don't know about you, but for me it seems like it started just yesterday.
This is the time of year when a million thoughts and ideas can race through a teacher's brain at a million miles an hour. We can also find ourselves low on energy, and maybe even slightly on edge.
Looking for some ideas to finish this school year strong?

Here are three of my favorite tips for ending the school year on a positive note. 

As teachers, we pour so much of our energy and passion into others that we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. Sometimes we get to school before the sun comes up and don't leave until after the sun goes down.
 Don't feel guilty for not bringing lesson plans and papers home with you! Leave it at school and take some time for yourself. Why not try a Target run or a relaxing pedicure after school one day? Go home and actually have time to make dinner and watch your favorite shows without worry about emails, testing, and grades due. Treat yo self!
When we take time to renew our energy we're then able to be at our best for students.

What's the one activity you've been wanting to try with your class? Have you put it off for a year or two? Are you worried what others might think when you step outside the box? Take a leap of faith and do it anyway! I promise it'll give you a fresh boost of enthusiasm that we need during this point in the year.

If you haven't already, start building your own Personal Learning Network. Connect with other teachers in your district and globally who share a common passion for what we do. Find your tribe that you can share frustrations accomplishments with. Remember you become who you surround yourself with. Are you surrounding yourself with people who will drain your energy, or around people who will lift you up when needed? If your looking for more ways to build a PLN through social media check out my post on Twitter tips and tricks for teachers. 
Enjoy what's left of your week, and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Research Differentiation for Students

With Black History Month and Presidents' Day both in February, it's a perfect time to introduce our younger students to research. Think primary students are too young for a research project? Guess again! Continue reading for resources and ideas for differentiating research.

Every year in second grade, we do a Famous Black American research project. I created research sources for students to use. I like to have students use both the QR Codes and books to locate information and facts.Click on the picture below for a closer look at this product in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

This product is designed to be used and broken apart as needed for your class. Each research passage includes two graphic organizers, and an optional interactive notebook page. 

I look forward to seeing these posters every year! The students work so hard on putting it all together just right. I'm always blown away by the dedication and hard work that goes into the finished products.

Students can use the research passages individually, or work with partners. Look at the amazing work one third grade class did with my MLK Jr. Research Freebie!
I love how the groups were able to personalize their posters! This year, we'll dive deeper into research for Presidents' Day. 

Each website linked through the QR Codes are from kid friendly websites. If you're looking for quality picture books this month, click on my Amazon affiliate links below of my recommendations. 



Saturday, January 14, 2017

100th Day Activities

We may have just returned to school from winter break, but another holiday is quickly approaching. Believe it or not the 100th day of school will be here before we know it! Over the years I've definitely began a collection of 100th day favorites.
Here's a quick look at some of my must haves for the 100th day of school that are free or low cost. You can take a closer look at some of my favorite read alouds by clicking on my Amazon affiliate links.

One of the easiest activities is to have students make a picture out of the number 100. All you need is construction paper or card stock and die cuts!
Check out this awesome monster truck!

Just an ordinary girl, boy, and their pet dinosaur ha!

Add some STEM challenges to the 100th day of school by having students build a structure with plastic cups or unifix cubes.

In addition to STEM, how about adding some technology to your 100th day of school activities? My 100th Day QR Code Challenge is perfect to get your students up and moving!

Students work in pairs with an iPad to complete 12 challenges in increments of 100 seconds.

For some laughs, have your students draw a picture of themselves when they are 100 years old! 

Want even more laughs? Use the free AgingBooth app to instantly transform you and your students into 100 year olds.
I may be wrinkled and gray, but at least I'll still have hair when I'm 100!
No 100th day celebration is complete without some pictures. It's quick and easy to create a picture frame with a few low cost materials.

I bought a cheap, large picture frame from Wal-Mart and spray painted it. Add a black chalkboard piece and some bulletin board letters for a cute frame you can use all year.
What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate the 100th day of school? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Multicultural Thanksgiving Books

Does the school year seem to be flying by for anyone else? I can't believe it's already November! Teachers are busy prepping the cutest lessons and crafts filled with turkeys and Pilgrim hats. In just over three weeks time, families across America will come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I recently overhead a conversation about traditional Thanksgiving foods that struck a chord with me. The people involved in the conversation seemed appalled that anyone could celebrate Thanksgiving differently from them.When it comes to holiday celebrations, are we using rich and relevant resources for our students? Do we consider to include the diverse backgrounds of our students? Don't get me wrong, I think a paper plate turkey craft is fine as long as it's not the only way we expose our students to Thanksgiving.
Here's a summary of four picture books to include more diversity in your Thanksgiving activities and lesson plans this year. Click on the Amazon affiliate links to learn more.

Miguel is a Puerto Rican boy living in New York City with his family. He is given a turkey to "fatten up" before Thanksgiving dinner. Gracias the turkey is eventually blessed and pardoned by a priest. Spanish vocabulary is woven through out the story. This book beautifully combines community and family.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition for many families in America. This book is inspired by the true story of the first parade. The main character Milly, lives with her Polish family in New York City. She convinces the store owner Mr. Macy to combine old and new to create a new American tradition.

The main character Rivka wants to celebrate Thanksgiving with her Jewish family after learning about it in school. She must convince her family to celebrate Thanksgiving. Rivka convinces her Rabbi the holiday can be celebrated by all cultures and religions.

Tuyet's Vietnamese family is having duck for Thanksgiving dinner. Tuyet worries what her friends and teacher will think about this non traditional Thanksgiving food. She soon learns her classmates eat non traditional Thanksgiving foods as well. I love this book because multiple students in my class are able to make a personal connection to Tuyet every year.
What are you favorite ways to include different cultures in your Thanksgiving lessons?