Friday, September 23, 2011

Top 5 Teacher Essentials

1. Time Timer

This is brand new to my classroom this year, and it is a Game Changer. (yes, the capitals,bold and italics are on purpose) The red part goes away as the time goes away. I have really noticed it making my students stay on task more and focused. For example today, I asked them to write/brainstorm for three minutes, and I set the timer. I saw kids look up at it while they were working, and for the most part they worked for those three minutes. Pre-Time Timer, I have done this same activity and the kiddos whined and complained about how long it was taking. I also see that I stay on time more then I did before.

2. Big Binders

If you don't know AVID, this video won't mean very much to you, but it is entertaining anyway :)

As a teacher I have three big binders that I use everyday: one for my seating charts and attendance, a second for my lesson plans and a third for lesson materials (the last two are being combined, slowly). In my seating chart binder, I use folders as dividers. I put student work that I am ready to give back in those folders and it helps me to get it back to them promptly.

3. Getting ready the night before
Seriously, how did it take me 7 years to realize that picking out my clothes and packing my lunch the night before will make me 1000 times less stressed in the morning? It might be because the first two years I was teaching PE and wore workout pants and a Nike shirt every. single. day. (That was fabulous.)

4. My paper planner

Last month I was at the dentist setting up my root canal and I pulled out my planner. The receptionist said it was "cute" that I still used a paper planner. Really? Cute? I use my planner for both work stuff and personal stuff. I have meetings, assemblies, doctor appointments and my running schedule in there. When I plan things, I need to be able to look at what is going on before and after that day. I have tried to use the calendar on my iPod or my phone to plan things, but I need more than just a black dot telling me that I have something planned. I also use the margins to set reminders for when I need student volunteers for an activity or the month's birthday's that are happening.

5. GREAT colleagues!
E and I at the annual end of year staff golf tourney

I am so fortunate that my teaching "partner" is also my friend. This year, E and I each have our own rooms, and we are next to each other in the portable buildings outside the school. We have both talked about how awful and lonely it would be if we didn't like the person we were out there with. Everyday we have eaten our lunches out on our front porch together, and have just enjoyed the 30 minute break in our day. We also walk with each other into the building for our twice daily trip to check our boxes, use the rest room, etc. It's also nice to have someone to look at something (a lesson, room arrangement, etc) with a fresh set of eyes when I can't see how to fix the problem.

I don't want to leave out the rest of my staff. There are some great people that I work with, and I love coming to work!

6. My students- For reals, there are some fabulous students that I teach. (There are some not so fabulous ones, and some days it feels like there are more of them but if I make a tally, the good ones win out.) They are truly the reason that I love my job. Middle school is such a funny age and I laugh every. single. day.

Teacher peeps- what is essential in your classroom? If you are not a teacher, what is essential in your life?

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