“I appreciate your teaching SO MUCH oh by the way…

I need a recommendation (for college, my summer internship, my clothing store application…”

This is always the week students ask me for recommendations for the summer and for next year! They think they can butter me up during teacher appreciation week and then come to me for a recommendation… and they are RIGHT! I always give in!!

Does this happen to you too teachers?!!

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The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom

I have been waiting all year to try out the Mannequin Challenge in my classroom! Finally I had the opportunity this week to get my students to “freeze in time” for this awesome task.

The Mannequin Challenge was a trend that spread across the internet asking people to freeze in a particular moment in time usually while a camera captures the moment. I chose to participate without the camera. Here’s how you can too.

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Wingding – Dong!

I LOVE the Wingdings font! It is such fun and you probably already own it!  It comes free with Microsoft Office, so give it a try!  Select Wingdings in the font box when you are in Word or PowerPoint and starting typing to see all the cool possibilities.

Check out the video below from the PowerPoint gurus over at Nuts and Bolts Speed Training to see how easy it is to create icons for all your presentations and handouts!

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Teaching is in our soles (of our shoes!)

soles-of-our-shoesTOP 5 TEACHER SHOE IDEAS

EQUIP YOUR FEET TO ENSURE TOP PERFORMANCE WITH TOP COMFORT!

I decided I needed to do a little shoe shopping over the Christmas break because my feet were KILLING me in December from all that standing and walking around while teaching.  My feet feel much better in this New Year. Don’t suffer with sore feet anymore in the classroom!

Here are my Top 5 Shoes for Teachers:

5. Cheetah Ballerina Flats

I always like to wear a cute pair of shoes on the first day of school. But by the end of the month I am all about comfort! This is where my ballerina flats come into play.

Coming in 5th place cheetah ballerina flats. You can find them in any shape or style and I they go with EVERYTHING not to mention are very comfortable. I like to give a little flair to my accessories so I love these Cheetah print flats. Very easy to slip on and off and provide support to my achy feet! There are two different price variations I have provided based on your budget! Cheap  as in $12 cheap… vs. More Expensive.

 vs. more expensive  

4. Classic Cognac Loafers for the Fellas

Fellas I didn’t forget about you. Classic Cognac Shoes. Perfect coupled with that gingham button down, a sweater and jeans. Light on your feet and comfortable. My husband walked by as I was writing this post and asked me to send him a link to buy these shoes. Trust me!



3. Elevate your teaching with a Pump

Sometimes aka parent teacher conferences, us teachers have to step up our game. This is when I switch over to a comfortable dress pump. Anne Klein is my go-to for all my “pump” related shoe needs. I have worn these to teach in, as a wedding attendee and for the holidays. I like a basic black or a nude or  black and white checkered pump.

 

  

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I have been shopping NON stop for family & friends this holiday season, and my family members have started asking me what I want for the holidays? Well, they obviously did not read my post on Gifts for GRAND teachers! 😉 So… I’ve decided to edit my list and add a few goodies that I am craving for my December break! Here’s my gift list:

BOOKS

I love spending my December break curled up with a good book. This season I’ve got a few book ideas on my list:

1. I wish my teacher knew…

One day, third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz asked her students to fill–in–the–blank in this sentence: “I wish my teacher
knew _____.” The results astounded her. Some answers were humorous, others were heartbreaking–all were profoundly moving and enlightening. The results opened her eyes to the need for educators to understand the unique realities their students face in order to create an open, safe and supportive place in the classroom.

2.  Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything –

“Author Deborah Schoeberlein pioneers the practical application of mindfulness in education.The book follows a teacher from morning to night on a typical school day, at home, during the commute, and before, during, and after class. This book is perfect for teachers of all kinds: schoolteachers, religious educators, coaches, parents-anyone who teaches anything.”

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Use an avatar in the classroom and for Parent Teacher Conferences!

Ever since the movie Avatar came out I have loved weaving speaking characters into my classroom. Not only is it fun to watch for students (and parents) of all ages, but students get a kick out of seeing the characters on the screen. You can create your character and add a voice to it so it can speak. You can change the backgrounds as well. Here are four ways I use avatars in my classroom:

  1. Have students make historical avatars. They can  type text to each other on the computer that would be appropriate for the historical period.
  2. Make an avatar of yourself (the teacher). Leave it up on the classroom smartboard. Hit a button that has pre-programmed sayings for when you see students are off task during groupwork.
  3. Use avatars during parent teacher conferences. Have it up on the smart board or in the waiting room for parents once they arrive.
  4. Use avatars during college conferences. I have created an avatar to emulate a student so I could walk through the college admissions process for a parents evening.

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Teach Hamilton (the Musical) In the Classroom

h-a-m-i-l-t-o-n

Many moons ago (2009 to be exact), before Hamilton was a big hit on Broadway, Lin Manuel Miranda presented a rap song to President Obama at the White House Poetry Jam.  It was funny, fresh and historically accurate – in other words PERFECT for my US history class to view.

The first year I showed the clip, my students were enamored. I had them rap it as a class the second time around. WHO IS THIS GUY?! asked the students (referring to both Hamilton AND LIN!)

They were hooked, students wanted MORE Hamilton… (Little did they know they were in for a round of Oklahoma shortly thereafter).

As the years went on I joshed to my students, “Oh, they are supposed to make this into a Broadway show some day, maybe you will get tickets to see it once you graduate”. Little did WE know that this was going to be the biggest musical hit of our generation!  I have had so many students have email me over the past year asking “WERE YOU IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS?!” aka, “DID YOU GET HAMILTON TICKETS YET?!” The answer, yes…. I was one of the lucky ones.  I was not giving away My Shot. In fact, I tried every day when it played at the Public Theatre to no avail. But once it was released on Broadway I bought tickets for the first week (6 months out of course).

Opening week, there I was, mouthing every word to the opening song “Hamilton”.

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a
Scotsman,
dropped in the middle of a forgotten
Spot in the Caribbean
by providence, impoverished, in squalor

Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

I was obsessed. I knew I had to bring more of the play into my classroom. Previously, when I taught the topic of the early Colonial Period and the American Revolution, I did a painting analysis of John Trumbell’s Revolutionary War paintings. BUT… when the play came out I created more curriculum to bring in lyrics from the play.

Here’s how I did it by Topic:
All the lyrics are online for you to view here: http://atlanticrecords.com/HamiltonMusic/
M
y recommendation is to print out lyrics for students to underline, then analyze as you listen to the music.

The Early Colonial Period

Topic:  Immigration
Song: Hamilton
Obviously, the first song “Hamilton” is the hook. Have students review the lyrics.
Questions to consider:
Infer – what was the immigrant experience like in the 1700s?
Can you draw any parallels to today?  Can any of you relate to Hamilton? Why?

Notable Lyric Sample:

Alexander Hamilton
We are waiting in the wings for you
You could never back down
You never learned to take your time!
Oh, Alexander Hamilton

When America sings for you
Will they know what you overcame?
Will they know you rewrote the game?
The world will never be the same, oh

The ship is in the harbor now
See if you can spot him
Another immigrant
Comin’ up from the bottom
His enemies destroyed his rep
America forgot him

Topic: American Revolution
Subject Matter: Loyalists vs Tories, Olive Branch Petition

Song: Farmer Refuted
Questions to consider:
How can we differentiate between the Loyalists/Tories and Fence sitters during the American Revolution?
Which side would you be on and why?

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The Great Pumpkin Challenge

the

One more day until October! The month of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Apple Picking and my favorite THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHALLENGE! My students know how much I love food challenges (see my posts on The Great Cookie Challenge!The GREAT “HOLIDAY” Baking Challenge! and I’ll share my Food Network Challenge with you in a couple of weeks). So OF COURSE I always do a GREAT PUMPKIN CHALLENGE!

The rules are simple:

I like to do this in groups of 2-3 students. Each group should Bring in a pumpkin OR a pumpkin dessert (that no one in the class will be allergic to – baked at home). So… a regular ole pumpkin to decorate, a pumpkin spice cupcake, pumpkin bar, pumpkin gingerbread cookie, pumpkin donut, pumplin pie whatever floats your boat. In class – studnents will be decorating it with a historical event from THIS SEMESTER. You can have it be holiday specific, (Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day, Christmas, Chanukah) or a historical event. The class judges each creation and at the end of course they eat the pumpkin or pumpkin food. Let me know how your great pumpkin challenge goes!