Monday, August 1, 2016

Secrets of Launching a Stellar School Year

What if you could walk into the class of your dreams this year? Of course you'd jump at the chance! But what does that mean? What would your "dream class" be like? Would the students be self-motivated and excited about learning? Would they treat each other with kindness and respect? Might you look forward to Monday mornings instead of dreading them????

Believe it or not, this year's class could be your dream class. In fact, the secret to having an amazing class might be directly tied to what you do during the first week of school, and it might not have much to do with who's assigned to your classroom roster!

Consider this: When you know how to unlock the amazing potential in every student, magic happens in the classroom!

I know from personal experience that what teachers say and do during the first week of school sets the tone for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, it took me YEARS to figure out how to launch a great school year, and it wasn't always easy. I knew it was essential to get the school year off to a great start from day one, but I had so many unanswered questions about the right way to accomplish this. How can we find the right balance between being friendly and setting clear expectations? Should we seat our students in rows or in cooperative learning teams on the first day of school? Is it true that we shouldn’t crack a smile until Christmas?

After years of trying different strategies during the first week of school, I finally nailed down a system that really works. In the process, I discovered that it's actually a lot easier than you might imagine to create a caring classroom of students who are motivated and excited about school!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Grab Your Free 2016-2017 School Year Calendar!

When I was teaching, I searched everywhere to find the perfect calendar for my students, but I just couldn't find one that worked. I wanted 8 1/2 x 11 monthly portrait-style pages that would fit in a 3-ring binder, and I also wanted large blocks for writing in the dates and events.

Eventually I gave up the search and decided to make my own. To create more space for writing on the weekdays, I made skinny blocks on the weekends. It turned out to be exactly what I needed! When I started my Teaching Resources website, I decided to share it with other teachers and it was a hit with them, too!

The School Year Calendar starts with July of the current year and ends with June of the following year. Each year I update the calendar with the correct dates as well as new clipart and fonts to give it a fresh look. The calendar pages are in color, but if you prefer black and white copies, just change your printer settings to the B&W mode.

Sign up here to download your free copy of my 2016-2017 School Year Calendar!

Friday, June 24, 2016

How to Get Organized and Keep the Joy in Teaching

Most new teachers begin their careers with passion and enthusiasm, excited to be able to work with children and to make a difference in their lives.

Unfortunately, that passion for teaching is too often buried under a crushing load of paperwork and job responsibilities they could never have imagined!

Enthusiasm is quickly replaced by a feeling of being overwhelmed, with way too much to do and never enough time to do it all. Piles of papers stack up everywhere, with no time to file anything away properly, and the number of messages in your inbox seems to grow exponentially!

What do you do? Spend 60 or 70 hours a week on schoolwork, only to realize you didn't make a dent in your total workload? Or should you do just enough to get by so that you can have a life outside of school?

No matter how much you love teaching, working 70 hours a week is a fast track to teacher burnout. But doing the bare minimum isn't the answer either. While it does give you a little more time at home, you start each school day feeling disorganized and overwhelmed. Over time, you'll start to feel guilty about neglecting your students and you'll feel increasingly ineffective as a teacher.

The Key to Unlocking Work Life Balance
Thankfully, there's a better way. The solution is to implement specific strategies to help you get more done in less time and achieve a healthy work/life balance. Sounds like an impossible dream, but I've discovered that it IS possible to find work/balance, and you won't have to sacrifice your effectiveness as a teacher. The key is knowing where to find these strategies and how to implement them effectively for the best results.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Attend the Teaching Resources Summer Conference for FREE!

Were you planning to attend the Teaching Resources Summer Conference in Virginia Beach this July? Maybe you'd LOVE to attend, but you just don't know how you can swing it since your school won't pay your way.

Don't give up hope, because if you're a public school teacher in the U.S., you might be able to get your registration, food, travel, and lodging covered with a DonorsChoose grant! They've just announced a program to allow teachers to submit requests for professional development funding.

If you're interested, drop everything and write that DonorsChoose proposal now! You need to submit your proposal as soon as possible in order to get it funded before the conference which takes place on July 28th and 29th. The DC guidelines say that you must submit the proposal 2 months in advance.

Get Energized at the Teaching Resources Summer Conference
What??? You didn't know I was presenting a workshop this summer? No worries! Just click over to the Teaching Resources Summer Conference page to read about it. I'm teaming up with Pat Calfee, a former elementary teacher and awesome presenter, to offer an exciting two-day event that's sure to get you pumped up and energized for the 2016-2017 school year.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Task Card Tales Plot Twist!

Who knew that planning a webinar could turn out to be such an adventure? Here's the backstory about why Rachel Lynette and I had to cancel our task cards webinar. You can also find the dates and times of our next TWO task card webinars!
Who knew that planning a webinar could turn out to be an adventure! Maybe that's stretching it a bit, but I sure felt like I was in the middle of a crazy adventure last night when a severe storm blew up at my house hours before Rachel Lynette and I were supposed to go live with Power Up Learning with Task Cards!

One of my favorite quotes is "When something goes wrong in your life, just yell 'Plot Twist!' and move on!" That saying describes what happened perfectly! Rachel and I experienced a plot twist in our webinar plans, and we've just moved on!

Task Card Tales and a Plot Twist
Before I tell you the story, I have to admit that we went a little overboard in packing the webinar with loads of activities and strategies for teaching with task cards. We just couldn't help ourselves! The more we talked, brainstormed, and  planned, the more tips, strategies, and resources would come to mind that we HAD to include!

So even though the presentation should have been finished long before yesterday, we were still working on it hours before the live webinar. Our plan was to combine them into one PowerPoint before the presentation, which seemed reasonable at the time. In retrospect, it wasn't the brightest plan in the world!