Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Back to School Tips for New Teachers

Back to School Tips for New Teachers
Check out these new teacher tips from today’s guest blogger Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog. Kristy has been a middle school classroom teacher for 11 years in Canada. When she is not teaching she shares her teaching ideas on her blog and in her TPT store.

Dear New Teachers,

I remember being a new teacher as if it were yesterday. (Why can’t it be yesterday? Now I feel old!) Those first five years were tough. I am forever grateful to the principal that hired me, but I was hired into a role with no resources and no support. Stick with this profession! It is hard, but the reward when you see the growth in your students from the start to the end of the year is worth all those tears (ok maybe not all those tears).

Here are my five top pieces of honest advice for new teachers.

1.   It is ok to cry. You are going to cry - just don’t cry in front of your students. Cry in the car, in the bathroom or at home. You can do it, but it will be tough!

2.   Find places to get help. If you don’t have someone to help you at your school start looking around at other schools - ask other new teachers where they access support. Attend all of the new teacher professional development you are sent to. I made some great friends that I still have from those workshops. The internet has blossomed as a fantastic resource for teachers. Check out hashtags on Instagram #newteacher or #dearnewteacher  You can also search for teaching related Facebook Groups.

3.   Do not make your entire life about teaching. The summer I graduated from teacher’s college, I went garage sailing and thrift store shopping like it was my job. I was so excited to have a classroom that I forgot real life existed beyond those four walls. Remember your friends and family are the ones who supported you in your journey.

4.   Your classroom will not be Instagram perfect - that’s ok! It is really hard to compare yourself to a teacher who has made a career out of classroom design. An organized and clean classroom is more effective than having a professional classroom design. It will come - focus on your teaching skills and curriculum knowledge first.

5.   Enjoy your students. Find something special about each of your students - their taste in baseball teams, their reading habits, pets, hobbies etc and ask them about these regularly. Students want to know their teachers care about them.

Looking for more new teacher tips? Check out this section on my website.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How Edpuzzle Can Change Your Teacher Life

Edpuzzle CoachI am super excited to be a presenter for the Teach with Tech Virtual Mini Conference that takes place starting July 23rd-July 26th for FREE!  I will be presenting on Edpuzzle.  My presentation will be on Thursday, July 26th from 1:15-1:45.

When I discovered Edpuzzle a couple years ago, I couldn't contain my excitement!  Not only was I thrilled, but my students couldn't get enough of this tool!  If you haven't heard of Edpuzzle, it's an amazing website that allows you to choose from tons of videos (including Youtube, your own instructional videos, etc.), and then you're able to customize it by clipping, recording audio, and adding questions.  I blogged about this in detail here.  Due to my excitement, I decided to become an Edpuzzle Coach, so that I could share what I've learned with other educators.

Below you will see why videos are such great resources for students to use.  They're also a wonderful way to differentiate for all learning levels.  This is what makes Edpuzzle so great!

Why Videos Help Students

See a detailed description of Edpuzzle below:

By using videos from Youtube, TedTalks, Vimeo, National Geographic and more, teachers are then able to crop the video, add oral notes, as well as questions for students to answer while watching.


In the images below, you will see how to add classes, create video content, and then assign the videos to students in Edpuzzle:

Edpuzzle Instructions

Edpuzzle Instructions
Edpuzzle Instructions
Edpuzzle Instructions
Edpuzzle Instructions
Edpuzzle Instructions
For those that have used Edpuzzle, what videos have you found that your students enjoyed?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

Classroom Friendly Sharpener
This post contains affiliate marketing links.  I may receive a small commission if you purchase through these links.  You may read my full disclosure policy here.

I am super excited to be doing a blog review for the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies!  The owner of these amazing products is also a teacher, so he can truly identify with what we need in the classroom!

A couple years ago, my electric pencil sharpener got broken for the millionth time by one of my "it's not my fault" students.  It was then that I decided that I was DONE with electric pencil sharpeners altogether.  So over the summer, I started researching...yes, I said researching (only teachers would actually research pencil sharpeners), pencil sharpeners to use with students.  I also asked around in my teacher Facebook groups, and everybody seemed to suggest the same one-- the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener.

Once I saw it in action, I have to say... I was AMAZED!  A few of my favorite things about it are:  it's extremely quiet, has an auto-stop, AND it's portable!  That means you can take it with you any time you're moved to another classroom or school, take it home over summer break, and students can even pass it around to those that need to use it!!!  It does come with mounting hardware, but I prefer to be able to transfer it as needed.  Even more exciting, you don't hear the annoying, stop you in the middle of teaching pencil sharpening that is bound to take place at the worst possible time... just when you get to the most important part of the lesson that everyone needs to hear!

My students and I both agree that we've never seen a better sharpened pencil!  You can also choose from a variety of colors!  I now have a hot pink and purple sharpener.

Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

To see how it works, check out this video.

See description below from the company's website:
  • A "must have" for every teacher.
  • A unique and practical teacher gift.
  • Old-school retro look.
  • Quiet sharpening eliminates classroom interruptions. 
  • Automatic stopping once the perfect point is formed. This prevents over-sharpening.
  • Works on standard sized pencils.
  • Clear plastic disposal tray for easy cleaning.
  • Easy to use (as young as 5 years of age.)
  • Sturdy metal frame (approximately 3"x 3"x 5")
  • Portable or mounts to a surface. Clamp included.
  • Did I already mention that it was quiet?
  • Sorry, we ship to the USA only.
To check these pencil sharpeners out, visit Classroom Friendly Supplies!  You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Summer Steals- Saturday & Sundays in July

Everybody likes a deal, right?!  I know I certainly do!  That's why I decided that every Saturday and Sunday in July, I'm going to mark one of my products 50% off!  In order to help you start off your school year with fun, interactive resources, the majority of the items will be back to school related.  Check out what's 50% off and when below:

Summer Steals

Meet the Teacher Editable Newsletter

Back to School Digital Escape Room

Digital Student Planner

Back to School Student Interest Survey

Back to School Digital Activities- Social Media Style

Back to School Interview a Classmate

Beginning of the Year Student Interest Task Cards

Digital Parts of Speech Activities

Set your calendars so that you don't miss any of these deals!  Enjoy the rest of your summer!!!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Teach with Tech FREE Online Conference!

I'm super excited to be amongst this amazing group of presenters for the Teach with Tech Online Conference that's taking place July 23rd-July 26th!  The best's completely FREE for educators!

Teach with Tech Conference Presenters

You will love this FREE PD event that you can take part in from the comfort of your home.  #TeachWithTech Online Conference has an extensive line-up of speakers offering a wide range of topics.  Sessions are live and available for replay - appealing to grades K-12! Study All Knight, Erintegration, and The Techie Teacher will have surprises and giveaways for all attendees.  You definitely won’t want to miss a beat! Handouts will also be included.  Your ALL-ACCESS ticket gets you a PD certificate of completion when it's over. Registration is open so register today at  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Escape Room Fun- ELA Test Prep

Digital Escape Room
I previously blogged about ways to use escape rooms in the classroom, as well as how fun it is to use escape rooms for test prep!  After recognizing how engaged my students are when we use these, I try to implement them as often as possible. This year after I saw how much fun my students had when they did the first escape room for ELA test prep, I HAD to create another one...

This is where ELA Test Prep- Digital Escape Room Vol. 2 came in!  Like I've said before, who wants to spend a bunch of money on locks, boxes, and any other props you may need for the escape room?!  By using the digital version, all teachers have to do is share the link with their students from Google Classroom, their teacher website, Edmodo, or whatever Learning Management System they use. Students click the link and are then on their way.  They will follow the directions to complete each task.  **Students WILL need access to a Google Drive, as this is necessary to store the files and information they input into the Google Form and Google Slides.**  

This is how it works:
  • Once students click the link the teacher shares with them, they will be taken to a Google Form.  The Google Form will have directions and a link to take them to their first "room."  
  • Escape Room #1- Figurative Language- Students will be taken to a drag and drop matching activity. Here, they will review the following types of figurative language: simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, alliteration, hyperbole, and idiom.  Once students determine the code by matching all of the items and using the decoder at the bottom of the slide, they will go enter the code into the Google Form.  If it's correct, they will be able to move on to room #2.  If it's incorrect, they will get the error message, "STILL LOCKED," and they will need to go back and figure out what is wrong.

Figurative Language Activity
  • Escape Room #2- Author’s Purpose- Students will read short passages to determine whether the author’s purpose is to persuade, inform, or entertain.  Again, students will enter the code they get after answering all of the questions.  If the code is correct, they will move on to the next "room."
Author's Purpose Activity

  • Escape Room #3- Parts of the Plot- Students will answer questions to review parts of the plot: exposition, rising action, falling action, climax, resolution, protagonist, and antagonist.  Students will enter the code in the Google Form, and if it's correct, they will proceed to room #4.

Plot Activity
  • Escape Room #4- Point of View- Students will read short passages to determine the type of point of view being used: 1st person, 2nd person, or 3rd person.  They will enter the code into the Google Form, and if it's correct, they will proceed to the final challenge.
Point of View Activity

  • Jigsaw Puzzle- Students will put the puzzle together, and once they do, they will see the final code.  This is the last code they will enter into the Google Form in order to complete the last challenge and officially "escape."
Activities for Digital Escape Room

If you're interested in fun, innovative ways to review before state testing or are looking to have engaging activities for students to complete towards the end of the school year, check this out!  What are you doing with your kiddos these last few weeks of school?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

100 End-of-Year Superlatives that Recognize ALL of Your Students' Unique Personalities

Student SuperlativesAs a middle school teacher, I typically teach well over 100 kids a day.  Each year I find myself wanting to recognize each one for their unique qualities, but it always seemed virtually impossible to do.  With testing and all of the events that occur towards the end of the year, it's hard to find the time to come up with something.  This year, however, I decided that wouldn't be the case!  

I sat down and came up with 100 distinct awards that were sure to fit not only my students but the majority of kids at the secondary level.  I wanted to create something that was positive, yet humorous, that the kids would relate to.

Here's what I came up with:

·Most Likely to be the CEO of Wells  Fargo
·Most Likely to be a Pro Tennis Player
·Most Likely to be a Pro Baseball Player
·Most Likely to be a Pro Basketball Player
·Most Likely to be a Pro Soccer Player
·Most Likely to be a Pro Football Player
·Most Likely to be a Football Coach
·Most Likely to become an Instagram Addict
·Most Likely to be on Broadway
·Most Likely to be on Shark Tank
·Most Likely to become a well-known journalist
·Most Likely to become a Selfie Queen
·Most Likely to go broke at Starbucks
·Most Likely to be thankful
·Most Likely to talk in a library
·Most Likely to be in a band!
·Most Likely to talk during a test
·Most Likely to be a CEO
·Most Likely to be a mathlete
·Most Likely to be a famous actor
·Most Likely to have the heaviest book bag
·Most Likely to travel to Mars
·Most Likely to ask already answered questions
·Most Likely to read 100 million words in high school
·Most Likely to take their time
·Most Likely to build airplanes
·Most Likely to own their own farm
·Most Likely to have ants in their pants
·Most Likely to be crowned Mr. Nice Guy
·Most Likely to fly under the radar
·Most Likely to be a doctor
·Most Likely to have the cleanest locker
·Most Likely to be a school principal
·Most Likely to be the President of the US
·Most Likely to be the First Lady
·Most Likely to be an Olympian
·Most Likely to win an argument
·Most Likely to ask to get water
·Most Likely to be a pro wakeboarder
·Most Likely to laugh out loud
·Most Likely to be a firefighter
·Most Likely to cure a disease
·Most Likely to be a pro gamer
·Most Likely to lose an instrument
·Most Likely to live in a foreign country
·Most Likely to pop their collar
·Most Likely to ask permission
·Most Likely to have a great attitude
·Most Likely to wear a hoodie in 100-degree weather
·Most Likely to be Mr. Serious
·Most Likely to be a radio talk show host
·Most Likely to be out of dress code
·Most Likely to do the hair flip
·Most Likely to be prepared
·Most Likely to cross their I’s and dot their T’s
-Most Likely to talk about FortNite
-Most Likely to stop world hunger
-Most Likely to be willing to work with anyone
-Most Likely to exercise every day
-Most Likely to know all the words in a song
-Most Likely to become a famous musician
-Most Likely to direct Star Wars 2050
-Most Likely to own a baseball
-Most Likely to wear the best set of headphones
-Most Likely to be your boss
-Most Likely to be the world’s greatest chef
-Most Likely to change the world
-Most Likely to catch a teacher in an error
-Most Likely to be a hairdresser
-Most Likely to become a teacher
-Most Likely to be a pro cheerleader
-Most Likely to wear a cool headband
-Most Likely to work in IT
-Most Likely to think their laptop is better than the school’s
-Most Likely to be a famous author
-Most Likely to have the most interesting collection of items in their locker
-Most Likely to own more cats than Hemingway
-Most Likely to join WWE
-Most Likely to hike Mt. Rushmore
-Most Likely to think outside the box
-Most Likely to take the scenic route
-Most Likely to miss the bus
-Most Likely to graduate early
-Most Likely to say good morning
-Most Likely to be a vet
-Most Likely to have the best hair
-Most Likely to be a standup comedian
-Most Likely to be a public speaker
-Most Likely to be a motivational speaker
-Most Likely to help a friend in need
-Most Likely to be best buds
-Most Likely to be prepared in an airport
-Most Likely to become a video game addict
-Most Likely to be a pro diver
-Most Likely to be the first to get to class
-Most Likely to be the first to finish an assignment
-Most Likely to get the best researcher award
-Most Likely to forget their stuff
-Most Likely to keep you waiting
-Most Likely to get the Luke Perry hairstyle award

You can find all 100 Superlatives HERE!  This resource includes the PDF and PowerPoint version so that you can add text boxes, type each student’s name, the teacher’s name, etc. What fun awards do you give at the end of the year?  I'd love to hear all about them in the comments below!