Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Recently I joined several groups on Facebook geared to teachers. I'm so glad I did; I've enjoyed getting to know these fellow educators and already have been inspired by their ideas, classrooms, and attitudes! But, as is common to any type of group gathering (be it in-person or on-line), opinions are as plentiful and diverse as the people themselves, and eventually someone in the group will say something that irks someone else. It's the way of man. I try to steer clear of all such drama (I learned that lesson the hard way 😳) and usually opt to ignore it completely, but the other day several people posted comments that rubbed me the wrong way, and more importantly, got me thinking...

Freedom and Responsibility: Classroom Management That Works!

For years I've been trying to put into words my philosophy of classroom management. It isn't an easy task. Rather, it isn't easy to do when the person asking for my classroom management plan expects me to respond with a litany of posted rules and their corresponding punishments, a description of my portable behavior-tracking checklists, or a list of rewards for students who are observed "being good". Behavior-monitor clips, stop signs, traffic lights, silent lunch, missed recess, isolation, writing lines, earning/losing tickets--you name it, teachers have tried it. Anything to get Johnny to do what he's freakin' supposed to do! (WHY isn't there a "pulling your hair out" emoji?!? Oh, well. Insert that non-existent emoji here.) But for reasons I'm only just now beginning to understand, I've never been one of those teachers. What can I say? I'm a rebel. #shockandawe Now, before I delve any further into this topic, allow me to say that I've seen all of the above and more be implemented by fellow teachers, and I'm not knocking such strategies (notice that I do not include yelling, sarcasm, or any other such tactic as these should not be a go-to in any teacher's repertoire). Educating other people's children is a daunting challenge in the extreme, and every teacher has to do what works for him/her and his or her students. What I AM saying is that (IMHO) there IS an alternative.

The Plane Variable: A Science Experiment

A few weeks ago I wrote a post praising The Science Penguin's "Science Vocabulary Hands-On Instruction" packet. It's a fantastic resource for teaching science vocabulary that incorporates authentic, hands-on study of science concepts before applying explicitly taught vocabulary terms and definitions. I LOVE THIS STRATEGY! It has been so beneficial for my students to get hands-on experience with--for example--independent, dependent, and controlled variables BEFORE being taught those terms and what they mean. I've used many of the vocabulary activities in this packet, but the "Variables" lesson is one of my favorites!

My Favorite Things: Science Vocabulary

If you've been a teacher for very long, you've probably experienced that moment when you're going along, minding your own business, trying to stay afloat in the ever-expanding quagmire of so many available resources that your head is spinning, when stumble across that one resource that makes you say, "Um, wow...where have you been all my life?" If you've been a teacher for very long, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Interactive Notebooks: Organization is Key!

This past school year, I took the plunge. For a long time I'd been investigating the good, the bad, and the ugly of using interactive notebooks in the classroom. (No need to jump heedlessly on the proverbial bandwagon only to find quickly thereafter that it has no wheels.) After a time, my diligent research convinced me that the implementation of such tools helps students stay actively engaged in the learning process and aids in student ownership of ideas. When I accepted a new position teaching only two subjects (insert YIPPEEEEEEE!), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put my newfound knowledge to good use.  So...I did. In August of 2016, I finally decided to bite the bullet and use interactive notebooks in my fifth-grade math and science classes. May I just say...yay?!?

When Johnny Refuses to Work: A Teacher's Tale of Woe

Mr. Jones looked patronizingly at the teacher standing resolutely before his desk. “I see, Mrs. Smith, that Johnny received a ‘zero’ on his social studies project. Can you explain to me how that happened? Surely his project was not that poorly done.” Having been in this situation before, Mrs. Smith replied with grit and determination, “Actually, Mr. Jones, Johnny did not turn in a project at all. I have worked with him to make sure he understood the assignment, met with his mom to ensure they had all the materials they needed for the project, and given him three extra weeks to turn it in. He received a ‘zero’ because he did not do the work.”

Teachers are HEROES Sale!

Click on the link above to be redirected to my store on! Use Promo Code HEROES when checking out, and receive 20% off every item you purchase! One day only--February 25, 2015! Hope to see you there!

Happy Monday!


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