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!



Ten-Frames and How to Use Them: A Math Story

“I just don’t understand, Amy! How can he pass a test on fractions, multiply two digits by two digits in his math workbook, and solve word problems on his homework, yet if I ask him, ‘What’s 2 less than 9?’ he has to think about it for several seconds and count on his fingers to get the right answer?” Sound familiar? This woman’s frustration with her grandson’s inability to do something as “basic” as mentally solving 9 minus 2 is not uncommon. In fact, it’s an aggravation often expressed by grandparents, parents, teachers, and the like—basically anyone who’s had the baffling experience of dealing with a child who typically makes good grades in school and may even score well on standardized tests, but can’t seem to solve a simple addition or subtraction fact without the use of his fingers. And if the child is struggling to work with small numbers, he can all but kiss success with larger numbers goodbye! Ask any teacher, and she’ll tell you--it’s a universal issue. And an impartial one. Afflicting the academically high-achieving, as well as those deemed most at risk, the inability to compute mentally with fluency is fast becoming the norm.

The First Post: How I Got to This Place

In Nora Ephron's romantic classic "You've Got Mail," Meg Ryan's character wrote the following to her e-mail pen pal: "I like to start my notes to you as if we're already in the middle of a conversation. I pretend that we're the oldest and dearest friends..." For this first, most auspicious blog post, I am going to take a page from that favorite movie o' mine and begin my first note to you, the reader, as if we're already in the middle of a conversation...but for a slightly different reason. Wait for it…
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