Honoring Hispanic Heritage on Cinco de Mayo

Thursday, May 4, 2017 / Leave a Comment
Honoring Hispanic Heritage on Cinco de Mayo

Teachers in my district have spent a lot of time this year working on becoming better "students of our students."
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Things Only Teachers Understand #4: The Stages of Being Sick

Monday, May 1, 2017 / 1 comment
Things Only Teachers Understand #4: The Stages of Being Sick


1. You feel a little under the weather by the end of the day but refuse to admit you’re sick. You can will yourself into not catching whatever bug your students have been passing around all week.

That's not the start of a sore throat, I just talked a lot today. It's a caffeine headache. I am NOT getting sick.


2. By the time you get home, however, the truth has set in…you are officially sick.

 sick sigh ill flu GIF
Ok, I give up. I'm sick.


3. You briefly consider taking tomorrow off…but the thought of making sub plans is just too painful to contemplate seriously, so you go to bed. Maybe you’ll feel better in the morning…

Please, please, let me feel better in the morning...


4. You don’t feel better in the morning.



5. It’s too late to call in sick now, so you take every type of medicine you can find and head into school.

I'll just take two of each type and hope for the best.


6. All the medicine hits at once and you have a few class periods of feeling ok, but a bit spacey.

No, no...I'm fine. Everything just feels like it's on a 3-second delay is all...


7. The medicine wears off, but you still have half a day of teaching left.

 work amy poehler leslie knope everyday everything hurts GIF


8. Your fellow teachers start looking at you like you have the plague.

Not that you blame them, you hate when people come into work when they're sick too.


9. You find yourself Googling, “Could I have the plague?”

I have...a lot of these symptoms...hmm...


10. The day ends and you head home and collapse, hoping tomorrow you’ll feel better, because writing sub plans truly is just too terrible to contemplate. 

I'm just gonna lie down right here. No, no...I'm good. I just need to rest for a minute.


What's your least favorite part of being sick as a teacher? Let me know in the comments!



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Pocketful of Sunshine - An Easy, Memorable End of the Year Activty

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 / Leave a Comment



Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are all full of teachers posting their "End of the School Year Activities." We're all searching for that one gift, activity, or memento that will show our students just how much we enjoyed having them in our class this year (while also not costing a small fortune or taking forever to put together!). 

Well, it just so happens that I have an awesome one. A fantastic one. It costs next to nothing, takes almost no set up time, AND...I happen to know for a FACT that it's memorable, like serious, when you run into a student five years from now they will remember this activity kind of memorable.

How do I know, you ask?

I know that your students will remember this end of the year activity fondly for years to come because I still have my "bag of sunshine" from when my AP English teacher did this activity with my senior year English class...wait for it...20 years ago (shaking head in disbelief). 

Here's how it works:

1) Give each student in your class a brown paper lunch bag. While they decorate their bag with markers or crayons, write the name of each student in the class on the board.

This bag is 20 years old. It's practically a historical artifact!


2) Give the students slips of paper (about index card sized), and tell them to write a brief positive comment, memory, or message for the future for each classmate. They should sign it with their name (no anonymous messages!). It can be helpful to brainstorm some ideas for more generic messages for the students who didn't get to know each other very well (i.e. I hope you have a great summer!), as well as sharing some more meaningful ideas (i.e. a funny thing the student said that you remember, a time you worked in a group together, etc.). Make sure you write a note for each student too!


Mrs. Duprat isn't on Facebook. If she was, I'd share this picture with her and tell her how much it still means to me.


3) Have students set up their bags on their desks and then give them time to deliver their messages school Valentine's Day style. Once they've finished, give everyone time to take out their notes and read them!


I still smile every time I read them.


4) A few notes: 
  • If you're worried about inappropriate messages, set up the bags on a table or along a bookshelf and tell the students they will read them the following day. That will give you time to go through and make sure everything is positive and all messages made it to the correct bags.
  • Make sure you make a bag for yourself! You'll be pleasantly surprised at the thoughtful messages you receive.
  • If you love this idea, but want to make it even easier - check out the version I have listed on TeachersPayTeachers. It's very affordable, super cute, and has lots of helpful little tips for different grade levels.

And, if you're still on the search for more great end of the year activities, please check out the article I just wrote for WeAreTeachers on the subject!

5 Senior Graduation Gifts Teachers Can DIY







 

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5 Things all High School Teachers will Hear Before Summer Break!

Sunday, April 23, 2017 / Leave a Comment

5 Things all High School Teachers will Hear Before Summer Break!


The days are getting longer - I LOVE not having to drive to work in the dark only to leave my building in the dark like I do in the late fall and winter. The weather is getting warmer. Before we know it, summer will be here! Until then, however, we have to survive the next few weeks and the inevitable student questions the end of the school year brings. See if any of these sound familiar to you...

1. "Can you write down all the assignments I didn't turn in this marking period so I can do them before grades are due?"

And who exactly is going to be grading all of these assignments?


2. I've been absent for like, 6 days, did I miss anything?

 barack obama serious annoyed grumpy not amused GIF
Nope. We all just sat around talking about how much we missed you.


3. I figured out that I can fail everything else between now and the end of the year and still pass...

 movie smile love actually impressed satisfied GIF
Oh, actually that's sort of impressive...just don't be a jerk about it, ok?


4. What do I need to pass this class?

I'd start with a DeLorean and some plutonium...


5. Thank you/You're my favorite teacher/I'll always remember this class.
Oh, well...thanks. That's just....what? I'm not crying...that's just, I've got something in my eye.



What phrase you're sure to hear before summer vacation did I miss? Let me know in the comment section! 


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"13 Reasons Why" Is Unfair to Teachers...And We Should All Watch it Anyway

Thursday, April 20, 2017 / 2 comments
13 Reasons Why is Unfair to Teachers We Should All Watch it Anyway

Studying how teachers are portrayed by the media is sort of a hobby of mine (a weird one, I know). I’ve written about it here, and here…and a few other places, but I can honestly say that when I sat down to start watching Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why (based on the novel by Jay Asher), I had no intention of writing a blog post about it. I just wanted to see if it was worth the hype and hub-bub.

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Have a student that just won't stay awake? Try this!

Saturday, April 15, 2017 / Leave a Comment
Have a student that just won't stay awake? Try this!

So summer vacation is rapidly approaching, and as it does, I'm finding that one or two of my students (especially my seniors!) are finding it more and more challenging to stay awake during class. Unfortunately for them (and me!), we still have over 40 days left this school year, which means I have to figure out how to keep these guys and girls awake and ready to learn. 

I've got a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to sleepy students - and a few of them might seem like the opposite of what you'd expect a teacher to do. I've found, however, that if I follow these steps, the problem is resolved in a friendly and nonconfrontational way.

1. Wake them up!
I let my students know from the first day of class that I'll be waking them up every time they fall asleep. I don't say it in a mean way, I just make sure that they know that mine won't be the class where they sleep through the entire period. I will wake them up. Every time.

2. Do it nicely!
Don't be mean about waking up a sleeping student. It just invites confrontation, which wastes class time, or embarrasses the student, which damages the culture of trust you have been striving to build in your room. The pranks may be amusing, but do they solve the problem? Check out the video below and tell me what you think.



Yeah, that kid's totally not going to fall asleep in class again...right. 


3. Try to work it out together!
If it's a reoccurring problem, I bring the student in for a chat. Again, it's a friendly, nonconfrontational one. I let the student know that their behavior is not working in class - it's distracting and unfair to me, their classmates, and to them. I ask sincerely if anything is wrong, if they're getting enough sleep at home, if they need anything. This tends to disarm even the most argumentative student. I'm not angry, I'm worried; how can they be mad about that? I ask them for solutions and offer a few of my own (get a drink of water when you feel sleepy, stand and pace for a bit in the back of the room, eat a mint). By the end of the conversation I've asserted my position - no more sleeping, but I've asked for their help with this problem.

I wrote an article for Teachhub.com that explains a few other things I do after this point (including what happens when being nice doesn't work). I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think. Strategies for Dealing with Sleepy Students


How do you handle sleeping students? Tell us in the comments below!


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5 "A-HA" Moments From #TpTFlock17 - a TeacherPayTeachers Conference

Friday, April 14, 2017 / Leave a Comment
#TpTFlock17 Let's Rock the Flock
I'm there in the middle in green. No, not that one, the other one. On the right. 
MY right...oh never mind, just trust me, I'm in there.



A week ago, I was preparing to spend an entire day collaborating with a fairly sizable group of intensely motivated, bright, and dedicated individuals (see picture above). As an admitted Socially Outgoing Introvert this was both exciting and terrifying. 
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