Friday, 8 May 2015

Dear Teacher, You Made A Difference In My Life

Dear Teacher, You Made A Difference In My Life
I'm linking up with some teacher-bloggers who are also writing a letter to a teacher.  You can see their links below.

Teacher's heart quote

Teachers play such an important role in not only a child's life but also an adult's life.

Think about a teacher that has impacted you when you were a child and how they changed your life.

Do you work with someone who has changed you as a teacher or as a mother/father?

Is there a teacher in your child's life that has been pivotal in your child's development?

For me, I will never forget my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Rouland. 

You see I was a very shy child, I never talked much, was always scared of adults, and generally lacked confidence and initiative.  Many times I felt very invisible and that things were too hard.  I grew up in a home where one parent.. let's just say, didn't know how to be a parent.  I was very scared of men and unsure what to say, in case I were to upset them.  Mr. Rouland changed that for me and I have never forgotten him to this day.  Mr. Rouland is still at the same school I went to 28 years ago!  In fact, he is the principal.  I would love to see him again one day to tell him in person, what he means to me.

Dear Teacher, You Made A Difference In My Life

Dear Mr. Rouland, You Made A Difference In My Life 
25 thank you letters to teachers who left their mark.

Dear Mr. Rouland,

I remember our classroom from all those years ago.  We were on the second floor, and our big windows overlooked the playground and the huge bridge into our school.

I remember the way that you conveyed to us daily, that you loved the space and the children who occupied it.  You were always so happy and enthusiastic, a trait that told me I was safe.  In the previous years leading up to 5th grade,  I was timid and withdrawn and never felt like I was part of something bigger, acknowledged, or really helped when I needed it.  Everything changed when I got to your class.

  You actually took notice of me and saw that I wanted to be part of the class but didn't know how to.  You acknowledged me and smiled, listened, asked questions and generally made me feel excited to be in the classroom.  You saw when I was struggling and knew I wouldn't ask for help, because I didn't know how to.  You helped me when I was too scared to ask for assistance.  You made me feel important.

As I slowly accepted you, being the not so scary male figure, I began to open up and talk more.  I remember I was more willing to engage with other older males in my life and it was because I was learning that not everyone was mean, angry and scary. I was even acknowledging the change in myself and wondering why, I never talked more in the past.

I remember the day you decided to make a cubby (fort) over the book corner area using old blankets.  I wasn't much of a reader at the time because I lacked so much confidence, but when I saw that cubby house, I knew I just had to get in there!  I found that I loved books and would always try to get in there, just to be reading!  I had always been an avid cubby house builder at home.  My mum let us use old blankets and sheets in the yard and my best friend, Alison and I would build and play in them for hours, creating our own little world.  You made the classroom homey and safe and I was able to access learning on so many levels because of that. This would influence my philosophy as a teacher in the years to come.

The big turning point for me was the day we had an art project.  I knew I enjoyed art, as most kids do, but again, I lacked confidence.  I recall we had to draw something, I can't remember exactly what it was, but I drew it inside a bottle.  I remember, really thinking about how I was going to draw it in a different way.  Then when I took the picture to you at your desk, and the look on your face (I have tears) was so proud, so happy, and so excited to see the drawing that I had created, I melted.  I was so happy, that you liked it and that you stopped to actually smile, talk to me about it and acknowledge a glimmer of talent.  I felt important and so very happy.  I knew I would pursue more arty things because of that experience, and I did.  Right there in that moment, was why I decided to become a teacher.  In hindsight, it was probably because of all the things you did.

I decided to become a teacher because I knew I could help.  I knew that acknowledging children for who they are, and really seeing them, giving time to them and seeing them smile was how I could help them be their best selves.  This was to become my teaching pedagogy.  Never would I ignore a child, instead I aim to build them up.  I know how important to is to their spirit to acknowledge children in the moment.  Sometimes you are all they have or need.

Thank you Mr. Rouland for shaping me into the teacher I am. I will never, ever forget you.

Love, Emma (Foster) Farrell

This is just one of many thank you letters to amazing teachers.

Check out more than a dozen other heartfelt letters of thanks to teachers who made a difference. Better yet write one of your own and share it with me or try to track that teacher down and send it to them!

 by Bare Feet On The Dashboard

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Teacher Appreciation Sale and 5 Ways to Save

Teacher Appreciation Sale and 5 ways to Save

Yup, it's that time of year again, it's Teacher Appreciation Week and teachers are celebrating by catching bargains on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Everything in my store will be 20% off plus going through checkout with the CODE: thankyou (one word) will get you another 10% off. 

Clever Classroom

I have been working on a variety of interactive, hands-on resources and have a bunch more on the way.  

These three resources can be used with any word list

Children use their bodies to interact with the word which is so much fun, and is a great way for true learning to occur. 

Interactive Reading Sticks for any Word List

Interactive Reading Sticks for any Word List

Interactive Reading Sticks for any Word List

Interactive Reading Sticks - Read it and do it {for any word list}

Interactive Reading Sticks - Read it and do it {for any word list}

Interactive Reading Sticks - Read it and do it {for any word list}

Interactive Reading Sticks - Read it and do it {for any word list}

Interactive Reading Sticks - Read it and do it {for any word list}

Interactive Word Spots for any Word List {Editable}

Interactive Word Spots for any Word List {Editable}

Interactive Word Spots for any Word List {Editable}

Interactive Word Spots for any Word List {Editable}

Interactive Word Spots for any Word List {Editable}

Interactive Word Spots for any Word List {Editable}

During the sale: 

1.  Leave feedback on all your purchases to gain TpT credit, which translates into money off your next purchase. Read more here

2. Use CODE: thankyou in checkout on May 5th and 6th (US Eastern Time). 

3. Look for the stores and the products on sale. 

4. Shop for bundles, they are already discounted and grabbing them on sale gives you an even bigger discount. Click here for our bundles all in one place. 

Bundled and discounted downloads

5. Watch the timer at the top of every Teachers Pay Teachers page. 

Here are some of our resources that might come in handy. 

This End of the Year Memory Book is for K-1 and is one our top seller!

The file is full of printables and has a bucket load of activity ideas for individuals, small and large groups. 

End of Year Memory Book and Activities K-1 Unit

End of Year Memory Book and Activities K-1 Unit

End of Year Memory Book and Activities K-1 Unit

Our Classroom Organization file has more than 70 files and is currently 50% off minus 20% for the sale and 8% with code thankyou in checkout. 

Classroom Organization Super Mega Pack

Classroom Organization Super Mega Pack

These Comprehension Prompts will get your students writing. 

Comprehension for Kindergarten: Differentiated Writing Prompts

Comprehension for Kindergarten: Differentiated Writing Prompts

Comprehension for Kindergarten: Differentiated Writing Prompts

Comprehension for Kindergarten: Differentiated Writing Prompts

Printables for any Word List is a great time saving file and a staple for your literacy program. 

Printables for any Word List

Printables for any Word List

Printables for any Word List

Printables for any Word List

Printables for any Word List

Here's on more way to save!

You could win yourself a $25 TpT gift certificate. 

Gift Certificate TpT $25

Enter below for your chance to win. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Purpose of your Facebook Page, and how Knowing it can Grow it

Are you trying to grow your Facebook page?  Are you feeling a little frustrated with the Facebook changes?  Do you need a plan to grow your page beyond what you're doing? Why is your Facebook page not working for you?

Social Media Tips and Tricks
I am teaming up with my bloggy friend, Emily over at Education to the Core to bring you a social media series called, Social Media Tips and Tricks.

Our series aims to help you grow your social media platforms.  I will be sharing my ideas on how to grow your Facebook page whilst Emily will open doors on how you can grow your blog.

Additionally, towards the end of the series, we will explore both Pinterest and Instagram and how it can help to grow your business. 

When will this be happening? Over the next few months, Emily and I aim to cover everything you need to help grow your social media platforms. We will each post fortnightly on our area of expertise (Emily; blogging, myself; Facebook).  This is the first week in our series.  Just in case you miss the next posts, you can follow our blogs:  Click here to follow Clever Classroom.  Click here to follow Education to the Core. ***

If you're looking for a recipe to grow your social media platforms, then you have come to the right place!

Facebook Tips and Tricks

 Here's my (Clever Classroom) Facebook link.

Emily and I welcome any comments and questions along the way. 

What tips and tricks will you focus on? The Facebook landscape has dramatically changed in the past 18 months.  To grow our pages we must change too. I will be taking a closer look at Facebook for businesses.  
I know that having a successful Facebook page is a recipe of many things done consistently. Growing your Facebook page has many parts to it or, if you like, many ingredients. I will be looking at the purpose of your page, content, insights (data), frequency and timing, interaction, driving traffic and community.

Shouldn't I just pay to boost?  Facebook has made it harder for business pages to function in the past year.  I feel your pain.  Our reach and interaction have been squashed by their ever changing algorithms.  They are a clever bunch!  Many businesses both small and large, have been forced to pay to boost posts.  I was told by a marketing company who wanted to charge me $10,000 that I needed to do that, even though my page was growing just fine.  I'm glad I ignored their advice!  I refuse to pay for advertising, call me crazy but I just can't do it!  I have never done it but if you have had ongoing success with paying for posts, I would love to hear about it.  I know that you can grow your page without paying!  You just have to be consistent and have the right information.

I invite you accept the challenge of taking your Facebook page to the next level. 

Grow your Facebook Page: How to take it to the next level

Here's what I will cover in the Facebook blogging series. 

Facebook:  A recipe for growth

Facebook: a recipe for growth

Purpose:  The Purpose of your Facebook Page, and how Knowing it can Grow it? 

Content: How the right content will help grow your page?

Insights: Are my stats really that important? 

Frequency and Timing: How often and when should I post? 

Interaction: I don't have time to interact with fans.  It's not that important!  Is it? 

Driving Traffic to my blog:  How do I get people to my blog?

My Community: Why should I be a part of my community of bloggers?

Growing your Facebook page: a blogging series

Some of these points will be posted in one post, the others will be combined. 

Week One:

What is the Purpose of my Facebook page? 

What is the purpose of your Facebook page and how will this help to grow it.
The Purpose of your Facebook Page, and how Knowing it can Grow it

Grab a piece of paper and get ready to map out your Facebook plan!  

Define the purpose of your Facebook page.  Your blog and or Facebook page might be all about working out, education, healthy eating, cars, photography, or scrap booking but what is special about your Facebook page? 

For me, I am a teacher-blogger and I choose to post about what I am passionate about.  What are you passionate about?  Grab a pen and write down a few things that you're passionate about in your area.

How to grow your Facebook page I Clever Classroom

What are your interests?  This may be closely linked to your passions but they can be different. For example, I am passionate about social skills, learning to read, writing, school readiness and play.  I am interested in the brain, the psychology of learning and teaching strategies. Your interests might also be things that you haven't yet looked in to, but want to. 
Write down a few things that you are interested in. 

What are you good at?  Write down a few of your strengths in your specific area (e.g education, fitness) that you are good at. You know you can do it!

Have a look at your lists.  Do you blog about, or does your website represent what you post about on Facebook?  Is there a clear link that tells the audience what you are about? 

Now that you have a list of things that you're passionate about, interested in and are good at, you have the first part of your recipe ready!

You have a clearer picture of what you're all about, this is now the magnet to which you will attract your fans.  You will aim to attract like-minded thinkers to your page.  You don't really want people that have little in common with you.  Do you?

I am not business trained but from experience, the points you have noted above are one part of your brand.  Your brand sets you apart from others and makes you unique within the marketplace.  In the business world, this is known as your USP; Unique Selling Proposition.  What's your USP?  What is unique about your business?  Do you have a niche?  Can you offer something via your skills (your strengths), interests and passions?  What do you do better than others? What does your business value?  What are your core business values?
Take a minute to write down your USP. Place it in the middle of your page.

Now that you have made it all about you, let's change our thinking!

Is the purpose of your page all about your business?  

Or is the purpose of your page all about your fans? 

If you guessed the latter, you are correct! Remember that your Facebook audience is different from other audiences.  You need to have their needs at the front of your mind as you formulate your posts.  I will discuss this in depth next fortnight.

How to grow your Facebook page

Yes, you will include your passions, interests and things you're good at but these are a means to make it all about your fans.  You want your fans that connect with your messages. Once your fans feel like they can connect with your page, they will stick around. 

In my opinion, your Facebook page IS NOT a platform for you to stand on and scream, "Look at me." Nope, not even close! Is this really your purpose?  Is this what you want to be known for? Is this your magnet to which customers will come back? 

Your Facebook audience will follow you because they engage with your message.  If your consistent message is buy me, this is on sale, grab this now, hurry it's for you, I'm having a sale, then this will get old, real quick.  Gone are the days where it's all sell, sell sell.  Don't get me wrong, sales, discounts, giveaways are GREAT, but they are not the hero of your recipe! 

Know your audience!  If your purpose is all about how to buy your products/services then that's what fans will see in their feed each day.  Do people come to Facebook to be sold stuff?  Why do you click on your news feed each day?  This is why your Facebook audience is very different to your blog or Pinterest audience.

Now that you have started your Facebook recipe for growth, come back in a fortnight (or follow this blog) to add to your growing plan.  Don't forget to bring your written plan too, we will be adding to it. 

I will be discussing content.

Week 2: "How the right content will help grow your page?"

Next week, Emily from Education to the Core will be will be discussing; "How an Image Can Drive Your Traffic."

Education to the Core

You might also like to follow our Pinterest board; Social Media Tips and Information.

Social Media Tips and Information

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Ideas to Help Littlies Line up

Are you finding that you're spending lots of time waiting for your students to line up?

Tried almost everything to help them get in line?

Ideas to Help Littlies Line up

Below are 21 ideas that may help your students learn to line up.  

Ideas for Helping Littlies Line up
Image from Mara Marie. Thanks Mara! 

How about these ideas then? 

1. When I taught Kindergarten and first grade, I tried many things. Take a photo of them lining up with mouths closed, still bodies and eyes looking ahead.

2. Tell your students that they are on a train and they have to be careful not to fall out.

3. Use a wink!  Wink at students who are in line and bring them to the front as leaders. the next time you line up, those who had trouble should remember to stay in line.

4. Praise the heck out of those students who are doing what is expected of them.

5. Make a class book on how to line up.  Use photos or have children illustrate the book.

6. Use plastic people or dolls to model how to line up with students who have trouble.

7. Create a chant with the class.

8.  Whisper instructions.

9. Learn a poem or song. "My arms are by my side, I'm standing straight and tall.  Eyes ahead, voices off.  I'm ready for the hall." This poem is by Megan Nichols.  I use to whisper; "Eyes to the ceiling, eyes to the floor, eyes to the door and eyes to me, let's go walking, no, no talking." It worked like a charm with K-1.

Here are some more songs your students can learn to help with lining up.

10. Mystery walker.  Pick a student's name but don't tell them. Watch them whilst they are walking and if they do a good job they are either praised or rewarded with a positive consequence or even a prize. Variation - Secret walker.  Choose 3-4 students (don't tell them) as you look up and down the line. Tell your students you have chosen x students as your secret walkers.  If students are starting to get unsettled, explain that you are checking on your secret walkers. When you get back to your classroom, use your behavior management rewards to acknowledge the children that were great walkers.  You may only pick one or two of the secret walkers. (Mary Smith McGraw)

11. Hugs and bubbles. Students hug themselves and catch a bubble in their mouth. (Tanja Bullins).

12. Hips and lips or buttons and duck tails.  Hips and lips; students place a hand on their hips and a finger on their lips.  Buttons and duck tails; students place a finger on their lips and a hand behind their backs as they walk.  these are great for Pre-K and Kindergarten as they need concrete instructions.

13. Try using language for different areas of the classroom and school.  You might like to describe these as quiet zones and talking zones. (Lisa Horton Messner)

14. Have students act out an animal or object like a mouse, a tree.  Have them think about how that animal or object would move and the sound that it does/doesn't make.  (Erica Shetler Watters)

15. Watch when children are doing the right thing and praise, praise, praise.

16. Flip and zip. wait until everyone has their mouths closed and no noises are coming out.  (Kristi Phillips Stutsman)

17. Use feet prints on the floor.  Adhere colorful feet to the floor with clear, thick tape or contact.  Children will know exactly where to line up each time. (Tanja Bullins).

Ideas for Helping Littlies Line up
                                        Image from Tanja Bullins, Thanks Tanja!

Click here to download your free feet template (different to the feet seen in the image above).

FREE feet/footprint templates for lining up from Clever Classroom

18. Line up in alphabetical order.  this should prevent arguing from the outset. Change the starting letter so that the leaders names begin with a letter other than a.  Theresa Hazard

19.  Discuss how and why we line up in a certain way. Have a general discussion about our responsibilities and expectations when we line up. make an anchor chart where appropriate.

This first day of school discussion really does set the scene.  To add to this, i would make a chart that lists the characteristics of a student who can line-up and walk quietly.  You might like to list five points and call it, "A 5 Star student lines up:" (include 5 stars and write points).

20.  Maintain classroom expectations.  Explicitly teaching the micro steps to line up is important but it is equally important to maintain the level of expectation so that you aren't wasting valuable instructional time. Any of the above ideas will help students remember what is expected of them.  here is a video that looks more in depth at the 5 components of expectations in the classroom.

21. Think about how you an individualize the skills needed for lining up.  Many of the above ideas will help with that.  Some children will need more one-on-one support with this.  You might like to help them write a recount after you have taken photos.  You may also need to make short term goals and objectives with them.  This could be done with a simple picture that you label together and co-construct a sentence(s) to match. For an on the spot idea, allow the student to own the situation by allowing them to search for three people who are doing the right things.  He/she could give high-fives to those students.  Alternatively, they could help you at the front by looking for students along the way that are spectacular walkers!

Lining up Videos

To see the entire video list, go to my 'Lining Up' YouTube Playlist. 

It can be hard for little ones to learn social skills and specifically how to line up, how you expect them too. 

Good luck with these strategies!  If you have another strategy, please leave it in the comments below and I will add it to the list for you.  

Let me know how you go with your students after using these ideas. 

For more help with classroom management ideas, you might like our Social Skills book list or our post on Classroom Management, Legos Style or even our Social Skills COMBO. 

Books that Teach Social SkillsClassroom Management, Legos Style  

Social Skills Flippy Books with Manners/Expectations Posters COMBO  

FREE Class Attention Grabbers from our Facebook Fans

For even more social skills ideas, visit our Pinterest board; Social Skills. 
Social Skills Pinterest board

Don't forget to download your free feet templates!

FREE feet/footprint templates for lining up from Clever Classroom