Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Must-Read for Read Across America Day

A Must-Have Book for Read Across America Day!

Looking for a special book to read on March 2, Read Across America Day? Here it is!  Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote the Cat in the Hat is a MUST for sharing during Read Across America.  A must!  Written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes...a perfect pairing! You can tell this is a special book just by looking at the cover.  Isn't it fantastic?


Dr. Seuss is offered a challenge to write a perfect book using only words from the OFFICIAL LIST!  That's the Dolch List!  The kids love the the fact that Dr. Seuss had to study the same words as them.

Then he's offered a challenge to write a book using only 50 words...can he do it?  Can you say Green Eggs and Ham?  This whole book is such a unique take and will be the perfect book to share on Read Across America Day.  I checked mine out of the library today but you better hurry because as the day inches closer, his books will fly off the shelves. If you just NEED to own it, the link is below.  (Affiliate link which means I'd make a small commission.)

Here's a fun song you can share with the kids, too. Enjoy! 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Today is officially Random Acts of Kindness Day!  Are you looking for the perfect book to share with your class about Random Acts of Kindness? Look no further! I so wish we were in school today to read this but you can bet I'll be reading Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson and illustrated by Fumi Kosaka first thing in the morning.  It's an awesome read for ANY day of the year!

I discovered this book years ago because my very first book, Splashing by the Shore, was published by the same company.  (Gibbs Smith.) 

Mary is just having an ordinary day until she picks some blueberries for her neighbor.  Her small act of kindness sets off a chain reaction.  I love the way it all circles back to Mary!  This is a very special book and one that I truly love reading to my class.  The class loves seeing the story unfold and predicting what will happen next.

Last year, there was a sequel which I haven't yet read but it once again highlights how showing positivity and kindness comes back to you.  

I always read Mary and then show this video which makes me CRY each and every time I show it.  I show it a few times this week and then a few more times before school gets out. It's a bit hokey (especially the part where they put a quarter into teh meter..but there isn't any car parked there!)  but I'm hokey too.  I really love, love, love it!  Hits home how just one act of kindness can inspire you to pass it on.  You never know what will transpire just because you are kind to someone or smile at them.

10 Tips For a More Focused Writing Workshop

Out of everything I teach, I find writing to be the most challenging.  That sounds funny because I'm a children's author and I LOVE to write.  I seriously could write with my kids all day long!  But it's tough isn't it?  Getting all the kids to focus, generate topics, apply all the strategies your teaching and have them be able to produce a variety of genres?  Oh, my!  I've learned some tips and tricks that have worked for me and I hope you can take away a few for yourself. (An IGTV video is posted below if you rather watch it.)

10 Tips for a More Focused Writing Workshop

1. Write for an Audience

Kids are much more engaged and invested during Writing Workshop when they know they're writing for an audience and why they're writing for that person. It can be the class next door.  Their parents.  The principal.  Just like you tweak your teaching when you're getting observed, kids do the same.  I always tell them who we're writing for at the beginning of class and say, "At the end of class, I'll pick three sticks out of the jar who will share/read to the principal, etc."  This give them focus.  They sit up straighter. Their handwriting is a bit better.  Writing is more purposeful.  Editing is more thorough.

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2. Play Instrumental Music

When Spotify starts to play, I can see the kids relax and settle in.  A good playlist is a must!  I used to play nothing but classical music but I've been changing it up a lot but keeping it INSTRUMENTAL music.  No words.  I want my kiddos writing.  No time for boppin' along and singin' a song!  Check out a few Spotify playlists that will set the tone for your class.  My favorite?  Rock Lullabies featuring instrumental music of The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Queen and more! 

3. Stick to Writing...Schedule Your Coloring Time

Let's face it, most of my kids would spend the whole period (or two!) designing and coloring their covers in my current All About Book unit if I let them.  I need them to quickly sketch/plan and then write.  A lot. So in my classroom, the crayons come out when they're ready to publish the book. We call it Fix (edit) and Fancy (color) It Up Day.  Some kids, after story/book is finished, don't like their sketch anymore or decided they have a better idea for the pictures/cover.  No problem.  They simply cut out paper, draw new picture, and glue on top of the old picture.   Saving the coloring to the end of the book allows them to focus on writing...and finishing their stories.

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4. Kids Must Make a Plan

We plan for our lessons so it makes sense that kids need to plan for their writing.  Each. And. Every. Day.  I start my session off the same each day: Bring folders to the carpet and sit on them.  I then have my mini lesson and guided practice.  Before sending my kids back to write/incorporate the lesson into their writing, they do the same thing every day: Take out their folders, spend a few minutes sifting through stories and then making THEIR PLAN.  Do they decide to start a new story or continue with the one they are working on?  Are they pulling out a past story to revise and ADD the skill taught into it?  EXAMPLE: A child pulls out an old story and announces, "I'm going to go back and make my characters talk in this story."  (Lesson on adding dialogue.)  Before they get off the carpet, they must SHARE the plan with their writing partner.  There is NO GETTING OFF THE CARPET without a plan.  Seriously, this is a game-changer.  Kids are so focused and know what to do once they return to desks. *Often the plan in the beginning of the year is simply picking what to write about and telling the story across their fingers with partner. 

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5. Introduce Magic Words: Because and For Example

Nothing will help your children add destails to their stories faster than teaching them these words.  EARLY in the year.  Check out my earlier post on using BECAUSE.  FOR EXAMPLE is introduced just as early...around October.  We say FOR EXAMPLE in a fancy schmancy voice which the kids, of course, love.  So they enjoy using the words so they can say it all fancy-like as they read their writing.  So a typical story in September in my First Grade writers:  I had a party.  I got so many presents. It was fun. BECOMES: I had a party BECAUSE it was my birthday.  I got so many presents. For example, I got a Barbie, a journal and pencil, pajamas, and books.  It was fun BECAUSE everyone sang to me. So. Much. Better!  And almost effortless!

6. Provide Settle-In Time: Turn YOUR Voice Off

Once when I was observed, my mini-lesson was fine but as soon as they went back to their seats, I spoke non-stop like a voiceover: "Don't forget the date."  "Make sure  you have a sharp pencil."  "Don't forget to start your sentence with a capital letter."  After three minutes, I just felt that I was coming across as annoying and switched gears. After the lesson, I brought it up to her.  Of course she noticed and it made its way into my report.  Her advice:  Give the kids EIGHT minutes to settle in and write BEFORE I even circulate the room or speak.  Yep: She told me to basically shut up and she was spot on.  Eight minutes is a long time and too long for me but I do give them 5-6 minutes and it has made them more focused and and has made me feel less stressed.  It seems more respectful on my part too.  They deserve those minutes to think and get started in peace and quiet!

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7. Notice Good Writing When Reading

You read lots of books to your class...be sure to notice and comment on the techniques the author or illustrator uses.  Record them in a notebook.  For example, I recently read Bootsie Barker Bites. Immediately, I admired the title and repeated it slowly several times.  "Doesn't it make your ears tickle?  That's called alliteration.  What a fun technique to add to your stories."  Then I wrote alliteration in the book.  Some kids tried out the technique in their stories the next day.  A few who didn't, pointed out alliteration in another book we read.  Sometimes the kids will notice a technique used in a book and yell out, "That's good writing!  Put it in the book." Ahhh...music to my ears!

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8.  Have Them Show What They Know (QUIETLY!)

Each child has a small plastic trophy in their pencil cup.  Whenever they use a technique that they are proud of OR one I request they use, they simply put the trophy on their desk to alert me.  I love this nonverbal tool!  No more yelling out or getting out of their seats to show me their writing and distract others.  One scan of the room and I can see who has a proud moment and I make sure I make my way to see/read/discuss it.  Example: If you find a perfect spot for an ellipses today, use your trophy." Other times, it is something THEY used without prompting. Administrators love this! NOTE: This idea was adapted from Tammy at Forver in First.  Check out her post that inspired me.

9. Have Daily Editing Time 

I used to have them edit for "everything" everyday.  What was I thinking?  Now I pick ONE challenge to edit a day.  Maybe capitalize all Proper Nouns.  Or using Personal Word Walls to check over sight words.  I leave 2-3 minutes at the end of each session to edit and at this time of the year, several kids may even whip out a "finished" story to edit.

10. Share Prior Classes' Books With Your Class

Instant Mentor Texts FOR your class BY your class!  Winner winner chicken dinner! I simply photocopy them (in color) and read/display them for the kids so they can see expectations and reassure them that  they can do the same thing.  While I still model and create a book each year for them, it's so helpful to have a dozen examples as well.  And the kids LOVE seeing kid books! Check out one of the books I'm saving this year.  (Papers available here.)

If you found this post helpful, let me know or share it with a colleague.  I'd appreciate it! Here is the IGTV Video.  It's part of my 10 Under 10 Series: 10 Classroom Tips Under 10 Minutes.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

3 New Playlists for Your Classroom

Do you need some Instrumental Writing Workshop Music (Think Beatles! Queen! Sting! Simon & Garfunkel and another playlist for Broadway Instrumental songs!) or Disney Fun & Funky Dance Music (often remixes!) that's appropriate yet perfect for Brain Breaks? I just created the following playlists.  Follow me on my new Spotify account so you can access my latest playlists for school that are totally appropriate for your kids.

If you don't have Spotify and wondering if it's worth it, I say YES!  I pay premium so I don't have any commercials and can control 100% of what I listen to.  I was paying $9.99 a month but just upgraded to the family plan for around $15 a month.  If it fits into your budget, I'd say go for it!

And if you're looking for any paper for your Writing Workshop, this may fit the bill!

Hope your class enjoys the playlist as much as my kids do!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Valentine's Day Craft FREEBIE

Looking for a simple and sweet Valentine's Day Craft that is FREE?  Here it is. This Valentine's Day craft takes minutes to complete!  You just need this paper, glue stick, and paper to rip into little pieces.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Using Volunteers in Your Classroom

Using volunteers in my classroom has enabled me to focus more on teaching. I use them often in lots of different ways.  If you're feeling that it's too intrusive or you're simply not comfortable, I got you!  I list four ways to use them IN your classroom and six ways to have them volunteer at home.  Either way, volunteers can save you time and MONEY.  Read on! 

10 Ways To Use Volunteers In Your Classroom

1. Fluency Friends

Although I meet with my struggling readers every day, it’s never enough! Your struggling readers need eyes on print as much as possible to succeed. That's where FLUENCY FRIENDS comes in!  I've been using parents and school staff as Fluency Friends for years with success.  It's simply having your little ones reread their guided reading/pouch books to an adult so they can practice reading. The more practice, the more fluent they become.  Each child meets with their fluency Friend for about 7-10 minutes.  Does it make a difference?  You betcha!  Parents read with the kids in the hallway.  It’s not always struggling readers that need the fluency practice.

2. Manage Workstations / Centers

This is the one that is most often met with groans when I suggest it. Teachers often say, "I don't want them watching me teach."  For the most part, I can assure you they aren't watching you.  Maybe their child...but not you.   During Writing Workshop last year, I had the same parent come in for the 90 minutes period THREE times a week. She’d bring her THREE iPads with our apps (RAZ and EPIC among others) installed with her, act as a Fluency Friend, problem solve iPad/headphone problems (I had 8 of my own)  and set them up for next kids, refocus kids...you name it.  Me?  I got to meet, uninterrupted, with my guided reading groups. She was even there for an observation and my Supervisor couldn’t believe all she did that allowed me to be totally present in my group.  For math, I have my room in three zones: Math with Teacher, Math with Partner, Math with Self.  Sometimes Math with Partners gets loud.  My solution?  My volunteer monitored them in the hallway.  Having only two groups in the room was helpful. NOTE: See #6 on previous post about preparing your students for volunteers.

3. Class Photographer

Enjoy your parties and events without having to constantly snap photos. I usually have one that focuses on capturing pics of the kids AND printing out pictures for a bulletin board outside my room that says Picture Perfect. I upload photos on Twitter, use in newsletters and projects, and send link to Shutterfly home.  NOTE: I love outside pictures in fall/spring but hate giving up my lunch period to get them.  I get approval from school and have my volunteer to take these pics for me.  (They are always way more creative and fun than if I had taken them.)

4. Take Down Bulletin Boards

Such a mundane task but one that needs to be done.  I timed myself taking down one once.  Twenty-six minutes by the time I took it down, removed staples from everything and popped the art/writing into their mailboxes.  Time I could have spent doing something more important.  Let a parent do it.  NOTE: I made the mistake of having them in during a prep period once and I spent all my time chatting with them.  Not the best use of my time. Now I have them come in when I'm working with groups and kids have Stamina.  Nice and quiet. 

5. Library Liason

Looking to bulk up your classroom library?  Need books to support a unit? Obviously, visit your school library first.  But when your grade level needs the same books, you may need to head out to the Public Library.  But that's time consuming.  Let your Library Liason handle it.  Easy to implement: I send a list of GENERAL Topics I need and they go get them and deliver to my classroom. When I’m done with the books, I have them ready to go in the office for the parent to pick up and return. Sometimes my list would have specific titles and other times it looked more like: Books by Peter Brown, Snow-themed picture books, Animals that Hibernate Nonfiction and fiction.  It's sort of like Christmas morning when I see those bags of books arrive and I want to tear open the packages to see what I got!

6. Create Playlists

The first time a parent created a playlist for me was a surprise.  In my newsletter, I asked if anyone had any instrumental classical music I could borrow to use during Writing Workshop.  She sent in a collection of not only Mozart and Beethovan but instrumental Beatles and Simon and Garfunkle CD.  Awesome.  Yes, I know it's easier now with Spotify which I LOVE but it still takes time to curate the perfect list.  Need a list for Halloween?  Welcome Songs? Pump Up music?  Want current music but instrumental only?  Let your parent spend the time curating the perfect list.  Isn't that music to your ears?  NOTE: If the music is background while they work, stick to instrumental music so the kids don't start singing.  Save popular instrumental songs or real songs for other times like making art projects.

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7. Secretarial Work

Those Scholastic Magazines and Book Orders don't separate themselves!  Send home.  Easy.  I send home pencils to be sharpened, too. Yep.  Really.  I send home around 100 new pencils and they come back sharpened.  (Check to be sure they have sharpener)  Centers need to be cut out? Send home. Labels need to be made? Send home.  (Parent does template with names, shares via Google Drive, I print at school.)  Need a Friend Finder Contact List for class?  (Our PTO doesn’t provide.) Sending these tasks home doesn't mean you're lazy.  It means you are focusing on more important tasks like prepping lessons.

8. Make Holiday Games/Treats

Pinterest makes this so easy and you can prepare months ahead of time and let parents work at their own pace.  Know you need treats for Read Across America? Games for holiday party?  Link parents to popular boards and tell them to contact you if they can fulfill the request. I've gotten some adorable games that I never would have had (and can reuse year to year) had I not asked parents.  (Or send link with SPECIFIC things you want.)  Huge time saver and another thing to take off your plate. 

9.  Research new Class Trips

This doesn't always apply but if you are looking for a new destination or looking for some FREE resources that visit schools, ask a parent to help.  Example: You may have a new unit on space.  Have them research what's out there with some guidelines.  (Within 30 miles, can accommodate 50 kids, etc.)  I am not suggesting parents book trips but it takes so much research to find a trip and get all the required info, why not have them do the groundwork?  Even calling to ask if certain dates are open will save you 10-15 minutes.  Remember, Parent Volunteers are all about saving you time.

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10. Donate Needed Items

Some parents don't have time to volunteer in or out of school BUT still want to be involved.  These are usually the ones that send in requested items.  Lots of teachers I know ask for items at the beginning of the year only.  Not me.  I ask for things and usually get them throughout the year.  A former colleaaue once said, "But I feel guilty asking them to send things in."  Why?  It is FOR THE KIDS.  Not you.  I don't ask for things for me ever.  I simply state a class need. During my first ever BTSN, I mentioned I was looking for a classroom carpet to make room cozier.  I left at 10 pm.  When I walked into my room the next day, an apple green rug was already in place.  I was so touched!  I never thought to put it out there to parents and honestly was looking myself.  Who knew the family owned a warehouse full of carpets?  I didn't.  He not only saved me the time of searching for it and lugging it into the classroom but a ton of money!  And that's what DONATIONS for me come down to: Saving MONEY!  Spoons? Donate.  Games for Rainy Days? Donated.  I ask if anyone has specific games we can borrow.  Some parents buy for me to keep.  On a Friday email, I recently asked if anyone had any Valentine/heart erasers for center games.  On Monday, I got four packs gifted to MY KIDS. 

Parents are vital to my program.  It’s a true partnership.  Next time you are feeling overwhelmed or find yourself doing a time consuming task that adds no VALUE to your teaching day, source it out to one of your parent volunteers!

This post is part of my Ten Under Ten Series.  To see the video, click pic below. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Ten Under Ten (New Video Series!)

I am over-the-moon excited to launch my video series, "Ten Under Ten: 10 Teacher Tips Under 10 Minutes" on IGTV.  (That's Instgram's video platform.)  For those interested, I'll share the content here as well and embed the video.

My first topic:  "Ten Tips for New Teachers"   How did this end up as my first topic in February?  Lots of teachers are taking over classrooms this time of year and several of my friends in Australia are just starting their school year. So...drum roll please!

Ten Tips for New Teachers

1. Love, Honor, and Cherish...Your STUDENTS!

Awww...you do that already, right?  But you must let parents know that as soon as you send out your Welcome Letter that you are well aware that they are entrusting you with their PRIDE and JOY each day and that you take that responsibility seriously.  (It's true, isn't it?) Then tell them again during Back-to-School Night.  Live the words.  Believe them.  You are the keeper of their most prized possession for 6-8 hours a day.  That is an awesome responsibility.  Let them know that you teach as if YOUR OWN child is a student in front of you.

2. Ask and You Shall Receive

You're going to need a lot of things from your principal and administrators.  Speak up.  Ask!  But don't make it easy for them to simply say, "No."  In the video I speak about getting a new globe twice (in two different districts) when my colleagues didn't.  In the first case, my principal said, "Nope," until I whipped out the outdated globe and pointed to U.S.S.R  which had ceased to even exist years prior.  She was mortified and immediately ordered new globes for anyone who needed it.  (This included my colleague who failed to mention that fact.)  So come ready (facts, figures, prices) to JUSTIFY your requests.  I've had a very high success rate of getting items FOR MY STUDENTS (not me!) and teachers have pushed me into the Principal's door more than once to request items needed for the school.

3. Prepare for Spirit and Theme Days...NOW!

I wish I would have gotten a handle on this my first year.  Know you will have a TON of Spirit Days and often the same ones are recycled year after year: Crazy Hat Day, Crazy Sock Day, Crazy Hair Day, Favorite Book Character, Disney Day, Inspirational T-Shirt Day...you get the idea.  Start your collection NOW instead of buying it the day before from Amazon. No need to switch up your theme day hats/shirts, etc., each year. That gets expensive. Get a really cool hat and only wear it that one day of the year and it will bring back fun memories.  NOTE: Keep items at school so you always have them there!  No forgetting at home!  (I know I rather take up some school space than my personal closet for all of this junk. fun stuff,

4. Use Parent Volunteers

Don't be shy! Volunteers have been instrumental in allowing me to deliver my instruction successfully without a million interruptions. I have had so many amazing volunteers who are on the ball.  (One even brought her TWO iPads to use during Reading Workshop and had our apps downloaded.  How amazing is that??? )   You might be thinking, "If only I could be sure they'd be a GOOD volunteer!"  Well, you can. Sort of!  First off, you must TRAIN your volunteers.  Tell them exactly what you need/expect from them.  (I go as far as saying (nicely, of course!)  that if they're standing around with their arms folded, it isn't helping.)  Dip your toes in by trying this:  Ask for volunteers for 1-2 sessions ONLY.  Get a feel for them.  If awesome, ask them to extend their help.  If a clunker, no hard feelings because you only asked for an hour or two in the first place!  No hard feelings because they'll never know! (Next week, my Ten Under Ten is about how I use my volunteers!  Stay tuned!)  

5. Secretaries (and Custodians) Rock!  (But Know Their Allegiance!)

My dad was a Principal/Superintendent for many years.  He loved his custodians and secretaries and admitted that they often were his eyes and ears and practically ran the school. You know it's true! They have the Principal's ear.  As they should! Example: In my old school, one prospective teacher was so rude on the phone to our sweet secretary and well...you know how that turned out for the new graduate.  No job!)  So here is my point: You may LOVE your secretary.  Be good friends with her.  Share personal info.  BUT, at the end of the day, her allegiance is WITH THE PRINCIPAL as it should be.  This is a true story that might provide more insight:  Teacher excited because she's taking a trip to Disney and will miss two days of school. Calling out sick. She tells close friends.  Secretary is one of them.  After school, principal excited but worried about Field Day coming up. "I wish I knew if anyone was going to be out because I'm worried about subs.  If I need one and can't get one last minute, it will cause such a problem.  Secretary:  (Not being malicious!) Well I shouldn't say this but (insert name!) if going to be out."  See the problem? Proceed with caution.  Honestly, I cannot tell you how much this happens.  I can give you at least a dozen of examples!  

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6. Prepare Kids for Volunteers

Whether they're party helpers or volunteering for centers, you MUST prepare the kids!  SET EXPECTATIONS especially for the ones whose parents are coming.  Want to now how a sweet, well-behaved child can turn into a monster? Invite her parent in to help out!  Seriously, this happens often unless you prepare them. Don't let it happen.  Go over expectations and review them often ESPECIALLY right before the parents arrive.  I like to tell my kids that it's "Business as Usual" and tell them that I am still in charge.  We act out scenarios so we don't get a glimpse of the whiny, clingy child who wants all of the their parent's attention. I also don't allow kids to run up to parents when they arrive (a simple wave is good) because usually we're in the middle of something.  A hug good-bye is always a good thing, though!  NOTE: Be sure to discuss/set expectations for the parent leaving, too. Some kids will ask parents if they can LEAVE with them.  This could be after a 9am volunteer session.  Some parents will cave and be like, "Okay."  Um...NO WAY!  Be clear with parents and students at all times and your kids will be on their usual good behavior when parents visit. (Pre-arranged leaving after afternoon party?  Sure!  But again, I discuss with child because sometimes they don't want to leave.  So if I know it's happening, I make sure the child knows the expectations.)

7. Keep A Stash of Supplies for YOU

Advil, lotion, deodorant, extra clothes...whatever you may need!  It took me about 10 years and many "Oops, I forgot to ..." moments to do this! Keep a bag, box...whatever you need.  True story: Once I was driving to school with my kids with me (went to my school) and I happen to glance in the rear view mirror and realized I forgot to put on makeup!  Who FORGETS to do this?  (Me.  TWICE)  I quickly pulled into a Walgreens, got the kids out of the car, and dropped 20-30 bucks on makeup.  I've also had to borrow extra socks, a sweatshirt after spilling tea, and once left at lunch on BTSN because I forgot deodorant. While there, picked up a toothbrush and toothpaste so I could use before my presentation.  Wasted time and money.  So, be prepared!

8. Don't Discuss Other Students with Parents

This is surely a no-no but some parents are pretty crafty at trying to get you to spill the beans.  If a child had a problem with another child, they often want to hear how the other child was punished. I simple say, "I can assure you that it has been addressed" or "Our administration is handling this and they'll be in touch."  Some parents can be nosy when they simply make an observation: "I was surprised when Jimmy was at my house.  I did homework with the boys and was so surprised when he couldn't read the book you sent home."  UGH.  This has happened!  This burns my toast.  Feel free to use my reply that shuts them right down: "I would never discuss your child with another parent so, respectfully, please don't ask me to share private information about another child with you."  Harsh?  No.  Pure truth. 

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9. Find Your Marigold

Positivity is a must BUT we all need to vent from time to time.  I am a firm believer in finding your ONE person to share YOUR ALL with.  Your ride and die person.  You might be thinking, "Well my whole team is great!" or "My entire staff is trustworthy."  I am sure they are.  But sharing ALL with EVERYONE never ends up well.  It eventually leads to gossip.  (And if you share something and it gets out, you will have no idea who the blabbermouth is.)  Read the article, Find Your Marigold, by Jennifer Gonzales.  Awesome.  Beautifully said.  TRUE is every way!

Find Your Marigold

10. Welcome Parents into Your Classroom Community

Not to volunteer but to participate!  Why not?  Let them see ALL THE AWESOMENESS you possess.  You rock it, friend.  Let them see it! I have an open invitation to join us for Morning Meeting.  Morning Meeting is an intentional invite. It has a definite start time and finish time and at 20 minutes, is a good amount of time to have them in.  Easy in and out! I tell kids when they arrive, it's BUSINESS AS USUAL.  Besides having an extra member in our circle (sitting with their child, of course.) I don't change a thing.  I do my meeting as usual: Greeting, Share (usually academic), Activity, and Message.  I do allow the child to pick the activity that day.  It happens so fast, parents love it, and it's GREAT PR for you.  They will seriously go home and tell everyone they know how impressed they are that their child has a ROCK STAR teacher.  YOU!  Seriously, we manage 20-25 kids and whip seamlessly through our Morning Meeting each and every day. But to see it in action is VERY IMPRESSIVE and guess what???  Remember when you told them that you are well aware that they are sending their PRIDE and JOY to YOU each day?  And that you TEACH like it's your own child in the classroom?  Well they will now SEE IT.  BELIEVE it.  Sprinkle that Fairy Dust, friend!  You create magic each and every day.  Show the world. And if that doesn't gain you serious heaps of respect and strengthen the Home-School connection, nothing else will!
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Were you able to take away a few tips here? I sure hope so! 

Leave a comment if you have any other tips and please share this post with any new teachers in your school. We're all in this TOGETHER! 

Interested in seeing the video, click on it!

NEXT WEEK: Ten Tips To Use Parent Volunteers