Sunday, March 8, 2015

Easy Bulletin Board Ideas

My biggest tip to ANY teacher out there...don't do holiday bulletin boards! I am talking about those hallway ones that are on show for everyone to see. I repeat...DO NOT DO HOLIDAY BULLETIN BOARDS. (Sorry for screaming that in all caps, but I want you to know that I really mean it.) I know you just saw this amazing bulletin board idea on Pinterest that you are dying to do, but I am warning you now...stay away. 
I must admit that when I first started teaching, I too fell into the holiday bulletin boards trap. That is exactly what it is, a TRAP because they look so darn cute. I have since changed my ways, however. 

Today my bulletin boards are strictly content driven that could be left up for any holiday. I may occasionally throw in some seasonal decor or colors to spruce up the bulletin board, but that is it. The rest is content.  

Now, before I show you some of my latest creations, I must tell you the main reason I have such despise against the holiday bulletin board. No, I am not a Grinch and I promise that I spread my fair share of holiday cheer, but I simply cringe at the sight of ghosts for Thanksgiving, turkeys for Christmas, and Santas for Valentine's Day. Oh and let's not forget the "Welcome Back to School" bulletin boards still up at Halloween! I get it, teachers are busy. Really busy and, frankly, it is more important to plan amazing lessons and teach the students, than it is to figure out the next bulletin board. But let us not forget...bulletin boards are important too! They showcase your students finest work and give a glimpse into what is happening in your classroom. 
With that being said, strategically plan out your bulletin boards. Realistically, bulletin boards can stay up for 6-8 weeks. This means you need about 5 good bulletin boards a year. If it is two weeks before Christmas, don't hang up a Santa writing project in the hallway. Put something up, that can stay up throughout January. Make them good and make them count. Now, here's to hoping you can get some inspiration with these easy bulletin board ideas. 

Here are my latest bulletin boards combined with a few neat bulletin boards by my fellow teachers...

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Help Break a Guinness World Record!

During the last week in January, my students participated in The Great Kindness Challenge. I gave them all checklists of random act of kindness that they could do throughout the week and I loved seeing the kindness spread! You can read more about The Great Kindess Challenge here.
You might also want to check out my blog about this week last year.  You can check it out here.

The Great Kindness Challenge is also doing something special this year!  They are trying to break a Guinness World Record for the largest collage of cut-out handprints!  The current record for the largest collage of cut-out handprints is 30,006 and was achieved by the Scout Association at Baden-Powell House, London, UK, on 10-23-07. 

Well, you can bet that I got my school involved!  Here are some of my students' handprints before they were boxed and mailed in...

My school gathered 407 hands, but it not too late for you to be part of this!  Here are the complete directions on how to participate. 
Just register your school and have your students create kindness handprints!  Handprints must be post marked by the end of the week.
Fingers crossed that we break the Guinness World Record!  No matter what, each handprint is a reminder that kindness matters. :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Have You Ever Wanted to Become a Principal?

I have always had this inner desire to become a principal. Soon after I accepted the fact that I probably wasn't going to become the first women President of the United States, I had my eyes set on being a principal. Despite sounding completely cheesy, I guess one could say I was destined to become a leader.

Officially, my teaching journey began as I accepted my first teaching position 10 years ago. I became a preschool teacher in my home town. I loved the kids, I did not love the pay. I wanted more respect and better income. I knew that I wasn't going to find it there and I knew deep down that I need to try something new. 

Las Vegas almost fell into my lap. If I have realized one thing in my life, when opportunities land in your lap, take them and do anything in order to make them happen. Las Vegas wasn't an opportunity that I was going let slip by and I decided to give it a try. I told myself that I could survive anything for a year. I told myself that if it didn't work out, that I could always move back home.

Well, Las Vegas did work out! I taught 9 wonderful years with the Clark County School District (CCSD) in kindergarten, first, second, and fourth grades. I was able to travel to over 20 countries with the People to People organization. I have met some amazing people throughout this journey including my wonderful husband. I have worked extremely hard to become a National Certified Teacher. I discovered Teachers Pay Teachers and it has shaped me into a better teacher with my world-wide connections and passion for blogging.

If all that wasn't enough, I still had that inner desire to become a principal. That's when I received information about a new cohort program at University of Las Vegas (UNLV). It was a Masters in Urban Leadership and right away I knew it was the program meant for me. I was thrilled with the part of it being a cohort program because I would get to work closely with a small group of people. I also liked the idea of Urban Leadership. I have experienced so much different cultures with all my traveling and this was the opportunity to explore this concept further. It was just a good fit. Therefore, I put my eyes on the prize.

The application process was not easy and I had a lot of competition, but I went into the interview with nothing to lose. I put it all out on the table and really showed them who I was. Fast forward a few months and, guess what...I made it into the program!

Now, the real fun begins ;)

I had my first class on Saturday. I am about to go complete my first assignment and write a reflection of class one, but I wanted to get it all on here first. After the class on Saturday, they held a night reception for all the cohort members, principals, mentors, and important administration from UNLV and CCSD. I felt honored to be at a such a nice gathering. Here are some snapshots from the night...

 Here I am with a fellow co-worker and dear friend, Melanie Boyer, who also made it into the program. In the middle is my current principal, Dr. Cailin Ellis. She is always motivating me to be better and was huge supporter of me getting into the program!

 Here is the whole group. In the front left is our superintendent, Pat Skorkowsky. He is very down-to-earth and gave a truly inspiring speech.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit of me personally today. What an exciting journey this is going to be!  Any bits of advice is surely welcomed! :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Make a Compliment Jar

A co-worker told me about an amazing idea a few weeks ago and it was one of those ideas that I just had to implement immediately.  I introduce to you...
the compliment jar!

So, here is how it works...
Every morning the students come in and pick a chip with someone else's name on it.  **eyes closed**  Then, they put the chip they picked in their pocket (or shoe for those with no pockets).  Sometime throughout the day, the student will give a compliment to the person whose name is on their chip.  It is really important that they never reveal whose name they had for the day and at the end of the day, the chips get returned into the basket.

These little "random" acts of kindness really spread the love around the classroom!

Want to make your own?
So, easy!
All I did was write every student's name on a chip.  I used red/yellow chips that I had several of, but poker chips or any small item could also be used.

Then, place them in a small container so students can pick a name everyday!  That's it!

1. I am going to transfer the names to labels instead of using a sharpie because names sometimes rub off the red/yellow chips.
2. Start with a few reminders including remembering to keep it secret, remembering to give a compliment without revealing you picked that person's chip, and remembering to return the chips at the end of the day.  With these little reminders in the beginning, it will become routine without much effort.
3. Include your name and the teacher will pick a chip everyday too!

Good luck making your compliment jar!  
Seeing the kindness being spread across the room = priceless.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Jump Into January Blog Hop ~ Grab New Year's FREEBIES!

I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday!  Now, it is time to get some well deserved sleep and start the New Year off right!  This "Jump Into January" blog hop will help you with that.  :)

Hop around to grab the no/low prep freebies, and then enter to win an Amazon gift card at the end of the hop!

I'm the #7 stop!

Here's my NO prep freebie to use your first week back!  Broken calculator will start your math lessons off right!  It is ideal for grades 3-5.

Enjoy :)

If you love this freebie, you can check out the whole pack by clicking the picture below.  It's on SALE from now until the end of the blog hop!

Now hop on over to the next stop by clicking the button below!  Also don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter over at The Teaching Tribune (it will be your last stop).  Good luck winning the Amazon gift cards and I hope we made going back to school after break a little bit easier!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mirrors to the Future!

I absolutely love walking the hallways of other schools to get ideas.  Looking at other peoples' work sparks creativity in me and I rarely leave a school without an idea that I want to implement in my classroom.  Well, last week, it happened to me again.  I traveled to another elementary school for a training and was amazed by their "Mirrors to the Future!"  Check it out...

They created something magical out of an ordinary hallway.  I love the simplicity of it!  Imagine walking down this hallway everyday and being inspired about your future!  To make your own, simply scatter mirrors on an empty hallway.

Examples included: nurse, computer engineer, doctor, leader, archaeologist, teacher, etc...


I can't wait to get one started at my school!  
Oh, and course, I needed to snap my picture before I left!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

All Things BABY!

Warning: This is a non-related teaching blog post, but it is also my TWO year anniversary with blogging, so today I am going to talk about babies!

I do not have a baby myself yet.  I may have one someday, but, for now, I do have 30 darlings that I adore at school each day.  I also have several friends who recently had babies including my sister.  Yep, I have an adorable and perfect-in-every-way niece named Adalina!  Ada was born on October 6, 2014 and before, I go on more about babies, I must show you a picture of her in all her cuteness...
I may be a biased Auntie, but that picture makes my heart melt.  I love her so much!  

Now, for more baby talk...

I also helped to give two baby showers a few months ago and there were great ideas at these parties.  I'd love to share them with you now.  If you are having or giving a baby shower in the near future, hopefully, these ideas can help you.

First up, games to play!

Fingerprint guest book sign in...

 Chinese basket auction...

Diaper sayings to keep mommy going through the night!

 Making headband station...

And a guess the due date game (prize to be given out at a later date)...

Next up, favor ideas...

Nail polish complete with tutus!

Candy bags for the candy buffet (YUM!)

And, of course, some food ideas...

These baby showers were so much fun!  Almost as much fun as the baby itself.  I hope you got some good ideas for your upcoming baby shower.  I love to hear more ideas you may never know when I might be planning another shower!  :)

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