Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Picker-Uppers

Teaching can be such a draining profession, right? Whew! Between planning, teaching, paper work, discipline, meetings, grading, and everything else that we do, it can overwhelm you quickly... Leading to low morale and exhaustion. My school counselor and I decided that our staff morale was not what it could be and we wanted to do something about it! Insert.... the The Picker-Uppers!

We deemed ourselves the Picker-Uppers because we want to pick everyone up when they are feeling down. We took up a small collection from our staff to fund our little project ($5-$10 each). Then we started looking on Pinterest and everywhere for ideas to pick people up. Here are some of the things we have done in the month since school started...

At back-to-school professional days, we did a "photo booth" by providing fun props and a hand-held camera for our staff to pose for pictures with their friends and teammates. Our art teacher then took the photos and put them on an "Incredibles" poster for us to hang in the teacher's lounge.

We made "prayer posters" by each table group at back to school meetings. They were just silly prayers for our upcoming year. Here are a few funny ones. Sorry for the blurry photos. My iPhone camera doesn't work right.

We made a "Grateful" poster that now hangs in our lounge for teachers to write reasons they are grateful to work at our school.

The second week of school we gave out bubble wrap with directions that told them to pop a row every 4-6 hours or as necessary. This was a big hit... some were asking for a the whole roll of bubble wrap!

We gave out little bags of glitter with tags that said, "Hello, I'm the happiness fairy. I've sprinkled happy dust on you. Now smile darn it, this stuff's expensive!"

We bought coffee creamer to keep in the fridge for staff to put in their coffee in the mornings.

We are having a tailgate-themed potluck today at lunch time and we got the principals to approve jeans for today! That boosts morale leaps and bounds!!

I think it has been really effective! Do you do anything similar at your school? I will continue to share some of the ideas that we use!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I always find today to be a tough day to be a teacher. How do you explain to 10 year old's that there are awful people out there that want to hurt us? They just don't understand why anyone would want to hurt another country. I even had a boy tell me that "that is really emptying someone's bucket." How true that statement is. We just talked about being bucket fillers yesterday, so that really hit home to a lot of my class.

In trying to explain this awful tragedy to my class, I searched for the best ways of showing and explaining the day without being too depressing or graphic. I wanted it to be a serious lesson, but still give them hope and pride for their country. They were genuinely interested in the topic as well. I used the handout created by "What the Teacher Wants." You can find it here. It is a great, simple worksheet that students can fill out to reflect their thoughts and feelings about what we talked about.

I also used Brain Pop's video. The 9/11 video was the featured free video today. Here is a link.

In my searching, I also found myself at the 9/11 Memorial website. They have a lot of lessons and ideas for the classroom. Here is a link. They have so many great resources for children and adults alike!

What ideas did you implement in your classroom today?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Genre Foldable

Hello everyone! I have been looking for a quick way to review genres. We have talked about them and described them, but I needed something quick that we could refer back to in our reading journals. I couldn't find exactly what I was wanting, so I just made one! It is a simple foldable for their reading journals that has 12 genres on it. Please check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! 

Here is how it looks in journals. (So sorry for the bad pictures, my cell phone camera has decided to malfunction this week!)

Start by cutting around the foldable.

 Then glue only the sides that say "genre" on them.

Cut along the dotted line up the middle, then between the genres.

It should have enough space on the back and underneath to write a description and a couple of example books.

Hope you like it! Please click here to get it!