Classroom Jobs Made EASY

Teachers all have different priorities, and for me, classroom jobs just isn't one of them.

I've done classroom jobs a few ways. I've had jobs for every person in the class, including a job called "Vacation" which gave that lucky student the week off from doing a job. I've had jobs for only about 1/3 of the class, so kids were 1 week on, 2 weeks off. I've let students choose their jobs (which takes FOREVER, by the way), I've assigned jobs... and I've hated every single second of it.

Yes, I know that giving students jobs in the classroom helps to give students a sense of responsibility in the classroom community. But I just don't have the time or the desire to switch jobs every week, track who's doing what, or getting on the case of students who aren't doing their jobs. I have better things to do! #sorrynotsorry

However, there are times when I need someone to grab the lunch bin and bring it back to the classroom, or I need someone to run across the hall and borrow a book from another teacher. So last year, I started using The Hip Helper.


Formative Assessment: the What, the Why, and the How

I remember the first time I heard the words "formative assessment." I was a junior in college taking a class called Measurement and Evaluation, and my professor wasn't very good at making the topic of assessment exciting... which in hindsight, is very unfortunate.

Fast forward about 10 years, and my principal asked us all to participate in two book studies for the books Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan William and Feedback by Jane Pollock. Through reading these books, I discovered the importance of purposefully using formative assessments in my classroom.


5 Tips for Surviving Your First Year as a Teacher

I loved my first year as a teacher. I had a great class with super supportive families, and 12 years later, I still keep in touch with several of my former students and their parents. That first year is filled with emotions: excitement, enthusiasm, exhaustion, confusion, fear, stress... Today I want to share my top 5 tips for surviving in your new chosen career. Chances are, this is your first professional job, and you do not want to mess this up!
Calling all beginning teachers! This blog post has 5 tips for making your first year as a teacher a successful one!

1. Find Your People 

I was lucky to find my People right away at my first teaching job. I didn't have to go far... my teacher friends consisted of my team and a few first grade teachers across the hall. We were all first, second, or third-year teachers, so we had a lot in common.

But what happens when you don't click with your team? Unfortunately, it does happen some times.

Take a Break: A Place for Students to Self Regulate

Self regulation is one's ability to manage his/her emotions and the behaviors that accompany these emotions. These emotions can be perceived as both positive or negative, and many times our students don't know what an appropriate response is for various emotions. Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter: Antarctica.

Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out!

Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.
Every classroom in my school has a Take a Break spot. It's a space in the classroom where students can go when they need some time and space to be alone and self regulate their emotions. I just happened to name mine "Antarctica." My students can choose to put themselves in Antarctica, or sometimes I ask them to go when I feel they need a break.

Making the Best of Timed Math Fact Tests

Who here gives timed math fact tests?

I remember doing them when I was in school. I was pretty good at them, but my anxiety and nervousness was through. the. ROOF. every single Friday afternoon.

Knowing that timed tests are so stressful for our students, why do we continue to do them? Well, some of us are required to... However, when you look at the CCSS for second grade, students are supposed to "know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers" by the end of second grade. And the wording is the same for third grade and multiplication facts.

We know that automaticity of math facts is crucial for when students move on to higher level math. My students practice their math facts every day in a variety of ways, including math games and using the Xtra Math website, but when it comes time to assess, the only option I can think of to assess automaticity is using a timed situation, which seems so old school. GROAN...

So how can I make these painful assessments less painful?

Are you required to give timed math fact tests? Check out this one simple change you can make during this routine that can help ease the anxiety and high pressure of timed math fact tests.
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