When I stepped into my very own classroom for the first time as a brand new teacher, Instagram didn’t exist. I didn’t even know about the online wealth of information available to me, a struggling first-year teacher. When I eventually created my own personal Instagram account in the middle of 2012, I didn’t even really know how to use the platform. I posted ten pictures of my infant son on the profile all within 5 minutes, but of course, not before applying filters to the photos. Then, I didn’t open up the app for almost a year later. I didn’t understand Instagram, and to be completely honest, I didn’t think the platform would be a success. Why would people only want to see pictures? What about the text? (Remember, the captions used to be more limiting.) But then again, I also remember preferring MySpace to Facebook and thinking that Facebook was the inferior platform. However, that is an entirely different discussion. I digress. Unlike myself more than a decade ago, today’s ne...
Teaching can be an incredibly isolating profession. On some days, it is entirely possible for teachers to make it through an entire working day without any adult interaction. And while sometimes it sounds lovely to go into our classrooms, teach, spend our thirty minutes of lunch in our room catching up or grading papers, and then leave at the end of the school day, having fellow teacher friends can genuinely transform your teaching experience. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a group of amazing, strong women whom I am happy to call my teacher besties. And ever since I changed districts and schools several years ago, this incredible group has made my teaching career so much more fulfilling. Here is a list of 5 reasons why you should have teacher besties at your school. Teacher besties understand each other Teacher besties will understand one another. They won’t judge you if you don’t want to stay out late on a Friday night. They also won’t even dare ask you to han...
Congratulations! You've landed your first teaching job. This is such an exciting time, and you should celebrate this occasion. However, if you are anything like me, the very second that happy moment ends and you realize that you are going to have your own classroom with your own students to teach, the panic might set in. So, you've landed your first job, now what? Your first year won't be easy and carefree, but it shouldn't be the most stressful year of your entire life. Here are seven tips for first-year teachers. 1. Seek out a mentor As soon as you sign your contract, ask if your school has mentor teachers on campus. Your mentor could be a department chair, or a grade-level lead, or someone who is in charge of making new teachers feel welcomed. Not every school has a mentorship program in place, so if you are a newly hired first-year teacher at a school that doesn't have mentors, find one. You'll probably be introduced to more veteran teachers toward t...
While the vast majority of schools have school libraries, classroom libraries play an essential role. There are many ways to build up your classroom library including shopping at garage sales, library sales, and second-hand stores. Additionally, you can also score some free books by asking friends to donate to your classroom. If you are looking for ways to build your library, you can read my post here. Also, I recently wrote a post about how I organize my library. Here are five reasons to have a classroom library in your classroom. 1. Accessible Books Having a library in your classroom gives students another opportunity to access books. Depending on your classroom book check-out policy, your classroom library might also allow students who have late fines in the library to read a book. This is also especially helpful before school breaks. I have many students who stop by before the end of the day to check out a book before a break. Join my email list! Subscribe to r...
This past school year was a great one. With every school year that passes, I like to take a moment and reflect on activities that were successful in the classroom and really think about why they worked. Here are nine of my top activities from this previous school year. SWIFT Poetry Analysis Collaborative Poster Projects As a way to have my students practice their poetry analysis skills while also building their self-efficacy, my students worked on these collaborative posters. Using the acronym SWIFT (structure/symbolism, word choice, imagery, figurative language, and theme and tone), my students analyzed a variety of poems about a similar subject. Not only did the read and annotate the poems, but they also identified each of the SWIFT elements, provided a quote, and explained how each element impacted the poem.  Once students complete the poetry analysis posters, we spent some time in class conducting informal presentations. Student groups presented the posters. I completed th...