Those Red Doors

I am not shy in saying “I believe in God.” Everyone has that one thing that motivates them in pushing forward – a conviction. Mine is God. With that said I have this morning routine each day that I approach my school’s front doors. They’re red in color and before getting to them, I begin my morning ritual of praying for a good, safe, happy & learning day full of opportunities for my students and myself. Everyday I do this just before grasping the handle.

Why?  Because I strongly believe that you should always give thanks to being given the opportunity to a new day in which you will be the best teacher that you can be.  I go in smiling and I just get this overwhelming feeling that all will be well. I breathe in those familiar school smells of pencils, and crayons as I move towards the beginning of my school morning.

At the end of the day, I gather my tote bag and move towards those red doors for the last time that day.  And again, I pray that I may leave all the negative issues that I may have confronted [deadlines, “surprise” observations, student misbehavior, etc.] this day and that all will begin again on a clean slate for the next morning.  Once I get a hold of the handle, that’s my cue of stepping into a good afternoon with my family.  I smile and move forward – towards my car that is!

Let’s face it.  Who in their right mind wants to take in negative issues from the previous day to school and begin with that? On the other hand, who wants to take those negative issues and lay them on their family? Not me.


A Teacher’s Personal Needs Kit

Every single school year, I’ve practiced getting myself not just mentally and emotionally ready for going back to school but I’ve also had to remind myself to compile the most simplest baggie many of us overlook:  A Personal Needs Kit.

Continue reading “A Teacher’s Personal Needs Kit”

Student Crafts: Toilet Paper Roll Christmas Crafts

Yay!  Christmas season is here! This is one of my favorite holidays. And yet, every year I would be in that spot of what to do with my students so they could take home but at the same time write about.  Because let’s face it, parents with children in lower grades do expect to see their kids come back with some sort of craft from school.

Keeping in check the cost factor, I decided to do some looking around and last year was the first year I tried it out with my own students:  Toilet paper crafts that my 4th graders could take home to share with their parents. As well as have them do a writing piece on it.  See? Instant and free craft plus the benefit of a bulletin board piece as well!

The first step is to look at the following website that I just stumbled upon last month.  It contains a good collection of toilet paper crafts that can be molded for all grades and tied into a story. Be creative!

I will have to come back and post to show you a true connection between the rolls, a story and it’s rubric. I just have to look through last year’s files — so wish me luck on that. Or let’s see if I can get some out for this current year before anyone’s deadline — eww. Yup, did I state “wish me luck on that”?

Update:  Okay – so here is that lesson plan that leads up to your craft day with the students.  I added in the reading activities that you could do to get to this lesson day.  I did not add the craft day lesson plan just the lesson that can be addressed for their writing component.  Try to have students do 2 crafts: 1 for class/bulletin board display and 1 to take home.  Good Luck! 



Teacher Tip #1: Inclement Weather

As a mother & teacher, it is easy to get so busy and forget to keep an eye out for the day’s weather forecast. I’ve run into several guilt trips when, at work, I’ve realized the weather was to turn for the worse and that I let my son go to school in a simple sweater. Oh! The guilt!

On the other side of the coin, as a teacher, I’ve gotten to experience the, “What the heck were these mothers thinking sending their children in little to nothing outerwear!” type of thinking.

So Teacher Tip #1:  Inclement Weather

A.  Always keep at least 2 children’s sweaters &/or jackets around in your own personal closet or tucked away in the student’s coat closet for just those occasions when a student is in need.

And yes, as a teacher you should have a handle of who comes in without a sweater or jacket before they are scheduled to go out to recess/lunch.

B.  Parent Contact:  1st Time – Send a note or provide a care-call to parents letting them know that their child was without adequate cover. If you did provide a sweater or jacket – let them know!  This is a quick way for parents to realize you are totally watching out for their child. Just remind them to send back the sweater/jacket the next day!

Red Flag Alert:  Keep track of students who tend to do this repeatedly. If it becomes consistent, then refer your track records/observations to your supervisor.

The Big Question – The question that I know new teachers will ask:  How am I supposed to go about collecting these so-called emergency sweaters/jackets? Easy-peasy. Chill. There are several options:

1.  Ask your fellow teachers!  Send out an email or copied note letting them know of your intentions for the outwear.  You’ll see, there are a lot of giving & cool teachers working alongside you.

2.  Ask your own family members or circle of friends.  There will almost always be an extra somewhere that they don’t need.

3.  Lean on the kindness of your neighbors.  Don’t be afraid to ask!  You’d be surprised how many people have that bag of clothes laying around. Me included!

4.  This practice can be done throughout the school year and it’s a great way to show both your students & parents just how much you do care and are watching out for them.

To help you out, I’m including a simple inventory tracker to get you started! Yay!

Winter Weather Inventory