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Preparing for a Student Teacher

Hey everyone!

I will be having a student teacher this year and I've been combing FB and the internet for tips to get prepared for her. I'm going to share some of the top tips I've found and I'd love if you leave tips too!



1. Give feedback each day. Mostly what I read was that teachers took notes in a notebook or a post it note and gave it to their student teacher every day. 

2. Make space for the student teacher. My room is small as it is, but I want to make my student teacher feel welcome. I did make sure to leave part of my personal bulletin board blank for her to put personal pictures and items. I know that when I was student teaching, my mentor did the same and it made me feel welcome.

3. Let them try techniques out. I have to be honest, this makes me a little nervous, but this is how my student teacher will learn and grow. I'm going to have to let go of control of my classroom!

4. Talk with them. My student teacher and I have been emailing each other this summer. I would've loved to meet up with her, but her schedule was full. I also plan having a debrief each day that she's teaching and talk about what went well and what she would change.

5. Be encouraging. We need teachers, always, and I just want to be there to support her and encourage her.  

I'm excited to see how this year goes with a student teacher! Any tips you think I should add? Leave a comment down below!


BTS Mini Haul

Hey everyone!

I did finally do a little shopping for my classroom. I didn't have to get much since I"m not changing my theme and didn't really need to replenish much.

First, can I mention how much I love that I get so much light in my dining room! I got these two cuties from TJ Maxx. 

Also from TJ Maxx. I've got wooden signs through out my class that I love putting out. Great messages and makes the classroom look more like home.

 For under $10, the teal baskets came as a set! Grabbed them of course. They'll be storage on a bookshelf. The green bins are for my library and are from Dollar Tree.

 My students and I went through sticky notes like no ones business last year. I grabbed the flags, which are perfect for marking spots in books. I love the lined stickies for notes to my kiddos.

Not sure what I will use these clothespins for, but I love them. Maybe clipping to table signs for good behavior?

Somehow, my class set of 33 of these suckers basically disappeared last year. The last day of school found me with about 10 of these. They weren't in their desks or tubs or anything. Gone. Did they take them home? I have no clue. So I just got more. And as usual, got a weird look at check out until I explained how I use them for dry erasers. I take them home a few times a year to wash them.

That's my mini-haul!


Trainers Warehouse: Review

Hey everyone!

I feel like I'm always on the look out for things to bring to my class or looking for products that would benefit my students. So I was happily surprised when Trainers Warehouse reached out to me to review some of their products.
The first product I pulled out was the Thumball. I can see my students using this for back-to-school week, new students, or if there is actually any down time. This happens to be the Common Ground Thumball, but they have a ton of other types of Thumballs


These were the next items that caught my eye because of their neon colors! These handheld whiteboards are dry erase, but solid plastic. They have a glossy finish that helped when I erased them. I love these Briteboards!




Then came the handheld fidget toys.  The sparkly Loopeez was fun to play with.  Then the Gyrobi in the classic primary colors is a fun spinner, plus I love that it is silent. Then last was the Infinity Cube Fidget. I sat there a few minutes playing with it because it's fun to play with and I love infinity type of products. This is just a small sampling of the fidget products they have.   




The last item was the Kudos notepad. Perfect for the growth mindset classroom! 

Trainers Warehouse has many more products and I think they are affordable prices, which is important to me. 


**This is an honest review. All opinions are mine. 



Oregon Trail Obsession

Hey everyone!

The Oregon Trail has got to be my absolute favorite unit to teach. The last two years, my students say that's their favorite unit, and I think it's because I totally put my heart and soul into bringing it alive. I have to thank my 4th grade teachers Mrs. Weber and Mrs. Sweet for making the Oregon Trail so memorable for me, that same passion and dedication is what I want to give to my students.

I get dressed for it, use real photos of present day places on the trail (thanks Mom and Dad!), and really get my kids involved.

You can see what I did last year here and the year before here.

I'll do mostly the same stuff again, with the maps, pioneer journals, making butter, etc. I absolutely loved that last year we went to Philip Foster Farm and my kids showed off their knowledge of the Oregon Trail.

This summer I've been reading these books and thinking about how I want to incorporate them this year. I think these will be read alouds, or at least 1 or 2 of them.


Do you teach the Oregon Trail or Westward Expansion? What do you like to incorporate in your lessons? Leave a comment below!


What I've Bought So Far For The New School Year

Hey everyone!

The last few years I felt like I was working on things all summer for my class. This summer has been the complete opposite and I feel so relaxed!

When things come to me, I write them down on a list. It keeps me organized and with a goal in mind.

I did buy fabric to make a curtain for the window on my door. It matches my bulletin boards. Here's a picture from last year of what that fabric looks like:

I did buy a few things on Prime Day, like a strip of lights, a package of expos. And then some mundane things at the store like a single hole puncher (woo!) and magnetic staple removers.

I did just order Wild Robot and Rain Reign and can't wait to read them. 

Maybe I"m just not in the mood yet. I haven't done any Goodwill trips yet for books or a Marshall's/TJMaxx for decor. I'm actually ok with that for now. But maybe ask me in a few weeks how I feel!

Have you bought anything yet? Anything you think I need to get? Leave a comment below!



Quick Update

Hey everyone!

Man, this year was a tough one for me. I had to focus all my time and energy on my tough class, but I thankfully had very supportive admin to help me out.

I wrapped up the school year in June. The next week I helped our district for a week looking at our math curriculum and assessments and making sure everything was aligned with our prioritized standards etc.

My Oma from Germany has been here for 4 weeks and has one more left before she leaves, so I've been spending time with her and my parents these last few weeks.

At the end of July, I'm getting trained to be a trainer for constructing meaning, tied with Systematic ELD.

In other exciting news, I've been placed with a student teacher. She'll be in my room from our work week in August, through April.

Also, I'm an ambassador for Creative Teaching Press this year! I think that's the update for now and I can't wait to get back to blogging and sharing ideas!

Getting Down and Dirty In Science

Hey everyone!


I wanted to talk about how important doing hands on science activities are in my classroom. The kids are so much more engaged, they're excited to try things out and experiment, and it really amped up their writing.

My science unit we just completed was our land and water unit. It does tend to get messy and I tend to dread it, but I am happy with the results at the end.  The main idea of the unit is for students to study water flow and then build a dam. We are an IB school (International Baccalaureate) and we use a lot of inquiry while doing all subjects. I started off this unit planting in their heads the question of why do we need to know about water flow? How can we affect water flow?

Each lesson was like a building block, adding on. We learned about the water cycle, then progressed to small water flow, and building up to a larger water flow. They studied the impact of hills and rocks with water flow. Students looked at how plants affect water and soil. Then of course was their favorite part of the unit, building a dam.

They had to work as a group to design a dam using only tape, popsicle sticks, and straws. Like any good scientist, we tested out the dams and then re-designed or touched up dams as necessary before testing again.



After seeing if their dams worked, then they had a mission. Their mission was to protect the little city of cubes from getting flooded.

 I even threw in a dam alert like the dam was about to break. My students ate that part up. Those little things make it that much more fun and it was easy to add to the lesson.



This little group figured out to use straws like irrigation to divert the water!


As I was going through the pictures, I noticed a common theme. The kids were all close to the dam, huddled around and just SO engaged! This was when real teamwork came out and I saw group leaders. This unit was so much more than just science and testing. Yes, my room was often messy. The experience was worth it!



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