This year one of my lovely teammates came up with the idea of having our first weekly homework assignment be asking students to write their history by creating a diagram of the tree rings of their life. The students and parents loved this project and we got a wide range of results, from regular white paper to large posters with pictures to projects that actually looked like a tree.
This week we moved on from looking backwards to looking forwards. The students are setting long term goals for their future, including what college they would like to attend and what job they would like to have. I've already had a few turned in and it seems like pilot is a popular career choice for my kiddos. I guess I need to pull out some resources about airplanes!
If you'd like to have your class create these long term goals, you can download the two page sheet for free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Or you can access it in my larger resource: 3rd Grade Common Core Data Notebook. We are using this entire notebook this year so that students can track their success in achieving each Common Core Standard.
The new school year is beginning and all of that time we had for exercise over the summer is gone. So, how do we get exercise in during the work week? Here are a few suggestions I have used.
1.) Try getting up 30 minutes early. This one is difficult for me, because I LOVE to hit the snooze button. But, when I do succeed to get up early and do a quick workout before work, the entire rest of the day runs better. I have more energy and I’m much more alert. Plus, I get to take a shower after my workout and end up feeling much more refreshed.
2.) Park 20 minutes away from your school. If you can get up early, but don’t love to spend that time doing an aerobics video or crunches, leave for work early but park farther away from your school. I tend to park in a grocery store parking lot or somewhere else where I feel my car will be okay during the day. Then, walk or jog the rest of the distance to work. The bonus to this technique is that you will have the same walk or jog at the end of the day, doubling your workout by default!
3.) Start out your day with number aerobics. Get your kids in the act! When I taught first grade, we started out each day with number aerobics. The kids worked on counting and groups of ten while getting their giggles out andwaking up. Meanwhile, I did all of the motions with them and raised my heartbeat a bit each morning. Feel free to download my number aerobics poster for free from Google Docs.
4.) Use aerobics or yoga for brain breaks. Kids stop and stretch or stomp to get their brains going, but do you? Join in on those brain breaks and reap some of the workout benefits from it. Some of my favorite brain breaks are 2 minutes worth of jumping jacks or seeing who can hold down dog or plank the longest. Kids get some exercise and a bit of a break and guess what, so do you!
5.) Play tag with the kids at recess. I truly don’t know how kids play tag non-stop every day at recess. However, I do know that running around with them gets my heartbeat up and builds my stamina. I still can’t run for twenty minutes straight like my kids can, but exercise is exercise. The kids also love having an involved teacher so this helps you to build relationships too.
6.) Crunch after lunch. Got a duty free lunch? What does that really mean? For me it was 10 minutes to eat, 5 minutes to go to the bathroom and 10 minutes to socialize or pretend I was going to get some work done. In those final 10 minutes, you could get a lot of crunches in. Take 10 minutes and get in as many different crunches as you can. Find a partner who wants to crunch with you, or just enjoy a quiet, dark classroom to get in a quick 10 minute crunch break.
7.) Do a workout video in your classroom before heading home. There are amazing videos out there to help you get a good workout. Unfortunately, by the time I get home, the last thing I want to do after picking up kids and fighting traffic is start a workout. So instead, take a half an hour to get that exercise out of the way – and increase your energy – as you walk out the door to go to your second job (wife, mother, housemaker, etc.)
8.) Go running with friends directly after school. Don’t like workout videos? Get a friend and go out for a walk, jog or run as soon as your official duties have completed.
9.) Start a school running club. Many kids need exercise as much as we do. Start a running club for kids afterschool and have a great excuse to keep you – and your students – in shape.
10.) Stretch while you cook. Cooking dinner often takes up a bulk of my evening. However, at least half of that time is downtime. You’re waiting for something to boil, bake, brown, etc. While I am waiting, I have taken to doing random yoga and aerobics moves: leg lifts, squats, standing yoga poses, etc. I probably don’t get a full workout, but if I’ve done at least one other thing on this list, this makes me feel like I’ve had a complete workout. It also keeps me from checking work e-mail while I cook, which is what I used to do with that downtime.
Hope some of these tips will help you to continue to stay in shape this school year!
It's back to school time already! I know schools around the world start at different times. Many of my friends in Georgia have been back to school for over a week while my friends in the UK have just recently begin their summer holiday. I personally go back to school on Wednesday with my students returning on the 15th. Whenever you go back to school, Teachers Pay Teachers is having it's Back to School Sale this week! And luckily saving 25% off makes your life easier no matter where you are in your schedule!
Everything in my Teachers Pay Teachers store will be 20% off on Tuesday, August 1 and Wednesday, August 2, 2017. Plus you can use the coupon code BTS2017 to get 5% off your entire purchase from TPT. This includes all 728 items in my store, including the year long bundles which are already deeply discounted.
It's back to school season and Pinterest is blowing up with all of the cute classroom set ups and decorations. While I love Pinterest for finding innovative ideas and management tools, I kind of resent Pinterest too. As both a parent and a teacher, Pinterest ups the pressure to be "cute".
I noticed this as a parent a few years ago. With the advancement of sites like Pinterest, the level of expectation as a parent has increased. Suddenly you're supposed to take monthly pictures of your kids with cute little signs and have perfectly organized birthday parties and knit your child the perfect Halloween costume. At first you do might do it to see if you can or as a way to show off on Facebook to your friends. But then slowly, it seeps itself into our society that it's a requirement. That somehow in order to be a good mom, I have to make a 4 tiered birthday cake out of cupcakes because if I don't then my child will be deeply disappointed and scarred for life. Seriously? My kids are happy with cake and ice cream because it has a lot of sugar in it. They don't care how fancy it is. But we've trained ourselves to think they care.
Now if baking fancy things is your specialty, great! Share that gift with your kids if you'd like. I personally love to experiment in the kitchen and get an especial kick out of making something from scratch that I had to buy prepared before (cheese sauces, bread, pasta, granola bars, etc.) and I love sharing this with my kiddos. But I don't knit or sew. I don't make fancy halloween costumes. I don't plan over the top birthday parties. I don't use Pinterest to decorate my kids' rooms. And guess what? My kids are fine. They are healthy and happy and they know that mom loves them. There's no need to get into this "I can do everything on Pinterest" mode in order to prove you're a good parent.
The same is true as a teacher. Themes in particular seem to have taken over the world of Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers in the past few years. Teachers, especially in elementary, seem to think that they have to have a cute, color coordinated theme in order to teach their students. There suddenly have to be multiple, professional level bulletin boards and all of the baskets in your library center have to match or the kids just will not learn. Today I even saw a post in a teacher's forum on Facebook that said "I feel so bad. I'm a first year teacher and I can't afford to do a theme in my classroom." Seriously? This will be my 12th year of teaching and I have NEVER done a theme. EVER. My books are in mismatched baskets, labeled by genre, but not matching colored labels. I have no beautiful colored duct tape on my teacher's desk. My bulletin boards are neat and organized, but not fancy. And guess what guys? My kids learn, a lot, every single year.
And none of my students have ever said "Mrs. Raki, why isn't your room pretty?" Why? Because the kids don't care. They could care less what theme you've chosen. They care whether you care about them. They care about how you treat them. They care about the activities you do. They don't care what color your book baskets are.
Of course there are a lot of teachers who LOVE doing classroom themes and that's fine for them, just like knitting a Halloween costume for your kids is fine for those parents who just love to knit. My worry is the pressure that this puts on other teachers, who don't love it and especially teachers who are on a budget. Teachers already don't make enough money. We spend way too much of our own money already on books, storage, curriculum, and other things that help directly impact our instruction. Adding cute themes and bulletin boards requires teachers to spend more money and more time on things that aren't helping us do our job better. They're often just a way to "keep up with the Jones'" that is disguised as "necessary".
In addition to the pressure having a "cute" classroom puts on teachers, it is also a time drain. There is always so much to do and so little time as a teacher. More and more is being added to our plates every day, taking away from the time we have with our families and our personal lives. Designing super cute classrooms is something you can take off of your plate and still be a great teacher!
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