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Young Teachers or Old Teachers?

Who is actually better at teaching, the young teachers, or the old teachers. 
Young Teachers or Old Teachers? This post addresses the qualities of new teachers and veteran teachers, as well as some qualities that truly make a great teacher!

First of all, I've taught for 40 years, so I prefer to use the term "Veteran" teacher! 

Here are a few of the stereotypical comments I hear about younger teachers:
Young Teachers or Old Teachers? This post addresses the qualities of new teachers and veteran teachers, as well as some qualities that truly make a great teacher!

*Young teachers are enthusiastic and energetic.
*Young teachers have new ideas.
*Young teachers are better at computers and technology.
*Young teachers are closer to the age of the students, therefore relate more to their students.
*Young teachers are more eager to learn more about teaching.
*Young teachers have better fashion sense, and are more attractive.
*Young teachers are more flexible with changes.
*Young teachers are less reliable.
*Young teachers are less loyal. They are more than willing to leave a school district for a better paying job.

I'm sure you could add to this list!

Now here are some stereotypes about "Veteran" teachers.
Young Teachers or Old Teachers? This post addresses the qualities of new teachers and veteran teachers, as well as some qualities that truly make a great teacher!
*Older teachers are less flexible and set in their ways.
*Old teachers are just waiting until they can retire and don't really care anymore.
*Older teachers prefer older methods, like chalkboards and worksheets.
*Older teachers have trouble with computers and technology.
*Older teachers are burned out.
*Older teachers are more experienced, and can boost test scores due to their experience.
*Older teachers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves.
*Older teachers should be given the more challenging students, because they can handle them.
*Older teachers have proved their loyalty to their school by staying as long as they have.
*Older teachers know the history of the school.
I'm sure you could add to this list, too!
So which is better?
Young Teachers or Old Teachers? This post addresses the qualities of new teachers and veteran teachers, as well as some qualities that truly make a great teacher!
I'm sure you know teachers who fit these descriptions, and I'm sure you know teachers who don't. How many of these stereotypes are true, and how many are not?
I'll suspect you know this: it depends on the individual teacher! 
*I've known young teachers who have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, and I've known veteran teachers who are enthusiastic and energetic!
*I've known young teachers who can handle the challenging students and veteran teachers who are flexible and can relate well with the students.
*I've known young teachers who struggle with technology, and I've known veteran teachers who are quick to find a better paying job elsewhere.

Honestly, these are the qualities I've seen in teachers of all ages that make them great teachers:
*A passion for teaching
*A love for children
*A strong work ethic
*A team player
*A role model
*A desire to keep getting better
*High expectations
*A good communicator
*A good listener
*Kindness
*A sense of humor

Honestly, I find schools work best with a balance of young teachers and veteran teachers who have the above qualities. 
What would you add to the list above?

Young Teachers or Old Teachers? This post addresses the qualities of new teachers and veteran teachers, as well as some qualities that truly make a great teacher!


Have You Heard About Boom Digital Task Cards?

If you haven't tried Boom Learning Digital Task Cards, you need to get on this, they are amazing!

Have You Heard About Boom Digital Task Cards? They make learning fun for students and easier for teachers. If you haven't, here's a great chance to try them out!

Here's a quick video with an overview on what these cards are all about.


Here's another quick video, explaining a little more.


This second video was created by Melissa of I HEART 4th Grade. (She did a nice job explaining it, didn't she?)


What do I like most about Boom Digital Task Cards?


1. The kids LOVE them!

2. They are very easy for teachers to assign and differentiate, and check in on how the children are performing.

3. They can be used on ANY device: laptops, desktops, SMARTboards, ipads, tablets, and phones. (You can grab the app HERE!)

4. That means they can use them at home! They can practice their task cards on mom's phone while waiting for sister to finish her gymnastics class or brother to finish his soccer game!

5. Children get immediate feedback, which is so important for learning! If they work hard, they earn badges and gems!

6. No printing, cutting, or laminating! 

Want to try some? I have a couple of freebies for you: 

 

Weather Words, Plant Words, or Desserts?
 





I've been having so much fun making these, I've made a whole addition and subtraction bundle for all 8 brain based levels, plus 2 extra reviews. 


But that's not all! I've added ALL TEN BOOM Task Cards to the collection of Brain Friendly Addition and Subtraction Fact Practice and Assessment.


Plus, you know what? I've made similar sets for Multiplication and Division!


And the updated full practice and assessment set, now including BOOM Learning digital task card practice:

I have loads of BOOM cards in lots of subject areas.  You can find them HERE.
 
Have You Heard About Boom Digital Task Cards? They make learning fun for students and easier for teachers. If you haven't, here's a great chance to try them out!

 
 

Five "MUST DOs" on the First Day of School

  Starting a new school year?

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

A few years ago, I posted THIS

Six Things to remember on the first day of school: for novices and experienced teachers, some helpful reminders for that big day!

I listed six things that are important for that first day, but I want to mention some specifics that I make sure I do every year on the first day of school.

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

1. Start with something that holds their interest, yet needs no instruction!

If your school is anything like mine, the kiddos stroll in bit by bit on the first day. 

As each child comes in, of course you'll need to greet them and tell them how glad you are to see them, where to put their belongings, and help them find their seats. 

Therefore the others need to be doing something that doesn't need your help.  Here are some examples:

1. Draw a picture/ write a sentence about themselves. (Depending on their abilities, of course!)
2. Clay or Play Dough
3. Explore manipulatives like Pattern Blocks or Cuisenaire Rods.
4. Puzzles. (at their level, of course!) 

I'm sure you can think of more!
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

2. Bathroom Procedure!

They do tend to get nervous about this, don't they? As soon as everyone is in place, I tell them what they need to do if they need to use the bathroom. 

Of course, I try to remind them about bathroom etiquette without being too "parent-like" about it..."Since you're second graders, you don't need to be reminded to wash your hands when you finish, do you?"

We have a bathroom in our classroom, so I show them how to lock the door for privacy, how the door unlocks automatically from the inside when you turn the handle, what do if the bathroom is in use (Knock!) what to say if you're in there and someone knocks, ("just a minute") and where to wait if someone is in there. (NOT near the door, since many are self-conscious about someone listening when they're in there.)

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

3. Read to them!

I truly believe the most important thing we can teach children is the value of reading. Since in the younger grades, the kiddos are still learning to read, the most important thing is to teach them a love for books. There are a whole lot of fabulous "first day of school" books, but I always choose to read one of my very favorites.

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day! 

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Why do I choose one of my favorites?  Because it's important that the children see my passion for books. The above book images represent 3 of my very favorites. Every time I've read these, the children have LOVED the books, talked about the books, and looked for the books to read again themselves. I'm sure you have your favorites, too! Those would be the ones to read the first day.

Just be sure to keep it short. Remember, the children haven't had to sit still for a long time!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

4. Today's Math Lesson: Make a graph!

 
There are several children who worry about dismissal time. Will they find their bus? Will they know where to go? Will they find their way home? 

I try to settle those worries long before the end of the day by making a graph as our very first math lesson. 
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!
This is the form I use that is specific to my school and my music theme in the classroom. You may notice we have no walkers, That's because it's a very rural community and there are no sidewalks!

One by one, I'll ask each student where they go after school, check it with my master list, then put their name on the list. (I already have a list, but I want to make sure THEY know!) The children can follow along on their own copy if they want, but I'll keep a master list. 

When we're done, the list might look something like this:
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!


Just to get their brains going, I'll ask a few questions (Which bus group has the most children?  Which bus group has exactly 3 children?) Then I'll encourage them to ask each other questions that can be answered by the graph.

Then we'll practice for the end of the day. I'll assign each group a "waiting spot" for the end of the day. I make it clear to each member of the group that they need to work as a team, and make sure all team members make it to the bus safely.

I know in some schools, teachers walk their children to the bus. In our school, the buses are called as each one arrives, and the teacher stays in the classroom while the others wait for their bus. Since I can't go with them, I count on them looking out for each other. 

What about Evan and Michael, who are the only ones from our class who ride those buses? I make it the responsibility of the whole class to make sure these guys leave on time, and I usually look to the nearby classes so they'll see someone they know is on their bus.  

Team work matters! Let's get them all home safely!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

5. Enjoy!

If you're anything  like most teachers I know (including myself) you've wanted to be a teacher all your life. This is what you've always wanted to do! It's a very difficult job, but the rewards are totally worth it. Enjoy those children. Let them see how much you enjoy them. It's a win-win!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Paper Bag Dramatics: A Fun Activity for Team Building and Developing Community

Here's a fun activity that's easy to put together, gives the children a chance to be creative, and gives them a chance to work together. It's called Paper Bag Dramatics.

Paper Bag Dramatics: A fun activity for Team Building and Developing Community. Here's an idea that can be used just about anywhere at any time. It encourages groups to solve problems, think creatively, and work as a team.

You'll need enough paper bags for as many groups you'll have. They can work in pairs or small groups, depending on your group.

In each paper bag, you'll put a few items.These can be any items you happen to have hanging around.You can make all the bags identical, or totally different, that's up to you!

You'll need 3 or 4 items per bag.

Here are some ideas:

Paper Bag Dramatics: A fun activity for Team Building and Developing Community. Here's an idea that can be used just about anywhere at any time. It encourages groups to solve problems, think creatively, and work as a team.

If you want, you can have all the items in the bag follow a theme, possibly including areas of the curriculum!

This is the task: Create a skit that includes all the items in the bag. The group will need to write, practice, and perform the play for their classmates.


Some ideas about the process:


1. The time allowed really depends on your group. It's more likely that older groups will require more time than younger groups.

2. Make sure each group plans a beginning, middle, and especially an ending for their skit.

3. Make some ground rules before you begin: one person speaking at a time, someone to write down ideas, what to do if there is a disagreement, and, of course, using good manners.

4. Resist the urge to "help". This challenge is all about problem solving, so let them solve problems as much as they can. I can't help but remember the comments of one of my former students concerning problems in a group project: "We argued at first, then we started listening to each other, and we worked it out." It was one of those moments you really wish an administrator were there!

5. Don't forget to allow time for bows and lots of applause!

6. After all performances, debrief by having the children discuss questions such as: What did your group do well? What was tough for your group? What do you wish you had done differently? What do you want to remember next time you work with a group?

Enjoy your Paper Bag Dramatics!


If you need more ideas for team building, see here: 60 Team Building Games and Activities

Paper Bag Dramatics: A fun activity for Team Building and Developing Community. Here's an idea that can be used just about anywhere at any time. It encourages groups to solve problems, think creatively, and work as a team.






What Color is the Ribbon?

One of the hardest things for little mathematicians is figuring out how to solve word problems in math. 

What Color is the Ribbon? A simple strategy to help students solve math word problems.


I have a little strategy that helps in many cases: get them to visualize the situation. 

The other day, my students were doing a word problem that included measuring a ribbon, and comparing it to another ribbon. 

They looked a little confused, so I suggested they pictured the story problem in their minds. Then I started asking questions...

What Color is the Ribbon? A simple strategy to help students solve math word problems.

Then I kept going.

What Color is the Ribbon? A simple strategy to help students solve math word problems.

Then I worked on getting them to visualize the story.

What Color is the Ribbon? A simple strategy to help students solve math word problems.

And a little more directed questioning...

What Color is the Ribbon? A simple strategy to help students solve math word problems.

This pretty much wrapped it up! (pardon the "ribbon" pun!) They were able to use the picture in their minds to solve the number problem.

This strategy helps in many cases! 


In fact, after a while, they start to ask themselves these questions and can solve the problems by themselves!

Of course, independence is our goal, but we have to lead them there, don't we?

What Color is the Ribbon? A simple strategy to help students solve math word problems.

5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words

I've been fascinated by the brain for years now. I have been reading quite a bit about how the brain works and the best ways to help children learn. 


5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

There are basically two types of words for the children to learn. One kind is based on letter sound relationships and letter patterns. In other words, they can be "sounded out." The other kind of word can't be "sounded out" and must be learned by the way it looks: by sight! These suggestions are to help with sight words. 

Here are some brain strategies that are easy to implement into the classroom to help the kiddos remember those important sight words.
5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

Practice makes permanent! When the children practice a little bit each day, it will help them remember. It's also a good idea to introduce small amounts at a time. If they need to know the first 100 Sight Words, only give them 10 at a time, then slowly adding on as they master those. Going through their pile of sight words for 5 minutes every day is more valuable than once a week for 30 minutes. Remember when you were in college and cramming for an exam? It didn't work so well, did it. (But somehow we got through it!)

5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

Exercise brings oxygen to the brain, and helps the brain become more receptive to learning. We all know that sitting still for too long makes for cranky, wiggly children (and adults!) Experts say bodies to move every 20 minutes. Bodies of children need to move more frequently than that! A quick walk, a little yoga, or a nice stretch are perfect Brain Breaks for little learners.
5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

 Emotions play a big role in memory. If you make it fun, they're more likely to remember. Games make learning fun! A little healthy competition gets the pulse moving and the emotions rolling. It really makes a difference!
5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

Brains are visual! Brains remember colors and other visuals, like cute little pictures. Use color when making word lists or word cards. You can use a variety of colors, but make sure they can be easily read. Make sure the words are appealing for the children.

5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

Experts recommend sight words be practiced in phrases rather than in isolation. Words in isolation don't have much meaning to the children, and brains need meaning. Three or four words in phrases have a lot more meaning and are more likely remembered by growing brains.

I do have some sight word phrases that follow these suggestions. You can find them HERE.


5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

There are built in Brain Breaks.


5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

There are color coded word cards, if desired, with "cute pictures."


5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.
There are plenty of color coded phrase cards, again with "cute pictures." The different colors on the borders correspond to the Fry Sight Word level.

5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

There's also a game that can be used to practice the words or phrases! The pictures correspond to the pictures on the individual cards. Each level of words is compatible with the game board, so it's easy to differentiate.

5 Tricks to Help Them Remember Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.

The game board and cards are easily stored in ziplocks!
 

What are your tricks to help them remember sight words?


Sight Words: based on brain research, here are 5 different strategies to help little readers remember sight words.




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