Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fashions fade

Today I wore my new chevron patterned dress.  I noticed another teacher had a chevron patterned dress on as well then I found this e card this afternoon.  I HAD to share it!  I am laughing at myself.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Positively Positive

Check this out!

The Power of a Positive Educator

When I think about the teachers who made a difference in my life I realize they were all positive. Mrs. Liota smiled every day and made me feel loved. Coach Caiazza believed in me while Mr. Ehmann encouraged me to be my best. Years later as I think about the impact these teachers had on my life it’s clear that being a positive educator not only makes you better it makes everyone around you better. Positive educators have the power to transform lives and inspire young minds to believe they can and will change the world. In this spirit here are seven ways we can all choose to be a positive educator.
1. Be Positively Contagious – Research shows that emotions are contagious. Sincere smiles, kind words, encouragement and positive energy infect people in a positive way. On the flip side your students are just as likely to catch your bad mood as the swine flu. So each day you come to school you have a choice. You can be a germ or a big dose of Vitamin C. When you choose to be positively contagious your positive energy has a positive impact on your students, your colleagues and ultimately your school culture. Your students will remember very little of what you said but they will remember 100% of how you made them feel. I remember Mrs. Liota and her smile and love and it made all the difference.
2. Take a Daily Thank you Walk – It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it’s a great way to feed yourself with positivity. How does it work? You simply take a walk . . . outside, in a mall, at your school, on a treadmill, or anywhere else you can think of, and think about all the things, big and small, that you are grateful for. The research shows you can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time so when you combine gratitude with physical exercise, you give yourself a double boost of positive energy. You flood your brain and body with positive emotions and natural antidepressants that uplift you rather than the stress hormones that drain your energy and slowly kill you. By the time you get to school you are ready for a great day.
3. Celebrate Success – One of the simplest, most powerful things you can do for yourself and your students is to celebrate your daily successes. Instead of thinking of all things that went wrong at school each day focus on the one thing that went right. Try this: each night before you go to bed think about the one great thing about your day. If you do this you’ll look forward to creating more success tomorrow. Also have your students do this as well. Each night they will go to bed feeling like a success and they will wake up with more confidence to take on the day.
4. Expect to Make a Difference – When positive educators walk into their classroom they expect to make a difference in their student’s lives. In fact, making a difference is the very reason why they became a teacher in the first place and this purpose continues to fuel them and their teaching. They come to school each day thinking of ways they can make a difference and expecting that their actions and lessons will lead to positive outcomes for their students. They win in their mind first and then they win in the hearts and minds of their students.
5. Believe in your students more than they believe in themselves – I tried to quit lacrosse during my freshman year in high school but Coach Caiazza wouldn’t let me. He told me that I was going to play in college one day. He had a vision for me that I couldn’t even fathom. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. I ended up going to Cornell University and the experience of playing lacrosse there changed my life forever. The difference between success and failure is belief and so often this belief is instilled in us by someone else. Coach Caiazza was that person for me and it changed my life. You can be that person for one of your students if you believe in them and see their potential rather than their limitations.
6. Develop Positive Relationships – Author Andy Stanley once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” Far too many principals share rules with their teachers but they don’t have a relationship with them. And far too many teachers don’t have positive relationships with their students. So what happens? Teachers and students disengage from the mission of the school. I’ve had many educators approach me and tell me that my books helped them realize they needed to focus less on rules and invest more in their relationships. The result was a dramatic increase in teacher and student performance, morale and engagement. To develop positive relationships you need to enhance communication, build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them, show them you care through your actions and mentor them. Take the time to give them your best and they will give them your best.
7. Show you Care – It’s a simple fact. The best educators stand out by showing their students and colleagues that they care about them. Standardized test scores rise when teachers make time to really know their students. Teacher performance improves when principals create engaged relationships with their teachers. Teamwork is enhanced when educators know and care about one another. Parents are more supportive when educators communicate with their student’s parents. The most powerful form of positive energy is love and this love transforms students, people and schools when it is put into action. Create your own unique way to show your students and colleagues you care about them and you will not only feel more positive yourself but you will develop positive kids who create a more positive world.
If you commit to being a positive educator I encourage you to read and commit to The Positive Teacher Pledge.
The Positive Teacher Pledge
  • I pledge to be a positive teacher and positive influence on my fellow educators, students and school.
  • I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.
  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.
  • When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism.
  • When I feel fear I will choose faith.
  • When I want to hate I will choose love.
  • When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better.
  • When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow and help others grow.
  • When faced with adversity I will find strength.
  • When I experience a set-back I will be resilient.
  • When I meet failure I will fail forward and create a future success.
  • With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always find ways to make a difference.
  • I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.
  • I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.
  • I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes my students better.
  • So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on my students, school and the world!
- See more at:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Teacher Tips from Harvard

I would really like for you to check out this article.  It is very informative.  The key to teaching is to set the student up to be successful in their learning endeavors. Right?  This article gives a framework, a scaffold, on which to base the task of teaching students to ask questions.  It includes production, improvement and strategy in its process.

Very good article and food for thought...are we helping our students on the road to success in questioning?                                                                                                                                                                             

The possibilities are endless 27, Number 5
September/October 2011

Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions

One small change can yield big results

Friday, August 23, 2013

Getting ready for retell

When needing a quick reminder of retell qualities I use this easy series of motions to help students remember the expectations.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Teacher Tip-Smartboards, whiteboards, dry erase boards but I still love chalkboards!

I love technology! I really love it when it works!
We were dining at a local hot spot last night and my hubby pointed out how many people were involved with their phones rather than conversing ( yes the word is conversing not conversating)  with the people at their table.  I must admit I did check my phone several times during dinner (hanging my head in shame)  But sometimes it is good just to take a break from technology.
In the classroom, the old way of doing things can be novel for this generation of learners.  I still love to break out a chalkboard for the students.  "Old things become new"
I found this chalkboard contact paper at
I think I'll order a roll and let my imagination roll with it!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Syllable Hands

Closed  Syllable

 Open Syllable 
Sneaky e Syllable

 Bossy r Syllable 
Vowel Team Syllable

I want to give credit to Janice Swicegood who shared this with me a couple of years ago.  It has been a great tool to help readers with clues to vowels.

There is one for schwa syllables but you'll have to see that in person.  Just ask.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Coffee Please! The First Full Week of School Year 2013-2014

Well it is Friday!  I might need this amount of coffee to get rolling this morning.  How about you?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Food for thought

Comfort in the Chaos on Common Core part # 1

Fellow educators,

I hear your cries.  I feel your pain. We are hearing so much about how to implement Common Core Sate Standards. Information comes down the pipe in trickles and then floods. We know there are always implementation dips when the next new "thing" comes our way.  But our number one goal is to teach our students what they need to know to become life long learners.  Step back...look at the standards... remember that CCSS standards are year end goals and teach your heart out. 

 For this too shall pass.

Please note that there is no hashtag in the title of this post.  Hope you are laughing now.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Teacher Time- Closed Syllables

I have been teaching my students about syllable types.  This information is important in helping the struggling reader know what to do with the vowels at the single syllable word level and as they get to multi-syllable words. 

The first type to teach is the CVC (consonant vowel consonant) which is taught in kindergarten and first grade.  I have found that many second graders are not firm in their understanding and need instruction starting at this level.

In this type of syllable the vowel sound is short.  Oh they know the short vowel sounds?  If not, start instruction there. 
The hand signal for the closed syllable is a closed fist.  The hand signal becomes a quick way to check for understanding and mastery.
                                                               Closed Syllable

I posted this last school year but was asked about hand signals for the vowel patterns so I wanted to re-post this one to get started.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Teacher Fashion

Today was our second day of meetings but our students parents were invited to school from 2:00-4:00.
So I opted for one of my favorite hi-lo skirts from Old Navy and a new pink  lace tank from Target. I added my favorite black sandals from Steinmart and I was off and running for the day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Introduce yourself

Today at our faculty meeting each person was asked to introduce themselves by saying name, position, years of teaching and something they were thankful for.  It was wonderful listening to each person not only what they shared but how they shared it.  When it came to my turn I knew that I must brag on God and His miracle working power.  No details were given but He is doing good things for my family.  I am especially thankful for God's protection of my favorite guys born on August 7th.

 This is my son-in-law, Theo, who is currently deployed serving our country.

And this is my son, Jackson, who just enrolled in college.

Teachers, please remember that the little boys that we teach do grow up and become men.  Let 's guide them to be the best that they can be.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Teacher fashion diva"

I was introduced to one of our new teachers as "our fashion diva." So I've decided to post a few "Fashion Diva Outfits."  I had to laugh because I began my teaching career back when you had to wear hose if you wore a dress or skirt.  Boy, have things changed when it comes to dressing for work.  
Today was a day of meetings so I dressed casually.  The outfit included peach colored  "not so skinny jeans" and a pearl collar denim vest.  I opted for gold flip flops rather than the wedges in the picture because I never know how much walking I might have to do on meeting days.

Welcome to a new school year!

This morning I rolled over to the sound of an alarm clock for the first time in two months.  After that, a wonderful day began.  I love reconnecting with all of my teacher friends. Our day was filled with information concerning Common Core State Standards and the changes that will take place. Everyone was spinning with information by the end of the day but fortunately we have a great support system at our school as we learn together.  Thanks to all of the people who presented information today.  We are a team so nobody is alone in our new journey.  So as my mom always said, "Everything is gonna be alright!"

Friday, March 1, 2013


Try showing this to your students before testing to motivate them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Teaching Students to Ask Questions

Students need to know how to ask questions.  If you teach in the state of Louisiana and are being evaluated by  "COMPASS" you know exactly how important this is to your evaluation.  Sad...huh?

I am guilty of being a question "asker."  It probably bothers those around me but I've never been satisfied with being told the bare bones of something.  I want to know more. 

Many students that I work with are deficit in this area.  Daily I hear questions being "asked" without question structure.  So I have begun to teach questioning structure to a group of 3rd graders. 
This is what we have done so far:
We have talked about the importance of questions and how we are going to study and use the structure.
We have brainstormed and charted "question words."
I do We do You do technique has been used.
I have modeled questioning.
We have practiced together.
You have tried independent questioning using a story passage and partner Kagan stuctures.

I intend to use this pattern over and over so that the students can master knowledge level questioning and then work toward higher order thinking and questioning.

If you are teaching struggling learners, please realize that they need distributed practice all through the day with multiple exposure to the questioning techniques.  This is true for most, if not all materials we expect the struggling learner to learn.

Please do not be one of the teachers who says "Well, I taught that last week!"
You haven't taught it until they have learned it.
Teacher, you are soooo important and have an immeasurable ability to impact your students lives.

I applaud you!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Distaughtia humor

DO you know the term "distaughtia?" Find the base word, prefix, and suffix to understand its meaning.  This video is funny!  The teacher is suffering from extreme distaughtia and it passing it on to her students!.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kagan Quiz Quiz Trade Syllable Task Cards

Kagan structure Quiz Quiz Trade QQT is a great tool to evaluate student depth of understanding.  It is very important that the teacher "drop into" conversations. Here are a few of the cards I used for syllable understanding.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013