Great job.

A simple, “Great job,” goes a long way. As educators we rarely get a pat on the back for what we do day in and day out. In any type of work place, I feel that it is extremely important to feel appreciated and supported. Administrators should make their teachers feel like rockstars! I feel that this simple, “Great job,” would really change the way that teachers are feeling about their jobs.

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What do you get out of it?

I want to know what professional organizations you are a part of….

How do professional organizations help you grow as a professional? Are there perks to joining? Or is it just to say you are a member…

I would really love to hear your feedback! Are there benefits to your organizations besides putting it on your resume?

Please click this link to fill out a brief survey!

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Google It.

How many Google searches do you do in a day?

For me…it’s definitely 20 or more. I find myself constantly turning to my iPhone to answer any question that arises. Today I googled NHL, CIA failures (as I’m obsessed with Homeland), Phillip Phillip tour dates, among many others.

As a teacher, I use google constantly. I am always looking for ways to keep my students engaged while learning. I use google images in lessons, and my students will often google questions that they have about a certain topic. Are there really any other search engines that are better?  I took a class over the summer where a variety of search engines were introduced, but I can’t even remember one off the top of my head. Google is the king of search.

Many teachers ask me for advice with their iPads. Usually they come to me when something doesn’t work. I obviously don’t have all the answers, but Google seems to – haha. Apple forums have saved me so many times. It’s interesting to me that many teachers will ask 10 colleagues before heading to Google. Maybe it has something to do with my age but I feel that even young teachers have this same problem. How do we fix this?

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What’s the point?

This is a little moment from last week in my classroom that I had to share.

I am so lucky to be in a school where I have taught a group of students in each class. My school has grades 2-5. Each morning I not only have my new students giving me huge smiles but I am greeted and hugged by so many former friends and students. It is so much fun to have them visit and I get to see how they’ve changed and grown.

I had two 2nd grade boys visit me last week in the morning. They came in and gave me huge hugs. It immediately made me smile. The one student is an avid sports fan like myself and we struck up a conversation right away about our beloved Phillies. As we were talking…another teacher walked in and tried to get my attention. I politely ignored and talked to my little ones. She then proceeded to interrupt and say to the kids, “You should probably go to class; your teacher is wondering where you are.” I came to their defense and kept chatting about what was new in their lives. These are the moments that count for me. The moments that matter. Yes we come to school to learn, but we also come to build relationships and connect with one another.

I am blessed to have children run up to me each morning and get excited to see me. I cherish those instances. I wish other teachers could see the importance of this. What’s the point of teaching for me? It’s building relationships that will last a lifetime. It’s being able to teach a student in a way that is new to them. It’s helping each child learn to their fullest potential. It’s getting students to think outside of the box. It’s creating learning experiences that will not be forgotten. This is what teaching should be.

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Another WOW moment.

I am constantly amazed by the power of twitter. I can’t talk about it enough…I have so many inspiring educators that I can now call my friends because of twitter.

Not only do we have weekly chats about different 1st grade topics through #1stchat…but tonight we had a book talk about The Book Whisperer by the incredible Donalyn Miller @donalynbooks.  Book chats are always different and you never know who is going to come.  Tonight, the conversation was so easy, like it was a group of friends getting together to talk about a good book. Such a warm and fuzzy feeling. I am inspired everyday by my #1stchat PLN. Learning, sharing and collaborating with them has been a powerful experience.

Tonight, I had a colleague join in on our book chat. I have been talking about twitter for over a year now at school…trying to get some of my grade levels friends on board. Tonight, one of my dearest friends, Vickie Miller joined in.  Vickie was so nervous about participating. She did an amazing job and kept up with the conversation – I remember how overwhelmed I was listening in on my first #edchat! It was so hard to keep up!  Vickie and I have always been on the same page when it comes to teaching.  It was so exciting for me to have her join in on something that I hold so close. What an amazing friend. I am very lucky.

I will continue to share how twitter has changed me as an educator. Some don’t get it, some say they don’t have time, but for me it is something so special and so meaningful to my teaching career. Thanks to my incredible PLN! You are all such passionate educators that inspire me each and every day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Recycled portraits

My 1st graders had so much fun creating their recycled portraits this year for Earth Day!  Thanks to Kathy Sather @teach1quilt2 for finding this great idea via pinterest.

I modeled how to draw a simple self portrait.  Then the kids used recycled magazines and newspapers to fill them in.  They loved this and they came out really well! I am going to hang these out in the hallway for parents during our Young Learner’s Night. The kids want their parents to guess which one is them! Great idea. Enjoy!

The title of our bulletin board is going to read, “Room 28 is Going Green!”







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A New Beginning

Change is so healthy. I think of myself as someone who always needs something new, something exciting and different. I am always up for a challenge. The same routine going day in and day out bores me. While I have only taught 1st grade for 6 years…I was feeling that my routine was wearing on me. While I am always looking for new ways to present lessons, new activities and games, I was still feeling like I was in a funk.

When our “teaching intent forms” came out in January, I panicked. It was finally time to make my decision. Do I stay in 1st? Or is it time to go?  After a lot of careful thought, I knew it was time for something different. I met with the other principals and told them that I was interested in switching grade levels. I was very lucky when I was offered a 4th grade position a few weeks later.

I am so excited and so extremely nervous about 4th grade. 1st —-> 4th. Now that’s a huge jump. I’m going from a group of student’s who still need help tying their shoes/zipping their jackets to a group of students that are much more independent. I am beyond excited. What excites me the most is what I will be able to do with technology in 4th grade. My head has been spinning since I found out.

4th grade will be a wonderful, new beginning for me. I am staying in the same district and will be working with an amazing team of veteran teachers. I feel very lucky for the opportunity to try something new. Looking forward to jumping into #4thchat and this summer all I have planned is to read as many books as a I can. (1st grade picture books are much easier to catch up on!)

I am very sad to pass on my #1stchat – but I know it’s time to leave. It has been an amazing year learning from my #1stchat PLN. Such an incredible and inspiring group of teachers. I can’t wait to share my new adventure with all of you!


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The easiest way to archive!

So many twitter friends have been asking me lately how to archive a chat.  If you would have asked me 6 months ago, I would have said, “I have no clue!” But…thanks to my amazing MacBook Air, I have found the best, and more importantly easiest way to archive! Sorry to those that have a PC!

1. Use TweetChat to follow twitter chats! When you sign in using your twitter info, all you need to do is enter your hashtag and all the tweets will show up. The best part about TweetChat is that when following a chat, you do not have to write the #hashtag everytime , it does it for you! So easy!

2. At the end of your chat, go to File: Print.

3. From the print screen, you should see a button on the bottom left corner that says, PDF.







4. Simply click, Save as PDF and now you have a copy to share, put on a website, etc! So easy, right?

If you have any questions, just shoot me an email!

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Kid Blogs: How to’s and What has worked

I have learned so much from my #1stchat friends over the past few months. It’s so excited to talk with 1st grade teachers from around the globe. Blogging has been a main topic of conversation recently.

I starting blogging with my students last year. We had a classroom blog. I did all the typing. The kids would tell me about the day and we’d organize our thoughts into a post. I found this to be exhausted and frustrating! We always did this at the end of the day and I found that I was yelling at them more than actually getting them to help me out.

This year, I scrapped the classroom blog and started using Kid Blogs. Many teachers told me that it took awhile to get students used to the format, especially the little ones. I didn’t listen and jumped in head first. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait for my kids to try it out. I showed them a few examples of Kid Blogs on our Smart Board and we were ready to go. It only took a few moments to set up my account with student names, passwords and format for the blog.

The best part about Kid Blogs is how easy it is to log in. Once the teacher sets up the account, the kids simply find their name and type in their password.  We made our passwords very simple…I know that other teachers often let their students pick their own passwords because if they pick it themselves, they are more likely to remember. Others have sent home passwords, put them on index cards or put them on a binder ring so kids could find them easily. Whatever works for you!

After I showed the kids how blogging works, they were anxious to get started. Day 1 – I modeled and they blogged. Many kids had ideas that they were ready to blog about. Other students were stumped. So on Day 2 – we created a large list on what to blog about. This helped other students to get started right away. I do not tell the students what to blog about.  They always have free choice – I strongly believe that students should not be writing to prompts!

I sent the links out to parents and my twitter PLN along with the hashtag #comments4kids and the comments started coming.  The students are so excited when they know that there are actual people out there reading their blogs! They have a real audience! How powerful! Yesterday, I had a student get a Happy Birthday message from a classroom in Ireland – I think he had a grin on his face all day long.  :) Another student got a comment that even made me tear up! Miss Komos (@Komos72) wrote that she used my student’s blog post as a model for what good readers look like! YAY! Love it!

Just recently, my class was given a few iPod touches and an iPad to try out in the classroom. I immediately set up our classroom blog as a bookmark, and now the students love to blog on them.  They love finding small corners of the room to hide out in and write.  Their posts keep getting better and better. While I still have a few students who struggle with writing, I do not alter their blogs in any way. Whatever they write is theirs (even if you can’t read it very well). How cool will it be at the end of 1st grade to look back on the blogs and see how much we’ve improved! I can’t wait!




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Dublin Lit 2012

Check out all of the great ideas shared during the Dublin Literacy Conference in Dublin, Ohio!

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