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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Classroom Jobs

Classrooms are busy, messy places that take a lot of time and energy to keep clean and organized. Students love to help out and having a job teaches them responsibility. I have taken an idea again from another teacher and made it my own. I will have my students apply for a job (application in future post) and interview for a job once a semester. I will then hire and train the students the first semester. The second semester, the students will train their replacements.

I have designed my classroom so that each of my friends can have a particular job to do. Here is the current list of ideas, responsibilities, and qualifications for the positions from my classroom website. I may need to add/delete jobs depending on my class size. Also, jobs will not be required so if a friend does not want to apply, he/she does not half to. Time of completion will depend upon the job.

1. Assignment Clerk
~ Responsibility: List all assignments for the day on the board (I think this is going to be  written on an easel pad and then posted on a bulletin board).
~ Qualifications: Good handwriting
2.  Scheduler
~ Responsibility: Changes schedule at the end of each day to reflect tomorrow's events
~ Qualifications: Must be capable of remembering upcoming events
3. D.J.
~ Responsibility: Chooses and plays morning song as students enter the class. Maybe asked to play
additional music at other times of the day as well. Will make sure the equipment is off and put away
when not in use.
~ Qualifications: Must like music. All new music must be approved by Mrs. Poland prior to playing. Must know how to work CD player and/or iPad system.
4. Greeter
 ~ Responsibility: Meets any guests that we may have.
~ Qualifications: Must be professional, courteous, and have a pleasant personality. Must love people
and be able to remember/follow directions.
5. Assignment Sorter
 ~ Responsibility: Puts all collected assignments in student number order, paper clips together, and
places in the "To be graded" bin. No name papers are hung on the "lost & found" board
 ~ Qualifications: Must be able to count to 35. Must be quick with hands and responsible. Must not be
afraid of paper cuts.
6. Postal Clerk
~ Responsibility: Delivers graded work and other items to student mailboxes.
~ Qualifications: Must be quick with hands and responsible. Must not be afraid of paper cuts.
7. Pencil Sharpener
~ Responsibility: Makes sure there are enough sharpened pencils in the "sharp" bucket for the entire class for the upcoming day. If not, sharpen pencils.Check to see if any groups need pencils, takes away dull ones to sharpen another day and replaces with sharp pencils ready for use.
~ Qualifications: Must know how to operate pencil sharpener
8. Table Manager 1
    Table Manager 2
    Table Manager 3
    Table Manager 4
    Table Manager 5
~ Responsibility: This person manages their table. Makes sure chairs are pushed in when we leave the
 room, the floor is trash free, passes out and picks up papers as needed, and acts as secretary if a
member of the table is absent.
~ Qualifications: Must have good handwriting. Must be alert during the day and stay on task. Must share Mrs. Poland's passion for cleanliness and organization.
13. Morning Planner Assistant
~ Responsibility: Place stamp on planner for those with a parent signature, circle in red those that do not
~ Qualifications: Must have good eyesight, be able to keep confidentiality, and work well under pressure.
14. Afternoon Planner Assistant
~ Responsibility: Place check mark in teacher initial box if everything is written down
~ Qualifications: Must have good eyesight, be able to keep confidentiality, and work well under pressure.
15. Messenger
~ Responsibility: This person moves our clip to show where we are at during various parts of the day.
This person also carries messages as needed.
~ Qualifications: Must be professional, courteous, and have a pleasant personality.
16. Operator
~ Responsibility: Answers phone "Mrs. Poland's room. This is __________. How may I help you?"
~ Qualifications: Must have a good phone voice. Must know how to operate a phone and take a
message. Must have good handwriting. Messages are to be placed in Mrs. Poland's mailbox (future blog post) and the flag raised.
17. Librarian
~ Responsibility: Makes sure our library and listening centers are clean and everything is properly put
away and organized.
~ Qualifications: Must love books. Must share Mrs. Poland's passion for organization and cleanliness.
18. Custodian
~ Responsibility: Makes sure that all surfaces in the room are clean and organized. For example, after
centers, ensure that all items have been put back appropriately.
~ Qualifications: Must have good eye sight. Must share Mrs. Poland's passion for organization.
19. Environmentalist
~ Responsibility: Lines up small trash cans by the door at the end of the day for the janitor to empty.
Replaces the small trash cans next to each group in the morning. Reminds the class to use the recycle
bin when possible.
 ~ Qualifications: Must know location of all trash cans in the room.
20. Board Cleaner
~ Responsibility: Erases approved areas of the board at the end of the day and at various times           
throughout the day when asked. Makes sure caps are securely on markers at the end of the day.
Checks to make sure all markers are working at the end of the week.
~ Qualifications: Must know where erasers are located. Must be able to reach the top of the board.
21. Clip Manager
~ Responsibility: Moves everyone's clip back to green at the end of the day.
~ Qualifications: Must know how to use clothes pins. Must be able to reach top and bottom of the
clip board.
22. Line Leader
~ Responsibility: This person leads the line throughout the building.
~ Qualifications: Must be familiar with the building layout. Must be capable of remaining quiet in line. Must walk at a pace that everyone can keep up with.
23. Door Holder
~ Responsibility: Second person in line. Always stops to hold the door for us. Changes the sign for where we are at once everyone is out of the room.
~ Qualifications: Must be strong enough to open doors. Must have cheerful personality and smile often.
24. Line Ender
~ Responsibility: Last person in line. Makes sure everyone is out of the room, the lights are off, and the door is closed. Reports if anyone leaves the line. Carries emergency bag if needed.
~ Qualifications: Must be responsible and trustworthy. Must remain calm in an emergency. Must know  how to follow in line and remain quiet.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

AZ Blogger Meet-Up

Well -- it was suppose to happen on Tuesday this week but didn't. Good thing to as there was no way I was gonna make it. I have lots of excuses why. Wanna here?

1 boy with Sun Poisoning
2 boys badly sunburned

This is ala Grampa. 
2 days, 1 swimming pool
105+ degree temperatures
fair skin & no sunscreen!

Certification Exam Stress

the biggest reason of all

No car. =(
My waterpump went out. 
Hubby is fixing it tomorrow. 

AZ peeps are stubborn so it has been moved to JULY!

This is right next to where I grew up!
I saw them build this cheesecake factory!

The boys are going to grampa's that day!
To swim while I play

8 days and counting......

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Formating Parent Communications

I was talking with a friend today about how I "sugar coat" bad news to make it sound good. She was surprised to hear I actually took a class in college called Creative Communication Strategies where for 16 weeks I learned how to take the worst news possible and turn it into something nice.

In business, there are lots of times when you need to tell someone something they don't like to hear. I am blunt, straight forward, and to the point. I struggled in this class. It was the hardest class I ever took. I passed with a B... the lowest grade I ever received in college.

It never occurred to me that teacher's don't take this class although we could certainly use it! I know I use it all the time!! So today, I thought I would teach it too all of you.

It's Pea-nut But-ter Jelly Time!
(just pretend I am rapping/singing it cuz its stuck in my head that way)

You have seen the video haven't you??
If not, here's your chance to be annoyed.

My sons have been banned from 
singing this ever again!

There is an ice cream and cake version...

Anyway... we were talking about PBJ and spinach not annoying songs. That is the formula for parent communications. 2 compliments... the bad thing you really want to share... and another compliment. 

Peanut Butter
Compliment #1... is just like smooth creamy peanut butter. It is simplistic in nature, easily seen by anyone who has ever meet the person. For example, Johnny comes to school every day impeccably dressed. His hair is always parted perfectly. Even his desk and backpack are always in perfect order. Or Susan walks into every classroom with a smile on her face eager to see what the day holds in store. 

Compliment #2.... is just like sticky, sweet jelly. A little sappy, a little over the top as all parents (persons want to be complimented. For example, Johnny wit and knowledge on a wide variety of subjects enhances our daily discussions exponentially. Or Susan is just the sweetest doll and so helpful, I just don't know how I will do without her in my class. 

The Negative.... the thing that you really wanted to say this whole time. It's like finding spinach in your sandwich. It's disgusting! You don't want to talk about, its the elephant in the room.. but it has to be said. Despite following our classroom plan, Johnny continues to exhibit difficulties with Jose. The name calling has escalated to a point where we now need your help to resolve this issue. Susan is continual interrupting the class with her humor and wit thus not allowing the other students to learn. I need your assistance in curtailing future interruptions.

Compliment #3.... Wrap up the whole thing in a nice warm piece of homemade bread fresh from the oven. I truly love having Johnny in my class and I know with this minor change his true loving nature will pour forth. Susan is so beautiful and talented. Decreasing her need for speaking will allow her to become a the brilliant brain surgery I know she is destined to become.

So there ya have it... one disgusting sandwich making lesson you will never forget. And it comes in handy too. What method do you use for sharing bad news with parents?

9 days and counting....


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

MIA & a Winner!

Hi Everyone -

I ran out of pre-written blog posts and I have no time at the moment to write. So... with a heavy heart... I am gonna go study my toushy off and not post anything for a few days. I will miss you all and have a few surprises in store for my return.

Check back on July 4th for .... 
It's BIG!
This is one giveaway you 
aren't gonna wanna miss!!

Speaking of giveaways... 
I have a winner to announce: 

I sent you an email =)

So Goodbye my friends
10 days and counting until the test!

Wish me luck!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Got Sanitizer and Fabric Banners

This week on SHE Made it Monday (hehehehe)...
this cute package arrived in the mail.

Totally love this!

I bought one for each table in my class
It fits perfectly in my caddies.

They are all similar but different.
She offers a discount if you buy a lot.

My 7 year old thinks they are really fun to play with
Makes a great ramp for cars
Or it could be a building as part of his lego set
Also an evil dragon....
Bet you didn't know they were so versatile.

And you can get your own from

Stay tuned... there is gonna be a giveaway on this one. 

But right now I am focusing on a
500 Followers Giveaway!!
Watch for it on July 4th. 
My Anniversary. 

Also arriving by mail this week was....

Sorry -
my wall was shorter than my banner...

This is a better picture!
Totally LOVE.
Utterly adore it.

 This is a close up of the fabrics.

Gotta redo my teacher's board to match it now.
Stay tuned for that project!

You can get it from

This is a fabric one.
You can custom order yours in any color.
She offers a teachers discount!!

And yes...
there is a giveaway coming up for your very own banner!!
And this...

Oh wait! 
That's a secret!!!

11 days and counting...
Time to study!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Classroom First Aid

A while back, we talked about visiting the nurses office. While researching items needed in the classroom I came across lots of information on having a first aid kit in the classroom. This kit does not negate a trip to the nurse for serious injuries, it is instead to be used for minor issues such as a paper cut or a scraped knee. However, you have to know your school and district policies. While some are okay with others are completely against it. Every paper cut goes to the nurse - she/he must be really busy at that school!

Another item to add to my shopping list... a dorm-sized refrigerator! Again, one will have to make sure they can have one in their classroom before purchasing it. This is not only used to store my lunch in but will hold ice packs. Sometimes all one needs is time with an ice pack to feel better. 

Or a band-aid for the hurt you cannot see with your eye. I saw an adorable lined basket at hobby lobby that I have been wanting to do something with. I will set it on top of the fridge with my first aid items easily accessible on top. And I will stack some of the nurses passes right in front of it. 

Your Shopping List:
~ Dorm-sized refrigerator
~ Band-aids of various sizes
~ Lined basket
~ Latex-free Gloves
~ Ice Packs
~ Peppermints
~ Fever Bugs (stickers that take a child's temp)

What other items do you keep in your classroom to help alleviate trips to the nurses office?

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Vocabulary City Review & Giveaway!

Okay... I am beyond late to my own party and Krista has been such a great host that she has not even complained yet! This month on 3-6 Free Resources, we are asking teachers to link up and share their favorite websites.

I have so many! 
It was sooooo hard to choose a favorite!

But after a long while, I finally decided to go with something fun, educational, and saves me a bunch of time.

Vocabulary and spelling made fun

I found this site many years ago as a homeschooler and loved it then. I love it even more as a teacher!! 

What is so great about this site? 

~ It is fun! My sons beg to play games on this site. Yep - the children whom I cannot get to do their spelling homework, who claim they have no such things despite the fact that I personally know each of their teachers beg to go onto the website. 

~ It's free! There are a lot of great games, videos on how to use this site, spelling lists, and more all free.OR you can go with a premium membership for even more great options. 

~ I can print out almost anything into a worksheet for those who do not have access to technology at home. 

~ It makes my life easy. No arguing with my boys to do their homework. The premium options are a dream come true for me as a teacher. I can create a login for each student, assign them groups for differentiated instruction, create assignments, give them tests, and more. 

~ It grades the tests my students take. You all know how I love and use emoticons in my classroom, right? Get this, I can use emoticons to give my students feedback on their scores. It keeps track of what each child does individually AND I can print this out for record keeping purposes. One less record for me to keep. 

~ I can create custom lists or use the ones they have. I have a homepage and you can find me by searching for my school. I can create groups in my class for the various levels of spelling we do. 

~ Subjects include... Spelling, Vocabulary, Writing, and even Handwriting. LOVE IT!

~ If I don't know how to use a feature, there is a video to show me how. There are even letters for class-home communication. 

I just heard some amazing new things are headed our way for the upcoming school year!!
~ An iPad app
~ Google Chrome App
~ And it is now available as a premium feature for Edmodo users

There are SOOO many features. You truly need to go and explore them all for yourself. AND here is one person's chance to do that! I am giving away a 1 Year Premium Class Membership!!! (Value $49.99) Just leave me a comment below to enter and I will choose a winner at random next Sunday. 

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

10 Websites for Dictionaries & Thesaurus

As I have worked with Erika on designing classroom websites, I hear over and over again the question of what to include. I was saving this post for when my own class website was ready to share with all of you (its getting a makeover) but alas.... I am off studying and no time to post. So you get to see it early!

In the homework section of my website, I keep a list of reference sources for my students. I have found that having these available give my students a starting place to work from. They are also great for use on the classroom computers. I do not need to tell my students where to start researching, I have already given them the resources and tools to do so.

My list of resources for a Dictionary and Thesaurus are:

1. - My personal favorite. It is also an iPad app.

2. - Same website as the above and my go-to reference tool. It is also an iPad app. '

3. Scholastic Word Wizard - This site provides the student with a quick definition and has word games. 

4. Your Dictionary. com - Here you can search for words in over different languages and browse for words by topic. Great for if you don't know what to put into the search engine.

5. Rhyme Zone - A dictionary for finding rhyming words... GENIUS!

6. Wordsmyth Educational Dictionary & Thesaurus - This is great for those learning how to spell as it allows you to search for a definition without having to know the correct spelling. This is also the same company who make the children's thesaurus and dictionary (the old-fashion hardback book version) that I purchased for my children to use at home and that I have a class set of at school

7.  Fact Monster - This is another multipurpose reference site. This one includes a dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, almanac, and encyclopedia.

8. The Newberry House Online Dictionary - This one allows you to search for words or phrases. It is excellent for your ELL & ESS students.

9. Merriam-Webster Online Language Center - Collegiate Dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus. I rarely use this site but it does have a few word games to play on it.

10. Visual Dictionary online - Search by theme or picture. Great for the ESS and ESL student. And its an iPad app. I love this site! I learn so much each time I visit it.

Great for science as it breaks down things into parts! So you can go from a general picture to more in depth in one area.  Just look at this strawberry and you can click on each one of those labels for more details. LOVE!

Do you recommend a different dictionary or thesaurus to your students? If so, please leave me a link with a comment below so I can add it to my list of references. Thanks!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

A New Bloom's Taxonomy?

Fourteen more days to go. 
Two weeks.... 
brain is overloaded. 
Brain hurts. 

I am not sure I have any room left over in there so you all are just gonna have to study with me. =)

So Bloom's Taxonomy..... you all have heard of it, use it, and had it drilled into your brain during pedagogical classes. My cute brain has been "exposed" to it but now it is being "crammed full" of it. Bloom's classifies cognitive thinking skills. It has been revised to look like this:

But not all teacher's agree that the new model is correct.

Shelley Wright says we need a new Bloom's for the 21st Century. She agrees with the classifications but not the order. She wrote an amazing post on why it should be flipped to support brain-based research. She believes the model should look like this:

Kathy Shrock believes that both the regular and the flipped pyramid versions of Bloom is wrong. Bloom's is not a series of steps that one must take to reach the top or to be successfully but rather a set of interlocking cognitive processesworking together.

And then there is the ever popular Bloom's Wheel... I kinda like this one. It has all sorts of information. If only my brain were a camera and I could flip through images while taking the test.

So what are your thoughts on Bloom's? Is the revised model correct? Have you ever heard of these other models? Do we need a new model? Do we even need a model at all?