Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire

     My first week of summer started with a lot of time by the pool reading some great books.  The first book I read was Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire by Rafe Esquith.  This book left me with so much to think about as I start the next school year.

Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire

  • To begin the book Esquith introduces the six levels of learners students can chose to be.  He discusses how many students are Level 1 thinkers who come to school and behave in order to avoid getting into trouble.  He wants his students to reach Level 6 which is when they want to learn and do right for themselves and no one else.  My take away from this was that students shouldn't always be given a tangible reward for behaving appropriately at school. A step I think second graders can take toward being Level 6 thinkers is practicing looking through the eyes of others.  There are many picture books that teach empathy that I will be reading to my students next year.

  • Esquith gives many suggestions for how to help struggling readers.  He spends many hours preparing how the class will read stories before introducing it. For students who cannot read he picks very simple paragraphs for them to read a loud with confidence.  He also constantly explains the material to make sure everyone is up to speed. 

  • When discusses writing instruction Esquith explains what he calls the "Dreaded Rewrite." On grammar assignments students are required to get at least 90% or more correct, otherwise they have to rewrite the assignment.  I really like how high of expectations he holds for his students.  I think I will implement something like this in my class next year to show students that it isn't acceptable to rush through assignments.

  • Another writing instructional strategy he suggests is to type up writing assignments exactly the way students wrote them and review them with the class.  By typing them up and removing the name, no one knows who wrote the assignment.  Together the class can learn from each others mistakes and strive hard to write a wonderful essay worth everyone knowing who wrote it

  • While reading about Equith's math instruction, he discusses Marcy Cook.  I had not heard of her before but after checking out I found a lot of great math warm up ideas I plan to implement next year. 
I wish I could step inside Room 56 to see Esquith in action but reading this book has been eye opening to what my goals are as teacher. I am now reading his book "There are No Shortcuts," and getting more and more exciting about what my classroom next year will look like.   What books are inspiring you this summer?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

End of the Year Fun

Friday was my last teacher workday so Summer has officially begun for me!  The end of the year was so much busier than I thought it was going to be.  The last week was a lot of fun for my kids.  My favorite day was a beach theme day.  We started our morning by laying on beach towels in the room and reading our favorite books to each other.

We then made some different beach themed crafts.  My students loved making a flip flop craft I found on Pinterest and they also enjoyed painting sea shells.

On Thursday we had our class party.  We started with a pizza lunch and a slideshow I had put together.  It was great having used Class Dojo all year to keep up with my pictures.  My students really loved seeing all of our memories together.  Next, I rolled out the red carpet for end of the year awards.  I had my students write their names on yellow stars to add to the carpet.  When their name was called they took a walk down the red carpet and stopped for a picture when they received their awards. 

After awards we planned a few fun, but simple games.  They all loved racing to get the cup to the other side of the table.  Another game I had was who could keep the balloon in the air the longest.  I couldn't believe how excited they were over balloons. 

At another area of the room students were racing to fan a paper fish into the box.  It was a great game in teamwork. 

On the last day of school, we cleaned the room and had a board game day.  I am happy it is Summer now but I will miss my kiddos.  Second grade was a blast to teach this year.  I can honestly say that there was not a single day where I dreaded going to work.  So now it is time for some Summer professional development, relaxing and getting ready for my next bunch of second graders!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Break Reads

LSpring break is this week for me and many of my NC teacher friends.  I am looking forward to many things about this week, but mostly for getting time to recharge my teacher batteries.  I started the day with some time in the gym and lunch with friends. Later in the day I spent some time in the sun with a book.  I love days like these!  On Wednesday I will be heading to the beach with a couple of teacher friends.  Of course when I go to the beach I have to have plenty of great books to read.  I have three different piles of books. 

1)  Guided Reading Books to read and create TRC question for this week

2) Professional Development Books. 

3) Non-teacher related reads

We will see how many of these books I complete over the break.  I hope to at least finish one book that is non-teacher related.  It's hard to get my teacher brain to turn off even when on vacation.  How about you?  What is on your reading list for Spring break?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

I'm Back!

Hello everyone! I am so excited to start back blogging again.  I took some time off as I was getting settled in my new job.  When I previously had this blog I was teaching sixth grade and going to college for special education.  I then taught special ed for two years and just returned into the regular education classroom this year.  I am now teaching second grade and so far it is my favorite grade I have taught. I can't wait to share with you all what I am doing in my classroom and collaborate with some other elementary teachers out there.  

As a fun freebie for starting by blog journey again, I posted a new free download to my TPT store.

Friday, July 24, 2015

New Blog

I'm moving! 

Please visit and follow my new blog at  You can read more about my move on my first post there.

I am hoping to broaden my PLN there and with my new twitter account @thebehaviorroom.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Professional Development

We all know that summer doesn't just mean time to play around, but also time to learn some new things for a better school year.  This summer I have so much I want to read and learn about.  This week I've been in a conference learning about MTSS which is a layered system of support for identifying struggling students and helping meet the needs of all learners. It has been an eye opening conference and I am looking forward to the changes that will be taking place at our school. 

Other than conferences I also have my own list of books I want to read this summer. I've already almost finished the book pictured below and it has been one of my favorite books related to students with learning disabilities.  

One idea I love is the concept of literally picturing what success looks like in the classroom. The author suggests taking or finding pictures of what you think a successful environment looks like and putting them into a college. Then post the picture in your classroom as a reminder to always have positive expectations for students.

Below is a picture of my current stack of books I want to read this summer. Some books are rereads, some are just for fun and non school related and most are related to learning more about teaching students with disabilties.

What's on your professional development menu for this summer? 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Last Week Fun

Last week was the last week of school for students.  We celebrated in my room with a different theme for each day.  Monday was math games, Tuesday was fun with reading, Wednesday was science, Thursday was reflection of the year and Friday was summer activities.   My students enjoyed these theme days and overall were able to keep their focus the last week while enjoying themselves. 

Reading in the dark on reading day

Getting to learn from a therapy dog on science day

Rain in a jar on science day

Started off our week growing grass.  It sprouted in just a few days and the kids loved watching how much it grew each day.