Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Best Books for Boys by Pam Allyn

I wanted to share a great summer read for teachers! Over the last few weeks I have been reading Pam Allyn’s new book Best Books for Boys. This book shares some wonderful information about how boys feel about reading and how the things that parents and teachers do can help cultivate the way they feel about reading throughout their life.

Why the focus on books for boys? The author provides wonderful statistical information that answers this question. She shares one study done by the National Endowment for the Arts that showed that by 12th grade, boy’s average 13 points lower than girls on proficiency tests. In addition, think about your own classes. Haven’t you had more boys diagnosed with learning disabilities, receiving special education services, and prescribed mood-managing drugs? The book states that boys are twice as likely to experience all three of these things. A Harvard psychologist named William Pollack says, “Today’s schools are built for girls, and boys are becoming misfits.”

One of the main things that I took away from this book is that teachers may not be giving boys books that they WANT to read. Boys should be allowed and even encouraged to read a variety of topics as well as genres. This can include video/computer games, sports page/magazines, comic books/graphic novels, text messages, web sites, and blogs. Another wonderful resource available in this book is an annotated list of book titles and series available that might interest boys. This list is broken up into emerging, developing, and maturing levels and into several topics, such as Action and Adventure and Comic Books and Graphic Novels. I plan to spend time this summer reorganizing my classroom library and adding in some of the books listed in Best Books for Boys that I know will interest my male students!

I highly recommend this book for all teachers. The extensive list of books sorted by level and topic will be something that I pull off the shelf to refer to for years to come. It is a wonderful resource for teachers of all grade levels!The book is available on Amazon for under $15.00. Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I have the biggest smile on my face as I write this post! As I was teacher blog stalking this morning I came across something that made my whole day. I won a giveaway (my first one ever)! Thank you to Jodi at Fun In First Grade! Everyone should follow her blog and TpT store!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First Grade Fanatics

I came across a WONDERFUL new blog recently. The ladies over at First Grade Fanatics have a ton of great ideas and their TpT store items are filling up my wish list! They are currently having a giveaway and I really want to win. I know my kiddos would love this Creepy Crawler Unit! Click here to enter for yourself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sub Tub

My husband plays baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and is gone playing baseball from March through September each year. This season he is playing in Altoona, PA. I am headed that way for a short visit at the end of this week and you know what that means…sub plans! Sub plans and I have not been the best of friends over the years. I have gotten better over time, but sub plans still cause me some stress. I just want things to go as smoothly as possible for the kiddos and the substitute while I am away.

For those times when I have to be away from my class I find it much easier to organize lesson plans and materials in a Sub Tub. I’m sure I saw this idea somewhere and I am not trying to take credit for it. Just wanted to pass along the idea because it works wonderfully for me!

I have a folder for each day that I will be gone. There are additional folders with notes that need to go home and general information for the substitute. I can even fit in the snacks so that everything is in one place. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy thank you card idea

At the beginning of each school year I like to take a picture of my class holding letter signs that spell thank you. I print them out (2 or 3 on a page) from a colored printer. Next, I glue the picture onto a half sheet of construction paper (or colored card stock) and fold in half. I pre-make several of these to have on hand and making more throughout the year is a breeze. Whenever we need a thank you card for someone I just have the kids sign the inside of one of these. It is an easy, cheap, and personal way for my class to show our gratitude to others.

This also works for special birthday cards!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Classroom Store

My class has been busy learning about money this month. Now it is time to apply what they have learned! In the Spring I set up a classroom store and my students can earn play money to go "shopping" with. They absolutely love it!!!

I ask my local bank to donate the little coin purses for the kids to use as wallets. If you can't find those a small envelope will work just fine to keep coins in. I set out items that I have picked up throughout the year at Dollar Tree and in the Target dollar isles. My students can earn coins for good behavior, being a good friend, helping me or each other, working quietly, perfect papers/tests, etc. I can also take coins away if they misbehave. One or two times a week I open the store and kids can spend their money or save it for a bigger item if they wish.

The only rule is that they have to count out the money to me. After the first couple times they really get the hang of it! I use a play cash register and pretend to really ring their items up.

I love this activity because it is easy to manage and helps tremendously with end of the year behavior issues that arise. My class is so busy trying to earn money that they have almost stopped bickering…almost. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

My first graders are overdoing the old "your shoe is untied" joke today! It might be a long day.

I wanted to share this super cute idea that my kindergarten teacher friends down the hall are doing today for April Fool’s Day. When their students got to their desks this morning they already had "breakfast" waiting for them. Bacon, eggs, and toast! Yum! It is actually half of a graham cracker (toast), two pretzel sticks (bacon), and a scoop of vanilla frosting with a yellow M&M on top. Too fun! Thanks for the fun idea Lisa V!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

You know you're a teacher when...

Abby at The Inspired Apple is having a fun linky party and I thought this would be good topic my first blog entry! So here goes nothing!

You know you're a teacher when...

- When out shopping you constantly ask yourself the question, "Could I wear this to school?” This creates a problem when getting dressed for girls nights and you are standing in your closet looking at a sea of solid color cardigans and flats. 
-  Your day can best be explained by simply saying, "It was like trying to keep ping pong balls underwater. Something else just kept popping up."
- You affectionately refer to your class as "my kids" even though you yourself don't have children yet.
- You routinely scarf down your lunch in 5-7 minutes so that you can get to the copy machine/laminator as quickly as possible during your lunch period.
- You love Dollar Tree, Goodwill, and the dollar isles at Target!
- You never quite feel like that "to do" list gets any shorter. It just changes a bit each day.
- You know that sometimes a hug really can fix everything!
- You secretly prefer students with a little bit of orneriness in them. It spices things up a bit.
- You sometimes email your best friend "quotes of the day" that are inspired by funny/inappropriate things that come out of your student's mouths.
- You know that some of your student's parents would be mortified if they knew what their child told you about them.