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Sunday, November 22, 2015

The struggle

This was sent to me by my sister in law.  My family is a family of teachers and I was the only one with students the week of Thanksgiving.  Thanks to First Grade Fun Times for capturing how I felt when they kept "forgetting" I had to work ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Biology TEKS

This week I have been a part of many discussions that include the question, "why hasn't someone created that?"  And one of the things is a spreadsheet of TEKS (I have not found them in a download/edit-friendly format).  So we need to create what we wish existed, right?  And now I am sharing it with you.

I made a spreadsheet of the Student Expectations for the Texas Biology EOC.  This is what I use to format my year, my lecture topics or agendas are simplified wordings of these TEKS.  I have uploaded the spreadsheet to google drive and made it available to anyone with the link.  If you would like the link click here.  I will be adding it as a pdf soon.  

Let me know if you have other suggestions of what to make.  And let us know if you have something you have created that you are willing to share!

Plant Movement

Check out these plants - apparently I am more attractive than I realized!

I think this is due to static electricity.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quote on the week

At the end of the summer I posted pictures of my room and my quote board.  I have changed the quotes about once a week.  Unfortunately , I haven't taken a picture of each one, but I do have a fe pics to share.

I hoard quotes I like on a Pinterest board, and I choose the quotes partially based on my students, I consider what I think they need to hear.

I actually say this one a lot in class when student s point out my mistakes (typos and such).

For my AP kiddos who are creating something with the information we learn.


I hope to throw all of these in a flight am at the end of the year - I think it will look super cool. I also think this is something I can keep up with.  Daily quotes would be asking too much of me, but my students like it enough to pay attention and even ask for new quotes.  And the chalk is easy enough that I can write out my quote and I usually decorate it at a later time.

My favorite quote I forgot to take a picture of ... "Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate."

Monday, November 9, 2015

If Teachers Were Rock Stars

I love hearing stories of how rock stars or movie stars have crazy requests like having green M&Ms.  So I was thinking what would teachers requests be?  So, I made list and asked my friends.  Here is what we came up with.  The is a wide range in the craziness of the requests.

Being able to take off when I'm sick.

Having Vin Disel or Dwayne Johnson (The Rock)  as motivational speaker during the first week of inservice ... or any day. Or to read power point slides to us instead of the presenters who will do that anyway :)

Having a room next to my friend.

A Fountain Drink machine with good ice (smaller is better) and Diet Coke.

Personal chef

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

More money for resources (budget money)

Wine about it Wednesdays (after hours, of course) social hour - wine optional

To be able to send documents directly to the copy machine again ...

A throne as a chair

Printer for printing posters & good laminator

No morning duty

Personal masseuse

A slushy machine full of my favorite caffeinated beverage (spark)

Mid-day Yoga Class

More money (only one out of 10 teachers I asked mentioned money)

Panda express ... with all the veggies picked out

Support from administation

Ice water

No teenagers :)

Gourmet coffee or hot herbal tea delivered during my conference period

Front row parking

Margarita Mondays or Fridays

The room be disinfected between every class

Be escorted to the restroom in the busy halls

Calming oils rubbed on my temples at 10,2 and 4 o'clock

Unlimited copies

Chick-fil-a nugget tray

71 degree room

Vanilla Coke from Sonic

Wifi and Cable TV

Personal hair stylist

Hour long lunch once a week or even once a month

I want to be able to bring my cat with me and expect someone to take care of her


Tables cleaned with bleach daily

Cap classes at 20 students

My coffee prepared precisely the way I like it

Two conference periods

Faster internet

Private bathrooms in every class (I can think of a downfall here)

Starbucks delivered every morning and Blue Bell delivered every afternoon

An ice machine with really fine ice in my room

Quiet time

A work room that is separate from the teacher lunch room and separate from the conference room

And the most popular by far:  Having a personal assistant was a very popular request.  Several different reasons were listed:

To talk to the people I don't want to talk to

To help me find my keys and phone

To finish all the projects I begin but never finish 

And  the best thought out plan:

A personal assistant prepared at the door to hand me my coffee.  A personal massage before the students arrive.  The personal assistant will be prepared to watch the students for minutes of reflection, lemon water or bathroom breaks.  By 10:15  the mimosas will be ready.  I would have an hour and a half for lunch and   At 2:30, I have my masseuse ready for a foot massage and chiropractic adjustment before having my personal assistant grade my papers.  I would also have two conferences and a PLC assistant.  I don't need to attend that stuff, I'm too busy using my genious brain to create lessons

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Student-Created Photosynthesis Lab Video

A student taught me about a new app called Tempo, have you tried it?  It allows you to record a video and then slow it down or speed it up within the app.  Obviously he did even more editing the video, adding text and music.   Check out the video.  What could you do with this app?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Boosting Teacher Morale

At work teachers were discussing how to boost morale in the workplace.  So a quick Google search and 6 articles later, I realized that there was a huge discrepancy in what types of morale boosters were targeted at teachers versus the booster for non-teachers.  And some of the ideas on both sides are so unrealistic.  So I decided to go to the source, and I asked several teachers I know who teach in different parts of the country and who teach different grade levels, "What does your school/principal do to boost or maintain morale?"

And teachers tell you how it is (teacher to teacher anyway).  Some responded with simply, "nothing," while others sent lengthy descriptions of the extravagant ways they are shown they are appreciated, and how much they appreciated their leaders.

Would you like to see the list?

(Not yet ... almost)

I want to forewarn you that a large majority of responses included food and jeans passes.  At one point I told a teacher-friend that I never realized how much teachers are like wild animals/toddlers/teens  .... It seems like people just throw food at us to try to keep us happy.

So really here is the list:

  • drink cart delivers drinks to teachers with sodas and additives to make flavored drinks
  • brought in a food truck to cater lunch (without telling us ahead of time)
  • once a month candy with catchy notes in mailboxes
  • starbucks coffee with all the fixings in the office - or hot chocolate on cold mornings
  • our favorite sonic drinks sitting on tables for us at staff meetings
  • occasionally principals take a teacher's duty
  • ice cream floats delivered to teachers
  • family appreciation picnic at local park (catered bbq, games for the kids, music, etc)
  • something small monthly
  • boo grams
  • hid baby pumpkins around the school - if you found a pumpkin you got a prize
  • jean days
  • nothing bundt cakes
  • chik-fil-a
  • donuts
  • split into teams and have games to compete against one another - team that wins at the end of the semester goes to the movies together and lunch out
  • encourages to take 1-2 minute brain breaks and play games with the kids
  • potlucks every 6 weeks
  • they really try to honor our time
  • treats for teachers every month
  • always giving jeans passes
  • have scavenger hunts
  • we really feel supported and if there is a problem they are very opened to helping
  • really encourage family first
  • encourage us not to work late
  • honor out planning time and have committed to not holding meetings Tuesdays or Thrusdays so we can plan as a team
  • ARDs are held only on certain days unless it can't be avoided
  • birthdays are a big deal - (half birthdays for summer birthdays)
  • give a full hour lunch by having someone cover their extra 30 minutes
  • random emails genuinely saying thank you
  • weekly newsletter with staff shout outs
  • encouraging teachers to take off when they are sick
  • team ran a marathon together and socialized afterwards
  • principals bought space heaters for everyone when heat went out
  • jeans for yor birthday
  • different themed lunches or snacks one or twice a month in the lounge
  • presents begiiinnng, middle and end of each year
  • root beer floats
  • parents bring entire staff meals
  • entire week of jeans
  • recognizes any accomplishments from the previous week
  • we all eat lunch together
  • principals come by to see the cool stuff we are doing in the classroom - but not to grade us- just to be aware of what is going on
  • assistant principal had scheduled meeting with individual teacher to see how out year is going
  • Christmas bonus!
  • once when it was pouring rain the principals walked us in with giant umbrellas
  • they treat us like we are human
  • they surprise us
  • they understand when we are stressed
  • they bring in a massage therapist
  • they cater breakfast or lunch
  • we get t shirts
  • teacher of the month eats at the steak house
  • pats on the back
  • we are a family - we do not require a morale boost (** this should be everyone's goal)
  • each week the principal passes a statue of our school mascot and praises a teacher in his weekly newsletter
  • random jeans days
  • assistant principal does walk throughs and leaves us nice notes
  • our principals don't talk down to us.

What I think it boils down to is we want to feel appreciated, truly appreciated.  

We want leaders not bosses.

And I think teachers should take these matters into their own hands.  Make open-ended questions and have teachers tell you what they would like for a pick me up when they are stressed or overwhelmed or have helped a fellow teacher out.  Make the answers available to everyone, so anyone can take the opportunity to brighten someone else's day.