These shiny pencils by Dixon Ticonderoga - my ALL TIME FAVORITE pencil are pure magic all year long and especially during testing season!
I was first introduced to them by one of my 2nd grade team teachers who was absolutely fabulous and knew so many ways to inspire wonder in her students.
She handed these pencils out during testing season and told her kiddos that with their brain power and the magic of the shiny pencils, anything could happen! Following in her footsteps, year after year I tell my kiddos that some magic lies within, and here's the thing - they BELIEVE! Because, well kids are in fact, a kind of magic of their own. Their belief helps fuel mine and it's one big wonderful cycle of perpetual wonderfulness!
I think the first year I bought them at a big box office supply store, but they were so expensive! Then, I decided to search Amazon and Ta-Da!, there they were at a portion of the cost. I consider this expense to be an investment in my kiddos, so I'm happy to do it. Plus, the look of pure joy on their faces when I tell them they get to keep the pencils is phenomenal. I admit, I take great pleasure in being able to make them smile and if it costs me a pencil, then so be it!
And who doesn't love a shiny pencil!
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This afternoon I was reminded of days past when I was but a novice teacher. As I prepared for my state exams by removing material from my walls I thought back to my first year teaching when someone told me that I should staple all my decorations to the wall, preferably on a black line of the poster so that when I removed the staple, the holes wouldn't show as much.
I took their advice and stapled EVERYTHING but GOOD! Nothing was coming off those walls - ever. Well, my helpful sage forgot to tell me that everything needs to come off the wall at the END OF EVERY YEAR - I had no idea. I thought my room, my problem. Nope. I also quickly learned that "my room" isn't really how it works. It's really like "my 5 plastic totes of treasures" that are moved from room to room pretty much on a yearly basis.
My wonderful mentor also forgot to tell me about testing week and how we either had to
1) remove any materials from the wall that students could use a reference, or
2) cover every surface with butcher paper.
Neither option sounded great to me, but I opted to remove the items from my wall. As I was getting ready to staple everything back to the walls (we still have 2 months left in school after the state tests), I was grumbling about the extra work when a colleague told me he used clear push pins and found them to be much easier. I tried them and it was easy enough to install, the push pins didn't get in the way of the poster and I tell you, taking down the items on my walls is a breeze.
Today I spent a total of maybe 30 minutes removing all the work we've completed through the year; all the anchor charts and student sample work. All the purchased posters from Lakeshore and TpT and I will easily be able to put them back up and the end of the week. Easy peasy.
I hope this helps!
I truly had no idea what I was really getting into when I signed up to be a teacher.
Large class size, no problem. Students that range in abilities that span the range of pre-K to 6th grade - sure bring it on. I’ll differentiate all day long.
A student that is legally blind - no problem - we’ll work it out. A homeless child or two, can do.
Take less pay for more hours than I’ve ever worked in my life? Absolutely.
What I was not prepared for was the desperate, emotional needs of the students. There are so many who need so much and it’s completely overwhelming.
When I began this year, I was warned about a few students from past teachers. I was told they were ADD or ADHD and incredibly hard to handle. Recently I ran into a coworker who said, “Oh, wow. You have Student A in your class. They were in my summer school class and could not sit still at all. Oh, and I see you also have Student B. They bounce all over the place too and just wouldn’t pay attention to any of my lessons. How do you do it?”
Girl, please. Those children are the EASY ones to deal with. They might be bouncing all over the place, but they are manageable.
What I’m not equipped to deal with are students that are still sucking their thumb at 8 years old and hide under the table. Students who begin sobbing, punching, kicking and hitting at any given moment because they are upset and don’t have coping skills. Students that simply don’t do anything, flop backward in their chair and then won’t move because they are looking for attention any way they can get it. Students that attack other students with desks or run after other students in the classroom saying “I’m going to end you!” Students that have to be chased down by our school counselor, school psychologist and the school police officer because they are running a muck.
I was not prepared for students that are so emotionally distressed, they scream at the top of their lungs when other students are bothering them and will not calm down or even leave the classroom without several administrators coming in to handle them while I’m trying to teach place value.
What’s really upsetting is that I have a large group of students that are there daily, ready to learn and I CAN’T GET TO THEM because I’m dealing with the emotional circus they call my classroom.
I’m lucky to have a large group of people in place to help me, but they are constantly fighting the same battles with children in other rooms all day long. I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. They are to be commended. I am so thankful for the love and support and the giving that these people do every day - not for money - not for the accolades - but for the kids.
Behavioral Specialists, School Counselors, School Peace Officers - I am truly grateful to all of you for your endless dedication to children who obviously need you and for your beautiful souls that truly care and are doing your best to make any bit of difference that you can. You are amazing and we see you.
I spend so much time online looking at all of these absolutely beautiful classrooms in complete awe.
They are gorgeous, show stopping and yes, I'm insanely jealous. And most of them are spot on in the material they have up on the walls. How do they do it?
Children really do reference the material on the walls around them. It is so important that the information up there is relevant, at their level (both physically and academically) and it needs to be consistent.
Here are some pictures of my past rooms and I distinctly remember students time and again referring to something I had posted on the walls. After looking through some old photos, I've decided to recognize my all-star wall posters.
As a new teacher I had no money to think about decorating my classroom. All these teachers online have gorgeous, perfectly planned decor and I had nothing. I learned that you don't have to have perfectly coordinated decorations to make the classroom feel cozy. All I did was go around and collect the leftover pocket charts other teachers were storing in their cupboards and asked if anyone had resources they weren't using. Apparently, they did - look at how full my room is!
Elementary Teacher/ Teacherpreneur
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