Teacher Blues: Just One of Those Days

If you're a teacher, then you know that teaching is one of the most gratifying positions in the world. In this position you get to teach lessons, but most importantly, you get to inspire, encourage, and illuminate.

Unfortunately, every day is not like that.  Sometimes, you have days that are days that should be reserved for the worst people in the world.  To go further, it might even be just one hour or one period that makes that day horrible.  I am writing this from experience from TODAY!  Usually, my days are wonderful! Today, was a little different though.

It was my last period of the whole week, and my students were already fighting with one another with their voices raised even before I stepped into the room.  They were so heated that I couldn't separate them.  Immediately, I rushed to get someone that could help me, but that one period will always stay with me forever. Everyone eventually did their work, made up, and went home.

Everyone but me! I still felt really bad.  I needed to figure out how to calm down from all the excitement, so I decided to make a  list of things that I could do to help me get through this type of day.  Of course, I love sharing with all of you, so you get the list as well! I hope it helps, and let me know if you had any crazy periods/days like the one I just had.
1. Reflect, reflect, and reflect. If you don't already have a journal, then get one because it is so important to jot down things that happen in the classroom. When you separate yourself from the classroom, your perspectives also shift.

2.  Know that you are not a horrible teacher because you had a horrible day.  It can't always be daisies and sunshine! A wonderful colleague told me that you can't have a rainbow without some rain.

3. Create a list of community building activities for that particular class for next week.

4.  Speak to another teacher and get some strategies of how you could have dealt with the situation differently or prevented it entirely.

Until next time! xoxox

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Hi everybody!  I have finally posted my capitalization review packet on TPT.  It's going to be a FREEBIE for the next 24 hour! Get it and let me know how it works for your classroom!

I used it every day for the first 10 minutes of class. It has truly helped my students improve on their sentences.  I was getting some pretty interesting sentences without any capitals or all capitals, and I was getting pretty frustrated.  I couldn't just use random worksheets I found because the worksheets were either not all-inclusive, or they were not well-suited for the students I teach. I teach 18-25 years old that have not graduated yet.  They are adults, so they don't enjoy seeing little kid graphics on their papers.  That is why I created this packet!  It worked so well!

Making Algebra Fun: What is a function Video?

Math is one of those things that some people either really love or really hate.  This is very unfortunate, because some of those people are also teachers.

Thankfully, my wonderful colleague, Dayonna Patterson, a high school math teacher in Los Angeles, has made it a little bit easier for us teachers. She has created a video that goes over the question, "What is a function."

Let me tell you! This has made my life so my easier! Going from teaching first grade to teaching high school wasn't easy, but this video is one of those gems that I refer to when my students have problems with functions.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

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Educator's Review: Math App OctoPlus

This post brought to you by . The content and opinions expressed below are that of Reflecting Mrs Liana.

I have recently come across OctoPlus, a math app, and I am so glad I did! I was having trouble with a few students in my all-inclusive math class. The students were either on 504 plans or had an IEP, and the computer program that I was using for my class wasn't working for them.

This app was just what I needed! They enjoyed learning on the game, but that wasn't the best part. They were starting to succeed with the standards I was teaching. The app is directly aligned with the Common Core Standards, and the game-like software taught the students math skills based on their own individual ability. The range of topics includes Common Core math State Standards in Operations and Algebraic Thinking.

Overall, OctoPlus kept my students engaged, and they loved that they could use this technology at home as well.

Get the app, and I hope your students enjoy it as much as my students did! Visit the Apple App Store for more information.

I have come across the greatest thing on this planet for teachers!  I had heard about the not for profit organization called Donors Choose, but I haven't tried it until now.  It's a website that allows teachers to choose materials they need for their students, and post it online so people can log-on and help teachers out by donating money for the materials.

It was such an easy process for me.  I signed up, created a new project, posted a few paragraphs about my students, and added a picture of some of my students.  For my first project I wanted to get a class set of To Kill a Mockingbird, so that's what I had in my project.  I found the books on Amazon for a decent amount, and the amount came out to about $270.

Within a week of posting the project, I received word that the project was funded!  Three days later, I received my package from Amazon!  It was delivered to my school, and I was so excited.

Received the package 3 days later!
I just wish Erin Gruwell from Freedom Writers had been around for this website.

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How to Make Differentiation Easier?

What is it?

We want all of our students to succeed, and if you believe that all students can learn, then you need to consider differentiating your class. This means that instruction should be planned for all students, above-plan students, on-plan students, and below-plan students.  This means that students are at all levels of understanding, and differentiation needs to be for all the students.

Common Misconceptions

Differentiation is for only below-plan students. This is not true, because the students that are above-plan need differentiation to be challenged in class.

Differentiation is accommodations and modifications. To differentiate you need to make a change in your practice by using the 9 principals of differentiation.  The 9 principals are the following: respectful tasks, flexibility grouping, content, process, product, readiness, interest, learning profiles, and ongoing assessments.

How to Make Differentiation Easier

1. Look at the grade above and below Common Core standard you are teaching. On either side of it is the lower grade and higher grade standard that corresponds with it.  You can use all three standards to differentiate, so make sure you keep the standards handy! An Example is shown below to see how simple it is!

Click here for English Standards

Click here for Math Standards

2. Use the ELD 2012 Standards to differentiate for the English Language Learners (ELL). Every ELL in America is CELDT tested to see what level of English they are at.  You then find that level as soon as you have the information, and compare it to the ELD 2012 Standards. All you need to do is find the grade level you are teaching in the link below, and print/bookmark that page.  If you print in color, it will make your life so much easier because the creators of the ELD 2012 standards made it so easy for the teachers to read the document. In addition, the creators have given every ELD standard the correlating Common Core standard, so anytime you need help differentiating for a student for a specific lesson, just look it up in the ELD standards, and teach away!

Link to ELD 2012 Standards.

3. Have choices for students during assessments. Some students are only going to be able to list what they have learned, and some students are ready to provide a critique of what they have learned. All the students are at different levels, and assessments need to have choices. They greatest (and easiest) way to differentiate assessment is by having choice boards, dinner menus, rafts, tic-tac-toe, and many more. You can find all of this and a lot more resources in the following link:

Click here to access Choice Boards and other assessment differentiating tools.

choice board from www.theartofed.com
tic tac toe activity from www.scholastic.com
dinner menu from daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com

4. Use the Bloom's Taxonomy Rose for figuring out what assessments to use for your assessment with choices. Print this document any time you are creating a differentiated assessment.

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