Christine's Big Giveaway!!!

Christine with "The Crazy Pre-K Classroom" blog is having a wonderful giveaway. Once she reaches 100 followers, she is giving away a free unit to all of her members. ALL of them! What a great idea! To become a follower of The Crazy Pre-K Classroom and get a free unit, simply go to her blog and read the post about it. Follow the directions and you are on your way to earning a free unit that is too cute!

Career Shadow Day

Today was a fun, exciting day for our 8th graders. They were shipped out into the "working world" as soon as the attendance was taken this morning. I was lucky enough to get to go visit some of our students out in the various businesses that allowed our students to come into their places of business and get their feet wet. Some of the places and businesses the students were placed at were dentist offices, hair salons, local hospital, EMS, local newspaper, vet's office, computer programming company, two local pharmacies, welding shop, automotive collision center, construction, police department, probation office, physical therapy office, feed store, and several others.

Our school counselor distributed a survey to the students several weeks ago. The students were to complete the survey so that we could get some idea of their career aspirations and try to place them in a place similar to their desired future career. I know that she worked very hard trying to make those placements so they would best fit each individual student. They showed up to school this morning with smiles that were trying to hide their fears, but they returned with smiles of confidence.

Upon arrival back at school, they were ALL so excited. You could hear their stories floating throughout the air. They were all extremely happy that they were able to go shadow professionals in our community, ask essential questions about the business/occupation, and receive hands-on experience at the job. Any day you have that many students excited is a great day in education!

Teaching Diversity All Year

At the beginning of each school year, I have the students create their own personal banner. We do this on the first day of school. Instead of going over more rules with my students on the first day (because they hear the same ones from every teacher in the middle school), I do a fun activity with them to break up the sitting and listening. I call each student to an area in my classroom and take each student's picture. This works great, especially in middle school, because they all come dressed to impress on the first day in their new clothes and new hair-dos. While I am calling each student for their "own personal photo shoot," the other students are designing their banners. One one side of the banner, the students design the banner with his/her name, photo (to be added the next day), and any creative designs and colors they choose. On the other side of the banner, the students list their goals for the school year and list the ways they are going to accomplish those goals. 

The following day, I bring their printed photos and they glue them to their banners. I laminate the banners so they will last all year, and so they will be as good as new when the students take them home at the end of the year. They absolutely love this!

Next comes the task of hanging and displaying these banners. I use fishing line and paper clips, and they work wonderfully. Depending on the number of students I have, I divide the banners equally so that they balance out the classroom. Anyone who witnesses me hang these banners knows that it is an act of love for my students!

There are a several of reasons why I chose to do this activity with my students year after year (although there have been years that I swore I was never doing it again because of the workout my arms get from hanging them).
  1. They provide my classroom with a wonderful display of my students' faces smiling at me and greeting me every morning when I walk into my classroom.
  2. The banners are a daily reminder of the goals each student made for the academic year, and it keeps them on track when I simply point to the ceiling.
  3. The banners teach diversity, individualism, and tolerance. All of my students are unique individuals, and for at least one time during the year, they are able to be themselves on paper. They are not worried about what others think; they are simply letting their individuality shine.
  4. Last, but not least, the students enjoy them and love having them in the classroom all year. I have students in lower grades ask me all the time if they are going to get to do the banners, too.

If you would like to use this activity in your own classroom, visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I think it will definitely be something that you find enjoyable!

These banners can also be used during the beginning of the second semester when the students come back from break. 

New to Blogging

Today I am embarking on a new journey, one that I hope to be fun and encouraging. I have always thought about starting a blog, but like most things, I just continued to put it off due to time and life. Being an educator opens the door for many opportunities and items to talk about in a blog. I promise that I will never use real names of any of my students. If there is a name listed, it is definitely an alias I have given him/her to protect his/her identity.

My first post most definitely needs to be about my experience in education. I have been teaching for ten years. I have seen MANY changes in education in my ten years, but I am sure some of those changes will make other posts in the near future. I began teaching 7th grade reading and social studies. I was at that school for two years before going to the high school. I made the move to teach high school because I was the cheerleading coach and made the move because of that decision. I taught 11th grade United States History for three years. During my third year teaching 11th grade, I told my husband that I missed my middle school students. He looked at me like I was crazy, but said that if that was what I wanted to do then I should. So I expressed my desire to go back down to the middle school level to a teaching friend of mine at another school. It was almost instant. A position opened up at a school that afforded me the opportunity to teach middle school again. I have been there for five years now and love it. I now teach 7th grade reading and 8th grade language arts. I also teach two advanced content classes. I am glad to be "Right Down the Middle" because I know that teaching middle school students is where I am supposed to be!

I am married and have a sweet little girl. I enjoy reading any book, running, dancing, going to the beach, and spending time with my family and friends. I look forward to blogging and hope that I can keep up with it all.