Sunday, September 20, 2015

Character Traits of GREAT Students

Growth Mindset.
Habits of Mind.
Pillars of Character.

These buzz words seem so hot right now, but truthfully, they've been around for years!

I remember learning about the 16 Habits of Mind by Costa and Kallick during my first year of teaching.  The list seemed daunting.  We were instructed to not only incorporate them into our lessons, but to also have the students use the language as well.  With terms such as "Managing Impulsivity" and "Metacognition," I thought that would be quite a tough thing to accomplish.

I was wrong, and at the tender age of 25, I learned that kids, when given the opportunity, will rise to any occasion. Not only did they talk the talk, these kids really learned to walk the Habits of Mind walk as well.

So how do we get our students to develop these great traits of character?  No matter which traits you wish to build in your students, you must do so by using some habits of YOUR OWN...
That's right.
You have to use mind habits to build mind habits.  When you do, it adds up to the sum of Good Character Education Training.

Here are a few to get you started...

1. Be Honest - Keep your word to your students.  If you promise them extra recess for their hard work, follow through! Be someone they can trust and depend on.

2.  Take Charge - Identify the habits you wish to teach and look for books and resources to get the job done.  Below are some of the books I've used to start the school year.

3. Never Give Up - Repeat this over and over to your students - WE NEVER GIVE UP.  This goes for EVERYONE in the class.  We don't give up on ourselves and we don't give up on each other.  Ever.

4.  Set Goals - Learn how to set long and short term goals for your students.  Where do you want your students to be at the end of a lesson? A unit? The school year?  Always work backwards.  Working backwards is also known as "Understanding by Design."

5.  Strive to Be Accurate - We all have some days when a lesson just flops.  This is not a time for tears (although you may be crying on the inside that your fractions lesson seemed to be a lesson in Chinese for your students).  Instead, take your lesson plans and really take a look at them.  What changes will you make the next time you do that lesson? What can you improve the lessons that will take place next? Would a graphic organizer help?  How about manipulatives?   Could your original plans have been more accurate?

Also,  model how to be accurate after you make a mistake in front of your students.  "How do we fix this?" and "Have you checked over your work?" should be two questions commonly heard in your classroom.

6.  Know how to Prioritize - This goes back to the Understanding by Design mentioned earlier.  Know where your students need to be by the end of the year and make every effort to get them there however you can.  For instance, do you have a program in your school that just doesn't do enough to support the standards that will be tested at the end of the year?  If you want your kids to get to where you want them - sometimes you just have to go above and beyond the program. Is time an issue?  Try to think out of the box - perhaps something like small group workstations will give you more opportunities to meet with kids who need extra support in certain areas.

7. Take Care of Your Body, Mind and Heart - Simply said.  In order to be the best teacher you can be, you have to be the best YOU you can be.  Take care of yourself on all levels.  I know, I know, you  are probably well versed at putting yourself LAST - but promise me, once in a while, you'll do something special for you. {This doesn't have to be fancy...I know I'm thrilled for 20 quiet minutes in the morning with a cup of coffee before anyone in the house wakes up!}

Those were just 7 of the 12 Character Development Traits that I've included in my new poster set.  Hot off the press and just uploaded to TPT tonight...Educents and TN to follow!

And just for stopping by, I have a little freebie for you :)
I'm in the process of making some activity sheets to go along with each of the traits.

Grab them by clicking the picture below.  Let me know how you like them so far!

Have a great week everyone - I need to go TAKE CHARGE of my lesson plans for the week!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Third Grade, Round Two

Hi everyone!
I hope everyone has gotten off to a fabulous start of the school year.

As you know, last year was my first year teaching 3rd after years of teaching first and second grades.  It was an AMAZING first year, but I have to say, I felt like I was on a treadmill that just.never.ended!

It was a lot to juggle:

  • A new reading program
  • Infusion of current mathematics program with some common core modules
  • SLO's/Teacher Evaluations
  • Data Inquiry
  • Test Prep
  • State Tests
  • Data, Data, Data!
Not to mention tying that all in to everything I've ever known and loved about teaching - making meaningful experiences for my students.

Couple that with two busy teenagers and a hubby at home...needless to say, the school year passed by in the blink of an eye.

Here we are, year two,
with {hopefully} a little more time 
and breathing space
to reflect on my days
and put some of it out here for you.

The first stop - my classroom.  I stayed with my teal/black and yellow theme because it just makes me feel nice and calm.  However, you know I had to kick it up with some special touches from one of my favorite decor ladies, Melanie from Schoolgirl Style!  This year, I went with her "Road Trip" decor.  I was going to add a few touches here and there, but once I got started, I just couldn't stop!  I re-labeled just about everything, and I love how it turned out!

So let's get this year rolling! Here's my classroom 2015 reveal :)

I've LOVED looking at your classroom reveals over the past few weeks and wish you all the happiest of school years! Here's to a great 2015-16!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Educents Launch + GIVEAWAYS + LINKY

The wait is over.

Face it, who can resist a great deal?

Shoppers, have you heard the news?

Educents is opening their MARKETPLACE!

What does that mean?  That means that besides the already AMAZING deals they offer on a daily basis, you can now purchase items from sellers stores, also on a daily basis!

Over 500 sellers (including The Teacher's Chair) have already created stores in the Educents Marketplace!

To make this LAUNCH special several of the sellers are joining in to bring you a sneak peek at a FREE product offered in their new sale, as well as hosting a giveaway for $50 worth of Educents Credits.

Can somebody say, "Shop till you drop?"

There are several groups of bloggers who are joining the LAUNCH, which means multiple ways to enter!

Here is a little information about my FREEBIE.   It's a new one, designed just for Educents!

Are written responses to literature something you work on with your students?
Would you like to give them a way to hit all the marks of a great written paragraph?
Then you NEED these posters in your room.

This R.A.C.E.S acronym will help your students do just that!  Trust me, I know... We are a one week out from common core testing and my kids can write proper paragraphs almost automatically at this point.

Here's a peek of it hanging on by board:

Created out of desperation to get my third graders ready, I will definitely be using these posters at the beginning of the year next year - it's never to early to start good habits!

Find it {Here!}

Interested in those cute posters you see on the board next to races?  Those are from my Testing With The Stars pack and you can find them by clicking the {HERE} !


Oh wait, I think my blog title specifically mentioned GIVEAWAYS {Plural!}
Head over to my Facebook page to enter to win three MORE exciting prizes!

Join the fun and spread the word about your own EDUCENTS experience!  Join in by linking up!

Welcome to the Educents Marketplace! Have a great day!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dear Friends, Please Excuse My Absence, I've Been Busy Teaching My Heart Out.

Hi everyone!
What's that?
You didn't recognize me?
Yes, I know.
It's been a while, but the struggle was real.

You see, I've been a first year teacher all over again this year {kind of}.

Third grade has been wonderful, but since November (aka my last post), I've been feeling the weight of:

Every last bit of my energy has been put into coming up with creative ways of NOT teaching to the test.  It hasn't been easy, especially for my little blog.

This week is spring break.  When we go back, it's test season.
Are we "ready"?  Yeah, I think so.

In a recent conversation one of my students asked, "If we get a bad grade, does that mean you get a bad grade?  My parents told me that this is really a grade for you."

Ouch. Tough one to answer, but here's what I said:

"After the test, if you can tell me that you felt prepared by all of the things we did together in class, then I've got my A+."

So here we are, and you know what?  I survived, and they will too.

Can I help it if the tests contain tasks that are developmentally inappropriate for third graders?

Can I voice my opinion about the absurd quantity of work asked of these kids?
Yes (and I have...c'mon, how many paragraphs {8!} and extended responses {2 with 3 paragraphs each!} do third graders have to complete for you to assess that they know how respond to literature?)

But now, as I reflect back upon my year so far,  I AM feeling lighter....

I've taught my heart out so far this year and my kids have THRIVED.  What more can a teacher want?

Looking back at some of the pictures really helped put that into perspective.
Despite it all, we've had FUN!  Take a peek at some of the happenings in my classroom by clicking the sideshow link below.

tschumacher19's 2015 Class album on Photobucket

OH!!!! And I'll be back on April 2 with some GREAT NEWS, so stay tuned!

Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Give Thanks Giveaway!

Here's a quick link to the giveaway going on now through Sunday!  Gear up for fall with two great products for the class room and one super cute gift for yourself.  Take a look!

a Rafflecopter giveaway