Teacher Journals

I had a classroom experience last week that reminded me of how much I wish I had kept a journal throughout my teaching career. Sadly, so many incidents are lost in the mists of time.

I was talking with first graders about landforms in science class, and explaining what they are like. Mountains - I flew over the Rockies about a month ago. Canyons - Mr. Sawyer and I went to the Grand Canyon a few years ago.

"Mr. Sawyer? Who's that?" I replied that he is my husband.

Shocked student: "He's still alive?!

It wasn't until the drive home from school that it occurred to me that they often confuse husband and father! Anyway, I thought I'd share a little about journaling - something I hope to do better with! I also found some journals on amazon that are great for teachers. You can click the link under the pics to see them (no affiliate links, just information.)

    https://amzn.to/2S3n8Ac    https://amzn.to/2PS3ZP8
        click here           click here


Getting started journaling isn’t something that you need to think about too hard. Yes, there are numerous types and styles of journals and ways to do this that may or may not be more effective depending on your goals, but you can simply get some paper (or your computer) and get started today.

* Dust Off Your Pen and Paper – You don’t need anything special to keep a journal; in fact, purists believe that using pen and paper is the best way to journal because you can carry it with you anywhere and you don’t need technology. So, there will be no excuses.

* Do It First Thing in the Morning – Don’t procrastinate about keeping your journal. It’s best to do it in the morning before you begin your day so that you have the right frame of mind for the day. Plus, you only need five to ten minutes, so it’s not that big of a deal.

* Do It Last Thing at Night – Another time to do it is before bed. This works especially well for gratitude journals. That way you can go to sleep thinking about all the things you are grateful for instead of things you’re worried about.

* Write Every Single Day – Whenever you choose to do it, try to set it up so that it becomes a ritual and a habit. Journaling every single day is going to be more effective than just doing it when you feel like it.

* Start Simply – Don’t start being worried about style and substance right now; just work on the daily habit with pen and paper (or if it’s easier for you, a computer or smartphone). Don’t make it hard - just get going.

* Begin with Today – Start right now and write about your day today. That’s the easiest thing to do. What of significance happened today? How did you feel about it? What would you do differently? What would you do the same?

* Try Different Types of Journals – Once you develop the habit, you can start trying different types of journaling like a bullet journal, or a vision journal, or maybe even a project journal for your next project.

* Keep It Private – The main thing to remember about your journal is that it should be kept private. The only exception is if you want to share thoughts with a therapist, counselor, or coach. Or if you want to turn it into a book or course, to help someone else overcome whatever you overcame. Keeping a journal will help you deal with the things that happen to you as well as the things that have not happened to you. The main reason is that writing it down helps you remember what you did right and what you did wrong. It helps you improve your decision-making capacity for similar situations. The main thing is just to get started journaling in any way that works for you.

Cyber Monday 2019

It's time to pick up some great materials from Teachers Pay Teachers! Today and tomorrow, December 2 and 3, is the Cyber Monday sale for this year.

My store is 20% off for the sale. Click here to browse the products.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family!

Well, I disappeared for a year. Did you notice?

My last post was for last year's Cyber Monday sale.

Amazingly, people have still been reading old posts and many have followed me! And with no new content!

I'm not going to explain my absence in this post, but I will in the future. Life happens, right?!

Anyway, I have a new TPT product to share with you in time for December. Here is the cover:

This activity book is filled with over 50 pages of kids' activities (listed on the cover picture). To see the book in my store, click here.

Of course, you can make copies of individual pages to use during the next month of school. I also intended it to be a source to make your kiddos their own activity book (as a possible gift). There is a second cover included in black and white (different picture) for that purpose, and you can pick an chose to make a book of any length.

I hope this is something you and your students will enjoy. As always, it is for your classroom only. Other teachers want a copy? Tell them how to find it on TPT. (And if necessary, explain copyright law. It's the season of giving, not stealing).

Until next time (less than a year from now, promise.).

Force and Motion: Roller Coasters

I had planned some new posts this month, but last week I decided to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For those unfamiliar, I have committed to writing a 50,000-word novel during November! A bold undertaking for someone who hasn't written a novel before.

Since I don't expect to have time to publish new content on my blog this month I have decided to re-run a few older posts. I hope you enjoy them!

First up is a peek at roller coasters that were part of our Force and Motion studies a couple years ago. This was an activity that everyone loved.

Here are some pictures:




The tracks are made of foam pipe insulation, which I ordered from Amazon here. On this day we were making bumper coasters. The kids would release a marble at the highest point, it would hit another marble on the track, and the goal was that the marbles would NOT go into the cup. They learned a lot with this hands-on activity about potential and kinetic energy.

The activity came from mysteryscience.com. If you are not familiar with this site click right over to check it out!

TEASER: When my novel writing adventure is completed I will be getting a brand new newsletter (titled "STEM SNACKS") up and running. I will be offering some freebies through the newsletter as well as hopefully bringing you along on my new STEM venture. Stay tuned!)

OH! And don't forget to turn your clocks back tonight. Enjoy that extra hour Monday morning!

STEM Recommendation: Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters

One of my favorite things to do in STEM challenges is linking the activity with a book. Over the last few years my favorites have included the series of picture books written by Andrea Beaty. Not only do I love the stories my students have felt the same way each year.

If you haven't used these books, please click each picture to learn more about them. (Disclosure: these are my affiliate links, which means I have the potential of receiving a small amount of $ from Amazon. There is no additional cost to you!)


While I certainly recommend these picture books to you I want to talk in this post about a new book that was published October 2nd. As soon as I heard about it I did a pre-order so it would arrive in my mailbox that day! I had definitely hoped that the picture books will continue with the stories of other students in Iggy, Rosie, and Ada's classroom. I had never even considered chapter books, but that is exactly what Ms. Beaty is doing.

All three characters are part of this new story, though Rosie is the main character. I love that the three of them have been working together on projects. We also get to meet the Raucous Riveters, a group of WW2 riveters which includes Rosie's great-aunt Rose. These ladies are great! They also have a problem for which they need Rosie's help.

My students picked up quickly that Rosie had changed from the picture book in that she now has a "growth mindset" towards her engineering endeavors. This is also a great book to get into inventors and inventions, and of course having a female engineer / inventor is a bonus.

This book is 22 short chapters, so we read it in 5 days. In the future I'll be suggesting some possible activities to go with all of these books. And, I am anxiously waiting for the next chapter book. This one stars Ada Twist and will be published April 16, 2019. It's available now for pre-order!

Until next time . . .

Rainy Day STEM

During the past week we had two rainy day dismissals - it's a nightmare! We have a problem at my school because there is only one entrance. As you can imagine, traffic backs up on the best of days. Rainy day dismissals take about twice as long - this is Florida, so we deal with lots of lightning.

After having to stay inside for recess on the first rainy day I decided that the second day our recess would involve a STEM challenge. Building boats seemed appropriate during the deluge!

I gave each team one sheet of foil and one piece of craft foam. The challenge was to construct a boat that will float and hold 30 pennies.

I counted out 20 pennies in each of the little containers (Dollar Tree find). As you can see, some teams got up to 60 pennies -- this was after improving their original designs. Best of all, they had a great time working together and nobody complained that we were missing recess!

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