Monday, August 14, 2017

Create a Teacher Vision Board

 
I was perusing the internet recently and rediscovered vision boards. Vision boards are spaces that you fill with pictures, magazine clippings and other accessories to showcase your life goals and dreams. They are meant to be personal and uplifting reminders of your hopes for the future and provide a constant visual cue to keep you focused on your goals.

The start of a new school year always fills me with hope and excitement. I feel like anything is possible and I start writing down dreams and goals for the year. Unfortunately, those pieces of paper seem to get lost and I tend to lose focus on some of those goals once the school year starts in earnest. I have every intention of fulfilling my self-made promises but time starts slipping through my fingers in the often beautiful but challenging day-to-day teacher life. I needed to create something that would be a daily visual reminder of my teaching goals.

The only logical conclusion? I needed a teacher vision board! Not just any size vision board, though. I needed one that I would see every day - a constant reminder of all that I hope to accomplish over the year. So what's a teacher to do? Place it on the cover of her teacher binder, of course!

Here's how to create one for yourself:





I usually read magazine subscriptions digitally so I ran down to my local library and picked up some out-of-date magazines for sale near the front. Cost: 25 cents each. Woo! Once I got back home, I rounded up scissors, a glue stick, a piece of 8.5x11 cardstock and an upbeat playlist to jam to while I created my teacher vision board.






This step is obviously very personal. My focus for this board was on the new school year, so I selected images that related to my professional hopes and dreams. I cut out words, titles and pictures that fit with my growth goals. The beauty of vision boards is that each one is perfectly unique.


 




After cutting out all the words and images I began arranging them on the piece of paper. It took me about 30 minutes to organize everything. Then I grabbed the glue stick and carefully glued everything down.





Ta Da! I love my new binder cover! It's meaningful and will impact the decisions I make this year as I'm constantly reminded of my initial priorities. I'm excited to see where the new school year takes me as I strive to follow my vision for an engaging, student-centered year!

If you create your own teacher vision board, share a picture with me! Use the hashtag #teachervisionboard on social media or send a picture to theteachersprep@gmail.com. I'd love to see what you create!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Back to School Must-Haves for the Middle School Classroom

P.S. There are no affiliate links in this post. There are links to Amazon but they're just regular old links! :)
 
I LOVE shopping for new supplies for my classroom before the school year starts. It's an opportunity for me to upgrade my organizational tools, change the color scheme and work to improve the classroom environment for my new students.

Here are some of my favorite things for Back to School that won't break the bank!


1. Flair Pens - These pens are GORGEOUS and I love using them to grade papers, plan lessons and write little notes of encouragement to my kiddos.

2. Post-It Notes - My students say that I'm the "Queen of Sticky Notes"... and I totally agree with them. There are sticky notes all over my desk. The blue colors are perfect for my d├ęcor!

3. Expo Markers - I'm a little obsessed with having a colorful collection of Expo Markers for my whiteboard.
P.S. I also use mini whiteboards with my students. I always order a few boxes of the skinny markers online because they're often cheaper (unless you can snag some in a great Back to School sale!!)



4. Paper Organizer / Inbox - Stacked inboxes are a must-have in my classroom. Now if only I had a magic wand to make my papers grade themselves...


5. Astrobright Paper - I love printing labels, posters and class sets of directions on colored paper because it's easy to spot. Class sets of documents especially fall into that category since I collect them at the end of every class. The kids rarely take them home by accident because they're so bright and easy to see! I was excited to find the Astrobright paper on Amazon because it actually costs less to buy it there then at my local superstore. Score!
 

6. Ancient Civilizations Posters - 5 pack - I may have gotten a teeny bit too excited when I spotted these posters on Amazon (and the price). I love the imagery and information on the posters and I know my students will, too. 


 



7. Cascading Wall Organizer - I like that this organizer from Amazon gets papers off the desk and onto the wall, especially for those of us who have that weirdly-sized wall space behind our desks and can't figure out what to do with it.


8. Desk Calendar - Having a desk calendar is an essential tool to keep life in and outside the classroom organized. How beautiful is this one with the peacock feather design?!

9. Highlighters - I've ordered a bunch of highlighters for my students to use this year when marking up primary and secondary sources. Seeing different sections of the documents marked with certain colors help students break apart difficult text for a better understanding of the purpose of the documents.


10. Paper Trimmer - If you plan on cutting a lot of paper this year, save your hands from scissor-cramps! I love my paper trimmer and use it all the time.



I hope you all are gearing up for the start of a fantastic new school year! Happy Teaching!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reflection Connection: August


Pencils (or keyboards) at the ready! Today begins the first entry of our year of reflection. If you’re just joining us, welcome! During the first week of each month, I’ll be posting a question that encourages you to reflect upon your experience as an educator. By answering these questions privately or in the comments, we’ll grow stronger as educators and discover more about ourselves in the process.

Entry 1: What are you most excited about this year? What makes you nervous about the start of a new classroom adventure?

My Response: Like many teachers, I always get a bit nervous to meet my new students. We’re about to embark on a year-long adventure together and I’m anxious to create positive relationships with each of them so that we can create a classroom community that encourages learning, participation and respect. Of course, while I’m a bit nervous to meet my new students, it’s also something that I’m really excited about! I look forward to getting to know each one of them over the course of the school year and helping them grow as individuals. Besides meeting my new students, something else I’m excited about is finding new ways to grow as a teacher. I’m on the hunt for new professional development opportunities that will offer effective strategies for my classroom. Let’s get this school year started!

I invite you to join us in the August reflection! If you’d like, leave a response in the comments below or write it down in a journal all your own.

~The Teacher’s Prep