Monday, December 31, 2012

Pinky Swear! I Will Blog at Least Twice a Month

I am putting this in writing, so that you all can hold me accountable. 

I resolve to...
blog on Sub Hub at least twice a month... Pinky swear!

I thought a lot about this resolution. Since getting my own classroom in September, I had every intention of continuing Sub Hub. But that just didn't happen. I'm sure everyone who has undergone or is undergoing a first year of teaching completely understands what I just wrote. Although, honestly it's not terribly different from what I was doing long-term subbing. It just doesn't come to an end... which is wonderful in so many ways, but not so hot for the personal, outside-of-teaching life.

I do think I am at a point where I can certainly commit to twice a month of subbing advice, however. I definitely miss being able to share pointers, tips, advice, anything that may help your days of subbing or preparing for a sub a little easier. And now I feel like I can much better give advice from both sides.

I have a list of ideas to blog about, but I am always open to hearing from you. If there is a particular issue you are having, just email me or post on my Facebook page, and I will try to address it. I know one of the biggies is making sure you have activities to do. An idle student is a problem student, so don't let them become idle. Always have something for them to do.

If you are new to Sub Hub, you may not know that I have some freebies and products to help with just that. Click on the Emergency Lesson Plans tab above to get links to all my free sets of sub plans. Grades K-5 are currently available with the exception of fourth grade. Unfortunately, I discovered that Dr. Seuss has stricter copyright rules than most, and had to take down my lesson plans based on The Lorax. I am working on another free set of fourth grade plans on the top of my to-do list.

Also available are additional sets of one-day plans. There are two lines of those plans... Just Add Paper and CCSS-aligned plans. And there is a line called Down with Downtime with subject-specific filler activities so students never are left to their own devices again.

The Just Add Paper plans for grades K-5 are for those true emergencies, when you don't even have time or access to make copies of reproducibles. They incorporate foldables, graphic organizers, and other hands-on activities that only need paper to complete. All you need for those is paper and a picture book of your choice to read-aloud and base some of the activities on.

The CCSS-aligned plans for grades K-4 are one-day plans based on a picture book and aligned with the Common Core. Each lesson states which learning objective it addresses so even emergency sub days can be CCSS-focused.

If you have some of these plans and activities in your bag of tricks or your emergency sub folder, you will always have something on hand to keep students busy in a meaningful way.

And I mean it about holding me to my blogging resolution. It takes a support system to help you keep those buggers, so I need your help. Please, if you haven't heard from me in a couple of weeks, start bugging me! Message me, email me, spam me... whatever it takes. This is one resolution I WILL be keeping!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Super Fun Blogger Meet Up!

What happens when a group of teacher-bloggers discover that they live near each other? Well, we decide we have to meet up, of course! And when you live in the San Antonio area, there is no other choice but to meet up at a Mexican restaurant. That's what happened on December 27 at Chuy's. What fun to put faces and voices with all the amazing teaching tips and resources found on all their blogs! And I was thrilled to see that a couple of bloggers drove in from Austin for the occasion, and Gladys of Teaching in High Heels even drove up (with her hubby) from Eagle Pass! That is some serious dedication!

Now, apparently I was far too busy gabbing it up to remember to take any photos, so these are courtesy of Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade and Shannon from If My Calculations are Correct.

We chatted (about everything), we shared classroom stories, we drank (yummy margaritas and sangria), and we ate. And time just flew by. Three hours later, we reluctantly headed our separate ways vowing to do it again. My only regret was being at the end of the table and not getting to chat with the amazing ladies at the other end. But the brilliant Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade had a great idea... rotate throughout the evening! That will be on the agenda for next time.

Here are the fabulous ladies who attended (and add in Rachel from Fisher Reyna Education). Be sure to check them all out and tell them Sub Hub sent you.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What Can You Do in Response to Sandy Hook?

I can't even write or think of the horror that occurred at Sandy Hook yesterday. When I found out, I could not stop crying, and still tear up as I scroll through Facebook, watch the news, and read the paper. If you are at all like me, you have two major burning questions about the whole situation:

2) What can I do to help?

I don't know that there is a good answer to either question. We may never know the why part, or we may not be able to comprehend the answer. As far as question number two, again, I don't think there is anything huge I can do to help. But if I can do a little bit of good, then at least that's something. I want to do two things in this post.

The first is to remind all subs to make sure you know the emergency procedures of the schools where you sub. Unfortunately, you never know when tragedy may strike, and it could just as easily happen on a day when you are in a classroom, rather than the full time teacher. Make sure you know what to do in case of fire, power outages, inclement weather, and most horrifyingly of all, a lockdown. The death toll was lowered in Sandy Hook because of quick thinking, heroic teachers who knew how to keep their children safe. You need to know the exact same thing.

Full time teacher, you have a roll in this too. Make sure in your sub folder or sub tub, there is information on emergency procedures. Sure, the subs who work at your school nearly every day may know, but there is always one who has never been there before. Don't put your students at risk because you didn't pass along the information.

I know we all hate the drills. Yes, they are a pain. They interrupt our day of teaching; they upset some of the special needs students, and they are stressful to try to keep students quiet. But, Sandy Hook showed us that those drills are sometimes needed in real life situations, and we need to practice so we can keep our students safe.

The second thing I want to say in this post is that I will be participating in a special event tomorrow, and I hope if you are a blogger, you will join me. For tomorrow, all participating blogs will go silent to honor everyone affected by the events in Sandy Hook. Thank you to Meghan Farley of Oh Boy Fourth Grade for coming up with the idea. All you need to do to join is to grab this button designed by Michelle at 3AM Teacher and place it on your blog Sunday, December 16, 2012. Only post the picture and title your post "Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary." Let's all unite and show those affected how much we care.

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