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Ask-a-Teacher Tuesday: Reigniting a Passion for Teaching

Hi folks! So, I’m curious. How long have you been teaching?  And, in that amount of time, have you ever felt the dire need to revamp who you are as a teacher? As promised, I am coming to you with the very first episode of Ask-a-Teacher Tuesday.  Our first...

Ask-a-Teacher Tuesday! {Video Blog}

Yep . . . it’s goin’ down. I will be giving these stubby typing fingers of mine a little rest to launch a new video blog segment called Ask-a-Teacher Tuesday. This segment will allow me to feature some of the excellent questions I have been receiving from...

20 Dollar Tree Finds for Teachers

Dollar Tree is a thrifty teacher’s best friend.  I personally can’t exit that place without a cart full of teaching supplies, organizational materials, classroom decor, readers’ theater props/costume items, or prizes for my class shop.  It’s my...

National Board Certification: Is It Worth It?

Everybody needs a little motivation now and again.  Well, here’s yours, if you want it.  Is going through the process of National Board Certification worth it?  Absolutely. I’m currently in the midst of this incredible professional development opportunity...

The Fun-Doh Project: Hands-On, Minds-On!

As educators, we must provide authentic learning opportunities for our students.  Real-world application leads to deeper understanding of both knowledge and skills.  It taps into children’s natural curiosities about the world and increases motivation as well. ...

Readers’ Theater: 10 Ways to Rev It Up!

Readers’ theater is one of the cornerstones of my reading instruction. I’m not talking about the ‘stand in a straight line and read your parts to the class’ kind of readers’ theater (though, that’s how we start).  I’m talking about the ‘lights, camera, ACTION’ kind of...

Brain Break Videos: The Ultimate Holiday Collection!

Annnnnd more brain break videos!  These clips should help give your students the energy release they need around the holidays.  They are perfect for holiday parties, too.  If you have any others, please send them my way!  Enjoy!  Halloween Just Dance 2 ‘Monster...

The Wonderful Week

It’s Monday morning and you’re actively facilitating small-group reading with a little bunch of your students.  You peer up from your spot behind the kidney table and smile.  Everyone is on task with their Daily Five activities, or so it seems.  Katelyn’s pencil is...

GoNoodle.com: The Next Step in Brain Breaks!

I think it’s pretty obvious.  I’m a HUGE fan of utilizing break breaks within the instructional day to reenergize and refocus students.  If by chance that wasn’t so obvious, be sure to check out my articles 20 Brain Break Clips:  Fight the Fidgeting, 20 Brain Break...

EarlyChildhoodTeacher.org: Worth a Click (or Two!)

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to share an excellent site for aspiring, new, and even veteran teachers called Early Childhood Teacher.  Not only does the site offer a blog written by various early childhood professionals (including me!), but it features a compilation of...

The Skinny on Standards-Based Grading

Standards-based grading, a popular assessment trend appearing in more and more schools, has left some students, parents, and even teachers scratching their heads.  If you’re looking for a quick overview on what standards-based grading is all about, you’ve come to the...

20 Brain Break Clips: Keep on Rockin’!

Back by popular demand, yet another list of brain break clips for classroom use!  These videos, in addition to the ones featured in my two previous articles 20 Brain Break Clips:  Fight the Fidgeting! and 20 Brain Break Clips:  Movin’ and Groovin’!, gives...

Say No to the ‘Summer Setback’!

Ahh summer, a time for friends, family, and freedom. I believe that teachers, students, and parents are all in need of a break from the regular school regimen. However, several studies show that children can suffer from learning loss if they are stagnant during the...

50 Nifty E.O.Y. Awards

It’s official.  The end of the year checklist magically made its appearance in my mailbox.  Summer is just around the corner!  As I wrap up these last few weeks, I have to remind myself to focus on what matters most (and it’s not checking off the empty boxes). The...

Outdoor Learning: Let’s Take It Outside!

I caught myself peering outside of my classroom window a little too long this past week. There’s nothing quite like being greeted by the sweet signs of spring after a dull and dreary winter.  I wanted to be out there, free from the confines of my classroom...

Teaching is Tough: Stay Positive!

Let’s face it.  Teaching is tough!  Aside from being on your feet all day juggling the social, emotional, and academic needs of 20 or so little ones, you are also dealing with endless stacks of paperwork (that often come home with you), increasing city-wide and state...

Nooks ‘N Books Project

  Hi Folks! I recently created a classroom project request at DonorsChoose.org, an award-winning charity.  I requested big books, children’s magazines, as well as cozy reading furniture to enhance literacy opportunities within my classroom. For the next...

10 Tips for Reluctant Readers

Little Johnny gets off the bus, scarfs down a snack, and flies out the front door to go play with the neighborhood kids.  When he comes back in, the Wii is calling his name.  It’s tough enough ensuring the homework gets done.  Getting him to actually want to...

20 Brain Break Clips: Movin’ and Groovin’!

Hello all!  Seeing that my post 20 Brain Break Clips:  Fight the Fidgeting! got so much love via Twitter and Pinterest, I decided to compile another list of excellent brain break clips for the classroom.  These videos are great to pop on in between lessons and can...

10 ‘Mid-Year Magic’ Ideas

It’s that time of year.  The holidays have come and gone, the skies are cloudy and gray, and the rules and routines you’ve worked so hard to put in place might be boring even you.  Need a snow day?  Instead of relying on the weather gods to cure these mid-year...

20 Brain Break Clips: Fight the Fidgeting!

Brain breaks have been all the rage for quite some time now.  We’ve learned that regularly incorporating short movement activities into the instructional day not only allows children to get their ‘wiggles’ out, but energizes them and increases their...

Be the Good

I’ve been so wrapped up in school and in the hustle and bustle of the holidays approaching, that I’m afraid I’ve neglected my blog a bit over the past few weeks.   Needless to say, our school tragedy in Newtown, CT compels me to write.  I am heartbroken for the...

30 Thankful Thoughts

As a teacher, I am accustomed to having my children share or write about the many things that make them feel thankful (other than toys, of course). Well, I’m thinking  it’s my turn!  Here is a list of 30 things I am thankful for within my educational life....

DonorsChoose.org: Fluency Fun in First Grade!

Wow!  I just wanted to take a moment to let teachers (and all you philanthropists out there) know about an incredible organization I recently came across thanks to a couple wonderful colleagues of mine. DonorsChoose.org is a non-profit organization that allows people...

Rainy Day: Beat the Blues with Learning

It’s raining.  It’s pouring.  Your poor child is boring! Here are five fun activities you can do with your child that promote learning when stuck inside on a rainy day. 1.  Make a Cake:  Cooking with children reinforces several important skills that will...

Sight Words: Practice with Popular Games!

Sight words are essential for promoting your child’s growth in reading and writing.  Simply put, sight words are the words that appear often in print but cannot be easily ‘sounded out’.  For this reason, they can be a little tricky to learn and...

Elementary Education: Know the Lingo!

Ever sit in a parent-teacher conference and find yourself a bit lost because of some of the terminology your child’s teacher is nonchalantly tossing around?  Or, perhaps you are a first-year teacher in need of a crash course of all the ‘stuff’ you studied in your...

‘Reading is Fun’ Day!

Hello educators!  What is ‘Reading is Fun’ Day?  I thought you’d never ask!  ‘Reading is Fun’ Day gives children the opportunity to showcase their creativity and practice their oral presentation skills, while reviewing key reading...

The Monday Morning Meeting

As much as I love my job, I treasure my relaxing weekends, too!  Sometimes Monday mornings come all too fast.  There is always one thing about Monday mornings that awakens my spirits even better than a Starbucks chai tea latte.  That is, the Monday morning meeting!...

50 Cute and Clever ‘Community Helper’ Jobs

As teachers, we want each child to feel special.  We want each child to feel important.  We want each child to feel like he/she is an integral part of our classroom community.  Assigning a community helper job to every child not only promotes a sense of...

My Ocean-Themed Classroom!

Well, it’s no secret.  Mrs. Reinen loves the beach!  Here are a few pictures of my ocean-themed classroom.  I teach in Virginia Beach, making this a fun and relatable theme for my kids.  A classroom isn’t complete, though, until the children get the chance...

First Day Forget-Me-Nots

We, teachers, know that we aren’t the only busy ones around back-to-school time.  Between tracking down lengthy lists of school supplies, shopping for the coolest new clothes, and balancing out new after-school schedules, it can be a whirlwind for parents, too. ...

Five School Supplies for SUCCESS!

  1)  Water Bottle:  Promote healthy habits by buying an easy to open/close reusable water bottle for your child to take back and forth from school each day.  While most schools have water fountains in the classrooms and/or hallways, these water fountains form...

The Heart of Positive Discipline

“What is your experience with positive discipline?” asked Dr. Katharine Kersey at my entrance interview into the Early Childhood Education graduate program at Old Dominion University.  Dr. Kersey was a true education guru; a woman who had authored numerous...