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Make Your Own Magnetic Write On/Wipe Off Letter Board


Make your own magnetic letter board, that is also dry erase! Have fun with literacy centers, learning letters, reading and writing. This is an easy, DIY  project, that only takes minutes, You and your kids or students will love how engaging it is. Learning letters and reading just became more fun!

Are you a teacher needing a quick literacy center idea? Or a parent needing a fun and easy way to help your child with reading and writing? Then look no further, because I have the cutest, and simplest DIY project for you. The good news? It'll only take MINUTES to create, and will be loads of fun. Here is a look at the finished project:

Make your own magnetic letter board, that is also dry erase! Have fun with literacy centers, learning letters, reading and writing. This is an easy, DIY  project, that only takes minutes, You and your kids or students will love how engaging it is. Learning letters and reading just became more fun!

The supplies I used are: 
1. A cookie sheet (I found one for about $3 at Walmart).
2. Dry erase tape--I got this fun blue color at Target.
3. Button magnets.
4. These letters printed out on your favorite color of cardstock (you can click on the image to download, or find the PDF {here}):
Make your own magnetic letter board, that is also dry erase! Have fun with literacy centers, learning letters, reading and writing. This is an easy, DIY  project, that only takes minutes, You and your kids or students will love how engaging it is. Learning letters and reading just became more fun!


Make your own magnetic letter board, that is also dry erase! Have fun with literacy centers, learning letters, reading and writing. This is an easy, DIY  project, that only takes minutes, You and your kids or students will love how engaging it is. Learning letters and reading just became more fun!


Once you have all the supplies, go ahead and cut four strips of the dry erase tape to fit on your cookie sheet. The tape is easy to remove and re-stick, so don't sweat it, if you don't get it positioned right the first time. 

Once the tape is on, cut out your letters. Use a glue gun to attach the letters to small button magnets.

That's it! You are ready to write. Use a dry erase marker to write on the tape. 

This activity can be used to practice letter matching, writing and building sight words, or even writing sentences. Good luck and have fun!

Watch the video tutorial below:


                                           
                                                                (Music by Ben Sound)



Make your own magnetic letter board, that is also dry erase! Have fun with literacy centers, learning letters, reading and writing. This is an easy, DIY  project, that only takes minutes, You and your kids or students will love how engaging it is. Learning letters and reading just became more fun!






Why I Became a Teacher (and You Should Too)

Why should you become a teacher? Being a teacher will bring joy, happiness, and a whole lot of love into your life! If you are passionate about teaching, or a first year teacher in a funk, don't give up! Teaching is for you!


Before I became a teacher, I remember former teachers asking me, "Why would you want to be a teacher?" Or teachers flat out telling me, "Teaching isn't fun anymore. Don't do it." Seriously. I heard these things all the time. It was disheartening. I felt like teaching was my calling. People should be congratulating me, and cheering me on for finding my passion, right? I guess when people told me not to be a teacher, it lit a fire within me, and I wanted to prove to them why I KNEW teaching was what I was meant to do. I hope most future teachers don't hear these things, but I fear it is more common than not. I want to tell you why, if teaching is your passion, you should never give up.

From a very young age I remember wanting to be a teacher. I honestly can't remember a time I didn't want to teach. Decorating bulletin boards, being in charge, planning, and yes, even correcting, are things I fantasized about on a daily basis. I had teachers who were influential in this decision. Like, my fourth grade teacher who smiled each day, and made learning fun. Or my sixth grade teacher who was the most caring and kind person I know. She read our journals every month, and always had the nicest words to write back. Yes, these teachers encouraged me, but teaching was already in me. I don't know how to describe it other than I was literally born to teach. Cliche, I know. 

So, come the fall of 2005. I began my first year at the University of Utah. It wasn't until two years later that I entered the education program, but my vision never changed. I was going to be an elementary school teacher. Every chance I got I was volunteering in a classroom. Until finally, it was my last year and I was student teaching. This was a year long event, and come to find out, very hard. I wasn't prepared for many aspects of teaching. For example, classroom management did not come naturally. Yet, I persisted and found what worked for me, and the students. But, isn't that what we all do? Isn't it always a learning experience? 

Eventually I found my way to a 6th grade classroom in an elementary school. It was perfection. You guys, I LOVED my job. Each day I woke up excited to go to work. That first summer before I started, I remember spending hours shopping for my classroom. From decor, to school supplies, I loved it all. The students were fun to interact with, and I enjoyed their quirky habits and enthusiasm for school.

Why should you become a teacher? Being a teacher will bring joy, happiness, and a whole lot of love into your life! If you are passionate about teaching, or a first year teacher in a funk, don't give up! Teaching is for you!When I told people I taught 6th grade, their first reaction was usually, "You're brave." Like I deserved some badge of honor for getting up each day, to do what I thought was a wonderful career. But you know what? I think accountants deserve a badge of honor. I don't want to deal with other people's money. Doctors deserve a badge of honor. I can't even look when I am given a flu shot. Police officers deserve badges of honor, because they are out protecting us every day. In fact, badges of honor should be given to every single person who gets up in the morning and does their job, and get this, likes it! I am not brave for being a teacher. I am human, for finding something I enjoy doing, and never giving up when faced with problems.

And let me tell you, there are problems in education. Lots of them. From not having enough money to buy tissues for your classroom, to students not wanting to learn and bullying other kids. The fact is though, there are problems in every profession, but at the end of the day, does your career make you happy? Does it make you feel like you are changing the world? Does it make you want to be a better person? If you answer yes to these questions, then please, become (or stay) a teacher! We need good teachers. We need teachers who are passionate about their teaching AND their students. We need teachers who wake up each morning and say, "I can do this."

So yes, teacher pay can sometimes suck. We deserve more. Yes, our class sizes should be smaller. We could reach each kid easier. Yes, we need less testing. I believe one day less testing will happen. And yes, we need more access to technology, so students can learn the way they live today. However, we NEED teachers who want to teach. We need teachers who can help solve these problems today. We need teachers who will advocate for students, and help us get education where it needs to be. If we don't have good teachers, changes we need won't happen.

I guess one of the main reasons I love teaching, is that each day is always different. Every day there is a new plan, a new problem to solve, or something new to learn. I love new beginnings, and I love being a part of something magical. That is teaching to me. I teach because I care. I teach because each day I make a difference. I teach so I can help students find their role in life, I teach to make change, because we desperately need it in our world today!

Why should you become a teacher? Being a teacher will bring joy, happiness, and a whole lot of love into your life! If you are passionate about teaching, or a first year teacher in a funk, don't give up! Teaching is for you!


So, here we are, 5 reasons you SHOULD be a teacher:


#1. Your students need a good role model. You can be that person. Your students need you, just as much as you need them.

#2. You will solve problems each day, whether great or small. No day will ever be the same. You will have the chance to make a difference.

#3. Joy. Honestly, you will see joy every day. From a student learning to read, to another student just happy to be at school. Joy and happiness will be found each day. Not only will you see it, you will feel it, and that will make teaching worth it. 

#4. You will have a purpose in your life. Students will be counting on you, parents will be counting on you, and your school will need you. Not only will you have a purpose, but you will be helping the future find theirs. 

#5. You will always be learning. You will be the learning leader in your classroom, yet you will be learning yourself. As students see you learning, they will want to as well. 

Teaching, it is not a profession for the weak! You must be strong, but you can do this!

Why should you become a teacher? Being a teacher will bring joy, happiness, and a whole lot of love into your life! If you are passionate about teaching, or a first year teacher in a funk, don't give up! Teaching is for you!




10 Rules Every Teacher Should Live By


When you are teacher, there are a few rules (10 to be exact) that you should live by. Some of these rules are learned from experience, others are just inside us, beckoning to be followed.  So, without further ado, here are the 10 rules every teacher should live by.





When I first started teaching I didn't get this rule. Ignore my ignorance. I just didn't know why I needed to buy more than the 4 pack of Flair Pens: red, blue, black, and green. 4 pens should last all year, right? WRONG. 4 pens will last a week. Keep those pens safe, and keep them close. Also, a variety of colors and shades makes grading more fun. It's a proven fact.


Number 2 is one of those obvious rules, that I hope most teachers "Just know." However, I realize we all have our own strengths and weaknesses (my strength being I am REALLY good at eating chocolate without students seeing), so I thought this was worth the reminder. 


This is a must. No more carrying around your cute Kate Spade handbag (by the way, if you have a cute Kate Spade handbag, you must be making bank, so keep it up). You need a gigantic tote bag if you are a teacher. Some teachers even use those rolling foldable crates, because they just can't risk spilling the 20 pounds of papers they are taking home to grade. Don't risk it! Get the big tote...or crate. 



Sometimes you might have to expect to pay 4 times as much as you were planning. Don't worry though, it's worth it. Repeat, it is ALWAYS worth it. That dollar spot just has so many adorable things for the classroom, that I can't stand it. Mini buckets with cute patterns? I need 12. A motivational sign to decorate my desk? Sure, why not. Those seasonal erasers students would like as prizes? I'll take 20. I need it all. 


I know, this one seems simple. However, there are those days. You know what I am talking about. The days a kid throws up all over the floor, or when a parent barges into your room unexpected (or both). Or the days you get observed and your lesson totally flops. There will be those days, but there is always something great in each day. Find that greatness and let it shine!



A teacher will always love each of his/her students, no matter what. That phrase is important, "No matter what." We love our students for who they are, always. Sometimes we are the only love they get, so we must make it count.












I'll admit, I've done this. I left school early one day (like at 5 instead of 6), and didn't finish planning. Then, my alarm didn't go off in the morning, and I barely made it before the bell. That day I taught language arts flying by the seat of my pants. I learned a dangerous lesson: I could teach some lessons by flying by the seat of my pants. I became tempted to make it a habit. I advise not to do this often. When lessons are planned and prepared, you are happy, the kids are happy, and usually, the hard work pays off. Plan as much as possible.




There has never been a truer statement. Whether you misspell something on the board, or accidentally give an incorrect fact about your science lesson, there is always a student that likes to correct the teacher. Laugh at your mistakes, let the student know they are awesome, and move on. Laughing always makes instances like this better.



This isn't just a rule, it is essential. When you have a friend you can go to with the good and bad, you can get through any obstacle at work. When that friend is another teacher in your building? Score, you now have someone who gets you. Planning and collaborating now feels more like hanging out, rather than work. Teachers love to teach, but we also love to chat, so having a BFF at work is definitely a must!



Need I say more? This rule says it all.

Good luck teachers. Keep believing and keep teaching!







teachers, elementary teachers, teaching, rules, teacher life




Be the Teacher Who Decided to Go For It!



There will be times in your career when you will come to a crossroads and need to decide, "Is this worth it? Will this make a difference?"  Sometimes you will feel like you are taking a chance, and jumping into the unknown. Other times, you will be a visionary and will be convinced that things will work out, no matter what. In both of these instances, I say, be the teacher who decided to go for it.  Either way you will learn a lesson, and come out a better person. There were several instances in my career when I decided to go for it, and was changed forever. Some situations were harder than others, but ALL were worth the effort.



My first experience trying to "Go for it," while teaching was very early on. Think: student teaching, overwhelmed, thrown into the fire, I've dreamed of teaching my whole life, but not actually done it, early. I was sitting in my college classroom filling out a form detailing the age I would like to student teach in, and why. Well, obviously, I chose K-2, because I was getting my Kindergarten endorsement, so it would make sense. Also, I knew I was meant to teach younger grades. What does that even mean? I didn't know anything. I hadn't really experienced teaching yet.

Turns out, I got a position to student teach in second grade. Wahoo! I planned for weeks, and detailed every lesson down to the minute. I was organized and ready to teach. What I was not ready for were the students. I know, that sounds absurd, I am a teacher! What I mean is this: I had planned out what teaching should look like, without actually experiencing it. I had many jobs and experiences with young children, however, holding their attention for hours on end each day, while also planning and teaching a curriculum was something I had never done. I was overwhelmed. After a couple months I wasn't enjoying what I was doing. To top it all off, connecting to second graders was not coming naturally to me. I was scared. It was the first week in February and I was approached by my professor to switch to a fifth grade classroom. I decided to go for it. 

I instantly connected with the older elementary students. This. Was. Me. Planning their lessons was interesting and enjoyable. I had conversations with students that were meaningful, and was able to inspire and teach, all at the same time. I don't know if it was a new start, a new grade, or a new outlook, but changing grades really helped me to be a better teacher. Deciding to go for it, and try something new made me the teacher I am today. Spoiler alert: I never got my Kindergarten endorsement. Kudos to all you Kindergarten teachers out there! I envy your patience, motivation, and creativity. I spent the next 5 years of my professional career teaching 6th grade in an elementary classroom, and I loved every second (well, almost every second) of it. I am so grateful for this experience. It is a time in my life that I am proud to say I took the brave step into the unknown, and embraced the joy I didn't know was waiting for me.

Another time I decided to go for it was not quite as dramatic, but still important. It was my first year teaching, and from day one all I had heard from my students was, "When will the castle fair be?" What the heck was a castle fair? I tried putting it off and saying things like, "I haven't decided," or "Sometime after Christmas," or when Christmas was over, "I'll talk to the other teachers, but before Spring Break for sure." Keep in mind my entire 6th grade team was new to the school. For two of us it was our first year, and my other coworker had just started part way through the year, the previous year. As I got to talking to the principal and other more veteran teachers at the school, it turned out this was a 6th grade tradition. Each year when they learned about the Medieval time period, they made castles and had a huge production for the whole school to come and see, to finish their unit. As a new teacher, this was a lot to take on. My other two coworkers were not as enthusiastic about it, but for me, my students had been looking forward to it, and I didn't want to let them down. You guessed it, I decided to go for it.

My class was the only class that participated in the castle fair that year. It wasn't perfect, and there are things I wish I had changed. However, my students were so proud of their projects, and we showed them off to the entire school, just like they had witnessed each year, until it was finally their turn.

Eventually, the following year my coworkers came around, and all classes participated in the castle fair. I became in charge of it. The castle fair was my project, and I looked forward to it each year. It was my favorite activity to oversee.

The point is, we can all go for it. We can do it in big and small ways. Each day we are presented with opportunities that can change our career. We need to decide if that will be the moment we chase our dreams, and go for it, or walk away always wondering about our decision.

I say, go for it!

You've got this teachers. I believe in you.





Choose To Be the Happy Teacher



I remember a particular year of teaching quite vividly, and not for the right reasons. As teachers, we don't discuss often enough the years we struggle. Or, the years that bring us heartache, and yes, the years we question our decision to become an educator. It can be a hard truth, but some classes are just better than others. Once we have a few years under our belt, we begin to understand that not every set of students, not every classroom, and not every coworker is going to be what we imagined. What I have learned is this: I am in control of my emotions. It is solely my responsibility if I choose to smile at students, give positive feedback, or simply, enjoy my day. Now, this can be easier said than done, but it is possible!

The hardest year I ever had teaching began wonderfully. I even recall telling my mom that this was going to be my best class ever. Little did I know the heartache that was ahead. I had just finished a school year from heaven. Honestly, I can't think of one unhappy moment. Happiness was everywhere, and it seemed to just permeate the atmosphere. I went into the next year of teaching thinking it would be identical to the previous one. However, a couple months into the school year I realized that wasn't going to happen. This shock just about knocked me off my feet, and made me question my decision to be a teacher.

I had students who told me they hated me. I had students run out of my classroom screaming profanities at the top of their lungs (both at me and other classmates). This particular class did not respect my personal space, or the space of their classmates. Students were fighting, stealing, hitting, bullying, and lying. I had the support of my principal and other teachers on my team (thank goodness!), but that was about it. This class was out of control, and to be honest I won't even divulge the worst of it on such a public platform, so just imagine your most horrible class, and times it by ten. By January I was crying every day after school and wanted to give up, but I'm not a quitter so I continued on. Also, like all teachers, I still LOVED my students. Let me make that clear: I loved them with all my heart. In fact, I went to their soccer games, I supported them during the school musical, I played with them at recess, and I got to know them on a personal level. I was invested in these kids and wasn't going to walk away. Yes, I would have labeled the majority of them as, "Hard kids," but they were MY kids.



I feel like I am a pretty happy person. My number one classroom rule is always, "Stay positive." But this particular year I was struggling. Was it the mixture of student personalities? Was it changes in my personal life? Probably both. Whatever the case, I learned that it was up to me to be happy. It wasn't up to my students to make me happy, or my coworkers, or anybody else. Being happy was my job. So what if this year was a little tough? I needed to roll with it, continue to love my students, and move on. I needed to CHOOSE to be happy. Once I realized this, the days got a little more bearable. That year was not perfect. I shed a lot of tears, learned that I could be a tough teacher, and that I didn't need to be loved by every student and parent, just respected. I learned I needed to choose to be the happy teacher, NO MATTER WHAT. If there is any class I still think about, it is that one. I wonder where they all ended up. I hope they reached their dreams. I hope they made good choices and got good grades. I wonder if they plan to go to college. When I think about these kids, I pray they have found what they are looking for in life. I hope I adequately showed them that happiness is not who we are, but how we choose to react to the world around us. 




How can you choose to be a happy teacher?

#1 Remember the reasons why you love teaching. Some days you may forget why you like it, but those days will pass and a lovely moment will remind you why you were born to teach.

#2 Focus on the good. Hold tight to any positive moment you come across each day. Even if it is as simple as all your students sitting in their chairs at the same time. Sometimes that is all we get!

#3 Throw positive reinforcement around like confetti. People like to hear good things about themselves. Our students aren't any different.

#4 Leave school at school. This is a hard one. Sometimes, school shouldn't come home, and you should relax instead.

#5 Remind yourself that you are important, your students need you (whether they admit it or not), and you get at least 180 days a year to make a difference.

So you may have that "Hard class," this year, or interesting coworker, or unbearable committee assignemnt. Just remember, you can choose to be the happy teacher, no matter what!

You've got this teachers. #choosetobethehappyteacher


Choose to be the happy teacher. Teach yourself, and your students to be positive.

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