Sunday, February 17, 2019

Teacher Fashion Through the Years

The year was 1987 and I was starting my first teaching position. No more college sweatshirts and sweatpants for me; I was ready to be a professional!  I replaced my scrunchie with a rather large bow (hot glue-gunned onto a barrette) clipped onto my long hair with giant, teased bangs. I donned my new white boots with a mini-skirt and long sweater, complete with shoulder pads.
I shudder now to think about that! LOL. Another favorite outfit in the early 90's was a linen lime green shorts suit (not a pantsuit, but a matching double-breasted top & SHORTS), complete with large shoulder pads that I wore with black pumps!! Huh?! I quickly learned that one does NOT teach primary grades wearing high heels! I think I must have been dressing "fancy" for Picture Day! I can think of no other explanation. . .
One year I had a sweet student whose father manufactured "teacher jewelry". What is teacher jewelry, you may ask? Think LARGE plastic school supply shapes strung together with beads. For every holiday, this child gave me themed jewelry, apple necklaces, pencil earrings, crayon bracelets, you name it! I was decked out!
Back in the 80's and 90's, the bigger and gaudier the jewelry, the better! A friend and I had the brilliant idea to make some money by drilling a hole in our pattern blocks, threading them with ribbon and selling them as necklaces at a math conference. They were a success (never mind how impractical and heavy hanging wood blocks around your neck was. . .)
The 90's brought out the creativity in me. I finally learned (admittedly the hard way) that teachers need to dress comfortably, especially since I was teaching first and second grades! I was always sitting on the floor and needing to move. No more pumps or high heels. In came cute flats and white Keds.  I started designing matching t-shirt and stretchy pants (this was pre-stirrup pants and pre-leggings days) with "modern" designs, many of them a la Jackson Pollock. I custom made them for all the teachers at my school!
In the late 90's, early 2000's, I began giving a lot of presentations at conferences and teaching "teacher classes".  I thought I had better look more "grown up".  I bought suits in every color (skirts and pants, bu not shorts anymore, thank goodness) . . . but still complete with shoulder pads. When did shoulder pads go out of style anyway?! And big hair was gone by then. 
And true story, but it was only two years ago that I "thanked" all those suits I hadn't worn in 15 years and finally donated them. Although I have nightmares of teenagers finding them in a thrift shop, laughing and wearing them to a vintage or retro party.

If you're in the mood for a good laugh, be sure to check out our podcast as we take a trip down teacher fashion memory lane! This week's episode is all about teacher fashions throughout the years. We laughed until we cried recording it! Click HERE or on the image below to listen to our latest podcast!
Be sure to check out my podcast besties' teacher fashion blog posts below! Tracy, Retta & Deann will keep you smiling!
Inlinkz Link Party

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Tried & True Bookmaking: Pop-Up Book

Here's an oldie but a goodie: the pop-up book. Kids (and adults) never get tired of making these because there are so many options for creativity.
A pop-up book works best with construction paper or cardstock. Printer paper is too flimsy and will not hold up the pop-up figures well. 
 I tend to be picky about filling in the background when illustrating books ("Unless the picture takes place in the snow, there is no white background!") This will need to be modeled for your students. Pages may be made with 1 or 2 pop-ups. Be sure students make the figure that pops up large enough to be seen on the page. Color and cut out around its shape before gluing it on; do not glue a rectangle piece of paper with a figure drawn on it. Cut out the actual shape!
Watch the video below for step-by step directions, including how to attach all the pages and how to make a cover with a spine.

What's your favorite way to use pop-up books? Please share!
Be sure to click on the buttons below for more great teaching ideas!
Inlinkz Link Party

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Spark a LOVE of Social Studies

History. . . BORING! That's how I used to feel when I was in school! All those dates I couldn't keep straight. And what did it have to do with me?
Forward the clock 30 or 40 years and social studies has become one of my favorite subjects to teach! The old cliche that history repeats itself has never been more true than now. And THIS is what my fourth graders have noticed and commented on!

Too often. our district-mandated textbooks give a dry and limited perspective on events in history. Teaching students that there is more than one side to a story and to understand various viewpoints is a critical thinking skill! A simple strategy to get your students to LOVE social studies and practice taking on different perspectives is by using an eye template. After classroom discussion and charting of facts (evidence) and ideas, taking into consideration ALL viewpoints, students "choose a side". In the pupil of the eye, they draw about the event or time period. Then on the lines below, they write their argument. Although this template can be used across the curriculum, I love using it to teach history.

Here are some examples from California history: the Indians' perspective on the California missions:

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Tried & True Bookmaking: Rubberband & Stick Book

Are you loving this bookmaking series as much as I am?! This is another low prep, cost-effective (cheap) book that is simple for kids to make.
For this book, all you need is a hole punch, a stick (craft stick or real stick/twig) and a rubberband. Because of the simple binding, it is easy to add in additional pages if necessary. For these books, students used tissue paper and starch on posterboard to make the covers, then added the twig and rubberband to bind. These particular books are Native American scrapbooks, so we wanted to keep the rustic/ nature-y look. You can read more about this project HERE.
With this book, instead of a rubberband, students used raffia to tie and wrap around the stick. They also used a handmade paper instead of tissue paper and starch.  It turned out beautiful!
Don't you love how videos always seem to freeze the most unattractive expressions?! LOL! Click on the video to learn how to assemble this simple book!
I know your class would love to make these books! In what other ways could you use them? Let me know!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Tried & True Bookmaking: Magic Book

There are no other words to describe this book, but MAGIC. Your students will gasp in delight when they first peel open the magic or hidden section.
Magic books are effective for highlighting the effects of certain events in history. The magic section shows the changes and effects.
 Magic books are also perfect for writing and illustrating character change and development. Students draw and label the character at the beginning of a story,  writing about them on the left. Inside the magic section, draw and label how the character changes through the story, then write about the changes on the right side.
Watch the video below to learn how to make a magic book. Note: this works best with construction paper or card stock. Printer paper is too floppy for this type of book.

What do you envision using these magic books for with your students? I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Walk this Way: Assessing Comprehension

With the amount of over-testing these days, I am reluctant to simply give a test for the sake of a grade. However, you can assess student comprehension in other ways besides a written test.
I'm blogging over at The Walking Classroom today! Stop by HERE to read how to assess student learning with a variety of methods.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tried & True Bookmaking: Step Book

What's the best way to teach notetaking or paragraph writing? There are so many methods, but one of my favorite is a step book!
They are simple to make and SO useful! 

Step books can be made using any size paper or any amount of paper, depending on your needs. Teaching math facts or coming up with many ways to solve a problem is a great way to use step books! I like to always have my students connect story problems with the math problems. The space above the step can also be used to illustrate students' math strategy!
Step books are a simple way to teach notetaking, with all notes in one place. Decide on the categories you want students to research, then label each step. This leads directly into paragraph writing with a main idea or topic sentence already labeled on the step!
If you want to make it more "book-like", attach a larger construction paper cover. Step books turned sideways are GREAT for timelines. If you teach how to tell time, step books are so much fun to make like The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle, but a day in the life of a student. What other ways have you used step books? I'd love to know!