Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Good Students AND Good People - 10 Tips for Success

Yesterday was a bad weather day for us here, so I was able to spend some extra quality time with our son at home.  He just started Kindergarten this year, and even over the past few months, I can't get over how my little guy is changing; my baby is definitely not a baby any longer!  As we were making cookies, carefully measuring each ingredient scarfing down chocolate chips, my kiddo chattered away about school and friends.  Just a short time ago everything was new and intimidating.  Yesterday he was a confident, happy little person standing next to me in the kitchen, sharing the things he's learned about reading, writing, math...humanity...and life as a Kindergartner.  Hearing all he's learned so far made me think of a letter I wrote to him...for him...for me, as he began school in September.

The following is a post I wrote in another blog that I started at the same time as Middle School Matters.  (Being so new to this, I thought it would be easy to keep up with two blogs - one for teaching and one for simply recording our thoughts and experiences during our son's first year of school.  I was wrong.  Cra. Zy.)  I've decided to focus on Middle School Matters, but yesterday this particular post came immediately to mind.  It's advice to my son - as his mommy, but also as a teacher - to help him navigate through the maze that school can be.  As we are now at the half-way point of the year, heading to celebrating 100 days of school, I'm reflecting on what I thought he needed to know:

Even at five, our little man has been the recipient of many letters.  The first was written before he was born and included things I wanted him to know about how much he was loved from the moment we knew he was coming into our lives.  Then there was the one of thanks from our Bo-Bo Fairy, given to him when he was ready to give up his pacifier (Bo-Bo). It was time to have our Bo-Bo Fairy take it to a new baby who needed it, and she felt he needed to be congratulated.  Since then, letters from us on birthdays and from Santa at Christmas have become traditions in our family.  These letters hold words of love and the recognition of milestones that have been met along the way.  Little Man looks forward to these letters now.  In fact, this past Christmas, truly understanding what an undertaking it is to deliver toys to deserving boys and girls all over the world, he was concerned that Santa might not have time to write a letter since he was so busy.  I felt pretty confident that Santa would come through.

It has become easy to see, that even at a young age when his daddy and I still need to help him read these letters, the written words have had a great effect on him.  He knows we are proud.  He knows his actions are appreciated.  He knows he is loved.  As his mother, I know how important all of this is.  That being said, I'm also a middle school teacher.  After fourteen years with tweens and newly-turned teens, I've seen a lot.  In fact, I've often told my students that they are the subject of a book I've been writing. The working title is The Things I Never Thought I Would Have to Say, But Do In Middle School.  They think I'm so funny!  I'm not kidding.

As my little scholar begins his future in public school this week, I feel another letter needs to be written. This one, however, will not be filled with the warm fuzzies of the others.  This one has a need for practicality and a degree of bluntness that will allow some very important advice - not only for Kindergarten, but for life as he goes through school - to be gleaned.  It will include the following pieces of advice that, as his mother and a teacher, I know he needs to be made aware of and will help him to be successful:

1) Don't feel the need to be perfect.  No one is.

2) Not everything is going to be easy.  Whether it's learning to read, tackling math facts or climbing the rope in P.E. - just keep trying.

3) Please use a tissue.  Please do not use your hand, your sleeve or the paper you are giving to your friend or teacher.

4) You will come across bullies.  It will happen...and most likely it will be when an adult isn't right there to help.  I know this can be scary, but I don't want you to be an audience to this. Don't just let it happen. You don't have to say a thing to the bully.  In fact, I wish that you wouldn't.  He or she probably won't hear what you are saying anyway.  The person being bullied, however, will be straining to hear ANY kindness in that moment.  Be THAT voice.  Be his or her friend.  Will you be best friends from that moment on? Maybe not, but your kindness will be remembered - and on a day when you need it - maybe it will be returned.

5) Use your manners.  A simple "please" and "thank you" make more of an impression than you think.

6) Please revisit #3.  Seriously.

7) If someone asks you to do something that you know is wrong - whether it is unkind or unsafe - say, "No."  If you feel you need a reason, use me.  I'm happy to be the "mean mom" if it gets you out of an uncomfortable situation.

8) School is not a race.  You do not need to be the first person finished to show how smart you are.  Take your time and do things well.  Take the time to show what you know.

9) Part of growing up is realizing that you may not choose to be friends with everyone with whom you have to work.  From peers to adults, I know it can be difficult to work with people when you don't see things in the same way.  Yet, you need to be respectful and willing to work together when necessary.  Your future teachers and employers will find much value in this skill.

10) Mommy and Daddy have spent a small fortune on school supplies.  Please keep them out of your mouth.  Nothing is more gross than chewed up pens, pencils and marker caps that are covered in spit.  Nothing except...well, once again, please see #3.

As you can see, this is a different type of post than usually seen in this blog.  I'm not examining the Common Core or sharing resources for helping our kids be successful students.  I'm looking at my son, and our students, and thinking about the things they need to know to be, simply, successful humans.  How does my list fare?  Considering your children and the students that you see each day, what tidbits of wisdom would you share for their consideration during the rest of your time with them...and as they grow?

I have linked this post to:

Find lots of fun "Top Ten" Lists on all kinds of topics!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Giveaway Winner AND Valentine's Day Bookmarks FREEBIE

Thank you so much to all of you who participated in my very first giveaway here on Middle School Matters Blog.  Congratulations to Tina C.!  She will be receiving a FREE item of her choice from my TpT store.  If she is even half as excited about this as I am, the news has been a great start to her Monday morning!  I'll be doing something like this again very soon, for certain, so keep checking in. :)

No need to wait to get ready for Valentine's Day!  Alone or with other sweet treats added by you, these free Valentine bookmarks will hopefully encourage your readers to fall in love with a good book! With 4 different designs made with upper-grade students in mind, just download, copy (probably on cardstock, if possible, would be best) and cut apart to use these as a gift or prize on Valentine's day.  

(Click on the image to download.)

Sa-weet! :)

I hope you find this FREEBIE helpful.  I'm linking this post to Classroom Freebies' Manic Monday for January 28th.  Be sure to click on the link and check out all of the great resources available to you!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

SURPRISE!!! It's a Flash Giveaway!

(Sorry about all of the exclamation points...I'm just super excited about this! :-) )

So I just noticed that Teachers Pay Teachers has altered their product statistics pages a bit, and sellers can now see the number of items placed in wishlists.  I was SO excited to see the number of people interested in my products and I've decided to...make someone's wish come true! :-)  This is my FIRST little contest, and it is a SURPRISE: Flash Giveaway - the prize being one item of your choice from my TpT store...FREE!

Just take a look at the Rafflecopter widget below...and if you would like to try for a chance to win, choose one or both options for entries into the giveaway.  That's it!  This will run for Sunday, January 27th (only one day)...and then the winner will be randomly drawn.  When I wake up Monday, I, with coffee in hand, will email the winner.  I really can't wait to see which item will be chosen.  Best of luck - being a winner is a great way to start your week!

(Click here to go directly to my TpT store and look around.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 25, 2013

This Week's Friday Favorites - January 25, 2013

And another week has flown by!  Time for Friday Favorites, a moment that I like to take to share things I've found over the week that are inspiring and motivating.  It can be anything that can help enrich instruction in the classroom, touch the hearts of teachers and parents alike...or anything in between.

This week, before I show you some of my favorites, I would like to once again thank everyone who participated in last week's Favorite Finds Linky Party by either linking up a post, or taking the time to check out the great ideas and finds that were shared.  I plan on having another linky party with the same theme next month, so be on the lookout for some great ideas to share.  I can't wait to see what February will bring!

Now (cue drum roll), on to my shares:

First, I want to share something that, as a blogger, has already changed my life.  I was so lucky to come across a FB post by Krystal of Lessons from the Middle, which happens to me one of my favorite middle school blogs. (Click on the link and take a look if you haven't found her already.  Hey, I just shared a favorite without even trying! Lol)  Anyway, she shared a post from the blog Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans that shared a link to a FREE...I know, that's right...a FREE Blogging Planner for 2013 created by Confessions of a Homeschooler!  I clicked on the link and checked it out, downloaded the planner and had to check back a few times to make sure it really was for FREE.  First of all, these are b-e-a-utiful!  Then, even before I started printing the pages I knew this was just what I've been trying to create for myself, but still being kinda new to this whole thing, didn't really know how to best put it all together.  I've started using it already this week and, between this and figuring out HootSuite for scheduling posts on FB, I'm really starting to feel a little more organized and am starting to gain a bit more blogging confidence.  If any of you are also new to blogging, or thinking about starting a blog, click on the link for Confessions of a Homeschooler and take a look.  I just know you'll love it!  I know I really appreciate all the shares that led me to my "bloggy bliss," and I hope this may help you, too. :)

Secondly, I want to share a beautiful story that is sure to inspire.  I came across this via a FB friend (She also happens to be the beautiful wife of my cousin, mommy to 3 fantastic young children AND a brand new teacher to boot!) who posted this link to a news video clip from wltx.com.  It's a story about a beautiful young woman's true passion for teaching and determination to break through stereotypes to meet challenges and make her dreams come true.  This is perseverance at its best...and a love of learning that is contagious. It's my gift to you - to warm your heart on this cold winter day (at least here in the Catskills...brrr!).

Anything that has inspired you this week?  Feel free to share in the comments below! :)
Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Puzzle Me This...Prefixes!

I'm SO happy to share my newest FREEBIE with you!  I so love games and puzzles.  I know that my students do, too.  The challenge of solving this puzzle certainly helps motivate students to learn the meanings of the commonly used prefixes that are featured in this 12 Square Puzzle:

(click on the image to download it here)

Simply print one copy to place in a folder for an answer key. Then, print and copy the puzzle (on cardstock, if possible).  Have students cut the pieces apart on the dotted lines and mix up them up. To play, have them match the prefixes to their definitions to put the puzzle together.  Ready, set, GO!  This is great on its own, but it would also be a great addition to my Content Area Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes PowerPoint and Center Activities.  This pack also contains a chart of prefixes that are used in this puzzle.  Feel free to stop by TpT or TN to take a closer look.  The pack is 20% off today (1/21/2013) at both stores!

I hope you find this FREEBIE useful.  I'm linking this post to Classroom Freebies' Manic Monday for January 21st.  Be sure to click on the link and check out all of the great resources available to you!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Have a great day!!
Freebie Fridays

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Linky Party - Favorite Finds

One of my blogging goals for this year is to make sure that I stay true to my original vision of Middle School Matters Blog.  I want this to be a place where, yes, teachers can come to find resources that may be helpful in their classrooms, but to also find a supportive community in which we can share things that motivate and inspire.  I want this to be a place where, knowing the challenges we are all facing in education today, we can find strategies to help work our way through some of the muck and mire that surrounds our profession, and still feel passion for what we do.

In an effort to start sharing some of my favorite things I've found that inspire me, I created Friday Favorites.  Last week, a fellow blogger, Erin of Miss Lifesaver, suggested that I turn this into a Linky Party.  What a great suggestion!!  I have taken part in many the last couple of months, but I've never held one myself.  Could I?  Should I?  Then I saw this on FB:

Well...OK!  Here goes nothin'!

WELCOME to Middle School Matters Blog's first Linky Party!  I'm hoping to make this a regular event if this goes well.   I can't wait to see what happens!

First, here is my favorite piece of inspiration I've found so far this week.  It's a video clip of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year. I've been frustrated as of late about the amount of attention being placed on assessments and test scores...at the expense of the time we have to teach all of the other things that are so important in the growth and development of our children.  This video is short on time, but long on examples of kindness, compassion, empathy, tolerance...love.  You know, all of the qualities that make up excellent people, not just excellent test-takers. ;-)  Take a moment to watch and be reminded that there is so much good in the world.  Then, show it to your students.  Have them talk about it, write about it, reflect on it and respond to it.  There are tons of ways that this could be used as a catalyst for all kinds of authentic writing practice that could easily be aligned to the CCSS for ELA.  It's my favorite find this week!

So, again with thanks to Erin for the idea...it's your turn! :)

Here's what you need to do to link-up and share:

1) Create a blog post that features one of your "Favorites."  This could be a lesson you've just done, a strategy that you've found successful - or want to try, a new website or resource, something you read or wrote...or something that simply inspires you or your students.

2) I'm posting this now to serve as a heads-up for tomorrow.  If you're interested, and oh, I hope you are...just follow my blog and come back to link up starting tomorrow, January 18th. The link will be open all weekend, so if you need to write something for this linky, you may be able to find some time.  

To Link-up:

-Grab my Middle School Matters Blog graphic below to place in your blog.

(Please be sure to include a link back to this blog post.)

-Link up your post! :)

I can't wait to see all of the Favorite Finds we can share!  Thank you for trying this out with me.  I would truly love any feedback or suggestions for this Linky in the comments below. 

TBA's Ultimate Linky Party
I am posting this on Teaching Blog Addicts's Ultimate Linky Party Page.  Click above to find other opportunities to link-up and find resources to share! :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Vocabulary Keeps Growing!

"Why do we have to learn Latin and Greek in English class?" Good question, and one that I'm sure your students have at least thought of - even if they didn't go as far as to articulate it.

The truth is, beyond the fact that root words, prefixes and suffixes are specifically addressed in the Common Core, reading and writing English can only become easier by learning the Greek and Latin roots.  If we are to guide our students to reading both literature and informational texts closely, empowering them to analyze and truly comprehend a text, and then take it a step further to acquiring knowledge from that text, the ability to decipher meanings of new words is essential.  Not only in the ELA classroom, but in all content areas, students can only be more successful if they understand what they are reading and what they are being asked to do.  Recognizing the patterns created by commonly used roots, prefixes and suffixes will help them negotiate meaning in challenging texts and the kinds of questions that are being asked as students write and speak about what they are reading.

One tool that I have created to help students with developing these language skills is the My Vocabulary Keeps Growing graphic organizer.

(Click image for FREE download.)

This graphic organizer is also a part of a much larger bundle for literacy center activities pertaining to roots, prefixes and suffixes.  Feel free to stop by my TpT store to check it out, but please be sure to download the above FREEBIE either way.  I hope you find it helpful! 

I'm linking this post to Classroom Freebies to make it easier to find.  Be sure to click the link below to stop by the site and see all of the other great FREE resources for your students.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Day for Sharing: Friday Favorite and Teaching Blog Circle

I know this post comes a little late on a Friday...but the day just seemed to get away from me!  As things are finally quieting down and I can take a breath, I see it's after 8:00 already.  Yet, I can't hunker down for a night of movie watching with my hubby without taking a moment to share two fabulous finds with you.  One is officially my Friday Favorite - a little something I found and posted to my Facebook page earlier this week.  The other is something that kinda found me, and I'm so thankful.  Both are things that I hope will inspire you.

First, I have a name for you.  It's one to remember, as it is the name of a boy with a heart of gold who has taken the mere words, "Stand up against bullying," and has acted on them.  He started a movement that has touched the hearts of those in his high school, his community and now thanks to NBC's Today, has inspired the multitudes.  His name is  Jeremiah Anthony.  He is a high school student who decided to show it's just as easy to tweet compliments as it is to spread hurtful comments through social media. He's been an inspiration in his school's community, and serves an a beautiful example of compassion for all of us. Nicely done!  Take a moment to click the link above and watch his story.  At a time when it seems difficult for the media to find and report on simple examples of human kindness, it made my heart happy to see Jeremiah's story.  Think about how you may be able to share this clip with your students. 

Secondly, I would like to share with you that I was the recipient of an act of "bloggy" kindness earlier this week.  It made my day when I saw this comment on my last post:

"I just shared your site with my daughter's middle school teacher :)
You have a special place in the heart of the Teaching Blog Circle! I invite you to stop by and learn more... Your blog has inspired and helped me :)"
The Teacher's Chair

Thank you, Tracey!  This gesture was so appreciated, and I look forward to passing along the love to some of my favorite bloggers who have taught me so much - without even knowing - and continue to inspire me every day.  
Be sure to stop by Tracey's blog, The Teacher's Chair, to learn more about this award and her other creative ideas and resources.
Ok.  My hubby has gotten our little man to bed and I can hear he's just finishing reading the last story before "lights out."  I don't want to miss out on the goodnight smooches! :-)  Be sure to leave a comment about any of the above, or something that you found this week that is a favorite of yours.  I would love to learn about it!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Favorites: Tips for Classroom Management AND FREEBIES

Some of us are just getting back into the routines of our school days this week.  Some of us will be headed back from our holiday breaks this coming Monday.  In either scenario, coming back for the new year lends itself to making some fresh starts.  In terms of classroom management, this is the perfect time to reflect on what has been working well for you and your students...and what may need to be tweaked a bit to make more efficient.  It may even mean trying something that is all together different.  The beauty is that during this period of reflection and goal setting that naturally coincides with the first days of January, the timing is perfect to make changes that will help all of us - teachers, students and parents alike - make it successfully through the remainder of the school year.

The following is a list of my favorite classroom management tips.  There are 5 of them, and I hope at least a couple of them will provide you with a little inspiration as we start the new year off and running!

1) After 14 years teaching middle school aged kiddos, I can honestly tell you that having a set routine for when students come into your classroom is very helpful.  One of the things that I like to do is to have a spot in the front of my room that shares important information that my students need to start the day.  My students know to look at that specific spot (a white board in the front of my room) as soon as they come in.  They immediately find a list of materials they need on the desk, the agenda for that day's class, the objective(s) being focused on that day AND the "Do Now" task for the day.

2) Tip #1 (above) is especially nice for me as the teacher because it buys me time for my next tip.  It gives students a task to focus on while I ALWAYS try to be in the hall between classes and greet my students as they come in.  We've all seen the research showing that many of the bullying behaviors we try to watch for happen during the least structured times of the school day.  What is less structured than passing time in the hallways?  In our school district, as I would imagine in many buildings, it is actually considered part of our professional responsibility to have a presence in the hallways during these times of the day.  Of course there are some times when it is not possible to be stationed by my door as students come in (maybe I'm talking with a student or fielding a call from the office), but generally speaking, it's a pretty easy thing to do.  The best part is that I can make a connection with my students as they come in by welcoming them and, if something has changed in our daily routine, I can give them a heads up before they even step over the threshold into ELA.  I can even use this time to give students materials they may need for class - an example being a Formative Assessment Sheet for a day when I want to get a snapshot of how my teaching and my students' learning is progressing.

3) Make sure that if you are finding some challenges with discipline in the classroom that your expectations and consequences (both positive and negative) are very clear.  Whether you've created the rules and guidelines for your classroom OR it is the result of a cooperative effort between you and your students in the beginning of the year, now is a good time for a reminder and/or to rework any areas that have been problematic.  Here is a link to a post I wrote in September that pertains to this subtopic in classroom management.  You will find some details about the system I have used.  You'll also see why I feel that providing middle school students a chance to reflect on their poor choices and have a chance to self-correct when appropriate is something that has helped me create an environment that is mutually respectful.

4) Reach out to your students' parents!  I'm finding that one of the most shocking things to me, as the mother of a Kindergartner this year, is the level of involvement of many parents in elementary school.  People are always volunteering to help.  Parents are at PTO meetings.  School functions are well-attended.  I know it seems funny, but my experience at the middle school level has been quite the opposite.  I never really thought about it before this year, to be honest, but now I have a different perspective.  I really think that many parents would like to be more involved in the educational lives of their children, but may not know how.
    Of course, just the ages of our tweens and teens in middle school adds to the challenge.  Developmentally, our students are looking to gain some independence and may not be as open with family about the day-to-day goings on in school.  This makes is even more important for us to reach out and create some positive lines of communication with home right away.
    To make things easier, have a record keeping system that will assist you in keeping track of these interactions with parents.  It doesn't have to be elaborate or time consuming, but just a common place where you can note when conversations occur and anything that you glean from your interaction that can help you to know your students better.  This is also a great tool for you if problems arise with a particular child during the school year.  Little clues, when put together with observations and information form others on your team, may be helpful if a student needs assistance - academically or emotionally - as time goes on.  My Classroom Management Kit includes three templates that can help with this.  Feel free to take a look for more details.

5) Build in an opportunity for quick cooperative learning breaks - anytime.  I've written several posts about the importance of allowing time for our students to share what they are thinking, creating and learning with others.  It's important to provide a way for students to process and internalize new information, and sharing the learning process with others is very helpful.  The challenge I have run into over the years is finding a balance between the time it takes to form learning partners and/or groups and still leave time during the class period for instruction and practice.  And, of course, in middle school it's all about who you are working with!  That social piece is, in and of itself, a challenge.  In an October post, Terrifying Twosomes, I followed a Halloween theme to create a useful tool to help with making student  pairs, and had lots of positive feedback.  The post explains in detail how it is used and includes a link to the free form.  I followed this with November's Grateful Gabbers and December's Festive Friends (I love alliteration.  Can you tell? ;-) )
      And now...new year, new month, new theme:
Presenting (insert drum roll here)...Winter Wonders!

Be sure to check one of the posts of the previous months to learn how to set this up with your kiddos.

Hopefully, these tips will serve as a reminder of things that you already do, and do well, and also as a reminder of a thing or two that you can revisit or consider trying new.  In addition, with all of this focus on reflecting and refreshing, I want to leave you with something fun that you can do with your students in the first few days back to class.  I've had a lot of positive feedback on the Holiday themed Mad Libs that I experimented with last month.  One that I created is called My New Year's Resolutions and I would like to offer that to you for free as a token of my appreciation for making it all the way through this incredibly long post! :)

It is part of a set of three that is available at my store and will only be offered for free here.  I hope, if you choose to give it a try, that your students will get a giggle from it when they are done.

Please consider leaving a post if you're trying any of the tips above OR if you have some more tips to share.  We would love to see them!

With best wishes for the new year,

I've also linked this post to:
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


Freebie Fridays

Stop by and look around - great ideas are there to be found! :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Beginnings

Hello, 2013!  The promise of a new beginning that the first days of January brings is a welcome and needed change for me...personally and professionally.  My goodness, it's good to feel like I'm getting back in the game!

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post.  Like so many of you, being caught up in the festivities that come along with the holiday season kept me on my toes and feeling like I didn't have enough time to fit everything in.  Yet, it was actually quite a different, tragic event that - again, I know like many of you - stopped me in my tracks.  My last post for 2012, though it had only taken me a second to publish, was the most difficult piece I have blogged thus far.  My moment of silence post for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary was what I published the morning of our son's 6th birthday.  At the same time that so many families were in unimaginable pain and our nation was brought to its knees in grief, my own newly-turned 6 year old was up early and running and laughing...just filled with joy at the idea of simply being 6.  As a teacher, I was frightened and heartbroken.  As a parent...this poignant contrast of emotion was almost too much to bear.  The only thing I felt I could really do was to focus on and, in a way, lose myself in my love for my family.  I have to say, selfishly, I was so relieved to have Christmas Break come when it did.  It was a week and half of solid family time that I so desperately needed.

In struggling to gain some perspective, I've read many blog posts (perhaps written by some of you) that have helped.  In gleaning what I could from bloggers that so articulately and beautifully conveyed what I was feeling - the sadness, the confusion...and the desire to somehow, in our own individual ways, ensure that the lives that were lost will be honored, the take-away for me is this: make the most of every moment.  We should be giving every effort put forth our all and making the time that we have count for something. Every chance we get, we should be creating memories. I'm realizing that this is not only what I need to do for myself, but as our everyday lives are returning to "post-holiday normal," keeping this in mind as I go through the day can only encourage those around me to do the same.  As a spouse, as a parent, as a teacher...I can't think of a better way to ensure that the people in our lives know that they are loved.

And so, as I write this post - my first post of 2013 - I am focusing on new beginnings.  Perhaps fitting, today is also a new beginning for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary.  Children are returning to school, a new school, for the first time today and I am holding each of them in my thoughts and prayers. I'm thinking of the staff and hoping that they find the strength and courage needed to get through the days and weeks to come - as well as the comfort in knowing that they are needed and loved by every child that walks through the doors of their new school.  I'm thinking of the families for whom today - I imagine like every other day - holds yet another reminder of unimaginable loss, and pray that this new phase of their personal journeys can help to heal their hearts.

I'm also thinking of you, my readers.  I'm so thankful that you take the time out of your day to stop by my little blog.  I look forward to learning even more from the teacher-blogger community and sharing what I learn.  I'm so eager to share more ideas and create more materials that will be helpful to you and your students.  I'm striving this year to really make this blog a place where you can come to find a little inspiration, especially during these challenging times in education.  I hope that this year provides each of you with opportunities to learn new things, create memories and encourage others as well.  It's what teaching is all about!

Much love,

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