Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday Wow!

It's Wednesday, and Curious Firsties is hosting a link-up where teachers can share something that went well for them during the week.
Curious Firsties

This week, we've been experiencing bitterly cold temperatures, thanks to the polar vortex. All schools were closed in the area! The wind chill hit -35 at one point yesterday! Brr!

My Personal "Wow"

My cousin and I made cotton candy with my new, small cotton candy maker. We made it "for her son" (but really for us, haha!). It was a Christmas gift, so I could use it for a classroom party (Santa knows I'm secretly a 6-year-old trapped in a 26-year-old's body). Did you know that the ONLY ingredient in cotton candy is one tablespoon of sugar? The machine spins and heats, turning the sugar crystals into fibers. Wow!

We also tried a few experiments with the cotton candy maker...

We made colorful cotton candy with a tablespoon of sugar and a drop of food coloring. Yum!
We crushed up root beer barrells and made root beer cotton candy. Double yum!
We tried using sprinkles, but the cotton candy was too crunchy. Fail.
Next time, we're going to try crushed up Jolly Ranchers. I bet that will be SO good.

(If you were wondering, it's the Bella Cotton Candy Maker, and you could buy it here from Amazon. There are less expensive versions on Amazon, too, but I haven't tried them.)

A future incentive, perhaps?

I'm thinking that I'll make this cotton candy in the classroom for our next party or whole class behavior reward. I try not to overdo the tangible rewards, because I want to move the kiddos toward intrinsic motivation, but every now and again I like to reward the whole class for their efforts.

I learned in Behavior 101 to never assign whole class consequences. I remember being in elementary school, and half of our class would not stop talking. Our teacher warned us to be quiet, or else we'd lose recess. I immediately got quiet. I had a kickball tournament planned with some kids from the other class. Several students talked anyway, and our whole class lost recess! I was pretty upset with the kids who wouldn't stop talking, and I felt like it was taken from me for no reason. So now, I don't assign whole class consequences-- but I do assign whole-class rewards.

When the whole class is behaving exceptionally well, I surprise them with a "whole class smiley." I draw a smiley face in the top of our board. When the top of the board is filled with smileys (25 smileys), I'll do something fun to surprise them. This time I'm thinking cotton candy party! I usually only give out a smiley per day or two, so they get so excited when I do.

Link up with Curious Firsties to share a "WOW" moment from your professional or personal life.

What's something that "wow"ed you this week?

Hope you're staying warm!

A Peach for the Teach

Sunday, January 5, 2014

HoJo's Top 2013 Blog Posts-- A fun guest blog post!

I'm so excited to be guest blogging for Brandi over here at Peach for the Teach! I'm Heather - better known as HoJo - from HoJo's Teaching Adventures. 


Let's start with my favorite blog post of 2013. Everyone wants to save money right? You want your student loans forgiven? You *might* qualify! Check out my blog post with information on getting student loans forgiven by clicking on the picture below. {Make sure to check out the comments section because many readers have offered some great advice and tips!}


We all know that the demands of teachers are ever increasing. Unfortunately, I've heard from many educators that this is leading to negativity in the workplace. This blog post will give you some ideas to deal with this negativity - but more importantly, the comments section is a goldmine! Fellow educators share ways they are combating negativity at their schools. I love some of their ideas!


This blog post shares a fun way to get students reading more, or reading across various genres. It's set up like musical chairs, but it's not entirely the same. My upper elementary students LOVE it!


Here's another idea your students are sure to love! Write, Pass, Edit! My students actually beg for this activity if we don't do it every month or so. It's perfect to use as a "filler" activity if a lesson finishes more quickly than you planned, or it's great to use as a Friday activity so you can start the next week off fresh!


Please tell me I'm not the only teacher who worries when evaluation time comes around? If you're like me, I hope this little post will give you a new idea to "show off" just how valuable you are to your school!


Finally, I recently wrote a blot post about the types of documentation teachers should consider doing. I may be an over-achiever in this area, but I guess I want to cover myself! Check it out if documenting is something you know you could improve upon.


Brandi is showcasing some of her posts over at my blog today, so please make sure to stop over and check out some of her best blog posts! She's become my favorite online behavior specialist, and she has the blog I first go to when I need a behavior idea. Therefore I'm sure you're going to find something worthwhile in her posts as well!

Also - please let me know your thoughts on any of the topics above! Feel free to comment right below or directly on any of the posts themselves. I truly do read every comment, and I love to interact with readers!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January Currently!

Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade is hosting another Currently linky over at her blog! Check it out!

Here's mine!

Thanks to From the Pond for this cute font!

Listening: Whatever you do, don't buy movie theater style popcorn oil butter. You'll gain a million pounds. It's tooooooo good!

Loving: My digital pen is SO cool! It comes with awesome programs. I'm researching a lot on clip art but still feel a bit lost. Any tips are DEFINITELY welcome in the comments below! Thanks!

Thinking: My prediction is an early dismissal tomorrow and a snow day Friday. An extra long break this year, perhaps?

Wanting: I want to start with a fun, interactive bulletin board. I want to get some hands-on learning activites and more engaging things for my kiddos.

Needing: I definitely indulged this holiday season. I'm back to the gym and yoga studio this week! Any motivation is also welcome. I need some accountability with this!

Memory or Tradition: Usually, we spend NYE with friends, but this year, my fiance spent it at work on his second police shift. I'm so proud of him for having the courage to chase his dream! I was a little nervous, but he's smart, well-prepared, and ready for this.

What are you currently up to? Join Farley's link-up!

Also, check out the New Year's Resolution Linky I'm hosting:

Happy New Year!

A Peach for the Teach