Social Media and Internet Advice

The lines between public, private, professional, and personal worlds are often blurred by the internet. As a teacher, you can never be too careful with privacy. Here are some things to keep in mind.

When parents sign photo consent forms at the beginning of the year, these do not give you as the teacher the right to take pictures of them any time you want and to post them online. It is important to understand that these photo consent forms are typically to allow children to be photographed for activities happening at the school and also yearbook photos. They generally do not protect you should a parent find a photo of their child taken by you on the internet.

I said it before and I'll say it again. Nothing is private on the internet. It is not okay to take pictures of your class and post it to your social media. Even if you have the most private settings possible—it’s not okay! It is also not okay to post pictures on a blog or in a Facebook group you are a part of. (Even teacher Facebook groups! You never know who is really in them!) I see this just about every day, and I just think to myself how that would make me feel as a parent if that were my child’s photo being shared in a group of thousands of people. Sure, the teacher might be sharing a fun activity they did, but does that give the teacher the right to post my child’s photo online? It doesn’t. It’s also not okay to post pictures of students on Instagram, Twitter, or anywhere else! All it takes is for one person to take a screenshot of your social media, and then they can send it to whoever they want. Remember, it is your job to protect your students.
It’s not okay to talk in specifics on social media about your class, a specific student, parent, family, administrator or co-worker. Don’t name names, and just don’t do it period. It’s bad etiquette and could cost you your job! Even if you are being vague or venting to “friends” chances are people can figuring out who you are talking about. 

Your district might have a specific policy for social media. Have you read it? A lot of people don’t realize their district has policies in place that forbid them from “friending” families or students. Your district might also forbid you from tagging them as your place of work! Hand in hand with this come policies that say that you can be held accountable for what you post online. I have witnessed people being fired for insensitive things posted on the internet.

While I caution against posting any pictures on social media of your students, the exception might be creating a closed Facebook group where you invite parents only. I strongly advise you to run it by your administrator first, and to get expressed written consent from parents to post classroom photos in this closed group. (Separate from any photo consent form signed for the school.) 

You can never be too cautious with what you put online. Think of your career, your families, and of course, your students.

Five Things To Do at the End of the Year

Getting ready for the beginning of the school year is always a rush! There is never enough time to do everything you'd like, so why not save yourself some time at the end of the year to make the beginning easier? Here are some tips to save you time:

Don't you hate making back to school copies? Depending on the system at your school, you might need to wait to be given a copy code before you can make these copies. And then, once you finally have your copies ready to be made, there is a line at the machine. Save yourself this trouble by making your beginning of the year copies at the end of the school year! Likely, you already know what you like to use those first few days, so why not use up your copies now and save yourself the hassle later? You can also make copies for meet the teacher/or open house.

Here's a freebie for you. Go ahead and get it copied now!

Purge! This is my favorite one. Have you ever heard someone say that teachers are hoarders? It happens to the best of us. Before school lets out for the summer, go through your cabinets and drawers and get rid of stuff you KNOW you won't be using anymore. We all accumulate junk over the years! Random things that are just taking up precious real estate in the classroom or storage space! Chances are you have twenty-something little friends who'd love to take some things home with them so they can play school. Over the years I collected many posters and other teaching tools that are no longer relevant with today's curriculum. It makes my heart happy to know that my students are playing school with these things at home. I remember my first grade teacher let me have a lot of her old things and I used to spend hours playing school with that stuff. I even still have some of her old school stamps with her initials on them! :)
Laminate! Is there anything that you know will need laminating at the beginning of the year? Avoid lines at the laminating machine by getting some things taken care of now. One thing I always do is make privacy folders for my students. I glue two file folders together and then run them through the laminator. This makes for a great privacy shield for my students to use while they are taking tests, or when they just want a little help concentrating. You might consider laminating any posters, name tags, badges, folders, or other things you know you will be using.
Supplies: Take inventory of what supplies you have left over and make a list of what you'll be needing. Since a lot of teachers (unfortunately) have to purchase their own supplies, it will help you later on in the summer if you know exactly what you need and what you have enough of. If you have a few boxes of pencils still, go ahead and get those sharpened now! You know you will need them, so if you are fortunate enough to have any leftover at the end of the year, go ahead and get them sharpened. You'll have more important things to be doing later. 
Organize your classroom library. This is something I try to do at the end of the school year because books are bound to end up in the wrong spots throughout the year. Once the library is organized, you can mark it off so students don't go in it anymore. (I usually do this with only a day or so left of school if I know we won't be needing it much.) 

I hope these tips save you some time at the beginning of the year!

3rd Grade Weather & Climate

Scroll down to take a look at *some* of what is included in this 130 page third grade Weather & Climate unit. This unit aligns to NGSS* standards 3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2, and 3-ESS3-1.

Here is the table of contents. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

3-ESS2-1 Weather Tables & Graphs
This topic focuses on identifying different types of weather, predicting, and graphing data. Students will also learn about various weather tools.

Posters in each topic come in color and black and white. These support the main ideas of each topic.

 Photo posters to visually support learning. These are included for each topic as well.

Non-fiction mini books are also included throughout all three topics of the Weather & Climate unit. Each topic also includes some type of interactive notebook piece as well as a practice page

3-ESS3-1 Reducing Weather Hazards
This topic focuses on learning about different types of solutions that are used to protect from weather hazards.

3-ESS2-2 Climates of the World 
This topic focuses on six different climates: Mediterranean, Polar, Desert, Tropical, Temperate, and Mountains.

 There are passages (with comprehension questions) throughout the unit. For a description of the eight passages included, please see the table of contents.

This was just a preview. For a FULL list of resources included in this 130 page Weather and Climate unit, please see the Table of Contents or check out the 36 page preview by following the link to my TPT store.

*NGSS and Next Generation Science Standards are a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards was involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

Phonological Awareness -Easy Print & Go Intervention Binder

I created this product so teachers would have an easy to use intervention binder. When I want to practice a skill with a student, I don't want to spend time digging around and trying to find activities to use. So, simply print the pages and store them in sheet protectors. (You can even do this with the sort pages. Instead of having students glue down the pieces for the sort, have them do it during one on one time with you and you can use this as an assessment piece. Then simply put the pieces back in the sheet protector.) The activities in this pack can be used as practice or as interventions.

Practice initial sounds, medial sounds, and ending sounds with these three activities. (There are five pages for each activity. So you get 15 initial sound pages, 15 medial, and 15 ending.)

Practice phoneme segmentation and blending, as well as identifying how many sounds are in a word.
Matching rhyming words helps set students up for learning fact families when they are ready for phonics.

2 Assessments are included as well.

How to Easily Teach Early Fractions {Guest Blog by Jenny}

Today I have invited Jenny from Little Vikings Learning to share with us one of her favorite ways to teach fractions.

Fractions are one of my favorite math concepts to teach because they are so easily seen in the everyday world around us and I find that kids already instinctively understand fractions in the real world; we just have to help them connect the numbers to the reality.  Easy Peasy. 
I always start with the most basic concepts: what is a fraction, what is it called, what does it look like in the world, and what does it look like in numbers.  Pro tip:tackle these concepts during snack time because their mouths are full (no talking) and they’ll listen to new concepts easier.  I start by reading the book “Eating Fractions” by Bruce Mcmillan BEFORE my students start eating.  As a class we then look at our whole snack item (be that a bun, banana, strawberry, etc) and show our whole unit to the people sitting near us.  We then get to eat half of it and compare our half to someone else’s half.  We make sure to note that half a banana is not the same size as half of a strawberry.  


I then give the kids fruit and plastic knives.  We take pictures of the fruit (or we have some already printed out) of a whole, half, quarter, etc. This means I let kids cut fruit with knives.  They love it...passionately.  Put the pictures of your cut up fruit on the board.  Use the half as the anchor for kids that struggle with the concept of denominator/numerator.  Label the half in words and numbers.  Most kids can easily recall a half and visually refer to it as “1 of 2 parts”.  They can use this idea of “number I have of so many parts” to write fractions numerically.  
I try to let each kid take pictures of their own fruit and then we’ll print the pictures for them to mount on a piece of paper.  This can easily become their personal anchor chart in a math notebook.  If printing is not easy, I’ve also called it a “fraction dissection lab” and had them write up “lab notes” that were hand drawn pictures of their fruit cut into fractions and labeled. 


Let them experiment with making equal parts of lots of possible denominators.  (If you want to make sure they are equal, model by telling someone you’ll give them half of your fruit and then cut it hugely unequally in your favor.  They will be outraged and you can then remind them that fractions must be equally sized bits.)

Finally let them try to combine their fruit with someone else’s fruit.   Can you combine half of a bun and half of a banana?  Why not?  What happens when you take half of a banana and a third of a banana?  How would you talk about something like this?  I have always found that my students start to explain the concept of common denominators without having ever heard of it before because it makes since to them visually after this activity. 


Have fun playing with fruit and nailing those basic but essential fractional concepts.  For more hands-on games that practice adding common denominator fractions you can check out this item in my TPT store.   

Playfully yours,