What I Bought For My Classes the First Month

What I Bought For My Classes the First Month

100th day (1).png

Hello and happy Saturday. Teachers spend a lot of money throughout the year on stuff for their classes, sometimes without even realizing or meaning to. During my first month in this new job teaching high school I wanted to see how many things I would buy for my classes because there’s this notion that elementary and preschool teachers spend way more money on supplies than middle and high school teachers do.

It’s almost as if people picture high school teachers going into class with only a black Expo marker and a red pen to grade stuff, but reality couldn’t be any more different. I do think that sometimes I go over the top with what I plan for my lessons and what I think is necessary for me to function correctly as a teacher, but I also think that being like that is what makes me a good teacher. I’m going to make a list and tell you what I used each item for.

  • Popsicle sticks. These I used for my equity sticks technique, which you can read about in a previous post.
  • Cup. I bought one of those desktop metallic holders because I wanted something durable for the aforementioned equity sticks.
  • Flair pens. Before I left I gave them away, but I obviously needed them when I came back. As much as I still love them, I think this new year I’ll stick to super fine tip markers from Faber Castell.
  • HDMI cable. This, dear teacher friend, is a must for me. In the first school I worked at I was given one, but then in the new school I wasn’t and having to borrow one from the IT department was too much of a hassle so I decided to get my own.
  • Folder. I have a cute folder that actually closes like pocket and is the cutest thing ever, but I don’t know why I never took it to this new school. Instead, I bought a new folder, one of those cheap cardboard ones where I would keep the copies, the assignments I needed to grade or to return, that kind of stuff.
  • Cardboard. I never figured out how the materials system worked in my new school, like who were you supposed to ask for supplies. I wasn’t a homeroom teacher, nor I was teaching preschool or elementary where you have some supplies that the students bring in hand. That’s why I bought cardboard for my students to make nameplates. This was part of an activity I will soon explain in a future post.
  • Mini binder clips. Now, during that first month I had to grade final tests, which were made up of five grades. That means each of my 111 students had a little pack of at least five papers I needed to check, so I’d use the binder clips to assemble each pack while I dug through the pile of papers, and then I’d staple them to return them.
  • Highlighters. I used highlighters to draw happy faces and extra points. I’m going to talk more about why I find highlighters important in a future post, I promise.
  • Index cards. Again, I didn’t know who I could ask for them, so I bought them myself for a vocabulary activity in which the students wrote some key terms, defined them in their own words, included a sentence in which they used the terms, and made a drawing. These cards went in our word wall.
  • Colored paper. We made posters with it.
  • Masking tape. Needed to paste the aforementioned vocabulary cards and other cute things my students did while I was their teacher.

Which of these items do you think would be essential to you as a teacher and why? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Advertisements
My New Job

My New Job

 

100th day.png

Hello and happy Saturday. I felt that you were by my side earlier this year when I had to quit, and then the months after when I dedicated most of my time to scheduling posts, and you stayed with me when I left to pursue what I thought was my dream life. When I decided that said life wasn’t for me, I felt that you were still there, reading me, trying to understand where I came from, and in a way, supporting me. That’s why I feel that today I owe you this update, which I’ve been putting off for a while now, but the day has come. Today I’ll tell you about my new job.

For those who are new here and felt super confused about that intro and also kind of felt that maybe I’m too much of a mess and you should go to another blog where someone has their shit together, let me give you some context. A few months ago now I left my home to go live in Baltimore and get certified as a teacher there. Why Baltimore? I’m pretty sure I answered that question in another post, that’s not the point. The point is that my depression and anxiety got to a very scary level while I was there and I decided to come back home.

Deciding to go home, although the smart choice mental health-wise, wasn’t very convenient in terms of a job search. You see, I came back in the middle of July, a time in which most schools are already on vacation, meaning no one was hiring, or the ones that had begun working weren’t looking for new staff members. Still, I interviewed with a school and a preschool center, but I feel that I was still too broken and the interviewers saw through that. Today I think that I should’ve given myself a little bit more time, maybe after I’d sought professional health or something so that I could be more prepared to face those interviews.

I was already starting to lose hope when I got a call on a Thursday from a school I’d heard but knew nothing about. I had an interview Friday afternoon and though I was a wreck, I kind of projected all my energy into those few minutes, which I knew would make or break my chances. I even used my energy to try to convince myself that I wanted to teach high school because I was that desperate for a job.

Yes, I got a job as a high school English teacher. I only had to work for the last three months of school, but let me tell you, those were tough months. I will talk more about this in a future post, but I want to give everyone a piece of advise, whether you’re a teacher or not, and it’s: don’t sign up for something you know deep down you won’t enjoy.

Through therapy I’ve discovered that I’m a very insecure person when it comes to my own value. I’m too harsh on myself, and this new job made me feel constantly that I wasn’t good enough. And the truth is maybe I’m not a good high school teacher, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing because my dream in life isn’t to teach teenagers, that was just something circumstantial. But beyond that, I felt like I was forcing some aspects of my role as a teacher, when they came naturally to me. There were times when I struggled to get ideas for my classes, when I questioned whether my students would be engaged or not, and that was something I never experienced with my younger students.

Now, of course it’s not like I spent three months being miserable and crying everyday because my classes sucked. As you will see in some of my Saturday posts, and as I believe you could already see last week, I managed to come up with ideas and strategies that worked and that I’m proud of. Ironically, I was able to do something that so far I had only thought about, which was creating materials for higher levels. Of course, my students were my Guinea pigs and piloting those resources in class helped me improve them so that I can hopefully upload them to my TpT store.

Today I’m in one of those weird creative cycles of mine in which I’ll schedule a ton of posts (and skip German class because this girl needs to blog), and so I finally sat down to write about this rollercoaster. Spoiler alert: it isn’t over, so make sure to check out this blog regularly because in the near future you’ll be getting some updates.

In the comments below tell me about your employment situation. Are you happily employed? Unhappily employed? Happily unemployed? Desperately searching? I’ve been through all of them.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

My New Teacher Notebook

My New Teacher Notebook

Lovely Wholesale

Hello and happy Saturday. Yes, today I actually have a teaching-related post like we used to have every Saturday way back when. I wanted to share with you the teacher notebook I bought in Spain, which I got for about $22. Now, I know we’re all good people here and none of you would think about doing anything with the pictures of the inside of my notebook, but sadly there are people who might use the pictures to “create” and sell their own teacher notebooks, and that’s something I don’t want to risk. For that reason, I’ll just describe to you what the notebook has and you’ll have to rely on your imagination to picture it. Let’s get started, shall we?

When you open the notebook you have calendars for the 2017-2018, 2019-2019, and 2019-2020 school years. That itself is awesome because it means this can be used throughout the years. Then there is a cardboard cover and the actual “notebook” begins. You have a page to fill in your contact information, and then some blank pages. What I love about this is that every section has written “instructions” of ways in which you can use it. For example: the first two blank pages say “use this pages to past documents and information of your school, or for free notes,” and the second set of blank pages says “use this pages to glue the class calendar.

You then get a section of blank schedules to fill out, and I love the fact that they include Saturdays and Sundays. The next section was game-changing to me because its designed for you to draw your class blueprints. I would laminate that part and use either whiteboard markers or stickers to make that section reusable, but I think it’s genius when you’re thinking about how to place your students (you know I’m all for assigned seating).

There’s a section for you to add meetings, parent conferences, and school activities, which it’s divided by months, so it comes in really handy, especially when you’re doing your yearly planning. You get some blank checklists, and there are enough for the entire year, so if you organize your to-do’s into short and long term, this will be great for you. There is more space for you to jot down ideas and projects you might have, and at the end of this first section, there’s a birthday page.

Then comes the planning section. You first get a monthly planner, which is basically like an empty calendar. Then there’s another thing that sold me on this notebook and it’s the weekly planner. I love it because you get the entire week in a single page, and that is important for me because it allows me to see the “big picture” of my classes. There’s enough space to be somewhat detailed about the planning, and that’s also important for me. This weekly planner obviously takes up a big portion of the notebook.

We then have the list section, so basically there are many blank lists waiting to be filled with grades and check-marks. I personally used to struggle with the list thing because I felt that the ones I’d downloaded didn’t have enough space for grades or assignments and so I found myself having to print new ones over and over. Here you’re covered for a long time, trust me.

Another really cool section is about the students, so for example you get lists to fill with their parents’ contact information, other data and observations. I used to work at a school where parents were super involved, so it was common to meet with them regularly, and having a chart like this one comes in super handy. Then on the flip side of the information page, there are attendance lists. I think especially for homeroom teachers it is key to check attendance. Also, if you know when a student was absent, you can help them catch up because you know the exact day.

There’s also a meeting planner, which again, comes in super handy when registering one’s interactions with parents. I think that teachers nowadays have to be extremely organized, and that also includes recording any data that might be important. In this same section, there is space to write information about students and possible meetings.

The final section has a set of lined paper to take notes on meetings, and then some pages where you can write links and other contact information. There are also some plastic pockets at the end, and other cardboard pieces to use as bookmarks or separators or whatever.

I think you get the idea of why I fell in love with my teacher notebook. In the comments below let me know the kind of organizer or planner you use at work.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Call Me Miss Camila

Call Me Miss Camila

100th day.png

Hello and happy Saturday. I’m exhausted but I feel super accomplished and excited today because I’m (finally) officially Miss Camila in TpT.

TpT stands for Teachers Pay Teachers, an awesome site I love because I have access to a ton of resources made by teachers like myself, and I can also create and sell my own products. I’ve had my store for a while now, and one of my objectives after quitting my job would be to dedicate that extra free time I had to my little material development projects.

My store was originally called The Cool Teacher Diaries because that was the name of my teaching blog and Instagram. Now, when I created this unified blog and my unified Instagram account, I thought it would be nice to someday change the name of my TpT store as well, but I didn’t give much thought into actually doing it until a few months ago.

Changing the name of the store was easy, and took no time. The annoying, exhausting part was having to change each individual product as well as its cover design because these all had my old name. I procrastinated for quite a while, advancing on other TpT and blogging projects until today I decided that I just had to get my store’s name changed and move on with my life. So, yes, I’m finally Miss Camila in all of my public social media, which makes me super happy.

If you want to check out my store, click here. I’m always open to suggestions and requests in terms of the products you’d like to see in it.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Life Update

Life Update

 

Hello and happy Saturday. I have to leave the house in five minutes for a rumba class, so let’s make this quick and pain free.

I think you’ve noticed that for the past few Saturdays there hasn’t been a teaching-related post, and there is a reason for that. I often plan my posts in advance, you know that, but for a while I’ve felt like I don’t have the energy to put together teaching posts, not even when all I need to do is take pictures of what I do in my classes and share them with you, in a “week in review” kind of thing. I’ve been extra busy these weeks, both at work and at home, up to the point in which I’m almost overwhelmed. Almost.

On February 1st I quit my job, or rather, I announced that I would work until the end of the month. That means that, yes, as you read this, I am officially unemployed. I am going to move to Baltimore all the way from Bogotá, Colombia, this June. I will be part of an alternative certification program and I will be teaching in a public school. On March 7th, I will be traveling to Baltimore for an event, and I will also be running errands and getting to know the city that will be my home.

Before I continue, I must say that I’m not in here trying to justify my decisions. I’m not even trying to explain myself; I’m just updating you on something I’ve had to kept a secret for months from many people. I wanted to get that out of the way because I know your logic might tell you “well, she’s just leaving for a week in March (and one in May), and she’ll be moving in June, she could’ve worked things out without quitting her job.” Believe me, I tried to plan everything that way, for the sake of my students and the job I’m leaving behind, but this decision isn’t about them, it’s about me. And in thinking about me, I had to consider my emotional and mental stability, and I had to be realistic: I couldn’t be traveling back and forth while working a full time job.

I decided that I needed time and space. I needed to be able to make arrangements, to buy plane tickets, to cross out items from my to-do list without the pressure of also fulfilling my duties as a school teacher. Quitting was tough, and I mean everything about quitting: gathering the strength and choosing the right words, dealing with the principal’s reaction, telling my close friends at school even though I officially couldn’t announce it to anyone. But it was more freeing than anything else, knowing that I’d have 28 days of closure, and then I would continue with the next stage of my life.

I took 28 days to enjoy my classes and make memories, to leave everything as ready as it could be for the next teacher to come. I took 28 days in which I got home to continue working on school stuff, my Portuguese classes (yes, I take Portuguese classes, how come you didn’t know that), and on the program I’m going to attend in June. And we haven’t even talked about my personal life! Well, we’re not going to talk about it now, but let’s just say that didn’t contribute to the mess that was my brain, either. Imagine if I’d decided to keep working full time.

Why am I writing this on a Saturday and not any other day? Well, I’ve already told you the reason why I haven’t been publishing any teaching posts, and now that for the next few months I won’t actually be teaching, I just can’t promise weekly content. I have ideas of resources I want to create and sell on TpT, and I’ll post about them here, of course, but other than that, the teaching content will go on a semi-hiatus. You’ll still get the bookish and the lifestyle posts because I have many of those scheduled in advance, and I keep writing those on a regular basis.

If you have any ideas of suggestions of posts you would like to read, let me know in the comments, maybe while I go back to teaching I can do different tags or talk about particular aspects of my profession.

Happy Saturday!

Love, Miss Camila

Working on the Three Little Pigs

Working on the Three Little Pigs

Hello and happy Saturday. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably already planning your lessons for after the break, and looking for cool ideas of things you can do in your classroom. Personally, I’m a sucker for themes, so I like to pick one and work around it for some time, whether it’s a week or a month or something in between. Recently with my Kinder babes we worked on The Three Little Pigs, and I want to share what we did with you. Let’s get started, shall we?

We started out with a math activity, so I played the song Ten Little Piggies and we practiced counting from one to ten and then backwards. I then told my boys to draw ten pigs (I gave them each a sheet of pink paper), and they glued them to a large piece of paper, so we had all of our piggies in the same poster.

I told my students the story of the Three Little Pigs, and using the pictures, we arranged

 

the events of the story in chronological order. I took the images from this blog. I did it as a retelling activity, so I showed my boys each picture, asked them what was going on and then had them tell me where they’d locate it. We came up with this poster.

I placed both posters on our English board, as well as these images of the pigs, and the material each used to build their house. That way we practiced vocabulary. I don’t know where I got the images from, but you can get a finger puppet worksheet at Education.com.

 

 

 

 

 

I also added a section with the three pigs and the wolf, and this would come in handy later on, you’ll see why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On another class, we worked on characters, so I made teams of four, and each student had to decorate either a pig or the wolf. Then, each group made a mini poster with their characters. You can get those finger puppets here.

 

 

 

The class when we did the Hidden Object activity was probably my boys’ favorite. I gave each this worksheet by Tim van de Vall, and I also displayed it on the smart TV. I had one of those hand pointers, so I encouraged the boys to use it to indicate where each object was. They then looked in their own page and circled each object.

 

 

 

If you know me, you know I’m a lover of centers, so of course they were part of our unit.

I teamed up my boys, and gave each team one type of material for them to “build” a house. Team one had cards.

 

 

 

 

Team two had sticks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And team 3 had building blocks.

Each team had ten minutes to try and build their house before they had to switch.

That was it for the Three Little Pigs, at least for now. What are other activities on this topic that could work with K? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Teacher Planner (An Update)

My Teacher Planner (An Update)

 

Hello and happy Saturday. A few months ago I wrote a post on the teacher planner I’d use for the new school year. Now, in that post I talked about where I got it and all those details, so if you want to know more, click here. In this post I’ll be talking about how I’ve been actually using the planner throughout the school year. Let’s get started, shall we?

What we first see here is my yearly planning. I made it based on last year, but as you can see, it now has some notes I wrote in pencil, and post-its. I add them whenever I want to modify something from the “original” plan, so that at the end of the year I can have an updated, more complete yearly plan.

I’m in charge of uploading a more detailed planning of my classes with Pre-K and Transition every two weeks, and that’s when the yearly plan comes in super handy. For Kindergarten, however, there’s another teacher in charge, so while she uploads the planning, I write my ideas for the classes in a lined paper, to then complement with what she uploaded.

 

 

 

 

 

This is my weekly planner, and probably the most important part of everything I’m showing you. I color-code it so that it’s easier for me to know what I have to do with each grade. Here I only write keywords or the general idea of my lesson. On the “notes” section, I add any ideas that come to mind, lessons that I had to postpone or homework that needs to be sent.

 

 

 

 

Finally, right before the school year started, I added these monthly planners, which you can find at Playdough to Plato as part of the free pack where I got the other forms. I use this for two things: one, in colors I add important events happening each day (maybe a visit to the library, a meeting with a parent, or a special theme day). Because I can see the full month, it’s easy for me to use that information when I’m doing my two-week planning. Now, the other thing I use it for, is to document what I did in each class at the end of the day. I do this so that I can add that information to the yearly planning and make my life a little easier each year.

Do you use a planner for work? If so, how do you use it?

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila