Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's the Little Things...

So, I had grandiose plans about blogging like crazy while subbing this year... and you know, I just lacked inspiration most of the time! I really discovered that, while I love teaching... I hate subbing! After a couple of months I began to be requested by teachers at my favorite schools, so at least I got to know the kids a bit and the teachers, too. But I'm telling you what, it's nothing like teaching. I miss teaching.

And I'm glad. It means that I made the right choice to become a teacher, and I know I'm going to appreciate my own class next time so much more than I even did before! I won't take it for granted!

I may have a couple of leads on a job for the coming school year... but for now it's a waiting game. In the meantime I have two weeks of subbing left before I head to Virginia to help my cousin out with her kiddos for the summer.

I never seemed to collect enough information on one idea to create any quality posts, so I'm just going to make this a "random" post containing some of the fabulous ideas I've "collected" (a.k.a. stolen) over the last four months of subbing.

Idea #1: Kindergarten Table Trash Cans. Brilliant. The kids toss their paper scraps into their own table trash and then are responsible to dump them into the bigger trash can once or twice during the school day. As much cutting and pasting as kinder kids do everyday, this saved so much time and mess!

Brilliant Idea #2: iPhone Bulletin Board 
Now, maybe I'm an oddball, but I have been SHOCKED at how many teachers have non-functional bulletin boards in their classrooms. I mean, c'mon! The wall space is limited and precious, and you fill a whole wall with letters spelling "Happy Birthday" and balloons with the kids' birthdays on them? Can't you limit that to a poster in a corner of the room? I don't know, but I am really not a fan of the fru-fru kind of teacher decorating. I like functional.

Which is why I like this bulletin board so much!

 Each "icon" was inside a plastic sleeve affixed to the wall. It fastens on one side using Velcro so that it can be opened. Inside is a pocket with "tickets" that the kids attach to their finished work.

Each "icon" came with a file. These were on a bookshelf just to the right of the bulletin board. 

The kids pull one of the "Settings" activities, for example, out of the green folder. They complete the work (see example), and then return it, with the "ticket" attached, to the pink FINISHED folder. If the work is done well, the teacher returns the ticket to the student. The tickets were used as a sort of currency in this classroom. They could purchase rewards or have tickets taken away for irresponsibility or bad behavior. Because I already have a mini economy, I would either turn these into opportunities to earn money, or put the tickets into an end of the week drawing for a privilege the following week. 

 Cute idea #3: Presidential Reports

I just really liked these! I thought it was a clever way to display the kids' reports on the presidents.

Other Smart Ideas for the Classroom Walls:

 I hope this is the philosophy of every teacher. I like the way it's worded here, so I took a picture to copy it. :)

I really like these quotes, and then the breakdown of the teacher/student responsibilities. This was in the middle school, but the principles are great across the board.

As we celebrate kids' different learning styles, we can give them choices about their learning. The only choice they don't have, however, is to do

I spotted these in a 2nd grade classroom this week and it made me smile. This is how I learned to add/subtract in 1st grade...using the dot system on the numbers! The funny thing is...I STILL tap the invisible dots when I add. It reminded me that sometimes we don't even have a clue what "sticks" with our students. But 21 years after the fact, I'm still adding this way, thanks to Mrs. Carver! :)



  1. Hey Erin,

    I love your blog. I love teaching my kids touchpoints and I think it really increases their speed during math fact computation! Do you know that they also have touchmoney? LOVE IT!

    1. See...and I didn't even know it was CALLED the touchpoint system! :) Thanks for that. All I know is that it's brilliant! And money? AmAzInG! Thanks for stopping by to share that!

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