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Becoming a Digital Teacher


I'm so excited to partner with maurices to bring you this blog post about digital classrooms and teacher-style inspiration.

This year, classrooms are going more digital than ever before. We are seeing a number of different devices in the classroom even beginning as early as kindergarten. Students are using tablets to research, practice skills, create, code and much more. As our students step into the next generation of learning we as teachers need to be up to date with the trends of the classroom. We should be the examples to our students as we use technology in our instruction and planning.

For most teachers, technology can be scary. Tablets, laptops, educational software and other types of technology in our classrooms can be overwhelming. Keeping up with the ever changing wave of technology advancements can turn a teacher off to the idea of becoming a digital classroom. Going digital doesn't happen over night. Teachers have to take one step at a time in becoming a digital teacher. We also have to be aware that not all schools and districts are the same. Not all schools have 1:1 iPads for every child. Some schools barely have teacher workstations with a computer or laptop. I'm here to share a few easy ways to become a digital teacher no matter what your situation is. It's time to learn how to adapt to the technology day that we live in and learn to become better teachers for our techie students who will one day become engineers, doctors, teachers, and other careers that utilize technology every single day. It's the way the world is going and we must move forward with it.




1. My first suggestion in becoming a digital teacher is become familiar with the devices you have in your classroom. If possible, take them home for a few days and play around with them. Use the tablets to play games, type a letter to a friend, search the internet or listen to music. Becoming familiar with these devices and their capabilities will help you think of great ways to use these amazing devices in your classroom.

2. Try to go paperless in one simple way this year. Instead of printing a newsletter try emailing the newsletter to your parents or adding the link to your class webpage. This is a very easy thing to do using Google Drive. All you need to do is edit the newsletter template and then send the link to your parents in an email. To view the newsletter, the parents click on the link and there it is! You can find directions and newsletter templates in my Digital and Printable Newsletter pack.



   

3. Be confident and ask your students for help. Your students are the technology experts. Let them teach you something for a change, You will be blown away with what your students can teach you!

4. Create digital lesson plans easily each week. You will gain knowledge and expertise on online programs, uploading, editing, and much more. Take a chance and retire the paper planbook. Take a step out of your comfort zone and try it out. You will find that you will love the ease of being able to access your lesson plans from ANY device ANYwhere. Using Google Drive you can save and edit your plans there and make changes and view on your phone, computer or tablet. My Digital Teacher Planner gives you directions and all the pages you need to stay organized and paperless this school year!


 Digital Teacher Planner




5. Finally, know your outcomes before using the technology in your classroom. Don't use the iPads in your classroom to say you used them or to check off something from your list. Technology needs a purpose. Technology is a tool for you and your students. Find a love for it and model it to your students every day. The more you include it for a meaningful purpose the better it will be for your children and they will achieve more.



In this post, I'm wearing many fall looks including this The Perfect Dolman Blouse in falling leaves print, The Perfect Blouse in animal print, floral bomber jacket and Denim Flex Jeans

If you like my back to school looks, maurices has the best style options for classroom looks (and beyond!). Head over to maurices.com to shop my picks and get back to school ready! Also maurices offers free styling sessions at all store locations. Call ahead and schedule your session at your nearest store today! http://locations.maurices.com

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One Busy Teacher and Wife Trying To Do It All


I am a teacher. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a teacher blogger. I am a TPT seller. I am a mess!

How do we make time to do it all? Not only do it all but enjoy it and feel complete? I struggle every single day because I want to be able to do it all. I get asked all the time, "How do you do it all?" The answer is... I don't. I might make it seem like I do but I don't even come close. My life is so crazy busy with my full time job, my part time job of creating and selling products on TPT and then my personal life (or what is left of it). I don't even have time to just sit down and enjoy a book or take a quiet relaxing bath. The part that is the scariest to me is that I don't even have children yet. What will happen to my already crazy life once that happens? 

So how do we do it all? How can we make time to do the things we enjoy and still check off our to-do lists? I've tried to come up with a list of ideas to help myself do it all and I hope that my ideas can help you with your crazy life too because I know I'm not the only one!

First, realize that everyone is busy. You aren't the only one with a check list for the day. Don't feel bad for yourself. Everyone is feeling the same way. No more poor me!

Second, begin your day with something for YOU! I think too many times we wait until we complete our to-do list before we do anything for ourselves. I believe starting the day with something enjoyable or relaxing will help shape the rest of your day. Begin the day with a workout. Wake up before the children get up or the alarm goes off for work and read a few chapters in your new favorite book. Give yourself 15 minutes to check up on social media or Pinterest. Let yourself relax for a small moment before the crazy begins!

Next, and probably one of the hardest in my opinion is to give yourself and your family an entire day! Choose a day during the week that you will not do any work or chores. Spend time with your kids, husband, sister or mom. Give yourself time to relax and unwind with those that you love most! Your to-do list will still be there so give yourself a day off!

Finally, remember you cannot do it all. We are human. We aren't superheroes or fictional characters with powers. Realize you aren't going to be perfect and you probably won't be able to check off every little thing and spend time with every single person and get to do every single hobby that you would like each day! It's just not possible. Choose a few each day that you would like to be able to do and do them well. That's all we can do! A little bit each day. 

Never stop believing in yourself. Even if you are only doing part of things... you are still doing better than most! You are amazing and everyone around you knows it!




The Real Teacher Behind The Computer

Don't judge someone you don't truly know or understand.

Teaching - my hobby, my passion, my dream, my adventure. I knew ever since I was a young child of the age of 5 that I wanted to be a teacher. I played teacher with my stuffed animals, Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies. I watched many of my elementary school teachers including my aunt and dreamt of being just like them. It was my dream and that dream never went away. After graduating from college with a Bachelor's degree in elementary education, my dream came true when I took my first job teaching 4th grade in a large school in a growing Utah community. I had over 30 students and was placed in a trailer classroom out on the playground. I began decorating and making that classroom my own! It was a circus! Literally chaos and the decor matched! I didn't know what I was doing but I didn't care. I knew that I had to be brave and try hard things and this in fact was a very hard thing but my dream was coming true. The day before my first day of school they decided to give me a classroom inside the building. What was already a circus became a chaotic circus as I took down everything and moved it into the building. 11 years later and I barely can remember names of my students and the fun lessons we did, but what I do remember is my willingness to accept challenge and never give up. 

Teaching is a difficult profession. Every single day we are faced with challenges. Student behavior, academic growth, and keeping up with the trends of the changing classroom. Each year has gotten better of course, as I have figured out how to teach and engage my students. In the last 11 years I have grown as a person and an educator. I've taught in 3 different states, 4 districts, 5 schools and 3 different grade levels. Each year is different and I have loved every single group I've taught. My teaching passion and dream of creating an environment full of creativity and active engagement has molded me into the teacher I am today. 5 years ago, I found out through a friend of a website that teachers could offer their creative ideas and lesson plans for other teachers. TeachersPayTeachers was a new thing back then to me and millions of educators. I dipped my toe in the blogging and TPT world little by little. My success didn't take off as quickly as some TPT sellers did, but like that first year of teaching, I never gave up. I put countless hours in creating activities for teachers on skills that I needed resources for in my own classroom and could benefit other teachers. I tried new things. I pushed myself into the social media world and gave that a try. It took 4 years to grow my little part time business and now The Creative Classroom is bigger than I would have ever imagined it to be. 

With this success of TPT and social media, I have found that some teachers question my intention as an educator. Recently a teammate of mine was asked by another staff member about me. This teacher wanted to know what it was like to work alongside me. She asked if I was "real" or if what I did was for show. My integrity of teaching was being questioned. As you could imagine, I broke down. I was hurt. Words can't describe how it feels for your hobby, passion, dream and adventure to be attacked. Luckily my sweet teammate offered the truth to this teacher and explained that I do go above and beyond for my students. No one can deny that. But what I do in my classroom, for my students is because I want to do it. I don't do it for bragging rights or to show off. I don't do it to compete. I do it because it's who I am. I'm The Creative Classroom. I was the same creative teacher long before TeachersPayTeachers.


This attitude that many teachers and others outside the education profession of comparing oneself to another can be very toxic and hurtful. I've realized now at the age of 33 that there is no good in comparing myself to another teacher, TPT seller, social media icon, friend or neighbor. I've spent so many times in tears because of hurtful things other women say about me and the things I have or do. Why do they care? What I have or what I do is for me. I don't do those things for attention or to put myself up on a pedestal. Let me be me. Let me do the things I want to do. I wish I could teach adults to stop judging people they don't know or even understand. I wish I could take away jealousy and judgment from the world because not only are we hurting others, we are teaching our children these toxic behaviors. Let's be examples of positivity in the world around us. Let's focus on those that truly value our hard work and creativity because they are the ones that matter most. Let's focus on those people in our lives that celebrate our success instead of questioning our intentions.

The Choice of Engagement


I've tried multiple ways to run stations and centers in my primary grade classrooms the past ten years. Depending on the dynamics of your classroom some strategies and organization of stations work and others do not. I have found that I keep changing the way I manage stations due to the fact that they never seems to run just perfectly. I clearly understand that when teaching 7 years olds, stations may not ever run smoothly. Expecting young minds to work independently on task can be challenging for teachers and can cause stress when trying to decide how to manage small group instruction and what the other students will be doing at the same time. I'm here to share a way that you can get your kids to work independently and stay engaged. 

This year I decided to rethink my station management (again). I believe that when you teach firm procedures and expectations your students CAN work independently on any tasks. The key is to keep the students engaged at all times. Students should have something to do at every moment. More than just reading a book quietly or drawing a picture. Student engagement will pay off in the long run and you will be able to put your entire focus on your small group instruction, which is most important.

Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.


Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.

Children love choices. They want to feel like they are in charge of their own decisions. I use Choice Boards in my classroom during small group time because these Choice Boards are allowing students to choose between literacy activities that hit all the fundamentals of reading (phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension). Each day the students choose 3 activities from the list of 5. These activities are done on lined writing paper or scratch paper. Yes, I know it saves on copies and prep (another reason I created these boards). Once they finish their required 3 choice activities they can move onto a Choice Challenge. Choice Challenges are engaging early finishers that aren't just busy work. In my classroom I have organized an area where students can find supplies for their Choice Board activities and Choice Challenges.  It's an area where they will not distract my small group lesson or the students working independently on tasks at their seat. 

Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.

The Choice Board foldable is great for organization and tracking student completion. Students score themselves at the end of the week on how they did on Choice Time activities. Teacher then also has a check list of work quality and behavior during Choice Time. And guess what is the best part of the Choice Boards? These Choice Boards are completely EDITABLE for any teacher and grade level use. You can decide what activities you want your students to complete. The Choice Board pack is available in my TPT store and includes the editable boards and lists of great ideas for activities for students to complete during choice time. 

Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.

Grab this great resource to build student engagement and independence in your classroom today! Click the product image below to visit my TPT store.

Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.

Below you will find many examples of activities and products you could use for Choice Challenges (early finishers). Obviously you can still give your students the choice of silent reading. Some kids want that and I never want to take that quiet and important time away. 















Online Teacher Wish List


Oriental Trading's Online Wish List is a great way to let parents know the resources and supplies your classroom needs all year long. As needs change during the year this great online tool can be updated for holidays, special classroom projects and other needs. Parents can stay informed by just a few easy clicks! Creating your online wish list is effortless and sharing it out to parents is even easier. Give Oriental Trading's Online Teacher Wish List a try this year and say goodbye to paper lists or constant emails asking for supplies. 

Follow my easy steps below to build your wish list today and don't forget to grab a few more back to school items from Oriental Trading to make this school year the best one yet!



Special thanks to Oriental Trading for donating amazing back to school items that will included in a giveaway in the next few weeks on Instagram. 


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Learning Zone - Classroom Reveal 2016-2017


Each year it's my hope to bring to life an amazing learning environment for my students. Whether I change classroom themes or switch things around, it's important that I try something new for each group I teach. This teacher simply can't do the same things over and over again.


Three years ago my husband discovered a new hobby. This hobby has become a part of our lives and I'm blessed that Jon has found a love and a talent that he can share with family and friends. Jon has fell in love with tools, wood and making beautiful furniture. Our home is full of furniture pieces that have a story behind them because of his plans and design process.

After months of thinking about a new classroom theme I decided to merge the classroom and my home! I wanted to create a fun environment that fit what I do every day in my classroom but be a peaceful and bright place for my students to learn. 2nd graders love building with legos, I love planning STEM challenges where they become engineers, my husband loves shopping at Home Depot and being a builder himself. As a class we are ultimately building a classroom community each and every day. Because of these things, I came up with my theme for the 2016-2017 school year. WE ARE BUILDERS! We are building the road to success in our 2nd grade classroom. I hope you enjoy my classroom theme as much as I do. My students are eager to begin our adventure on Monday and can't wait to put their minds under construction!

Come on in! Welcome to our learning zone!
Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

These street sign posters are perfect for growth mindset in the classroom. The posters are easy to print and beautiful for any classroom bulletin board.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.

Create an inviting classroom environment with this construction theme decor. Theme decor includes printables, posters, bulletin board displays, calendar, schedule cards, labels and much more.


Do you want to create a LEARNING ZONE classroom too? Visit my TPT Store using the link below to check out my construction theme products!