Blog Swap: A Note From Ms. T! (Updated!)

Hi peeps! Today's the day!

I'll be posting over at FlapJack Educational Resources.

FlapJack Educational Resources

After you read through these fabulous tips for preparing for a sub, be sure to hop through the rest of the posts by using the linky below. 


I'm excited to be part of this blog swap and hop!

My name is Tanja, also known as Ms. T. I'm the author of Journey of a Substitute Teacher and the creator of the new collaborative blog Endless Pinabilities!

Today I'm talking about preparing for a substitute. Yes I know it's early to be talking about having a substitute, but it's better to be prepared early on for those days. It's worse for a sub to walk in with no lesson than to have a basic lesson!

My tips for teachers:

1. Have a seating chart (if your class is set up that way) and a class roster. It's super helpful as a sub to be able to memorize a few names or to jot down notes of super helpful kids or the kids that need reminders.

2. Have a lesson plan. Seems kind of obvious, but I've been in a few situations where I've not had any. In the best classrooms I've been in, the lesson plans are not necessarily jam packed with info, but have the schedule for the day, places of the specials, and some basic info about the subject I'm teaching.

3. Have a spot for emergency procedures.  At most of the schools I sub for, they have to have a binder for the teacher and it includes the specials schedule, a roster of names, and emergency procedures. Every school has a little bit different way of doing things, so it's nice to be able to read over their procedures.

4. Get extra work ready just in case.  Whether it's a word search, an extra worksheet, fun books to read, an art activity, etc., having extra work is always helpful. I know I'd rather have too much stuff to do than not enough. If you don't have a sub that often, an art activity may seem extra special.

5. A schedule of the day. I know that teachers can't always stick straight to the schedule, but to have a general idea and to know when the important times that cannot be missed are, it's very helpful.

6. A list of your management tips.  I can be in many different schools and a lot of them have similar behavior management styles but there are different ones. One school has everyone clap to get attention, some teachers have a bell, chimes, word signal, etc. Some teachers have behavior cards, punch cards, clips, etc. It's nice to know what you do for behavior management and how you get the kids' attention. Familiarity and routine for the kids also helps the day go smoother for both them and the sub!

I've also just created a brand new item that you can download from Google Docs. It's a "While you were out " set with two different color schemes and a few different templates. I always leave a note for the teacher after a day of subbing and sometimes there is not enough room on the lesson plan, so it's nice to have a spot to write!


Blog Swap and Hop: Coming Soon!

On Saturday, some friends and I are participating in a Blog Swap and Hop.  We're all switching blogs for the day!  There will be a guest here while I'm posting somewhere else.  You'll be able to hop through a linky to check them all out.  I'm sure there will be some great freebies for you to grab as well.

Check out the great bloggers who are participating:


Book Study Winner!

Ok, peeps.

Summer school starts tomorrow so I'm going to keep this short and sweet. :)

The Daily 5/CAFE book study winner is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations! Check your inbox for an email from me so I can get your books to you!

I'm looking forward to learning with the rest of you this summer!

Make sure you join us!
We Read, We Blog, We Teach


It's that time again!

I am totally excited about the Seven Habits clip art Denyse created. It is PERFECT. I cannot wait to share some of the things I've been working on with you!

Yes, my summer school lessons are centered on kickball, poetry and photography. It is more of a summer "camp" where we've invited kids we want to motivate and grow a love for learning in. It's an experiment for sure, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you!

As far as WISH, WENT, WANT...

I WISH my sweet boy and I could go back to our honeymoon spot - Costa Rica! It was perfection. Maybe for our 5 year anniversary??

I WENT to Tybee Island, GA for a week. We have a week there every year and I'm looking forward to heading back there in July.

I WANT to be in Hilton Head, SC. I just need to be patient. My sweet mama rented a condo for her, my aunt and my three sisters and I. I cannot wait for this girly getaway. It is going to be so much fun!!

Make sure you link up with Farley. I can't wait to see everyone's posts!

Don't forget to enter my Rafflecopter! I'm giving away The Daily 5 and CAFE books (1 set) for our summer book study. Good Luck!

Time for Writing

On our last day of post planning, we had a Common Core ELA training. The purpose was to outline the expectations from our district and give us a sneak preview of the course maps and lessons from the county.


When I started teaching, my school was beginning to use the America's Choice workshop model for Reading, Writing and Math. I was very fortunate to start at the same time my school was adopting the program, so I had some fantastic training.

Over the last ten years, our district has adopted the Reader's and Writer's Workshop models as well. At least I thought they did.


There were two people in charge of our training - one of the district literacy coaches and the ELEMENTARY ELA SUPERVISOR. (She gets shouty capitals because she is important.)

VIP Supervisor asked the crowd who had been using Reader's Workshop already.

There were probably 30 people in the room.

7 or 8  hands went up.


I thought I was going to fall out of my chair.

What have these people been doing??

How are you brave enough to admit that you haven't been doing what you're supposed to in front of the ELA SUPERVISOR? (I think that's what really got me.)

It gets worse.

Later, she asked who set aside time every day for writing instruction - like Writer's Workshop.

Maybe 5 hands went up.

Oh my Lordy. I think I might have a stroke.

Again, I will ask: 


I know that Reader's and Writer's Workshop is not nationwide.

But I was pretty sure it was a district wide initiative.

And I'm pretty sure it's a big part of the Common Core. 

Warning: Rant ahead.

How are you gathering pieces for a statewide writing assessment if you are not teaching writing on a daily basis?? How are your kiddos going to become better writers if you do not model what good writing looks like on a daily basis? How are they going to understand how language works if they do not have daily authentic practice with it?

Rant over.

I really feel for the folks in our district who have not used the workshop model so far - whether by choice or not. To take on the Common Core and the workshop models for Reading and Writing all in one year is going to be challenging. Certainly not impossible, but challenging.


I started thinking about where I might start next year - especially if I was someone who had never used the workshop model before.

I remembered my procedural writing lessons and how much fun the kiddos had with it. {It would also make for an easy end of the year unit.}

I think I may even pull out these lessons when we start summer (school) camp next week. Even my most reluctant writers were excited to write about How to Make a Coke Float.

Make sure you check out Ginger Snaps' Making a Coke Float unit.

Ice Cream Float Publish

I hope I haven't offended anyone. It's just that when my school system tells me to do something or asks me to try something, I do it.

I'm really quite curious to know how many of my readers use Writer's Workshop and if not, what do you use? Do you have daily writing instruction? Am I totally off my rocker? :)


Back in the Saddle - with an announcement!

Yee-haw! Right?

Right. :)

I have to confess, I had to step away from all things teaching for a little while.

This year kicked me in the tooshie and I was not in a happy place.


I have spent the weekend with my mama and all is well.

She would kill me. In a heartbeat.
Mama, The Sisters and Me :)
Am I the only one out there?

I have just felt "blah" - no desire to blog or create or promote. Nada.

It scared me.

I don't want to be one of "those" teachers - you know, the rocks. The boulders. The ones who WON'T MOVE, WON'T RETIRE.

So I took a break.

And I feel more like me. :)


I do have a fun announcement!

I've joined a group of AMAZING and FABULOUS bloggers to create a summer book study with The Cafe Book and The Daily 5.

I cannot wait. Our district is encouraging teachers to try a two hour "literacy block" next year and I really want to use CAFE and the Daily 5! I was able to use bits and pieces last year, but I am so excited to see how we will all work together to paint a picture of how it might look in our upper elementary classrooms. 

Make sure you join the blog created by Lorraine @ Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies so you can follow along!

We Read, We Blog, We Teach

We'll start July 1st - so make sure you have your copies!To help you with that, I'm giving away one copy of each book right here!

In order to enter, you must be a follower of this blog and We Read, We Blog, We Teach. I'm also including additional entry options when you follow all of my fellow contributors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you'll join us - it's going to be so much fun!