Best Erasable Highlighters for Grade Books

Today I'm sharing a really useful grade book tool: ERASABLE HIGHLIGHTERS  If you haven't discovered these yet, you are missing out.  The kind I use are Pilot FriXion Light Pastel Collection Erasable Highlighters and you can find them on Amazon.  I tried not keeping a paper grade book, but it's really difficult for me to reconcile absences with assignments without one.


From the product description: FriXion lets you highlight but leaves room for error. Unique Thermo-Sensitive formula disappears with erasing friction. That means no eraser crumbs, no holes in your paper, and best of all, no more mistakes! Here's what makes this so awesome for grade books- you can highlight zeros, but then erase them if a student turns in the assignment later.

I also highlight unauthorized absences (when students skip) because they aren't allowed to make up work from those days. Being erasable makes that able to be changed if the absence code gets changed in the system later on (a parent calls in).

The highlighters are not quite as bright as traditional highlighters, but definitely bright enough to do the job! My grade book is definitely more efficient with the use of color coding, and being able to make changes and edits keeps it neat and organized. You should definitely try them if you keep a paper grade book!

Classroom Set Up

We've been back at school for five weeks, so how about a classroom tour??? To be fair, I had two Donor's Choose projects funded and items arrive since classes started, so the room has been continually changing, and I didn't really want to post until it was all finished.  It's always a work in progress, so I don't think there's really any point in putting this post off any further...

Walking into my room:



I'm teaching one section of English II, one section of AP Computer Science Principles and 5 sections of Computer Applications this year.



Immediately to the left when you walk in, I have my letter board- my student intern changes out the quote every Friday, and our monthly school event calendar.


I keep whatever book I'm currently reading posted behind my desk, and important files in my Rifle Paper Company file folders.


My desk! My desk is my happy place.  Marble contact paper is wonderful for being able to keep everything clean.  I'm a little bummed about how crowded my back counter is, it started out like this:


I added the marble contact paper (which was great), but then ended up having to add our Mac AND phone charging stations here, too.  It's just too crowded at the moment.  Here's where the charging stations were before:


I ended up with 30 students in my AP class, so this "extra" table got two more student computers, the charging stations had to go on the back counter, and everyone's comp books are currently on the floor.

When you come in, to the right is this little corner and bookshelf:


I made a HUGE change in the layout of my room this year.  It used to look like this, with a single aisle down the middle of the room and all the computer screens facing the same way:


Now, I doubled up the number of computers per table, by placing them back to back.  I used the extra tables this created to make conference style tables in the center of the room:


Now, everyone has two seats, and I have two different seating configurations.  It was a LOT of work, but worth it, honestly.  It's better for some of the English class activities and the unplugged AP activities, plus it gives me a better arrangement to give instructions from, instead of fighting to keep students paying attention if they are already at their computers.

And this is what it looks like with the lights on (and fluorescents off):


Some teachers think I'm crazy, I'm sure, but I like it.  Plus, I can actually use my Smart Board, without having to turn the lights off, which used to make the room super dark, and I hated that (hello, invitation to take a nap!).

This is my standing desk at the front of the room.  A student made it for me last year, and I have no idea how I taught three years without it.  It's my favorite thing in the whole room.


I also tend to use my white boards for loooooong quotes,


instead of for writing things down, but I caved this year and set up an agenda board.  Part of me hates it, because we have Google Classroom and I feel like it's unnecessary, but I can only be asked so many times "what did we do yesterday?", especially from students that weren't even absent!


I think that's it!  I'm hoping to get a table for the front to move the charging stations, Mac and comp books on to, but otherwise, the room feels pretty much done!  I feel like I could write a few more blog posts about some specific decor things in the room, so I'll make a list of those and try to get them up in October.





September's Newsletter

I think I had grand plans of publishing a monthly digital newsletter, that would have all these subscribers, from all over the internet, but in reality, I needed to think smaller, and start smaller.  Instead of trying to help everyone, which, really, is an impossible task, (and who am I to even attempt that, lol) it seems much more feasible to write a monthly newsletter directed at the teachers in my building.  Here is the first edition:

First Day of School Picture Signs


I always do these for my own children, but when I looked around on the web this year, I didn't see any super cute new ones, so I made my own!  You can download a copy of the set here.  There are 14 signs- one for every grade from Pre-K through 12th.  They do not have the school name on them.  They are meant to be printed in landscape mode, and if you have the option on your printer, select "fit" or "fit to screen", then just choose to print the pages that you need.


If you have any trouble with them, feel free to email me, and I will try to help!  If you enjoy the signs, a small "tip" is much appreciated (but definitely not required) by clicking below:





Technology In The Classroom Workshop


Yesterday, I attended a one day Technology in the Classroom Workshop, sponsored by Newspapers in Education. There were 8 different sessions/parts- I thought I'd recap here.

1. Time Management Dr. Emily Schwartz presented on time management.  Dr. Schwartz is a great speaker and her presentation was informative and humorous, I really enjoyed it.  Perhaps because I have such an obsession with paper planners, I'm already fairly acutely aware of my schedule and issues when it comes to time management, but I could see where her method could be really impactful to people who struggle in that area.  Two of my favorite takeaways from her session were:
  • the discussion about treating other people's time with respect {the law of time management karma}
  • the idea to "treat every class like it's your favorite class"- I'm excited to try this next semester! Last year I had two classes that behavior-wise were quite challenging, and they used to trade places being my "worst class".  I wonder if I didn't give them permission (of sorts) to misbehave by reinforcing to them how terrible they were? Very interested to see how this might play out.
2. Flipped Classrooms Amanda Dills from Oklahoma City University presented on Flipped Classrooms, specifically incorporating flipped techniques into non flipped classrooms.  It was a great session for thinking about ways to better incorporate technology into your classroom.  The best part, though, was learning a new classroom management trick! I love when I go to professional development sessions and learn something procedural that I can take back and use in my classroom. In this case, it was having us complete a task in a short amount of time (less than a minute) and playing a song to indicate the time remaining- when the song's over, time's up! {She played the Friends theme song.}

3. Donors Choose One of the Oklahoma Donors Choose Ambassadors, Lori Zehnder, walked us through the Donors Choose process and website.  I was familiar with the website, but had never used it, so I got to create my very first project: click here to see

4. Grant Writing Ashley Howard, from The Oklahoman presented a session on grant writing.  Since she is a part of numerous boards and committees that award grants, the perspective of someone that reads grant proposals versus someone that has simply authored numerous grant proposals was invaluable. We also got a very useful grant writing template!

5. Newspapers in Education Another Oklahoman staff member led a hands on walk though of the Newspapers in Education website and its resources.  My librarian (who is awesome, by the way) had previously given me this login information, but I had no idea how to really use it in my classroom.  There are print replicas and archives of every paper dating back to 1901- it is an incredible resource, that's easy to use for students.  I'm sad that I didn't realize the power of this tool back when I was still teaching Oklahoma History.

6. Personal Finance The Oklahoma Council for Economic Education presented a session about incorporating the Personal Financial Literacy Standards into general curriculum. This was my least favorite session, but don't get me wrong- the material is good and the presenter was great. The bigger problem is that the Oklahoma Legislature really could have done a much better job when it passed our Personal Financial Literacy standards.  Research has shown that more robust the personal finance curriculum, the higher impact it has on students future credit scores.  We should have a state mandated Personal Finance class for Juniors, instead of just the standards mandated to be taught somewhere, in some class, between 7th and 12th grade. It puts too much on the plate of teachers that is already overloaded.

7. Studio Tour The building that houses the offices for The Oklahoman are gorgeous.  It's all open air and glass (except for the HR offices) to reflect the transparency of the paper.  There are no printing presses, though- the paper is printed in Tulsa.



8. Panel Discussion I thought this was a great way to end the workshop, we got to sit in on a panel discussion with staff from The Oklahoman from various departments- a reporter, advertiser, marketer, and 2 of the VPs (I think I got that right, that's from memory). It was an hour long, and it really flew by, I was sad when it was over.

So that's it! I think Professional Development gets a bad rap, but I always love going and learning new things, and this one was no different- I give it 4 1/2 stars :)











SaveSave

HELLO & WELCOME

{my home office}

HELLO & WELCOME to my little corner of the internet.  It's very nice to meet you. Please stay awhile and look around.  The idea for this site was born after I completed several online certifications and was in the process of updating my resume.  That single sheet of paper just didn't feel like it told my story- it wasn't a complete enough picture of my knowledge, my work, and my aspirations.  So I decided to create this space- part online resume and portfolio, part networking tool and part educational resource.  I hope I can cultivate it into something that expands my own PLN and provides value to other educators.  It is a work in progress, but feel free to get in touch with any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you!

CONTRIBUTE

con·trib·ute 

VERB: TO GIVE OR SUPPLY IN COMMON WITH OTHERS

In addition to classroom duties I serve as our school's Students Against Destructive Decisions Sponsor, am a member of RAND Education's American Teacher Panel and former youth soccer coach, and I am starting a weekly technology newsletter for the teachers at my school. Click on any of the links above to learn more.



LEARN

learn 

VERB: TO GAIN KNOWLEDGE OR UNDERSTANDING OF OR SKILL IN BY STUDY, INSTRUCTION, OR EXPERIENCE

Teachers {should} never stop learning themselves. I continually improve my skills, knowledge and abilities through:




TEACH

teach 

VERB: TO IMPART THE KNOWLEDGE OF

"A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning." -Brad Henry




LEAD

lead 

VERB: TO GUIDE SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ALONG THE WAY

Organizing and conducting professional development and student leadership workshops is a way of sharing knowledge and making a positive contribution.  I plan to host several more in the upcoming school year.  




SHARE


share 

VERB: TO PARTAKE OF, USE, EXPERIENCE, OCCUPY, OR ENJOY WITH OTHERS

What is a PLN? A Personal Learning Network is about making connections and building relationships with teachers, administrators and professionals from around the globe. It is an interconnected community to share ideas and resources, collaborate, and learn from diverse perspectives about teaching strategies, current issues in education and technologies.  My PLN includes:




INSPIRE


in·spire


VERB: TO INFLUENCE, MOVE, OR GUIDE 

Inspiration comes in many forms. Here are just a few of mine:





S.A.D.D. SPONSOR


For the past two years I have been the sponsor for our school's peer led Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter.  This is a group of very dedicated students with the goal of making their school a better place and helping their peers to make good choices. One of the first things we did was successfully write a grant to receive an iPad for the group to use.  You can see all of the things we've been using it for here. We also installed a bulletin board {above} and try to keep the hallways filled with positive messages {below}.  We also started a social media presence for the organization, hosted a successful Haunted House/Halloween Carnival fundraiser, spearheaded a pajama drive fundraiser for Oklahoma foster kids, and held the group's first leadership development workshop in the spring.



OTHER ACTIVITIES

2018 RAND FOUNDATION NATIONAL TEACHER PANEL
I am honored to have been selected for this national representative teacher panel that "provides unique sources of accurate information about teachers’ and school leaders’ evolving knowledge, attitudes, and practices, and about the conditions in which they work."  You can learn more about it here.

2014-2016 CAREGIVER FELLOW, ELIZABETH DOLE FOUNDATION
"Dole Caregiver Fellows are the heart and soul of the Foundation. They are military caregivers, carefully selected each year from across the country to represent the Foundation. Each class consists of approximately 50 Fellows, who serve a two-year term." I was honored to be selected to represent Oklahoma as part of the 2014 Class of Fellows. You can learn more about the Foundation on their website.


2013-2016 TRI-CITY SOCCER ASSOCIATION TEAM COACH
For 4 seasons, I was privileged to coach an amazing group of young athletes, the Super Girls, playing recreational soccer.  Being a soccer coach taught me a lot about interacting with parents and students, and immensely helped prepare me for becoming a teacher.  I learned the affect a positive attitude can have on even the worst of situations, the importance of being able to adjust to circumstances and change course as needed, and most of all, I learned the joy of directing and focusing young peoples efforts and energies and seeing them celebrate the reward for all of their hard work. 

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER


Starting in September 2018, I have committed to publishing a weekly technology education newsletter. 


Sign up here if you'd like to add your email to the list. 

Access print versions of previous editions of the newsletter:

September 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018 




PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

SKILLS & HONORS


PROGRAM COMPETENCIES

Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Access
Google Classroom
G-Suite for Education
Google Docs
Google Forms
Google Sheets
Google Slides
Google Gmail
Google Maps
Google Earth
Apple Pages
Apple Keynote
Apple Numbers
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign

BADGES
CLASSES TAKEN







BOOKS


See what books I've read recently on GoodReads

CERTIFICATIONS


AREAS OF TEACHING CERTIFICATION
BUSINESS EDUCATION Grades 5 to 12
CAREER TECH BUSINESS Grades 5 to 12
ENGLISH Grades 5 to 12
MID-LEVEL SOCIAL STUDIES Grades 5 to 8
US HISTORY/OK HISTORY/GOVERNMENT/ECONOMICS Grades 5 to 12
WORLD HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY Grades 5 to 12

CLASSES


CLASSES I'VE TAUGHT 
WORLD HISTORY
WORLD GEOGRAPHY
OKLAHOMA HISTORY
PERSONAL FINANCE
COMPUTER APPLICATIONS I
COMPUTER APPLICATIONS II
ENGLISH II

{In just 3 full years of classroom teaching I've had the pleasure of teaching 7 different subjects.  Teaching so many different disciplines has been challenging, but also rewarding. I have learned so much from each course that has made me a better educator overall.  Teaching a wide variety of subjects necessitated the expansion of my personal learning network in search of curriculum and best practices. I've also discovered that even if you love a subject personally, it will not necessarily make it easier or more of a joy to teach. My  new 'favorites' have now become the classes where the focus is on real world skills, applications and technology use- I have become right at home in the computer lab.}

LESSON PLANS


LESSON PLANS I'VE AUTHORED

WORLD GEOGRAPHY
What Do We Have In Common? A Study in Migration

WORLD HISTORY
Who Replaces Joan of Arc? Modernizing World War I Propaganda Posters

WORKSHOPS


WORKSHOPS I'VE TAUGHT/ORGANIZED

Professional Development Workshop for High School Teachers & Staff
February 2018

STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT TRAINING FOR S.A.D.D.
(in partnership with OU's Southwest Prevention Center- Student Led)
May 2018

more coming soon...

FEEDBACK


"Keep up the good work"

"This PD was great! Need more like these."

"Google Classroom PD was great!"

PODCASTS

Latest on Instagram

© The Business of Teaching. Design by FCD.