5 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers

5 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers

Author: Erin Randolph has taught elementary school for ten years.  She lives in Olathe, KS with her husband, son, and daughter.

 

After a short winter break, teachers will be returning to their classrooms (and virtual classrooms) to begin the 2nd semester of the school year. The new semester brings with it a fresh start. It can also be stressful jumping back into a hectic schedule after such a blissful break.

Try making some of these small changes to help ease this transition.

 

Get Organized

An organized classroom and workspace are important for students and for teachers. Start small, like that messy, top desk drawer, or home office desk. Then work up to the big stuff, like the 4-drawer filing cabinet you haven’t touched in years.

I try to get one “space” completed each day. A good rule of thumb for questionable items: if you haven’t used it, looked at it, or touched it in a year, toss it or give it away. With your classroom and workspace uncluttered, you can focus more of your attention on students.

 

Make a Plan to Positively Communicate About Students 

I began doing this a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. At the beginning of the 1st and 3rd quarters (September and January), I send home a message to each family regarding their student. I plan for one message per day, moving alphabetically through my roster. For teachers that are teaching remotely, an email or a text works just fine too!

In the messages, I praise students for accomplishments, positive behaviors, and hard work. My messages are only about a paragraph long and take less than 10 minutes to compose. Parents appreciate the communication from me and students are excited about being recognized for the things they are doing well in the classroom.

Don’t have time to do that? Try these printable positive notes home from The Brown Bag Teacher

 

Dedicate a Time to Enter Grades

With everything that is going on in the world and in classrooms today, it’s hard to keep up with the grading itself, much less entering it into “the system.” To avoid this stress, carve out a time that you will solely dedicate to entering grades. This might be a daily routine or a weekly one.

Mine happens to be on Friday morning (before all the weekly homework comes in). I dedicate 30 minutes of my Friday plan time just for this task. When the quarter is over, I don’t have to worry about scrambling to get my “grades in.”

 

Plan Spot Checks for Struggling Students

Most teachers are consistently monitoring students who have difficulty. To more accurately monitor student progress, my district uses a web-based universal screener and progress monitoring program for reading and math. I set a notification on my school calendar to check on my struggling students. 

Every other week, I check on my students who receive a math or reading intervention (help outside of the regular, core instruction time). I make note of students who are not making progress in their interventions and follow through with the appropriate teachers/interventionists. I also like to use student data folders; students track their own progress on weekly tests and quizzes. It’s efficient and effective for tracking student progress throughout the year and something to share with parents at conference time.

 

Get Students Involved in Goal Setting

Adults set New Year’s resolutions, so why shouldn’t students? The New Year is a great time for students to set academic and behavior goals for the semester. I ask students to:

    • Identify the specific goal (ex: score 8 out of 10 on weekly spelling test 4 weeks in a row)
    • Make a plan for how they will accomplish the goal (ex: write spelling words 2 times each night)
    • Provide evidence that they met goal (ex: 4 consecutive teacher-graded tests with a score of at least 80%)

If you are learning in-person, post the goals in the classroom where students will always see them. If not, have each student write them on sticky notes and place them where they can see them daily.

Take time during the quarter or semester to conference with students about said goals. Are students making progress towards goals? Why or why not? What needs to change?

 

Check-in with yourself at the end of every school week and see if you are sticking to your resolutions, this will help hold you accountable and keep you on track.

Happy New Year and happy second semester, you’re almost there! You can do it!

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

Take a Virtual Field Trip for Free!

Take a Virtual Field Trip for Free!

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

Field trips can be memorable, meaningful learning experiences for students, and can deepen student understanding. Although class trips probably won’t be in the cards this year, students and teachers can still enjoy field trips – virtually!

Virtual field trips allow students and teachers to go beyond the classroom, and even their own country and planer, to experience a variety of adventures. Here are some fun, educational, and free field trips to take with your class this year!

 

Museums

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour

This comprehensive virtual tour presentation allows visitors using a desktop computer (Windows, Mac, Linux) or a mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android) to take virtual, self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibit and other areas within the natural history museum building as well as select research and collections areas at our satellite support and research stations and even past exhibits no longer on display.

 

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Museum’s collections database contains more than 270,000 records, including: photos and albums—Images of life before, during, and after the Holocaust; Personal stories—Interviews, home movies, memoirs, and diaries; films—historical footage and contemporary films about the Holocaust.

 

National WWII Museum

The Online Learning Series allows an unprecedented look into the Museum’s collection for those WWII enthusiasts the Museum can’t always reach in person.

 

The Louvre

Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the façades of the Louvre.

 

Virtual Colonial Williamsburg

Immerse yourself in an interactive 3D model of Virginia’s 18th-century capital. The project integrates architectural, archaeological, and historical information, presenting the city as it has not been seen in more than 200 years.

 

Go On A Journey

Reach The World

Since 2009, 930 travelers have shared their journeys online with more than 17,000 youth in the U.S., publishing more than 16,000 first-person travelogues in the process. By using technology to enable youth to form relationships with global travelers, RTW is sparking a process of personal development that can truly be described as “reaching” the world!

 

National Aquarium

Visit the famous, Baltimore aquarium where kids can have fun learning while exploring different regions, like the tropics and the tundra.

 

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo has ten live cams to choose from! The zoo also has a website for kids that is full of videos, activities, stories, and games!

 

 

World Destinations

National Geographic Education

National Geographic Education brings geography, social studies, and science to life. Using real-world examples and National Geographic’s rich media, educators, families, and students learn about the world and the people in it.

 

Google Arts and Culture Street View and Google Arts and Culture Places

Tour famous sites and landmarks.

 

Panoramas

panoramas.dk is Virtual reality VR panoramas from all the world made by some of the best
360 VR Photographers in the world.

 

AirPano

AirPano is a project created by a team of Russian photographers focused on taking high-resolution aerial 360° photographs and 360° video. Today AirPano is the largest resource in the world — by geographical coverage, number of aerial photographs, and artistic and technical quality of the images — featuring 360° panoramas and 360° videos of the highest quality shot from a bird’s eye view.

 

Do you have a favorite free virtual field trip?

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Fall Preparation Tips for Your Home

Fall Preparation Tips for Your Home

Fall is the perfect time of year! The summer heat begins to fade, leaves don their annual colors, football games take over the weekend, and pumpkin-flavored everything hits the shelves. fall preparation

However, it also serves as a reminder, that as the days grow shorter and the leaves start to fall, now is the ideal time to look around your home and get prepared for the oncoming winter. Fall’s mild temperatures and adequate daylight provide an opportunity to check the heater, repair gutters, and add extra insulation to the attic. An early autumn storm or blizzard is no time to learn you have leaks or other problems.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that winter-related damage causes over a billion dollars in insurance losses annually. So, enjoy the nice weather and your pumpkin spiced latte while you can. Just don’t forget to look ahead. Prevent your home from being a winter-storm statistic and make the necessary preparations to your home this fall.

 

Fall Preparation Checklist:

  • Have your heating system checked and cleaned.
  • Inspect ceilings, windows and outer walls for cracks.
  • Change air filters.
  • Check your pipes and plumbing.
  • Inspect your roof for wear or damage and clean the gutters.
  • Install weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors.
  • Seal up foundation and driveway cracks.
  • Check your fireplace and chimney for cracks or leaks.

Look around your deck or patio and yard. Now is the time to clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture and flower pots, drain sprinkler systems, trim trees and shrubs, fertilize lawns and mulch gardens. Before your lawnmower goes into hibernation, schedule a time to have it serviced. If your snowblower needs some TLC after its summer break, bring it in with your mower and tackle two chores at once. 

During the fall it is also important to make sure your home is fire safe. Hundreds of fires break out each day during the autumn and winter months. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure everything is working properly. The National Fire Protection Association warns carbon monoxide poisonings also climb during the fall and winter months.

 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Preparation Checklist:

  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on all levels of the home.
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries.
  • Have all heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected.
  • Keep all flammable material at least three feet from heat sources.
  • Check fire extinguishers. Replace or have them serviced as needed. 
  • Know and practice home escape routes. 

A vital preparation step for any season is to review and understand your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Make sure you know what is covered under your policy, if you need to up your coverage, or add additional coverage for the coming winter months.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty. We specialize in providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

10 Items to Keep at Your Desk

10 Items to Keep at Your Desk

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

 

You spend about eight hours a day in the classroom; it’s basically your second home. You never know what your day in the classroom will throw at you, especially these days, so be sure you’re prepared. In addition to your basic supplies, stock up with these 10 essential items every teacher should have at their desk.

 

10 essentials for your desk - flair pens

 

  1. Good Grading Pens/Markers – You can never have too many colorful grading utensils! I like Papermate Flair Pens and they come in a variety of bright, fun colors.

10 Items Teachers Should Have at Their Desk - Stain Remover

  1. Stain Remover – I always spill my coffee on my shirt! I use a quick stain remover, like Shout Wipes or Tide Pen, to clean myself up in a snap!

Travel Size Deodorant

 

  1. Travel-Sized Deodorant – The temperature of my classroom is never consistent! One hour I’m wearing my parka while I teach and the next I’m down to my sweat-stained shirt. Keeping a stick of deodorant on hand is also helpful on those warm days that I have recess duty.

face masks

 

  1. Extra Masks – For those days when you are rushing out the door and forget we are living in the “new normal”.
    Teacher Desk Essentials - Pain Reliever
  2. Pain Reliever – It’s hard to teach when you’re head is pounding! Keep a small bottle stashed in your desk drawer so you can make it through a tough day.

 

Teachers Desk Essentials - Disinfectant Wipes or Spray

 

  1. Disinfectant Wipes – Even though the janitorial staff is consistently wiping down surfaces, between classes this will most likely be your responsibility to help you (and your students) stay safe.

 

Teachers Desk Essentials - Bandages

  1. Bandages – No need to send students to the nurse (and risk exposure) for minor cuts and scrapes.

 

hand sanitizer

 

8. Hand Sanitizer– For when you don’t have time to run to the bathroom and wash your hands between periods.

 

Teachers Desk Essentials - Non-Perishable Snacks

 

  1. Snacks – Keep a few healthy snacks, that you don’t have to eat with your hands, tucked away so you aren’t tempted to go to the vending machine-like cereal bars, applesauce, or jerky sticks.

 

Teachers Desk Essentials - Refillable Water Bottle

 

  1. Reusable Water Bottle – Water fountains can be full of germs, invest in a large enough water bottle that you won’t have to refill throughout the day.

 

A few extra items that could also help you out include K Cups, a Fun Coffee Mug, a To-Do List, Lotion, Mechanical Pencils, Post- its, Kleenex, Gum, a Desk Fan, and a Bluetooth Speaker 

Worried about shelling out your own money? Ask parents and families to donate items that are for student use, like cough drops, wipes, Post-its, pencils, and bandages!

Check out our Pinterest Board, Teachers: What To Keep at Your Desk, for more and don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new idea we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sources by to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Surviving Extreme Heat, Heat Exhaustion, & More

Surviving Extreme Heat, Heat Exhaustion, & More

Its summertime and temperatures are quickly on the rise!

Extreme heat is more than an inconvenience though; it is a health hazard. It’s extremely important that we do all that we can to avoid overheating and that we all know the symptoms of heat-related illnesses like:

Heat Cramps

These are muscular pain or spasms in the leg or abdomen – often the first sign of trouble. Getting a person to a cooler place and hydrating them with water or sports drinks usually alleviates them.

 

Heat Exhaustion

This is much more severe with symptoms of:

    • Cool moist pale, ashen or flushed skin
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Weakness
    • Exhaustion

Treatment includes moving to a cooler place with circulating air, remove or loosen clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Spraying a person with water helps as well as giving small amounts of fluids such as water, fruit juice, milk or sports drinks. If symptoms persist, call medical help immediately

 

Heat Stroke

This is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms include high body temperature (above 103 degrees); hot, red skin; rapid and strong pulse; confusion, and possible unconsciousness. Immediately:

    • Call 911
    • Move the person to a cooler place
    • Cool them with water by immersing them or spraying them
    • Cover them with ice packs or bags of ice

Children and Pets are at Risk

Don’t forget your precious cargo when the weather heats up. We think that it will never happen to our families, unfortunately, each year an average of 37 children and many hundreds of pets die from being left in hot cars. The majority is the result of a parent or caregiver who forgot the child or pet was in the vehicle. Even on a 70-degree day, the inside temperature can climb to a dangerous 110 degrees.

New technology and apps are being developed to warn parents of a child left in a car or truck, and the 2017 GMC Acadia will be the first vehicle with a built-in sensor that alerts drivers to check the back seat for children or pets left in the car. Until these are tested and more readily available, safety groups have mounted campaigns to prevent child heatstroke danger with these warning tips:

    • Never leave a child or pet in an unattended vehicle
    • Keep vehicles locked so children can’t climb in
    • Always check the back seat before leaving the vehicle
    • Place a stuffed toy in the car seat when it’s unoccupied and move it to the front seat as a visible reminder when you put a child in the seat
    • Put a purse, briefcase or other important items in the back seat with your infant or young child
    • Alert childcare facilities to notify you if your child fails to show up
    • Call 911 if you see a child alone in a vehicle and take action if you see they are in distress or unresponsive (break a window and remove them to a cool place and wait for emergency responders)

Personal Safety

When extremely hot weather hits, these are things you can do to alleviate the danger:

    • Drink plenty of water and rehydrating sports drinks
    • Avoid strenuous work during the heat of the day
    • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing
    • Stay indoors as much as possible
    • Never leave children or pets in a vehicle
    • Go to a basement or lowest floor of a house or building if there is no air conditioning
    • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in cool public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, malls, and other community facilities
    • Spend time at a community pool or water park
    • Check on family, friends, and neighbors (especially the very young or old) who do not have air conditioning

Home Prep

Ready.gov has an extensive list of recommendations to help keep your home cool when the temperature rises:

    • Install window air conditioners snugly and insulate them
    • Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation
    • Install temporary window reflectors (such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard) to reflect heat back outside
    • Cover windows that receive direct sunlight with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers
    • Keep storm windows up

Automobile Prep

Your car takes a beating in extreme heat. It’s a good reminder to:

    • Test your battery
    • Check your fluids – oil, coolant, and wiper fluid
    • Get your air conditioning serviced
    • Inspect all hoses and belts for cracks or tears
    • Carry extra water or coolant

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or www.calcas.com.

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