5 Money-Saving Tips for Teachers

5 Money-Saving Tips for Teachers

We all know that teachers do not make nearly as much money as they should. Their less than extravagant salary leaves a little to be desired for sure. I know that teachers work very hard and I am a big believer that they deserve to treat themselves as often as they can! I also know though that treating yourself can cost a lot of money.  No teacher should have to stress about money when they are focused on working hard teaching our children.  

That is why I wanted to take a moment to talk about these 5 money-saving tips for teachers. Let’s work together to boost the bottom line and improve our financial standing!

Check out these 5 Money-Saving Tips for Teachers

Take advantage of the tax deductions available to you

There are tax deductions available for teachers and you need to make sure that you take advantage of them! When it comes tax time this spring, make sure you remember that there is a deduction available for teachers' expenses, as well as deductions for tuition and professional development expenses. 

Track your expenses

Everyone needs to track their expenses in order to get their finances under control, or at least to stay on top of their finances. To best track your expenses, create a spreadsheet and start recording everything you spend.  Be sure to take a few minutes at the end of each day to go over your receipts and input them into your spreadsheet. Once you start doing this, you will be able to see exactly where your money is going and where you may need to cut back on your spending.

Skip the restaurant and meal plan

This is another one of the budget-saving tips that everyone should be following through on.  Planning and creating your own meals is one of the easiest ways to save money. I know that heading to a restaurant is tempting and easy, especially on those busy school days when you work for hours, but trust me, your wallet will thank you for skipping them. Making your own coffee, bringing your lunch from home and having a set meal plan can save you hundreds of dollars per month. I like to meal prep on Sundays. I'll prepare a few different meals and portion them out in containers in my fridge. I don't mind eating the same thing for lunch every day. Making your own food is both cheaper and healthier. As an added bonus, you will have a lot more time on your hands since you will no longer be wasting your time trying to figure out what to cook every night. 

Ask for donations

Do not be afraid to ask for donations. No, not for your everyday expenses, but for your classroom needs.  There are a lot of people out there that want to help teachers out. When you have classroom needs, make sure to ask around.  Ask your teacher friends if they have leftover supplies, send out a letter to parents asking them to pitch in, create a Donors Choose account and post it on social media, etc. You can also create a wishlist on amazon for your classroom. These expenses should not lay solely on your shoulders. There are options out there for you to get help with your classroom needs. 

Take advantage of educator discounts

There are quite a few businesses out there that offer educator discounts, many of which you may not even be aware of. These types of discounts are offered at businesses such as retail locations, eyewear companies, craft stores, travel companies, and so many more. Whenever I'm traveling I ask if there's a teacher's discount. Don’t buy something just for the discount, of course, but if you are going to be buying something anyway, be sure to check and see if there is a discount available to you. 

Being a teacher is hard work and you deserve to not struggle while working so hard! Are you a teacher? What tips and tricks have you learned that have helped you keep your budget under control?





Independent Reading Tasks to Get Your Students Thinking

As secondary ELA teachers, most of our readers can read texts independently. Their levels may be varied, but giving your students ownership over what they read and the tasks they choose can help them go deeper when it comes to analyzing and understanding what they read. Whether your students are reading fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, you can try these independent reading tasks to get your students thinking.


Characters

When it comes to reading novels, let your students try some independent tasks that help with exploring characters in the book. Young adult novels often focus on dynamic characters, characters that change throughout the novel. Coming of age stories are particularly popular in YA lit. Use fiction task cards to have your students focus on character elements like realism, how the characters are involved in conflicts, and which characters are their favorites or least favorites. 

Setting

In addition, fiction task cards also explore elements of the setting. The time and place of a story can influence so many other elements, such as theme, character, conflict, and plot. Have your students explain why they would not (or would) like to live during the time and in the place of their book. Also, have them describe the setting. Get them thinking about descriptive words and phrases they can use to evoke powerful imagery.


Autobiography, Biography

Explore informational text through nonfiction task cards. Nonfiction texts are as varied as fiction. Your students may read autobiographies or biographies. Have your students think about questions they may ask the subject of the book or a gift they would give the person.  

Author’s Purpose

Is the text your students are reading meant to inform, entertain, or persuade? The author’s purpose is an important part of comprehending and analyzing text. Have your students reflect on why the author wrote the nonfiction text with nonfiction task cards.

Poetry can be a difficult genre for middle school students to dissect. First, start by expanding your students’ ideas of what poetry is. Poetry can include songs and verse novels. Give them a choice in their poems and have them think about poetry in a new way with poetry task cards. Your students can answer questions about the meaning of the poems by reflecting on the author’s particular choices. Think about the time period the poem is set (if applicable), the details the poet includes or leaves out, and the use of figurative language. Poetry is a powerful genre when it comes to independent reading.

Thinking About Reading

Your readers are ready to explore their own book choices. Let your students choose fiction, nonfiction, or poetry texts and think about what they are reading with independent reading task cards. Use the cards in small groups or for early finishers. The independent reading task cards bundle comes with cards for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. With 140 task cards and 67 pages, these standard-based question cards will help your students think about what they are reading every day! Try these independent reading tasks to get your students thinking in your secondary ELA classroom. 


6 Reasons Why the Public Library is a Teacher’s Best Friend

I know so many teachers who spend their own money on books, movies and an array of other materials for their classroom. Despite being paid a low salary and being on a budget, teachers often dig into their own pockets because sometimes it’s just easier and faster to just buy it.

There are many ways that the public library can be a teacher’s best friend. Here are a 6 reasons why every teacher should use the library.
  1. Seasonal/holiday books. Many teachers that teach primary grades like to use seasonal and holiday books. This might take some planning but if you’re organized you can utilize your local library for all of your seasonal/holiday needs. Just don’t wait until the last minute.
  2. Movies: My school always blocked youtube because there are some things on there that are not school appropriate. I used to use Netflix in my classroom but one day my school decided to block it because it was slowing down the server. Even if it wasn’t blocked, Netflix is constantly changing the content and you might find that a movie you want to show your class has disappeared. I don’t know about other schools but we’ve had plenty of days when the internet went down. I’d rather get the DVD from the library than have to deal with all of these issues. If your library doesn’t own the movie you need, they will interlibrary loan it for you. One time I wanted four different versions of Hamlet and my library got them for me.
  3. Audiobooks: We all have reluctant readers in our classes and audiobooks are a great way to help struggling readers. You can have them listen individually or you can use the audiobook with the entire class. You can get traditional CD audiobooks (I use the CD drive on my computer which is hooked up to the smartboard so the audio is excellent) or you can use the Libby app and play them on a device (iPad, phone, etc.)
  4. Summer Reading: Obviously every library is different but my local library collaborates with the schools in the area for summer reading. The library pulls the books that are on the summer reading list and keeps them on a cart for the convenience of the students. This way students can easily access the book(s) they have to read over the summer break.
  5. Databases: Your school library will have databases but the public library tends to have a better budget so they will have more databases. You can use these for your own research or have students use their own library card to use them. (If your school collaborates with the local library usually they bring library card applications to the school.)
  6. Collaboration: There are many ways that schools/teachers can collaborate with the local library. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Class projects
  • Library card applications
  • Library Visits 
  • Summer Reading
  • Author Visits
  • Other Events


Celebrating Holidays in the Classroom: Thanksgiving Edition

This is my first year as a Library Media Specialist and my first year working with younger students. I wanted to share some Thanksgiving books with my students but when I started reading picture books I found that some were historically inaccurate. Some of the books were portraying a one-sided story. I don't want to get into the gory details about what happened because the students are very young, but I didn't want to give them inaccurate information either. I figured if I was having issues finding good resources, others might be having the same issue as well. Here are some of the resources I've been using in my library.

If your school subscribes to BranPop, they have an excellent video about Thanksgiving that gives an accurate story without going into gory details. I showed this short video to some of my older students and then I received an email from BrainPop about the video that made me feel even better about the video. This is what BrainPop said, "Developed in collaboration with members and scholars of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, our new Thanksgiving movie brings you the messy, fascinating, and sometimes painful roots of the classic American holiday. Watch the movie to share with students the real story of Thanksgiving." What I love about BrainPop is that they give you activities to go along with their videos. I've used a number of their videos in the classroom and in the library. 



One of the best books I found was from my local library, it was called Peppa Gives Thanks. No author is listed in the book but it's a Scholastic Book. I used this book with both Kindergarten and first grade. This book is not specifically for Thanksgiving but it talks about being thankful for what we have. I brainstormed a list with the students and I wrote everything that they said on the board for them to copy. I had students pick 3 things from the class list to put on their paper and I had them draw pictures of each of the items/people that they're thankful for. They came up with some really cute answers. 


Another really cute book that I found was called Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano. In this book, a turkey is trying to disguise himself as other animals in an attempt to not become Thanksgiving dinner. It was a funny book and my kindergarteners really enjoyed it. I created this handout to go along with the book. (Everything linked in this post is free). I like to have my kindergarteners trace words so that they can practice writing. The fonts I used are KG Fonts that are available here free for personal use.




With the middle grades (2nd and 3rd) I used the book Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet. This is a book about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Before reading this book I asked students how many of them have watched the parade on TV. I was very surprised that many of them didn't know about it. I showed them some pictures of the balloons on my smartboard. I teach in NY so I was very surprised that they weren't familiar with the parade. For students who are unfamiliar with the parade, this book is a great way to introduce it to them. I have several students that now want to watch the parade on TV because of this book. After reading the book I had students design their balloon as a makerspace activity. 




With my older students, I used this free writing activity from Laura Candler. I also used this holiday-themed word search as an extension activity for students that finished early. After spending 17 years working with secondary students in the classroom, TPT has really been a lifesaver for me this year. 

Let me know what you do with your students for Thanksgiving in the comments below. Happy Holidays.   



5 YouTube Channels to Help Review Language Arts Concepts

The teenagers in your class are online more than any other generation before. Sure, they’re reading articles and consuming ebooks, but more and more, their medium of choice is video. Video demonstrations of important English and reading ideas help this generation of visual learners.

Share these 5 YouTube Channels to help review language arts concepts with your high school students.

Crash Course

Brothers Hank and John Green (you know, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns. . .) have their own YouTube channel with tons of educational content for a wide array of subject areas. One of my favorite playlists for high school English students is the Literature playlist. Popular high school reads like The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Things Fall Apart are just a few titles on the list of videos focusing on literary concepts like theme and character. Check out all the channel has to offer, and share with your non-ELA colleagues as well!

Vancouver Poetry Slam

Slam Poetry is one of the most powerful things you can introduce to an English class. Slam is more than just a free verse poem. Introducing this spoken form of poetry, performed on stage (often competitively), allows students to share their voices in a powerful, innovative way. The Vancouver Poetry Slam channel showcases poetry from the weekly Vancouver, British Columbia poetry slam. Make sure to review videos before sharing with your class. Some have sensitive topics or may be triggering for some students. After viewing some slam poems from the channel, encourage your students to write their own slam poetry. Have a poetry cafe or showcase to allow your students to share their own unique voices. What a perfect way to review the elements of poetry and create original works with your students.

Intelligence Squared

Whether you teach a debate course or integrate into your ELA class, this channel is perfect for teaching and reviewing argumentative writing, the art of the argument, or debate. The channel is nonpartisan and pairs two teams of experts arguing for or against public policy issues in the United States. In a world where our students are trying to stay informed of current issues while avoiding left or right-wing media bias, this channel does an excellent job of providing both sides of issues ranging from fake news, social media regulation, international trade and more.

Khan Academy

Oh, Khan Academy. The channel that has helped many an advanced math student get through calculus and stats has expanded to include more subjects than you can count on your fingers and toes. The Grammar Channel makes it easy to review parts of speech all the way through relative clauses. Grammar has never been so much fun!

Grammar Girl

Need more grammar review? More than 11,000 subscribers can’t be wrong! While Khan Academy rocks at reviewing parts of speech, homophones, and sentence parts, Grammar Girl covers just about everything else as well. You can even kick it old school and teach your kids how to diagram sentences - Grammar Girl style! Grammar Girl helps with precise language in writing by addressing word choice and the differences between different phrases. These 5 YouTube Channels to help review language arts concepts will help your students learn more about literature, review argument and debates, and get more help on grammar and writing concepts. Bring video to your high school ELA classroom!


7 Reasons Why You Should Download the App Libby

As an English teacher, one could imagine the amount of money I’ve spent on books in a lifetime. Take that number and multiply it by 3. I have a bookstore problem, which about 10 years ago became an ebook problem, and about a year and a half ago it became an audible problem. Books are expensive and most of the time I read a book only once. I do frequent my local library but the popular books always have a waitlist and I can be impatient. Also, it’s so convenient to download a new book on my Nook (I’m supporting a bookstore instead of a website) or on my audible app anytime I want.

About a year ago I was introduced to the app Libby. Libby is a free app that you download and create an account with your library card. You can use the Libby app or you can view the books on your Kindle or the Kindle app. There’s a workaround to get the books on your Nook but it involves your computer and a program called Adobe Digital Editions so I generally don’t do it. It’s faster to just use the Libby app. With the Libby app, you can download ebooks and audiobooks for FREE using your library card.

Reasons Why You Need Libby:

1. It’s FREE!!!! I’ve spent a small fortune on ebooks and audiobooks and I rarely read/listen to them more than once. Audible is great and if you’re a teacher and you want to use the audiobook every school year you might want to own the audiobook. If you’re reading/listening for fun you should consider Libby. It has definitely saved me some money in the past year.
2. It doesn’t use data. I have a bit of a commute to work and I listen to audiobooks in the car. I simply download the audiobook when I’m on wifi and then it simply plays on my phone without using data in the car. It does use my battery of course but I don’t have to worry about going over my data.
3. You don’t have to worry about late fees. After 14 days the book disappears from your device. Just like regular library materials you can renew them if no one is waiting. If there is a waitlist (this is mostly for newer materials and best sellers) they email you when it’s your turn.
4. You can’t lose or damage an ebook. We’ve all lost a book or damaged a book. We’re human. Last year I had a water bottle open in my bag and ruin a $30 library book. With Libby, you don’t need to worry about replacement costs.
5. If you want a book in the middle of the night you can get it. You don’t have to worry about library hours, bookstore hours or waiting to get a book in the mail. That’s great news for my fellow insomniacs.
6. You always have your phone on you. How many times have you been stuck waiting for someone or something? Instead of wasting time, you can pull out your phone and continue reading/listening to your book. You are more likely to have your phone on you than that bulky 500-page book you’re reading.
7. It’s great for traveling. I love to read on flights and who wants to take 2 or 3 books on vacation? With airlines charging more for luggage than in the past, we’re all trying to pack light. Having a small device is more convenient than carrying a few books.

Some people might say “Libby doesn’t have every book” which is true but you can always make suggestions for books at your local library. If it’s a 50-year-old book that no one has ever heard of they might not order it but you don’t know unless you ask. I’m not saying that I spent $0 on books since I started using this app but I have cut down tremendously on my spending.



5 TED Talks to Share with High Schoolers


You may have seen an inspirational TED Talk floating around social media. Whether you have caught Sir Ken Robinson’s thought-provoking talk, ”Do schools kill creativity?” or Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk, ”Your elusive creative genius”, you know the power of TED Talks in your own professional life. Did you also know that there are thousands of inspirational TED Talks you can present to your high schoolers? Share short talks as bell ringers, assign as out-of-class viewing in a flipped classroom, or use as an integral part of a lesson.

Here are 5 TED Talks to share with high schoolers. 

”Why the pencil is perfect”

This talk is about something very simple, a pencil. Pencil shop owner Caroline Weaver tells the story of a pencil. Use this under four-minute talk as a bell ringer in your ELA class or inspiration for a writing prompt about objects or inventions.

”How fake news does real harm”

“Fake news” is a real problem with adults and young people alike. Social media and instantaneous breaking news make it easy to spread false information. Journalist Stephanie Busari reminds viewers of the 2014 story of the 200 girls from Chibok, Nigeria, kidnapped by the terrorist organization Boko Haram. Because the story was called a hoax by the Nigerian government and because of the transmission of fake news during this time period, lives were endangered. This talk provides a powerful testament of what makes fake news so dangerous when real problems exist. Use this talk (right around six minutes) as a discussion of how to determine the credibility of news stories and the responsibility of those who provide the news and the audience that consumes it.

”The art of choosing”

High school students are faced with trivial as well as enormous choices. Everyday choices like what to eat for breakfast, whom to sit with at lunch, and what book to read are fairly simple and inconsequential. As they enter the brink of adulthood, they’ll face choices on whether or not to go to college, where to go to college, what major to choose, and whom to date and marry. There are hundreds of other choices, often fueled by our own cultural assumptions and bias. Sheena Iyengar talks about the choices people make and the assumptions around them in this longer TED Talk (around 20 minutes) that is a great piece to share before having conversations about graduation and college.

Why some of us don’t have one true calling

How often have our students been asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” in their young lives? This loaded question is difficult for those who have a wide array of interests and aren’t ready to make a decision on their future career at a young age. Share writer and artist Emilie Wapnick’s talk and allow it to become a conversation about your students' passions, not necessarily the things they show they are good at on assessments but the things they truly love.

What adults can learn from kids

Even though Adora Svitak is just 12 years old, this TED Talk is highly recommended for high school students who struggle to find their voice in a world where they’re on the bridge between child and adulthood. Svitak reminds students of the childhood ideals they should hold onto as adults, including creativity and hope. These 5 TED Talks to share with high schoolers can be put into a YouTube or TED Talk Playlist for whenever you need an inspirational talk or motivation for your older students. From a focus on writing and reading to finding purpose after high school, these talks are helpful and great media to use in your ELA classes.


4 Shakespeare Plays To Teach This Year


William Shakespeare died more than 400 years ago, but his plays still resonate today. Most of the themes from Shakespeare’s (at least) 37 plays can be found in modern literature today and even reflect modern concerns of today’s youth. Here are 4 Shakespeare plays to teach this year and the resources to help you share them with your secondary students.

Othello

Othello, the title character of Shakespeare’s tragedy, is a rare person of color in 17th-century literature. Bringing diversity into your classic literature curriculum is so important.

The themes of the dangers of jealousy and racial prejudice are also present in this story that could easily have been a television soap opera with secret marriages, accusations of adultery, murder, and drama. Your students will be on the edge of their seats!

Speaking of on-screen drama, Othello pairs well with the movie, O, after reading the play. Check out my handout to use with the movie O and everything you need to teach Othello from character charts, Shakespearian background, task cards, writing assignments, projects for the play, and more in this Othello bundle.

The Taming of the Shrew

Sibling rivalry, as well as issues surrounding marriage and gender equity, are at the forefront of this Shakespearian comedy. Your students will love the interplay between the seemingly sweet agreeable Bianca as opposed to her sister Katherine, the “shrew”.

Differentiate instruction for struggling readers with scene by scene summaries of the play along with movie handouts to go with the play. One of the favorite modern adaptations is 10 Things I Hate About You.

Prepare your students for culminating tests and essays with this all-inclusive bundle for The Taming of the Shrew

Hamlet

To be or not to be? Should you teach Hamlet this year? With these awesome Hamlet resources, the answer is definitely YES! Hamlet has themes that focus on revenge and action v. inaction.

One activity I love to use with my advanced readers during Hamlet is a mock trial when Hamlet goes on trial for the murder of Polonius. Of course, there are many movie adaptations of Hamlet that you can use after the play.I've used this play with both regular 12th graders and with AP Literature students.

Macbeth

Ask 10 English teachers, and more than half will probably say that Macbeth is their favorite Shakespeare play to read and teach. Despite the violence and “double, double toil and trouble”, Macbeth teaches about fate and ambition.

The characters in Macbeth are layered and complicated, which is why I’ve included characterization webs and maps in the Macbeth unit bundle. Incorporate games like Macbeth bingo, task cards and more!

These 4 Shakespeare plays to teach this year should be on your list because of the modern themes, media connections, and in-depth analysis opportunities. Stretch your students’ understandings of classic literature with my Ultimate Shakespeare Package including these four and other Shakespeare plays you can teach this year!

Here's another blog post I wrote about Shakespeare's Birthday which most people believe is April 23rd.


“Well, That’s a Funny Name!” And Other Culturally Insensitive Things to Avoid

With the beginning of the school year upon us, many of us have painstakingly spent time decorating our classrooms to be warm and inviting places and we're planning how to move students deftly through the curriculum. We are ready to welcome students back for another successful year. Throughout all of our preparations, it is important that our classrooms are culturally responsive and attempt to avoid actions that can come across as culturally insensitive.

Avoid Judgement

Without fail, we have all come across that one name on the roster that gives us pause. We stare at it, trying to break it down by syllable, sound it out phonetically, all to no avail. We stumble through it, hoping that the student, whose name we are butchering, will step in and save us. They do. Rattling off how to pronounce it correctly, saving us from further embarrassment.

Our first instinct may be to make a comment that points out the “otherness” of their name: it’s funny, it’s different, it’s interesting (in a way that shows we’re really saying something else), we’ve never heard it before. While seemingly innocent, making these comments points out the fact that the name is “different” or “funny” can potentially and unintentionally alienate students.

Don’t Force Assimilation

While you may continually trip and stumble over students’ names, please avoid asking students to call them by a nickname that makes things convenient for you. Names are significant, and many students whose names are “different” have meaning assigned to those names. Don’t minimize the importance of their name by shortening or nicknaming without the student prompting, to make things easy. Instead, engage students in a conversation about the significance of their names. Even if a student says it doesn’t matter what you call them, make clear to them that it does matter. It’s their name, and they are important to you and matter.

Check Biased Comments from Other Students

As ELA teachers, we try to make our classroom and curriculum representative of the diverse cultures students will encounter in the world. Our bookshelves are stocked with books to expose students to other cultures, and we attempt to build empathy for others and build students’ cultural awareness through our instruction. All of our good intentions can be undone if we don’t address culturally insensitive comments students make. When students make fun of others’ names or accents or mimic languages, it’s not enough to just make students stop. It’s important to address why these actions are offensive and provide an opportunity for students to learn more about a culture they need exposure to.

Experience Doesn’t Always Equal Expert

Remember that having experience with students who come from different cultures does not make you an expert on the culture. While you may have some level of understanding, it is important that you continue to check your assumptions about how students feel in your classroom simply because you think you understand their cultural background. We know each student is unique, so our practice needs to reflect the fact that we respect each student’s unique ties to their culture and not let our limited expertise overshadow their own.

Ensuring that our teaching is culturally responsive is not an easy task. There will be times when we make mistakes. However, if our students know that we are making a real effort to incorporate who they are into the fabric of our classroom, those mistakes can be powerful lessons that will carry into the future. What better teachers to have than the students who fill our classrooms every day?


How to Prioritize Your Time Before School Starts


As summer is winding down, thoughts turn to the upcoming school year and how teachers can be getting ready. There are back-to-school sales, back-to-school rallies, back-to-school ads everywhere, and I’m pretty sure I saw a cupcake decorated like a pencil somewhere. With all of the hype around this time of year, it is easy to get drawn into the excitement and anxiety that seems to be in the air. For teachers especially, this time of year is fraught with emotion, as all the unknowns of the new school year loom large in front of them. In my 17+ years in the classroom, I have learned that these last few weeks of summer can be one of the best times of the year, second only to the joy of actually meeting and getting to know my new group of students. This process has not been by accident, however. Over the years I have learned that there are things I can do to help get me ready to put my best foot forward. I would love to share what I do with you by showing you how to prioritize your time before school starts. 

I know I feel better when my classroom is set up and ready to go. The question is, does your classroom really have to be ready four weeks before school starts? Probably not. There are other, more fulfilling things you can be doing to help fill your bucket before the beginning of a new year. One way to prioritize is through reflections and questioning. I get out a journal to help me figure out what would be most effective for me in the last few weeks before school starts. Here are a few questions you may want to reflect upon before the year begins.

1. If I were to say I was stressed about something right now, what would it be and why? Is this something I have control over?
2. What kind of self-care is most meaningful to me? Is there any way to work that into the next few weeks so that I am able to be my best for my students?
3. What can I do to improve myself as a teacher? Can I take any small steps towards that goal in the next few weeks?
4. What books have I read recently, and did any of them strike a chord? If so - why? If not - what would I change to make the book more impactful?
5. Have I helped to put a smile on someone else’s face recently? Is there anything I can do to give back to my community?

I find that answering one or more of these simple prompts often helps me to be more reflective and thoughtful. From this point, I would look at my calendar, and actually, put events on there. For example, at 10am on Friday, August 16th, I will be going to the library to look for a new book to read. I purposefully plan this so that I have something new to dive in to over the weekend. I also have time blocked out to go work in my classroom. One of these things is no more important than the other, they carry equal weight. Getting my classroom ready is important, so is getting myself in the best mental and physical place possible.

We all know that a teacher’s greatest commodity is time. So why would we spend the precious little time we have each summer back in our schools and classrooms? I am a better teacher when I have prioritized some time for myself, and I bet others are as well. Take this time to be proactive about rejuvenation in whatever way works best. As for myself, between now and Labor Day, you will probably find me prioritizing my time lost in a good book.


 

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