Teacher Appreciation Flipped

Teacher appreciation week is approaching.  In case you didn't know, it's usually the first or second week of May, and it's a time for teachers to be loved-on and appreciated for all the hard work, endless days and nights they put into the job, and countless hours they spend grading, planning, meeting, and teaching children.

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This year I have a proposition for the teachers.  While free burritos, chicken, and coffee
are nice, and discounts at stores are sweet, how about this year we try teacher appreciation with a twist.  Call it teacher appreciation flipped, or teacher appreciation 2.0.

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See I've wanted to be a teacher since I was 7 or 8 years old.  It happened to me in the second grade when I had Ms. Lopez as my teacher.  She was young, fresh out of college, and we were her first teaching gig.  It was Audubon Elementary in the 1970's, and I was in love.  She was young and vivacious, and full of inspiration and pep.  She treated us like people, not little kids or objects, and she really trusted and put faith in us.  As second graders we ran the school newspaper.  We had pen pals across town, who we wrote to bi-weekly, and we went on field trips everywhere she could possibly take us.  She even took us camping for three days about an hour west of town.  Ms. Lopez inspired me to be a teacher.  She showed me what teaching could be like, and I wanted to grow up to be like her.


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So my proposition to you, as a teacher, is to take a moment of your time this year, and for teacher appreciation week, to pay it forward.  Write, call, email, or Facebook message your inspiration and let them know how much you appreciate what they did in your life to help you to become a teacher.

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When I was graduating college, I found Ms. Lopez.  Although she had been let go after teaching my class due to budget cuts, she had continued on in the teaching profession.  She had taught for many years, become a principal, and was now moving to the head of special education for one of the districts in our city.  I wrote to her and just expressed my heart, my sincerest appreciation, and utmost adoration for all she had done to inspire me.

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So, who inspired you?  Have you thanked them yet?  Let me know about your story in the comments down below.



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Interactive Notebook How To

As many people who know me know, I love interactive notebooks.  I've been working with them for years and refining them within my classroom.  I've also been creating interactive notebook examples for my students to use throughout their own books and getting into the philosophy and construction of interactive notebook ideas.  It had never dawned on me before that many people may not be as familiar with interactive notebooks as I am, and it wasn't until a friend of mine came to me perplexed about what an interactive notebook even was, that I decided to write this blog post and guide and address some of the common issues that many people have with interactive notebooks.

Interactive Notebook How To

An interactive notebook allows students to be independent and creative thinkers and writers.  It takes class notes and other activities and allow students to process the information presented in class in their own way and in their own style.  Interactive notebooks can incorporate many different forms of learning so that all modalities are being met, and they allow for many creative ideas so that learning is fresh and always changing.

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Interactive Notebook Setup

The interactive notebook setup can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish it to be, but I have found over years of experience, that the more time I take at the beginning, the less frustration I have throughout the process.  Therefore, I recommend looking at the pros and cons of each type of notebook and choosing the one that best fits your style and needs.  I've even gone as far as making a notebook from individual sheets of notebook paper as we slowly grew our sheets into a notebook over the course of the school year.  In hindsight, this is a method I would not recommend.

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Next, there are things like the interactive notebook table of contents, an envelope for pieces and parts of foldable crafts, a bookmark, and page numbering.  Each of these items are effective and helpful in their own right, but none of them are critical to the process if things must get rolling and teaching must commence.

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Then comes the examples, and the foldable crafts, and the templates that fill the pages; this is where the magic happens.  Interactive notebook examples can include writing pieces from anything from fiction to nonfiction, letters to stories.  They can include card sorts and Venn diagrams, foldable crafts, matching exercises, maps, and more.  There are over 1000 foldable templates for interactive notebooks alone.

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Interactive Notebook Expectations

Ultimately, however, the effectiveness of the interactive notebook will come down to the teacher and how effective they are at guiding their interactive notebook time.  Just as with any subject, if the teacher is nervous, unsure, or shows an air of disdain, the students will sense that and run with it.  The teacher must be calm and collected, organized and efficient, energized and excited for the interactive notebook to be effective.  No one wants kids cutting and gluing their lives away, so ideas must be implemented appropriately in order to ensure that students maximize their learning time.

If you'd like more information on how to set-up and run your interactive notebooks, I have a free 13-page interactive notebook how to guide.  It's available here if you would like more guidance and support with this process.

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Let me know if you use interactive notebooks in your classroom and how they work for you.  If you have questions or problems, please don't hesitate to ask.  I am here to help!  Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Grab your free 13-page guide.


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