Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Build a Fence, but Don't Get Over It!

I was super excited to do this activity with my kinders when I thought about it. I got the idea from doing a similar activity with preschoolers a few years ago during undergrad... sort of. I looked back at my lesson from that time and it doesn't say I did this activity but I remember doing it so I'm sure it happened

... probably.

Anyway right as I was planning this I got an email from some of the district principals that said something to the effect of "If you'd like us to visit at any time let us know." So I responded asking them to come because I knew this would be one of my better lessons.

We started off by reading the story Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candance Fleming.

It's a story about a man who wants to plant a garden. One day he finally decides to but these little bunnies keep getting in and eating his crops. He tries a bunch of outrageous different ways to keep them out.

After reading the story, (and discussing it), we broke off into teams. Luckily I had a teaching assistant for the whole day today, I usually only have one for the morning. The kids worked together to draw a garden on the page provided to them. Before we read we talked about what things can grow in a garden. They drew things like carrots, tomatoes, even watermelons!

Once the gardens were drawn I told the kids they had to build a fence to keep the bunnies out. They were super excited when I told them their building materials were in my "mystery bag". I felt like I was reliving so many of the things I learned in my undergrad days like using a mystery bag as a hook. Inside the mystery bag was:

  • marshmallows
  • pipe cleaners
  • toothpicks
They were only allowed to use those items to create their fence. The real kicker was what we were using for our "bunnies" to test the effectiveness of our fences.

I scored these little monsters at party city. They're these little pop up toys with suction cups on the bottom. When you push them all the way down they stay down and jump up into the air whenever the suction cup releases. The kids get a kick out of them.

Now I did tell them we were going to use them but I did NOT give them to the kids until the fences were built and they were ready to test them. As an added incentive to stay focused I told them they could eat the leftover marshmallows if they didn't eat the ones we were to be working with.

I tried to preset them that this was a teamwork activity and they should talk to each other and work together. Telling each other their ideas and listening to one another. My group did a great job at this but I didn't know until after we were finished that my TA's group had a much harder time with the sharing. I should have paid better attention to the way I grouped them I guess, I grouped them randomly. The only thing I did intentionally was not put the twins in my class in the same group.

Here are a few pix from the building and testing process.




They came up with some pretty interesting ideas. One groups even said they built in traps to catch the bunnies 🤣. It was really wonderful to watch them interact and use their minds in a different way. Then I let them take home their "bunnies" so overall it was a great project.

Monday, July 3, 2017

500 Instagram Followers Giveaway!!

I've had my instagram account for a few years now but this year is when I started to take it more seriously. I've finally reached 500 followers and I want to celebrate!

This giveaway will cost you only a $5 contribution to me on paypal, all of which will go towards a gift card for Teachers Pay Teachers. After which, your instagram name will be added to a rafflecopter giveaway in which hopefuls will need to follow your account for an entry!

If you are interested in being a part of the giveaway click here by July 7th!

If you have any physical products (not printed out digital products) you would like to contribute instead of money please email me at

Check out my instagram account, since you're here anyway!

Sweat Pants, Hair Tied, Chillin' wit no Make Up On

Today's laugh and a half is brought to you by a soon to be second grader.

The other day I stayed in the house most of the day. I needed to go to the mall and walmart so like everyone else at walmart, I didn't care how I dressed. I decided to go extra bummy in a shirt, basketball shorts and flip flops. I thought about if I saw my students out but that happens to me so rarely and I was heading to the next town over so I just said F it.

I go to pick up my new phone and as I'm coming out of the store I see one of my older students. I chose not to engage her because A. I'm not one of her favorites and B. because again, I was dressed like a slob and I didn't want the attention.

Of course as I'm walking out unscathed, her little brother, also one of my students, spots me. He runs up to hug me and I'm super embarrassed because of the way I was dressed but I'm honestly always happy to see one of my babies especially if they're happy to see me.

The problem was that his family didn't notice they'd walked off without him so I'm going "Bud your family is walking off without you, you need to go back to them." and he's like "No come with me and say hi to them!" Mind you I don't now his parents, I'm dressed crazy and their kid just ran off with me so no I didn't want to meet them at that particular moment.

By this point the parents looked up and are wondering where he is so as an adult I felt obligated to walk him back to them so they didn't think he was talking to a stranger and call the police on me or something. He's running up like "Mommy come say hi!" and she's like "Who's this!?" and I'm just trying to quickly introduce myself, again so that they don't think I'm a kidnapper. So I tell them I'm one of his teachers, then their other sister saw me and ran up to hug me too. It was nice and awkward but at least the kids made it clear to them who I was. 🤣

The moral of the story is, if you think you're going to leave the house and have a dress down day, be ready to run into your students.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Here Come the Water Works

Today was my last day as the building sub at my school. I thought I'd be able to make it through it okay since I'd been fine lately but oh man. When I tried to talk and thank some of my particular co-workers that really helped me out a lot, the tears started welling up. I managed to keep it together because I didn't want my students to see me like that.

It really was hard. We only had an hour and a half of school today and probably more faculty than students. I'm grateful someone took a chance on me and that I ended up at the school I did. It was a tough school but I'm a lot stronger as a teacher than I was a year and a half ago. And I've made some good friends.

My next step is I'll be teaching kindergarten for summer school in a nearby district. I'm excited to finally be the teacher and not the sub in someone else's classroom dealing with someone else's class.

I feel like I'm taking a lot of small baby steps toward becoming a teacher. Most people hop out of college and into the classroom. I went from college to daycare to subbing, back to college, then building subbing, then summer school. I sometimes wonder two things about myself:

  1. If I'm addicted to school. Almost as far back as I can remember (which is back to preschool), I've been in school and operated on school year time. Other professions work on regular January-December calendar after they're done with school. Teachers operate on the same schedule we were on throughout our years as a student. I wonder if subconsciously I became a teacher because I don't know how to function on a different time schedule. After high school I went right into college, where I was working at the same grocery store for 6 years when I would come home for breaks. I didn't like that job but I knew I was on school year time so I only had to work there for the summer and then I could be out. Would I be able to be a productive member of society if I had to work at a job like that through the whole year like other people do? Then I went to graduate school. I was also subbing which meant, I was still operating on school year time and working a different job in the summer. Then what did I do? The minute I graduated I signed up for another course to teach English as a foreign language. Do I not know how to survive without having homework to do?
  2. If I'm avoiding becoming a career teacher. I mentioned above all of the small steps I've taken since being in college. I wonder if all of those smaller steps are me trying to avoid being the full time teacher because I'm afraid. I'm afraid of all of the teacher stuff that happens behind the scenes. All of the stuff that you don't know how to do until you're in it. A lot of my teacher friends have been great with answering all of my questions but you never know what it's like until you do it and I'm scared to death. What if I become a teacher and I fail? I try to keep myself strong and confident though. Sometimes I just get a little down. So what do I do? Decide to fly to another country and teacher there -_-. Whose idea was this 🤣?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This Next One is a Doozy!

One thing I've always wanted to do is travel the world but that's expensive. People always say there are several ways to travel and not break the bank... I have not yet mastered that craft.

I have however stumbled upon a better opportunity.

When I was younger I wanted to study abroad but you have to pay for that and I wasn't footing the bill for my undergad degree so the decisions weren't entirely up to me. Fast forward to now where I'm all finished with my Bachelor's and Master's degrees and I have a bit more freedom.

So here it is....

The big news you've all been waiting for...

I'm excited to announce to the world...

The Teacher With The Fro is going abroad!!!!
I have signed up for a TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, course through the International TEFL academy. Which I will begin next week, a few days before my birthday and right as the school year is ending so perfect timing. The course will be online and take me about 10 weeks to finish, plus 20 hours of practicum (which means being in a real classroom with students learning English, for my non-teacher readers.) After I finish all of my requirements I will have lifetime access to job guidance through the program and I have already aligned myself with their official facebook groups and talked with people who are living in other countries right now through this program. 

While it did cost me a small fortune, I choose to look at it as an investment in my career, my future, and myself. The program offers over 200 countries so I'm still thinking about which one I want to choose, there are a lot of things to factor in when you up and move your whole life to another country where you don't speak the language and don't know anyone.

But Fro, how do you feel about all of this?!

I'm glad you asked! I'm feeling extremely scared! However I'm also feeling very excited. This is a whole new chapter in my life. I'm young and I don't have any significant ties right now (such as marriage or kids), so this is the time for me to focus on myself. Of course there are people and things here I will miss but this is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I don't want to look back in a couple of decades and wish I had and be full of shoulda, woulda, couldas. I want to see the world and experience different cultures. Who knows, I may not like it and come back, or I may love it and move permanently somewhere else. My current plan is to only sign 6 month contracts so that I can see another country every 6 months for a few years. But like I said, who knows what will happen. All I know for sure is I'll never know unless I try and I'd rather try and fail than wonder what could've been.

This is my shot, and I'm going to take it...

and blog about it so you can all take it with me!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

DIY Princess Slime

Everyone is making different kinds of slime these days. I never had any reason to make it for myself but I went to visit some family members a few weeks ago and decided my little cousins might enjoy it. While I didn't do this with my own students per se, my cousins are in second, fourth and seventh grade.

What you'll need:
  • a whole bottle of elmer's glitter glue
  • contact solution
  • baking soda
  • confetti (optional)
  • a sealable container to store it in
How to make it:
  1. Pour the whole bottle of glitter glue into a bowl. You may have to whip the bottle a bit to get the very end out.
  2. If you are choosing to add confetti, now is the time! You can use regular confetti but we chose to get some fun shapes we found in the store. Be careful if you choose ones with pointy parts like stars. Stir.
  3. In a separate cup, mix 1/4 cup contact solution and 2 teaspoons of baking soda.
  4. Pour your baking soda mixture into your glue mixture a little at a time. Each slime might be different so add as much as you need. You want it to me moist so it will stretch. It's ok if it's wet, it'll dry.
  5. Kneed it all around in your hands until its a big ball that doesn't stick to your hands. If there is any glue still on your hands, rub them on the slime and it'll absorb it.
  6. Make sure you have a container or some kind of ziploc bag to store it in so it does not dry out.
  7. Play and have fun!
Here's some pix of the finished product!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

DIY Graduation Cap

As some of you may know, The Teacher With The Fro recently finished her Master's degree in Literacy (B-Grade 6). Now that was a few months ago. However my school does not have a December graduation so I waited five long months but yesterday I finally walked across that stage!

Since this will be my last graduation (at least for the foreseeable future, but who knows) I really wanted to decorate my graduation cap.

Since I've never decorated any of my other caps in the past, I really had no idea how to but I didn't want to let the opportunity slip away because I knew this would be something I would look back on and be upset about.

In December I had decided I was for sure going to decorate. 

Step 1: deciding what to even put on it! 

Anyone who follows my personal instagram knows I'm big on memes so I was hoping to wait until about April and see what the recent popular meme was and somehow incorporate it with some clever phrase that would go viral for a bit.

I decided that wasn't working for me.

February is when I really decided to make The Teacher With The Fro into a brand. I decided while it may not go viral and make a lot of sense to other people, it represented me and who I am and it would be unique. Something I would look back on a be proud of.

Step 2: figuring out how to make it!

I've logged several hours online, mostly on pinterest, looking at different caps trying to get ideas for my design. After I got a general idea of what I wanted to do I had to figure out how. How do I get a colored background? What do I make it out of? How do I get it to stick to the cap? How to I get the letters to look nice?

Luckily I came across some very nice people on instagram who were willing to indulge me and answer all of my questions about how they made their caps.

Step 3: gather my materials.

One day I was intending to go to the gym but I forgot on the weekends they close at a different time. So I drove around the corner and ended up at a Jo-Ann Fabrics. I figured they would have things so I went in looking. I came out with some letters that I wasn't in love with, but they were all I had at the moment.

I wasn't able to pick up my cap and gown until the week of graduation (whose idea was that?!)

Once I got it and knew what color it was I have a better idea of what I had to work with but I still didn't really like the materials I had. After one more instagram conversation I ended up going to Michael's. Here's what I gathered:

  • A pad of 12x12 scrapbook paper (or it might just be regular construction paper)
  • Sparkly chipboard letters, one pack silver and one pack black
  • A hot glue gun and pack of glue sticks
  • A roll of rhinestones
  • A pack of swirly rhinestone designs
  • A pack of adhesive jewels
I also bought several other things for the several ideas that began swirling around in my head once I saw the vast amount of things Michael's had to offer. The above list is all of the things I ended up using.

Step 4: Get started!

  1. Place the 12x12 paper over the top of the cap, lining up at least one edge and corner.
  2. Flip the cap upside down, holding the paper in place, then cut the paper to fit your cap. You may want to draw lines for a more accurate cut, I just didn't do that.
  3. Draw a dot where your knob is (the thing you hang the tassel on) and trace yourself a general outline of how big the circle is.
  4. Take the paper off the cap and fold it in half on your dot but do not crease it.
  5. Cut a half circle which should create a whole circle since your paper is folded. Place your paper back over your cap to see if the hole is the right size. You want it to be just able to fit, so you don't see any of the cap under it. My hole was a little to big so I had to get creative to cover it up.
  6. Once you've fit your paper, take your hot glue gun and apply glue to each edge. Now is not the time to get stingy with your glue, you don't want your cap falling apart when you walk across that stage. Let your glue dry before moving on to the next step.
  7. After the background is dry I used the roll of rhinestones to line the edges and create a cute border.
  8. The next thing I did was lay out the letters in the order I wanted them in. My first plan was do the colors in an ABAB pattern. Which is how I realized my silver pack of letters was missing the F, of course, a letter I needed so I couldn't ignore it. So back to Michael's I went. I later decided I wanted "teacher" and "fro" to stand out so I wanted to do those silver and the rest of the words black. Which made me realize I was still short a few letters. Short version, I ended up back at Michael's two more times. Anyway I'm rambling, back to the cap.
  9. After I finally had all of my letters, I thought they were adhesive but the way I was pulling off the back, I was accidentally pulling off the entire back and not just the piece covering the sticky part, which is why I bought the hot glue gun because I thought I would need to glue each letter. Eventually I figured out how to peel the letters right and set them where I wanted them.
  10. Then I peeled off the rhinestone designs and placed them where I wanted. I had to cut some of them to make them fit but, thems the breaks.
  11. The last thing I did was use some of the adhesive gems to cleverly disguise the hole I'd made around the knob in the middle.
Here's a closer look at the finished product

Here are some other photos from my graduation!
A better look at my make up... I just learned how to do make up a few months ago but I think I've gotten pretty good at it.

The delicious lemon cake my boyfriend got me. My favorite but it's HUGE we'll be eating it for days!

A cute pic of me after my make up got wiped off during one of the games

My super adorable boyfriend

My parents and Me

My whole family. My brother finally made it to one of my graduations!