Saturday, August 17, 2019

1 SHIRT // 12 WAYS

I recently snagged this tiered button-front top from Walmart. I love the simplicity of a good chambray shirt and the versatility it allows for creating lots of different looks all year long. After having several people reach out to me about this top via Instagram I decided to share with you 12 of the different ways I would style this fun shirt. Friends, the possibilities with this blouse are ENDLESS. I had fun digging through my closet and finding pieces new and old to pair with it. I hope that this post inspires you to put your own unique Teacher Style spin on a chambray shirt. 


Look 1
This is such a comfortable and effortless look to showcase our tiered chambray shirt! I would easily wear this for a day in the classroom and switch up my shoes or accessories for dinner out with friends or to run errands after work. I can also switch out my sandals and summer-y tassel earrings to put a different twist on this look when the seasons change. 

Look 2
Would you believe me if I told you I layered our tiered chambray shirt over a dress and then put a cardigan over it? Well I did! You could replicate this look by following the same recipe, or you could play with a patterned pencil skirt to get a similar effect. 

Look 3
At my school, we have Hat Day every Friday and I know I'll be rocking this look when the year is in full swing. I have been LOVING the ascot/scarf trend lately. Chambray reads as a neutral color and I love the versatility it provides me to play with different pops of color and pattern. I feel like this specific color pallet gives me a look that is perfect for end of summer and all throughout fall. 

Look 4
Nothing says "Back to School" quite like freshly sharpened pencils, right?!  This look is fun and fresh for the classroom. I achieved it with some of my favorite wardrobe staples -- a black pencil skirt and patterned pointed toe flats. This look is a great "first impression" outfit that I would wear for Meet the Teacher night or an important meeting.

Look 5
Feeling boho-fab with this pretty kimono, messy half bun, and dainty accessories. It's professional with the dark black pants, but still very comfortable. I could picture myself sitting criss-cross applesauce in my classroom working with kids or participating in a staff meeting while rocking this look.

Look 6
I stan a power blazer. I had fun playing with different trends to create this chic business professional look that I would wear for parent teacher conferences or other important meetings. I didn't know if this shirt would look okay with this blazer... but I decided to just try it out and it worked! Moral of the story -- don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and pair something together that you're not sure about. Worse case scenario it looks weird... just don't wear it. Best case scenario... you're looking at it! 

Look 7
So I probably wouldn't wear ripped jeans to school... BUT I love the edge and dimension that they added to this look, and it gives you a fun example of how I might style it for weekend-wear. For this look I took it up another notch (literally) by wearing my highest wedges and buttoning my shirt up one more button. By wearing the ultra-blingy statement necklace I draw attention up to my face.

Look 8
Trying to go longer between hair washes? Me too! I love this headband that makes my top-knot look a little more interesting. This look is perfect for those days when you want to keep hitting the snooze button, but also want to look pulled together. 

Look 9
Speaking of going longer between hair washes, I love a low messy bun too! With this simple geode necklace and staple cream cardi I'm feeling comfy and ready to teach the kids. 

Look 10
Just like the math formulas I share with my students to help them have success, I'm sharing an outfit formula that will give you fun and fabulous looks all year long. Chambray shirt + colored pant + patterned shoe + your favorite earrings = an outfit that will give you all the confidence. I could wear my hot pink, maroon, or blush pants and give totally different vibes (depending on the time of year or my mood) while still feeling just as confident! 

Look 11
One of my favorite style tips is to play with textures (not just patterns!). I paired these fringe cloth earrings with a fun sweater and smooth boots to add depth and dimension to this look. Perfect for fall? I think so. 

Look 12
With this last look I definitely pushed myself out of my normal style wheel-house and I'm so glad that I did!! Feeling sassy and stylish. I would encourage you to dabble outside of your fashion comfort zone every now and then too. You never know when a little risk might turn into one of your favorite outfits!

Bonus look for ya'lls enjoyment, using my formula from Look 10!

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my wardrobe and came away with a few different ideas of how to style this (or any) chambray shirt to show your Teacher Style. Which look was your favorite? Which look will you take and tweak to make work for you? Please share in the comments below or let me know on Instagram

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

TALK TECHY TO ME


Hey friend! 

I'm guessing you're here because you're ready to 'tech' on this school year. 😉 Before I start sharing my top favorite technology tools, let's talk about the why of using technology in the classroom. Incorporating the use of technology in meaningful ways in the classroom gives us the opportunity to engage our learners in new ways, allows us to teach about (and model!) Digital Citizenship, and helps us prepare our students for their future. 

Because my focus with my students is on using technology as a tool not as a toy, I'm very specific with the language I use when we approach technology use. One of the biggest things is the choice to say "platform" instead of "app." Many kids think of games when they hear app, so I start reframing that thinking by calling all of these wonderful tools "learning platforms." Something else to keep in mind when reading this post is that my school is 1 to 1 with devices for 5th Grade, so each of my students have an iPad to use daily. They are only able to use their device at school. One of my goals for my students (and myself) is that we are using our tools to produce more than we consume. There are times to use these tools to consume information, and a lot of important lessons can happen around that... but I mostly like to have my students creating and showing their learning with these engaging platforms as much as possible. There are so many learning platforms that I love to use with my students, but today I'm sharing my top 9 that I use most often and have found to be successful K-5. 

Under each of these 9 platform icons you will find a brief description of the tool, the devices this platform is available for (I did my best to vet these out for you), some of the reasons why I love it, and then usage ideas (from things I've done, to things I've seen other teachers in my building try, to random ideas I have). If there is ANY other information you'd like, please shoot me and e-mail or respond in the comments below.  



Without any further ado... let's take a peek at some of my favorite learning platforms & tech tools!

1. Seesaw
Available foriOSAndroid, and Kindle Fire devices, or any web browser
Why I love it: Seesaw is the digital portfolio that houses all of my students' projects from outside apps/platforms. My students respond to the specific assignments I set up with projects they create within the app or on another platform, then students can comment in a variety of ways. I'm able to comment back to them and there's an option for parents to see what students are up to. There are just so many reasons I love it, and I think you'll see a few more below. 
Usage Ideas:
  • - Student-Led Conferences Portfolio -- Students can showcase their favorite assignments to their families in person or through the "Seesaw Family" app.
  • - Grading Hub -- I respond to my students assignments with comments about things they did well, possible areas for growth, and their overall grade. This keeps communication open, allows students to know exactly why they're receiving the scores they have, and keeps me organized too.
  • - Reflection/Ownership Tool -- When students turn in their assignments I offer different reflection opportunities to them. Sometimes I ask them to answer specific reflection questions, other times we do stars and wishes, and other times I have them share the grade they think they should receive and why. When I comment on their work, I invite them to comment back to me. I've received questions back from students, had kids acknowledge "This is a fair grade Miss Whittaker", or had things like "Thanks Miss Whittaker, this was a fun assignment." 💖
2. Classroom
Available for: iOS and macOS app
Why I love it: You can see all of your students' iPad screens at once, mute student iPads, lock student iPads, view specific student's screens... need I say more?? 
Usage Ideas:
  • - Manage Student Use -- You can use the view feature to see if students are on task and using their device appropriately. There have been 2 times in the years where we've been 1 to 1 where I've had a student doing Google image searches that were off task. I was able to click on their screen view, screenshot, and lock them out of iPad use. Then I was able to revisit Digital Citizenship and the use of these tools with that specific student without their peers noticing.
  • - Gather Students' Full Attention -- The most powerful, silent attention-getter is locking everyone's screen at once! 🙌 I've taught students that if their screen is ever locked their job is to find me right away. When they notice everyone has been locked at once their heads whip up, the room gets silent, and nobody can do anything but give me their undivided attention! 
3. Socrative
Available for: iOS app and any web browser
Why I love it: This platform is a quick (and easy) way to receive student responses. Student's don't see each others responses unless you choose to project in front of the whole class. You can choose if responses are anonymous or if they require a name. Results can be e-mailed or turned into a spreadsheet, which makes for a great formative assessment tool.
Usage Ideas:
  • - Exit Ticket -- Pose a short answer question and give students time to respond. Project and debrief responses for the class to see if you'd like or keep the results for yourself. 
  • - Poll the Class -- After students submit their responses you can give them the opportunity to vote on the responses that they most agree with. I've also used this when preparing for Socratic Seminars. Students write their most burning questions and then vote on which ones they'd like to discuss.

4. Padlet
Available for: iOS app and any web browser
Why I love it: This platform showcases student responses all at once in live time in a beautiful and clean feed-like wall. There are many options for setting up the design and endless opportunities for how to use it! 
Usage Ideas:
  • - Create a Twitter-Like Experience -- Have students "tweet" out like they are characters from a novel, give a short response to a question, condense the steps to solve a math problem, etc. They can create their "username" and put it up in the title and then streamline their thoughts to a to 240 character "tweet".
  • - Replace Poster Paper with Padlet -- Save some $$ and supplies by creating multiple Padlets (and QR codes). Replace an activity where you would have had students walking around the room writing their thinking on poster chart paper, and instead have them post responses to Padlets.
  • - Turn on the Reaction Feature -- Give students the opportunity to respond and interact with each other's thinking by reacting to their peers responses. Options include a star rating system, scoring, voting, liking, and commenting.
  • - Engage with Visual Representation -- Students can post images as well as text in their responses. Working with littles? Have them share images instead of typing out responses! Working with older students on symbols, mood, themes, etc? Have them share images! It's just a different way to check in.

5. ChatterPix/ChatterKid
Available for: iOS and Android
Why I love it: When wanting students to shift from being consumers to producers, this is a simple app to choose! It's so user-friendly and easy to learn. Student responses can only be 30 seconds or less, so kids have to streamline and condense their thinking. It's fun when used with littles, adult learners and anything between!
Usage Ideas:
  • - Summarize the Text or Steps -- Students can take a selfie, edit it with fun stickers, and share the steps to solve a math problem or summarize the story.
  • - Be the Book Character -- Students can take on the persona of one of the characters in the text and respond to a question or show their understanding of the target skill for the week. My kids always love to do funny voices when we respond this way... whether they're a kid from Wayside School, a Tree Kangaroo from Papa New Guinea, or Double Dutch Champion, they love showing their learning while becoming another person.
  • - Share the Letter or Number of the Week -- For younger grades, students could take a picture of the letter or number of the week and talk about their learning. 
6. Canva
Available for: iOS, Android, or any web browser
Why I love it: Canva helps you (or your students) create the most beautiful posters, social media posts, or infographics. You can take an existing template or start from scratch. Everything saves in live time as you work on it and edit. The only downside is that sometimes work doesn't save fast enough. 
Usage Ideas:
  • - Create Business Cards -- This one is for you, teacher friend! I created my own business cards using Canva and then sent them out to print. It was SO EASY! Now I have something to hand out at conferences, meet the teacher night, etc... and some of my students ask if they can use one for a bookmark or to keep in touch after they leave. 💖
  • - Student Created Posters -- There are so many different directions to take this. I've had students use this platform to create "propaganda posters" for our Revolutionary War unit, show their understanding of sequence of events, create advertisements for school events, and so much more!
  • - Dabble in App Smashing -- Students can take the projects they create in Canva and "App Smash" by inserting them into an iMovie or other platform. 
7. Book Creator
Available for: iOS and any device that has the Google Chrome browser
Why I love it: This is another user-friendly platform that gives students a lot of pride and ownership of their work as they become "authors." The book can be saved in your iPad book library, played like a slideshow, or even be printed!
Usage Ideas:
  • - Class Book -- Collaborate with your students to create one cohesive work. Each student could work on one page for a class alphabet book, "yearbook", or showcase of learning throughout the year.
  • - Personalized Yearbooks or Reflective Portfolios -- Throughout the year, students could work on creating their own archive of pictures of memories, favorite projects, and reflections throughout the year. It's theirs to keep and reminisce on when the year is through. 
  • - Unit Books -- Students could create their own book as a record of their learning throughout a particular unit. On your rubric or "must-have" list each page could have a specific focus of what students need to show.
  • - Student Showcase of Research -- Student's could conduct research, formulate their thinking, and compile their learning to share with the class. A fun alternative to a typical essay format. 
8. iMovie
Available for: iOS devices
Why I love it: It's just plain fun! There are two different features: Trailers or Movies. I love both and have used both personally and with students. My kids love it so much and they enjoy acting in, directing, producing, writing for, and editing their videos (and helping out their classmates). 😎
Usage Ideas:
  • - Book Trailers -- Nothing gets my students quite as jazzed as when I tell them that my "friends in Hollywood" are looking to make our latest class read a movie and that they need their help. Students are tasked with creating a trailer that shows the plot, character details, and themes of the story without sharing major spoilers. (We also love celebrating our finished projects by doing a viewing party as a class and giving our peers compliments as well as tips or wishes for future assignments.)
  • - News Updates -- Using the movie side of the platform, students can make News Updates sharing major breaking info on how to solve specific types of math problems, report on current events (from stories or actual current events), and more! This is especially fun to do in small groups.
  • - Leave it Open Ended -- This might sound scary... but I love letting students decide how they want to use this tool because these creative kiddos surpass my expectations every stinking time. I will post content "must-haves" and then let students decide how they want to share their learning and understanding of specific concepts. 
9. Adobe Spark Video
Available for: iOS or any web browser
Why I love it: This platform can turn out a video that is as simple or fanci-ful as the user wants. It's like PowerPoint and iMovie had a baby. 😂 One of my favorite parts is that when students go to change the color/font of their slides, it changes for all slides. That way they're not wasting time making it pretty -- they're focusing on the content. 💪
Usage Ideas:
  • - Simple Summary -- The first time we use this platform, it's for our story summaries. Students write their summaries on paper in 8 different boxes, and then transfer that work onto 8 different slides. This platform focuses mostly on voice, so students typically type in key words or use icons/pictures to catch viewers eye and enhance their retelling of the story. 
  • - Create a Commercial -- Students have used this platform to create commercial-like projects to display their work.
  • - Make a Video as a Class -- Each student could be responsible for their own slide. A Kindergarten teacher at my school worked on creating a collaborative video with her class where each student helped develop part of the plot and moved the story along with their own illustrations and voice overs. Too cute!

I hope you found a few new platforms/apps in this post or came away with a fresh idea on how to use a platform you're already loving. Have any questions about these platforms? Want to see more tech-related content? Tried one of these ideas in your class? Please let me know in the comments below!

I can't wait to see how you 'tech' on your school year!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

I JUST LIKE TO SMILE -- TEETH WHITENING REVIEW


If you're like me (and Buddy the Elf), you just like to smile! I love to start each day at work with a warm greeting to my students which includes a big toothy grin. I don't know about you, but with all of the coffee I drink I sometimes get self-concious wondering if my smile looks dingy. I'm smilingly more confidently these days though thanks to Smile Brilliant, and I'm so excited to share some opportunities with you so that you can too! 


I've tried all sorts of whitening products (from strips to toothpastes) to get that bright glowing smile just in time for the first day of school or Parent-Teacher Conferences. Each smile is unique though, so I'm thankful for a product that fits me and my teeth perfectly, providing the opportunity to get my "pearly whites" looking pearly and white again.

I'm excited to share my results, tips and a GIVEAWAY opportunity with you! 



The first part of my whitening process was taking my impressions. I loved this because it gave me the opportunity to have professional whitening molds that perfectly fit MY unique smile. After my whitening kit came in the mail, I could tell just how user-friendly this product is. It was nice to unwind from a busy day at work and be able to whiten my teeth from the comfort of my own home. 



I would use the "whitening gel" first from anywhere between 45 minutes to 2.5 hours. It was just so easy because my teeth could be whitening while I was grading papers or working on lesson plans when I got home in the evenings. After the whitening gel, I would use the "desensitizing gel" which only took 15-20 minutes. As soon as my whitening process was over I would go to bed and let the leftover gel sink in as I caught some Zzzz's. 



The more I used the product, the more compliments I received from family, friends, and even students on my bright smile! My whitening kit soon became a tool just as powerful as the other supplies in my pencil pouch. 



If you have any questions about the whitening process, I would be happy to answer them. Here you can read about "7 Things to Know Before Buying a Smile Brighter Kit" if you're interested in collecting some data. Now it's time for my results to do the talking... 


If you just like to smile too and are wanting the opportunity to #SmileFearlessly as well check out these awesome GIVEAWAY opportunities...
For your chance to win your very own $149 credit (which you could use to purchase your own Smile Brilliant kit!) check out THIS LINK! Or you can use my code [myteacherstyle15] for 15% off any purchase!!


Have fun smiling!

Professional Teeth Whitening

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A FEW TRICKS, SO YOU CAN TEACH

Hello Gourd-geous! You and I both know that October is crazy and busy and random and fun and full of sugar. Personally, October is one of my favorite months of the year. Fall candles, layered outfits, changing foliage -- I love it all! Professionally, October is one of the most stressful months of the year. I've read many articles talking about how October is "the month of teacher burn-out." I don't care how long you've been teaching, October seems to leave every teacher I know feeling a little frantic and frazzled. The Halloween season is upon us, conferences are looming overhead, the "honeymoon" period is over, meetings and extra events are piling up... BUT you can do it. I'm sharing a few tricks with you today so that you can focus on teaching and enjoying this month with your students!



Trick #1 - Take a breath.
Take time this month to do something that gives you oxygen in your personal life. Pausing on all of the crazy will help you to find your center and re-energize for all of those things vying for your attention. 



Trick #2 - Be mindful of what you put in your body.
I'm not your doctor, so I'm not going to tell you what you can/can't eat... but I am going to share a little bit of what I've learned about my own body lately. I WANT ALL OF THE SUGAR. Especially when I'm stressed. Everywhere I turn in October I can find some sort of sweet treat that I could justify deserving because I work so darn hard. Sometimes I do give in to the temptation and at least take a bite. But I've noticed just how much sugar and carbs really cloud my thinking and make me tired/lethargic. I don't know if your body works anything like mine does, but I know that I need to be fueling it with healthy foods this time of year so that I don't get sick and I can be on top of my game mentally. 


Trick #3 - Mix in some seasonal activities.
You don't have to spend money or do too much work to increase engagement in your classroom. There are lots of neat seasonal lesson plans and activities on the internet that you could utilize, or you could take a lesson you have already planned and put a little seasonal spin on it. For example, we're teaching long division right now in 5th Grade. To increase engagement, our team is having students create their own Halloween/Harvest themed division word problems embedding our recently learned vocabulary. This has made a pretty dull topic come to life as students are crafting sentences utilizing words like "partition" and "iterate" and then sprinkling it with footballs, and candy corn, and pumpkin pie!  Using the change in seasons to your advantage can be a great (and easy) way to engage the learners in your room.


Trick #4 - Give your students (and yourself) a break.
Set an achievable management goal with your students. (Examples- Quiet on the way to/from the lunch room all week, Received compliments from all Specials teachers for good behavior, Cleaned up the room each day in less than 4 minutes, etc.) When students reach that goal to your standard for a certain amount of days, reward them! In my room I have a marble jar. Students work together as a whole class to earn marbles for positive behaviors they display as a unit. When they fill the jar up, they earn a reward of their choosing. We start this on the first day of school and my students typically earn their first "marble party" in October each year. I let them decide what they want their reward to be... a popular choice is a movie party. This gives them a break to be social and relax and it gives me a break to work on grades or my other to-do's. The most important thing about this break is that it is EARNED. My students are watching a movie for part of the day, but they can articulate exactly why and what they can do to earn it again. 


Trick #5 - Go with the dance. 
Sometimes you just can't fight the crazy that is October. Roll with the punches as much as you can. When unexpected things pop up or go wrong, your reaction matters. Sometimes our reaction to stressful things is they only time our students get to see an adult respond positively to the negative situations life throws their way. (Thanks Rushton Hurley!) Go with the dance of life and try to take the time to make those things teachable moments. 


Trick #6 - Remember you're not alone.
I have seen even the most masterful educators frazzled in the midst of peak "burn-out season." Reach out to someone when you're feeling stressed. Maybe you need to talk with a friend you trust in your school, a teacher you've connected with over social media, or perhaps someone who is completely outside of the education realm.  Find someone who can understand how real the struggle is, allow you to vent, and then help you get over it. 



Outfit Details:
"Mushroom" Textured Sweater - Old Navy (same)
Trick or Teach Tee - Jane.com 
Distressed Jeans - Old Navy (same)
Cognac Ankle Booties - Target (same)
Earrings - Target 
Rings - H&M and Target 


Okay, Teacher friend I hope that trying out some of these Tricks helps you to enjoy the time you have to Teach the ghouls and boys in your class. 😉 You've got this! 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

SCHOOL APPROPRIATE PLAYLISTS


I like to move it, move it! 💃 And I know that my students do too! There are so many studies out there about how music boosts brain chemicals and activity. I think that music in the classroom can be a great motivator! It can help learning "stick", enrich our classroom community, and ENGAGE my students. I always like to have the perfect playlist to set the mood for the day/lesson and today I'm sharing my 8 favorite playlists I've made with you. 



**These playlists all contain clean songs that I have deemed "school appropriate." My standard is no profanity and very limited/no suggestive content. If you noticed that there is something on one of these playlists that you are concerned about, please let me know!


This playlist reflect's my students and their unique personalities 100%!! For more information on how my students and I compile our class playlist each year check out this blog post. I play these student-selected songs on shuffle during movement breaks, transition times, or work time where I'm okay with things getting more noisy. It's always fun to guess which song "belongs" to each student. This playlist is my favorite for community building.


There are those times before or after school when I'm hustling to get work done and I just like to JAM. This is the playlist I listen to. This playlist was created for teachers by teachers (thanks Insta/FB friends who helped me out)! There are times when I'm getting things ready when I have students/coworkers/parents come in unexpectedly. Because of that, I a made sure that this playlist is clean so that I can stay professional even when jamming out. 


This is probably my most played playlist! My students and I affectionately refer to this playlist as our "Brain Jams." I created this totally instrumental playlist with many different genres in mind. From classical, to pop covers, to movie scores this instrumental playlist has it all. Some days I hit shuffle to get a fun, random mix. Other days I'll scroll to a specific section to play similar styles of songs. Brain Jams flow during small group discussion time, individual work time, and assessments to fill the space and set the mood/tone for the lesson.


This playlist always makes me want to stand up and dance! I use this for our movement/dance breaks, welcome music, work time, and for my own getting-ready-for-the-day-pump-up-playlist. It always surprises me how many of these songs my students know and sing along to. 
P.S. This is the playlist I've used for any staff meetings/PD I've helped facilitate. Once again, it's about setting the tone that I want and I've found that these songs always bring a smile to people's faces. 


Need the perfect playlist for your class Halloween party or to set the spooky mood this October? I've got you covered! I've compiled some of my favorite, kid friendly, ghoulishly good songs that your whole class is sure to enjoy. 


I get so excited about Christmas after Halloween that I sometimes forget to listen to all of the good Thanksgiving Jams out there! Okay, so there aren't tooo many Thanksgiving songs... but I've put together an hour long playlist that is perfect for your class feast or any other festive activities you have planned. I especially love to play "I've Got Plenty to be Thankful For" from Holiday Inn each year as we start our Attitude of Gratitude activity.


'Tis the season to be jolly! If your school is as into celebrating Christmas and Winter as my school is -- this playlist is sure to be a hit. Full of fun renditions of well known songs, this 7.5 hour playlist  (what can I say, I really love Christmas) is fun to shuffle through all season long! 

8. Valentine's Playlist 
Valentine's Day (or PALentine's day as I call it in my class) is my student's last class party of Elementary School so it's a pretty big deal. We focus on the love of family and friendship and of course I had to look for some upbeat tunes to match the occasion. 



Join the dance party on Spotify -- my account is MyTeacherStyle. 💃 Let me know in the comments below if there are any other songs you want to see on these playlists. Have fun moving and grooving!