It Will Never Be Enough - My Best Advice For Fellow Teachers


Have you stopped to look around at all the amazing teachers lately? These teachers are killing it. They have kids engaged in learning that's mind-blowing.

If you aren't a teacher let me give you a quick glimpse into our lives to help you understand this post's central message. We have 20+ (give or take a few) kids in our classes.  Each one of these beautiful children comes with their own special set of care instructions.  Each child comes with 0-4 parents and 0-8 grandparents who sometimes want to communicate their thoughts with the teacher about how they could be doing it better.  Some children have a varied set of abilities like throwing desks as far as a discus thrower or throwing themselves on the floor for a marathon tantrum, all while these teachers keep teaching, solve the child's problem and never stop loving that kid who just spit all over them.  Teachers understand that behind every behavior lies a broken child who needs help.  They stay up late at night coming up with the perfect lesson that will support Johnny while helping Jane to flourish.  That amazing teacher will stop by the store at 6:00 a.m. and spend their own money to get the needed materials for today's lesson.  They know what it means to differentiate and move every child in the room through at least a year's growth.  Only to have their district personnel come in the next day for a walk through and rip them apart.  Meanwhile the district isn't upholding their contracts and providing compensation so that the teacher can eat and pay their electric bill.  While they're standing in line the person next to them decides to tell them that they should be thankful because they get summer's off.  Any teacher will tell you that this scenario is common place and not an exaggeration.

As a mentor teacher one of the most frequently asked questions that I get is "What would you like all new teachers to know?"  To that I answer this, "It will never be enough".  You can stay up all night and it will not be recognized.  You can teach your heart out and it will be expected and not appreciated.  You can spend every last dime to provide for your students and you'll be thanked by having your tax credit taken away.  For my fellow teachers, just know that I'm with you.  I've shed the same tears over the same sorrow as you.  I suggest you do what you can in the classroom while living in a way that provides a happy life for you and your family.  In the end it will never be enough in the classroom, but it will be in your home so choose wisely friends.

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ELA Lesson Plans #12


Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Here we are in week two of one of the best units EVER! The students are having a great time learning about cultures from around the world, how those cultures affect us, all while incorporating reading, writing and social studies standards together.  This week will not disappoint! All teachers know that learning just before a break can leave students a little less motivated, distracted and it may feel a bit like herding cats.  This is why I up the engagement of my lessons so that students keep on going until the minute they leave on Friday.

We will be diving into comparing and contrasting again on Monday.  The students will have a host of H.O.T questions to guide their thinking.  On Wednesday we will take a break a break during shared reading from cultures and dive into Thanksgiving.  We do not learn about a sugar coated Thanksgiving, rather we learn an age appropriate approximation of the events.  Students will look at the cause/effect relationships between these events in order to connect each event through a timeline.  Students have been discussing and learning about an author's point for weeks now, Thursday will have them reading three passages, determining the purpose and finding evidence to support the different points.

So much going on this week that every minute counts.  Our shared reading lessons will run between 20-30 minutes.  We will have fun read alouds ever day.  (I'll list some of them below for you.). We will also be incorporating fall fun into our guided reading.  Students will continue to write their Sweden pieces to display for their culture fair.  If you are interested in details to any of the extra events that I have listed, please look for links below.  You can find my lesson plan outlines from A Modern Teacher here.
Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click below to see what a culture fair is and how to run one.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Here are my read alouds for the week.
Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.
Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Need a freebie for bellwork? Click on the picture below.  Check out last week's lessons for a couple other freebies for a culture fair.
Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click below for some of the materials that I'm using this week.
Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.


Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.




Playdough Word Workstation



Looking for an inexpensive word workstation that's ready to go? I found these letters and play dough in a set at Walmart for $6.  The play dough fits perfectly in a pencil box.  The letters also fit perfectly in a pencil box.  This center pairs perfectly with my DIY sound boxes.  Click on the picture below to find the directions for them.


ELA Lesson Plans #11


The next two week's of lessons are going to be two of the BEST WEEKS EVER!  The students absolutely love learning about different countries and essentially getting to travel around the world. We will start the unit off during bellwork on the first day by making a suitcase to store our papers in.  You can see an example of the suitcase in the picture below titled "Travel The World".  Each day we will focus on a new standard and a new country in reading.  Students have already encountered each of these standards and will lead their learning in small groups.  Centers will be set up for them that include differentiated text, hands-on images of items from the country, flags, maps and a sight seeing guide.  You'll see examples of these in pictures below.  The unit that I made for these standards contains all print and go materials so there's not a ton of prep.  There will be a written assessment each day in the form of a graphic organizer that students will store in their suitcases.  Each day we will play a folk tale from the country that we get off of youtube for a read aloud.  It's another great way to incorporate more standards while the students stay engaged.  When time permits, students will get to make a craft during bell work from the country of the day.


Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

During writing we will write an informational piece on our country of choice.  Each student will be assigned a different topic to write about.  The topic may include:  food, art, music, practice, clothing and/or beliefs.  We will use this writing during our culminating experience which is a Grade Level Culture Fair.  If you want to see how we run our Culture Fair, click on the second picture of this post.


Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click on the picture below for a Sweden freebie.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click below for a free passage on the U.S.A.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-United-States-Reading-Passages-2166287


Click on the pictures below to find the materials used this week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  This week's lessons will be all about countries of the world which include:  Spain, South Africa, Japan, China, U.S.A and Sweden.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

You can find my lesson templates over at A Modern Teacher by clicking here.


DIY Sound Boxes


Need a word work center that will last forever for under $5? One of my favorite new DIY crafts for word work is wooden letters.  Walmart has a ton of different ones for $2.50/pack.  They also have the rectangles for about $2.50.  I painted the letters and wooden rectangles in under 15 minutes.  Then I cut out circles on my Cricut to represent sound boxes.  You could draw boxes or write CVC, CVCE, etc.  The letters and sound boxes fit perfectly in a pencil box.  I also store them in a large paper tray from The Container Store when I want to add word lists.  See below for a twist on the idea and a link to another workstation that costs under $5.



If you want to spice up your centers you can find play dough sets with letter stamps for about $6.  The set below came from Walmart and it fits perfectly with my sound boxes.


For you higher students use the blank back of the rectangles.  They can build longer words without boxes.



Click below for another DIY word building workstation.



ELA Lesson Plans #10

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Every teacher knows that this week has the kids acting a little bonkers.  You'll notice that while my lessons all have a Halloween theme, they would work for classrooms that don't address Halloween with the exception of Big Pumpkin and Happy Haunting.  You could just switch out the titles if you prefer.  I'm super excited that I spent the beginning of the year building up student's reading foundations because we are starting Monday with the entire plot of the story.  Students will get into coding the text with the different parts and even have conversations about the author's point including the lesson/central message.  The fact that they can do this efficiently in a 20-30 period of time is awesome! Tuesday's lessons is all about Mary Shelley who had a rough childhood which she overcame to become an infamous author.  Students will connect events in her life to choices and other events.  In case you don't know, I'm a HUGE Pumpkin Jack fan.  It is a realistic fiction book that follows a boy and his pumpkin through the pumpkin's entire life cycle.  We will put a pumpkin outside the following day and watch it decompose and sprout a pumpkin patch.  If you want to see detailed lessons on Pumpkin Jack visit here.  Thursday and Friday focus on fun, engaging simple text.  Students are not going to be at their finest and I would rather see them accomplish something rather than nothing.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

Just like reading, I feel like we've turned a big corner in writing.  We are taking our first standardizes writing assessment and really editing it.  We'll only be focusing on contrasting to start. Once they have mastered certain crafts and structure we will add to the standard with comparing too.

Click here to learn all about teaching ELA in the 2nd grade classroom.  These free and fun lesson outlines will detail curriculum and ideas for all informational, literature and writing standards in my elementary classroom.  Your second grade students will love the lessons and activities shared here.  These lesson outlines are added and updated almost each week.

If you are interested in the Frankenstein and Mary Shelley text that I'm using, you can click below to see it in my store.




My lesson plan templates come from A Modern Teacher.  If you want to find the first in my lesson outlines click here.

DIY Classroom Mailbox


Need a mailbox for your students to turn in sweet letters, suggestions or private concerns? I recycled this mailbox which my daughter had for Valentines.  I wish I would have taken a before picture, but it was in a blue and purple Frozen theme.  I used a cheap $1 can of spray paint to paint it black.  The flag was red and I painted it with acrylic paint.  The letters were cut on a Cricut and voila, now students have a place to turn in their thoughts and I stay organized (hopefully).