Earth Day


Earth Day is April 22nd and it is a perfect time to teach conservation concepts such as Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  I love teaching this to my students and then have them share their knowledge when they teach their buddy class.


My favorite way of starting the lesson is to give the history behind Earth Day.  Brainpop has the best video to begin the lesson titled “Rachel  Carson”.  The video gives the history of the environment in the late 50’s and 60’s, use of DDT, and the book Silent Spring.

Conservation Concepts

Students typically understand recycling efforts, but struggle with reduce and reuse.

Examples for Reducing

  • Buy items in bulk with less individual packaging
  • Turn off running water- example when brushing teeth, shorter showers
  • Use a reusable lunch bag
  • Turn off lights and fans when you aren’t in the room
  • Plan trips to limit gas

Examples for  Reusing

  • Donate clothing
  • Shopping bags
  • Use excess water on the garden
  • Reuse water bottles
  • Use glass jars to store other items
  • Paper for scratch paper

Earth Day Craft

A perfect way for my students to reflect on the lesson is to create this 3D Globe.  It is best to have them complete the globe as each concept is taught.  Each side of the globe is a different view so I have the assembly instructions on the screen.

After my class creates their craft we visit our buddy class later in the week.  We read It’s Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer.  Then my students help their buddy make a 3D globe using the primary version.  Plan for  an hour to complete the project at your buddy class.  This works best with 2nd and 3rd grade classes.  I hope you enjoy teaching about Earth Day!






Teacher Interview Tips- What to Wear and Bring

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

This week,  I thought I would share the positives from the other side of the interview desk.  These tips will be helpful to anyone interviewing for a teaching position.

Unique Job Interview

Interviewing for a teaching position is completely different from a business job interview.  We are professionals, yes, but as a teacher, your interview has to show you have personality, be able to work with children, be friendly to parents, creative, and the list goes on.  The tips on other interview web sites are helpful, but many don’t understand the uniqueness of our positions.


As a teacher we do not make a lot of money, so try looking through your closet before the interview to find an outfit.  I really like the ideas from I only aspire to look like her!  She has a clothing section for teacher interviews.

These were some helpful hints I had found:

  • A pop of color from a trendy blazer, scarf or shirt( for guys, a sharp stylish tie)
  • A spring dress with a nice sweater
  • Nice shoes that were moderately high and stylish (not our regular comfort teaching shoes or the ones you wear out for a fabulous night)
  • Make sure your shoes and everything looks nice and well kept (I used to work with an IBM contractor in my business days, and he said they would always look at the interviewee shoes.  The rationale was, if they couldn’t take care of all the details, they couldn’t take care of IBM’s product)  That stayed with me for a number of years.
  • Moderate jewelry
  • Tattoos try to cover, and no piercing jewelry showing- policies are different at each school and each principal has their own opinion.

What to Bring

Leave your school tote in the car and bring in just a few items.

Walk in to the interview with:

  • 5 Copies of your resume on nice paper
  • Stylish notebook to refer to if needed
  • Nice, clean purse, tote, or portfolio binder that is appropriately sized
  • A small water bottle that is plastic or disposable (if you leave it behind it won’t be a problem, and a metal water bottle always falls over at the most inappropriate times.

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It’s Testing Time!

David Pennington Unsplash

April is the month where testing is on our minds.  In honor of the testing month of April I am going to share some tips that have helped me tackle the days of testing.  This is actually one of my favorite times of the year.

No. 2 Pencils

Ask for donations of Ticonderoga pencils.  Parents will send you all different kinds of pencils, but save your Ticonderoga’s for testing time.  After years of listening to the whine of the pencil sharpener, I just put this in my wish list at the beginning of the year.  Ticonderoga’s are usually on sale in August and September and my parents will usually provide me with plenty of pencils at this time.  Testing time is not the time for the cheap, decorated, dollar pencils.


A lot has changed since I started teaching.  We used to use the standard bubble sheets and No. 2 pencils, but we now have computers to complete testing.  We just started computerized testing last year, and we definitely had some challenges.  If testing starts at 8:30, then start the computers 20-30 minutes before.  While the computers are starting, (don’t let the students leave until they start the computer), have the students go to the bathroom, get drinks, set up their desk for the test.  Have extra computers on the charger turned on in case a laptop dies during the test.


Does allergy season begin the day testing starts? Does someone roll the tests in pollen before they are delivered to the school?  The minute the test gets delivered to  their desks and everyone gets settled the sniffling begins.  I have 8 boxes ready to go that can be delivered to student desks.  In fact, in my class if your nose is running my students just put a tissue box at their desk.  There is nothing worse than watching a student use their sleeve because they feel they can’t get up.

Attack the Grading Pile

As you get ready for testing in the morning give yourself a little treat by setting up a grading station to grade your papers.  The treat is at the end of the week, you don’t have to bring any grading home!  Before school starts on the testing day I set up 2 areas ready for grading.  One is in the back of the room, and the other  is at my desk.  My grading station has the papers piled with the answer key.  As you are walking the room sit for a while and do a little grading then rotate around to the next grading station.

After the Test

Your students are done with the test and all the other classes around your are still working.  Ugggh!  How do I keep these kids quiet! I usually plan a quiet activity that my  student’s can do that is educational and fun.  For 13 years, our big project in 5th grade is to Color and Label the United States.  This is a great review before State Reports are assigned.  This lasts for the whole week of testing, and they can use the computer or Atlas Book to help them complete the map assignment.  I have added this as a free download on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.  I size the United States on a legal size paper and run it through the copier.

Free Download on Teachers Pay Teachers!