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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Ring in the New Year

It's fine! It's grand! It's $1 each for TWO top selling products 
for TWO days, only.

I've joined up with Shelly Rees's Focused Success group to present $1 deals.
Search #Ringin2019 on Teachers Pay Teachers, and you can find some bargains!

Here is what I have to offer:


Note to Sellers - I am participating in this sale because I have joined Shelly's group. If you want to grow your store and have many great sales, too, don't just hop in (that's rude) but join the Focused Success Group. You won't regret it!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Cartoon Music Fun with December Holiday Songs

I found some cute cartoons to go along with songs!

Remember this one by the Looking Glass?

Surely everyone remembers the Eagles!

I love the Grateful Dead even though 
I don't understand why anyone who is dead would be grateful.

And since it's Chanukah and Musical Monday Moves Me 
has a December theme, I present the Doors!

Happy Chanukah to those who celebrate!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Win TpT Gift Card for Cyber Sale!

Guess What?

AND if you want to make Cyber Monday even better, here is a great contest 
for SIX chances to win a $10 TpT Gift Card! Just click on the Raffelcopter and you're good to go!

Also, don't forget to shop Cyber Monday. Catch My Products will be 20% off! With the code #cyber18, you can receive an additional 5% off!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

Yesterday, my husband and I went to see the new Queen movie, "Bohemian Rhapsody." As a long time Queen fan, I soaked up every minute of it!

Rami Malek played Freddie Mercury as if we were seeing the real deal. The movie has motivated me to watch Queen documentaries to see how much of the movie matches reality. It seems like musicians are an interesting breed with their own sense of sorrow as they experience the world. I'd always read that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a way of Freddie dealing with his parents' rejection of his gayness and flamboyant self, that clashed with his religious upbringing. That's not what the movie indicated.

Either way, Queens' unique style and brave step to be original catapulted them into stardom. Here are several of my favorites from the band to celebrate the newly released movie and the unbridled talent that was Freddie Mercury.

I saw Rami Malek on the Late Show talking about the iconic teeth he wore for the movie. He wanted to do the most ostentatious thing that Freddie Mercury would have done, so he had them cast in gold.

I remember seeing Rami Malek in "The Night at the Museum" and thinking he's got a special something about him. I'm not surprised to see him go on to fame with this career setting role!

The Live Aid scene of the movie was especially fun. Mercury had a way of grabbing an audience and not letting go. That talent is especially seen in this clip. Oh, how I wish I could have been in London at that concert. Many of the best talents were there but clearly Queen stole the show. Little did I know, Mercury was sick with Aids and hadn't been with the band at the time of this production. I even read that he was having trouble with his voice and that a doctor told him not to sing. He hid that, and the rest of his pain, well.

Seeing this movie and listening to documentaries about Queen has got me thinking. I have very little in my store that deals with music. I wonder, is there a market for this? In other words, should I write an educational story or create an educational products about Queen? I just might!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Daylight and Duets

Although I've never considered myself to be a materialistic person, I do have one possession that is especially dear to me. This morning I spent a good 15 minutes rotating her loving hands through the hours and allowing her to sing her beautiful songs, at each quarter hour, while taking a short rest inbetween. I am happy to say that my grandfather clock is no worse for wear when I gently took her an hour back . . . and then moved her moon one click backwards––which shouldn't bring her harm. I had wanted her ever since I was a child and saw her relatives lining the walls of my father's furniture store. Last spring, she became mine, and although her music may be old to Mitchell, but I never grow tired of her song. Love that clock! Thanks to everyone that had a part of bringing her to me. 

This week's Musical Monday Moves Me theme is unconventional duets. Not sure how unconventional these are, but I love these duets, so I'll share!

Also, here is one more song that has been on my mind this week. 
I love Alanis Morisette! 
Her song is so raw with emotion while having a 
stick-in-the-head sort of rhythm.

Friday, November 2, 2018

A Message About The World

I know I've been absent for a long time. We have had a hard month and family has come first. I see a lot of bloggers air their dirty laundry as they write personal details that shock and surprise. That is not me. Just know, my husband and I will be fine, as well as the rest of the family. 
I am deeply saddened by the anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh. As a Jew, this hits too close to home. I am also mortified that Mike Pence would see it as appropriate to comfort Jews with a Messianic "rabbi." That was horrendous! I pray for the world and our country because we are currently in a very bad place, as our POTUS spreads hate and fear that has energized the crazies. I also see him trying to strip away our basic human rights and constitution. It is vital that our country provides checks and balances on the monster in office.

October 29, 2018
Rose Mallinger, 97 years old, born in 1921. Her eyes had seen anti-semitism and had also experienced renewed hope. Her Judaism had been tested and she had found her way back to Shul, to Shabbat, to prayer. And Rose Mallinger was killed, murdered in the Sanctuary, at prayer, during the Shabbat, her day of rest.
We bow our heads in sadness and grief for the families of Rose and the other 10 murder victims whose lives ended last Shabbat in Shul. Like the martyrs in our High Holy Day Prayer Book, they died because they were Jewish. We extend our support as well to the families of the four police officers who came on the scene and tried to apprehend the murderer and were wounded in that noble mission.
My sister lives one block from the Tree of Life Synagogue. From her front door, one can look out and see the building. One passes three or four different synagogues on a walk through that neighborhood.
A few years ago, the synagogue where my sister belonged was damaged because of a fire, and for her son, my nephew's Bar Mitzvah, Tree of Life Synagogue opened its doors and hosted the Bar Mitzvah. I sat in that Sanctuary; I took an Aliyah on that Bimah; I went downstairs to that basement; I entered and exited through those doors. It was a house of worship and love and community on that day. On Saturday, it turned into a graveyard.
Ironically, we at Park were reading Torah at 10 a.m. last Saturday and answering questions on the separation of milk and meat. Milk and meat are separated in Jewish religion, but why? Because milk represents the human instinct to preserve and nurture life, just as a mother's milk serves to sustain her infant. Eating meat represents the human instinct to destroy life, as we do each time a cow is slaughtered to produce the steak that appears on our plate.
To eat an animal that was once alive and is no longer, and to wash it down with milk, the substance meant to keep that animal alive, is ugly, cruel, gross, vindictive. It is Treif. Separate them! Don't trespass life with death!
On Saturday, a synagogue, a place meant to nurture, elevate, sustain and enhance life, was trespassed and became a place of murder, of death, of slaughter.
Anti-Semitism is alive in America. The Anti-Semitic feelings of racists and bigots have now translated into actions. The Anti-Semite appears to feel more empowered in 21st Century America, emboldened, feeling somehow protected in the "mission" to "kill all the Jews," to quote Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh assassin.
I was born with a figurative "third ear." It is an ear inherited from a Jewish tradition that has lived on every continent and in countries all over the globe. It is a 3rd ear which I inherit from my ancestors, and it hears not only the words spoken but what the words symbolize or imply in a deeper sense. My 3rd ear keeps me up at night, and it has left me sleep deprived since Saturday.
I applaud that President Trump called this act "hateful poison." Needed words. The President said this is "something you wouldn't believe could still be going on," and reminded us all that "Jews have endured terrible persecution for centuries." Necessary and strong statements. However, my 3rd ear began to ring when the President suggested that "an armed guard at the synagogue would have been able to stop (the murderer)," and that "maybe nobody would have been killed." My 3rd ear began to ache when the President repeated this four and five times in those first hours, placing responsibility for the deaths on the lack of synagogue security, implying that a synagogue guard would have been able to stop a gunman with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, a weapon used in the military.
While every house of worship would do well to increase security after Saturday, the suggestion, intentional or not, that responsibility for these deaths rests on the synagogue and on synagogue security - - what I hear with my 3rd ear is what Jews have sadly heard throughout our history:
Anti-Semites around? It's tragic, it's poison - - YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.
Anti-Semitism on the rise, neighborhood feeling unsafe? Very sad, but, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.
Unable to practice your faith freely without fears, sorry to hear that, good luck - - YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.
Maybe I misunderstood, maybe I'm overly sensitive, but I have inherited the 3rd ear of my grandfather in Poland, when pogroms attacked Jewish villages and our people were told, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.
Next week we observe the anniversary of Kristallnacht, when Jewish stores and synagogues were looted and burned down in Germany, and our people were told, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.
That is why our ancestors came to this country from Europe, because in Europe, the message to us was YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.
We expect more in America. We assert our right to more in America. We expect, we demand civility from our leaders in a land where tolerance is supposed to be promoted and diversity celebrated, where violence and hateful words are challenged and punished, and disagreement doesn't need to lead to cruelty.
What is needed is far more than adding a guard to every building, it is to guard against speech that bullies, insults, mocks and vilifies everyone who is different than you or disagrees with you.
By the time violence reaches the guard at the door, it may be too late. Needed is to guard against labeling every other group as your enemy, reducing the world to "us and them." Stopping the crime of murder means first stopping the anger that preceded it and which is being fueled today by angry public dialogue.
Rose Mallinger, Jew, became Robert Bowers' "enemy" the day she was born 97 years ago. Why? Because someone told him so. And he felt emboldened to act upon it. She deserved better, as do we all, in the United States of America. She expected more than "YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN."
We are America. Our condolences and deepest thoughts and prayers go out to the families of our American Jewish martyrs.
Joshua Skoff,
Senior Rabbi

Sunday, September 30, 2018

October Sale & Music

I know I've been gone awhile. 
Things have been busy, and my mind focused on life.
I'm back for today, and we'll see about tomorrow. 
While you're here, please check out my Teachers Pay Teachers sale on seasonal items. From Oct. 1 - Oct. 4, find seasonal products at 10% off! 
I hope you'll stop by.

Stop by my store to find 10% off of seasonal products!

Products for Halloween:

Products for Fire Prevention Week:

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Back to School & SALE

Back to School season is near or here. Depending on who you are, you are either celebrating, crying, or indifferent. For those of you crying, I hear ya. For many years, I'd always get a little weepy around the fourth of July. Seeing those beautiful fire crackers let me know that my summer vacation freedom would be drawing to a close. Since I retired, and teach part time, I don't feel that way anymore.

Good News, though! Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Back to School sale. My store will be set at 20% off for both sale days, August 1st & 2nd! PLUS if you enter the code BTSFRESH at checkout, you will receive an EXTRA 5% OFF!  I have a lot of new bundles that are already at 30% off. Between the sale and the code, you can get a great deal on these!

As for your thoughts on back to school . . . 

You will Survive

clipart of teacher crying
         Thanks to Educlips.

For those of you crying, here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you start the new year.

You WILL survive. I've had 31 years of teaching - some good, some bad - but I got through them all.  Some survival tips I've learned over the years are:

1.) Stay out of the Teachers' Lounge.

Teachers' lounges can be a great place to discuss problems with others, but they can also be a hornet's nest of trouble. Be careful not to spend too much time there because conversations can lead to negativity, or you might just say something you'll regret later. I remember a group of sixth grade teachers who became incredibly negative as the year wore on. Being around them made it hard to keep a positive attitude, so it was better to just avoid them. Nice people, but real Debbie Downers!

Debbie Downer Meme

2.) Keep up with Your Work Load.

teacher has too much work.

I admit, this is easier said than done. There are teachers who stay after school for hours and those who go home as soon as the bell rings. I can't tell you what type of teacher to be because we all have different situations in our lives. On multiple occasions, I'd try to take my work home, only to never do anything with it! I know teachers who will be up all night grading papers, after they get the kids to bed, but I could never do that. I was the one who would stay at school late and bring nothing home. As long as the work gets done, it doesn't matter how you do it. But the important thing is to stay focused! You can waste hours day dreaming by looking around your room or visiting with coworkers. You need to get your work done and maybe have a life. Mom warned you not to be a teacher. Too late. You're a Teacher.

3.) Try to Have a Life.

words from Shining
We've heard, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." 

That's not to mean you're going to run out on a murder rampage, like in "The Shining" if you work all the time. Of course, then again, there are those politicians who want to arm teachers. That would put a whole new meaning to "behavior management." But, it's easy to get into an emotional rut if you never do anything with your family or that is fun. You could see the latest movie in the theater, if your husband doesn't teach, too, or how about a downtown ghost tour.  Did you know that I am also a ghost tour guide in Memphis? If you're ever in town, come see me!

Woodruff Fountaine House

I love the Woodruff Fountaine house! It's so beautiful and spooky at the same time. Definitely haunted! I even saw the ghost cat one night. And, I saw Mollie Woodruff's butt print on the side of her bed.

Check us out!

Monday, July 30, 2018

#MMMM Two Songs in Sign Language

When I was in college, I majored in Speech Pathology and Audiology. I actually took a sign language course and consider it another language that I partially speak. My friend and I used to love walking through campus signing to each other. It was worth it for the funny looks.

As I searched for songs with signs, this was the first one to come up. I like it. I'll bet others do too. I'm going to post it and pay attention to my visits. Kathy and I never could sign this quickly or understand something that fast, either.

Here's another good one that I dance Zumba to. 

Have a great week!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Teacher Evaluations: Success When Admin Pops Into Your Classroom

Let's face it. Pop in teacher evaluations are stressful for everyone. If you don't believe me, just open a colleague's door after the announcement of a new round of evaluations and watch her jump. If you have the perfectionist personality, it doesn't matter if you've been teaching one year or thirty, you want to perform well.

The Evaluation

When I'm expecting a pop in evaluation, I want to make sure to be teaching the way the administrator wants me to teach. Let's face it, I need to teach that way all the time. I've found that there are specific tricks to gain a smile out of your principal when he or she pops into your room. It begins with good teaching. The more you perform evaluation ready lessons, the easier it becomes to fall into the routine principals look for.

Technology in the Classroom

Photo of a mammogram machine. Get the mammogram outside of school.
Get your Mammogram before class!
If you are lucky, you have technology in your classroom. No, not the kind pictured. I'm actually referring to a Promethean Board or a Smart Board. I had a Promethean Board for years, and therefore, have many products in Active Software. After losing my Promethean Board, I still use the software! 

If you don't have great technology in the room, look into Powerpoints. Having a visual display is like having a friend at the board advising you on what to do when your mind is screaming. I know a teacher who got so nervous during an evaluation that she forgot her students' names.

When you make a powerpoint, you can remind yourself about what needs to be done each step of the evaluation.

Essentials For a Great Evaluation

I Can Statements and Common Core (or State) Standards

I start my evaluations with an "I can" statement and standards.  It's vital that your kids know what you are teaching them and that these standards are part of your given curriculum. Many evaluators will also expect the kids to state what they plan to do. You should also mention what your kids will be asked to do at the end of the lesson. For example, "At the end of this lesson, we will all show our skills at giving mammograms adding fractions." 

Remind Students of Past Learning and Why This is Important

Next, I will mention what we have done in the past and tie it into what I 
will be teaching. If you can tell the students how this will help them in the future, this is also a good strategy. 

babies toes
"In the past, you counted jelly beans to make sure your brother didn't get more than you. One day, you may have a beautiful baby sister, and you will need to know how to count her toes to make sure they are all there." 

Or better yet, "In the past, we have written a lot of stories. Using strong dialogue will enhance your writing."

This could also include the infamous set. Perhaps you could show a short video from TeacherTube to get the kids interested in what you are teaching. I once showed a video from The Beverly Hillbillies for an evaluation on idioms and word meanings. The administrator loved it!

Gradual Release Teaching

Right before I retired from public school, teaching was all about the gradual release method. When I gave a model lesson at my private school, I used this formula to win my part time teaching gig.

It's really not that different from the TIM method, I was taught thirty years, ago. The point is, you have got to model the skill! 

I do.

If your class is like rooms I've been in, there is always that one kid who wants to interrupt you when you are modeling how to do something. I will simple hold up a finger or flat palm and tell Big Mouth that sweet darling, "I'll get to you in a moment."

We do.

Next, I will work with the class to complete the given skill. I like to use sticks with names written on them to randomly call on kids. I know that during an evaluation, we all want to call on that bright kid who will give us the right answer, but you can certainly gain points by how you handle the wrong answer or the kid who gives you the blank stare.  

I like to give the child wait time to think of the answer. If the well is totally dry, I will move on to that kid with the hand up, only to come back to the stumped one. In the end, you need to make sure the child gives you a correct answer, even if it is only parroted after another student speaks.

Checks for Understanding and Formative Assessments

Your evaluator will expect you to continually check your students for understanding. This can be done in multiple ways. Sometimes I use a Likert scale, that tells how much kids understand. I've asked them to give me a quick thumbs up or down, or a Fist of Five. This is where students give me anywhere from one to five fingers to indicate how well they understand. Make sure to check the room to see if the kids are looking at others. Sometimes kids are embarrassed to show that they don't understand. In this case, you might want to include a note on a private piece of paper. Through continuous formative assessments you can guide the way you teach in terms of reteaching or enriching.

Specific Feedback

While giving tips, please remember to use specific feedback during your evaluation and any time you are teaching. "I like the way you . . ." is always better than, "Good job."

They do.

Have you ever heard that you don't really know something until you can teach it yourself? Pairing students up is a great way to practice the skill with a classmate. If a child is really struggling, why not put him or her with a strong student. Although we like to think of ourselves as the best, sometimes another kid can get the message across even better than we can.

You do.

Have the kids show you what they can do with some sort of exit ticket that is turned in. This way you can gage whether or not they learned what you've taught. I also like to include some sort of application of the skill with a project or writing prompt. If someone is struggling, you can reteach while others are working on this end project. 

Puppy next to a computer


I'll admit, after over thirty years of teaching, I've still been dinged on evaluation lessons for not having a strong closure. Closing a lesson is an easy thing to do, but in the stress of the moment, it's easy to forget. A simple, "What did we do, today?" or "Let's do one more." Should do the trick to wrap up your teaching success.

Evaluation Ready Lessons

Best of luck with your evaluations. If you don't want to take the time to write a new powerpoint for your evaluation, I have plenty that are ready made and tested. I also have several that have been student tested but not used for an evaluation. After all, when dealing with pop ins, I've had plenty of lessons ready when dog-gone-it, they didn't show!

Teaching Power point Fact vs. Opinion

Engage and challenge your students with this evaluation ready lesson from Catch My Products. This standards based power point will teach your children to distinguish fact from opinion. Like many of my products, it is evaluation ready with the gradual release method, standards, "I can" statements, and a check for understanding. Toward the end of the lesson, students will be challenged to write their own fact and opinion statements in response to pictures. 

Teaching Power point Area and Perimeter Word Problems

Kids often have trouble applying area and perimeter concepts to real life situations, especially with irregular shapes. I taught area and perimeter word problems of irregular shaped rectangles through this colorful and challenging lesson for my evaluation with fourth grade gifted and talented students. The sixteen page power point contains leveled handouts, which may be printed, to access student understanding. An enrichment activity is also provided in the lesson. 

Teaching Power point Writing Dialogue

This lesson was written for my evaluation with my fourth grade gifted students and includes work station suggestions after the Power Point presentation, which I ended up not including as part of my evaluation. My students were reading George Washington's Socks, so I used passages from the book to teach the rules of dialogue. This power point could be used without reading this particular book, although one might want to modify the enrichment on the worksheet. 

Inference Lesson for The Indian in the Cupboard

This powerpoint related to The Indian in the Cupboard is complete and ready for use with your teacher evaluation. Guide your students through the process of making inferences from the text of chapter one of The Indian in the Cupboard. The lesson includes a powerpoint, exit ticket, lesson plan, and tips on how to make your evaluation shine with everything TEM evaluators are looking for. 

If you are stuck being a teacher because you didn't listen to your mom, who told you to choose another profession, laugh with this post.

I'm a Teacher

Don't forget to Catch My Products!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Songs With Numbers

It's Monday, which means time for "Musical Monday Moves Me." I've been moved from the Teachers Pay Teachers conference. I have strong NUMBERS of new bundles out, so here are songs with numbers . . . after all that is the theme.

When I think of songs with numbers, I immediately hum Three Dog Night's, "One is the Loneliest Number." This is true. It takes a community to raise a child and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the TpT seller's community last week!

It's fun to revisit the sixties. We used to call these people "long-haired hippy freaks," but actually, they are way cooler than the bands today! Also, I love seeing sexy young men with man buns.

When teaching fractions, one way to explain them to the kids is to call them broken numbers. Furthermore, the prefix "fract" means broken or cracked. If you break your arm, the doctors may refer to it as a "fracture." "Fracking" means getting oil or gas from a rock. I guess they must break stones to get something out of it. So why the talk about fractions? Because I just finished a new Fraction Bundle, and it is selling for 50% off, for today only!

And now, for a number song involving fractions. 

When it comes to educational topics, you can find anything on Youtube. This may be a little off topic, but it is MY #1 favorite educational song from way back when, so it must pass. Here it is! Enjoy.

Friday, July 13, 2018

I'm a Teacher: If You're a Teacher, Read on.

I am a teacher, and here are my thoughts about teaching after attending a TpT conference.

I just attended this year's TpT conference in Nashville. It was a lot of fun, educational, and above all else, I made great friends from all over the place! I even met someone from my same city.

Teacher friends.
I'm in the middle between a friend who lives in my town and one who came from Australia!

A large part of the message was to blog. I taught in public school for thirty years and have yet to offer one piece of advice to beginner teachers. Sorta. I know two years ago at the Orlando conference they asked me what I would tell new teachers, and I yelled, "RUN!" If you didn't listen to your mother, who had spent a life time teaching and told you not to, you're stuck. After all, many of us get bitten by the teaching bug, and there is no getting out.

I Got Stuck Being a Teacher.

I was in college, I had an argument with a professor after I told him I was changing my major out of teaching.      
Girl punches man - she's a teacher.
No I did not punch him. Who do you think I am?
He said, "You're going to be a teacher."

I said, "I am not."

He told me I could go on to the School of Journalism, but I'd be back because he knew a teacher when he saw one.

I later crawled back to him to tell him I was going to be a teacher, only to get an, "I know."

So Now, You Are a Teacher.

Here's what you gotta know. Get on the Teachers Pay Teachers site because it has a lot of great materials on it. . . many for free. If your administrator is not on board, so sorry. My school is connected with TpT for Schools. If I see something I like, I click a button. If my admin likes it, too, she buys it for me. It doesn't get any easier than that, so tell you principal about TpT for Schools.

Teaching Advice:

Finally, thirty years and you want advice. Here you go. I don't care how many balls are on the upper elementary or middle school (if you STILL have recess) playground. The word is singular. The boys need to grab their "ball" when it's
child in shock about teacher.
time to come inside.

Have a great day, teacher, and don't forget to Catch My Products!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#TpTFireworks Dollar Deals & 20% OFF

I’ve joined with a bunch of topnotch sellers to bring you the  

#TpTFireworks Dollar Deals!

Just search on TpT #TpTFireworks, and you’ll find a plethora of great deals.

I’m almost giving away my 
Writing with Transition Words

Christmas Activities
Ho! Ho! Ho!

It’s never too early to shop for the holidays.

Also, my ENTIRE store 
is 20% OFF 
on July 3rd and 4th.