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Monday, 4 July 2016

10 Reasons Why I Love Teaching!

I LOVE teaching…and here’s why!
Educators are lucky people, we are…we really are!

   The truth is I haven’t always wanted to be a teacher, who does really…it’s not a prestigious job or a well paid job. We don’t see teachers featured in magazines or TV, we don’t often hear about their success stories, if ever! When you are a child, other jobs take your fancy.
   I will always remember the day I decided to become a teacher though! It was in high school, an ordinary day like any other in school (unfortunately). We were having a Physics class and we had a teacher who obviously didn’t want to be there, not just that day…any day! He asked me a question and I answered it to what I thought was the best of my abilities, but he had a different opinion. Now it’s not that he thought the answer was wrong, it wasn’t, he thought I was wrong, wrong to take his time, wrong to be in a classroom, wrong to exist. He looked at me and the words that came out of his mouth, though profoundly hurtful and offensive, were my turning point and the reason I decided I wanted to be a teacher. Right there and then I knew that children needed teachers who loved them, who inspired them, who encouraged and educated them!
   I loved English since the very first day I heard it (for you who don’t know me, I’m Greek) and I fell deeply in love with them since the very first day I was taught the ABC, it was like someone unlocked deep, ancient hidden knowledge in me! I know it sounds weird or cheesy but that’s how I felt. I started speaking it in every occasion and started thinking in English! Till this day all my thoughts are not in my mother tongue but in what I think is my actual mother tongue and that’s English! Now don’t get me wrong, I love Greek, it’s a fascinating language with a plethora of linguistic treasures but for me so is English!
   Now for the task at hand…why do I love teaching so much?!
üI love teaching English because I love the language so much that I want to share it with as many people as I can find wanting to learn it!
üI love the feeling we get…that magical moment you feel like crying from joy, when a struggling student gets it! When you see it in their eyes or/and in their answers that they have understood what you have been explaining and they can now use it! That feeling is life!
üI love it, absolutely adore it when students come running to me, the minute they see me entering and they give me huge hugs yelling Miss Stevieeee!
üI love finding ways of teaching new students, different students! I love the challenge, I love the creativity, the research and the feeling of accomplishment when I do find the perfect method or way to make my students understand!
üI love organizing my lessons! I know it can get boring but when your heart is in it, you come up with so many ideas that it feels like a tree growing, expanding and branching out!
üI love the fact that I get to meet people who share the same interests as me! Colleagues who understand my hopes, my fears and my struggles!
üI love books! I love reading them, reading them aloud to my kids and hearing their versions of what the book meant! I love discovering new books, especially books I can use in my classroom, the ones I can teach with or/and the ones that could teach us all something!
üI love it especially when kids who struggle at home with various problems, find school to be a haven. It’s beyond anything I can explain, that feeling you get when you see an unhappy, abused or unloved child feeling safe, feeling loved and you see them smiling and playing, feeling accomplished and part of a bigger family! If that’s not worth all the struggles of being a teacher, then what is!
üI love listening to children! I love the way they think, their perspective and take on our world and how they perceive situations we find common or not interesting! I love their imagination and instincts! They make me a better person every single day!
üI love sharing what I know with my kids and thus providing them with a useful tool for their lives! The very thought that what I taught them could be the base to a successful, happy life or career is more than a great reason to wake up every day!

Bonus reason and frankly the most important one!
Teaching is nothing short of a blessing and I strongly believe we should all feel lucky and blessed the Lord gave us that opportunity, that great honor to be teachers!
I would love to hear from all of you and read about YOUR reasons why you feel lucky to be teachers and why you LOVE teaching! You can copy the picture below if you want :)
My best wishes,

Stevie (or Stavroula)

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

I need holidays, don't you?

Hey guys!!!

It's been a very long time since I last wrote a blog spot and I must say it's been a few very busy and weird months! I've been super busy with school, I've had some health related family issues and to be honest I didn't feel like sharing.

Do you know this feeling that you've had things piling up and you are patient and hard working and go through everything stoically and then suddenly your head feels like it's being pressed by a heavy object and you feel that every little thought that's more complex sets it on fire? You can't think anymore, you can't analyze or find solutions, you do the bare minimum just to get through the day. Well, I felt like that for a couple of months, then felt better and now I'm at a point where I just need, I mean...NEED to relax, let my hair down, think of nothing but butterflies, beaches and bunnies. Or whatever is fluffy, pink, shallow and makes people smile.

I need holidays!
I want to wake up without the stress of being late or not having personal time.
I want to feel lightweight and carefree.
I want to-seriously now-not talk-like with an actual voice-to anyone for a few days. #hermit_with_a_laptop
I want to take care of ME and pamper me.
I want a serious-oh my god I'm now broke-shopping spree
I want to only use my colorful pens for drawing and not grading.

Don't get me wrong...I  a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y love my students! I love teaching them, seeing them ,hearing them laugh, seeing them progress more or a little, slow or fast every day. What I'm done with is everything else surrounding teaching this year. I'm done with _itchy bosses, absurd parents with a teacher syndrome, delayed salaries and all that jazz!!!

I don't know if anyone else feels that way, ever or sometimes, maybe I'm just a tired teacher who had a bad school year. But if there's more of me out there, feeling drained, tired...please do let me know! I need the solidarity :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

It worked!!!

Hello friends,
I'd like to talk about something new I tried in my classroom that worked really well. 

What I have noticed all these years of teaching is that kids have difficulty understanding and identifying the parts of speech such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. (don’t get me started on adverbs) hashtag:a_teacher’s_life_can_be_challenging

I was using my Emergent Readers resource to help my kids work on their reading skills and the idea hit me! Why not work on these simple sentences which add adjectives and new nouns and Sight Words gradually? And so I did!

It was a big hit! Kids started identifying the parts of speech in every sentence easier and faster than I would have hoped for!

As you can see each sentence adds new words and parts of speech like new adjectives and nouns to the words already repeated which makes it easier for the kids to identify nouns, adjectives and verbs. 

The extra bonus is that they also work on Sight Words!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Swap and Share Blog Hop ESL Teachers

Hello all and have a great October!
I'm writing today with a lot of joy because I have joined some amazing ESL teachers to have a blog hop that will include many brilliant products!
We decided to each teach on one of the other's products and write to you about how our students responded!
I was very happy to swap products with the amazing Yara Habanbou Boustani from Yara Sea of Knowledge  and try out one her products I really like!
The resource is called Finding the Main Idea Activities with Pirates and you can get it here
Yara will be working on my Emergent Readers Set 1 

You can read all about it and how to help your Students with Reading, here
To start with I need to say I love Reading Comprehension resources and worksheets so it was very important for me to try this resource and help my students understand and find the main idea in a text!
The story in this resource is divided in many parts and for each part there are exercises on finding the main idea or/and the supporting details!
Here are some pictures from my classroom:

Hop on to Yara's blog to learn about how she used my Emergent Readers in her classroom. :)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Classroom Reveal #2getherwearebetter

Classroom Reveal #2getherwearebetter
It took me a while (well…more than a while) but I managed to find time, sort out my photos, delete most of them and choose a few to show my beautiful yet very small classroom!

First things first though, a big thank you to these amazing and helpful fellow teachers/bloggers Ashley Schroeder from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd  and Angie Olson from Lucky Little Learners who host this #2getherwearebetter linky party. Love, love, love both their shops and work!

So, I’m a teacher in a very small school, with small classrooms and few students but we are a very happy and loving community! Every summer my mind is bursting with ideas of how to decorate my classroom and make it a space where learning will flourish and kids will be happy to go to every day!

To start with here is a small glimpse of my classroom

As you can see it’s a small, cute classroom. There is a big table in the middle and students sit around it. I don't have my own desk and I sit at the head of the table...much like a family dinner. I usually have 10 students which gives me the chance to work very closely with them and they can interact much easier with each other and make friends! Working the room can be a bit crowded but we still enjoy it!

I wanted this year-more than any other year- to make my kids feel they belong! I wanted them to feel loved, safe and accepted! I feel this saying covers everything I wanted and I simply love it!

On the left we have our Word Walls and on the opposite wall we have our Grammar Wall! I love our walls and how my students enjoy exploring every new thing I pin there.

On the corner we have our Chill Out space! I love how our palm tree came out especially since it is my students’ work! Here my kids have the chance to read a story, solve a crossword, draw, color and do extra work when they have finished early or when…they have forgotten how to use their inside voice!

My favorite part is the behavior charts and our brag tags! I absolutely L O V E encouraging my students and rewarding them for their small or big successes!
The behavior chart as well as the Student Of the Month cards are part of my Classroom Decorations and Labels resource. You can find my Brag Tags on my shop. I find brag tags one of the best and most effective classroom management tools!

I love my home away from home and if I weren’t such a bad photographer I would have more photos for you, but I’m working on my skills!
I hope you all have a wonderful year, full of the cutest, little laughters and most loving hugs!

Click the image below to show incredible classrooms from amazing teachers!

Incentives That Work With All Students

Incentives that work!

What makes a student perform better, study more, try harder? Well isn’t this the million dollar question?

What I have found to work almost without a miss is Brag Tags!

Brag Tags are incentives, like many other incentives out there…BUT what makes them so successful? They are hands on proof you did it! Students get to wear them like medals and show them off to their friends!

Whenever one of my students does something good or better, they get to wear their brag tag for their entire day and have their picture taken wearing it/them. That way not only their schoolmates but all their friends and family can see how well they did.

The amazing aspect of Brag Tags is that you can encourage students for every little things they do well. Even the students who don’t do that well in a specific subject can be rewarded for being tidy, for being a good friend or for their handwriting. What I mean is that with Brag Tags ALL students feel involved and successful at something.

We all know how important it is for a child to feel he/she belongs, that they are part of a loving, learning community. When kids feel comfortable and accepted they perform BETTER and feel HAPPIER! Isn’t that what we aim for? Students who not only are great learners but also happy children!

Brag Tags can be anything:
-Computer Wizard
-Amazing Artist
-Born Writer
-Terrific Reader
-Excellent Librarian
-Social Studies Genius
-True Scientist
-A Star at Math
-Hard Worker
-Best Friend
-Always Quiet
-Fabulous Listener
-Goal Achiever
-Squeaky Clean Helper
-Punctual homework
The Most Helpful
-Caught being tidy
-Peace Maker
-Wise as an Owl
-Star Student
-Dictation Expert
-Grammar Genius
-Hand Raiser
-Handwriting Expert
-Impressive Progress
-Excellence in Tests

You can find these Brag Tags on my shop.

You can glue them on paper chains and hung them on the wall.

This way students can look forward to performing well and being rewarded. You should make sure thought to have a strict rule about destroying the Brag Tag or letting them take it home…there’s a magical place outside your classroom for lost Brag Tags!

I have also implemented the Monthly Genius Club Brag Tags for students who have an overall good performance or behavior. It’s like an extra credit and I have yet to see one student who doesn’t want to be in those clubs! They really, really , REALLY like them!So far I haven't met a student who didn't look forward to receiving a brag tag and worked harder to get more!

I do really love my students and I want them to know that i am always proud of their efforts and their skills!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Google For Education Presentation and Tips

Google for Education is:
-A large suite of powerful applications and services
-Fully cloud based (No local applications or data)
-Designed by Google to run their business and customized especially for education
-Totally free for schools
Google for Education includes many powerful tools including:
Gmail (E-mail)
Contacts (E-mail, Phone, Online)
Calendar (Appointments, Reminders)
Groups (Collaborative Groups)
Hangouts (Text/Voice/Video Messaging)
Vault (Archiving)
Drive (File Storage)
Docs (Word Style Documents)
Sheets (Excel Style Documents)
Slides (PowerPoint Style Documents)
Forms (Online Forms)
Sites (Websites, Blogs)

and much more…

Access Anywhere, Anytime

All Google services can be accessed from any device, anywhere there is an Internet connection – seamlessly extending learning outside of the classroom and opens the door for further online learning initiatives.
Consistent & Compatible

Because Googlfor Education is entirely online it stays the same whether you’re on a school computer, on a laptop at home, or on a mobile device out and about no matter what kind of devices you own.
Truly Unlimited

Free yourself from the limits of traditional file storage and work in the cloud with completely unlimited storage.
Always Up To Date

Google for Education is constantly updated with new features without the need for expensive and time consuming upgrades.
Easy Yet Powerful

Googlapps are intuitive and easy to learn while still having the powerful features we need.

Google for Education is free!

Collaborate with Anyone!

One of the biggest benefits of Google for Education is the ability to share documents and data with anyone! You can:
Collaborate with colleagues or students on the same document at the same time with real-time updates
Work together on group projects
Share handouts and forms with students and parents
Create electronic surveys and quizzes and collate the results
Collect homework and other documents electronically, mark them and give feedback.
Reliability & Security
Google guarantee:
99.9 percent uptime
No Advertisements
Retain ownership of data
Data will not be shared with third parties
Data will be backed up multiple times

-Unlimited Storage
-Full text search
-Conversation View
-Text, voice & video chat
-Replaces Outlook and Outlook Web Access for e-mail
communication and Lync for text chat
-Tabs & Labels replace folders as the way to organize your e-mails
-Text, voice and video chat capabilities for quick messages, 
meetings, calls to parents or homework & study help for students.
-Filters allow you to automatically organize your emails
-Spam filtering & anti-virus

-Create unlimited calendars
-Share your calendars with anyone
-Subscribe to other people’s calendars
-Create appointments and reminders
-Reminders through the web page or Chrome notifications
-Syncs to your phone
-Replaces Outlook Calendars

-Create e-mail, phone or internet contacts
-Create groups of contacts
-Create Circles which people can subscribe to
-Organise your contacts and remove duplicates
-Syncs to your phone
-Replaces Outlook Contacts

-Virtual field trips
-Connecting classes in different schools
-Absent students can view classes live
-Recording video
-Online professional development sessions
-Online meetings

-Text, voice or video chat with up to 15 people from any location and
from any device.
-Share screens and collaborate in real time
-Join meetings from anywhere
-Broadcast public demonstrations, messages or announcements
live or to YouTube

-Virtual field trips


-Connecting classes in different schools

-Absent students can view classes live

-Recording video

-Online professional development sessions

-Online meetings

-Unlimited file Storage

-Access you files from anywhere

-Share files within the school or outside

-Easily recover deleted files

-Much safer and more secure than USB thumb drives and portable hard drives

-Powerful word processing

-Share documents with anyone

-Collaborate and edit documents as a group in real time

-Automatic revision history

-Upload or convert existing Word documents

-Export to common formats such as docx and pdf

-Collaborative lesson planning
-Collaborative brain storming
-Shared resources
-Group note taking
-Tag-team story writing
-Peer review
-Live meeting minutes

-Powerful spreadsheet application
-Share documents with anyone
-Collaborate and edit documents as a group in real time
-Graphs and charts support
-Comprehensive formula support
-Scripting support
-Upload or convert existing Excel documents
-Export to common formats such as xlsx, pdf and csv

-Collaborative data collection
-Inventory tracking
-Shared resources

-Powerful multimedia slide show application

-Share documents with anyone

-Collaborate and edit documents as a group in real time

-Animation and transition support

-Embed images, videos and more

-Upload or convert existing PowerPoint documents

-Export to common formats such as pptx and, pdf

-Instructional material

-Collaborative presentations

-Inventory tracking


-Book / Activity talks

-Interactive quizzes & stories

-Powerful online form application
-Create surveys, quizzes and forms
-Many question types
-Anonymous data collection support
-Share online
-Collect data directly to spreadsheets

-Parent and staff surveys
-Student data collection
-Online quizzes and tests
-Team / activity sign up

-Easy to use drawing tool
-Collaborate with others
-Shapes, lines, text and more
-Connectors for diagrams
-Hyperlink support
-Import and export images

-Create images and diagrams
-Collaborative whiteboard
-Create clickable images and maps

-Build websites without coding
-Integrates with other Google Apps services – Docs, Sheets, Forms,
Calendars, Maps, Images and more
-Public or private access
-Page level permissions
-Easy to embed content and videos
-Fully customizable

-School websites
-Collaborative student projects
-Online learning activities
-Online resources
 Google Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a document for each student. It also creates folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized.
Students can keep track of what’s due on the Assignments page and begin working with just a click. Teachers can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback and marks right in Classroom.    
Easy set Up - Teachers can add students directly or share a code with their class to join. It takes just minutes to set up.
Saves time - The simple, paperless assignment workflow allows teachers to create, review, and mark assignments quickly, all in one place.
Improves organisation - Students can see all of their assignments on an assignments page, and all class materials are automatically filed into folders in Google Drive.
Enhances communication - Classroom allows teachers to send announcements and start class discussions instantly. Students can share resources with each other or provide answers to questions on the stream.