25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years

Inspired by this post. I present 25 things I have learned in almost 25 years.
  1. Life is a lot more complicated as we get older. 
  2. Relationships become more complex with age. 
  3. Planning never goes as planned. 
  4. I love chocolate. 
  5. Yoga is good for the body and even better for the mind. 
  6. I love to teach. It doesn't matter what it is I am just happy to share what I know and have learned. 
  7. I love being a student. I love to learn and don't want to stop. 
  8. Poetry is beautiful. 
  9. Love can be complicated but it doesn't have to be. Try to simplify it. 
  10. I don't know anything. 
  11. Sometimes I think I know everything. 
  12. I desperately want to be a mother and can't wait until I am one. 
  13. Life is tough. 
  14. I hate money. 
  15. I want more money. 
  16. Hold on to good friendships. 
  17. Don't be afraid to cultivate new friendships. You can never have enough. 
  18. People are naturally good. Society destroys them. Try to build them back up. 
  19. Be good to people. All people. 
  20. Accept compliments. 
  21. Smile. As much as you can.
  22. Be thankful for everything. 
  23. Happiness is the most important thing. 
  24. Listen to music daily. You'll be glad you did. 
  25. Despite the challenges in my past and the difficulty of patience I still genuinely believe that good things come to those who wait...and wait. 
Wishing you all good things! What have you learned this year?

How To: Create a Blog Media Kit

A Media Kit is essentially your blog's resume. If you are looking to advertise on your blog having one prepared is a smart idea. Blog still new? Create an outline now and update the statistics when you are ready.

First, keep in mind that, like a resume, Media Kit formats are subjective. Be creative but professional, clean, and concise. 
  1. Welcome: Describe your blog, target audience, and a little about yourself. Why should they advertise with you?
  2. Blog Features: Do you have topics that you address weekly? Monthly features?
  3. Statistics (include Google Analytics picture):
    1. Page views per month (Source: Google Analytics):  
    2. Average page views (in the last 3 months): 
    3. Unique visitors per month: 
    4. Traffic sources with number of incoming links per month.
    5. Reader demographics (from Quantcast)
    6. Subscribers:
      1. RSS:
      2. Mailing list:
      3. Google Followers: 
      4. Twitter followers: 
      5. Pinterest followers: 
  4. Sponsorship Details: What kind of ad spacing are you selling? What size and price? Where will the ad space be? Will you host giveaways? 
    1. Include Payment Options here. PayPal or check? Do they need to pay prior to their ad's appearance?

I recommend having a Tab Link titled Advertise or Sponsor with a few statistics and contact information for a complete media kit. This allows you to get a feel for anyone even remotely interested in advertising on your blog. Also, if a sponsor is hesitant, you will already have their e-mail on file and could contact them a month or two in the future once your blog grows.

Still confused? Let's chat about it in the comments.

Minimalist Classroom Tips & Tricks

A clean, organized, and green classroom is a constant process. Tackle one or two bullet points a day for 15 minutes every morning. Use your students to help you. It is their classroom too and they love to help. Also, don't forget about room mothers, classroom volunteers, interns and student teachers.
Student's Desks:
  • Assign a student as a Desk Manager who, once a week, looks inside all of the students desks and chooses one as a winner. The cleanest, most organized desk wins. 
  • Send home finished essays, projects, etc every 2 weeks. Consider writing down everything on the Smart or white board that needs to go home to keep clutter at a minimum. 
  • Assign each student a white board to keep in their desks. For younger students they can use these to color on instead of using paper all the time. For older students, they can use these to answer questions that you project to the whole class. You can come around and check their answers or have them hold them up for a quick check of understanding. 
Teacher's Desk:

  • This year vow to use an online calender to write down your lesson plans. Google Calender is great because you can access it from anywhere, your desk, home or bring a tablet to faculty meetings. 
  • You know all those binders you have full of lesson plans, materials and unit plans? This summer break,   scan all your resources into the computer. Separate files with folders by month and then by topic. 

  • Ask your students what books are there favorite and what books no one has ever touched. Why haven't these books been touched? If it's because they are hidden in a corner or tucked behind classics then rotate your books. Any books that are ripped beyond repair should be recycled. Books that do not fit your students interests or levels donate to another classroom
  • If you have limited resources consider doing a book swap with another classroom. Have each student choose one book for another classroom to borrow and have another classroom do the same. Two weeks later swap back. Do this every month so that kids can experience new books and are reminded of how good it feels to share. 
  • Pick up the first thing off the shelf, behind the cabinet, or hidden behind your desk. Have you used that  in the past year (if you are teaching the same grade) if not, donate it to another classroom. You aren't going to use it. 
  • Be ruthless with your sticker collection! Consider donating some to a new teacher. Same goes for books, workbooks, etc.
  • Clean or toss old glue sticks and wipe down sticky scissors. All your kids who have to wait an extra few minutes for their busses can test out markers. Donate the old markers to the art room where they can be cut apart to make watercolors. 
  • Grab an empty jar, stick a post-it note on it that says broken crayons. Whenever a kid or teacher finds a broken crayon they can put it in the jar. Once it is full, have a parent make new crayons with them. 

What Should I Leave for the Sub?

As a substitute with almost 3 years of experience I have seen it all. Here's what every substitute folder should include:
  • List Students Who are Helpful. Kids you would recommend I reach out to if I can't find something, or need them to run an errand. Most classes have Students of the Day but having a list of additional helpers is still important. I tend to assign numerous jobs during the day both for myself and to redirect negative behaviors. 
  • List Students to Watch out For and offer suggestions to avert negative behaviors. 
    • Susie tends to have anxiety so please watch out for her/be extra sensitive.
    • Teddy is rambunctious and can't sit still - give him important jobs like sending him to Mrs. Lucy's room to deliver a "message" so he benefits from walks. 
    • Leonard likes to answer every question- give him extra attention during transitions but remind him that we need to take turns when you ask questions.
  • Have a Seating Chart
  • List reading, math, writing and work buddies. Kids often always forget so having it written down for the sub is very helpful. 
  • Leave Extra Assignments or Activities
  • Reward System: Let us know if you have one and what it is. Do you have a compliment chain? Reward individual behavior or only for groups?
  • Bathroom/Drink Procedure: Are they only allowed to go after lunch? Once in the morning and once in the afternoon? Only during transition times? Also, include which students to look out for who typically go repeatedly out of boredom or for actual health reasons. 
What else should teachers leave for substitutes?

Get a Footer and Make it Good

Or a new pair of shoes. Actually, you need both. A footer, located at the very bottom or foot of your post is highly underused in teaching blogs. Too often we are so focused on our header, other graphics and the blog posts that we neglect what is a very important feature. Why? Because it is the last thing your readers see before clicking that X in the corner. What kind of impression do you want to leave your readers with?

Get a Footer

Decide how you want the footer to help you. Do you want to...
  • Connect with Readers? Leave your social media links as a way for them to find you.
  • Get More Subscribers? Make that link easily accessible and don't be afraid to put it in more then one place on your blog.
  • Stay on Your Blog Longer? Include links to your popular posts, archives, or specialty posts. 
  • Make more money? Include an advertisement, link to your TeacherspayTeachers store, or link to your Etsy shop.
  • Declutter: My favorite! Streamline your sidebar(s) by placing links in the footer instead. 

A footer is not just for Copyright information. As vital as that is, a footer should be used wisely based on the impression you want to make and the results you want to obtain. 

How are you improving your footer? Did you even have one before reading this?