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3 Ways Teachers Can Find Work-Life Balance – Guest Post

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I’m so excited to have a guest blogger blog for me today! The below post is by Sarah who runs Teach and Be Well, a fitness and wellness blog designed to help busy teachers take better care of themselves. She believes that a healthy lifestyle is essential preventing teacher burn out. You can find more about her, as well as self-care ideas, recipes, and more at www.teachandbewell.com

There are very few jobs that take as much work outside of the “workday” as teaching. We grade, we lesson plan, and heaven help you if you coach an extra-curricular activity. Sometimes it can feel like a struggle to find balance, and then we just shrug and say “that’s why we get breaks”. But the truth of the matter is we can burn ourselves out very quickly this way. We need to be more intentional with balancing our day-to-day lives. Below I’ve outlined 3 tips that will help you as you seek to find that balance in your own life.

  1.  Reverse schedule your time- Working at home is sort of an inevitability for most teachers. If we didn’t, things just wouldn’t get done. But that doesn’t mean that it has to take over your life. Try reverse scheduling your at home “work time”. Start with your set schedule, i.e. what time you usually get home from school, any after school commitments, etc. Then add in things you’d like to make more of a priority in your life, like getting more sleep, having time to workout, etc. Finally, schedule your work into the remaining time. You may need to have some flexibility here. Maybe you really wanted to workout 3 days a week, but you know you’ll get behind on grading, so you only schedule 2 days. Or maybe your ideal bedtime is 9 pm, but that doesn’t give you enough time in the day, so you go with 9:30. The idea is to divide up your time and predetermine how you’re going to spend it so that one thing doesn’t take over (ahem.. grading!)
  2.   Have a regularly scheduled “thing”- Try to schedule in an activity that is consistent week to week. Maybe you join a book club or a crafting class. Or maybe you make every Tuesday night “date night”. Over time it will become a regular part of your schedule and you’ll avoid scheduling other things in that time slot, “Oh, I can’t. Wednesday nights are my salsa dancing nights.” Bonus points if you can schedule 2 nights a week for yourself, one fitness related and one hobby or relationship related.
  3.  Learn to say no- I completely understand why people have a hard time with this one. I often have trouble saying no to things my friends ask me to do, especially if I don’t have a good excuse. We all need to stop this. It’s time to realize that needing a night at home is a perfectly valid excuse. Another mindset change I had to make was recognizing that teaching is an act of service, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about saying no to extra service projects, mentor-ships, etc. I’ve found that as a teacher I’m pouring into kids all day, and I need activities in my life that fill me back up. I still, of course, do meaningful projects outside of school, I’m just more selective about what they are.

Work-life balance isn’t something that just happens because we want it to. You have to be intentional in creating that space. I’d love to know how you find balance in your life, let me know in the comments!

Winter Break Update

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Hello everyone and Happy Almost New Year!

I’m entering week 2 of Winter Break and wanted to check in on here real quick. I know I’ve been MIA on the blog the last 2-3 weeks, but with the craziness of the holiday season (and getting really sick the last week before break) some time away was needed.

I will be back to blogging within the next week so stay tuned!

To keep up with me in the meantime…check out…

Facebook – Team J’s 2nd Grade Fun

Instagram – Team J’s 2nd Grade Fun

TPT Store – Jordan Johnson

Pinterest – Team J’s 2nd Grade Fun

Have a lovely New Year’s and I’ll be checking back in the next few days!

Last Day of the TPT Cyber Sale

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Today is the last day of the TPT Cyber Sale. My entire store – Jordan Johnson – will be up to 25% off with the code CYBER17. Check out some of my book studies that are also for sale below…

Check out my newest book study series – Jake Drake….

Jake Drake – Know-It-All

Jake Drake Know-It-All - Book Study        Jake Drake Teacher's Pet - Book Study

Check out my other book studies below. Click on the picture for more information…

Nate the Great Goes Undercover - Book Study       Cam Jansen - The Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones - Book Study     Flat Stanley - Framed In France - Book Study

Ivy and Bean - Book Study       Ivy + Bean and The Ghost That Had to Go - Book Study      Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record - Book Study

Nate the Great and the Lost List - Book Study       Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Book Study      Surprises According to Humphrey - Book Study

I Survived - The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 - Book Study

Happy Shopping!

TPT Cyber Sale Begins Today

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The TPT Cyber Sale begins today!! My entire store – Jordan Johnson – will be on sale up to 25% off using the code CYBER17 today and tomorrow! Check out some of my story problem products below… I even have a new Christmas Story Problems product that was just added to my store.

Christmas Story Problems – This one of my newest additions to my TPT Store. Christmas Story Problems are great for advanced first graders and second graders.  Includes 16 different addition and subtraction story problems perfect for the holiday season.
Christmas Story Problems
Elapsed Time Story Problems Differentiated – 3 different versions of elapsed time story problems. Includes a set for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students. 
Elapsed Time Story Problems - Differentiated Task Cards
Multiplication Differentiated Story Problems – Includes a factors to 12 version and a challenge version.  Great for a math station or independent practice!
Multiplication Story Problems - Differentiated
Division Story Problems – This product includes story problems with division situations within 100.
Division Story Problems
Happy Shopping!

TPT Cyber Sale – Starts Tomorrow!

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The TPT Cyber Sale begins tomorrow, November 27! My entire store – Jordan Johnson – will be on sale for up to 25% with the code CYBER17.  Check out some of my grammar products below…
Check out my Grammar Fix It Products – On Sale using the code CYBER17
Grammar Fix It provides grammar practice perfect for literacy stations, small groups, whole group, assessments, and more.  All Grammar Fix Its are printer friendly and offer 2 printing options.  Each packet offers at least three different versions for skill practice.  Recording sheets and answer keys are included.  For more info, click on the pictures below to see the product in my store.
Grammar Fix It - Capitalization & End Marks        Grammar Fix It - Apostrophes - Possessives and Contractions
 Grammar Fix It - Verb Tense Agreement       Grammar Fix It - Commas        
Grammar Fix It - Spelling High Frequency Words        Grammar Fix It - Quotation Marks

All of the Grammar Fix It’s above can be found in my Grammar Fix It Bundle – also on sale!
Grammar Fix It -  BUNDLE

Happy Shopping!

Class Dojo Videos

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I absolutely love the Class Dojo videos.  I use Class Dojo as a way to grade/track our non-academic standards (conduct, effort, and personal habits).  But, my favorite part of Class Dojo is the videos tab under Big Ideas. You can find it….here
Class Dojo started this a few years ago and started out with their videos on Growth Mindset. They also have videos on perseverance, empathy, gratitude, and mindfulness. All important life skills for students to learn!
My favorite one and the series we always start with is the series about Growth Mindset.  As we know Growth Mindset is a big talking point in education and so important for kids to learn about at a young age. However, it can be quite tricky to explain it in kid friendly terms! But, Class Dojo has done it! They use friendly characters – Katie and Mojo and have them encounter typical kid type issues – making mistakes, not knowing how to do something, wanting to give up, etc. Through these videos it teaches kids that your brain is a muscle that can get stronger, that just because you don’t know how to do something means you don’t know it yet, and more…
I’ve been showing these once a week for Growth Mindset Monday – Morning Meeting. Students greet each other and share growth mindset type questions. For example, what is something you’re good at, what is something that is hard for you, and more.
Students also focus on the videos for their Morning Message. I like to have students respond explaining what they learned in past videos. It’s a great way to jog their memory and lead in to the next video since they build on one another.
Then, for the activity we watch the episode and discuss.  The kids love these videos and I find them applying what we learned in class.  For example, we were working on rounding which was hard for some of my students. We focused on the fact that we just don’t know it “yet,” but the more we practice the better we’ll get at it!
I’m excited to finish up the Growth Mindset series next week and then we’ll be moving on to Empathy.  How do you use Class Dojo videos in your room?  Comment below and let me know!

Why I Love Sit Spots

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I got Sit Spots in my classroom last year and have absolutely loved them! I highly recommend them and don’t know what I’d do without them.  
Here are a few reasons why I love them…
  • They are bright and colorful. They come in many different shapes and options to fit your class decor or needs.
  • They last! I used these last year and then washed them over the summer. I was a little nervous, but they look great! I love that you can wash the to disinfect!
  • They really do stick.  The velcro on the back of these is legit! These things stick.  My room gets vacuumed and the Sit Spots are all where they should be.  
  • It’s not a rug! Don’t get me wrong, I have had a classroom rug for 8 out of my 11 years teaching.  And, I do love a rug, but these are better. Students still each have their own spot and you don’t have the issues with tripping over the rug. I can’t tell you how many times the rug got caught under something and then there was a bump. I was often the victim tripping over the bump or the edge of the rug. But, that is not an issue with Sit Spots.
  • They are inexpensive. When I bought Sit Spots last year, they were $2 per Sit Spot. Not a bad price and like I said they last!

If you are interested in buying them, check out the Sit Spots website…here.

iPad Tip

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We are super lucky at my school and are 1-to-1 with iPads in the classroom! This is amazing and I’m so grateful that we have technology at everyone’s finger tips! This year I wanted each child to use the exact same iPad every time. It helps with log-ins and makes it easier when students are working on iMovie and Keynote type projects.  To help make this easier and manageable in the classroom, I’ve done two things.

1. I put a number label on the back of each iPad. Yes, simple, I know.  I just took an Avery address label and numbered every iPad.  Each child has their own number in class and now they know which iPad is their iPad.

2.  I can’t show a full picture of this due to privacy, but I also came up with another way of “labeling” the iPads.  For the locked screen, I put a picture of the child whose iPad it is. In that picture they are also holding up their number.  So, there are two identifying factors. This makes it easy for my iPad helpers to quickly pass out the iPads.

TPT Back to School Bonus Sale – Tuesday ONLY & a Giveaway

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Great news! TPT is having a Back to School Bonus Sale.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 22nd my store – Jordan Johnson – will be up to 25% off with the code BTSBONUS.  Check out a few of my favorite products below! These are all included in the sale.

Opinion Writing Prompts Cards – Perfect for teaching the opinion standards – W1.1 and W2.1.  Includes 30 different writing prompt cards.
Opinion Writing Prompt Cards
Would You Rather – Opinion Writing Prompts – This is one of my newer products. It also covers the opinion standard. This packet includes 60 writing prompts. Each writing prompt is a different would you rather question and the topics include school, home, sports, animals, and more.
Would You Rather... - Opinion Writing Prompt Cards
Graphing Galore Bundle – This bundle includes my 3 very popular graphing products – Graphing in 2nd Grade, Learning About Line Plots, and Create Your Own Graph Project. Perfect to cover all of your second grade graphing standards!
Graphing Galore BUNDLE
Surprises According to Humphrey Book Study – My students always love working on book studies during small group time.  The Humphrey book is always popular because who can resist a cute hamster.  I also have other book studies available in my store…
Surprises According to Humphrey - Book Study
I’m also hosting a giveaway for a $10 TPT Gift Card that could be used during the boost sale tomorrow. Head to my Instagram account to enter….Team J’s Second Grade Fun Instagram

Friday Favorites – Postponed this week

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Due to Meet the Teacher today and school starting Monday, this week was a little busier than planned.  I’m going to postpone my scheduled Friday Favorites and move it to next week. So, next week check back for my favorite ideas for building classroom community.

Have a great weekend!