Dear Teacher,

You are not a babysitter.

When I kiss my child goodbye for the day and they fumble out of the car, dragging their back back, it’s you who helps him put it on his tiny shoulders. Not because you are a babysitter, but because you take pride in modeling what it looks like to be helpful. 

As he walks to class, it’s you who reminds him to grab breakfast. Not because you’re a babysitter, but because you know without a good meal, he won’t be able to concentrate on the lessons for the day. 

After he eats, you remind him to throw away his trash. Not because you are a babysitter but because you realize kids need reminders and you want to engrain the importance of being a responsible citizen. 

Once he makes it to class, there you are to greet him. Your smile is like home to him. Not because you are a babysitter, but because he knows you actually care and are happy to see him. 

While he’s in class, and struggles to read, it’s you who reminds him of those reading strategies. Not because you are a babysitter but because you are a phenomenal educator! 

When he’s eagerly flailing his arm in the air to answer a math question, you give him a wink and hold up one finger. Not because you are a babysitter but because you know it’s important for him to understand the value of delayed gratification. 

During centers, he had a disagreement with a classmate. You crouched down and used your soothing voice to help them come to a resolution.  Not because you are a babysitter, but because you teach more than Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. 

Later on at recess, he tripped on his shoe laces and scraped his knee. You kindly, tied his laces, wipe his tears, gave him a hug and a Band-aid. Not because you are a babysitter, but because you care for your “kids” like you would your own. 

When you dropped the class off at lunch, you noticed he had tears welling up and asked him, “What’s wrong?” He is sad because his dog died over the weekend. You invite him to eat lunch with you at the picnic table outside. Not because you are a babysitter, but because you know relationships come first and mental health is just as important as the subjects you teach. 

At the end of the day, I see my son beaming as he bounds off the school bus. “How was your day today?” 


I value you. I value what you do for my son, day in and day out. You are a superior educator. You are my child’s daytime mom. You are not a babysitter. 

With much respect and admiration,

One Lucky Parent

[suddenly] Going Digital?


[ready or not]

In the midst of all this [sudden] digital teaching, a friend reached out to me looking for help navigating this new terrain. 

**background...  Before retiring 2 years ago, I taught at a 1:1 school and virtually all of my assignments were digital.**

I asked her what platform she used. 

“Zoom?” She questioned, unsure.

“Zoom is a platform to meet with your students and have a live discussion but it’s not a platform for assigning and collecting student work,” I added. 

In essence, the small private school she works at does not have such a platform. She had been improvising and using Dropbox to collect work. Great problem-solving!  Since she had already stated that, I wouldn’t suggest changing to Google Classroom. Had I had the conversation earlier, I would have.  Google Classroom is your friend :) Or even setting up a blog... any way to interact and provide hyperlinks and attachments can do. 

I’m sure NOT having a digital platform/whiteboard is the majority of cases. Most schools are NOT digital. My public school district, however, uses Canvas.  And when I say that, I mean it’s available but few teachers actually use it as it is intended. Side note: I literally got a text from a former colleague asking for help and I just couldn’t. It had been too long to walk someone through it without having it right in front of me. 

Back to Private School Teacher-Friend. She told me she was sending home questions for the kids to answer about the book they left off reading before this COVID-19 break and the kids are sending back a photo of their answers. 

I said, “Why not send a link from Survey Monkey? You can make your questions, literally on the phone app, and send the survey link to your class (parents). The kids can type the answers on ANY device!” 

A few minutes later she had her first “test survey” done, sent it to me, I answered and she got an immediate response. 


No. More. Worksheets. 

I’ll keep you posted on how it impacts her teaching and student interaction!

Post your questions in the comments or to the story on my FB Page. Try out a survey I quickly made!

Digitally yours,

It’s Not Always an Accident

Two years ago, while teaching in my fourth grade classroom, I realized something. Maybe you already know this. Maybe not but I’m sharing my experience.

It’s Not Always an Accident

How many times have you heard a student (or even your own child) say, "But it was an accident!"

Yep, a million times.

::Flash back to two years ago::

After extensive discussion, examples, scenarios etc. I had a student crack the screen on his laptop. I was in a 1:1 classroom and every student was given multiple responsibilities and expectations on how to take care of their digital tools. When I found out about the crack, which was reported by another student, I was so disappointed. Disappointed A) because the student whose computer it was didn’t tell me and B) because HELLO? his computer screen was cracked!!  And of course, the student had no idea how the crack got there.

"Did you place something on the keyboard and close your laptop?" (One of the very specific examples I gave of what NOT to do.)

Teaching life lessons to kids doesn’t come with a manual.  We as adults need to use our wisdom to help children become more self-aware.  What’s the difference between an accident and a mistake?  Here are some anecdotes, examples and insight. #teachaholic #itsnotanaccident #lifelessons 🤷🏻‍♂️ {shoulder shrug} was the answer.

I told him, "Well, that’s the only way that could happen."

"It was an accident," he replied almost as a flippit response.

"Ummm no. It wasn’t an accident...

{Confused look on his face}

"It was a MISTAKE."

From that day forward, I made a point to ALWAYS point out the difference between an accident, a mistake, and something intentional. Even with my own children.  More importantly, discuss the cause of the mistake and how to avoid it in the future.  I always say, "You're a kid.  You're supposed to make mistakes.  Just learn from them so you don't do it again."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> describes each as such:

Accident - (noun) an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap

Mistake - (noun) an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.

Intentional - (adjective) done with intention or on purpose


Here are a few examples from the classroom and a few from home...

  • Student has a water bottle on the desk while working on their computer.  Water spills on the keyboard... MISTAKE.  This is an avoidable incident.  The choice to have a water bottle on the desk is unnecessary for the task and was poor judgement
  • A child is walking with their shoes KNOWINGLY untied and trips.  MISTAKE.  Now, if they didn't know their shoe was untied and tripped, it would be an ACCIDENT.
  • A child is walking in line and swinging her lunch box... Whoops! She hits the person behind her in the face... MISTAKE
  • You spill water on the floor and choose not to clean it up... someone falls... MISTAKE.
  • And here are 29 Mistakes every adult has made at least once in their life (I've done 25 of the 29 listed lol)
Mistakes are the effect of poor decisions.  An accident does not have a cause.  It's purely coincidence.

So you can see my point. Because the word "accident" is also often used when one makes mistakes, it can confuse kids (and even some adults).

And in my class, students who made mistakes AND intentional behaviors got a consequence. Not the same degree but something that would hold them accountable.

So the next time a student does something like run their hands along a teacher’s bulletin board and makes something fall off... or jumps over someone sitting on the floor and steps on their hand, do us all a favor, point out their mistake and ways to prevent future mishaps 😉

Hold Students Accountable with 3 Words

I never bought into the whole Clip Chart thing.  As a parent, if I saw my child was on GREEN (or whatever the acceptable color is nowadays), I would still wonder if my kid made mistakes that needed a parent's guidance, or even worse, was a complete A$$ at school.  I get that kids need a chance to redeem themselves, but kids are so smart that they will goof off all day and pull it together in the last hour.  I've seen it happen. So with three words, I manage the expectations and behaviors in my class:

"Here's your ticket."

This is such an easy system to prep and implement.

After you've laid out the expectations and have a solid strategy for gaining control of your class and poor behavior (see previous post about CHAMPS and 1,2,3 Magic), you can start holding your students accountable for their own choices.

There are three types of consequence tickets, three types of reward tickets, and a weekly report for parents (or daily if you have an RTI student or young ones).  Also included are editable posters and tracking sheets.  PLUS, a 5 page document that walks you through how to get started.

Here are some photos from my classroom.

Using MAGIC in the Classroom (and a FREEBIE)

As a college student forging ahead to become a teacher, no one ever taught me how to manage the various behaviors and expectations of my future students.  There's no course that prepares one for the student who constantly calls out.  Or the one who never turns in their Reading Log.

After trying all sorts of strategies and reading a few books, I came to the enlightenment that students who are enabled or given excuses, will continue to do the behaviors they always do.  That is, unless, they are guided with clear expectations and held accountable for the things they are capable of doing.

I have used CHAMPS since my third year in the classroom.  Champs : A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management by Randy Sprick was actually the course book used in an ESE grad course I took.  I carried it with me, not realizing the value it held.  In my third year of teaching, I took a short in-service, put it into action and fell in LOVE!  The gist of the program is each letter stands for an action:


The "S" was added in the later editions and I welcomed it - Except I used the word SIGNAL instead of SUCCESS.  The newer editions come with a CD with printable visual pictures to go along with each action.  I don't have pictures of it in action because I gave away my stash but I will update with photos of examples once my girl, @b.e.teaching, finishes her room.  In the meantime, Google and Pinterest are full of visuals and links.

CHAMPS is a Game-Changer!  Once I post the expectations for the activity, the only answer I have for students who have questions is, "What does the CHAMP say?"  Their little feet scurry over to the board and the lightbulb goes on.  A few times and they get it - Check the CHAMP first!

A few more years pass and I had a class of annoying 4th graders who just wanted to bug each other - and me.  A friend of mine, who is also a mom long before I was one, suggested 1,2,3 Magic for Teachers.  What an easy read!  To this day, I use the techniques in that book with my own children.  It really does work.  The best part is that it's discipline without emotion.

I also had a few behaviors I needed to extinguish.  One of them was calling out.  This is by far the easiest data collection to date. Here is my IG post on it.  Seriously, the student went from 14 interruptions to one (or even NONE) a day.  This particular student was doing attention-seeking behaviors so this worked like a charm.  A week in and all
Want to curb unwanted behavior in your classroom?  Use this Intervention!  It's an awesome strategy with an editable form!  Document and Organize your data with ease.  Useful for Pre-Kindergarten and older. #teachaholic #data #intervetion #rti
I had to do was just PUT the rubber bands on and he straightened right up.  Once we extinguished the calling out, we moved on to other unwanted behaviors.

Download this FREE (and editable - YAY!) data collection chart.  Each day I would have the student graph the number of times he called out.  This way, he had a visual reinforcement.  In a few weeks I had data to share with his mother and with our Guidance Counselor.  With this particular student, RtI wasn't necessary because the intervention worked, but I've used the same data collection chart for fluency and score-keeping by just changing the numerical scale on the left and the descriptor on the top.

I hope you enjoy these books and strategies!  Share your stories in the comments below!

Happy Teaching!

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