Amanda Teaches



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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Classroom Decor Details + Video

Okay so I promised I would give you all the details on my classroom decor, so here it is! I'm still not 100% finished with the decor, and to be honest I'll probably never truly be finished. I'm sure I'll continue adding new things every now and then as time goes on. But for now, here are the most important parts!

So let's start off with the streamers. When I was looking up classroom decor on Pinterest, I didn't find much at all for high school classrooms. Instead, I found a lot for Elementary schools. Honestly, I loved it all. Elementary classrooms are always so bright and colorful, whereas high school is usually more drab and prison-like. I decided to treat my classroom like and elementary one with a tad more sophistication. So I went to the dollar store and bought some streamers. They came in two packs of each color, and I honestly only needed one. I cut them into strips long enough to reach from the carpet to the bottom of the whiteboard and twisted them as the ran up/down the wall. I saw this technique used to look like seaweed (green only) in the Pinterest photos for under the sea themes and I loved it. I took it almost all the way to across the bottom of the white board.

At the top of the whiteboard, I have my felt apple string thingy. I bought it at Target in the dollar section. I see so many teacher using the Target ABC letter one, but I chose the apples. I'm glad I did because no one at the school ended up having them. On the right and left of those, I got some cute little "posters" and printed them out then glued them onto rainbow card stock. I really liked them so I laminated them for future use. Since there were only 6, I taped 3 on each side of the projector.

Sitting on the whiteboard tray is my name plaque. This was actually made for me by one of my friends. H got the wooden plaque and the black letters from Michael's Craft Store, and he glued them down using wood glue. On the black of the plaque is a string to hang it up, but since we aren't allowed to put holes in the walls, I just lean it up against the whiteboard. I have a command hook somewhere, I'll break it out eventually.

If you look closely, you'll see a lot of little army men. Basically, a student did a project for my theater class and after grading, I gave it back to her. She decided not to keep it, so I took the army men out of the project and placed them all around the classroom. I placed them ever so wisely, each aiming at each other, while the injured ones lay across the window sill.

The boarders on my wall were a DIY made by yours truly. I have a whole post on how I did them HERE.

Next to the boarders, you'll find my no name clip board. I created this myself as well. Similar to my name plaque, I used a hanging wooden plaque from Michaels Craft store and glued on some rainbow clothes pins from Target's Dollar Section. I then attached some letters to spell out "No Name" at the top and wha-la. Beauty and function.

The art and colorful papers on the wall are all projects from my students. I love to see my students show off their creativity, and the best ones make it on the wall. To keep them working hard, I offer extra credit and candy to any student whose artwork makes it up there!

When it comes to furniture, I bought most of it myself. The student tables and chairs were already there, but I bought both bookcases and the table behind my desk. Walmart usually has great deals around Autumn on dorm furniture, so I grabbed them at really great prices as well (including my microwave!)

Once thing I will always suggest to new teachers is to keep a mini fridge in your classroom. I personally keep a mini fridge and a microwave just in case. My fridge is always stocked with cold waters, string cheese and sandwich supplies just in case I forget to bring something to eat. They also come in handy during end-of-the year potlucks! One thing I did hear on my first staff day at school was that some of the subs at our particular school have been known for stealing food from teachers' fridges. I thought that was the weirdest thing! So if you can find a fridge with a lock, it might be a good idea!

Among my friends, Ive been called the crazy bottle lady. I recycle. I have no shame. I went to Walmart to find a blue or green recycling bin with a lid but I couldn't find any that were big enough and still affordable. I ended up buying the red trash bin and printed off some recycling pictures from the internet and taped them on top. It has done pretty well throughout the year!

My crates are just normal file crates from Walmart. I got them in different colors to hold my file folders full of student work and handouts. I ended up only really needed two, so one holds napkins, plates, cups and utensils for lunch, and the other just sits around without a purpose. Although I would prefer keeping important files locked up, I think they're a great idea for those paper that aren't as confidential. Being that I had to buy my own file cabinet, I didn't want to spend over $60 so I settled for a few crates in addition to my small 2 drawer cabinet.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Target Back to School Sale for Teachers

If you haven't already heard, Target is having a Teacher Prep Event. That means teachers will be able to save 15% on back to school purchases between July 15-21st! Check out my video here to see a walk through of Targets back to school event.

Teachers can get 15% off of their purchases, and I wanted to share this opportunity with you! With this promotion, you can save on writing supplies, notebooks, folders & binders, Arts & crafts, Storage & organization, Disinfecting wipes, Facial tissues, Hand Sanitizer, and Food storage bags! This sale does EXCLUDE trial/travel sizes and bullseye’s playground (dollar spot) items! This sale event lasts from 7/15/18-7/21/18 so I did want to share with you this opportunity so just open up a new tab and go to this website:

Click the button on the left that says “Get the coupon” and you will be taken to a form that you will need to fill out with all of your school information. They will send you an email with your code and that’s it! Take it in to shop, or use the code online to purchase online as well!
All of these items are available from target for back to school but feel free to watch my first haul video where I shopped the Walmart, Tjmaxx, Office Depot and Target stores all together! I cant wait to use other materials and once I get into my classroom in early August, you'll get to see what I'm hiding from you! I cant wait and I'm so excited! If you want to see more back to school haul videos, and teacher specific videos or DIY projects, etc. just let me know in the down bar below! Please give this video a thumbs up and please be sure to subscribe! Thanks and see you soon!
♡ Metallic Mermaid Pencil Case:
♡ Ice Cream Pens:
♡ Metallic/Reflective Notebook:
♡ Ice Cream Pencil Case:
♡ Mermaid backpack:
♡ Wonder Woman Backpack:
♡ $4.99 lunch box:
♡ Original Lunch box I wanted:
♡ My Lunch box:
♡ BIC highlighters (bigger + cheaper in store):
♡ Red Pens (cheaper in store):
♡ Crayola Fat Markers ($1):
♡ Crayola Skinny Markers ($1):
♡ Crayola Colored Pencils ($1):
♡ Black A New Day Purse ($35):
♡ Rainbow Book Bin:
♡ Rainbow Magazine Holder (similar):
♡ Door Basketball Hoop:
♡ Security Backpack (exact one):
♡ Security Backpack (similar):
♡ My Target Purse:
♡ Rainbow Highlighters:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ultimate Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

Good morning my lovely followers! Today I'm sharing a collection of teaching interview questions and answers to help all of my friends and followers that recently graduated and are looking for a teaching position. Here I put together 20 common questions that are often asked during teaching interviews, and that I've been asked myself as well. I wanted to create this article for you because when I was about to go on different teacher interviews, I was unable to find any of this info and I want to help out all of the future teachers when I can! So here we go!

1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Why do you want to be a teacher?
3. Why do you want to teach HERE?
4. Tell me about your Classroom Management.
5. How do you handle Behavior Management or behavior issues that arise?
6. How do you communicate with Parents?
7. Tell me about something that went wrong when teaching. What did you do?
8. What frustrates you the most in the classroom?
9. How do you differentiate work for your ELL's, SSN's, and Gifted students?
10. What are your interests outside of the classroom?
11. What activities can you coach or advise?
12. Describe your Teaching Style.
13. Tell me about your Teaching Strategies.
14. If I were to walk into your classroom, what would I see, what would it look like?
15. What is your greatest success in teaching so far?
16. How do you motivate your students?
17. Tell me about you Profession Development experiences.
18. How do you collaborate with staff on campus?
19. Tell me about a lesson you've taught that worked really well. Why did it work so well?
20. How do you use technology in the classroom?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cell Phone Management in the Classroom

One of the biggest struggles teachers face these days, is student distraction. Technology is often considered a tool for education, (I'm even getting my Masters degree in Education Technology!) but it can quickly become more of a nuisance than anything. I often hear from curriculum specialists an college professors that even cell phones can be used in the classroom as technological tools at a student's fingertips.. but teachers that are actually in the classroom tend see it differently. Because students have easy access to social media, photo & video capabilities, etc., cell phones have only really been a problem with my students. Some things that are often forgotten about when it comes to social media and cyber-safety, include texting, sexting, nudity and cyber-bullying. Teachers cannot control what their students get into outside of the classroom, but I find it an important thing to focus on while we do have them under our domain. In my classroom, we are lucky enough to have a Chromebook cart full of laptops for student use, so there is really no need for cell phones anyways, even if they can be seen as educational tools. Because of this, I do not allow cell phones out in class for any reason at all. Instead, I collect them and keep them out of student reach (for the time they're in class). In fact, I actually have students voluntarily give them to me during the period. Here's what I do to manage student cellphones in my classroom.

This, my friends, is a contraption I put together to collect student cell phones. At the beginning of the class period, students have 5 minutes to grab a seat and get started on their warm ups. During this time, I take attendance and roll this baby around to each student to collect phones. Numbers on the desks allow me to match up cell phones with students, because the desk numbers match the numbers on the cell phone pockets. I originally had index cards in each pocket, so students would take the index card out and replace it with their phone, then exchange the index card for their phone at the end of the period to get it back. One problem I saw with that was the tagging. SO MUCH TAGGING. Some kids had some pretty cool drawings, but the cards definitely got destroyed quickly. Since then, I've just removed the cards and found that numbering the desks was a better solution. I numbered the desks with a blue sharpie it the upper left corner of each desk. That way it's easier for me to get students matched up to their cell phone numbers and visually see that they're taking the right number. In addition, students are able to see which number belongs to them in the event that they either forget or I move them around in the seating chart. So what is this thing?

Well, that's a great question. Basically, I got this calculator holder, which is the red cloth full of pouches, and attached it to a clothes rack. The clothes rack is a really cheap on I found on Amazon, and it was worked pretty well for me. I originally bought "S" hooks to attach the two, but they didn't work well so I replaced them with zip ties. The zip ties were much tighter and much more secure, to the added weight of the cell phones in the pouches did not cause the holder to bunch together in the middle of the rack, or lean forward tipping phones (which was a problem with the S hooks). I'll link all of the pieces below if you're interested, but the great thing about using a clothes rack is that most of them have wheels. So I roll this around my classroom and have students slide their phones in the pouches during the first 5 minutes of class. In order to fit the cart between desks, I put my desks in 3 rows and spread the rows out quite a bit so theres enough room for student seats and the cart rolling through. I know you're probably wondering, do kids actually surrender their cell phones? Well, yes and no. In order to get students to surrender their phones, I provide incentives. I offer students participation points for surrendering their phones because I know that students who aren't playing on their phones during class are more likely to participate. Being at a continuation school, that doesn't seem to get a full buy in so I decided to take it a little further by changing the regular cell phone cart into a charging station. I bought some basic power strips and USB charging blocks on Amazon, and I instantly got more buy in.

Students hate it when their phones are dying, so when you offer to charge their phones they're all for it. I have students bring their own charging cords (because there are different cords for different phones) and I charge them while they sit in the cart behind my desk. In order to ensure students aren't trying to cheat the system by charging their phones in the outlets around the classroom, I ended up covering the other outlets. I had two open outlets on my walls that were easy access for them so I grabbed some blank printer paper, maybe 5 pieces each, and stapled those pieces over the outlets behind my streamers. Sometimes it's even hard to see them, so new kids are unaware that outlets even exist around the classroom! Since I get a lot of questions on it, I created a video to help you understand how I used this. If you have any other ideas for cell phone management in your classroom, please let me know! I'm always curious as to how other teachers manage their classrooms and especially cell phone management! Also, if you try it out, be sure to send you thoughts and photos of it in action! I hope you enjoy!

Phone Pouches

Clothing Racks + Charging

Sunday, April 23, 2017

DIY Classroom Borders

Summer is only 2 months away and I'm still working on getting my classroom perfectly decorated. First year teachers really do have it tough! Since I'm a first year teacher and don't necessarily have a whole lot of money to keep pouring into my classroom, I decided to opt out of buying bulletin board borders. After shopping with a few of my teacher friends, I quickly realized that I am way too picky to be willing to buy a few packages of borders that were specific colors and designs. I wanted to keep up with my rainbow theme, but all of the rainbow themed borders at the stores were just not up to par with my standards and style. Instead, I created my own. Not only did I get them to look exactly the way I imagined them to look, I also saved money.

  All I really did was grab some blank printer paper from the copy room and got to work. I folded the sheets in half and glued on some geometric shapes that I cut out of construction paper/card stock paper. I had the card stock already and I had used it as a background/border for one of the projects the kids did, so the left over scraps were already cut. I just put them in a Ziplock baggie hoping to get some use out of them later on. Well they definitely went to good use. I glued on the geometric shapes in a tile and grout mosaic type of design. I didn't have any purple card stock so I just used what I had. After gluing the pieces on, I stapled the half sheets onto the wall as my borders! Yeah they're shorter than normal classroom borders but hey they're basically free! I am actually loving the design and I am planning to get the pieces laminated at the end of the year to reuse them for my future classroom(s).

-Just a note- 
     It was suggested to me from some other teachers to just have the students make them since I was doing it all myself, and when I was just about finished I gave in and let them help make some. They turned out really bad. Unfortunately, I had to scrap their glue drenched masterpieces. Even high schoolers can get crazy with a glue bottle! Who knew!? Anyways, if you're as anal as I am when it comes to having your art and decorations perfect, save yourself the trouble (and the glue!) and just do it yourself!

    I stapled all of the borders connecting one end to another and they really did turn out exactly how I had imagined them to. The work inside was put up for a demo photo as I was waiting for some colorful background paper, so it looks a bit awkward and bare here. Our school doesn't allow poster paper to go to any teachers, just ASB, so it took a while to actually get my hands on some. Luckily, one of my sweetest students has a mom that works at another school and brought me some in all different colors! She's such a sweetheart. After putting up the paper, readjusting the borders to cover the edges and ultimately reorganizing the work in a much more appealing manner, WHA LAH. My classroom DIY masterpiece.

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