Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Classroom Progress...

So today was the day I had hoped I would be done with my classroom, but it hasn't turned out that way. 

I literally start working on something and then can't work on it any longer because I need X and I don't have X so then I work on something else until the same things happens. Ugh!

My wonderful husband came back after work again today to help me out. I wanted to make a second bulletin board for in my classroom this year since I only have one. I am teaching the book Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals this year and needed a place to put up pictures of the events that occurred so that the kids can refer to them. I am teaching the book to a different set of kids every 9 weeks so it really is a permanent bulletin board that will stay up all year. I bought one of those foam insulation boards from Home Depot and covered it in a flat bed sheet. My husband stapled it together but the staples kept popping back up after time...aka we need a heavy duty staple gun. 

He also helped me laminate and cut out all the laminated stuff. I love to laminate, but it is SO tedious to cut it all apart. I swear it took a good hour or two just to cut everything apart. So I am pretty much ready to go with the bulletin board as soon as I can staple it all together...*breathe*

Surprisingly, this is getting smaller...

That is literally the last of the junk I need to sort through. I have 3 piles of posters: The heck yes, the maybe, and then the hmmm I don't think so, but if I need something to fill space it is okay. I also have my cut out laminated items. The garbage can is full of extra copies that I had lingering around over the past 5 years. I had kept them in the filing cabinet "just in case" and decided to get rid of the filing cabinets. I'm going to bring ONE copy of each of these papers home and scan them and stick them on my USB drive.

So if you have visited my Pinterest page you have seen my OCD boards which are USB looks like this too. I have a folder for everything! It is beautiful and so easy to find every document I need quickly. It actually looks pretty similar to a Pinterest page in terms of titles for my folders.

The next three "school" days (Thursday, Friday & Monday) I am at a Language Arts PD all day so I don't anticipate too much work getting done in this room. I might be able to put an extra hour or two in after the meeting so I am hoping to have this room put together soon. Parents come on Tuesday so it has to be presentable by then! :)

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Classroom in the Works

I am worn out y'all! Today was a busy day but a lot (thankfully!) was accomplished. 

I did have a few minions at my service--adult minions that fabulous and fantastic husband stopped by after work and my mom even popped over after her professional development meeting. It takes a village to make a classroom look cute, am I right?

Here is my sneak peek:

Ha! There is my handsome husband helping me decorate my desk. Yes, he is wearing a contact paper unibrow! He was going for the Anthony Davis look--we love Kentucky basketball in this house! :) He always keeps me laughing and we have a lot of fun together. I just had to take this picture for my black book. Thankfully he approved it for the post. 

Now I have a question for y'all. See those horrible desk legs that are all smudged up and not shiny? Any advice? I'm not sure what to use to clean them with or if I should just cover them with something. What do you do? HELP! I will be forever grateful!

Ugh, and please ignore my messy desk right now. I literally have crap thrown everywhere as I try to get it all cleaned up. And of course, my McDonald's Diet Coke...I live off this stuff! (On a funny note, one of my kids was asked something about drawing a picture of a teacher (I think it was supposed to be a comparison between two teachers or a teacher and a student) and he had drawn a picture that resembled me and had a Diet Coke McDonald's cup! LOL!)

I'm hoping to post pics soon. Keep your fingers crossed--tomorrow will be a full classroom day!

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It! (Freebie!)

I was a lazy bum this weekend and plan on making up for it this week. I have completely gotten off my sleep schedule and am having problems falling asleep before 3 or 4am and then getting up around 11am. This morning I made myself get up at 6 even though I think I didn't fall asleep until 4ish. I have got to get back on schedule.

I always find it a little difficult to get back in the routine for school. It seems like my body is trained that unless I am exhausted it is hard for me to fall and stay asleep. Anyways, wish me luck tonight that I can get to bed at a reasonable time after my zombie-like state today. :)

So after seeing Amy's post at The Teacher Next Door I came up with today's Monday Made It! I loved her post on creating a sign to display that shares with the kids what I am currently reading and how many books I have read throughout the school year. It reminded me that we did this at my old school too! We had a sign outside every classroom with what the teacher was reading and the author of the book. It didn't matter what subject you taught. It just reinforced that we are all readers. It was also not limited to just kid books. If I was reading John Grisham's latest book I put that up on my sign. 

Now, y'all have learned I read a lot of romance books. Did I put up "Fifty Shades of Gray?" NO WAY! Sometimes I will put up a book that I just read over the summer that I can still talk to the kids about, etc. Maybe that is bad, but some things don't need to be shared. HA!

4th Grade Frolics

So here is what I made for myself using the paper from The Hazel Owl which was completely free. I should note, I didn't see my classroom colors so I edited her design to fit my needs. I hope this was OK but it didn't say anywhere that I couldn't do this and since they were free already I didn't feel as bad doing this. Since my room theme is blue and green I used her blue and gray patterned paper and overlapped the gray circles with green ones.

Here is what mine looks like:

Available here for free: Teachers Pay Teachers

Feel free to edit it to work for you!

I plan on framing it in a Dollar Store Frame and posting this outside my classroom. Another inexpensive option is to just laminate it and maybe put a cute colored piece of paper on the back. I'm just going to write on the frame with an Expo Marker. Maybe I can get some of my colleagues on board to post one outside their rooms too! It was such a neat thing to see what everyone was reading and for the kids to take notice of this too. 

While I was at it I also decided to make some reward passes. My fabulous collaborating teacher last year, Heidi, had lots of different reward ideas for our kids throughout the year. It was a great incentive and the kids loved getting rewarded! We used QR codes for awhile and did a random draw at the end of class using Class Dojo. She gave out all sorts of different codes. Some said, "Wear a hat in class today," "10 points towards a class party," or even "10 minutes of computer time." 

I really wanted to continue this with my other classes. I liked the idea that someone had shared about giving out a card at the end of class and kids enter a weekly raffle. At the end of the week you draw names from each class to win some of these awesome passes! I also really like this post: Reward Passes

I especially like the "grumpy pass." This might be happening soon! Hey, even middle schoolers have bad days and sometimes just need a break. This is a great way to use the grumpy pass! I think it is important that they realize they don't necessarily get out of work for the day. If it is a test/quiz day they can't use it--or maybe if it was a real kind of emergency grumpy day I'd rather let them use it and make it up later. Not sure... I think you'd have to use teacher discretion.

Here is what I made:

I can't remember whose blog I read about all these different passes on! Please let me know if it was you or if you know who it was! I usually write this down somewhere but I can't find where I wrote it down! :( 

I also posted these for free on Teachers Pay Teachers if you want them! 

Some other people use gum passes, no shoes passes, etc. I didn't make these for a few reasons. First, we have a no gum rule for the whole school. I don't feel that I should go against that. Second, I ask my students to take their shoes off when they are in the reading area to prevent dirt from getting on the nice carpet or, in last year's case, the foam flooring. This makes me feel that it is at least a little cleaner for kids to lay on their stomachs or sit on the floor with a good book.

We do have a school policy on electronics, however I did not feel as bad about bending this one a little. Our school is pretty awesome in that our principal is very open-minded and with teacher discretion I think he would be OK with this. Also, we allow the kids to use electronics at lunch. My principal liked the idea that kids should know that electronics have a time and a place and at lunch is okay--I LOVE THIS! :) After so many years of babysiting (17+, but who is counting? LOL), I also realized that more and more of my kids were reading on their devices. Hey, if they want to read on their tiny iPod screen I'm not going to stop them! So I allow them to use them in my classroom with permission. Yes, they must ask me every time so that I know exactly what their intent is and so they have told me as well. I have let them know up front that if I catch them not reading and playing games, etc. then they lose the privilage. Simple as that. Don't ask me again if you are caught. I don't go looking if the kids have lied to me about this either. I believe them. I mean reading on an electronic device looks completely different than playing a game, right? So far I have not had anyone violate this rule. I think they find it fair. Because this is also their personal reading time I don't care what they read--they can read comics, sports, magazines, etc. Just enjoy it! :)

The last thing I made was name plates for my desks. Harry Wong always said to start off the first day of school assigning students seats. It lets them know your expectation from day one. I haven't always done this. In fact, last year was the first year I gave it a shot and assigned seats. I just tell kids to find their name when they walk in to class. I didn't know the kids last year so I put them into alphabetical order. This year, since I am moving up a grade level and will have about 1/3 of the same kids again, I intend to mix them up. I know a lot of them and so if they are a talker I'll try to find them the best seat possible for them--maybe close to me or maybe near some people who I know are not talkers. There are 7 class periods at my school--2 I do not teach but share my room with an exploratory teacher. I went ahead and included all 7. I will explain more about why I did that in another post. :) 

I don't mind sharing these, but I wasn't sure if these would be appropriate to put up on Teachers Pay Teachers since they are specific to 1st-7th hours. If you all are interested I can put them up too!

That's it for my Monday Made It! I am off to the Teacher Resource Center for an hour or two. I have a few things I need to finish making for my bulletin board and I need to print a few things in color. I plan on working in my classroom afterwards. :)

Hope you have a fabulous Monday!

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Snapshots of the Week


I decided to jump in to Mrs. Nelson's Saturday Snapshots...and other photos from the week.

Since I've never shared photos of my "babies" I thought I would show you a few. Hubs and I have only been married 4 years and don't have any children yet, but we do have "fur babies." I had an adorable kitten, Izzy, when we started dating. Why yes, she got her name from the one and only Grey's Anatomy Isabelle Stevens but I shortened it to Izzy.

Shortly after we started dating hubs got an adorable pup from the pound. Unfortunately, she was very ill and needed a liver shunt, daily injections, etc. and was only 4 months old! The vet told us he had never seen a dog so sick at such a young age in his 30+ years of practice. There was no way hubs (my boyfriend at the time) could keep her and so we had to take her back so they could put her down. We had adoringly named her Lucy--a nickname my family has always called me. 

He really wanted a pup and was so sad that this sweet one was so ill and it just about broke my heart. I found the other cutest pup in the world at the Kentucky Humane Society and we traveled to see/purchase her the next day! We named her Ethel--to pay homage to our Lucy--and call her Ellie.

Here is baby Ellie. Her ear stuck up for a day or two and then went back down for a button-ear look. She is in the garage at my parent's house on the day we graduated from undergrad.

We got married a year later and combined our lovely pets into one household. They have a love/hate relationship that is quite humorous for us to watch. Also known as the dog who wants the cat to love her but the cat who wants nothing to do with the dog. HA!

Hubs also has a slight obsession with Ms. Izzy. He has never had a cat before and acts like a five-year-old with her because she doesn't really like anyone but me and likes to do her own thing. It is quite humorous!

Here are some fun pics (and a few oldies!)...

Nothing like coming home to hubs and Ellie...dressed up? Hubs likes to mess with her too sometimes. ;)

Pretty typical Izzy. She loves her cat tunnel! She also LOVES plastic bags but I am way too worried she would strangle herself so I have to put them up. This tunnel makes that nice crinkle sound that she loves. It's a compromise! HA!

"If I fits, I sits!"

Last week I had a lovely little shipment from The Container Store with a pristine box. This was the perfect size and it was love at first sight!

So I made a joke to the hubs the night before that I might "bling" out her box since I was trying to be more crafty this summer. So this happened...

Hubs took over my job. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if Izzy liked it so much. She sort of stopped playing with it as much. Needless to say on cleaning day we ended up pitching it out. It was fun while it lasted.

Which leads me to the fun we had this weekend. We are obviously huge party people on the weekend. Last night Izzy kept trying to grab my hair tie off of the coffee table (she has a weird obsession with these and we find them all over the floor! I swear I pick them up!). So hubs decided to have some more fun...

He thinks he is so crafty after watching me all summer... nothing like some ribbon hanging from my family room ceiling with one of her jingle balls on the end and... at last! The amazing hair tie!
Hard to see it but she has hit it and it's swinging!

Hours of fun! We eventually added a second hair tie and then she attacked my bobby pins so one was added. She tired out soon after.

This was my creation over the weekend! I took some quotes I loved and typed them up over a fun background. I bought cheap Dollar store frames, spray painted them and voila! Cute pictures frames for my classroom. Izzy enjoyed them too!

She may look angry but this is her begging me to pet her. :)

Now you probably know way more than you wanted to about our little obsession with Izzy & Ellie. Hopefully I'll have some real pics next week to share with you with a few less animal pics. :) 

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday!

Happy Friday! 

Sorry about not blogging yesterday. I have been trying to make an effort to blog every week day, however yesterday turned out to be an eventful day.

I met with my new fabulous team of teachers to go over some notes about the new school year. I left and decided to stop at the Dollar Tree so see if they had any cute bins for my ISN supplies. I'm worried my bins may be a bit too small. While there my husband called me as he was leaving his annual doctor's appointment (which I urge him to attend even though it is just a check-up). We had just started talking when I heard screeching tires and he said, "I've just been hit. I was just hit." You could tell he was in complete shock. I said, "Call 911 babe, ok?" I didn't hear anything else but the call ended.

I was sort of freaking out. I wasn't sure how OK he was. Was he just in shock and was really hurt? He has a small car so I was concerned about how badly he was hurt and how much damage was done to his car. 

I immediately left and called him again after about 5 minutes (enough time for him to call 911 if needed). He picked up and told me he was fine. The police were on their way and they got the cars off the road. I told him I was nearby and was on my way.

I'm sure that was over doing it but I just had to make sure he was okay. It actually turned out to be a good thing because his car was not driveable. The lady who accidentally hit him was turning left across five lanes of traffic and didn't see my husband. She hit him right at the front of driver's side bumper and even bent the hub cab of the front tire. 

When I arrived the police officer was calling in all of the information from his vehicle and had called a tow truck for my husband's car. We then had to wait for the tow truck and followed it to the dealership. 

What was supposed to be a simple day turned into a few hours. I also had to drive him to work this morning so that I could have a car for the day. He managed to get in touch with her insurance agent and she had already filed the claim so they were able to get hubs a rental car--I just had to take him to pick it up this afternoon. They said that the appraiser would not get to look at his car until Monday. Ugh!

Neither one of us has ever been in an accident where work had to be done on a car before. I was hit once but my dad took care of all of that so I honestly don't even remember how the process worked. LOL! has been a better day! Now hubs has his rental car and so I am no longer a professional chauffer. 

My mom met me at school today and I worked a little bit on my bulletin board. It's not finished yet so I won't put up pictures.... :)

On to the main part of this is Favorite Pins Friday! Woo hoo!

First, let's start with some totally awesome school pins!

I really like the Grade, Copy, File box, but I also would love to add the "Laminate" box to it! I don't think I need any of these others but it just gave me that extra idea. Sometimes I have stuff I need to laminate that sits on my desk for awhile so it would be great to just be able to put it all in one place and pull the drawer when needed.

I love this letter to students! Even middle schoolers still make these common mistakes so I think this is a really sweet reminder for them to proofread their own work. My kids hate looking over their own work for some reason. They have it in their minds that after they type it they are done. This is a very sweet and subtle reminder.

I want this so bad for my classroom! My kids love reading magazines too and so I like to put out a variety. This is probably going to be my next classroom splurge!

I love this bulletin board for multiple reasons. First off, I don't get to teach the holocaust in 7th grade because it is taught in 8th grade at our school. However, that quote is amazing! I also love that she included lots of pictures from the holocaust for the kids to reference. I am working on my bulletin board on segregation to go with the memoir that I teach. I'm using this as my inspiration!

I adore this classroom info station! I am using this to inspire me to make those ugly, but necessary classroom documents a little more attractive near the door.

I love the extra bulletin board in this room! Not only does this look really clean and neat but it would be great to use this to add a fun quote or a little extra decor to the room.

Ok, on to a few personal pins now...

Fruit pizza is probably one of my favorite desserts! I have never thought to make mini versions...duh! I can't wait to make these in the near future.


I have been eyeing Pottery Barn ledges FOR EVER y'all! I just couldn't get over the price to purchase three of them. So over the weekend I searched Pinterest for Pottery Barn knock off ledges and low and behold I found these! Not only do they look super easy to make but they were $20 total! SCORE! I see this in my near future. ;) 


I also love this monogram on a picture frame! I am hoping to make a copycat version soon for our home.

My last one is a little personal but I love this as a daily reminder. Sometimes it is easy for us to judge others decisions and part of my journey on being a better Christian is to remember not to judge people on their own journey. Even if you are not a Christian I think that this is just good advice on being a better person.

That's it for me folks!

Oh, and I would post more classroom pics but it looks like a giant tornado swept through. My mom even commented today that it looks more disorganized. That's what happens when I open more and more boxes and try to organize the madness.

Pics coming soon...I promise!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching

I decided to hop on the bandwagon and join in on the 10 Things I've Learned from Teaching that was started by Miss Kindergarten.

I'm sure some of these will be redundant from other we go....

1. Be passionate about what you do and have fun! 

I am so thankful to be in a job that I love! I absolutely get a thrill out of finding a cool lesson plan and can't wait to share it with my kids. Chances are if I am excited and passionate about what I teach it rubs off on my kids. I try to incorporate a few fun daily activities into my lessons as well. I don't do powerpoint notes very often, but when I do I try to make it fun! Add in some crazy funny pictures throughout that you think the kids will enjoy. They love the little things too like slide transitions and sound effects.

I can't wait to use this one when we have a group activity this year!

They also love pictures and clipart to go along with the information they are learning. I am a visual learner so I always try to incorporate pictures of things we are talking about in class. Sometimes I just walk over to my computer and pull up a google image and show it to the class of what I am talking about.

At the end of the class period we almost always have Youtube time! This was an idea I got at the beginning of the year when I started Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) and saw that kids wanted to earn some "fun" time! As the year went on I got bad about not doing the WBT ideas  every day so they kind of fizzled out. However, Youtube time remained. The kids knew that they could pick a video IF they stayed on task and we got our lesson done. Sometimes I had to stop class for the last 2 minutes just to pop a video up!

This one was a huge hit this year!:


I let the kids pick the videos and they have to promise it is school appropriate. If I found the video is not because of a cuss word, etc. I stop the video right there and that student loses the privilage of picking a video for awhile. Students know the rules and this has only happened a handful of times--let's be honest, some are honest mistakes. Kids watch more PG-13 stuff at home. My rule is G and PG for the classroom.

2. Be flexible! 

I know this is really hard because I feel so much pressure, especially as a Language Arts teacher whose content is tested every year, but you really have to go with the flow sometimes. There will be interruptions. Sometimes the kids will get called out of class and you had no idea this would happen--football meeting after the announcements ran a little too long, etc. It will be ok, I promise. On days like these I try to just relax. If I was planning on introducing new content and I feel that I have too many kids out I'll do a review activity instead. It will be OK. :)

3. Don't lose your cool! 

I have been blessed in my past with over 15+ years of babysitting experiences thanks to starting at the age of 11. When a kid offends you or challenges you in class I know what you want to do--you want to put the kid in his place or maybe even go off. Take a deep breath. Sometimes just giving them "the look" or, the "I can't believe you just said/did that" face will get them to stop. 

I have also learned a secret power....

This past year (as has happened for the past couple of years) the kids finally come around to an Ah-Ha moment. One student eneviatably will say to me, "Mrs. Finley--you never yell at us or raise your voice." To which I reply, "Why would I? There is no point in yelling at you all or having a temper tantrum." My kids have actually picked up this tidbit about me. If they don't get quite after I have already asked them to I simply stand in the front of the room and wait. Within 3 seconds my fellow minions will turn on one another and say, "Shhh Mrs. Finley is waiting!" 

The same thing happens when a student says something that he/she shouldn't. Not only does "the look" come in handy, but my minions turn on the student quick. Nothing works better than a little peer pressure, am I right? They will say things like, "Why would you say that to Mrs. Finley? She is the nicest teacher ever!" etc. 

So try not to lose your cool--the kids are watching. Also, remember they make talk like adults, but they are still kids. Most of mine are 12. I try not to stoop to their level.

4. Don't be afraid of parents/guardians.

Parents want to be involved in their child's life. Now, do I enjoy making bad phone calls home? Absolutely not! However, it helps to build a rapport with them before you ever have to call home to tell them that Little Johnny did something in class.

Before I taught at my current school I taught at a school with REALLY high poverty and was classified as Title 1 because of the population of student's on free/reduced lunch for three years. I learned so much about teaching working at this school that is invaluable to me now!

I know sometimes it seems like parents may not care, but they do, I promise! Many of my parents at my Title 1 school were single women or even a grandparent raising the student. Many were juggling multiple children and many even had difficult job hours (lots of parents that worked night shifts). So although they may not make it to open house or always return your phone call promptly they DO care! I promise!

Build your relationships with parents and you will see a change in your classroom. It makes a world of difference if you ever encounter a problem because you have built that rapport. The parents have a face and know a little about what kind of a teacher you are--they know you sincerely care about their child and his/her education.

Ha! So cute!

Last note, I mentioned that I call home on every kid in my classes within the first month of school. If you notice one or two kids who might be more difficult right off the bat call home as soon as possible to get that first touch of positive contact made. They say it takes 3 positive phone calls for every 1 negative phone call. Try to keep that in mind when talking to parents. 

5. Avoid the water cooler and gossip mill.

No matter where you work you know who these people are. Steer clear. I'm not saying be unkind, just know that if you share something be comfortable that it may (and probably will) get out to the whole school. If you are new to a school and don't know who these people are yet just don't share anything with anybody you wouldn't want out until it is made clear to you who you can trust.

I try hard to avoid this...let's be honest, we all get sucked in at times. Just try to make the best choices every day! :) 

I try to be studious at school anyway. If I have a planning period without a meeting I am busy working in my classroom lesson planning, grading, making copies, touching base with parents, etc. I am so overly socialized sometimes by my kids that I need this time anyways to unwind and get back in my groove--this also usually means less work for me to take home. :)

6. Continue your own professional development.

I am so thankful for my wonderful school district and all of the opportunities that are available to me through them. They offer so many opportunities for Language Arts teachers and give out some GREAT free resources! That Laura Robb binder I mentioned earlier:

I got it completely FREE! It has been one of my trusty best friends in the past year and a half that I have had it. I promised that I would attend the 5 meetings in my district (approx. 1 a month) on how to use the binder in my classroom and I got to keep the binder until I retire for my personal use! Not only did they walk us through the binder and point out great resources for us but it was refreshing to hear from someone that used it and why they loved it!

If I could stay in college forever, I think I would! I absolutely love English and love teaching! I think I mentioned I recently finished my 30+ hours beyond my M.A. and got my Gifted and Talented endorsement. If money grew on trees I would love to get my ELL endorsement, reading speciality degree, etc. I just feel that knowledge is invlauable and the more I know the better I can help my students. So take advantage of all of the free resources that you can!

I wish! I learn so much sometimes being able to read about my fellow amazing blogger friends and find some great teachers and resources through pinterest!

One last thing, if you live in a college town or near a college town see what they offer! I just recently learned that the University of Kentucky (near where I live) has some great resources for teachers and links up to school districts all over the state. I signed up for their listserv e-mails and now I get updates about other PD's going on all over Kentucky! If I find one that inspire me I can attend and if not--> delete! :)

Why thank you Mr. Gosling! ;)

7. Take time for yourself.

Remember to relax and try to have some "me" time. There are days when I feel like I have so much to do and need to grade papers, etc. but I have to tell myself to stop. I have done all I can do for today. Taking that hot bubble bath and reading that book before bed is a must. Don't let yourself get burnt out....and when you need to, use those personal days and enjoy it!

Ok, not EVERY night. But at least an hour or so before bed. :)

8. Don't grade everything.

Sure, I may tell the kids I'm going to take up their papers and grade them, but if it is really something not that important or I just don't have time then don't! It will be ok! 

HA! Thanks Gandalf!

9. Teach from your heart.

This really goes back to #1 as well but it is so important. It is how you love what you are doing and stay engaged and the kids can tell and pick up on your energy... I promise!

Probably one of my favorite teacher movies ever...Dead Poet's Society! I love when the kids stand on their desks! *chills*

10. Get to know your kids.

All of your kids have a story. The kids that sleeps in class--there is a reason for why that happens.  Find out about your kids. Invest in them. They are our future and they deserve a caring and kind teacher. 

I have called home several times for sleepy kids in class concerned. I call home before that D or F even shows up on a midterm. I call home when I am concerned about my kids.

I also talk to the counselors. You are the student's best advocate! If you feel like something is going on...chances are it probably is! If the student doesn't want to talk to you see if they will open up to a counselor, etc.

If you can't get in touch with parents, talk to the social work. Make a home visit with him/her. 

If a parent isn't returning phone calls or e-mails call the next number listed--sometimes this is a friend, sometimes it is a grandparent. Let them know you need to talk to the parent. See if they have a new phone number or a way of getting in touch with the parent so that the two of you can talk.

Schedule a parent conference. Sometimes you also need to invite the student in towards the end to figure out what is going on.

Just don't give up! 

Nobody said that teaching was easy, but you will love it so long as you teach from your heart.

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