Me: "Say it with me, class.  Sabbatical.  It means I'm not going to be a teacher for a while, but I'll come back the next year."
Precious #1: "Are you having a baby?"
Me: "No."
Precious #2: "Are you sure you're not pregnant?"
Me: "I'm positive."
Precious Group: "But Mrs. Sykes, what will you do?"

{source}
Rest, Refresh, Regroup, Relax, Recharge, Rewind, Refocus...  All of these are on my itinerary for the coming year.  This is a decision I did not make lightly, but did with much contemplation.  I love teaching.  I am really good at working with students.  I big, pink, puffy heart love my teammates!

I just need a break.  For me.  I've shared my past struggles with depression, and I know that this is something triggered by living in a state of stress.  I'm hoping that a few months to a year of recharging time will help me better deal with stress in the future.  Luckily, my hubby has convinced me that we will not starve without my paycheck, since we all like mac and cheese, Ramen noodles, and good old beans and rice.

 I'll still create for my teacher friends, and I'm truly hopeful that my dream job will open in a few months, and I can fulfill my inner literacy geek destiny.  For me, I need to take the time to live a more balanced life...  family, marriage, friendships, work, play - they all need to balance out a bit more in my life.

{source}
Hugs to you all for coming with me on this amazing journey...  Thank you!
Omigoodness, y'all!!  I am uber excited about this...

RL Standards 1-10 for grades 3-5
For years, I worked with students and teachers in grades 3-5 in ways to cut through the "clutter" and simplify the structure we give students, so students can show what they know instead of how well they follow the directions of random, complicated tasks.  This packet follows the same philosophy - clear, straightforward, while having high expectations of referring to text and justifying their reasoning.   Perfect for the Upper-Elementary classroom.  They are Common Core aligned on each page, and all handouts are in black/white for crisp copies.  It doesn't hurt that they are "ninja-cute" (is that a word?) while definitely not cutesy.

Take a peek inside:



What teachers are saying:





For y'all, this packet is on sale all week for 20% off at my TpT store and my TN store!  Enjoy!!
Many times I hear how nice it must be to be a teacher, by people who have no idea why it's fantastic to be a teacher. It usually goes something like this...
 
We know this isn't the case, but it is a bit discouraging to hear this from others.  That is one of the few things no one tells you about teaching in an elementary school.  Here are a few more:

You will need to use the bathroom, and it will be inconvenient.  Yes, I know teachers are supposed to have a planning time and lunch, but occasionally (weekly) you will not have a break.  It might be because of a meeting, a specialist being out, standardized testing taking place, etc.  Do not leave your students alone to use the restroom.  Even if they are the most well-behaved little group of angels, when you leave is when little Jimmy decides to stab himself with a paperclip.  You need to have a plan in place - call a really nice office staff member, teacher assistant from Kindergarten, or sympathetic teacher next door to watch your kiddos when nature calls.

You will deal with bodily fluids.  It's gross, but it's true.  Even if you are not working with Kindergartners, go ahead and accept that the little people you work with will bleed, vomit, sneeze, break a bone, pee, or lose a tooth.  Even in 4th and 5th grades!  They are people, and people do these things.  Get a box of latex-free gloves from the office and help them out, as kindly as you can while wearing your gloves.  Then... move on.  If you're lucky, these don't happen while you are being observed.  :)

You will love your students.  Every teacher I know would do anything within the law to help their kiddos have a better life.  Personally, I have bought clothes, shoes, books, school supplies, and food for my kiddos over the years.  Be prepared for this, or it will drain your already-drained bank account.  Also, make friends with the school guidance counselor and social worker (if you have them assigned to your school).  They can usually help provide school supplies and backpacks.


You might not adore their parents, but they love your students, too!  Their parents may have different priorities, and education might not top their list.  That's OK   Do what you can to engage the parents, especially in elementary school; improving their opinion of their child's education may change the trajectory of that student's life throughout their school career.  For example, regularly invite parents to the classroom in a festive way.  I've always tried to hold at least one writing celebration each quarter, and parents/family are always invited.  My expectations for parents are posted on the door as they enter the celebration: Please listen to at least 3 students share their writing.  The kiddos sit, and the parents circulate.  That way, parents get to interact with the other children, all children get an opportunity to read to several adults, and parents get an opportunity to see good representatives of "average" writing of this grade level.  Tip: serve some snacks!  This will pay off big, especially if your kiddos serve their adults the snacks.  At our celebrations over the years, the family impact has been huge!  Entire families (parents, siblings, grandparents, and even one great-grandmother) have come to cheer on their child.  It makes for wonderful memories for the families, and I usually just walk around and take pictures of the families together for our class website.  Parents go online to see the pictures, and happen to see the other resources I provide to help their child.  Win-Win!

Public perception is part of your job.  If you spend time complaining to parents about the negatives, it reinforces a stereotype that the schools aren't able to do their job.  Be positive in your interactions, and you will see the benefits.  'Nuff said.

Refresh, Recharge, Renew.  Take the time to find a sense of balance in your life and your teaching.  If you routinely take home hours of work to do nightly, choose a couple of evenings to take nothing home and do something with your family or friends.  If you are burnt out, you will not be effective...

Do not gossip.  News travels very fast in a school, whether it has 100 students or 1,000 students.  Avoid saying anything you wouldn't want repeated, as it will cause drama.  Not the fun sing-and-dance kind of drama, but the kind that ends in accusations and tears.  You have no idea what is really going on in the life of your coworkers, and should not make assumptions based on gossip.  That being said...

Report major issues.  For example, I once worked at a school where a custodian constantly made a group of teachers uncomfortable with direct questioning about their relationships with boyfriends/husbands, plans for the weekend, and how they kept their bodies in shape.  I know - ewww!  Sad thing was, no one felt ready to say anything because they didn't know it was happening to other teachers until one person spoke up, and the situation was fixed.  Be an advocate for yourself.

Filter the information you are given.  Through the numerous meetings, you will be given a large amount of information, including some prescribed methods you "should" use to teach.  Remember that you are a trained professional, and  you are able to take what you are given to best serve the needs of your students.  An example: I worked at a school where the teachers were told, "No more Basals!  Ever!  Use only leveled texts."  This was an issue for these teachers, as the school had not purchased a supply of leveled texts appropriate for the upper grades.  My solution - I leveled the texts found in the basals for grades 2-5, and the teachers were able to use these texts appropriately in small groups to meet the needs of their students by picking and choosing the texts that were a good fit for their students' text levels and interests, and allowing a balance of narrative and informative texts.  Reading levels took off for these students, teachers were not "bound" to the prescribed method of the basals, and everyone was able to do what was best for their students.


Always give your students a method to cope.  Across the socio-economic spectrum, students have issues.  It does not matter where they come from, or what they have happen in their life... if they can't cope with what is going on in their life, help them.  You can set up a system for them to sign up to talk to the guidance counselor, a cool-down spot, or set up a special arrangement with the child individually.  If other children ask about it, calmly explain that you do your best to provide what everyone needs, and we all need different things.  Most students see the logic in that and accept it.  No worries...

Don't fall into the Super Teacher Myth.  Everyone in education should watch this video.
Best wishes to you in your classroom!!  I am proud of you!
Happy Saturday!!!  Feel free to skip ahead to the giveaway for the day... you won't hurt my feelings.  ;)  I thought I'd share my latest project: End of the Year Yearbooks!

In the last 14 years of teaching, I always make sure to have an End of the Year Yearbook for all of my students.  This way, all students get a memory book, even if they can't afford an official school yearbook.  It helps maintain the sense of community that I've worked so hard to foster all year.


Since schools always are going paperless at the end of the year to save $$, I had to make sure they could be copied back /back.  These memory books are super easy - print, copy, fold, staple... done!!  Click the pics to learn a bit more...  By the way, I'll automatically upload updated versions each Spring, so you'll be able to get "current" Memory Books with the purchase of just one memory book in the future.




A ton of amazingly talented teacher-bloggers are assisting me in a week of celebrations this week...  (Click on the button to visit past posts - be sure to enter the giveaways!!)

Day 6: Clip Art Grab Bag!

Click on each button to follow their blog/store, then enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Show the love - tell them I sent you!! By the way, I am incredibly jealous that all of you have a chance to win these amazing clipart collections!!!

Uneven Stripes Multicolor Frames from The Lower Elementary Cottage:
Winner's Choice (up to $10) from Zip-a-dee-doo-dah:
 
 Winner's Choice from The Hazel Owl:
 
Recess Rocks Playground Clip Art Set with Blacklines from The Library Fox:

Good luck!!


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Welcome!!!  A ton of amazingly talented teacher-bloggers are assisting me in a week of celebrations this week...  (Click on the button to visit past posts - be sure to enter the giveaways!!)



Day 3: Upper Elementary Grab Bag #5

Click on each button to follow their blog/store, then enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Show the love - tell them I sent you!!
Winner's Choice from Fun in Room 4B:
Winner's Choice from Mandy's Tips For Teachers:
Mandy's Tips for Teachers
Synonyms and Antonyms: A Differentiated Resource Pack from Third Grade Bookworm:
Mean, Median, Mode, Range Pack from Classroom Compulsion:
Classroom Compulsion
Winner's Choice from Third grade Tidbits:
Possessive Noun Task Cards from Yearn to Learn:
Winner's Choice from Primary Teacherhood:


Winner's Choice from Beach, Sand, and Lesson Plans:
Winner's Choice from Mrs. Russell's Room:
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  I appreciate all that you do daily.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Welcome!!!  A ton of amazingly talented teacher-bloggers are assisting me in a week of celebrations this week...  (Click on the button to visit past posts - be sure to enter the giveaways!!)



Day 3: Upper Elementary Grab Bag #4

Click on each button to follow their blog/store, then enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Show the love - tell them I sent you!!

Winner's Choice from The Resource(ful) Room:
Winner's Choice from HoJo's Teaching Adventures:
End-of-the-Year 3-D Yearbook Dodecahedron Project Kit from Created by Mr. Hughes:
An Educator's Life

Growing Up With A Bucket Full of Happiness book book from The Corner on Character:

Classroom or Hallway Hunt from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge:
Bunting Books and Bainbridge
Fraction Frenzy {adding & subtracting fractions and mixed numbers} from Maneuvering the Middle: Mother's Day and Father's Day Coupon Books {Bundle} from Right Down the Middle:
 Right Down the Middle” style=

Winner's Choice from My Journey to 5th grade:


Winner's Choice from All Things Upper Elementary:
All Things Upper Elementary

Thank you for all you do everyday!!  Teachers are the backbone of our society, ensuring the next generation is ready for the future.

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Welcome!!!  I hope you're having a terrific Teacher Appreciation Week.  Feel free to skip on ahead to the Giveaway - I won't judge.  ;)  First, I just have to share this super cute (and easy-peasy) craftivity I made this week for Mother's Day.

The Award Winning Mom (or Dad!) Craftivity

You probably already know this, but I am not a crafty gal.  I leave that to my teammates Cassina and Casey!!  When we do get our craft on in our classroom, it must be easy and tied to the curriculum ('cause I need more hours in my day, you know?!?)  Click on the picture for a closer look...

On to the Giveaway!!!  A ton of amazingly talented teacher-bloggers are assisting me in a week of celebrations this week...  (Click on the button to visit past posts - be sure to enter all of the giveaways!!)
Day 3: K-2 Grab Bag #3

Click on each button to follow their blog/store, then enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Show the love - tell them I sent you!!

Making Ten - Common Core Aligned from Thinking Out Loud:
Thinking Out Loud

Winner's Choice from Education to the Core:
Winner's Choice from Love Those Kinders:
Love Those Kinders!
K-1 Math Journals Designed for the Common Core from Maggie's Kinder Corner:
Winner's Choice from Lanier's Lions:
Lanier's Kindergarten Lions

Winner's Choice from First Grade Fantabulous:

Winner's Choice from Learning is Something to Treasure:
Words in Context - Community Members from Second in Line:

Classroom or Hallway Hunt from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge:
Bunting Books and Bainbridge

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