Sunday, August 2, 2015

Five Ideas to Help Teachers Get Ready for a New School Year!

If you are like most teachers, the start of school is challenging for mind and body. Summer provided a delightful time to refresh spirits and spend time with family and friends. Now, it is time to shift your focus and prepare for the beginning of a new school year!
Over the years, I have learned five things that will help your transition from summer vacation to the opening day of school:
  1. Nothing helps your attitude like a good nights sleep! Your sleep schedule and bedtime habits make a difference in how well you function during the day. Several weeks before you return to school, set your alarm and get back into your work schedule. Your body will appreciate having time to regulate itself!
  2. Organize your closet and get your school wardrobe clean and ready for work. Nothing feels better than walking into your closet and having a weeks worth of outfits ready to go! Choosing what we wear, rather than allowing the state of our wardrobe and closet to make that decision for us is empowering.
  3. Children love to get new backpacks and lunchboxes at the beginning of the school year. Find that cute tote that reflects your personality. I love having a new bag or two to start the year.
  4. It is time to think about what you will eat for breakfast and lunch when school starts!  Stock your cupboards with healthy items that will keep your energy high and promote good health. Get up in time to eat a good breakfast! Pack your healthy lunch the night before. If you have the supplies ready, you will not be tempted to stop by the vending machines for soda and chips. 
  5. Plan something special just for you before returning to school. Lunch with friends or a trip to the spa will help you relax and celebrate the end of summer. I am always a little sad that the carefree days of summer are over. Getting my hair done and shopping for a new outfit help create a positive mood. 

I hope these quick tips will help you have a great start to the new school year!
Best wishes and much love sent your way!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New 2015 ELA Standards for South Carolina!

For my South Carolina followers, HERE is a link to the new 2015 ELA standards!
The addition of inquiry standards has really changed the environment of the classroom! I am so excited about these inquiry additions! 
Do you need help teaching inquiry? The revised edition of Harvey and Daniel's Comprehension and Collaboration has everything you need to get started with inquiry lessons in your classroom!

I Wonder boards are great for finding out what kids are interested in learning! 
You can also use I Wonder as a Four Square process. Download it HERE!
Students observe, listen or read and record their thoughts. I really like this approach in the early grades. 

Another great option for wondering is the RAN chart.  You can download the E-Book here
Students are able to see what they know, what they wonder, and how they can learn and grow through the process. Students in grades 2 and up do really well with the RAN chart. It is also great for professional learning with adults.

You can create posters for I Wonder and/or the RAN chart and have students use sticky notes.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Teachers, thank you for all that you do for our kids during the school year!

Be sure to take care of yourself! Pour into yourself and your family so that you will have reserves to draw from when school begins. Unplug and let your soul and your mind rest. 

I know what it takes to be a teacher! You deserve admiration, respect, and rest!
Hope you have a beautiful summer!


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Babies Love Reading!

                  Sandra Maddox on Vimeo.

This cutie pie is my grandson! I wanted to make sure that he would love books, so we started early! Does it work? Oh, yes! 

Notice his eye movements and body language. He loves the pictures and the sound of my voice as we weave our way through the book. It is obvious that he is happy and enjoying the experience.

So, what do babies learn from having books read to them?

Reading to babies stimulates and helps to develop their brains!

Reading to babies helps them to develop speech.

Reading aloud to babies exposes them to language. Children need to hear many words each day and learn to process language. 

Reading to babies will develop their love for books. Create routines that will encourage a love for reading, like bedtime stories. 

The love of books can be a shared experience that bonds baby and parent or grandparent. It creates memories and a lifelong love of reading. It also encourages snuggle time!
18 months

His favorite books from birth to age 1 were written by Karen Katz. He has added the Llama Llama books, The Little Blue Truck books, and many more!