Communicate with Students Through Technology

Communicate with Students Through Technology

By Sarah Brown Wessling

It’s never been about the newest technology – a printing press, a computer, an app – but it has always been about the creative ways in which teachers use technology to meet learners’ needs. The challenge is in choosing the right tool for the task.

Giving Feedback

I’ve been avoiding red pens since my first day of teaching. Instead, I’m always searching for the best ways to give students the kind of feedback that makes them want to think about their work, not just correct or edit it. Here are some of my favorite discoveries:

  • Individual Podcasts—When I want to start a conversation with students about their writing, I create individual podcasts. Hearing my excitement or curiosity about their writing motivates them to dig into their work.
  • Screencasts—To give feedback on student speeches and presentations, I use screencasts. I create voiceovers—like the “director’s commentary” special feature on DVDs—while watching students’ recorded presentations. I use one of two programs to produce these screencasts: Screenflow or Jing. For some examples, check out my blog 5 Ways to Personalize Student Feedback.

Going Google

When it comes to the tool my colleagues and I can’t live without, it’s Google. Here are a few of my favorite functions that are easy to start with.

  • GoogleDocs—Not only is GoogleDocs a great way to go paperless in the classroom, it also offers a fantastic comment feature that allows teachers to respond to one another’s work. And the power of real-time collaboration makes group work more productive. For example, I had student groups write soliloquies to put into Twelfth Night, and they were all able to work on a different part of the scene at the same time.
  • GoogleForms—Within GoogleDocs I can create a form, which is an online survey that collects responses in a spreadsheet. Whether I use them for formative assessment, reflections, or even organizing assessment data, these forms keep me communicating with students (and parents) in effective ways.
  • GoogleSites—These websites offer great organizing tools. For example, these tools have allowed me to create and maintain the class website using the websites. And students can create a site template to house resources, research, and final products. See my website, Geek Like Me – Welcome to Room 506! By Sarah Brown Wessling.
  • Google Reader and Google Alerts—When I learned to do research, I always had to go and find the sources, but with Google Reader and Alerts, I can teach students how to “order research for delivery.” Of course, I’m still passionate about our libraries, but these tools are great companions for modern research.

Web 2.0 for Thinking 101

My Delicious account is saturated with the Web 2.0 tools I find. I’m especially fond of these three because of the ways they support all kinds of thinking in the classroom.

  • AnimotoI love film projects but not the production time (downloading footage, editing, etc.). Enter Animoto! Using your images and words, this slick movie-making program adds transitions and music to make a professional looking film in minutes. Have students compile images that represent a theme. Use it to teach how word and sound create tone or have readers create book talks in a film format to share.
  • VoiceThreadUsing this tool, I get students to add their voice or text comments on an image or video that I post.Any students with access can review the comments as well as see who made them. VoiceThreads can be used for critiques, reflections, topic discussions.
  • PollEverywhere—This neat alternative to clicker systems is one of my most frequently used tools. Students get to use their cell phones in productive ways through on-line polling. Whether they are voting on the next book we’re going to read, texting me their “exit slip” for the day, or generating a conceptual understanding of a poll using Wordle, this feature always has a place in our classroom.

As you delve into the technology of 21st Century teaching, do so with curiosity and confidence, knowing that one of the greatest gifts we can give our students is new ways to learn.

About the Author

Sarah Brown Wessling teaches English Language Arts in Johnson, Iowa, and writes a blog for the Teaching Channel website. She earned National Board Certification in 2005 and was selected 2010 National Teacher of the Year..

30 End-of-Year Assignments and Activities for Every Grade

30 End-of-Year Assignments and Activities for Every Grade

WeAreTeachers Staff on April 8, 2019

End-of-Year Assignments and Activities

The school year is coming to a close! Now is the time to celebrate achievements and reflect on the memories of all that’s happened. Read on to find creative ideas for end-of-year assignments and activities that will get your students remembering all of the great things they accomplished in the last nine months, and looking forward to exciting days ahead.

1. List what you’ve learned from A to Z.

End of Year A to Z Teaching With Jennifer Findley

What a great way to look back over what kids have learned! For each letter of the alphabet, have them write and illustrate something they learned or did throughout the year. Hit the link below to get a free printable template for this project. (This isn’t just for little kids—any grade will be challenged by this activity on their own or as a group.)

2. Send thank you notes.

This is a skill every kid should learn—writing and sending thank you notes. Have kids write a note to someone who made their school year special, then seal them in envelopes, address them, and deliver by hand or mail. And while you’re at it, why not write a thank you note to your own class?

Source: Cult of Pedagogy

3. Post best-of-the-year snapshots.

End of Year Assignments

Ask your students to sum up their favorite school-year memory (Science Fair? Field Day? Creative class presentations?) in one snapshot. Younger kids can draw pictures of the event, while older kids are likely to have a photo on their phone they’d be willing to share. Assemble them on a bulletin board with a few words from each student about what made that moment so special.

4. Count the days.

Instead of counting down the days until the end, count up the days from the year behind you! Get students counting by having them use a calendar to figure out how many Mondays you’ve had this year, how many Fridays, how many P.E. days and how many Jello-in-the-cafeteria days. Then work together to make a bar graph and hang it on the wall.

5. Let the students become the teachers.

Take a break and let the students lead the class for a change. If you’re reviewing material for finals or an end-of-year test, have each kid (or a group) lead the review session on a particular topic. You can also have your kids create their own lesson on a topic they’re passionate about. And we love this idea of having kids in one grade make and present lessons on what students in the grade below them can expect to learn the following year. There are a lot of options here, and all of them give you time to take a breather!

6. Talk behind each other’s backs (really!).

Have your students help tape a piece of lined paper to one another’s backs. Have each student get out a felt-tipped marker (not a Sharpie—it may bleed through). Set a timer and put on some favorite music. Let the students mix around the room and write a positive message on each student’s paper. For example, The best thing about you is …, What I appreciate most about you is …, I remember …, etc. After a set amount of time, have students stop, remove their papers from their backs and enjoy reading the words of love from their classmates (and you too!).

7. Coast into summer.

These DIY memory coasters are easy to make and give kids an end-of-year souvenir to take home. Get the free printable templates and complete instructions here. 

8. Read a book to get some closure.

Little ones especially have a hard time with the end of a school year. Next year lots of things will be different, and that can be a sad and even scary thought for some. Try this list of young reader books like The Egg by M. P. Robertson to spark conversations about what kids have learned and what lies ahead.

9. Plan a summer trip.

End of Year

Here’s an end-of-year assignment that includes both art and writing. Have kids draw a portrait of themselves, then use the template at the link below to cut out and decorate an enormous pair of sunglasses. On the glasses, write about a summer trip they’re going to take, or just one they’d really like to take.

10. Raise a glass and toast your class.

Students get a chance to practice public speaking in a very meaningful way in this end-of-year activity. Get a few liters of ginger ale and plastic champagne flutes from a party store, arrange your students in a circle, and have everyone say something—maybe a goal for the next school year, well-wishes for their peers, a favorite memory. After everyone has spoken, lift your glasses with a cheer and celebrate to end the school year.

11. Author a six-word memoir.

End-of-Year Six Word Memoirs

This project has taken the world by storm. In six words, can you capture the essence of your school year? Kids can spend a little or a lot of time on this one, refining their words and even illustrating them. Collect them all into a slide show (anonymous, if kids prefer) to share on the last day.

12. Take a field trip to the next grade.

Take your class to visit the classrooms they’ll be in next year. Arrange to spend some time with the teachers, talk to the students, and hear more about what they’ll be learning. This is a good way to allay fears many kids have about moving on from a classroom where they’ve been comfortable.

13. Design a school seal.

End-of-Year School Seal

In this fun end-of-year activity that’s perfect for social studies, have your students design a “Great Seal” for their school. First, break them into groups to talk about what makes your school special and memorable for them. Then, have each kid (or group) create their own “seal” based on the ones used by states and cities. This project is especially meaningful for kids about to move on to another school like junior high.

14. Determine your “People of the Year.”

Time Magazine can’t have all the fun! Help your students to compile of list of the “People of the Year” for your class. Include people important to your classroom (the custodian, the principal, everyone’s favorite “lunch lady”) along with classroom visitors and speakers from the year. Add in some people from current events and pop culture (the current president, a favorite musician) and even folks they studied throughout the year (Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earheart). Try to take or draw portraits of each, and assign each student to write a brief bio of one of the people included.

15. Write letters or tips for next year’s class.

End of Year Diary of a Public Schoolteacher

Who better to advise next year’s class on what they’ll need to succeed than the kids who’ve just finished doing it? They can write letters on their own, or work together to create a master list of what it takes to make it in the next grade.

Source: Diary of a Public School Teacher

16. Create science-inspired art.

Ask your students to create a wall-worthy piece of art that reflects something they learned in science. Did you study plants? Maybe a watercolor of flowers. Or if you studied space? A cosmic-inspired number. Send their work home to help them remember, or collect them to create a bulletin board that will inspire next year’s class about what they’ll be learning.

17. Host an open-mic night.

End of Year Open Mic Scholastic

Encourage kids to share the writing they’ve done in (and out of) class with an open mic night. Set up a stage complete with microphone and stool—get great tips for this at the link below—then bring kids up to tell a story or recite a poem. Overcome stage fright with a cool casual vibe and plenty of snacks.

18. Compose an end-of-year continuing story.

Write several story titles—”The Great Summer Adventure,” “How My Teacher Lost Her Mind” or “My Teacher, My Hero” at the top of blank pages. Then, have each student start a story and after five minutes, pass the story to a neighbor who will continue writing. Continue writing round-robin style until you have several stories to read aloud to the class.

19. Publish a year-end newspaper.

You can do this one as a group or individually. Create a basic newspaper template and have the class fill in the “front page news.” Recap the year, offer advice, illustrate favorite memories, and more. Then, pass these on to the grade below to give them idea of what lies ahead.

Source: Teaching With a Mountain View

20. Perform a High (or Middle or Elementary) School Musical number.

Break your students into groups and have them create (and perform) musical numbers commemorating the year. They can write new words to existing tunes, choreograph a lip-sync performance to an inspiring or memorable song, or even come up with something entirely new. Invite parents or other classes to a final-day performance!

21. Assemble a Book Hall-of-Fame.

Have each student write (or draw) a reflection on the best book they read over the year. Then, save their reflections and post them on a bulletin board so that next year’s students can glean reading ideas.

Source: Kerri Pierce/Pinterest

22. Play end-of-year charades.

Have each student write out one memorable moment from the school year on a slip of paper. Collect all the slips in a bag, hat, etc. Divide kids into teams and have them come up one team at a time, choose a slip and act out the memory for the group. No need to keep score—the goal is just to relive all the happy memories from the year.

23. Start a school graffiti wall.

End of Year Graffiti Wall Literacy Leader

Choose a wall in your school or classroom and encourage kids to sign their name and date with a quote or other memory. Use permanent markers or small paint brushes. Each year, photograph the wall and then paint over it to start anew. If you have enough space, these walls can last longer and only be painted over every so many years, creating much more enduring memories. No wall room? Try a bulletin board or large sheet of paper instead.

24. Hold a “Stuff You Should Know” event.

Take a day or a week to pass on important things you want your kids to know as they move on in life without you. Share poems, songs, TED talks, quotes, books, and tips that you think will help them along their way. Don’t forget to include simple life lessons (registering and preparing to vote, protecting yourself online, how to behave on an elevator) that school usually doesn’t teach you. Learn more about this end-of-year activity here.

25. Print up a growing tree.

Capture each student’s fingerprint as a tree leaf! Label them with their names, then hang them in your room from year to year so kids can see who’s come before them.

Source: Martin Koprowski/Pinterest

26. Build a portfolio showcase.

Throughout the year, have students save their best work in a folder or box. Then, at the end of the year, each student chooses their favorite items to display in a portfolio like a binder or display board. Invite parents and friends to come view everyone’s achievements.

27. Put together time capsules.

End-of-Year Time Capsule

Students will have so much fun assembling time capsules to be opened some day in the future. These can be as simple as a plastic water bottle filled with information (try these free printable prompts) or a shoebox stuffed with items to represent what they did and learned over the school year.

Source: Mrs. Richardson’s Class

28. Draw a school year timeline.

Classroom walls can start to look empty at the end of the year as you take things down to prepare for summer. Temporarily fill in the space with a long strip of butcher paper, then have kids create a timeline of the year. Break it down by month, then ask kids what they remember. Prompt their memories by having them look over their work (what a fun way to review!) and don’t forget to include events, speakers, and holiday celebrations.

Source: Minds in Bloom

29. Plan a dream vacation.

End of Year Plan a Vacation

Kids are already dreaming of how they’ll fill the summer hours, so this last-minute math activity will be pure fun! Give kids a budget (say, $2500) and then send them off to research whether their dream trip can be accomplished. Make sure they include airfare or gas money, lodgings, food, spending money, and all the incidentals that add up when you travel. 

30. Fill out an end-of-year roundup.

End of Year Squarehead Teachers

Sometimes you just need a quick activity that doesn’t take a lot of prep, and that’s where this free printable comes in. Personalize it by taking and printing a photo of each student, or have them draw their own portrait in the space provided.

Time Blocking Tips Top Experts and Scientists Use to Increase Productivity

Entrepreneur Magazine

John Rampton

April 16, 2019

From the moment you wake up to when your head hits the pillow, entrepreneurs spend their days jumping from task-to-task. We’re also rushing from meeting-to-meeting. Putting out fires. And, getting distracted by emails, phones, and answering a question from employees. Starting a business is exhausting. With so much going on, how is it possible for us to get anything done?

For some entrepreneurs, they’re able to roll with the punches. They also don’t mind putting in 80 hours a week. Whether if it’s because they’re workaholics or just have to do this out of necessity because they’re a one-person team, it’s just not possible to maintain this lifestyle.

Image credit: Gillian Blease | Getty Images

Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone has a limited supply of energy, focus and willpower. Eventually, those 80-hour workweeks will come back to haunt you as you begin to crash and burn.

What’s more, without having some sort of time management technique you’re just spinning your wheels. Instead of completing your most important tasks, you’re allowing interruptions and less important tasks to consume most of your time. Next thing you know, you’re constantly playing catch-up and missing out on the most important things in life.

But, what if I told you that there was one-productivity hack that ensures that you get things that need to get done to move your business forward while helping you live a more fulfilled life? Sound too good to be true? It’s not with time blocking.

What is time blocking?

Time blocking is a pretty straight forward concept where you segment your day into defined chunks of time. For example, instead of checking your emails throughout the day, you set a block of time, let’s from 8:00 am to 8:30 am, to clear your inbox and respond to messages. Once your inbox is at zero, you move on to the next task.

The key to time blocking is organizing the tasks that need to be completed and then set aside a specific timeframe to focus only on those items. This prevents multitasking and interruptions from dictating your day. As a result, you’ll cross-off items from your to-do-list faster and you’ll be more productive.

Most importantly, it encourages busy entrepreneurs to schedule time for themselves. Whether if it’s five minutes or an hour, time blocking forces you to add that much-needed “me time” into your calendar so that you can reflect, exercise, read, or do whatever else makes you happy. This helps us recharge when running on fumes and gives us the time to enjoy life.

Why time blocking is valuable for entrepreneurs.

There are two amazing things that happen when you start time blocking.

The first is that you’re able to accomplish your most important task quicker and more thoroughly. This is because you’re not dividing your attention between 15-different tasks. Instead, you’re devoting 100 percent of your focus to the task-at-hand.

Secondly, you’re still able to handle all of those less important tasks since you’re not frequently switching gears. In other words, by grouping similar tasks together you’re using the same area of your brain, as opposed from jumping back-and-forth. This also gives you structure and helps you stick to a schedule.

However, that’s just the beginning. Time blocking can also;

· Helps you balance your urgent and important tasks.

· Forces you to make a commitment to your priorities.

· It promotes deep work while combating procrastination.

· Assists you in becoming more realistic with your time so that you aren’t over- or underestimating how long it will take to complete a task.

· Takes advantage of Parkinson’s Law, which is that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” When you know that you have a specific amount of time to complete a task, you’re more likely to get it done.

· Closes those open loops that don’t have the next step. For example, if you have to contact a freelancer to get a quote on a job, you know when you’ll do this, as opposed to saying, “I’ll get to this later.

· Let’s you say “no” without feeling guilty since you know when you’re available and when you’re not.

How to time block.

When starting out, the idea of time blocking may sound overwhelming. However, you’ll notice that you aren’t scheduling everything in detail. Instead, you’re dividing your day into blocks so that you can focus on one thing at a time.

But, if you still aren’t sure on where to actually start, here some pointers that have helped me get the most out of time blocking.

Block your priorities.

This is probably the most difficult part about time blocking. I mean as an entrepreneur, isn’t everything a priority?

Of course not.

So, take a couple of minutes and create a to-do list of the tasks that you need to complete each day. Next, list each job and rank them in order of importance. These are usually the responsibility that helps you reach a goal.

Now, take your list and block out the most important and urgent for first thing in the morning. For me, I set aside from 9:00 am to noon for my most important tasks of the day. From there, set blocking out chunks of time for your second most important task and so forth. If you don’t get to the tasks that are neither important or urgent, no worries. You’ll get to them tomorrow.

Stop working on clock time — work when you’re most productive.

As an entrepreneur, you don’t necessarily have to adhere to the traditional 9-to-5 workday. Instead, you can create a schedule that’s based on when you’re most productive.

For example, if you’re a morning person and are fully alert and focused by 7:00 am, then that’s when you should start working on your first priority. If you’re more productive from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, then block out that in your calendar for your most important work.

As an added perk, you may be able to avoid distractions altogether. I know plenty of entrepreneurs who either start working early or wait until later in the day since they aren’t going to get distracted by emails, phone calls, or employees popping into their office.

Create theme days.

This goes back to that whole batching concept I discussed earlier.

Instead of attempting to do 10 different things in one day, create theme days. For example, maybe Mondays are spent on recruiting and Tuesdays are when you schedule all of your meetings. Wednesdays you focus on improving your product. And, Thursdays is when you address your marketing.

This creates a flow, prevents multitasking, and ensures that you have all of the tools and resources needed for that specific day.

Reserve breaks and time off.

It’s tempting to block out every hour of the day. But, that’s counterproductive.

Always schedule an empty block of time in your calendar. You can use these blocks to meditate, go for a walk, or just do absolutely nothing.

It also adds some flexibility to your schedule in case there’s an emergency. For example, a client got stuck in traffic and has to push back the meeting by 10-minutes. Because there were white spaces in your calendar, that’s not a disaster since you have the extra time to push everything back.

Set boundaries — but be flexible.

When you’re involved in deep work, then that’s the only thing that you’re focusing on. Emails, phone calls, and knocks on the door all have to wait until you’re done. Just make sure that you let others know when you wish not to be interrupted.

At the same time, life is unpredictable. While you should try to stick to your schedule as much as possible, don’t be afraid to be a little flexible. For instance, an email from a prospective client can wait until later in the day. But, when a piece of equipment just broke down, you probably have to stop what you’re doing and attend to that.

Create time blocks for things that happen.

Besides establishing specific times for your priorities and rest, make sure that you block out times for the things that really matter. This includes;

. A couple of hours per week to review and reflect on your accomplishments.

. Administrative tasks like bookkeeping, filing, and organizing your workspace.

. Time to conduct research, such as market research or even hotels for your next business trip.

. Writing and creating time, like composing blog posts.

. Time to catch up on anything you didn’t complete.

. Self-care time, such as exercise, yoga, and meditation.

. Quality time with your friends and family.

. Me time to do whatever it is that makes you happy.

Use a calendar to track your blocks.

Having the top calendar app is a key component to time blocking since it can be used to track your blocks and avoid scheduling conflicts. Some people still use a paper calendar, like those oversized desk calendars. Personally, a digital calendar is my preference so you’ll always have your calendar with you.


Finally, track your progress either every week or month and revise your schedule as needed. For example, if you blocked out two hours to write a blog post, and it only took you one, then adjust your calendar to reflect that by pulling your next task forward.

Driving Great Money Habits (Newsletter)

Driving Great Money Habits


Michael F. Kay

March 19, 2019

When I first started driving, seat belts were optional. My parents never used them (I’m not even sure they had any in the car), so neither did I.

But when my daughter was about five and I’d clicked her into her seat, she reminded me to put on my seat belt. From that moment on, I decided that I had to show her that it was an important habit for both of us.

Habits come from what we think of as “normal”—what we’ve witnessed or heard and then believed to be correct. We lean into our comfort zone and pull away from that which makes us uncomfortable. We’re human, it’s what we do.

You might already have great money habits if you had lots of examples to learn from growing up. But even those of us who had less than stellar examples can build positive money habits—by becoming more aware of our finances and learning to make the best decisions possible in each situation.

It doesn’t have to be tough or even complicated. You can create and establish meaningful money habits by examining each area of your money life and taking small steps that bring you closer to your ideal.

Let’s say for example that you want to buy a car. In the past, you might have made the decision without examining the details of its financial impact. Maybe that was what your parents did and has become a habit for you. To make decisions that are more thorough, there are some questions that you’d want to consider before proceeding with the transaction:

  1. Will you pay cash or finance the cost? Where will the money come from? What impact will using that money for a new car have on your overall financial picture, e.g. will you have to dip into your long-term savings or decimate your emergency fund?
    2. If you’re financing, how much of a down payment will you make? What is the best rate available and for how many years? What monthly payment can you afford?
  2. Will your new car add to your monthly fuel cost or lower it? By how much?
  3. How will your auto insurance premiums be affected—and are you getting competitive rates from your current insurance carrier?
  4. Should you adjust the deductible and/or coverage for the new vehicle?
  5. What does your warranty cover and what out of pocket maintenance and repair costs do you expect over the next several years?

Just the seemingly simple decision to buy a car forces you to look at its impact on your finances from multiple angles: cash flow (present and future), savings, debt and risk management.

Looking at your past habits vs new more insightful habits, you will make better decisions in which you will have greater confidence and control.

After conducting your analysis, you might decide that you can’t afford a new car right now, but you’d like to buy within the next year. You might choose to build a new money habit by setting aside what would have been your monthly car payment so that you’ll have a heftier down payment when you’re ready to buy.

By asking yourself some simple questions on the front end, you begin to wire new thought processes when making financial decisions. New thought processes will lead to new habits. You already do this for lots of other things in your life, from taking a road trip, to deciding to learn a new skill.

Think of all the money-based decisions you need to make in order to live with more comfort and ease and apply the steps outlined here.

It will start driving the right money habits in your life.

This article was written by Michael F. Kay from Forbes and was legally licensed by AdvisorStream through the NewsCred publisher network.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to receive more educational financial articles in the future, sign up here to receive a complimentary monthly financial newsletter.

33 Legit Ways Teachers Can Make Extra Money (Newsletter)

33 Legit Ways Teachers Can Make Extra Money

It’s time to get your side hustle on.
WeAreTeachers Staff

Whether you have bills to pay or are just looking for some additional funds, we have legit and creatives ideas for teachers on how to earn extra money. Our article on companies that hire teachers over the summer can be a great start if you’re looking for summer gigs, but we also wanted to offer these one-off ideas. Wondering which opportunities are most profitable? Check out this Priceonomics article that helps explain good teacher side hustle opportunities. They show driving for Lyft can be more fruitful than driving for Uber, and they identify other companies you might want to be on the lookout for.

1. Sell your lesson plans.

Teacher Pay Teachers has changed the way teachers get and share content. Chances are, you’ve downloaded something from it yourself. So why not take your great lessons and put them on there, too? Here’s a tip: If you have great material but you aren’t a designer, ask a friend or hire someone to make it look good. This can go a LONG way in helping sales.

2. Try tutoring online or in-person.

Check out local tutoring places to see if they’re looking to hire, or post on your own on social media or parent/neighborhood groups. You can also take your search online. A couple of sites we know about include Wyzant and VIPKID. We have a pretty fabulous VIPKID review article here.

3. Write an eBook.

Do you have amazing curriculum that people are always asking you for? Maybe it’s time to write an eBook and share your wealth of knowledge while increasing your wealth a bit. Kindle Direct Publishing is a good way to do this because then it’s available on Amazon, but there are other programs out there, too.

4. Make money by flipping furniture.

Have you ever been to a thrift shop and come across a gorgeous piece of old furniture that needs a little (or a lot) of love? Well, with the right redo, this piece could earn you $1,000! This is a legit teacher side hustle, and we love this article with great tips on how to flip furniture.

5. Sell your stuff.

Chances are, most of us can stand to clean up and clean out. You can go the traditional route and hold a rummage sale. Or get it listed online using sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

6. Buy and sell designers brands.

Do you love the hunt of finding amazing vintage clothing items or name brand items for a good deal? Turn around and sell those on apps like Poshmark, which is popular for clothes, purses, shoes, and more. There are people who have a serious teacher side hustle on here once they figure out which vintage items to look for and then sell.

7. Become a picker.

No not playing the banjo or guitar, though that’s not a bad teacher side hustle either! This idea is to do what the American Pickers do by finding hidden treasures and then reselling them. It could be a great way to justify your love of rummage sales or antiquing.

8. Drive for Uber or Lyft.

Whether you prefer Uber, Lyft, or one of the other “earn money on your own schedule while driving” services, this is an easy gig to try this summer. Be aware that some cities are being inundated with drivers, so make sure to do a little research on which one to sign up for in your area.

9. Run a deliver service.

If you like driving but don’t want to drive people, here’s another idea. We’re in an age where you can get almost anything delivered to your front door. There are several services you can sign up to be a delivery driver, using your own car. Door Dash is one of them, but there are many others, too.

10. Get paid to shop.

Similarly to delivery services, you can earn money while shopping for others. Grocery delivery is very popular these days, and they need shoppers. Shipt is one option, and Instacart is another.

11. Rent out your house on Airbnb.

If you’re feeling brave and have the space, offer to rent out a room on Airbnb. Another option is to rent out your entire place. This is especially a good idea if you’re traveling this summer. You could be making money while you’re off somewhere else spending it! With Airbnb offering insurance and charging guests taxes directly, it really is easy.

12. Be a local tour guide.

Teachers make great leaders and speakers in front of crowds. Take a look to see what local tour companies exist in your city or neighborhood. You might be able to make a few extra bucks while leading a brewery tour, foodie event, or historical walk.

13. Sell your own talents.

Experiences are the next big thing with people offering their expertise directly to consumers. Airbnb offers an option to book experiences in your area. You can also look into a site like Skillshare to offer a class online. Dabble is another one we love.

14. Start an organizational business.

Remember when professional organizers were all the rage? Well, it’s still a thing, and there are plenty of people that are looking for people to organize. So start up a side business for those looking to add a little more structure to their lives. For this one, focus on taking on just a few clients to start with. Post in your own neighborhood groups or professional networks for starters.

15. Become a ref or ump.

If you love sports, then this one is for you. It’s also a great option if you need some flexibility because you can take on gigs around your schedule.

16. Clean houses, weed, mow lawns, and do handy work.

If you can do any of the above, you can quickly put up a Craigslist ad for free. You can also use a nifty service called TaskRabbit! If you’re a little unsure about putting up a Craigslist ad, just remember that you don’t have to say “yes” to anyone. Carefully screen people first.

17. Check out a temp agency.

If you truly have nothing to do and you’re looking for a little work, go into a local temp agency for a seasonal gig. It’s a low-risk option for making some extra money.

18. Do a medical study or focus group.

Search “medical study in __________” (fill in your city), and you’ll likely get leads on places that offer money in exchange for testing on your body. (Not all are as scary as it sounds.) You can also find studies or focus groups listed on Craigslist a lot of the times. Some of these might just pay a couple hundred bucks for your time, but if you get in a big one, you could make a few thousand bucks over the course of a week.

19. Work special events and concerts.

You might see one of your students working the same gig, but who cares! You can often find work like this to work concerts, events, and shows. Again, checking Craigslist might be a good way to start. Look under the “gigs” area vs. the “jobs” board.

20. Write for WeAreTeachers.

Yes please. We are looking for writers, and we actually pay! Here’s a free freelancing tip: Pitch a strong article, and get familiar with the site. For instance, you don’t wan’t to pitch an article on amazing teacher podcasts because we have that already!

21. Write for School Leaders Now.

We have a second site you can also write for called School Leaders Now. You might be thinking … “Well I’m not a principal, so I can’t write for you.” No way! A school leader is defined in so many ways, so put together an article idea, and send it our way.

22. Write for “other” educational websites.

We say “other” in a loving way. There are lots of freelance websites out there and companies looking for curriculum writers. Check out the jobs page on eNotes to learn about their freelance opportunities or eLance, which is a general freelance website. Warning: Not all of these opportunities pay the greatest, but they could be a good way to get your foot in the door.

23. Market your own website.

If you have an existing website, you can check out affiliate programs like ShareASalethat allow you to earn money from ads and other affiliate offers. Another similar one is MaxBounty.

24. Open up an Etsy shop.

Are you that teacher that has a perfect Pinterest classroom and is just naturally crafty or artsy? Take that talent to Etsy. We recommend specializing in a craft to start with. This way you can build up your reputation and search up in Etsy search. We also recommend doing a little research first so that you’re not offering something with high competition.

25. Sell your craft locally.

Lacking motivation for that Etsy shop? Grab a crafty teacher friend and start up your own local shop, testing the waters by offering items at a local store or farmers’ market. Maybe the two of you will come up with a brilliant idea that sells like crazy!

26. Try a home party business.

There are all kinds of home-party businesses out there, and there’s a LOT of controversy around them. See our article on teachers and network marketing. But if you have one that you truly believe in and there aren’t a lot of people selling it, then go for it.

27. Be a pet sitter.

You can find pet sitting gigs locally, but Rover is really where it’s at. Sign up, create a profile, and then make yourself available to pet sit! You can either sit at someone’s house or host at yours. It’s an easy way for an animal lover to make a few extra bucks for something you’d love anyway.

28. Be a nanny or camp instructor.

For those of you who don’t need a break from kids, look into being a summer nanny or camp instructor. You can sign up for an online company to get matched with a family, or put the word out on your own that you’re available. Camp instructors might not make much money, but if you do one you love, it might be worth the experience more than anything. (Example: STEM camp, nature camp, etc.)

29. Donate platelets.

This one has been around for a while, and it’s still valid today. Take a look at why platelets are so important, and then look for a place in your area to donate. Typically, you can earn up to $50 per donation.

30. Get certified in a fitness specialty.

Are you a fitness guru? Take the summer to finally get certified in yoga, pilates, or another area. It might be an upfront investment, but this way you can stay fit and earn year-round while teaching evening or early morning classes during the school year.

31. Start a social media business.

Nearly every brand or company needs social media these days. If you’re savvy at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or others, market yourself as a social media guru. Now this is a legit, full-time job for some. But if you’re looking to get started, go to local brands that you already follow or are a customer of. Ask them if they need help on social media. It might only be a small amount or earnings (or just free stuff instead), but it can be a nice start!

32. Use your vehicle to advertise for others.

This one is a little out there, and it’s not for everyone. But you can turn your car into a billboard of sorts. Wrapify is one company that offers this. (If you do this, you should probably make sure to get a G-Rated wrap. You do work with kids after all.)

33. Be a bartender.

Patio season offers more opportunities to pick up bartender gigs. Ask around with friends that are in the service industry. This is an area where a recommendation can go a long way.

Calm, Cool, & Consistent (Newsletter)

Calm, Cool, & Consistent

Keeping Civility in the Classroom

By Laurie McLaughlin

Recently, a group of five girls in Monica Taylor-Fitoussi’s second – grade class were playing the You’re My Best Friend, and You’re Not My Friend game, and one of them had written a note that said We Hate You. Obviously, the situation was disturbing the class, says Taylor – Fitoussi, who teaches at Jackie Robinson Academy in Long Beach, California. She shepherded the girls to the room’s quiet corner and instructed them to talk it out and come up with a solution to the disharmony.

“It was amazing. Normally, students go to the quiet corner, spend a few minutes, resolve the problem, and come back to class,” she says. “This little group was there for 20 minutes, and there were tears and recriminations.”

Taylor-Fitoussi helped defuse the situation among the feuding girls as she does with just about every student behavior conflict she encounters. “When there are problems, generally the students are expected to work it out on their own, or they must write letters of apology, and they have to say what they did wrong and come up with an action plan as to how they are going to go about changing their behavior,” she says.

With the group of girls, she let them do “some critical back and forth, and I said, ‘Now you have to find solutions.'” With her guidance, the girls set their goals for getting along and being courteous to one another, exchanged apologies, and stated how they’d treat each other differently in the days to come. “I don’t know if just getting it all out was enough or not,” she says, “but they’ve all been playing well together since.”

Establishing Acceptable Behavior

This ability for her young students to resolve their own social conflicts with concrete, workable solutions is the result of her consistent message about civility and behavioral expectations within her classroom since the very first day of school. “At the beginning of each year, I teach classroom culture. The students and I set the rules for the class, and we establish acceptable and unacceptable behaviors,” she says. Because they help set the rules, students feel that the rules are theirs and “civility becomes an expected behavior, and it’s not something I have to deal with very often.”

Recording and Rewarding Behavior

The second-grade teacher also keeps a behavior chart on the wall. If a student misbehaves, his or her name goes on the chart. A different color is assigned to the number of times the students’ name is posted, and at the end of the week, students tally their own behavioral track record. “They can see that they may have started off with a bad week, but they got their act together later. If a student always has a bad Monday, we’ll sit down and talk about why that is, and decide if they need to go to bed sooner on Sunday nights.” She also doles out “character coupons” to students who have been helpful to other people. She says her students like the accountability of the color chart, and, of course, they enjoy the reward system that goes with it and with the coupons: they get to be the first to leave for recess.

Social Skills in the Curriculum

Taylor-Fitoussi says three aspects are integral to her teaching: a focus on citizenship, instilling good behavior without losing her cool, and dealing with issues right away so that they don’t become a gnawing frustration. “I’m consistent, which means I don’t get upset.”

Staying Calm

Staying calm, says Fredric H. Jones, author of Tools for Teaching (Fredric H. Jones, Inc., 2000), is one of the most important strategies in maintaining a civil classroom: not just staying calm, but genuinely feeling calm. Bad behavior within the classroom—from incessant chatting among neighbors to blatant, foul language, and aggression—runs the spectrum from mildly annoying to a bit scary, especially if you aren’t used to it. “But whether you are used to it or not, in every case, calm is strength and upset is weakness. Being calm is the key to letting students know you mean business,” says Jones, a clinical psychologist. By the time kids are four years old, they have honed their ability to tune out nagging and realize that often all they’ll suffer for bad behavior is a short burst of anger, and it’s over. “If you get upset, you can’t think straight, and you may react with something like a snap of the finger, and that’s a lot of power—allowing yourself to get mad—to give a student.”

Consistency and Boundaries

Consistency, as with academic lessons, is just as important says Jones. “There’s a difference between being truly consistent, and very consistent. Never make a rule you aren’t going to enforce each and every time. Otherwise, you may as well say ‘talk all you want because dealing with your behavior is inconvenient to me.’

“The teachers who are naturals in promoting civil behavior never raise their voices or send kids to the office because they insist on training kids from the very beginning. They make enforcing good behavior a habit, and students have a very clear notion of where their boundaries are and respond to them.”

Taylor-Fitoussi has been teaching for more than 20 years and admits that, like most teachers, she spends more time on classroom culture than she’d like. “But, by underscoring the expectation of civility in the classroom from the start,” she says, “I do not have to re-teach the rules and I have far fewer disruptions and problems with civility.”

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