Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget

August 29, 2014

The Common Core Cannot Lack in Common Sense or Compassion

The Common Core Cannot Lack in Common Sense or Compassion or it wont work- A stressed teacher speaks out

Where have you been Katie?

I know you have been asking that, right?

Where is our friend Katie?

Well, let me tell you! I started school. I started school, I tell you! I love my kids and I love my new Zen-self. I am trying to be a little more Zen and balanced with my life. Well all of that was fine and good until I heard this word uttered.


I saw the modules for the first time 4 weeks ago. Modules of Study. Units of Common Core skillfully created by teachers in our district and put into a labyrinth-like web site that one day I will understand, but today is not that day.

Yes, my district has created AMAZING Modules for us, and we are Common Coring it up. I am a tad overwhelmed by the site, just a tad…. There are so many words on my computer screen. So many links to click on in the Module website and I get lost, then my eyes water and cross and itch. I walk away from the computer and come back. I try to find “that page” I was on in “that tab” of the Module and I can’t find it cause now I’m in the wrong “box” of the Module from the drop down menu. Did I imagine the text dependent questions page? What happened? I panic and no one cares.

I must retain this Zen state I have tried so hard to achieve. I can do hard things. This is not the end of the world.  I have time to figure out this site. I am a good teacher, an engaging teacher, and I understand the Common Core, so I just need to deal with this Module-thing-a-ma-giger. I am Zen. If my name was Jennifer, you could call me Zen-Jenn.

So I decide no more getting lost on the site. I am going to print the Module. No more clicking. I am going to print the whole thing, then I am going to highlight and tab things that are important… Let’s do this old school! I might even put some stickers on it to make it pretty. OH EM GEE. I’ll use markers, and I’ll color code the BIG stuff like text-dependent questions, essential questions, and really evaluate the heck out of this.

I click the “print” button.

“Printer out of ink.” flashes across my screen.

The Zen is evaporating from my body, and I am getting sweaty and upset. This could be in part because my grade level created an amazing ELD/RTI rotation, used it for 2 months, and our admin said it’s rubbish. Not really, but he said he did not like it, change it, like change it tomorrow. “You will figure it out ladies. I don’t like what you are doing now.” he said. “Do this instead. Put aside what you think works for your kids and do this smaller groups model.” We hashed it out for a while and then promised to obey him. I wanted to say, “ Why didn’t you tell us TWO MONTHS AGO?” But I held it in. So it’s Wednesday and he wants a new plan in action Thursday (when I have a sub).  So I was already kind of upset, but I was not going to let ELD/RTI ruin my Zen. I was not going let ink ruin my Zen. None of it is a life changer.  Just buy ink and change ELD/RTI. No problem. I can do hard things.

So I drive to Staples. I buy black ink. I come home only to see this…..


Yep that blue C means the computer wants blue ink. Not black, blue.

Zen is dead. All used up. I felt the last of my Zen come out my ears in the form of steam. Steam I tell you. BUT IT GETS WORSE!

I drive back to Staples. I call my bestie on the way. She responds with the appropriate amount of compassion for my Common Core/Ink Crisis. She does this because she is a teacher and loves me.

I go into Staples and think, “You know what? For good measure I will buy all 4 colors in the mega pack because you know the minute I put blue ink in the printer, it will want magenta!” Someone should write a book along the lines of If you give a Mouse a Cookie, but title it, If You Give a Printer Red Ink.

if you give a printer


So I’ll buy the mega pack of ink. Look! I am ahead of the game. I am finding Zen again in the isles of Staples. I am also finding Mr. Sketch markers. That’s right sisters! Zen is back! I have ink! I have markers! I have ZEN!

I get home, unwrap the ink and I see it. What on Earth! I bought 125 ink instead of 126! 


SHUT UP. SHUT UP UP UP ! SHUT UP! This did NOT happen! At this point Zen has left the building. It has gone somewhere to hide from me. Zen is very afraid of me right now. I think my dog might be afraid too because he left the room.

And you know what. It’s 8:56pm. Staples closes at 9pm.

Crap. Teacher to the Core is pissed. Pissed to the Core. Pissed at the Common Core. Pissed at Modules and change, pissed at ink and printers. Pissed that the ‘97 Standards are no longer cool. Pissed.

Zen is not dead. It is hiding. I try to find Zen. I need to find Zen. Who cares about ink? Who cares about modules. I need to be peaceful again. I am going to go to bed, maybe Zen is there?

I wake up. Zen was not in my bed, or dreams. I am thinking of making signs to post in my neighborhood. “Missing Zen. If found, please call.” Then I remember I don’t have any ink, so I can't print the signs.

I get dressed and I go to the Module training on how to use the new Math Modules to go with the old curriculum- this should be super fun. There was no sarcasm in there. I love trainings! I have a sub and I have amazing teachers to work with and a great set of presenters and we start dig in. We are having a great time. And then it happens.

Our trainer is asking me a bunch of questions as I am trying to explore this Module and plan with the team. I am supposed to be presenting to our team on the two danged hardest standards and how our math series does or does not address the standard. I am supposed to use a brand new 48 page flip book given to us on site to help.  People in the room are starting to call it the “flipping book”.  And our presenter is telling me “Oh those are the hardest standards, so what are you thinking? What have you noticed? What do think about addition and subtraction being taught together? I am trying to explain myself and defend my belief that addition and subtraction should be taught together, only kind of together, not really though.  Subtraction should be hinted at but not mixed in too much until the end of the year. 

Here is what I mean for right now in September of first grade….I have five cookies and get 1 more. That’s 5+1=6. My cookie group went up. I eat two cookies my cookie group just went down a little bit. Yes, groups go up and down. Now back to addition.

I mean they should be taught in a very organic mixed in way at this point. Hinting at subtraction, but just a hint, a tease, cleavage, but nothing more ‘cause it’s September.

I can tell maybe this is not really what she wants to hear. I can tell she kind of wants to hear that they should be taught together-together. I might be wrong. I can’t really tell anything. She is delightful, but she is a stranger and I don’t really know what she wants from me.  I keep explaining myself and she starts to wave her hands in that circular motion that people do when they are trying to lead you to an answer. I am mid explaining, as in the middle of a thought,  and she says… “Right! So we call that_______________. And she stops. She is waiting for me to respond. Fill in the blank.  Crap.

I hate this Common Core engagement/struggle until you want to die kind questioning. Explore, figure it out, give me your big idea, but it better be the right one or you *might* look like an idiot. All of this happening at a training is really annoying.

I think the kids don’t like it either. At least not in the large doses it seems to be heaped on them these days. “Let the kids figure it out” “Let them EXPLORE, let them struggle.” For how long?

In this moment before I tell you that I kind of freaked out on the trainer let me tell you that there seems to be a whole bunch of Common Core misconceptions that I think lack in compassion toward the learner.

  • We need to facilitate them coming to right conclusions quickly. It should be this IMHO:  They do (explore, learning together), we do (teaching maybe even God forbid “I do”), and then you do (practice) Practice can also include learning together as long as they are taking turns and articulating their thinking so there is still some semblance of individual accountability.  But too many teachers seem to be focusing on exploring, thinking about thinking, building their thinking, and not moving into the teaching part fast enough. I am not saying I have to be the one teaching all the time. I love removing myself from the sage on the stage position. They can learn so much from a peer articulating, but at some point there needs to be an answer, consensus. Exploring in the woods is fine for a time, but we need to arrive back at camp or we are all going to die in the woods of hunger. Kids, especially young ones, need to explore and then be brought around quickly. Floundering or exploring endlessly can become quite uncomfortable and a waste of time. At some point a circle is a circle, a square is a square, and 4+5=9.  Let’s get this going.
  • Let’s talk for a second about how much time we are spending on things too. Some standards are high yield standards. Spend time on them. Engage the heck out of them. Use all your engagement tricks. Use your Kagan! Use your Engagement Cube, use your SIOP skills.  Thinking map that standard until it surrenders to your awesomeness and your students rock it like a boss!  BUT some standards are the kind where you get in, get out, and take some extra time in your reading groups that day.  Do not ENGAGE/EXPLORE the heck out of everything. Your kids can’t take it. You can’t take it. You probably don’t have time to plan it. Not every lesson has to be a symphony. Some lessons are just scales. This makes sense to my musical friends. I am not very sporty, but I’ll try. Not every lesson is a full basketball game, some lessons are just shooting free throws. My point is please have compassion on the children and yourself. Allow them to breathe, allow yourself to breathe. Planning for the Common Core cannot lack in Common Sense and Compassion. Please use both in planning and teaching.

So that is my compassion rant.  I rant because I have a son in the Common Core right now. He is a 2nd grader. His very formative years are right now. As we fumble along in the Common Core and he still needs to be taught stuff. Luckily his teachers are rocking it.  But at times this notion of “Let the kids figure it out” kind of irks me because I have to hope and trust that his teachers don’t let him figure it out too long, or let him take his thinking too far in the wrong direction, or fatigue the joy of learning right out of him because it becomes exhausting and he is tired of “Think-Pair-Sharing” with the child next to him. Rant over. I promise.

So are you ready to hear about the freak out?

So here I am. All that rant {above} is built up in me. The Zen never came back, I never did get ink in the printer, and my sweet-as-apple-pie facilitator is waving her hands at me and wanting me to find some answer in the woods.  I can’t explore any more. I am in a MODULE TRAINING FOR PETE’S SAKE. TELL me. TELL ME what the word you want is,  because I was in the middle of a sentence and you started waving your arms. Now I am lost and tired from the exploration. I am fatigued and I have NO INK in my printer. Just tell me Module Maven because I KNOW you know.

So I tell her empathically . “Please stop. I don’t like this kind of Common Core questioning. I don’t like the “you know the answer and I am exploring to find it”. I don’t like that kind of questioning when I am in the thick of Module Mania. And now you are waving your arms at me. This is tricky and trainers treating the trainees like kids is not my favorite. Instructional styles in the Common Core can’t forget compassion for the learner. I am the learner here. I don’t know what you want me to say”

I said it you guys and now I don’t know how to feel.

I feel like it was not the best manners. I feel like she is doll and sweet and we would love each other if I had not just gotten feisty. I feel like it needed to be said.

Of course, I waved her back over 15 minutes later and asked her to forgive me for having been so heated.  She did. I asked her not be afraid of me and that I was really a super nice person.  But, at this point with the Modules, our district wants us to use, with adopted curriculum that does not support the Common Core, I need Module Direction.  No more wandering in the woods. I need the map (Modules), training on how to use the map, and a canteen filled with vodka. Cause tomorrow I have to teach this and understand it myself.

I am pretty sure she forgives me. I am pretty sure the ladies at my table survived seeing this. (Apparently, I made quite and impression on them. They all work at my husband’s school and ran to his room this morning to tell him they “had no idea Katie had such a feisty side!”)

trainings can be really hard

I am going to survive the roll out of the Modules. I am going to keep creating along the way because the consensus was you CAN’T use the math program for a couple of these standards. I am pretty sure my son will survive all this too. 

For now I am going to add as much common sense, compassion, and engagement to the Common Core as possible.  And I am also going to go find the Zen that ran away and hid during the ink crisis. I am pretty sure I saw it hiding in my bathtub. I plan to add bubbles and water to the Zen and soak all of it up.

Please tell me, do you experience more crisis over the Common Core or your district’s interpretation of the Common Core?  What do you remind yourself when you start to feel twitchy? Do you have a Zen-ism… please share!

August 11, 2014

Bl-eacher #teacher blogger

I know the whole mixing two words to make a new word is very 2013, but I can’t help it. Here are a few of my favorite mixed words:

  • Brangelina- is it just me or is Brad still hot but MUST remain clean shaven?
  • blogebrity- Blogging celebrity (which I am not)
  • frenemy- friend and enemy in one. I am happy to say I have none of these. PTL.
  • hangry- hungry and angry all at once…. look out
  • snark- snide remark

Of course this leads to my new favorite word mash up….

  • bleacher, blogging teacher not to be confused with beacher which is a b****y teacher. Oh you know you work with a few of those! Don’t lie. Some teachers are downright surly!

meet teacher blogger

Stephanie Stewart is hosting a sweet little link up where you can come and meet some new blogging teachers. Maybe you are just meeting me from the link up. If so, WELCOME! We have fun here and try not to get into too much trouble!

 Meet My People

All about me 16

This man is funny and snarky and really kind. He keeps me on my toes and bursts bubbles that might carry me too far away from reality. He’s perfect for me. We are like Peas and Carrots! {I actually find this a gross combination of veggies, but I like the movie Forrest Gump, so I’m going with it.}


This kid is a kick in the pants.  He is live wire of joy! He also has more energy than I can keep up with. {Mommy is tired after a long day, but he still wants to play basketball TOGETHER in the 103 degree weather!} But I have to remind myself that he will only be little for a while and then instead of running with him, I’ll be chasing after him! I choose to enjoy him {and rejoice at bedtime}.


  • Gift cards because they are three presents in one! You get to open it, then you get to spend it {alone while hubby entertains child}, and then you get to enjoy what you bought! Heaven!!!!
  • Starbucks teachers.need.coffee.mixed.with.chocolate.the.end
  • My size 4/6 wardrobe. Yah, I can’t wear ANY of it at my current size 10/12 self, but I am working on it and “Walking Away the Pounds”
  • Jesus can’t live without Him
  • The internet- 5 words Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, Amazon, and TpT. I cannot function sans internet. The internet, Jesus and my family… in no particular order.
  • TV-Once Upon a Time, Bravo {trash TV}, and Food Network are my faves .
  • Tea, the act of, more than the drink, although I do love the drink.  I love brewing it, mixing in milk and sugar, savoring it with a pal or the hubs. I like the long conversations drawn out over tiny sandwiches and cookies. A college friend and I would spend hours making scones, brewing tea, and just enjoying and afternoon. {I miss college}


A housewife with a housekeeper.


Loyal, Sensitive, and Diligent {and a hot mess at times}


I’d love to sit in a staff meeting that could have been handled in an email.


You + me + the entire cast of Friends + music + no inhibitions+ a fountain that we dance around in


Snap and Complete: I snap and whatever it is that needs to be done is completed to perfection! SNAP! I guess this is more magic, but whatever!


Those who look upon the Lord are radiant and their faces are never covered with shame” Psalm 34:5


Night owl and not very friendly in the morning.



I can’t play favorites. I like all of the goodies on my sidebar! Most of my new stuff isn’t even over there! You have to click “Window Shopping” up top to see all the goods.


My hair has 4 distinct personality types all happening at the same time at all times.   See below.

my hair

Parts of my hair are bone straight while other parts of it are downright ridiculous. I employ a chair, a whip, a flat iron, prayer, and the occasional colorful word during daily styling. 

imageI hope you had fun!!!! I want to know more about you! In the comments section answer one of the questions above about yourself. I will choose 5 winners to win any 1 item from my store!

Link back to Falling Into First {here}!

It’s Shark Week in First Grade {With a freebie to take a bite out of}

All teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers have come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love!


Common Core fun can be had by all when we pull out some non-fiction books and let the kids just devour them. As the kids are flipping through, I take a few moments to pause and discuss the text features such as: headings, captions, labels, tables of contents, and glossaries! 


After exploring for no more than 7 minutes we engage our minds and school supplies to label the shark.  While doing this, I can teach them and they can teach each other SO SO SO much about sharks.  I like it best when it comes from them.

Do your students love sharks and all manner of ocean life- Mine are insane for label and write activities- This freebie freaturing sharks is sure to please-smaller-

After we explore, label, and discuss we should have lots in our brains to write about!  If this all sounds fun to you, grab this freebie and go for it!

Download now new

After we write we watch the movie and see if we can learn just one more thing and we add it to our writing!


This You Tube video is so cute with a song that will get stuck in your head! The song is called “I’m a Shark”. The kids sing along and I about die with giggles listening to them copy the Aussie accent from the video.

So darn darling!!!


Be sure to go for a swim in the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a fishy freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th

August 10, 2014

Creative Use of your Teacher Desk and a Huge Giveaway

All of us at Primary Chalkboard wanted to do something BIG for back to school for you. We want to help with those first few months of school. I wish we could give you: more sleep, more money, and more time ….
But since we can’t, we are throwing you a party!!!!!!!!!!
Who doesn't LOVE a party? This isn't just any party. Get ready for this....
It’s a YOU TUBE party!

Yep. That's right. It's a YouTube party!
Woo-hoo! We are so excited for you all to party with us. We've all made videos to share some of our favorite back to school tips and tricks. My tip is one that I employ all year long. It has saved my bacon a MILLION times. I kid you not. Don’t toss your teacher desk, use it in a different way. God knows none of us actually sit at the desk!

You Tube 1
There are so many tips already in our party and 5 more coming to you every day! Tips for -- organizational, DIY, helpful ideas-- lots of things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your back to school a little easier!  Take a break from reading blogs and see our tips come alive in our videos.
Additionally you can win: 

$100 Amazon Gift Card
$100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card
A fabulous Michael Kors bag (you know, the one you want but can't justify spending the money for)?

There will be three winners!!!!!
Now you're excited, right?
You can gain EXTRA entries in the giveaway by watching our videos and entering our SECRET WORDS into the Rafflecopter (but I know you were going to do that anyway, so... 2 birds, 1 stone).

We will be linking up 5 new videos every day this week...
so you can come back, watch, and
enter every day.

Where do you start?  Click on the links below to watch the first five videos. Don't forget to come back each time and enter the secret words into our rafflecopter. Good luck!

I am dying to know what usually “lives” on your desk. I say lives because my first year teaching, there was a funky smell coming from my desk and LIVING under a stack of crap, was a moldy banana. GROSS. Now I use my desk in a totally different way, but how do you use yours? What lives on your desk?

August 3, 2014

Parent Reminders Updated {Making Your Life Easy}

80 Parent Reminder Notes help keep you sane! No more rushing around typing notes! Simply grab, copy, and go! This baby is updated in time for the sale. It grew from 60 notes to 80 thanks to input from my friends on my Facebook Fan Page. Thank you for the great ideas!

I created these notes because I hate the scramble that happens when I have 5 seconds to create an eye catching note!  IT PUTS ME IN CRISIS MODE. This pack will save you from all that drama. These notes are provided in full and quarter sheet formats so that you can save your copies if you are limited! Simply grab, copy, and go! It could not be easier!

 Slide2  or   Slide140

 The Parent Reminders Notes Feature:

  • Melonheadz wonderful clip art.
  • A graphic style that is pleasing to the eye
  • Quick information that the parents can read and remember
  • Some notes even have room for you to write in pertinent information such as dates, times, children's names, etc.




Reminder Notes Found In This Pack:

  • Early Out
  • Early Dismissal
  • Minimum Day
  • Math Test Tomorrow
  • Spelling Test Tomorrow
  • _______ Test Tomorrow
  • _______ Test with check off
  • Registration Paper Work Reminder


  • Back to School (3 variations)
  • Parent Information Night (3 variations)
  • School Supplies Reminder
  • PTA Membership Drive Ends Soon
  • PTA Membership Drive Ends Tomorrow
  • PTO Membership Drive Ends Soon
  • PTO Membership Drive Ends Tomorrow
  • School Picture Day Tomorrow
  • Fun & Funny Classroom Photos Tomorrow
  • Field Trip Soon: Please send in forms
  • Field Trip Tomorrow please remember _______
  • Field Trip Tomorrow
  • Fundraiser Ends Soon
  • Fundraiser Ends Tomorrow
  • Report Cards Come Home Tomorrow
  • Parent Teacher Conference Notification
  • Parent Teacher Conference Tomorrow
  • Award Notice
  • Awards Are Tomorrow Reminder
  • Class Party Notification and Requests (3 variations)
  • Class Party Money Collection
  • School Spirit Day: Your child is invited to dress up wearing: _____ 2 variations)
  • The Book Fair is this week
  • Scholastic Book Orders Due
  • Online Scholastic Book Order Ends Tonight
  • Project Due Tomorrow
  • Oral Speaking (3 variations)
  • District Math Test Tomorrow
  • State Math Tomorrow
  • District Language Arts Test Tomorrow
  • State Language Arts Test Tomorrow
  • Box Tops Drive Going Now
  • Box Tops can be sent in all year
  • Box Tops Week
  • Weekly Goals Checked Tomorrow
  • Monthly Goals Checked Soon
  • Monthly Goals Checked Tomorrow
  • Trimester Goals Checked Soon
  • Trimester Goals Checked Tomorrow
  • I just posted on our class
    • Blog
    • Facebook Page
    • Shutterfly Page
    • Instagram Account
  • _______'s Lunch Account Balance is Low
  • Oops! Lunch was given, please send $ to cover the cost of lunch
  • Remember to wear appropriate shoes
  • 100 Mile Club Shoes
  • Recess Shoes
  • Flat Shoes
  • Request to send in ________ (supplies)
  • OUCH! (Health Clerk/Nurse Note)
  • Lost Tooth
  • Open House Notice
  • Open House is Tomorrow
  • ________ Had a rough day (behavior note)
  • Bonus: Water Play Party Note

******* Recent Update & New Additions 20 more notes!!!! **********

  • Bring Back Your Library Books Tomorrow
  • Bring Back Your Guided Reading Book Title: ______________
  • Please Return the Reading Book You Borrowed ______
  • __________ Did not turn in homework
  • __________ Did not turn in a reading log
  • Please complete and return the reading log
  • Missing homework Version 1


  • Missing homework Version 2
  • Missing homework Version 3
  • Please sign off on your child's sight words
  • Please send in snacks
  • Family Night
  • Can you help with the Food Drive? Send in items on ______
  • I.E.P. Meeting is Tomorrow
  • School Performance
  • Can you Help Us? We Need __________
  • Can you Help Us? We Need Version 2
  • ________please remember to wear your uniform
  • Dress Down Day, No uniforms
  • AR Note
  • Project Due Tomorrow
  • Spirit Week Mon___ Tues___ Wed___ Thurs___ Fri____
  • Ask Me About: _____________________
  • Grandparent's Day
  • Family Day
  • Science Fair
  • Ice Cream Money Note
  • Field Trip Version 1
  • Field Trip Version 2

I hope that you enjoy your school year and that these notes make your life easier! You can go to TpT now and grab this freebie from the preview! I love it! 20 New notes make it 80!!!!

Freebie Ad

If you want to go shopping around and fill up your wishlist before the sale click {here} or the window shopping tab up in my navigation bar.


I hope you shop with some of my very best friends too! Click anywhere below and grab all the goodies you need to make this your best year ever!

August 2, 2014

Surfing Along and Scooping Freebies As You Go

I hope you are having fun " Hangin' 10" with the So Cal girls and scooping up some great freebies along the way.
For some of us in So. Cal school started a month ago. But while my friends were doing their first month of school, I was off track {meaning 1 month off in July, 1 month off in November and 1 month off in March}. I work all the other months of the year. Yep no Spring break or loooooong summer for me. But that's OK I like working 12 weeks, then having 4 off! Anyway I have been loving the beach all summer, until my attic flooded, but that's another story!
Life is a beach... until the attic floods!
Now my house is filled with construction workers, and school it is about to start this week! However, I am approaching life in a ZEN way, and I am trying to enjoy my last few days before I meet my new class of first graders.
Today,  I'm going to talk with you about first day pictures and give you a photo prop freebie! Are you ready?

The first day of school is so important. It sets the tone for the year, and it's when parents decide if they can trust you to care for their babies! That's why I do my best to make a fun first impression! I leave lots of signs outside my door for the kids to pose with. It sets the stage for the parents that before I even meet their child, I have already prepared something fun and engaging to do while they wait to meet me!


You can download these "easy print"  signs Here
if you want to do something similar!
Download now new
I get a few printed on foam board at Staples for about $10 per board.
It saves your ink and the quality is unbelievable!Freebie to use for your back to school pictures

I go out well before the bell rings and shake hands, answer questions, and of course take pictures. I think this first impression is the super important. Being out there early shows I care. It shows I am approachable. It shows that I "get it". Not everyone knows where to pick up their child, how they buy lunch, etc... Plus, lets be honest, they just want a cute Facebook and Instagram picture on the first day of school.

This is going to be a great year! I can feel it! I hope you enjoy the freebie and have your best year yet!

Are you ready to scoop up more Freebies? Click the little dude and hop over to Soaring Through Second!

Remember the BIG SALE is coming!!!!

July 30, 2014

What’s Under Your Cape –{an obedient heart} & Citizenship Freebie

What if everyone did that? What if everyone threw trash out their car windows? What if all the kids at school did not line up at the bell?  What if nobody flushed the toilet? Why do we obey?

The simple answer is order and respect. “Without rules we risk danger and chaos” – Barbara Gruener, from her book What’s Under Your Cape?

Many of my teacher friends have been devouring this book in an effort to help our students become Superheroes of the Character Kind.


is an acronym that stands for these essential character traits.

              • Service
              • Unconditional Love
              • Perseverance
              • Empathy
              • Respect
              • Honesty
              • Enthusiasm
              • Responsibility
              • Obedience
              • Encouragement
              • Self Discipline

I want to talk you about obedience. What struck me as I read this chapter was how to explain the logic behind obedience.

My son forgets to flush the toilet. He washes his hands PTL, but not so much on the flushing! GROOOOOOS. At this point though, after all the reminders, it’s kind of becoming rude, thoughtless, inconsiderate, and actually disobedient. So I asked my 1st grader, What if no one flushed the toilet? What if no one could remember, or be bothered to do it?  He was horrified. Now he flushes the toilet… most of the time.  He needed a little logic to fall into the social norms of considerate living and citizenship.

But how do you teach your kids to become good citizens all the time? Sometimes a good start is making a list.  I think making a class anchor chart is a brilliant idea! I am going to do that for sure.  But I want to spend a little while talking about citizenship so I created another activity. Depending on your class, this sorting activity could be done as group or in cooperative learning teams.

Freebie about Citizenship from Teacher to the Core

Download now new So does a superhero / citizen always obey? What if someone was hurt could you interrupt two teachers talking if a student had fallen or was bleeding.  YES! There are ways to respectfully break a rule. This is where manners serve children so well.

The other main thing that serves children well is their attitude as they obey.  Do they obey all the way and with a happy heart? No? Then they are probably obeying because we overpower them. The minute that changes, they act out. They need to somehow find joy in obeying. Whole Brain Teaching talks about rule #5 “Keep your dear teacher happy”. This makes me think of obedience as a loving act.

happy teacher freebie Farrah Shipley is the Whole Brain Teaching guru in my life. She has a free download of all the rules in her TpT Store.  Including this one shown.

Whitney is an amazing blogger who talked about obedience as a matter of the heart. Do we obey happily? Do we show that we have happy hearts when we bend a knee? A happy heart chart is such a cool way for students to be rewarded for obeying and “enjoying it”

Whitney has this amazing freebie in her TpT Store and on her blog.

Obeying {right away, all the way, and with a happy heart} is tough though. Here is what it looks like in my life. Is the tithe check written with a happy heart in anticipation of God being honored? Am I making a smart choice to “go with the flow” happily vs. grumbling the whole time? Grumbling sessions still happen privately, Let’s be real.  The point I am making is obedience is for the big kids (us) too. The more we model a happy heart and narrate to our children how we enjoy following the rules of life, the more likely they are to follow suit. 

Barbara ends this wonderful chapter with a darling jingle that your students will love…

“Gotta be fair, You've gotta be fair.

You gotta take turns, and your gotta share!

“Gotta be fair, just gotta be fair.

Gotta obey the rules, all the time, everywhere.”

I love this book. Taking a big topic like Character Development and breaking it down this way is brilliant! You know what else is brilliant? This book study.

July 28, 2014

20 Freebies? Say no more!

Well now how could you resist that title? Yes it is true, 20 freebies and you don’t even have to hop from blog to blog for them!
B2S freebie post Nope, no hopping. You just have to click {here} and grab it from the Chalkies over at the The Primary Chalkboard! What’s inside? I’m glad you asked! My freebie for you is #11!!!
primary chalkboard Enjoy my sweet friends!!!! Only a few more days until I am back in my classroom! I’m getting giddy!
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