Sunday, May 12, 2013

Following up After Applying for a Position

So, you've submitted an application or sent in your resume. It's been a couple of days or weeks and you still haven't heard. Let me tell you, this is the most frustrating, aggravating part of a job search. It's hard to remember that the other end of the computer are just people as well. Sometimes, the applications take days to even get passed along to the proper principal.

We all know that you have to follow up somehow, but how? Do you call? Who do you call, the principal? HR? Do you e-mail? I chose to e-mail. Partially because I'm a chicken and partially because you can edit an e-mail, but not a phone call.

Now, here's the tricky part, what do you say? Lucky for you, my e-mail is still stock full of "Position Inquiry" e-mails. I used a general outline for each position and changed around many of the wording.

Professor Dumbledore

I recently submitted an application for the teaching position available at Hogwarts Elementary. In Fall 2010, I completed a brief field experience at Hogwarts. I loved coming to the school every week! The environment was so welcoming and the students' diversity reminds me of my home. I would love to be a part of the Hogwarts Elementary team!

I have just recently completed my internship at Tree Hill Elementary. In May 2012, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Coastal Carolina University receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. I also have received my SC Initial Certification. Since graduation, I have been working as .....

Throughout my four years at Coastal Carolina University, I have been very active within the Whatever School District. I have completed a wide-range of practicum experiences at Hogwarts Elementary, John Adams School, and Bayside Elementary in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5. These experiences have helped me to gain a diverse background and knowledge of students.

In completing my internship at Tree Hill Elementary, I have had the privilege of teaching Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Gifted and Talented Mathematics. My experience with these subjects has allowed me to develop my idea of classroom management and educational philosophy. I have also become active within the Tree Hill community. I participated in Science Night 2012, facilitating an event where students built their own rollercoasters. I also coordinated a Read Across America activity uniting the entire student body.

My broad experiences have built a strong foundation of knowledge that can be put to immediate use by Tree Hill Elementary. Feel free to browse my web page (INSERT YOUR FANTASTIC ONLINE RESUME)  for more information including observations, letters of reference, and sample lessons. I have also attached my resume to this e-mail for your reference.  I look forward to meeting with you to further discuss any opportunities to join THE.

Thank you, 

Your Name
(123) 456-7890

If I knew absolutely nothing about the school other than its website, I replaced the first paragraph with: 

"I recently submitted an application for the teaching position available at Third Street Elementary through the state website. Upon visiting your website, I was encouraged by the emphasis on high expectations and family involvement."

Essentially, I was sending in my resume with a cover letter. Like everything else I did, sometimes I received a response and other times I didn't. I think the best advice I can give is don't give up!

PS Were you able to figure out which shows my schools came from? Leave a comment if you did!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

eOgLYMPICS - Standardized Test Review

Well, as many are finished, in the middle of, or starting end of year testing, North Carolina still has 3 weeks before we start testing. We'll be the ones you see testing on the 2nd to last day of school.

So, this is the time where we've started reviewing. Us lucky 5th grade teachers get to prepare our students to be tested in all four subjects (Math, Reading, Science, SS). As stressful as it seems to be for us already, I'm sure the kids freak out at the sound of "EOG" or "Testing."

We're reviewing as best we can to make it exciting. To spice it up, we've started the EOG Olympics!

Earning a Medal: Students have been completing practice EOG tests for homework and during random parts of our day. When a student earns an 80 or higher on a practice test, they receive a medal for their team. The team with the most medals at the end of our 2 weeks, receives an ice cream party. 

Splitting up teams: We knew right away that we did not want to base the teams on homerooms. So, in our homerooms one morning, we had each student draw a piece of paper from a basket. This was BEFORE we told them what it was for (though they still tried to swap colors with other people). There were five different colors evenly distributed through the four homerooms. These became their teams. 

I had placed popsicle sticks with 7 different countries into a cup. Teams had to choose one leader and they drew their country names.

Bulletin Board: 
Teams: My teammate used to create their emblems. Surrounding the country names are the students' names. They are pasted onto medals.

Graph: This picture was taken before students had earned any medals. We used an incentive chart turned on its side. 

Olympic Rings and Torch: Olympic rings were the NO (ϴ) symbol from our die cut at school. My wonderful teammate, cut out the center and linked them together to make the rings. The torch is just a rolled piece of large construction paper with yellow and red tissue paper left over from our last bulletin board. 

Now that our graph has some data on it and it looks like there is some competition, our students are extremely excited about it. It is the first time since the beginning of the year where everyone has done their homework all week. Even the 4th graders are into it! They happened to be walking by me on Friday as I was updating our graph and they were extremely excited to see who was in the lead! 

How do you get your students ready for test prep? How do you keep them engaged? Especially these older ones?


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Calming the Chaos

Welcome to the Calming the Chaos Blog Hop hosted by 2peasandadog.
All of us bloggers have come together to share our top tips for making the last month of school run smoothly. Visit each of our blogs to learn something new and catch a freebie or two!
Happy Hopping

It's that time of year! Our kids are going crazy and it seems to be nearly impossible to keep the students engaged. Between EOG review (blech) and 5th graderitis (Senioritis for 5th graders) my room has been crazy to say the least.

To keep everyone on their toes, and regain some type of control, we've started playing "Hot Seat." Before our day starts, I put sticky notes on the bottom of random students' desks (their chair would make more sense for seat but, we stack our chairs on our desks so students would see who has the sticky note right away). On the sticky notes are math problems or science questions. Whenever they seem to be getting antsy, I yell "HOT SEAT." The students all look under their seats. The ones with sticky notes have 3 minutes to solve the problem. They may use their notes, textbooks, and ONE other student in the class to help them answer. I have them use an index card to show their work and write their final answer on it.

If they get the question right, they get a signature on their signature reward card (20 signatures = their choice of incentive). So far, they have been super excited!

How do you Calm the Chaos?? Leave me a comment.

Here is the template I use to print the problems on sticky notes:
Another freebie! Two of my math vocabulary games I've had my students play throughout the year.

Blog Hop Participants
Check out this Great Giveaway!