Tag Archives : sharing is caring

Not Another Parent Night!


Socrates LanternHeader Graphic small


Are you thinking, Oh No!!! Another parent night, what am I going to do? Do you stay up worrying the night before?, or feel butterflies in your stomach? Are you self conscious about getting up and speaking in front of parents? Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone.

My teaching partner and I came up with a way to make parent night fun for everyone, including ourselves, since neither of us likes to get up in front of an audience, other than our classroom, lol!

It happened one afternoon, after the kids had gone home.  We wanted to do something different for parent night.  Suddenly, the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words,” came into my head, and I had an Ah ha! moment. Why not show parents what our program is like instead of telling them.  That’s  how our Parent Night Video Program began.

We prepared for the  taping by making sure we got the go ahead from the principal as well ICS_MS_lockersas all the teachers who work with our students. Next we let our classes in on it, and they just loved the idea.

When the appointed day arrived, we were at the front door, camcorder in hand, to tape them as soon as they got off the bus. We were  greeted with waves and hellos as they entered the building and proceeded to their homerooms.

Mostly, we recorded  the kids, but we also wanted to show our teaching style so the parents could get to know us a little, We would go back and forth between rooms creating a short video of both. This can be tricky because the kids are alone for a few minutes just about every period. It’s amazing how much you learn about yourself and your charges when you watch yourself teach. We always made sure that we captured each child doing something, we never wanted anyone to feel left out, or for any parent to say, “I didn’t see my Sally.”

After period one which was either history or science, we’d escort them to Unified Arts, taping while walking. Some of them would be sewing, others would be doing woodwork, art, or metal shop. Again we would go back and forth between classes doing our filming. Parents loved to see them in action, we’d hear “oohs and ahs,” as they saw their little ones using power equipment, or sewing machines, and cleaning up after themselves. They were in amazed at the types of things the kids did, especially in metal/wood-shop, without losing fingers or limbs.

Unified Arts were over, we would then tape either English or Math classes  continuing to make sure that everyone was included.

At the finish of a busy morning,  we would switch classes and get ready to go to lunch. which is a real trip. We filmed them going through the lunch line and showed the cafeteria staff serving their food. Watching their child eat, and what they threw away was eye opening for many parents.

Back to class to continue taping either math, English, world history or science classes.  As the day drew to a close, you could still see us taping the children while in homeroom study period. and as their buses were being announced over the loudspeaker.  Our ending statement says it all, “The last bus has been called, the room is empty, and quiet and sometimes we like it like that.” We always get chuckles from the parents because they can relate.

Our final step, before parent night, was to send notes home letting them know that they will be viewing a  presentation of, A Day in the Life of their Child. Then we did some edits.

During the day of parent night, the class gets to see the end production, We give them popcorn or some type or snack and enjoy the movie together. We can now laugh at ourselves and congratulate the students for a job well done.

Parent night finally arrived and our production was ready for viewing. We introduced it and told them that the video will probably answer every question that they might have and it usually does. Jokingly we called ourselves Marin & Filipek DeMille after the Hollywood director Cecil B. DeMille and the parents cparents clappinghuckled over that. The ice had been broken and we’re ready to begin.

Of course, there were times when the unexpected happened, like the video player doesn’t work, or we can’t find the TV that we signed up for. We’re all human, and these things occur. We took it in our stride and the parents were understanding. Eventually, we got everything up and running and all were happy.

The best part is to watch the reactions of the parents as they watch their kiddos in action. They marvel at how busy they are and how
much work is done throughout the day. They’ve never seen how their child behaves in school and they just love this. Better still, they realize what a difficult job we, as teachers have trying to tame these middle school children.




Please visit Socrates Lantern’s Social Media Sites

Please be sure to read the tips from these veteran teachers who are members of our Sharing is Caring Teacher Blogging Collaborative.

We’d love to hear from you, so please leave feedback.

sharing is caring

Is Independence Day More than Just Fireworks?

Sharing is Caring Elite Teacher Blogging Cooperative*** Activities for the 4th of July***sharing is caring


Is Independence Day more than just fireworks? Read what these educators have to say about it.


American Flag for July 4th


Freedom in the Classroom

By Retta London of Rainbow City Learning

Teaching kids about freedom and keeping it simple.



Foster Freedom in Writer’s Workshop

By Marypat Mahoney of Just Add Students

Giving students choice on what they write about and the mode in

which it’s written puts the power back into students’ hands.

Not only that, but in the real world — our students will be

writing letters of complaint, business proposals, notes of condolence,

emails to explain or convince, blog posts to explain opinions…

the list goes on. So, how do we do that? 


Stars & Stripes

By Deann Marin, of Socrates Lantern

When I think about July 4th, I think about our American Flag and what it represents.

I asked my class what this day means to them. A young boy stated, “It’s when you get to see fireworks.

This is one of the responses I expected, so I asked why do we have fireworks?

He just shrugged his shoulders. Another student responded and said,

“To celebrate our Independence from England.” Great answer I told him.


Celebrating the 4th With Kids?

By Mary Carr of Carrberry Creations

Celebrating the 4th with kids and want to keep them busy?

Learn how to have kids make a little notebook craft for 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day from Carrberry Creations!

Behavior Modification that Works!

Hello! I have a really awesome list of posts to share today! Check out the following posts:

Is Behavior Modification Controlling your Life? 

By Nikki Heiman of Creative Inclusion

Find answers to all of your behavior management related questions from someone who has “been there, done that” as both a parent and as a teacher with behaviors.

Behavior Management blog pin



Dealing With ADHD in the Classroom

By Mary Carr of Carrberry Creations

Strategies for helping your ADHD students succeed in your class.

Behavior Modification That Works!

By Kathie Yonemura of Tried and True Teaching Tools

An easy way to target and change specific behaviors. Motivate students to WANT to improve & feel empowered to change.


Behavior Modification Techniques that Work

By Deann Marin of Socrates Lantern

Management of a classroom is challenging, whether you teach special education or regular education, there are always a few children that are problematic to say the least. It is not always necessary to set up a behavior modification plan for the entire class. For some children, it is enough to give them a look, a tap on the shoulder, or just say something to them quietly. For others it is not so easy


Tips For Reluctant Writers and Ways to Make Handwriting FUN!

By Thia Triggs of Print Path

This Post is LOADED with great ideas on engaging reluctant writers!

Here are all of the posts about Behavior Management and Classroom Management all loaded up nice and neat for you in an InLinkz Code!

Technology Across The Curriculum Blog Hop

Sharing is Caring


This week’s topic is all about utilizing technology with students. These awesome teachers have some pretty great ideas to share!

Technology Across the Curriculum

by Deann Marin

I can remember the first computer that I used in my classroom, it was the original Apple. We had no internet access, or power-point programs. You could play simple games like Pacman and make worksheets for the kids. I thought the computer was so cool, just to be able to type and erase, without the hassle of whiteout, was a huge improvement.



Technology + Special Education = Freedom and Independence

By Nikki Heiman

photo 4


Therapeutic use of an iPad for
 Occupational Therapy

By Thia Triggs

This is an AWESOME post about different apps to use for OT skills. Very informative and comprehensive list!


I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post about Technology in the classroom!



All About Memorial Day!

Hey all! This weekend we are celebrating our American Heros! Check out what these teachers do to teach kids about Memorial Day!

Memorial Day

by Mary Carr of Carrberry Creations

Memorial Day is an important day to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. What do we as teachers do though when we are faced with comforting a grieving student in our classrooms? Be as prepared as you can be by reading this article, and accompanying links.


Memorial Day Tribute

By Deann Marin of Socrates Lantern

Memorial Day is an important day to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. What do we as teachers do though when we are faced with comforting a grieving student in our classrooms? Be as prepared as you can be by reading this article, and accompanying links.

Why Memorial Day is Important 8x8 Cover


All About Memorial Day

By Nikki Heiman of Creative Inclusion

Memorial Day is not just about BBQs and spending time with friends and family. Kids need to learn about the sacrifices that others have made for our freedom. Open the lines of communication on this important topic by doing some fun activities!


*Image of the food is originally from the fantastic blogger,Tip Junkie. Check out her stuff here!

Brought to you by:

Sharing is Caring


[inlinkz_linkup id=529211 mode=1]

Sharing is Caring – Fight the Summer Regression!

Sharing is Caring


Check out these great posts!

What is the greatest way to fight summer learning loss? Click the following to find out some GREAT ideas!

10 Ways to Keep Students Learning Over the Summer

Summer is the time for fun, fun, fun! School is out no more hitting the books. The only problem is that much of what was learned during the school year is forgotten, “out of sight, out of mind.” Not so with these ten fun educational activities that will keep the children looking for more and not even realizing that they are learning.

By Socrates Lantern

10 Things to keep students learning throughout the summer 8x8 Cover




Keeping Students Learning All Summer

Fight the summer slide this year with tips from Carrberrycreations.com

By Carrberry Creations






Don’t Let Summer Learning Slip and Slide!

Keep up the higher level thinking skills with children this summer! The #1 way to help your child succeed in school after summer break!

By Nikki Heiman at “Creative Inclusion”




Check out the Linky here:



How To Make Effective Collaborative Groups

By Deann Marin at The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs

Offering for Educators, Comprehensive Teaching Aides. If you’d like to see what else I have to offer please visit my store.


I found that having children work in small collaborative groups made learning fun for both myself and the class. Interpersonal development is essential for students as they need to learn how to relate to each other in a positive way, small group activities allow them to do this effectively.Working in Groups 8x8 cover

Group Structure: As I approach the new school year and get ready for my class, I look at last year’s  teacher’s recommendations to help figure out levels, once that is done, I make groups with one high level child, two with average ability and one lower level child. I also try to have 2 boys and 2 girls in each group. That way there is diversity in abilities and they can all help each other. I found that the best arrangement for groups is no more than 4 so if I have 25 students I will make 6 groups of 4 and one with 5.  Each group remains the same for one semester, and then we rotate. We would change groups 4 times throughout the year since we had 4 semesters. I liked having them work together for at least two months, getting to know each other, cooperating and allowing each child a chance to be heard.  Of course there are always one or two kids that have a hard time working with others.  If that occurs, you might pull them from the group and have them work on their own, esp if they are disruptive, until they can prove that they are able to work within a group. Setting up the rotations takes a bit of  work since you don’t want to have the same kids in the group more than once.  *See diagram.  

Participation:  Each child in the group has a particular job to do: leader, complimenter, secretary, person to pass things out, person to clean up, presenter, etc. Make sure that you let them know exactly what is expected of them.  Depending on the lesson, we play the pencil game, one person holds a pencil and it is their turn to do the talking, when they are done the pencil is passed to the next child, and so on. Everyone has a turn.  Sometimes they will write a  group  report and to make sure that everyone contributes, they have to initial the part that they have written. 

Working in Groups names

Visit Socrates Lantern’s Personal Blog

Since it is important to put 1 high level, 1 low level, and 2 average students in each group, you might want to assign them a color and a number. For example: Jane is a bright student, assign her blue 1: Kathy really struggles, assign her blue 4; John and Adam are average students, they would be assigned blue 2 and 3.  When you do each rotation, you would need to make sure that they are with different classmates and labeled accordingly.  Keep the number code to yourself, the class should know their color code.

Classroom Set up

Visit my Pinterest page

Classroom set up:  I make two rows of horseshoes. Two members of the group are in front, the other two sit in back of them.  So when it is time for group work, the front row only has to turn their desk around to face the other two. Of course, this takes a bit of practice, but they eventually get it.  When we begin group work, it can become noisy, so I have to remind them to use inside voices, I might hold up a finger, ring a bell, or hold up a QUIET sign. You can also reward the quietest group with something that they would like.  Since it is important to put high level, 1 low level and 2 average students in each group, you might want to assign them a color and a number.  For example: Jane is a bright student, assign her blue 1; Kathy really struggles, assign her blue 4, John and Adam are average students, they would be assigned blue 2 and 3. When you do each rotation, you would need to make sure that they are with different classmates and labeled accordingly. Keep the number code to yourself, the class should know their color code.


            If you’d like to see a complete lesson using this technique please see my bundle, What is it Like to be an Archaeologist? 

What is it like to be an Archaeologist 8x8 cover

Please visit Socrates Lantern’s Tpt store



This post is part of a blog hop called Sharing is caring. Please take a look at these awesome blogs from some amazing educators.

A great group of educators

1. DIY Farmwife: Kids Can Collaborate! Here’s How

2. Heart 2 Heart Teaching: Role Playing in Groupwork

3. RCL: Collaborative Groups That Work

4. Socrates Lantern: How to Make Effective Collaborative Groups









Please Visit Socrates Lantern’s Social Media Sites

Teaching Students to Work in Groups- Blog Coopertative!

Love group activities but seeking some fresh ideas? Check out these great posts from a group of dedicated teachers!

How to Make Effective Collaborative Groups

By Deann Marin

I found that having children work in small collaborative groups made learning fun for both myself and the class.Socrates LanternHeader Graphic


Role Playing Can Be an Effective Strategy for Group Work

By Juliette Roman

Group work is been proven to improve student retention and enhance student learning. In fact, our whole culture is based on team work and working together to solve problems. It makes sense that when people work together (more brainpower) they come up with more ideas, suggestions, and solutions to a problem. But the question remains how do we get children to work together effectively?



Collaborative Learning and Teaching

By Nikki Heiman

Group work is proven to be an effective teaching strategy, but how do we get everyone involved and organized appropriately? Here are some ideas on how to strategically plan out group activities!



Check out the same group on our Linky!
[inlinkz_linkup id=524851 mode=1]

Make History Come Alive!

I am so excited to share this week’s topic-

Make History Come Alive!

This was so fun to put together! This is a collection of blogs from talented educators all about their ideas to spice up History lessons! Follow this link for more detailed information about each lesson! Several of the ideas are completely FREE! This is definitely time well spent!

Make History Come Alive!
“Sharing is Caring Elite Teacher Blogging Cooperative”