One Liner…Or: the inspiration I get From Work

I know I haven’t posted in a while guys. I am very sorry about that! I keep thinking I’ll get everything scheduled out and be able to be on here more often but…we all know my ability to stick to organization is a bit iffy. However! All hope is not lost!

Today I wanted to talk to you for just a second about the types of inspiration I get at work. See, I am a music teacher for pre-k – 12th grade students. My children’s and Middle Grade stories are fueled through real life experiences and little character quirks of my ever day existence. However, I don’t usually get a lot of inspiration out of my 7th-12th graders. Every once in a while that does change…last week, for example, we were doing a group project in the Jr. High class. When it came time to perform, a couple of groups either didn’t have anything done OR were very obviously only carried by one or two lead girls. I don’t say this to be sexist, it is fact: The boys just didn’t want to do the work and expected their girl folk to carry them. So later that evening I texted this line to myself:

The problem with hiding behind the girls’ skirts so that you don’t have to do the work is that those skirts keep getting shorter, and you do not.

I know it isn’t much, but sometimes the smallest line can start off the greatest story. Maybe this will be that line! Or maybe it will sit here, lonely in its italics. I guess only time will tell.

 

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Dragon on My Neck – For Teachers!

I am very excited to let you all know that, along with writing, I have now started a TPT seller’s page. This page currently includes reviews and quizzes for Barbara Hay’s The Ill-Gotten Catfish, and Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost, as well as Quizzes, Pronunciation, Writing Prompts, and Lesson ideas for the first 3 chapters of Dragon on My Neck. 

While you can find all of these things on my TPT site: HERE, and find the books on Amazon.com: Here, Here, and Here; I have a special offer for you teachers.

I am well aware of how much money we make, and how much out of pocket most teachers spend to make the learning experience more fun and easier for all those involved. So here’s the deal: If you are a teacher looking to purchase one or more classroom copies of Dragon on My Neck, or an entire set of the Stone Dragon Saga, you are invited to contact me here, or message me via our Facebook page Tyree Tomes. I will give you a large discount on the books and, if you would like, will even have them shipped to my house, where I will autograph them for you before sending them on your class.

If you would like to utilize the quizzes, lesson ideas, and suggested vocabulary sheets I have set up, I will also provide those at a large discount for you! I am really not looking to make a fortune off of these things, I just want to get the books into hands that will enjoy and use them, and hopefully learn something in the process!

If you, or someone you know, might be interested, Please let me know! You can look at a few preview pages on TeachersPayTeachers if you’re curious about the set up.

**UPDATE** I forgot to put this in originally but I am willing to visit your classroom, either in person or through Skype/Facetime calls, and discuss writing, ELA, my books, and even the connections with other topics, such as Science or Social Studies. Possible activities include a ‘special’ lesson for me to teach (corresponding to your content area and current lessons of course), writing with the students, discussing books, discussing Dragon on My Neck (or the other books in the series), and so on. I would like to think that this could be considered a great reward for students who work hard or a classroom reward for everyone making a certain percentage on their quarter grades etc.

Thank you and have a marvelous Day!

What I Wish My Students Knew…

The other day I took a tip from trending topics and asked my 5th graders to write their final journal entry over “What I Wish My Teacher Knew.” It was heart wrenching. Some of the students wanted to tell me about home things, sick family members that are being hush/hush, bullying in the neighborhood, worries about moving up to Middle School, or even missing parents. Some wanted me to know that although they’re good students, they HATE school. They don’t like studying, they hate having to answer questions, and they only want to hang out and play sports.

In every class, they asked me what I wanted them to know. I responded, of course, that I am proud of them all and that they have been through a lot as a grade this year and everyone made it through admirably. Needless to say, we had an emotional day.

Now I want to let them know what I REALLY want them to know:

What I wish my students knew:

1) Ms. Tyree (and every teacher you’ve had) cares more about you and your future than you will ever know. We worry over you long after you’ve left our class and will remember you long after you forget who you had for 5th grade writing.

2) Sometimes, even though we really do care about you, we just need time to finish whatever it is we’re doing…even if all we’re doing is taking a deep breath!

3) There is never a good reason to insult people, even if you’re playing and it’s your friend…adults have a hard time with this as well.

4) I know you feel pushed around and talking back is a way to take some of that power you crave…get over it. There will ALWAYS be someone in charge of at least one aspect of your life. Bosses, spouses, parents, teachers, law makers, etc. will all have a say in what you do and how you do it. Fight for things that are worth it, but talking back just to hear your voice is not one of those things.

5) YOU (YES YOU!) are SMART. So maybe you don’t have the best grades and maybe sometimes you don’t understand everything the first or even fiftieth time….that’s ok. Everyone learns differently and everyone has things that are more difficult to learn. You CAN and WILL get it as long as you keep at it.

6) Stay Creative! The spark inside that makes you who you are, and that sends you twirling through the classroom on a whim, is an amazing gift. Never lose it. However, channel that creativity into art, mechanics, robotics, music, dance…anything that excites you and stop hopping like a frog in my classroom!

7) You are an Author….You Are a Scientist…and You ARE Amazing. I am very proud to have the honor of being in your lives.

Writing Affirmation in the Classroom

I AM an author I KNOW how to WRITE The WORDS LIVE in ME And My Story WILL BE AWESOME

I AM an author
I KNOW how to WRITE
The WORDS LIVE in ME
And My Story WILL BE AWESOME

I just wanted to pop today and share a little piece of joy with you. I currently have 83 students in my 5th grade writing program. Our state test is this coming Tuesday. We (meaning me) are starting to really feel the pressure. So today, before beginning our practice test, I am leading my students in two ‘echo’ exercises. #1 is our (almost) daily tradition of S.W.B.A.T. (Students WILL Be Able To…) followed by the lesson’s standard. For example, my board today states “S.W.B.A.T. – Follow a Prompt and Write a Narrative.”

After that rousing chorus, as the students are turning to begin their work, I am calling their attention back to the other side of the board and leading them in the echo of “I AM an AUTHOR! I KNOW how to WRITE! The WORDS LIVE IN ME! MY STORY WILL BE AWESOME!”

Each class is given the opportunity to repeat this after me 3 times. The first time they are hesitant, not really sure what I’m doing. The second time they are slightly more confident but still not so sure of themselves and their abilities. The third time though…OH THE THIRD TIME! Their voices ring proud, strong, and true and you can just tell that they know what is what now. They are enthusiastic, they are pumped, and THEY ARE AUTHORS!

It is an amazing thing to see and hear and I am so very proud of each and every one of my kids. So proud, in fact, that I took a few moments out of an unexpected ‘free’ period to announce it to you!

Please keep in mind all of the kids across the states, and the world, who are about to start taking these tests. Encourage those you can and think of those you can’t. Sometimes a little affirmation goes a long way.