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More Teacher Interview Questions!

On Wednesday, I posted a blog with some Teacher Interview Questions I have experienced in the process of job hunting.  I was lucky enough on Friday to interview for a special ed position here in Hawaii. I don't know if a job offer will be coming, but at least it gives me more experience interviewing.

I added Friday's questions to my original blog post down at the bottom.  I also added a download to a printable PDF file containing all of the questions that I can remember.  I'll keep adding as long as I'm job hunting.  Hopefully that post doesn't become incredibly long!  ;)

Click on the picture to check out my original post and see my updated questions.

Teacher Interview Questions

Hi, everyone!  I had the first required interview with the Department of Education on Monday.  I was so nervous!  I'm glad that part is over and that I passed the interview.  Now I wait to see if any principals out there might want to interview me.

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you guys some of the questions I was asked during the interview.  It's so hard to put yourself out there and try to sale yourself.  I can't remember them all (there were over 20!) and these are paraphrased, but it might help some other people looking for teaching jobs.

Interview with Department of Education:

*What can you bring to a school besides teaching (i.e. coaching, drama, art, singing)?

*You see a student is cheating during a test.  What do you do?

*You are teaching a new class.  What do you need to know before you begin lesson planning?

*A bright student is refusing to do any work for you.  What do you do?

*A student asks why they have to learn this stuff anyway.  What do you do?

*A parent wants to talk to you about all the great things her student can do.  The student is only average academically.  How do you handle the parent?

*Do you think it's important to have a good relationship with parents?  How do you go about having one?

*How do you know what kind of relationship you have with your parents?

*You give your instruction and then assign your students to work independently on an assignment.  You notice a student is sitting by themselves and crying.  What do you do?

*Some people say that it's easy for some teachers to keep their students engaged and not easy for others.  Do you agree with this?

*Some people say that kids today are less motivated to learn than kids from 10-15 years ago.  Do you agree with this?

*A coworker is very needy and needs a lot of time and reassurance from you.  How do you handle this?

*Do you think it's important to have a good relationship with colleagues?  How do you manage this?

*Do you think it's important to tie your instruction into real life situations? How do you this?

Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head!  I was also lucky enough to be on the interview committee at my old school in FL and help interview the applicants who wanted to take over my position since I was leaving.  :(  Here are some of the questions we asked, but I can't remember all of them either.

Interview questions for ESE applicants replacing me:

*Please describe your experiences working with ESE (what FL calls special ed) students.

*What does your behavior management plan look like?

*What interventions would you use for a student struggling in reading?

*How would you monitor and track students' progress for IEP goals/progress reports?

*Have you ever been responsible for scheduling, writing, and coordinating IEPs?

*A gen ed teacher is having a difficult time keeping an ESE student on task.  What would you recommend?

*Describe the major parts of an IEP.

The job hunt is moving along.  I had the opportunity to interview for a special education teacher for grades K-1 on 12-21-12.  Here are some of the questions (again paraphrased) that I remember them asking.  Of course now I'm thinking of a ton of other things I could have said.  

Interview questions for a special ed elementary K-1 position:

*Describe your teaching experience.

*Explain your philosophy on teaching.

*Have you had any experience administering Fountas & Pinnell assessments?

*Have you ever used ______ math curriculum?

*Explain how you would handle behavior management and an unruly student.

*What hobbies do you have or interests that you can bring to our school?

*Have you ever been part of a data student team/study?

*Describe what professional development you have attended.

*Did you have opportunities to collaborate with the other teachers in your school?  How you do you feel about collaborating with others?

*How do you feel about standards based teaching?

*We sometimes have family activities after school.  Will you be able to attend those?

*What are your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?

*The million dollar question - Why should we hire you for our school?

I've typed these up and put them in a printable document in case anyone would like to print them off.  Click on the picture to download yours.
Hopefully this will help others that are on the job hunt!  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I start getting some interviews at schools here in Hawaii.

And I'll leave you with this beautiful picture I took at a beach on base last week!

Emperor and Rockhopper Penguins - A Nonfiction Unit

Ok, I have to say I had so much fun making this unit.  I especially liked making the books for each penguin.  I really wish we weren't in temporary lodging without all of our belongings.  I really want to print the books off for my own kids. 

There's 2 different books.  One for Emperor Penguins and one for Rockhopper Penguins.  Both books are in a full, color version and a student black and white version.  Plus, you'll find labeling sheets, Venn diagrams, brace maps, story map, and a center activity.  Click on the pics to see the unit in my TPT store.

Returning to school..

I know many of you are returning to school today and may face a lot of questions and concerns.  I also know that everyone will be going back to school and loving our students even more.  So many amazing teachers have created resources to help honor the victims and reassure their students.  Here are some of the ones I've seen.  Maybe someone can use them.

A letter template to write to Sandy Hook.

There have been some great blog posts written by fellow teachers.

My heart still aches for the families at Sandy Hook.  I am also thinking about all of the teachers who will be heading back to school today.  I know there may be difficult questions and concerns coming from your little ones.  I hope that you are all able to comfort and reassure your students that school is a safe place for them.  


My heart aches for those in Connecticut today.  I cannot begin to imagine the pain the families, friends, coworkers, loved ones, and students are feeling today.  My thoughts are with them all.


Aloha, everyone!  This is my first post from beautiful Hawaii!  Wednesday was a looooonnnggg day, but we all made it here.  We got up at 4am (EST), so we could head to the Atlanta airport and get on our way.

Luckily, our kids had this early delivery from the North Pole before we left. Yes, I know it's crooked but the internet is crazy slow here.  So I'm leaving it as is.

Santa was kind enough to bring them their own Ninetendo DS in hopes that it would help keep the adults sane during all this moving.  

It sure did help keep them busy at the airport.  I was also smart enough to pack a power strip so that we could keep everything plugged in!  We needed to save that battery for the long plane trip!

The kids actually did pretty good on the 10 hour plane ride from Atlanta to Honolulu.  The great movie selection kept them very occupied!  Can you believe none of them slept on the plane?

When we landed in Honolulu, it was 3:50 p.m.  However, back in Atlanta, it was 8:50 p.m.  We had to get our luggage, get picked up by our ride, drive through traffic, get checked into our temporary lodging on the Marine Corps base, pick up our rental car, and run to the store for a few groceries to get us through the next day.

 Needless to say, by the end of the night (Hawaiian time), my kids looked more like this.

Poor Brody (the one crying) even said, "I don't want to move to Hawaii anymore."  Luckily, he changed his mind this morning.  How could he not when we look out the back door and see this.

Everything is soooo green!  We haven't been able to do much yet, but I'm ready to explore this weekend.  My husband has been busy checking into his new command.  I'm trying to keep the kids occupied in temporary lodging and finishing up a new penguin unit (coming soon!).  

We're in a state of limbo right now, but I know it will all come together.  I have an interview with the Department of Education scheduled for next Monday.  I'm excited to get this first step in finding a job done!

Saying Goodbye...

I've been talking about it for about 7 months now, and it's officially happening.  We're about to make the big move to Hawaii in less than 2 weeks.  Yikes!  It's come up quick.  

Last Wednesday, I told my students that I was moving and Friday was my last day with them.  They were sad but talking about Hawaii really helped distract them.  I broke out a globe, so we could look at where Hawaii is and see how far it is from Florida.

We talked about why my family was moving (my husband is a Marine), how we would get there, how all our stuff would get there, and most importantly how my dog would get there.  To give them a visual, I drew this fine piece of artwork on my chalkboard (does anyone else actually still have a chalkboard?).

We spent the last few days learning about Hawaii, islands, and volcanos.  During the big Cyber Monday sale on TPT, I bought this awesome unit from Ginger Snaps.  

I was glad that I was able to distract the students with all the fun talk about Hawaii and volcanos.  Although, I did have to convince them that I would not be killed by a volcano there or get eaten by a shark.  :/ 

My students were very sweet.  My favorite comment came from one of my boys who said he wished I wasn't married and that my husband was his number one enemy now for making me move.  :)

I was super proud of myself for not crying on Friday, but I did get teary-eyed.  The other teachers were super kind to me, and it just broke my heart to leave a school I love.  It really feels like a family there, and I don't know if another school will be this great.

I felt so loved when my students and teacher friends brought me cards, flowers, and gift cards.  I mean how sweet is that?

Here are some of my favorite cards from students.

My husband and I worked all week on emptying my classroom.  This is how I left it on Friday.  I will say standing here in this pretty empty classroom was probably the saddest part for me.  I have LOVED this classroom.  I have spent so many hours in there and really felt like this was my space.  Leaving was really tough.

LOL, I made sure the desks were clean for the new teacher and they're still wet in the picture!

 Now all of my teacher stuff (Oh man, how did I collect all this stuff??) is piled up in the play room waiting on the movers to come on Wednesday.

 Closing this chapter in my life has been emotional, but I know great things await for my family after this move.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there's a classroom waiting for me in Hawaii.  I've already gotten my teaching license issued and the first required interview with the DOE scheduled.

In FL (and some other states), a military spouse can collect unemployment if they have to quit their job due to their spouse's military orders.  I've been trying to convince my husband to let me just collect unemployment and sit on the beaches of Hawaii while he works and the kids go to school every day.  So far, this seems to be unsuccessful.  However, I'm going to keep trying!  ;)

In the meantime, I'm hoping my husband and I can keep our sanity and get us all to Hawaii in one piece!

December Currently

Yes, I know that it's bad blog etiquette to post twice in one day but Oh Boy 4th Grade's December Currently is out!  Yeah!!  And I'm not even late this month!

So the main focus in our lives right now is that we're moving to Hawaii in less than 2 weeks.....did you hear that.......less.than.2.weeks!!  We've been overwhelmed and stressed for weeks.  

So much to do, so little time.  Yesterday was my last day at work.  Sad, very sad.  :(  More on that to come later.  It's good I'm off work though, because there is sooooo much to be done!  Yikes!  We have movers coming in 4 days, so we have to get everything already for them.  We have to get our car to New Orleans to ship there.  We have to buy luggage!  We have to set aside the stuff that will not go with the movers so that it can go in the luggage I haven't bought yet.  We have to get the dog on a plane to fly there.  We have to get school physicals and TB tests for the kids.  

Oh man, it's pretty overwhelming.  I know it's going to be awesome when we get there.....but right now we're in overload central.  Wish us luck that we can get everything done and get us, our stuff, our car, and dog all there in one piece!   

Sleigh Full of Goodies Blog Hop

I'm so excited to link up with some great blogs who are giving away freebies!  After all, it is the season of giving now that we're officially into December.  Yikes, that means Christmas is coming soon!

First, I'm linking up with Beth at Thinking of Teaching for her Sleigh Full of Goodies Blog Hop.  

And, I'm linking up with Teaching My 3 for her Twelve Days of Teacher Freebies.

For my freebie, I'm giving away a Reindeer Making Words activity and a Gingerbread Kids Sight Word Game that you can download from my TPT store by clicking on the picture.

Don't forget to head back to Thinking of Teaching for Day 2 of the Sleigh Full of Goodies blog hop!

Happy downloading everyone!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you're all spending lots of time with your families and enjoying the holiday!

I just wanted to take a minute and announce the awesome Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale that will be happening on Teachers Pay Teachers.

On Monday and Tuesday, use Promo Code CMT12 to get 28% off your purchase.

I've been busy visiting family but managed to get 2 Christmas items up.  I'm super excited about this 

And I made this cute Ho, Ho, Ho! CVC game for my struggling readers to practice reading those short vowel words.

Whole Brain Teaching & the Marine Corps

Since we have today off due to Veterans Day (thanks to all veterans and their families for their sacrifices), I figured now would be a good time to update everyone on how Whole Brain Teaching has been going in my classroom.  You might wonder how that ties into the Marine Corps, but you'll see in a minute!

First let me say that I LOVE Whole Brain Teaching.  Oh I wish I could take a video of my class and show you guys the stuff we're learning.  It's just hard to describe it using words only and no video.  So here's some things that I've really liked so far:

1.  Teaching vocabulary - WBT is fabulous for teaching vocabulary.  The kids really remember the definitions if you add the gestures and I love the "for example" part at the end!  I may not be able to take a video of my classroom, but I do have 3 kids at home that I can bribe into being my test subjects!  Here's a video showing a condensed version of teaching vocabulary words.

When I teach vocab words, I usually say the definition first (without them doing the gestures or saying anything) 2-3 times.  Then I do "mirror" and usually remind my students that mirrors don't talk 2-3 times.  Then I do "mirror words" 2-3 times.  We also talk about the "for example" part first and decide what example would be something we will all remember.  When I taught mammals to my class, we used bats as our for example.  But when I asked my kids, they decided that giraffe was the best example.   

I also just attended this reading differentiation workshop last week.  They talked about not only giving examples but discussing non-examples.  That's something I'm going to add into my teaching.  After we discuss the words and learn the gestures, I'm going to give an example/non-example and they can show me with a thumbs up or down (right in front of their chest, not waving their hands around) whether they think it's an example or a non-example.

2.  Class-Yes - This is a great attention getter.  Basically, you say class and they respond with yes in the same intention you used.  The key is to mix it up.  Sometimes say "class, class" or use a funny voice.  My favorite is to say "classity, class" and they respond with "yessity, yes".  It's amazing how fast it gets everyone's attention.

3.  Bodies and Chairs - My most favorite part of WBT is the procedures.  I absolutely LOVE that my whole class responds with their voices and bodies when I give them a simple phrase or even just one word.  It's seriously AMAZING.  I feel like a magician.  I say "bodies and chairs" and they respond with "bodies and chairs" three times while they stand up, push their chair in, and stand behind their desk.  Amazing!  We usually go to the carpet so I say "carpet" and they walk to the carpet while saying "carpet" 3 times.  This can also be used when I want them to go to their seats or line up.  Even my slower students who aren't always up to speed get it because everyone else is saying it so many times.  

Now here comes the Marine Corps connection.  As I was telling my husband and other Marines about Whole Brain Teaching, they ALL said the same thing.  That's the same thing Drill Instructors do to command whole platoons.  It got me thinking, and they're right.  My Drill Instructors (I was a Marine for almost 10 years) commanded the whole platoon through using WBT (albeit not a very nice version).

We've been trying to think of all the things we could remember our Drill Instructors would say and the platoon would respond in unison while doing a movement.

They would say:

Ears - and the platoon would say "open"
Eyeballs - And the platoon would say "click" while turning to look at the Drill Instructors
Platoon halt (when marching) - And the platoon would say "step freeze" 

I've tried to find a good video of boot camp to show you guys, but I think it might scare away a lot of followers!  LOL.  So I'll just let you imagine it!

So basically my point is, I love the Whole Brain Teaching.  I'm excited to do more and more.  I think it helps keep the students more engaged.  And I feel like I'm doing less talking than I was before.  All pluses for me!

I have also been busy making some new stuff for my students.

If you're looking for some Thanksgiving Math Centers, I made these differentiated centers that are Common Core Aligned.

And a sweet follower asked me to make a game focusing on Short E and Long E (ee) patterns.  So I made this Long E Sweets game.

And speaking of the Marine Corps in this post, I HAVE to give a shout out to one of my oldest Marine Corps friends.  He's married to this super creative lady who makes the coolest stuff for her cute shop, The Summery Umbrella.

She has these really great signs that would be PERFECT in my house.  I've been eyeing this one.

There's a lot of her signs that would make some really nice wedding gifts.  Like this sign.

She also has a cute blog that you can follow {here} and a Facebook page {here} so you don't miss out on anything.

November Currently

Well, like usual, I'm late to the party!  So better late than never I guess, I'm linking up to Oh' Boy 4th Grade's November Currently.

Listening: Does anyone else watch Sons of Anarchy?  I don't but my husband does.  I don't get it.  Why do the people always look so dirty on the show??? :/

Loving: Right now, I'm taking a 2-day workshop on about how to differentiate instruction with struggling readers who have persistent difficulties.  Today was the first day.  Nothing too ground-breaking so far but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow.  I'd really love some ideas about teaching decoding and sight words that will stick with my students!  The best part is......LUNCH with adults and not with students and at a restaurant.  Oh so nice!

Thinking: Overwhelmed......way overwhelmed!!!  We move in 36 days.  :( But I'm trying to be positive because we're going to beautiful Hawaii.  Still excited but leaving here is very hard.

Wanting: The laundry and house cleaning battle is definitely a loss for me right now!  I just can't keep  

Needing:  I so need a good book to get lost in that requires little brain power.  Does anyone have recommendations?

Music: I love the song For the First Time by The Script.  I know it' been out for awhile, but I still love it.

So I promise I'll be back soon to update on the Whole Brain Teaching, my training, new stuff I've made, and all the other stuff.

Whole Brain Teaching

Have you guys heard of Whole Brain Teaching?  I've read some about it, watched a few videos, and checked out the Whole Brain Teaching site {here}.  I've done a little bit with it this year, but I was kinda going blind since I've never seen it in action.  

Well, it just so happens that 2 of the triplets are so fortunate to be in the 1st grade teacher who belongs to this room.

And not only does she have a super cute monkey room, she also does Whole Brain Teaching!  I'm so thrilled with all the stuff they're learning.  What's even better is that my daughter Kylie wants to be a teacher when she grows up, and I have no doubts that she will be an amazing one!  I think it might be her calling.  Her and her brothers get the privilege (haha) of hanging out in my room every afternoon while I try to work.  Kylie uses the afternoons to recreate her day and teach to some of my stuffed animals.

Do you see what she drew in the corner right over her head?  A happy and frownie chart!  How cute.  Can't you just see her teaching one day?

Well, last Friday our school was lucky enough to get Whole Brain Teaching training from my kiddos' awesome teacher.  I was really excited about the training.  Let me tell you, I'm excited to go to work on Monday and implement some of the stuff we learned.  What I like most is that Whole Brain Teaching can be implemented immediately and it doesn't cost anything.  It's just something you do.  

Here are some of the things I'm most excited about implementing:

1.  Bodies and Chairs - This is where you say bodies and chairs.  The students then stand up, push their chairs in, and say bodies and chairs three times.  You can also use this for line (to line up), seats (to sit in their seats, carpet (to go to the carpet), etc.  I have one student specifically that needs a lot of reminders.  She has some processing delays and motor planning issues and always seems to be 2 or more steps behind everyone else.  I'm hoping that the repetition of saying it and hearing everyone else saying it will help her be more with the group.

2.  Teaching vocabulary through the use of gestures.  I have been doing this some with my students but now see how I can do it better.  

3.  Using "air boards" to write in the air.  When the teacher says air boards, the students make a rectangle in the air while saying "zip, zip, zip."  They then write in the air.  After they're done, they erase their air board while saying "eek, eek, eek."  

4.  Class, yes and Teach, ok.  You can read about that on the Whole Brain Teaching site I linked above.

So when I got home last night, I had my kiddos show me how they've learned one of their vocabulary words.  It was soooo cute!  Here's a little video I took.  Please don't mind any baskets of laundry that might possibly be in the background.  Let's just pretend like they're not even there.

Time Machine Addition and Subtraction Freebie

Our district uses Go Math for our math curriculum.  This is our 3rd year since textbook adoption.  The curriculum is aligned with FL's Next Generation Sunshine State standards (NGSS); although, we are in the process of adopting the Common Core Standards.  One of the NGSS standards for 2nd grade is:

Well, I don't see anything similar to that in Common Core Standards, but it's still in our textbook.  So I will be muddling through this part of the chapter next week.  It's a tricky one.  My kids have a tough time with things that aren't concrete.  They also have a hard time consistently adding and subtracting.  We've also been struggling with remembering the signs to add and subtract.  I'm not exactly looking forward to this week's instruction, because I remember the past years of doing this part of the chapter.

I decided that this year I needed to create something to make it easier for my students to understand the concepts and hopefully the week won't be too painful for us all.

I made this cute Time Machine Addition and Subtraction mini-unit for my kids and I'm offering it as a freebie in my TPT store.  You can click on the pic to download it.

Basically it works like this, you give the students a rule (use a highlighter to write on your mat if you're at home) and some counters (or pennies if at home).  Then tell them how many counters they need to put in the machine.  They then record how many went in and how many would come out.

If your students need it to be even more concrete, you can use counters for the number going in and the rule.  

You can also use this for subtraction.

Is anyone else required to teach this?  Do you think this would be useful to you?  The Time Machine Addition and Subtraction mini-unit comes with the work mat, the in/out recording sheet, 32 task cards with recording sheet and answer key, and 2 worksheets with answer key that could be used for assessment or practice.  If you can use this in your classroom, I'd love if you would leave some feedback!