Monday, July 29, 2013

Back to work

So my school has what we call Summer Institute.  It's a 4 day week prior to pre-planning where we come back, paid, for different trainings and whatnot.  So I went back to work today.  I haven't decided yet if I'm happy or sad.

I've had a lot going on this summer - quick trips, 2 trainings, and I've taught 2 summers camps at the local university (and I have one more next week).  So my summer has literally flown by.  Plus, here in the sunshine state, it has done nothing but rain all summer.  Lovely.

Anyway, because I was back at school, I ran by my room.  It's been cleaned, thankfully.  But, of course, all my furniture has been shifted and rearranged and is just kind of crazy.  So I think this week I'll work on putting it back together.  Pictures will be coming soon.

I'll post on all of the trainings too at the end of the week - Whole Brain, PBS, reflection journals, common core...I've got a full week ahead of me.  I think I'm excited.  I think.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It - my first one!

Well, it's time to try something new.  I'm still learning this blog and how it it won't be a fancy post like some of the best blogs I have constantly stalked read for insight.

Here it is, my first Monday Made It.  :-)

Have you seen these Partner Cards floating around?  Instead of letting your students pick partners, they draw a card from a deck.  The students then get matched up according to the picture.  The only caveat is that when you have 2 students who you know shouldn't work together, but they get paired together, you have to let them.  Otherwise the whole system falls apart.  Ahh!  Scary!  Especially cause I know how my kiddos operate.

Anyway, the ones I've seen online have all been generic partner cards - baseball matches baseball glove type situation.  And since my class is Disney themed, in case you couldn't tell, I decided to make some myself...Disney style.  Now, usually my wife makes everything that I need created on the computer.  I normally just tell her what I want and she makes it for me...usually faster than I could do it.  And it's always much better than I had imagined it.  But I decided, just this time, I wanted to make something myself.  So I did.

They're simple.  They're basic.  But I love them.  Here's just a sample set of partners from one of my favorite Disney-Pixar movies.

The first few times we use these, I'm going to have a key on my SmartBoard (especially since I used characters from some older Disney movies like Sword in the Stone).  But I'm hoping this will be a much easier way to make sure my kiddos are not always with the same partners.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013


So, one day, I hope to be as popular as some of these other teachers that I obsessively follow.  (I do mean obsessively in a good way, of course).  I would love to be able to host linky parties and do giveaways.  But since I am not that good (yet?), I will just share one with you.

Farley, over at


is hosting a giveaway.  Visit her page to see how to win a $100 shopping credit at School Outfitters!  What!?!  Talk about teacher heaven!

Quick!  Before it's too late!  And tell her the Disneyfied Teacher sent you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Whole Brain Teaching Conference

So about a month ago I went to a Whole Brain Teaching conference in Pineville, Louisiana.  Wow.  I mean, WOW!  I have been looking into WBT since December.  At home over Christmas Break I went searching hardcore for something new for my classroom.  I wanted something that would increase student engagement, and cut down on behavior problems.  My wife calls my room the home for wayward boys.  I get all those kiddos who are behavior problems in other rooms.  Since I've worked in a behavior unit, my principal loves giving me those kinds of kids...and I love it.  I really do.  But I needed something a little different.  I had heard about WBT, so I went scouring YouTube for videos.  I was really impressed.  However, I was already making a huge change in my room once we got I decided to wait.  Honestly, I'm glad I did.

Don't get me wrong...I think you can learn WBT through the YouTube videos.  They are amazing.  But I learned SO much through this conference.  It was a great way to get some practice with other educators who are also practicing.  My breakout leader is a teacher.  He has real-life experience using WBT in a classroom.  I love that.  I love that when people champion something, they've actually used it.  He gave us real examples of how this system has worked in his classroom.

I also read the Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids book that Chris Biffle (the creator of WBT) wrote.  Wow again.

I can't wait to use this strategy in my classroom.  For real.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Here's to new adventures

Well...I've been wanting to start one of these blogs for awhile now.  Just never found the time or inspiration to start one.  And so I decided, why wait?  If I keep waiting, I might never start.  So here goes.

My name is Ryan Graber and I teach 3rd grade in Pensacola, Florida.  This upcoming school year (2013-2014) is my fifth year teaching.  I have taught K-5 ESE, two years in a K-2 behavior unit, and then last year 3rd grade.  I love my job, I love my kids, and I LOVE my school.  I have the most amazing principal who gives us the courage and freedom to try new things and work at our best levels.

I am trying Whole Brain Teaching this year, which I am incredibly nervous AND excited about.  I went to the WBT National Conference in Louisiana with some of my colleagues.  I am so ready to try incorporating these strategies in my classroom.  I'll post about the conference itself probably tomorrow.

I'm excited about this new journey - blogging is not something I've ever really done before.  And I thank you in advance for going on this journey with me.  :-)

-Mr. G