Jasper Roberts - Blog

Change is a Comin'

Hi everyone!

You may have noticed, if you follow me on IG, that my posts as of late have not been focused as much on the classroom. The reason for this, dear readers, is that I recently left my teaching position. Crazy, right? I love teaching, I love being in the classroom, I love creating lessons, so why would I leave?

Well...something inside of me was telling me that at this time in my life I need to focus on my family. This was the scariest decision I've ever made. It was a rough beginning of the school year, and the constant hustle and bustle of teaching was leaving me feeling like I was missing out on my most important student, my daughter. I started to realize that I couldn't be the mom, the wife, or the person I wanted to be while burning the candle at both ends. After a lot of thought and discussion, and budgeting (oh, the budgeting!), I decided to take a leave to stay home with Grace for a bit. I had many doubts, and regrets, and wondered constantly if I was making the right move, a very scary move! Very shortly after making this decision we found out we were having another baby, and everything became clear. This is definitely the right move for our family right now.

So I'll be teaching still, but in a very different capacity. Once a teacher, always a teacher, so I now spend my days as an early childhood teacher, showing Gracie how to build and explore and learn new things. I'm planning to tutor, work with students in any way I can volunteer, and I even started substitute teaching to still have some time in the classroom with students.

I'll also be focusing on becoming the best version of myself, not the burnt out, cranky person I noticed I was becoming. I was so stressed every weekend, never wanting to make plans because I was hoarding my time (for what I'm not sure), in an effort to recharge. I've already noticed in the past few weeks that I'm more giving of myself, and I like the person I see in the mirror a little bit more every day.

I'll still be posting, I have lots of ideas and lessons I wanted to share but never felt like I had the time to sit down and write, and I hope you'll stick around with me! Thanks for reading!

Mix it Up: Stations on Day One!

Last year I tried this, and it was amazing. I was totally inspired by The Literary Maven last year, and it was a massive hit with students! We had so much fun, and I really enjoyed having a more relaxed atmosphere in the classroom on the first day, so much so that I did stations for Open House, too (more on that in another post). This year, I'm changing it up a bit, but also keeping some things the same. Make sure to check out the above link to see my inspiration from last year, some of her items were freebies last year, not sure if they still are or not, but definitely take a look!


1. I will assign seats, even if they change after the first week. It will hopefully give some of my students, especially my sixth graders, a bit more reassurance than trying to just find a random seat on the first day.

2. I will likely extend this into TWO periods to get everything done, as we ran out of time last year!

So my first station is the Syllabus and Classroom Scavenger Hunt. This was a great teamwork activity. In their groups, students had to do a syllabus and classroom scavenger hunt and answer questions about the class. My top scoring group at the end of the period received a No Homework Pass, so it got a bit competitive! I made up a bunch of questions, and assigned various point values to each question, so they had to be strategic as well!

Station 2, this is where I got the handouts from the link above. The speech bubbles were so cute for introducing the idea of SMART goals! Students definitely needed more time, cutting and gluing seemed to take the longest at this station, and remind students to pick up after themselves!
At Station #3, I'm going to set out a variety of books in different genres, and have them go on a speed date with each book. While they're browsing, I'm going to have them fill out a simple chart, with their name on it, that they'll turn in to me. This will give me an idea of what kinds of books they're in to, and I'll hopefully have some suggestions for them when we begin independent reading conferences. The chart is still in the process, but it'll basically ask the name and author of the book, the genre (good pre-assessment), did they like it or not, and why?
At Station #4, they'll pick up a student packet with a scope and sequence idea, plus their anchor pages for the ISN, a Parent Questionnaire, and a Manila Folder. This folder will be where they store their assessments, so they'll have some time to decorate it and make it their own. They also need to label it correctly on the tab, Last Name, First Name. Believe it or not, make sure you have an example. Also, I have them write their homework in their planners from the board.

Station #5: This is my favorite station, because I learned so much about what they want in their school and of me! On chart paper, I put the following questions up: What does the ideal classroom look like? What are three important characteristics of a teacher? What does the perfect student look like? What does an ideal school look like? A change this year is that students will use sticky notes, to prevent them from writing as BIG as possible, and they are also signing their names to the stickies (they'll be up for Open House)

Station #6: This is a new station this year for me. I'm at a new school, and I wanted a fun activity where I could sit down and informally talk to my students, so I came up with this! I created these Meet and Greet cards, kind of like playing cards, and students will draw them and we'll go around in a circle and answer as quickly as possible!

 Finally, Station #7 is Growth Mindset, I'm all about that this year, and I really want to focus on it from day one! I purchased this awesome Growth Mindset Bundle from The Daring English Teacher, and I'll be using the Crest with my 8th graders, and the Pennant with my 6th graders, and the first four pages of activities and surveys with both. You should definitely check out this resource, it rocks!

Have a WONDERFUL beginning of the school year, everyone!