What’s the Point?

What’s the Point?

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe to get notified when I post new updates.

Treasure has a different meaning to each person. To me, it means something of value that is found or discovered. Sometimes treasures are found by accident and sometimes they are found on purpose. Sometimes you have to dig for treasure in order to find it. As an educator, I find treasures daily and they don’t always appear to be treasures at first.

A treasure could be a student finally mastering addition with regrouping. It might be a meaningful conversation had with a coworker. Treasures are sweet moments with the student that you are constantly disciplining. Treasures can come in various forms. Treasures are moments, good or bad, in which you or your students learn a great lesson.

The educational community can be difficult to navigate. Some educators are fully submerged in the profession. They see every day in a positive light. However, this is not always the case. Some teachers may not see the profession in such an incredible way. This perspective can come with some serious consequences As you well may know, we have a TOUGH job. On a daily basis, teachers make about 1,500 decisions. This means we are consistently consumed with what decisions will impact our instruction, students, and school. We barely have time to enjoy the moment and see the fruits of our labor.

It can be disheartening, not seeing the reward from all the effort you are putting in each day. This is why we must look for the meaningful moments (the treasures) to remind us of the power of our profession. What we do matters.

The purpose behind Teaching Treasures is to focus on finding the treasures in each day of being an educator. By reflecting on each day and picking out a moment or two that really made a difference in my life, I am able to share my treasure. It may be a successful moment in my day and it may be a time that I felt defeated, but learned something new.

Teaching is not all butterflies and rainbows. Being transparent is something the world lacks. Everyone likes to pretend they have it all together, but in all actuality… we know we don’t! We constantly are instilling Growth Mindset with our students, but we fail to apply it to ourselves!

My hope is that through Teaching Treasures, I will be able to encourage others to be honest and find meaning and treasure in the work we do. In order to continue loving and learning, it is important to be reflective. It is not going to be easy, but it is necessary. I believe the reflection will benefit me and I encourage you to do the same. I will choose to find the treasure in the journey of teaching.



When I began this school year, I was a fresh faced, peppy teacher with a whole lot of energy. Although, I had come from a classroom that took every ounce of my passion for teaching, I was ready for a fresh start. New school, new year, new me. I never knew the wild ride that this year would become.

The first quarter of school with my fourth graders was full of so much laughter, memories, and smiles. I was BLESSED to have the students that I did and the team that supported me so well.

This continued on through second quarter. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but it was my dream job and I was finding my groove. I loved the awesome work that I was doing and came home raving about all the wonderful (and funny) things that had happened throughout the day. I was enjoying teaching and things were going well.

Then we came back for third quarter and while I still loved my job, I was beginning to get caught in the stress. My students were misbehaving left and right, which I often attributed to my lack of discipline. It made me feel like I was a bad teacher when they were acting out. I went home everyday with at least one situation where I had to get on to my students. I was feeling frustrated with declining test scores and seeing students that I was working hard with make little to no progress. I was beginning to feel discouraged.

Then came March, when this whole Coronavirus thing came to be prevalent in Missouri. At first, I was relieved to have a few days off to catch up with grades and get my classroom organized, but then we found out we wouldn’t be back until April 27th. I was stressed, confused, and worried about all the unknown that came along with this news. How would we teach during this time? Would I be able to see my students virtually? How long will it actually last for?

I worried about my students and what they might be feeling. Some of them were excited to be out of school so they didn’t have to do work. Others were scared and wanted to be back in the classroom. Slowly but surely they began to become tired of staying home and most wanted to be back at school with their friends. I wanted that for us too.

Over the past two weeks, I have collaborated with my team daily (thank you, Zoom). We have been constantly making lessons for our district and communicating with families via email. I began to think that I could manage this until we returned April 27th. Yes, it was tedious and frustrating, but I could handle it, if it meant returning healthy and happy.

Flash-forward to today. The governor announced that Missouri schools are to remain closed through the remainder of the year…

I am crushed. For my students. For their families. For my staff. For myself.

I understand the precautions are necessary, but that doesn’t mean I am happy about it. I know this is for the best for all people, but I am sad.

I don’t get to greet this class in the morning again. I don’t get to hold another morning meeting with them. I don’t get to teach them how to be problem solvers anymore. I don’t get to see them succeed and know that my hard work helped them get to that point. We don’t get to finish their fourth grade year together and that breaks my heart.

I am crushed.

Long Time No See

Long Time No See

It has been a while since I last posted about the treasures in my classroom. Since my last post we have gone on winter break, come back from winter break, and completed our first full week. At the same time, I have been planning for my wedding and balancing life. Little to say, wow… how I have lost track of time. But I am back and that’s a start.

Usually I would start a post explaining the amazing, glorious treasure that I have found in my classroom this week, however, I want to be transparent with you all.

This week was rough.

I came back to school excited to see my group of goofballs and ready to get down to business when it came to learning. However, this week I was really off my game. I was constantly stepping on my coworker’s toes. My lessons were subpar. I felt like I was swimming in a sea of molasses. Constantly moving, but going nowhere.

I began to get really down on myself. My anxiety was high and I continued to make mistake after mistake. I felt like I couldn’t get a grasp on things. My students were misbehaving left and right, which I felt was my fault. I made an error on my grade cards. I had no clue what I was doing.

But then I had a conversation with a coworker on Friday. She reminded me that as teachers we are so hard on ourselves. We often contribute our students misbehaviors as our fault. However, this is not true. We are just overthinking things and letting stress get the best of us.

She was definitely my treasure this week. Her words reminded me that I am not the failure that I felt I was. I am only human. I will probably never have everything under control and in order. That is okay. As long as I remember my purpose and try the best I can, I am doing my job.

Take a moment this week and breathe. Remind yourself (or someone else) that they are great at what they do and that you appreciate them.

Supporting Students

Supporting Students

In any class, it can be difficult to cater to the variety of needs in the classroom. Currently, I have students who range from 1st-grade to 8th-grade reading levels. It is incredibly difficult to instruct a lesson that is meaningful to all of the students in my classroom.

In my last post, I referred to the importance of asking for help. This is something I have treasured this year, along with my incredible resource team. Often times, it can be easy to just let the resource teachers do their jobs and then cut down work for the students who get pulled out of the classroom, however, it is more helpful to partner with those teachers to assist in the support and success of those students.

In this post, I will be sharing the best ways to support students by partnering with other educators in your school.

Recently, I have felt defeated. I have quite a few students struggling with content in my classroom. They are not on grade level, which prevents them from acquiring and building on their current knowledge. Some of these students do receive services and I don’t feel like I have been making the best use of their learning time in my classroom. Since I have the most incredible coworkers, I have reached out to them and received an incredible amount of support.

After seeking advice from a coworker, I was provided with some amazing tips that can go a long way in the classroom. My coworker, Brittany is a gifted special education teacher and a wonderful friend. She has gone above and beyond to help me. I asked her a few questions regarding how regular education teachers can work with the sped teachers to ensure student success. Below you will find the questions and my interpretation of her responses.

How can a homeroom teacher best partner with the sped teacher to best support students?

Communication, communication, communication. Without communicating, there is no working together and not any concern for student success. When I asked Brittany about this, she emphasized that asking for help is always acceptable. Brittany said, “Modification and accommodation should be provided to the students and a lot of teachers struggle with how to do that (know that it is okay to ask for help and that we aren’t judging).”

Fortunately, I had a good relationship with Brittany before asking for help so I felt very comfortable reaching out to her for support. As teachers, we need to remember why we are doing what we are doing. It is all for the kids. So sometimes you just have to admit your shortcomings and reach out to someone who has some better insight. If your sped team is as incredible as mine, then you have an amazing resource to use.

What resources can a homeroom teacher use to support a struggling reader?

In my class, I have reached out frequently to find resources to support my students in their reading. As I said, I have a wide range of reading levels in my classroom. This makes our daily activities difficult as we are not all ready to work on the same things in reading. Some of my students need a challenge, while others are still working on identifying vowel sounds.

Brittany and Shannon (the other sped teacher in our building) have provided so much support for me in this area. One resource that has been extremely beneficial is Teach Your Monster to Read. This resource allows students to work on their letter sounds as well as their understanding of words. This tool can be used in both the regular and sped classrooms to support student fluency in reading.

Brittany also provided some other amazing resources. By allowing students to tap out words, they are able to focus on using their decoding skills to understand and read the text. In addition to this resource, have letter cards for your students who struggle with the letter sounds to look at when they struggle. For students who dislike reading, use a time to support them. Have them read for 5 minutes and then break for 2 minutes. I have used these strategies in my own classroom and seen incredible success.

What resources can a homeroom teacher use to support a student struggling with math?

It can be very difficult to support all your students when you have a curriculum to get through and you don’t want to leave any students behind. I had a conversation with my mentor the other day in regards to this topic. She mentioned how yes, it is important to teach the curriculum, but it is also important to give students what they need. This changed my perspective on how to teach such a diverse group of students. It isn’t about getting all the students to the same level but improving their learning in math and understanding of concepts.

In addition to this revelation, Brittany provided some helpful advice. Ways to support students in mathematics involve touch math and using number lines. By providing students with a variety of strategies to use, you are also assisting in the success of your students’ math understanding.

What resources can a homeroom teacher use to support a student struggling with behavior?

Time and time again, I have reached out to Brittany and Shannon for support with my students’ behavior. They are always willing to help or at least offer support. Often times, when a student who receives services is having a behavior issue the sped teachers want to help. I truly treasure their support and guidance in these times.

Brittany provided some amazing advice when we discussed student behavior. Some tools that can be used to assist students with behavior issues are:

  • Building a relationship with the students.
  • Taking time and actually having a conversation with the student.
  • Allowing the student time to calm down.
  • Using social stories to support growth in behavior.
  • Providing a calm down corner or fidget area to help students calm down.

Brittany also uses timers in her room to help give students a specific amount of time to settle down. She also has them set a goal for their calm down time as well. Sometimes the goal is to think of a better option for their behavior or to realize what the problem was. I have used this many times with my students. In addition to this, Brittany suggested that sometimes students just need a different person to talk to besides their classroom teacher. Use your fellow teachers to help in this situation.

What would you like for a teacher to communicate with you as a student’s sped teacher?

It can be hard to know exactly what the sped teacher in your building might need, but having conversations with them is very important. When you communicate with the other teachers in your building, you are able to grow as a teacher and help your students grow too. Ask your sped teacher what they want you to talk to them about or what information they would love to hear from you!

Brittany gave me the following list of things that your sped teacher might also be interested in knowing from you.

  • Spelling words or any other information that you are working on in the regular education setting that could be incorporated into your student’s goals.
  • Schedule changes! Sped teachers want to know this so they can rearrange there schedule to still be able to meet with their students. My sped teachers mentioned that they want the students to be a part of the fun activities in the classroom! Don’t be afraid to ask to keep those students for the activities.
  • Asking for support for students. Communicate student struggles or needs.
  • Any frequent behavior struggles so they can figure out any underlying issues and use social stories to help rectify issues.
  • SUCCESSES! Any success should be shared since students are working to improve in many areas.

What are some ways teachers can best partner with their sped teacher?

COLLABORATION and COMMUNICATION. Both of these things help so much with student success. As Brittany shared with me (and I agree), teachers should be willing to incorporate what their students are learning in the sped classroom in the regular classroom. In the same way, sped teachers want to incorporate what their students are learning in the regular classroom as well. Transferring their learning from classroom to classroom will assist in the students’ understanding!

Teachers should be working together to solve problems in student understanding. It takes a village. Don’t fight it. Communicate schedule changes or need for help. Use your resources to support student in their journey to success. When you fail to communicate or collaborate with the resource teacher at your school, then you are truly hurting the students that you intend to help. Lastly, treasure the resources you have at your school to support student understanding and success. I treasure my sped team as they continuously are showing support for my students and for me.

Treasures in the First Quarter

Treasures in the First Quarter

In my first quarter of teaching, I have experienced quite a bit. Highs and lows. Successes and failures. Going into your first year of teaching is an incredible experience, but it can be difficult to navigate. Below I have compiled my top 10 treasures from my first quarter as a first year teacher!

Number One: Be Real

One of the things I have learned to treasure most is the times I can be authentic with my students. Being real, honest, and transparent is what makes teaching such a more joyous experience. I love sharing my successes and failures with my students. It makes them see me as a real person. By being more honest, I see my students desiring to build a relationship with me. I treasure the moments of realness we have in my class as it makes my students more comfortable to be real themselves.

Number Two: Take Risks

In the classroom, it can be easy to play it safe and only do what you know is easy. However, the reward from taking risks in instruction can be incredible. When students are engaged in meaningful learning they care more about the learning process. Sometimes that means you have to plan a lesson that might flop. If we are instructing in a meaningful way it may mean that the lesson may fail or students may not understand. If that is the case, you have to know that it is okay. Other times, when you take a risk, you can see incredible growth and amazing comprehension. Risk taking is a difficult neighborhood to navigate, but it can be incredibly beneficial and something I treasure so greatly.

Number Three: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

This treasure is the one that keeps me sane most of the time. My team. As a first-year teacher, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I did not know what exactly teaching the curriculum would look like or how best to organize my classroom. Luckily, I have been blessed with a team that is willing to dumb things down for me to understand. They are willing to take the extra 10 minutes to help me figure something out. It is incredible to work with a team that is willing to help one another succeed. They are an amazing treasure.

Number Four: Kids Will Be Kids

Teaching is such an incredible experience and each day comes with its own highs and lows. Kids are just like us. Somedays they are on their game and ready to do their job. Other days… not so much. One of the things I have to keep reminding myself is that kids will be kids. You can try to help them and work so hard to help them succeed, but in the end, they may not do what you expect of them. It can be easy to blame yourself for a student not understanding a concept or having a behavior after you have spent so much time and effort to help them succeed. But you cannot do that. Kids are going to do what they will do, even after you have done everything to help them. Treasure the successes but don’t blame yourself for the failures.

Number Five: Ask for Help

When I started teaching this year, I was terrified to ask for help. To admit I didn’t have it all together made me feel defeated. By taking the first step and asking for my team’s advice, I felt encouraged and supported. I felt like I could actually do more. No one is perfect in this profession. We are all learning and growing. It is scary to take the first step in asking for help, but when you do and you ask the right people they will be more than happy to help. Even a quarter through the year (almost two), I am feeling like there are so many things I can ask for help about. Instead of remaining confused or defeated, I am able to treasure my job and grow as a teacher.

Number Six: Teacher Knows Best

Many educators may have input as to how to correctly teach your students. They may try and tell you the best way to get students to stop being chatty or how discipline should work in your classroom. While seeking the advice of others is something to treasure, it is also something to take with a grain of salt. Meaning, somethings may work for you and some may not. As the leader of your classroom, you have the authority. You get to make the decisions that impact your students. If someone suggests something to you and you do not like it, then you do not have to use it. If you know your students won’t respond well to a certain activity, don’t do that activity. If a lesson totally flops, it is okay to repeat it the next day. You know your kids best.

Number Seven: Partner with Parents

In the world of education, it can be difficult to find a way to work with parents. In my first quarter, I have failed many a time to reach out to parents when I needed support or clarification. Often times, it is easy to be afraid of how a parent may respond to something you do or say. However, if you discuss with parents and make an intention to partner with them there can be so much success. I have seen this in various ways in my first year. Parents want to see their child succeed and if you can voice that then parents will be excited to work with you. There have been many times that I have been terrified to call a parent, but after voicing my concerns, I have received tremendous support. I treasure the conversations that I have with parents to help their children succeed.

Number Eight: Take Digital Precautions

Nothing bad has happened to me yet with my social media accounts as an educator. I have had to learn by other’s mistakes how important it is to keep a professional online presence. Parents can find anything out about their child’s teacher just by a search of a name. This is why it is important to keep the settings on your personal account private and the share with parents the accounts that you use to communicate about your classroom (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Through this, you are protecting yourself, your students, and school. Though you may be like me and not have anything that you are concerned about families seeing on your social media, small things can be misconstrued easily and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Number Nine: Leave School at School

As educators, it can be easy to take what happened at school home with us. However, this is such an unhealthy thing to do. You must be willing to allow the stuff that happens at school to stay there. It might be a kid who is consistently being defiant or a coworker who bothers you. Maybe it is a student who is behind and you can’t seem to help them. Leave it at school. By leaving work at school and not forcing yourself to get everything done every day, you are allowing yourself to rest. Not stressing about what is going on in your classroom is healthy. Take some time to do something you enjoy! Read a book. Binge-watch your favorite Netflix show. You have to allow yourself some time to just relax. If you can’t take care of yourself properly then you will not be able to teach properly. I’ve learned to value and treasure my time away from school as much as my time at school. Self-care is essential to this profession.

Number Ten: Be a Thermostat

I’ve heard this phrase time and time again. “Be a thermostat, not a thermometer.” This quote can be applied to various areas of life. For teaching, this means that as teachers we set the temperature for the learning environment. Students feed off of our energy. If I am not entirely attentive one day, then neither are my students. If I am incredibly excited about the coming lesson… the kids will be too. A thermometer reads the temperature of the room and responds accordingly, however, a thermostat sees the temperature and decides to change it. This has been a true treasure in my classroom. I have noticed on the days when I am energized and welcoming students excitedly, my students have a better day. If I tell my students about how I am not feeling well and am tired, they are not as excited to learn. So we must set the tone for what the day should look like in order to best help our students learn.

Classroom Community

Classroom Community

Oh, the joys of developing your classroom! There are so many things to think about. First, your classroom. How will it look? Will you do desks or tables? Flexible seating? So many things to ponder. Then you begin to think about rules and expectations. When and how will students ask to sharpen pencils? When is a good time to use the restroom? Should I even bother with a line order? Two lines or one?

With all these things to consider, it is easy to forget about developing the community of your classroom. You may even think “It will just all fall into place.” This may work for some teachers but in my experience… N O P E.

I quickly learned how important it is to create a welcoming and engaging space for students to learn. The teachers job is to create an atmosphere for students to succeed, but the students must help manage the community.

At my school, we have a block of time scheduled for teachers to hold a morning meeting with their class. This has become a treasure I hold near and dear. Many morning meetings take place throughout my school, but each teacher has a different routine and structure. I will share how I hold my meetings but know this is NOT the only way to do it. What works for you is wonderful!

Before I started my morning meetings, I read the book The Morning Meeting Book and found it to be incredibly helpful in planning and executing a morning meeting. There are 4 components to a morning meeting: greeting, sharing, group activity, and morning message. Now, I’m going to be honest… I never get to all of these. I usually will hit two or three out of the four, but never all four components. My kids get too wiggly and we have specials right after our meeting, so we are always on a time crunch.

My Morning Meetings:

  1. We come to the carpet, sit in a circle, and start with our Whole Brain Teaching Rules. I choose one student to lead us in our rules. My students mirror the leader that was chosen.
  2. Handshakes. During this time, students go around the circle and shake the hand of the person sitting next to them. We have practiced using eye contact each time and always greeting others in our circle by saying, “Good Morning” and using their name. This helps my kids to learn each others’ names and also build meaningful, respectful relationships with their peers.
  3. Now, I ask the whole group a question and give them 30 seconds to think about their answers. Then we go around the circle and each student gets 5 seconds to share (it is probably more than 5 seconds… I usually countdown from 5 to 1 on my fingers). If a student doesn’t know we skip and then ALWAYS come back to them later.
  4. By this time, we are usually nearing the end of our morning meeting. I always leave the meeting by telling the students what our day will look like. I allow this to serve as my message for the day.
Heres a glimpse of my class practicing community building at the beginning of the year!

This probably seems chaotic or unnecessary, but this has made the biggest difference in my students’ days. When we don’t have time for a meeting or have another thing to take care of, it shows. Often when we skip our meeting my kids struggle to follow the rules and lack empathy for each other. These students crave time to talk: Morning meetings allow them a moment to learn about each other and care about one another.

I have enjoyed seeing students trust one another with some of the things they have shared. They have become very transparent with one another and it truly shows. Each day, I get to come into a classroom where students care about each other; I really think they care because they are allowed an opportunity to and taught explicitly how to treat and respect one another.

My Treasure:

One of the biggest treasures I have seen this year I attribute to our time in morning meetings. Because of our success in morning meetings, I have seen a few of my kids come alongside and support a student in my class who struggles with staying on task and following directions. They always try and make sure he is included. They help him if he isn’t doing the right thing. They support him and give him high-fives when he gets a good report. They care about him and how he does in school and life. It is so amazing to see these kids developing their character and becoming beautiful people inside and out. Oh, what a joy to build a community.

Next time, I will discuss my top five treasures as a first-year teacher in the first quarter.

Who am I?

Who am I?

My name is Charlotte Bullard and I am the voice behind Teaching Treasures. My aspiration is to encourage and inspire other educators through the sharing of the treasures I have found in my teaching experience on this platform.

My Story

I often tell others that I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a teacher. When I was little, playing school was my favorite game and I knew I wanted to be an educator. Being the oldest of four allowed my plenty of opportunities to practice my teaching skills. As I continued to grow up, my teachers at school influenced my reasoning for being a teacher. I started to realize that teaching was the most beautiful profession. Teachers have the opportunity to CHANGE LIVES and I knew I wanted to do just that.

After high school, I pursued my degree in teaching at the University of Central Missouri. I am so grateful for the amazing things I learned while in my studies. Through the Elementary Education program, I was able to frequently partake in practicum courses that allowed me to further my experience in the classroom. I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science in Education in December of 2018.

Currently, I am in my first year of teaching in the KC Metro area. I teach 4th grade and love every minute of it. This first year has brought so many smiles and tears, but everything has worked out to my advantage. I am continuing my own education by pursuing my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction through Northwest Missouri State University.

With all the craziness a first year can bring, I am choosing to find treasures in the journey. In every struggle, in every success there is always a lesson learned. Through Teaching Treasures I am able to share my struggles, successes, and treasures that I am discovering each and every day.