Posts tagged Education

Resource Round-up: Spelling City!

This might be one of my favorite tools to use. I know it might not be something a day-to-day sub will use frequently, but trust me — this site will come in handy.

Spelling City allows teachers to upload weekly spelling lists — Awesome, I know! — for free!!!

1. this allows parents/students quick access to words at home
2. this creates a wonderful opportunity for independent practice
3. this website can be used for a center activity
4. this gives no excuses for students who “forgot their list at school”
5. this provides games at your fingertips (which you did not have to create!)
6. this gives substitutes an easy way to create a spelling/language arts center

Let me explain:

Once you have registered at Spelling City’s site, simply upload the words into a list — easy!

Then students have the ability to access this list using your username that you provide. (My students could search under the username missnmiller)

[[Your homepage not only includes the list of words, but can link to fun sites to practice math skills, learn language arts skills, & practice writing! It also provides you with space to write a message to students & parents]]

SS TIP: I found that labeling the list by week is the most helpful!

Students then have opportunities to learn, practice, & take a test! *audio required. The learn tab reads the word & spells it aloud for the student, including it in a sentence for understanding. The practice tab provides cool games, such as hang mouse [like hang man] & unscrambling games to help students retain the spellings.

Below is a nice instructional video for a quick overview & howtos for SpellingCity. Some of the features included [vocabulary & print outs are available only with the premium membership]

So if you’re caught in a bind & need a quick activity or center, the list only takes minutes to type [but I would suggest signing up now —  it’s free] OR if you’re in a more permanent teaching position & are looking to spice up spelling, this site is perfect for just that!

happy spelling!

miss miller


Leave a comment »

Friday Find II

Friday just got a little bit better because of this fabulous find:

Introducing: Storyline Online

Storyline Online is an amazing website featuring members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) reading contemporary children’s books! Each book featured on this site has activities & lesson ideas included! Now that is fabulous!

Boasting over 20 books, this site answers a need for substitutes who are scrambling to find an engaging Language Arts lesson. Whether students listen to it individually at a lab or as a class on a screen projector, this site is fun & entertaining! It also provides all you need to make it a complete lesson, with enriching materials to increase interest in the material and learn more about the story itself!

After selecting a book, you are introduced to to content & author. To Be Adam is read by James Earl Jones — pretty neat!

Notice the tabs at the bottom of the screen: clicking on “Let’s Read it” opens up a screen showing the pictures as the story is read (not just the author reading for the duration of the book). Below, you find two ways to find content for the rest of your lesson: Related Activities & More Activities.

So next time you find yourself with extra time on your hands, turn to this site for some [famous] reading fun! Go check it out!

Here is an example of what students will view on StorylineOnline with Elijah Wood:


enjoy this treat!

miss miller

Leave a comment »

Changes to No Child Left Behind?

“No Child Left Behind, which launched an unprecedented expansion of standardized testing, was widely acclaimed when it was enacted in 2002 under President George W. Bush. There were pledges that schools would get serious about closing achievement gaps, while helping every single child reach grade level in reading and math.

Now, the United States may be on the verge of another cycle of reform as schools hit an achievement ceiling. Lawmakers are calling the law rigid, punitive and unrealistic.” [washington post]

2014 is approaching & so is the surmounting goal of reaching 100% proficiency for all students.

one third of u.s. public schools failed in 2009.*

However, it appears that President Obama is looking to make changes in No Child Left Behind, aiming to make AYP (adequate yearly progress) more flexible while still maintaining high academic standards. This announcement came after expressing interest in replacing NCLB during the President’s State of the Union address.

Teachers nationwide are sitting with fingers crossed and questions still remain: How will low-achieving schools be held accountable? How would improvement be implemented? Will achieving schools and teachers be rewarded? What makes a teacher ‘highly qualified?’

Will we see an end to the looming 2014 deadline?

Though a clear cut answer is not in sight (just yet), lawmakers have been meeting for months in attempt to have a bill passed this year.

The Huffington Post states Obama’s focus is: “… for states to adopt standards that ensure students are ready for college or a career rather than grade-level proficiency.”

Other plans that would utilize the proposed increase to the educational budget include: implementation of programming to help train & recruit teachers, aid offered to ailing schools, and encouragement for charter schools.

Other political figures have noted a desire to have other subjects, not just math and reading, to be included in the evaluations of school achievement.

Others want a change in the name.

But overall, it is clear that the amendments made to NCLB will focus on the positive growth & success of schools rather than the current negativity and fixation on failing.

I guess that is encouraging & a much needed outlook for national education.

Stay Informed,
miss miller

To read more on this topic visit these articles:
Obama makes Education State of Union Centerpiece
Bipartisan Group of Senators Pledges to Work on Revamping ‘NCLB

Obama Seeks to make NCLB more flexible
‘NCLB’ facing changes

*according to the independent Center on Education Policy

Leave a comment »

a hello & an [extra] time saver: swat it

Hello & a warm welcome to friends from
The Bus Stop Blog!

It is so good to have you here. I would encourage you to take a look around, leave a comment or two & join this fabulous community of substitutes surviving this crazy adventure together!

[[feel free to subscribe to my blog & find me on twitter @missnmiller!]]

I have been updating with some [extra] time savers & fabulous finds — sure to help you out in your day to day activities.

Since I have some special visitors, I thought it would be fitting to share one of my favorite fillers!

swat it.

Yep. That’s right. Fly swatters + chalk board = a sweet [extra] time saver

Plus! Fly swatters + decorative flowers = an even sweeter [extra] time saver. [[just hot glue flowers to one side of swatter]]

Ok, I know what your thinking — “How can this be used in the classroom?”

Well, I’m happy to share that this activity can be multi-purpose! Just read & see:


1. Select a subject: math, spelling, vocabulary, etc.

2. Write correct & incorrect answers all over chalk/white board
(ie: If you are practicing spelling words, write every word from your list spelled correctly & then each word spelled incorrectly randomly, in no order, all over your chalk board)

3. Divide students into 2 teams. Have one representative from each team come to the board & face the students. (Have their back to the board.)

4. Give each student a fly swatter & instruct them to listen to the question, wait for your call of “go!” Then, students must turn around and try to “swat” the correct answer.

5. The first to swat the correct answer wins a point (or two, your choice!)

Consequences: To avoid noise, chatting, shouting out answers, provide a consequence such as a loss of a point.

Adaptations: I know that you are most likely not going to carry around fly swatters. Hands work just as well!

Word to the wise: Make sure that you explicitly state the rules so that there is no swatting of others.

– Math:
Put up answers (numerical) to multiplication & division questions & hold up flash cards
History: Write terms & give students definitions
Spelling: Write words correctly & incorrectly, give definitions to find
Geography: Write states abbreviations, capitals, etc & have students find the correct match to what you state. (ie: Pennsylvania – PA or Harrisburg – PA)
– You name it, it can be incorporated into a swat it game.

Have fun & happy swatting!


Comments (1) »

De.lic.ious makes staying connected — a treat!

All puns aside, this site is seriously a treasure chest of online gold for teachers!  Are you in the know about

Delicious is an online bookmarking site that allows you to post and find a plethora of websites based on tags or searches. It is like a revved up, personal google that allows you to keep track of all of your favorite websites and have them on hand, regardless if you are on your home computer or not.

Subbing one day and like a site the teacher is using? Go to a conference & learn about a new online resource? Instead of keeping post-it notes and scattered handouts — use delicious as a warehouse for all of those great websites!

What is even better about Delicious is that you can create a list of favorites for your students! Instead of sending home a bulky url, [you know the 54 character ones that include numbers, dashes, slashes, and periods] give a simple link:

WOW! In seconds your students can access ALL of your favorites websites!

Teaching a lesson on multiplication? Need practice websites for the kiddos to access? Consider it done with delicious.

Each site is tagged & given a brief description. Students can quickly find those sites by searching for the topic or clicking on the tag of “math” “multiplication” or “games.”

Think it couldn’t get better? It does!

To the right of every website title, you see a number in a box. With one click, you can see all of the other members who have posted this site. By clicking on to their homepage, you can stumble upon other great websites to add to your bookmarks for future use!

Looking for a fun lesson idea? Need an online game to help with spelling? Search & you will find!

Getting set up with delicious is very simple, requiring only a yahoo account. Go to the homepage, & click the green, join now, button & you’re set to go!

 happy bookmarking!

miss miller

Leave a comment »

“Having a sub is fun!”

I had two stand-out moments today that renewed my love for teaching, yes even substitute teaching. As students were packing up for dismissal, one little boy exclaimed, “Having a sub is fun!” and then he proceeded to melt my heart even  more by saying, “I love you.”

Now as heartwarming as that moment was, it made me stop and think about how much of an impact we can truly make on students — even when we are just a day-to-day sub.

And to affirm that enlightened thought, I ran into one of my students that I had taught last year [during a one-month long-term substitute position]. His smile grew large as he saw me and he began running down the hall, arms open, bracing for a big hug. “MISS MEEEEELER! [He has the cutest way of pronouncing my name.] I MISS YOU!”

Wow, it is true — I am really making an impact on these kids — even as a sub.

So my challenge is this:

we may not be able to change our circumstances,
but we can certainly change our attitude.

Subbing may not be the most rewarding job, but it does come with a wealth to gain and to give. You do not always realize the impact that are making, the life you are changing — even in the smallest smile or encouraging word you give. Make the most of each day by searching for the positive and realizing that as small as it may be, you have the capacity to make a difference in the life of a child!

Happy Monday!

miss miller


Comments (1) »

Twitter for Teachers

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a huge Twitter skeptic.

“No, I don’t want to read that you are running to the mall at 2:37 pm or that you’re making lasagna for dinner. I’ll keep my nose in my own business, thank you.”

I maintained this stand-offish attitude until I found out what a wonderful resource it could be — especially for teachers!

After attending a workshop on technology + education, I was inspired to start a twitter account to get instant updates on the ever-changing world of teaching. Similar to that of facebook, Twitter works by updating your homepage with “tweets” or 140 character messages that operate like a headline of a newspaper & then link to a more detailed site.

When signing into my account, I am welcomed by messages from Discovery Education Network,, USNews Education, Education Week, as well as teachers who have their own personal news to share! On one site, I have access to hundreds of messages, updated frequently, giving me links to all kinds of resources — songs for the classroom, webinars to attend, freebies for teachers, changes in policy…

I knew I was in love when I was finding free online webinars & professional development to sign up for — such as Discovery Education’s Fifth Annual Stream-a-thon that is being held tomorrow on integrating digital technology into curriculum!

When used in this manner, Twitter can really be a one stop shop for being up to date & in the know!

Want to know how you, too, can become connected via Twitter? 

  • Visit & Sign up! It is fast & easy, just follow the steps listed at the top right corner
  • Find & Follow other teachers & educational resources by searching for education, news, or by searching for other teachers. Twitter4 Teachers is constantly being updated with new accounts!
  • Check it frequently! Make a habit of checking it daily to stay in the loop!
  • Post with your news & update those who are following you!
  • Use appropriately: Remember, like all things online, every post or comment is a representation and a reflection of who you are.

Now this is merely the beginning of utilizing this online tool. Twitter boasts a very thorough Help Center that can answer more specific questions and broaden your knowledge of the tricks & tips for successful useage.

Happy Tweeting!

miss miller

Follow me on twitter @missnmiller!

Comments (1) »