November 30, 2017

The M O S T Fun Way to Introduce Your Class ELF!

As I'm sitting on the couch watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel, I'm thinking about Christmas in the classroom and how much fun we had discovering our elf this year!

Let me just tell you all about it...

We had been practicing our inferencing skills the past week and the bright idea came to me, what would be better than introducing our class elf than through a mystery box inferencing lesson of course!?

First thing I did was find my mystery box and put our elf inside with his letter from the North Pole.

Then I created 4 clues to describe our elf to use for the mystery box activity.

I played this up BIG y'all.
I was explaining the activity and looking at the clues (with this puzzled look on my face) and revealed to them that these were NOT the clues I had made for this activity! Someone must have came in and wrote new clues over the weekend...they flipped! 

So on we went.....each student got a recording sheet and 1 clue. They recorded their clue and then walked around to find and record the 3 remaining clues their peers had.

Once they collected and recorded all 4 clues, they traveled back to their desk to put together the clues and visit their schema. They recorded their inference at the bottom of their paper.

Let me just tell you how excited they were once they read all their clues and "thought" it was an elf!!!!

We shared our inferences with each other and the time had come for me to reveal the mystery!
We rationalized through why they thought it was an elf and why it couldn't be other things they may have thought.

And there he sits, inside our mystery box. 

I can not imagine introducing our class elf any other way than this in the future.
In fact, I was so excited I made it into a download just for you!

Now you can introduce your class elf through the mystery box or just practice inferring.
I've included 5 different sets of clues for the following mystery items:
 elf, candy cane, stocking, ornament and Santa hat

You can find it available now in my Tpt store or by clicking on the product picture above.

November 26, 2017

Christmas with STEM

So there's been quite a few days that have passed since my last post.
This year has been unusually different than the past 6 that I've been in the classroom.
Like I S T I L L don't seem to have it altogether AND it's DECEMBER!

But anyways, since it's the Christmas season, I wanted to share with you a fun activity we did during the last week before Christmas break last year...because we all know it's survival of the fittest!

My kids L O V E activities that show off their creativity and imagination! 
I found a few ideas and came up with a few more that involve STEM activities that are Christmas (or holiday) centered. . 

The product includes directions for 4 STEM activities and the items you will need to put together the activities. 

Challenge #1 and 2:
Solo Cup Christmas Tree
Santa's Parachute 

Challenges #3 and 4:
Gingerbread bridge
Pipe Cleaner Trees

These 4 activities will keep your little engineers engaged during the month of December. 
In fact, I save mine until the very last day of school before the break and they work their little tails off (who would have thought)!

STEM challenges included are:
Build a Christmas Tree out of cups
Make a parachute for Santa
Build a bridge for the Gingerbread Man to cross
Build a Christmas Tree out of Pipe Cleaners

Each activity comes with pictures, directions, station cards and a list of supplies.

Set up is easy. So download this pack, grab your supplies and get started!

Find it in my TpT store HERE or by clicking the picture above!

August 14, 2017

Getting Guided Reading Ready

Going into the new school year I always set one goal for myself. 
Last year, my goal was to thoughtfully plan out, record and track my guided reading lessons.
I know that sounds A W F U L to say that I didn't already do that, but it's true...I didn't. 

I knew what I did worked, I just needed a way to organize it!

Let me just say, they worked beautifully!
I check out books from our fabulous literacy library and go through them to see what I want to work on with my groups. I record what we will do before, during and after reading. On the days we do word work, I can choose what skill we will be reviewing and the activity that corresponds.

I pull out the plans in my binder and have them in front of me for each group.

The lesson plans are editable and you can add your own text. Or if you are simple like me, I just print them out and write on them. 

You can find the pack in my TpT store

It comes with 4 different templates depending on how you structure your groups and what strategies you use. It also includes a letter to parents explaining decoding strategies and their rules.

August 11, 2017

Worry No More...Free First Week Assessments

t's August!
The month when school resumes.
The month when summer is over.
The month when littles come to us and we have NO idea what they know.
We need to know how to meet each and every one of them on their level and get at it quick!
Today I am sharing with you a collection of back to school simple daily assessments for the 1st week.

This packet contains all the assessments you need to figure out what your littles are capable of.

Included are the following:
*I Can...draw a picture of me.
*I Can...write my name.
*I Can...write my alphabet.
*I Can...match uppercase and lowercase letters.
*I Can...hear beginning sounds.
*I Can...write my numbers.
*I Can...can the objects.

My recommendation is to knock out one or two a day that first week, before you even begin to teach anything at all. 

You can grab it HERE in my TpT store or by clicking on the cover below!

Check out my TpT Store for even more freebies I didn't have the chance to share OR just click on the freebies tab at the top of my blog page!

August 8, 2017

Flexible Seating Storage

This year I'm being brave and giving up some control and choice to my kids.
Insert flexible seating into classroom.

One dilemma I was faced with was storage for my students. 
We'd be going from desks to tables, couches, lap desks, etc. with no "place" for their supplies. 

There were drawers I had purchased for guided math last year and I knew they'd be perfect.

Although they can't be removed, students will go to their numbered drawer, pull out their supplies and return them at the end of the day. 

These drawers can be found on Amazon but most recently I found them on Wayfair for a whole lot cheaper! 

August 3, 2017

Join Our Tribe Gift

Are you loving the tribe themes going on currently?
Our school is embracing the theme and our team wanted to incorporate it into our Meet the Teacher.

We decided to make simple and cheap gifts for our students but also inspire them for the year!
We want them to BE BOLD, BE BRAVE and BE BRIGHT tribe members! 

Here's what you will need:

Washi tape
Glow sticks (found on Amazon)

You will also need to head to my TpT store to grab the printable
They are available for Kindergarten-6th grade.

Here are the simple instructions:

It took myself and 3 team mates about 45 minutes to make over 120 of them! 
Imagine how quick it would be to make a class set, not to mention how cute they are! 

July 27, 2017

Stop Spending Money on Treasure Chest! Use these Passes Instead...

Have you ever found yourself asking your friends who aren't teachers to save their Happy Meal toys?
Have you ever found yourself in the dollar spot at Target spending an outrageous amount of money...becuase we all know who quick dollar items add put in your treasure chest?

STOP spending the extra money!
I've created reward passes for you class that will cost you N O money at all! 

These passes are designed to go with any behavior system you already have in place in your classroom.

I have used them with clip charts, treasure boxes and this year I will incorporate them with Class Dojo.

If you already use Class Dojo and want to incorporate them, here is the "system" that I will use to facilitate Dojo points and the passes together. Find the FREEBIE from the post below!

I have stored the passes in several ways:

You can print them "as is" and put them in binder in sleeves.

You can print them and shrink the size if you want smaller passes.

These are already in my TpT store. Find them HERE or by clicking the picture above!
Together, let's save some money!!!

July 25, 2017

Give Students Choice with Jobs! Now 38 Included!!!

Are you afraid to give up some of your tasks you do in the classroom?
What if I told you, it would save you LOTS of time?
What if I told you it would turn your students into leaders?
What if I told you it would build responsibility in your students?

I've had jobs in my classroom since I started teaching. That haven't always been as great at they are now though! I started with just a door holder and line leader. 2 jobs that changed daily.

Fast forward to now, and each student has a job. The past few years they have held the same job for a week at a time. But this year, I will explicitly teach and model the  jobs and let them apply, yes apply, for the job of their choice. 

I have recently updated all 3 of my job packs to include 38 jobs to fit your classroom needs!

There are 3 styles: 

You can find each of these in my TpT store or by clicking on the image above. 

Here is a glimpse of some of the jobs included:

Remember, there are 38 jobs to choose from.

To learn more and see a description of them all, head on over to my store!

Give your students a sense of pride and leadership this year with classroom jobs!

July 21, 2017

PB&J Partners

Need any easy management tool for when you use "turn and talk" in your classroom?
PB&J partners are a great way for your students to know exactly who to talk to during a discussion.

Click on the picture above to download it for FREE! 

July 17, 2017

Tracking Class Dojo Behavior

W O A H.
It's been a hot minute since I've posted. 
Now that I'm officially over the mid point of summer, I've started thinking about the new school year.
On my mind lately has been how to update my behavior system in my classroom.
So let's talk behavior management.

Over the past six years I've tried many different things.
I started with the clip chart. Hated how the same kids always moved their clip...never making a difference. Visual smisual. Didn't work. Same kids always visited the treasure chest blah blah.

So I came up with a ticket and folder system. Students earned different value tickets for daily behavior. They saved the tickets and cashed them in on Friday's. Much better than a clip chart and treasure chest but still hasn't been doing it for me. The "put your folder on my desk so I can sign it" was doing nothing.

I decided to try something completely new this year. Class Dojo. I've had a few coworkers try it and LOVE it.  They praise how involved the parents are in communication to their child's daily behavior. So this year we are giving it a try. 

I decided I wanted kids and parents talking about their behavior daily, whether it be good or bad. Here is the freebie that came out of my vision.

Each student has a folder they take home. In it they will keep a Dojo Behavior tracking chart.

Each night, they will discuss their points earned and record them on this tracking chart.
I have set a goal for them to obtain 12 points by the end of the week.

Here is a parent letter I am going to send home explaining the point "system".

If they reach their goal of 12 points by Friday, they will get to pick a pass.
{Passes are in the works and will be released in my TpT store soon!}

Students will also have the ability to reach a long term goal of obtaining 100 points! On Friday, we will spend 5 minutes of our time coloring in our weekly points on this tracking chart. 

Once students have hit their 100 points, they will get to pick an "exclusive" 100 point pass!

Have you used Class Dojo? Do you have any ideas, pointers, cautions?
Please share below, I'd be happy to hear from you.

Don't forget to grab the freebie which includes all the examples from this post by clicking -----> HERE

June 1, 2017

End of Year Beach Party and Awards

Well, we finished up a week ago. Another close to another year.
We had a great end of year celebration and kick off to summer.
Completing 1st grade is a HUGE accomplishment for a 7 year old.
They don't realize it, but there is SO much we throw at them in this year of their education.
Celebrating their hard work is always an emotional roller coaster, for this teacher, and their parents.

So to "lighten" the mood, this year we decided to turn our buckets into an all out beach party!

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Everyone had a part in decorating for our awards ceremony and celebration.

During writing, the kids wrote about what they saw themselves doing this summer.
They illustrated their writing within the glasses and drew their faces.
They were our "summer eyes". I used this to cover our whiteboard. 

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I also buy buckets from the dollar store every year. Inside, each student gets the following:
Scholastic book (I use my points)
Ready Made for 2nd Grade pack (find it HERE)
Extra supplies (glue, crayons, pencil)
Candy bar (from candy award)
Pillowcase keepsake (read more HERE)

My room moms were a great help in getting things together!

We had plenty of food for our beach party.

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We had these precious cupcakes (Pinterest inspired) and put our drinks in an inner tube.

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More beach party snack food...

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I purchased and had several blow up items donated including 2 blow up palm trees, dolphin and a parrot. The kids LOVED these!

For our awards, I made a boardwalk for them to walk down to receive their awards and bucket, similar to a 'red carpet'. It was simple to make out of colored butcher paper. 

Table skirt for their buckets and awards was found at Hobby Lobby.

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We had a great time celebrating all of their hard work! 
Time to enjoy summer!

May 16, 2017

End of Year Gift Ideas and FREE Tags!

Are you trying to put together some quick and easy end of year gifts?
Need a cute gift tag to attach to your gift?
I've got you covered.

Included in this freebie are gift tags for parent volunteers, classroom helpers, substitute teachers, staff or team members. Please click on the picture below to be taken to my TpT store to download.

But don't leave yet, here are ways I have used the sayings included on the tags in gifts I have given out in the past. 

[Note: They are not the same gift tags as the ones included in the product. Pictures are from years past]



Grab anything ORANGE (lip gloss, gum, Sunkist drink, etc.) and attach the tag.
This is my go to last week gift for my team just to help get us through to the end!


I went to Walmart and found pots, packages of Thyme and a package of mints. I glued ribbon around the pot and stuck everything inside. I used this as a gift for my parent volunteers and room moms.


In the past, I have attached a similar tag to a bottle of hand soap or sanitizer from Bath and Body Works and given it to my classroom volunteers who help out throughout the year. 


You know there are those subs that make sub plans and being out that much easier.
Thank them for helping you out this year by attaching the tag to a subway gift card.

Happy gifting and end of the year!