Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School 1 Day Sale!

Have you heard? 

There is a 1 day Back to School BOOST Sale Wednesday, August 20th!

So get it while it's hot because my TPT store is 20% off for one day only!  Plus, use promo code BOOST to get another 10% off!

Have a great school year!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Positive Classroom Management: Caught You Being Good Jar

I LOVE this idea for positive reinforcement!  It's a "Caught You Being Good" Jar.

From Polka Pics

The original source suggests that parents add a cotton ball or a marble every time a they catch their child being good, but it is really easy to adapt this for classroom use.

Option One:
Any time your whole class is on task, being good, someone goes above and beyond, etc. add a cotton ball or a marble to the jar.  When the jar is full, the whole class gets a reward.  What is that reward?  You and your class should decide when you start so they know what they are working toward.

Option Two:
Any time you catch a student being good, write their name on a piece of paper and add it to the jar.   Then, when you need someone to make a copy, pass out papers, or help in any sort of way pull out a name.  

Rather than having 15 eager volunteers turn into one excited student and 14 disappointed ones whenever you need a helper, students will now know that their ability to be your special helper is determined by their positive behavior (and the luck of the draw).

If you use option two, make sure that you catch every student being good on a somewhat regular basis.  You don't want a student feeling like she can never do anything "good enough" to get her name in the jar.  

Have a great school-year!

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

You Oughta Know About... These Back to School Ideas!

It's that time of year again! Back to School!

For me Back to School time is both exciting and nerve-racking: there are so many fun ideas to try, but there is so much work to do.  Here are a few ideas that I've collected from around the web, that will hopefully make this year a little smoother and easier, so we can focus on the fun with our students and less on the other craziness that comes with teaching:

Organization & Management:

Have computer cords everywhere?  Need quick access to a USB cord, charger, or other cord?  Try this fun idea:

LEGO Cord Holders

Don't have enough space?  Need a little extra room for papers, markers, etc.?  Try some hanging baskets:

From The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

Have kids who just can't sit still in their seat?  I know I do!  I love these wiggle seats.  It's kind of like sitting on a small exercise ball.  Students need to focus to keep their bottom in the seat rather than squirming out of it.  I've seen wonders for a child's ability to focus his mind on a task while his body is focused on one of these:

Wiggle Seats (You can order them from many places, this is just one site.)

Words to Keep in Mind:

This is one of my favorite sayings in class.  It really helps put things in perspective for students.


Another great saying, especially for older students who will understand its meaning better:


I just came across this one, and love it.  I'm planning on keeping it for when testing comes around.  Students always feel like they need to do better than the person next to them.  In reality, they just need to do their best and bloom.  


First Day/Week Ideas:

During that first week of school, how many times do you get a "What if" question?  Or how many times do you get asked questions at in opportune times?  Here's a great idea to knock those out:

From Kathy Griffn's Teaching Strategies

Want to know how you can help your students learn and grow this year?  Ask them:

From Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

Team building exercises are always a good way to help build a sense of community and rapport with your class and for students to begin building (or rebuilding after the summer) relationships with each other.

From Te@chThought

Sure the teacher makes a big impact on the class, but there is only one teacher.  There are 20+ (sometimes 30+) other people in the room with you.  Those people, your students, make a huge impact on the classroom too.  Discussing what makes a good student, and hanging a description on the wall is a great reference all year for class-decided expectations:

From Using My Teacher Voice

Do you have a great back to school activities, sayings, or organization ideas?  Share it in the comments section!

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

LEGO Men Cord Holders

Check this out:  Cords fit perfectly into LEGO men/women's hands.

What an awesome idea!  Check out more pictures and ideas here: LEGO Cable Holder.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Teach Spelling and Grammar With Twitter

How amazing is this?

I can think of many students who would enjoy this, but for me there is one student in particular who comes to mind.  

We'll call him Johnny...

Johnny is a 6th grader who often questions why we need to learn how to spell since "computers just spell-check it for you!"

Also, Johnny knows that when he grows up he is going to be famous, an NFL player, and/or both so he won't need to know how to read and write: "I can hire people to do that for me!"

Any logical argument (let's say you are a famous NFL player but you break your leg and can't play anymore) is quickly shot down with an equally well thought out response: "That won't happen."

Working with Johnny can get frustrating at times.  Finding material that he finds interesting can be difficult.  Our library only has so many books on football, motocross, and extremely destructive natural disasters.  

Tweets, however, could be the ticket.  Terribly, horribly, misspelled and mis-punctuated tweets may just be my saving grace this year.  

They are short.  They are from people he looks up to.  And I just may be able to sneak in some learning with their help.

My only hope is that he does not see the irony here: The tweets actually prove his point.  If you play in the NFL, you don't need to know how to spell or use a period at the end of your sentence.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

TPT 2014 Back to School Sale August 4th and 5th

The TPT Back to School Sale starts tomorrow!

Over the summer I've been adding quite a few new products to my store, but I'm most excited about my mega-bundles.  They offer a TON of resources and BIG savings!

Normally, the mega-bundles are discounted at 20-30% off the cost of buying the bundled products individually.  During this BTS sale, my entire store will be discounted another 20% off.   Plus, if you use promo code BTS14 at checkout, you'll get another 10% off that - LOTS of savings!

Here is how it breaks down:

NO PREP Word Work Short Vowel Mega Bundle

Price: $50.00 $28.80 (over 42% off with promo code BTS14)

What you get for that great price: This short vowel mega-bundle gives you 12 no prep activities for 25 different word families.  That's 300 no prep activities to use throughout the school year!  Find out more about this resource here.

Common Core Writing Prompt Year-Long Mega-Bundles

Other Grade Levels Available!
Price: $60.00 $30.24 (over 49% off with promo code BTS14)

What you get for that great price: These writing prompt bundles come with 396 writing prompts (33 for each month).  The prompts are common core aligned and range from narrative prompts, opinion (persuasive) prompts, and informative/explanatory prompts. Each type of prompt has a corresponding rubric.  Find out more about each specific grade level's prompts:


Don't forget that my entire store is on sale for 20% off!  Check out all the great deals at iHeartLiteracy

I hope everyone finds some awesome resources and has an amazing school year!

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