Friday, July 22, 2016

The First Day of School: How are your students getting home?

You've been busy preparing for the first day of school all summer long!  The 1st day is going to be amazing, and when the bell rings at the end of the first day, you will be SO EXCITED that you survived it!  :)  Here is something you may or may not have considered...
How will your students get home on the 1st day of school?
You are probably going to have parents drop their kids off to your classroom on the first morning.  As they are waving goodbye, they will holler to you... "Oh ya!  Miss Campbell... I forgot to tell you that Ben's Grandpa will pick him up after school today.  Normally, he will ride Bus #22, but today Grampy will pick him up."  After the third or fourth parent does this, your mind will be spinning, and you won't remember if Ben is supposed to ride Bus #22 or go to parent pick-up!  Trust me... dismissal is CHAOS on the 1st day of school because many parents do something different on the 1st day of school than normal.  Maybe they want to get a picture of their kiddo after school or they are too nervous to let their child ride the bus on the first day.

Here is my advice to you.  When parents come for Meet the Teacher night, keep two lists.  One list will be "Transportation for the 1st Day of School" and the other list will be "Regular Transportation."  You can put these lists at the sign-in table, or keep them on a clipboard and ask each individual parent.  If a child does not show up for Meet the Teacher, CALL THE PARENTS and find out how the child will get home on the first day of school!
Chart, list, graph for 1st day of school transportation
Chart for car riders, bus riders, daycare, walkers
(These forms are part of my Meet the Teacher Night resource on TpT.)
My next piece of advice is write the child's mode of transportation on their name tag.  You are likely going to be giving kiddos name tags all week, so put "Bus #22", "Walker," or "Car Rider" on their name tag.  If they get a little lost at dismissal, somebody can easily help them find their way.  The teacher will have the master list, but if little Ben is lost, his name tag will help another teacher get him to the right place.
Add bus rider, car rider, walker, etc. to student name tags during the first week of school
Back to school name tags
 Putting tags on backpacks is especially helpful for Pre-K and Kinder kiddos.  
You can download these Transportation Tags for FREE in my TpT store.  
If you want something even easier, just buy some Avery labels and print name tags for your students.  You can add car rider, walker, bus #s, etc. to their name tags and change them throughout the week as needed.  This would take less than 5 minutes to do, and you would probably use them throughout the year for subs, field trips, etc.
Hope these tips make dismissal on the 1st day of school go very smoothly!  :)  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Classroom Organization- Managing the PAPERS!!!

Today I'm going to share with you a tried and true system for classroom organization.  This easy and CHEAP system can work for any teacher.  No matter what grade level you teach, the one thing we have in common as teachers is PAPER!  We are blessed with technology in our schools, but the paper hasn't gone away (and it NEVER will).  Mounds of paperwork on your desk will drive you crazy, so I'm here to give you a quick hack for organizing all of those papers!
Say goodbye to a messy desk and say hello to this beauty!
Classroom Organization- Managing the PAPERS!!!  Say goodbye to a messy desk, and hello to an organized classroom and a happy teacher!
I found this in the Back to School section at Target for $2.99.
Here is what I do, after I prepare my lesson plans and make my copies, I slide all of the worksheets, homework, spelling lists, activities, read-aloud books, and anything special I will need into the file folder for each day of the week.
Classroom Organization- Managing the PAPERS!!!  Say goodbye to a messy desk, and hello to an organized classroom and a happy teacher!
Instead of having papers on my desk, papers on my guided reading table, papers by my computer, etc., I know that all the paperwork I will need for each day is in the folder for that day.  If we don't get to an activity, I take it and shift it to the next day, or save it for the following week.  This system is also amazing because if you unexpectedly need a sub, everything they need will be right in the file folder!  
This is a great idea for classroom organization and organizing all of the PAPERS you have in your classroom.  Put your lesson plans and student work in each of the daily file folders.  This will keep the mess off of your desk, and it will be easily accessible.   (Great for an emergency sub too!)
On Monday, I will need spelling lists, math worksheet for centers, adjective activity, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for read-aloud.  I slide all of this into Monday's folder.  It's so simple, but it is an amazing system.  Over the years, I've tried so many ways to organize classroom papers-- mailboxes, trays, file folders on my desk, filing cabinet, file box-- and this is the best system by far!  
This is a great idea for classroom organization and organizing all of the PAPERS you have in your classroom.  Put your lesson plans and student work in each of the daily file folders.  This will keep the mess off of your desk, and it will be easily accessible.   (Great for an emergency sub too!)
You can display it on a bulletin board, or just hang it on the wall behind your desk like I did.  It's cute and colorful, and the best part is that it keeps the mess off your desk!  
This awesome Art Skills organizer came with labels, but I printed some out on Avery address labels instead of hand writing them.  
Managing all of the papers in your classroom can be overwhelming!
E-mail me at TheHappyTeacherTPT@gmail.com if you want me to send them to you so you don't have to make your own.  You could also just use a Sharpie and WRITE them. Haha.  :)  
There are tons of hanging organizers out there, but you can't beat this cheap one at $2.99!
Happy Organizing!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Journal Writing {A Shared Classroom Journal}

I've always loved having a shared journal in my classroom.  What's a shared journal?  It's a journal that is kept in the writing station that all students are welcome to write in.  Students can read their classmates responses, and respond to one another.  
You can keep blank journals for students to write in, or you can print writing prompts on Avery labels.  Students choose a topic they find interesting, stick the label in the journal, and write their response in the shared journal.  It's great to also keep post-it notes, stickers, and pens in the writing station so students can respond to one another.  {Set your expectations before you let the kids loose!}  I found these emoji sticky flags in the Dollar Spot at Target!  160 emoji flags for $1.  Eek!
These emoji sticky flags would be a fun way for the teacher to respond to students' journaling as well.  I like to take a couple journals home with me every weekend.  I'll scan through the writing and leave notes.  Students FREAK OUT when they see that I've read their journal and written a personal note to them.  These emoji flags are perfect for that, but if you can't find them at Target, a post-it note or sticker would work just fine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Need a quick brain break that will get your kiddos excited?

Some of my favorite brain breaks are actually fun, learning activities.  Many times they include food :) Here is a super easy and engaging activity to use when you have five minutes before recess or just need to break up your day!
These fruit snacks are the bomb, but you could use any alphabet snack... cereal, crackers/cookies, gummies, etc.  Give each student a pack of fruit snacks, and let them find a place to work in the room (aka GET THEM OUT OF THEIR SEATS!).  Their goal is to make as many words as they can before the timer goes off.  In my class, I would let them work with a partner, but it's up to you if you want them to work independently.  
Students record their words on a whiteboard or in their journal.  The timer adds excitement and some friendly competition.  You could ask your students to make only real words, or a combination or real and nonsense words.  
FYI...Each pack had about 9 letters, and every pack had a vowel.  If you partner up your kiddos, they will have more letter choices, and be able to make more words!  I love when a Brain Break can be fun, yummy, and an extension of our learning.  :)  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Jelly Bean Math

Easter is just around the corner and that means JELLY BEANS are the perfect math manipulative for the next few weeks.  :)  Yesterday at Target, I found these divided plates that are perfect for addition and subtraction using the part-part-whole strategy. 
They were in the kitchen section, on the aisle that has all of the kids' cups and plates.  They are Circo brand, and they had a few different colors.  The best part is they were only 79 cents! LOVE!  If you don't have the divided plates, you can use a basic part-part-whole mat like the one below.  (Download it for FREE.)
My favorite part of this math center is that students are building their own addition and subtraction problems.  Give each student a baggie of jelly beans, a divided plate (or part part whole mat), and a recording sheet.  Students create their own addition & subtraction problems.  
Recording sheets...
Hope your students have fun creating their own math...and eating jelly beans... =)


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February Favorites!

Stopping by to share some of my favorites at the moment...
My favorite read-aloud at the moment is "The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson.  If you haven't read it yet, go buy it now.  It will be a class favorite.  I love the movie too because it matches the book perfectly!  There is also a website with activities & songs to explore.  
I stumbled upon these "animal crackers" at Kroger yesterday.  Not only are they a delicious snack, but they are perfect for Word Work & Spelling activities.  A lot of the alphabet cereals and snack foods out there are so hard to decipher!  These letters and numbers are so clear.  These would be perfect for spelling practice, Word Work center, or just a fun Friday snack!  
I've been scouring Pinterest for Valentine's Day ideas that are fun and easy!  I'm loving these chocolate covered pretzels with festive sprinkles.  
Need an easy math activity for Valentine's Day?  It's something you can use on Valentine's Day and throughout the year!  (Just switch out your V-Day manipulatives with something else)
Kiddos will practice addition and subtraction using the part-part-whole strategy.
Gather your materials: manipulatives, part-part-whole mat, recording sheets.
Hearts & cupcakes from the Target Dollar Spot 
Sometimes I use recording sheets, and sometimes I have kiddos just record their answers in a math journal to save paper.  :)  
 Festive & fun for Valentine's Day!  
That's all for now!  Have a great week!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Christmas Math Addition & Subtraction

I love teaching math in December because there are so many fun Christmas things you can use as math manipulatives.  I found these divided plates and mini erasers at Target.  So festive and perfect for practicing addition and subtraction during the month of December!  
The plates were $1.99.  The erasers were $1 and the jars were $1.  
I love the way the plates are divided because they show part-part-whole perfectly.  You can even write on the plates with a dry erase marker!
You can use my Christmas Math Addition & Subtraction Task Cards and you will have an awesome math station or small group activity for the month of December.  This would be fun for fast finishers too!  
 The Christmas Math pack comes with 5 sets of task cards (16 in each set).  It includes student recording sheets and answer keys so students can self-check (if you so choose)!  
Here's what it looks like.  Click on the pictures below to see it in my TpT store
 The cards come four to a page, as seen here.  
 Leave a comment below (with your e-mail) and I'll send my Christmas math pack to a few lucky winners!  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Christmas Countdown

Print this FREE Christmas Countdown poster and put it in a 8x10 picture frame.  Write on the glass using a dry erase marker.
Use this Christmas Countdown poster in your classroom, teacher's lounge, front office, or at home. Just print the design you like, put it in a 8x10 frame, and use a dry erase marker on the glass! If you don't have a frame, just laminate the poster and use a dry erase marker to count down the days until Christmas!  Print it for FREE right here.  For K-1 students, make this part of your morning meeting or calendar time.  Students can practice counting backwards, and they will love getting the chance to write on the picture frame with the dry erase marker.
Countdown to Christmas with this free poster!
FREE Countdown to Christmas
Christmas Addition and Subtraction Task Cards
Perfect for math stations, independent practice, or small groups.  
A fun and engaging way to celebrate Christmas while still learning!

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