Thursday, September 22, 2016

Printing on Post-It Notes - Who Knew?

Did you know that you can print on post-it notes??  My organized life just got even more organized!  This post has a free template for printing goals and to-do lists.  So helpful!
I sure didn't!  I love, love, love post-it notes.  I mean, the bright colors...the small sizes...it's an organizational dream.  My only issue is that they don't all have lines.  I find it so much easier to write (and read) when there are lines involved.

Then I discovered that you can print on post-it notes. GAME CHANGER.  I am obsessed.  My organized and neat notes are even more so now!

Anddd it's super easy.  You start by printing a blank template.
Did you know that you can print on post-it notes??  My organized life just got even more organized!  This post has a free template for printing goals and to-do lists.  So helpful!
Then you add the post-it notes to the template and pop it back in the printer.  It is super important that you know how paper feeds through your printer.  Each one is different.  Do a few test runs before you put the post-it notes on.
Did you know that you can print on post-it notes??  My organized life just got even more organized!  This post has a free template for printing goals and to-do lists.  So helpful!
Wa-la!  Your post-it notes have been printed on!
Did you know that you can print on post-it notes??  My organized life just got even more organized!  This post has a free template for printing goals and to-do lists.  So helpful!
I like to use them in my weekly planner pages.
Did you know that you can print on post-it notes??  My organized life just got even more organized!  This post has a free template for printing goals and to-do lists.  So helpful!
And I also stick them to the bottom of my computer screen so that I can see them every time I sit down to do work.
Did you know that you can print on post-it notes??  My organized life just got even more organized!  This post has a free template for printing goals and to-do lists.  So helpful!
You can grab the blank template and all the lists shown in this post here for free! 

Looking for more fun ideas for your classroom?

Monday, September 12, 2016

You Have a Student Teacher...Now What?

Are you hosting a student teacher in your classroom this year?  Here are some tips on helping them get the most out of their experience!
You volunteered to have a student teacher in your classroom this year or maybe you were assigned one without warning.  Regardless, having a student teacher is a great responsibility and opportunity to help out a new generation of educators.  Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Space
One of the most exciting things about being a student teacher is that you are so close to finally having your own classroom.  Many future teachers have been dreaming about this since they were in elementary school themselves.  Give her a space to call her own, a "teacher's desk" if you will.  It can be just a small table, but it will make her feel like a real teacher.
Are you hosting a student teacher in your classroom this year?  Here are some tips on helping them get the most out of their experience!
2. Introductions
Introduce her to your team members...the principal...the special education teachers...the secretary...everyone!  This will make her feel more welcome and more apt to interact with these teachers.  If you can, let her observe in a classroom at a different grade level.

3. Planning
Every week, sit down with your student teacher and plan with her.  Start by showing her how you plan.  She's never done this before!  It can be an overwhelming concept.  Share your thoughts out loud as you write in your plan book, so that she knows what your thought process is as you plan.  

Do you have a scope and sequence that you follow?  Do you start with the big picture and break it down from there?  Is there a teacher manual that you follow or are you creating lessons on your own?  Do you go to Teachers pay Teachers for extra materials?  Do you plan with a colleague or a grade-level team?
Are you hosting a student teacher in your classroom this year?  Here are some tips on helping them get the most out of their experience!
4. Meetings
If you can, invite her to the different meetings and professional developments that you attend.  Let her know what she should bring to a conference with a parent and how she should plan for it ahead of time.
Are you hosting a student teacher in your classroom this year?  Here are some tips on helping them get the most out of their experience!
5. Involvement
Let her know about school events - movie night, book fair, staff basketball game.  The more involved that she is, the more she will enjoy her student teaching experience {and become a better teacher}!  Let her know that this is how you get to know your students on a personal level.  That being a teacher is so much more than just what happens in the classroom.

Have you had a student teacher in your classroom before?  What tips would you add to this list?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Save Paper! Save Ink!

Are you going through a lot of ink and paper when printing classroom resources?  Here are 4 quick steps on how to print multiple slides per sheet of paper!

Oftentimes, I have teachers ask me how to print multiple slides of a resource on just one page.  It's easy!  Here are 4 simple steps:

Open the resource you want to print in Adobe.  Click on the print icon (looks like a printer) or choose Print from the File drop-down menu.
Are you going through a lot of ink and paper when printing classroom resources?  Here are 4 quick steps on how to print multiple slides per sheet of paper!
 Then the print box will pop up.  In the middle of this box, there is a button that says "multiple."  Click that one!
Are you going through a lot of ink and paper when printing classroom resources?  Here are 4 quick steps on how to print multiple slides per sheet of paper!
 It will give you the option of how many slides you want per page.  You have the option of 2, 4, 6, 9, or 16 slides per page.  Or you can choose custom.  After you choose, it will show you a preview on the right-hand side of the print box.  This will give you an idea of how large or small your images are.
Are you going through a lot of ink and paper when printing classroom resources?  Here are 4 quick steps on how to print multiple slides per sheet of paper!
 Lastly, choose which pages you want to print.  Oftentimes, you don't need the cover or the teacher directions.  This will help you save even more on ink and paper.
Are you going through a lot of ink and paper when printing classroom resources?  Here are 4 quick steps on how to print multiple slides per sheet of paper!
That's all there is to it!  And since a few people asked, you can grab the Schedule Cards here.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The First Week of School in Grade 2

A full week of back to school lesson plans for free! Includes all links to activities and resources. This made organizing my first week of school so much easier. A great find!
I remember back to my first year of teaching. I had completed my student teaching and had a few years of subbing under my belt. I felt fairly confident about teaching in general. 

The first of school, though? I was petrified! I had never even witnessed the first day of school from a teacher's point of view.  They didn't know the routines and I barely knew their names!  I was NOT prepared for this at all. What was I supposed to do to get the year started off on the right foot?

Well, first off, I find that having a plan works (imagine that!). And not only having a plan, but having a LOT of extra activities ready to go. You never know how that first week is going to go. 

Here is a schedule of what I do in that first week of second grade. You can download this schedule and every activity is linked so that you can find the exact resource you are looking for. 
A full week of back to school lesson plans for free! Includes all links to activities and resources. This made organizing my first week of school so much easier. A great find!
Morning Routine:
Creating a morning routine has made a huge difference in our entire school day.  It really helps to get the day started off on the right foot!  I start working on our morning routine on Day #1.  We practice it over and over for the first few weeks of school, until it becomes second nature to my students.  You can read more about how I run our morning routine here.
A full week of back to school lesson plans for free! Includes all links to activities and resources. This made organizing my first week of school so much easier. A great find!

Morning Journal:
Part of our morning routine is to write in our morning journals.  To say I love these things, would be an understatement.  It's a great activity for my students to work on while I collect notes, take attendance and do lunch count.  It also allows for my students to have a little extra writing time in their day.
A full week of back to school lesson plans for free! Includes all links to activities and resources. This made organizing my first week of school so much easier. A great find!
Morning Meeting:
This is my favorite part of the day!  I write a morning message to my students each day, previewing what we will be doing and any changes to our normal schedule (assemblies, etc).  We read the message together, do calendar time and exchange a morning greeting.  It's such a positive way to start our day!

Dismissal:
As much as we practice our morning routine, we practice dismissal as well.  We have a system for how we get packed up at the end of the day.  I call students one by one to hand back their take-home folders, they then go to their mailboxes to collect their mail.  They return to their seat to put their mail IN their folders and then go to their cubby for their backpack and jacket.  We use these posters to keep track of how students are going home on a particular day.  Underneath I hang each students' name and they can be moved around easily if someone is going home a different way on a particular day.
A full week of back to school lesson plans for free! Includes all links to activities and resources. This made organizing my first week of school so much easier. A great find!

What are some things you do the first week of school?  I'd love to hear some new ideas!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Morning Routine

Chaotic.  Frenzied.  Loud.  Yep, my mornings used to start out like that too.  As it turns out, that's not a great way to start the day in elementary school classroom!  I was frantically trying to get attendance and lunch count done (please don't call my room again - I'm sorry I forgot to send it!).  Meanwhile, my students are trying to tell me their fish died...they saw a cool bug...their grandmother is picking them up...and everything in between.  It. Was. Not. Working.

We needed routine STAT!
Creating a morning routine for kids in the classroom can make all the difference!  This post shares ways to organize your elementary school classroom to optimize that busy time of the day.
First up, create visuals for the students.  Especially with the younger kids, being able to see a picture to associate with the words goes a long way.  I hang these posters in a prominent place in the classroom where the students can easily see them as they enter each morning.
Creating a morning routine for kids in the classroom can make all the difference!  This post shares ways to organize your elementary school classroom to optimize that busy time of the day.
Next, we needed a system.  A place to turn in notes.  A place to choose their lunch.  A place to put their completed homework.  All labeled and easy to see.  Again, visuals are helpful.  Click here to grab the bin labels for free!
Creating a morning routine for kids in the classroom can make all the difference!  This post shares ways to organize your elementary school classroom to optimize that busy time of the day.
And now, we practice.  And then practice some more.  And then practice even more after that!  I realized the more we went over the routine in September, the smoother the rest of the year went.  We revisit the routine about once a month (especially after vacations) or whenever I start to see my kids fall out of sync.

As you can see in the posters above, I always have something for my students to work on when they get to their seats.  I use morning journals.  I put one together for each student at the beginning of the month and the students keep them in their work folder in their desks.  It simplifies my life, since I don't need to worry about morning work every day.   It's a great way for them to get extra creative writing practice as well.
Creating a morning routine for kids in the classroom can make all the difference!  This post shares ways to organize your elementary school classroom to optimize that busy time of the day.
Once we get our routine down, our mornings run SO much smoother.   It's a wonderful way to ease into the day and get started on the right foot.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Shark Week Blog Hop

Happy Shark Week!  To celebrate, I am partnering up with a great team of bloggers to bring you some FIN-tastic freebies that your students are sure to love!
Choosing partners can be a daunting task for teachers and students alike. These shark cards are a fun, random way to help with assigning partners in the classroom!
My JAW-some freebie consists of a set of Pick-A-Partner cards to use at any time of the school year.  All you need to do is pass a card out to each student and they search for their match!  It is a great way for you to randomly assign partnerships in your classroom.

You could also "strategically" pass out the cards.  This makes it appear to students that the partnerships are random, even though you have decided who is going to get which card.  We teachers can be tricky!  

I also included some additional sea creatures to ensure that you have enough cards for your entire class.  To download my freebie, click here or on the picture below.
Choosing partners can be a daunting task for teachers and students alike. These shark cards are a fun, random way to help with assigning partners in the classroom!
Now be sure to swim on over to Just Reed and pick up another fun freebie!


Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a FIN-tastic freebie for you and your students - but hurry!  Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, July 3rd.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Building a Community of Readers

As a child, my friends and I would talk about the books that we were reading while we ate our PB&J at the lunch table and on the bumpy bus rides home.  Something tells me I wasn't your typical kid though.  So, how do we get our students to discuss books?  To share their favorites?  To reveal why they abandoned a book?
Building a community of readers in an elementary (or secondary) is so important!  So, how do you do it?  This post has some awesome ideas!
Here are some things I've used in my classroom to encourage my kids to talk about what they are reading and to encourage each other to pick up a good book.  As a result, a community of readers was created among my class.

1. Book Review Binder
When a student finishes a book, they fill out this quick book review from Rachel Lynette. All pages go into a binder in our classroom. It serves as a resource for the students, but also a way for me to track student reading and be aware of what each student enjoys. 

2. Classroom Bookshelf
This idea came from Literacy for Big Kids and my students thought it was awesome!  When they finished a book that they thought others would enjoy, they wrote the book title and author on the "spine" of the book and taped it on the shelf. 
Building a community of readers in an elementary (or secondary) is so important!  So, how do you do it?  This post has some awesome ideas!
Here's the completed door (before the fire marshal made me take it down):
Building a community of readers in an elementary (or secondary) is so important!  So, how do you do it?  This post has some awesome ideas!
You can grab the book spine templates for free here!

3. Teacher board 
This board was so much fun to create! I printed out a picture of the cover of the book I was currently reading and hung it up on this board.  My students would check every day to see if I had changed my current book. Most times, if I had, they requested to read that book next!  They even started recommending books to me, just as I did for them. 
Building a community of readers in an elementary (or secondary) is so important!  So, how do you do it?  This post has some awesome ideas!

4. Fishbowl
This idea I haven't actually tried yet. I saw it in a library at another school and knew I had to give it a whirl!  Readers write their book recommendations on a fish template and place it in the fishbowl.  If a student is in search of a good book, they reach into the bowl and pull out a title!
You can grab the fish templates here for free!

5. Status of the class
This idea came from DM's book, The Book Whisperer. It is, by far, my favorite way to share books in the classroom.  Each night, my students are required to read for 20 minutes. I don't do book logs or questions or parent signatures. Those had no meaning for my students or myself. 

Instead, we spend the first 5 minutes of class each day sharing a one-sentence summary of what we read the night before. I say "we" because I join in too! Each student is required to share a sentence. It is a great way for students to hear what others are reading and, more often than not, they find a book that they might enjoy. 

If two students are reading the same book and one student is further along, the second student will cover his ears or run into the hall quickly. It's fun to watch them look out for each other!  Sometimes I track what they share, especially if I know they are struggling with finishing a book or finding a good fit.   You can learn more about how I do Status of the Class here.
Building a community of readers in an elementary (or secondary) is so important!  So, how do you do it?  This post has some awesome ideas!
Please note that I did not utilize all of these ideas in one year, as that would be overkill and diminish my students love of reading. I have used 1 or 2 each year I have been in upper elementary.   What have you used in your classroom to build a community of readers?