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.

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?
A teacher's summer might not be what you think it is!  Five ways they prepare and organize for back to school in the fall.  I think #1 is my favorite!
What does a teacher's summer look like?  Many use this time to become better teachers!  Crazy, right?  Here are some of my plans for these warm months.

1. Read!
Kids Books
Summer is a great time for me to get a jump start on chapter books that my 5th graders might be interested in during the year.  I pick up brand new releases so that I can recommend fresh books to my readers.  Our state also chooses 20 books to celebrate throughout the school-year, with games for the students to play during Reading Week, if they have read them.  I make sure that I read these as well, since they are always a big hit in my class!
A teacher's summer might not be what you think it is!  Five ways they prepare and organize for back to school in the fall.  I think #1 is my favorite!

Professional Books
I'll be honest, when I was in college and professional books were "required reading," I may not have read them as thoroughly as I should have. Or at all. Now that I have the freedom to choose, I love getting my hands on a good research-based book.  I look to my colleagues for recommendation, as well as other teachers who I follow on IG, Facebook or blogs. Not only do I pick up new ones each year, but I re-read ones that have made an impact on my teaching. I find it to be rejuvenating and motivating to learn about best practices from other educators.  And it makes me motivated to get back into the classroom!
A teacher's summer might not be what you think it is!  Five ways they prepare and organize for back to school in the fall.  I think #1 is my favorite!

2. Plan for next year
This one is a biggie. A majority of this planning is done on my own, but I also meet up with my grade-level colleagues to discuss the upcoming year. I reflect on what went well the previous year and what didn't quite go as planned. 

I set up my calendar for the year.  Doesn't the blank calendar look all pretty?  It will fill up fast!
Click here to grab The Calendar Notebook
 I create a year-long calendar based on our curriculum's scope and sequence.  This gets hung up behind my desk to help keep me on track.
A teacher's summer might not be what you think it is!  Five ways they prepare and organize for back to school in the fall.  I think #1 is my favorite!

3. Prepare the classroom
This is the fun part!  As tiring as it is to set up and take down my classroom every year, I look forward to a clean slate in August.  Some years I keep it exactly the same, others it is completely different.  I enjoy creating decor for the room and deciding how everything is going to be organized to make teaching and learning easy for myself and my students.
4. Shop!
It's no secret that teachers love school supplies!  I actually prefer to shop for Crayola products than clothes (true story).  Most teachers provide a majority of the school supplies for their classrooms.  We scour the Target Dollar Section and the Staples ads all summer to score good sales on everything from notebooks to glue sticks.
A teacher's summer might not be what you think it is!  Five ways they prepare and organize for back to school in the fall.  I think #1 is my favorite!

5. Spend time with family
And the most important thing I do over the summer...is spend quality time with my own family.  Sometimes they get a tad neglected during the school year as I am writing lesson plans and grading papers.  I come from a family of teachers, so we do a LOT of catching up over the summer!  The best place to do so is by the beach, of course!
A teacher's summer might not be what you think it is!  Five ways they prepare and organize for back to school in the fall.  I think #1 is my favorite!

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