Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The End is Near! Calendar/To Do List

Isn't this the time of year that EVERYONE gets a little crazy??!! I'm not sure what happens in April and May, but emotions and stress can run high. I have joined up with some superstar teachers to try to help alleviate some of that stress by giving you some helpful hints to de-stress and to host a giveaway for 4 lucky people!
 
NOW ENTERING...
 
The tip I'd like to share is simple, but effective. It requires the printing of a few pages and to cross things off as you complete them. I'm a visual person and like crossing things off my to do list. It makes me feel like I've accomplished something, even if my list is pages long, it still makes me feel better to draw that big black line through an item on the list. Plus, I like to know what's ahead of me.
 
 
First, you need to brainstorm a list of all things you HAVE to do and a list of all the things you'd LIKE to get done by the end of the year. You can do this alone or with teammates. From this list, you will plug each item in your calendar. TRY to only do ONE thing a day-this sets you up for success and will make your feel accomplished when you complete your task and can cross it off. The HUGE list by itself is too overwhelming...which is why so many of us get so stressed at this time of year. Take one day at a time. Enjoy your last days with your students and yourself! :)
 
Some possible items to include on your list:
  • end of year conferences-schedule dates
  • clean/organize top desk drawer 
  • take pictures of your classroom to remember when thinking of new ideas for decorating over the summer
  • measure your classroom space to create a new layout for next year
  • send home end of the year party information
  • make end of the year awards
  • organize files (not an entire file cabinet-1/2 a drawer-full drawer at a time)
  • inventory books
  • make a list of materials you will need over the summer (manuals, read alouds, professional books, paper, markers, etc.)
  • take an inventory of your room, what organizational items do you need to pack up for the end of the year? Labels, tubs, boxes, file folders, packing tape, etc.
Your calendar dates should have items that can be completed in one day, if the project is larger, it should be broken up into parts (like the file cabinet or your desk-one drawer at a time).
 
After you make your BIG list, start plugging in the items on your calendar, starting with the items that can be done right away. REMEMBER...only one a day! If you get ahead great, but the idea of this calendar/to do list is to underwhelm us, not overwhelm us! Think about how many days you have left...I have about 30, so that means I will get 30 things accomplished before school gets out! Yay! Now doesn't that sound satisfying, rewarding, and doable?

I've created a page to print on the back of each monthly calendar for notes and reminders for current/future months. This will help organize and keep track of my thoughts without having to commit to a "date" so far in advance.
 
Think about how you will feel once you get your calendar and list organized! You'll be happier and you'll see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, your students will feel your sense of calmness and behave better (well okay, I can't fix everything with a calendar, but they'll definitely be able to tell you're not stressed!) Would you like a copy of the calendars and to do lists?
http://bit.ly/1G29BbA
I hope this Stress Free Tip helped you! I'd love to hear your comments or suggestions for the end of the year list ideas.

 AMAZING GIVEAWAY!! SIMPLE ENTRIES!
YOU CAN'T WIN IF YOU DON'T PLAY!
FOUR WINNERS!
1 $75 Amazon gift card
1 $40 Target gift card
1 $25 TpT gift certificate
1 $20 Starbucks gift card
 
Enter below for your chance to win!
 




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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: BINGO With a TWIST!

It's the weekend! I know with so many states and schools testing, you're ready for SATURDAY!
3rd and 4th graders are finished with testing in our county, but 5th grade is in full swing with 6 days of testing! It wouldn't matter to 4th grade except they test on computers directly under my classroom. So we have to move quietly around our room because every little chair moving can be heard!
BUT... we still have to have FUN with our learning!



I present the classic game BINGO with a TWIST! Quizmo is the multiplication version of bingo.
It's a game that requires students to listen, know their multiplication facts, and sit quietly. :)
 
Well, even one change to Bingo is exciting to kids! How about candy markers? Smarties, M&M's, skittles, any small candy will work! Or a healthier choice: Cheerios, gold fish, or Fruit Loops. When my students saw the Smarties they forgot they were "working"!
 
Change the traditional Bingo to making a "T" (or U, X, Z, H) or four corners. It keeps the game lively and keeps your students on their toes!

A longer game could be played if you wanted them to cover the entire board (Blackout) or you could
DOUBLE the fun and give them TWO boards! They thought they struck gold when they got to have two boards which equals double the chance to win! (It's the little things that make us happy!)
 

 OUR FAVORITE version and new to me was STINKO BINGO! This is played reverse of the traditional Bingo as you don't want ANY of your numbers called (or in this case products). Everyone stands up their board and if they hear a number called on their board (using multiplication facts) they have to sit down. This game is suspenseful and quick! They loved this new way of playing!
 
These TWISTS on Bingo can be used with any Bingo game boards-I hope you will try Stinko Bingo...it will be a hit in your class! A quick game of review is a nice "learning break" for you and your students!

 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spark Student Motivation:Popcorn and a Book!

Who needs POPCORN AND A MOVIE when you can have POPCORN AND A BOOK??!!

I thought of this idea when I presented parents with ideas to get their children excited about reading at home. Then the other day I thought...why not try it in our classroom? I selected a book I wanted to be my "FEATURE PRESENTATION" to share with my class. I made these signs to post on the door as a surprise and to get my students excited when they walked in to our classroom.
NOW SHOWING: The Day the Crayons Quit
STARRING: Drew Daywalt (author)


As soon as they came back, smiles and curiosity spread through our line!

I set up these popcorn bags with our "feature presentation" to get the feel of seeing a movie. As soon as my students saw these, they couldn't wait! (I'm not sure I'd use the bags every time I have Popcorn and a Book, but it was cute for its first appearance! Warning: The bags are kind of noisy when you're reading.)
 After explaining all about Popcorn and a Book and the procedures for our viewing, we got started. The Day the Crayons Quit was a perfect read aloud for this event because it's so funny and kids love this book!
 Some procedures or tips you may want to discuss if you'd like to plan this event:
  • Students: Open your bag completely (can be folded down) so you can quietly put your hand in and out without disturbing the reader.
  • Students: No drinks until the end (they will get thirsty with popcorn).
  • Students: Use good table manners when eating. :)
  • Teacher: If you have an audio enhancer or microphone it's very helpful when they're all chewing and digging in their bags.
  • Teacher: Choose an appropriate length and exciting book so you can keep their attention and they won't want to get up to get a drink.  

 
 This was a special treat! I enjoyed it as much as my students did! This isn't something I would use daily or weekly, but probably once a month. Making reading exciting and motivating is so FUN for me too! When end of the year burn out is edging its way in, this is the perfect motivator for ALL!!
 
 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.


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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: Class Memory Jar




 
Such a wonderful quote from Dr. Seuss! And, we need to keep our class memories cherished!
I've had this on my "to do list" since summer and I'm not sure what took me so long to make it because it only takes a few seconds. Anyway, I figured it's never too late to start a memory jar, so I decided to add it to our classroom this week.
 I introduced this small jar to hold all of our memories and my students loved it! Ideally, when a special event occurs in your classroom someone should document it and put it in the jar, but reminiscing about all that's happened this year was so fun!
Here are some of the memories we'd like to treasure:





I love that they've remembered such an assortment to events from our classroom this year. Academic, accomplishments, community service, friendships, field trip, etc. It makes you realize how many incredible things that happen in our classroom.

We create memories all the time with our students, so making a Memory Jar is a wonderful keepsake for your classroom to show how important these memories are to you and them.
If you don't have one, make one today and start Monday-it will be a great addition to your classroom!

 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.


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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Ideas: Craftivity, Organizers, Free Bulletin Board

Spring is here...especially in Florida! I like to cheer up our learning with bright colors and theme related topics/decorations.
 
Even if you add the cuteness factor, you still need rigor! There's no reason not to have both! :) Check out these student theme samples from my Spring & Summer Reading Graphic Organizers pack.


I love their thinking! It's also interesting to me how almost all of my students compared the theme from Red Kite, Blue Kite to a different book we've shared. (Another great reason to have those Theme Boards to refer to!)
 
 
Want to try this Theme Takes the Cake in your classroom? Click the button below to download. If you like it, there's 27 more graphic organizers to enjoy!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzAJViCkxQddY0tVQklObHE1MzA/view?usp=sharing

My students complete their spring wreaths before the break using a fiction book (Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch). We will complete the Easter ones this week using non-fiction text.
I've had my students complete them on books read independently and whole class read alouds. My students really have to think to complete these adorable wreaths!
 

 
Pick up all 8 wreaths in a bundle for a huge savings.
Click the button below.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reading-Wreath-Craftivities-Bundle-Use-with-any-fiction-or-non-fiction-text-1622552
Finally, is a SPRING Into Reading Bulletin Board! Brighten up your classroom or hallway with this easy display. Each student completes a flower after reading and voila...instant bulletin board! A board of full of flowery book recommendations!
 
Are you wondering about the flowers in the corners of the bulletin board??! Of course you are! They're plates from Dollar Tree...aren't they darling?














Print flowers on bright colored paper for a "pop" on your display. Cut flowers and staple onto board!
Easy peasy! :)

Go grab your FREE instant bulletin board! As always, kind feedback is greatly appreciated! xoxo

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREEBIE-Spring-Into-Reading-Bulletin-Board-1787856

Hope you found some helpful ideas that will brighten your classroom or motivate your kiddos during Spring Fever! Have a super week! We start our state testing this week!


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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: Testing Goodies

My Spring Break is coming to a close ...{insert sad face}.
Although I'm SUPER excited to see my students on Monday, we come back to take our brand new state test this week ...{insert teacher shaking at the knees}! In order to calm my fears and my students' fears, we will get MOTIVATED about testing!

We start out getting in the "testing mode thinking" about 15 days before testing when we start our COUNTDOWN! Each day we flip the page over to keep track of how many days we have left until the big day! (Only 3 days once we get back!!)
  

We also have a class discussion about the importance of testing. This test represents so much: how much they learned this year, their teacher, our class, our school, and their parents. I try to take a different spin and tell them it's their time to SHOW OFF! "Go ahead, brag about how much you learned and know on that test!"
As a class, we sign a pledge to al our try our very best and display it as a reminder of our commitment.


It's our chance to SHINE & SPARKLE (you know how I feel about sparkle!)
I love sparkle so much, I created an acronym for great test taking strategies for my students to remember. :) Great visual and tool for my students to reference.

I'm getting my parents involved too! I send home tips for my parents to help their child with testing along with notecards to make for their child the day of the test. Of course, they will need door hangers so their parents can't make them do chores on testing nights! LOL! They race home to put these on their bedroom door!


I work very hard all year long to build community in my classroom and during testing season is no different. I have my student write positive notes of encouragement to each other to "cheer" each on for testing days. They love reading these sweet notes from their friends.

 Another way to relax them or ease their fears is by sharing these two picture books about testing. Cute messages and perfect time to have a class discussion about fears and answer any questions about testing. I have to remember these kids are 9 and 10 and they get nervous, so I want to do as much as possible to make them feel comfortable.

I like to give my students little treats-I know it gets them excited and makes them look forward to the following testing days as well. Think about it...do we like attending a faculty meeting or training where chocolate is on the table or they feed us??!! Of course, we do! I know we have a better attitude about a long training if we get a snack or treat, same goes for kids. I got these ready this week on my spring break-ready for all four days of testing!

 All of these resources are available in my Testing Goodies Pack in my TPT store.
Click HERE to check it out.
 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.


Pin It!