Christmas Classroom Door Ideas

I love how creative teachers are! I’m always impressed at the clever door decorations I see. Here are some of my favorites from my web-surfing this year!

 This is how you show you’re a trendy teacher!

 

This one seems like it would be one to laminate and reuse.
I just love the Peanuts Gang! They’re pretty timeless.

 

Just plain cute!

 

New perspective of a snowman! I love it! (If you’re not a math teacher, obviously, you can change the text to fit whatever subject you’re teaching!)

 

I found these on Pinterest, and sadly, my 4 favorites didn’t have good photo credits. If these images are yours, please email me and I’l post your photo credit! Merry Christmas!

 

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Easy Halloween Costumes for Teachers

Halloween in school is nuts. Not only do you have to keep your students focused while they’re on a sugar buzz, but they’ll be dressed up like what’s his face from whatever that popular new show is. AND you need come up with a costume that’s cool (and totally appropriate for school). Just what you needed – another thing to worry about. Well, here are a few easy Halloween costumes for teachers that can be thrown together at the last minute (and when I say “last minute,” I mean, 2 days – 2 hours before school).

OPTION 1: Children’s Book Characters

Viola Swamp from “Miss Nelson is Missing!” by Harry Allard (source)

Camilla from “A Bad Case of the Stripes” by David Shannon (source)

 

Rainbow Fish from “Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister (source)

 

Professor Trelawny from the Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling (source)

 

(If you feel the need to do a group costume)
Madeline, Miss Clavel and the girls from the Madeline series
by Ludwig Bemelmans (source)

 

Emily from “Clifford the Big Red Dog” by Norman Bridwell  (source)

 

The coconut tree from “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”
by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault (source)

 

The Giving Tree from “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein  (source)

 

OPTION 2: Puns
I don’t need to caption these. They’re pretty self-explanatory!

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Looking for more punny costumes? Try this list from Buzzfeed.

Also check out my Halloween free printables! Click here!

Happy Halloween!

Close Reading Trick – Side Loading Dry Erase Sleeves!

I received free products from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for sharing my thoughts on this blog.

Close reading is all the rage right now. My team and I have read several books about how to make it happen effectively. We specifically focused on the sign posts for close reading book. I recommend this book for 4-6 grade teacher.  After reading about how powerful close reading can be, I wanted to have my students mark up their pages with questions, comments, and symbols. I wasn’t very successful though because writing in textbooks is a big no no! People suggested sheet protectors and all kinds of things, but they don’t work with textbooks unless you rip out the pages.

I have finally found a solution! (Que the applause!!)

SIDE LOADING dry erase sleeves!I found these horizontal sleeves from Oriental Trading Company that slide on SIDEWAYS onto the page.   This is perfect because the kids can do all the marking with a dry erase marker, and then turn in the sleeve so I can look at it later.  It also leaves the textbook in tact and bound. I think this is a major win-win! Click here to check them out.

Please comment below if you’ve got other close reading tips! I’m always on the lookout!

Getting the Most Out of Ticket Jar

I received free products from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for sharing my thoughts on this blog.

As a teacher, I have found that the more positive praise I do, the less negative I have to deal with. One of the best systems I have used is my ticket jar system. Most people have probably heard of a form of this. I do ticket jar every Friday. It’s a good system for me because it can be individual incentive and group incentive. Here are 3 tips we’ve come up with:

All Roads Lead to Rome: At first it seems like I have tons of different positive incentives, table points, house points, class rock party points, class activity time points, individual tickets. It is true, but the beauty is that these “different” systems all come back to tickets. (That will make things so much easier on you as a teacher., I promise)

Here is an example: My students sit in tables. They earn points for their table by transitioning quickly, working well together during a project, all turning in certain assignments. At the end of the day, whichever table has the most points, each person gets 2 tickets.  (Table points convert to tickets!)

Another example: If I have an important paper that I need signed and brought back, I use tickets to bribe students to take it home, get it signed, and brought back. Works every time!

Let Ticket Jar Feed Itself: I encourage students to make donations of toys they don’t want or random items that their parents are willing to buy at the dollar store. When they make a donation, I give them a ticket just for donating. Also, I promise them that I will put their ticket back if I pull it on that item. Mindy didn’t do this her first year and ran out of cool prizes really fast. Then she had no budget (of course!) for replenishing it, so it didn’t have near the power to motivate her students.

Be Cheap: It can be expensive handing out things each week. Here are a few tips on that too:

  1. Get students to donate (as mentioned above).
  2. Collect “cool rocks” on all your vacations, hikings, adventures, whatever. I teach 6th grade and they are really into a neat rock!
  3. Oriental Trading Company: They have cheap bundles of items. You can buy big mixed packets or a specific item that you know will be a winner. I recently bought a huge bag of sticky hands for less than ten bucks and I am pretty sure it will last the whole year!
  4. Dollar Stores and Thrift Stores: Dollar stores often have packs of pencils or candy. Just figure out the unit price to decide if it’s a good deal! If you get something from a thrift store, make sure it is clean or better yet, still packaged!

Using Birthdays At School to Create Positive Classroom Culture

 

Birthdays can be distracting at school. But if you play your cards right, you can use birthdays to create a positive classroom culture. By focusing on positive characteristics of the birthday kid, you can allow for natural discussions on topics such as friendship, being polite, following directions, etc. I’ve got a simple page we use to acknowledge a birthday kid’s positive traits. I start by writing mine for the whole class to see (using the document camera). I talk about something the child does well, and praise them for it (subtly reminding the rest of the class of that expectation). Then I have each student complete the page for that student as well. I challenge them to use a vocab word (from the current week or past) in their writing and only let them do the picture AFTER they’re done writing.

Click here to download the full size PDF: I like ____ because

Click here to check out my other thoughts about celebrating birthdays at school.

Color Coding with Highlighter Tape

I received free products from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for sharing my thoughts on this blog.

I am teaching 6th grade and I have been assigned two different classes this year. It is pretty tricky to track each class and keep them straight. I decided to color code each class to help me keep track of them each.  I colored one red and one blue.  To help me easily keep track of papers, I use highlighter tape from the Oriental Trading Company. The tape is colored but you can see through it. I can write things and put the tape on top of it. It has been a life saver as I look at paperwork, class lists, and general color coding. The highlighter tape has four colors (red, blue, green, orange), so you could even use this tape to track ability grouping, or below, approaching, proficient, and advanced levels in any subject. I recommend this to any teacher who has multiple classes or tracks data.

Guest Post: Track the Weather with Weather Charts

Always changing and never predictable, weather makes a fascinating study for inquisitive young minds. Conduct a three-part study of the microclimate of your backyard, complete with charts on temperature, rainfall, and observed weather. Not only will your little meteorologist learn a lot about local temperature trends and rainfall frequency, he’ll also get some good practice in data collection, graphing, and how to describe his observations.

What You Need:

  • 3 sheets of light colored poster board
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Markers
  • Outdoor thermometer
  • Clear plastic cup
  • Weather stickers (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to draw a large graph on each sheet of poster board. He’ll use one graph to track temperature, one to track rainfall, and one to record the weather (sunny, partly cloudy, etc.). Have him title each graph accordingly. Example titles: “June Rainfall,” “June Temperatures,” and “June Weather.”
  2. Before starting the study, help him figure out what kind of graph would best fit each chart. Ask him to think about the kind of data he’ll be collecting for each chart and how he’ll report that data. If he has trouble choosing, suggest a bar graph for the rainfall chart, a line graph for the temperature chart, and a simple table for the weather chart.
  3. Prepare the rain collection cup. Help him clearly label the clear plastic cup with half inch dashes to make it easier to measure the rain each day.
  4. Now conduct the study. Place the thermometer in the yard or directly outside the house where it will get accurate readings. At the same time each day for one month, have your child read the temperature on the thermometer and record it on his graph.
  5. For the rainfall study, ask him to set the plastic cup in an open space away from any awnings or overhangs. Each day it rains, ask him to check his rain collection cup and record how many inches of rain fell that day on the rainfall chart.
  6. For the weather study, encourage him to observe the weather each morning and draw what he sees (sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy, rainy, windy, etc.).
  7. At the end of the month, look over his completed weather charts and talk about how the weather varied over the course of the month and how he thinks the weather this month compares to weather in other months.

The study doesn’t have to end here! Make weather charts for subsequent months for a more in-depth study of local weather patterns.

(Post by Greg from Education.com)

Poetry Review Graphic Organizer

Confession… I’m not crazy about poetry. I usually prefer stories. Sometimes I feel like teachers go way overboard in dissecting poetry. This graphic organizer guides my poetry reviews. We go over enough that the kids think about the poem, but we’re not beating a dead horse. Maybe you’ll find it useful too. Enjoy!

poetry-review-graphic-organizer-previewClick here to download the full size PDF:  poetry-review-graphic-organizer

 

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