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No Nonsense St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Your Classroom

I don’t know about you but St. Patrick’s Day is one of my absolute favorite holidays! Mostly because it’s a low-key holiday for the classroom. One you can incorporate some St. Patrick’s Day fun without overloading. You don’t need to have a party for it, students don’t get hyped up on sugar, and your whole day isn’t wasted by chaos. These St. Patty’s day activities will get you and your kiddos excited for the holiday with just the perfect amount of celebration!

St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Your Classroom

I love celebrating St. Patrick's Day in my classroom because there are many ways to enjoy the holiday without going overboard. Check out these no nonsense activities you can use to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in your classroom!

1. Planting Shamrocks

I’ve planted shamrocks in my class for the last few years and it is such a simple but fun St. Patrick’s Day activity. I buy small plastic cauldrons for students to plant their seeds in. During the activity, I pull students in small groups to plant them. Then, I put them in our window to get light. I pull an equity stick each day for a student to water all of them with a spray bottle. This is a very non-stressful way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

I love celebrating St. Patrick's Day in my classroom because there are many ways to enjoy the holiday without going overboard. Check out these no nonsense activities you can use to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in your classroom!

2. The Luckiest Leprechaun Book Companion

The Luckiest Leprechaun by Justine Korman is the cutest St. Patrick’s Day read-a-loud! For those who haven’t read, it’s about a grumpy old leprechaun who thinks everyone is trying to steal his gold. A silly pup, Lucky, stumbles upon the leprechaun and all he wants to do is be his friend and guard dog, despite the leprechaun avoiding and ignoring him. Someone comes along and takes the leprechaun’s gold and Lucky goes after him, searching for it. While he’s gone, the leprechaun realizes he likes Lucky and is glad to have his friendship.

This book companion resource has all you need for a language arts lesson during your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

I love celebrating St. Patrick's Day in my classroom because there are many ways to enjoy the holiday without going overboard. Check out these no nonsense activities you can use to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in your classroom!

3. Worth More Than Gold Craftivity

Part of The Luckiest Leprechaun Book Companion is a craftivity that will look awesome as your St. Patrick’s Day bulletin board. Students pick something that is worth more to them than gold and write why. Then they color the cauldron full of gold. When you staple the top page to the bottom page, it doubles as a writing and art project!

4. Write the Room

Of course one of my favorite holiday activities is a Write the Room. My students love to get their bodies moving and read and write new vocabulary.

I love celebrating St. Patrick's Day in my classroom because there are many ways to enjoy the holiday without going overboard. Check out these no nonsense activities you can use to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in your classroom!

5. Leprechaun Traps

A very common St. Patrick’s Day activity is building leprechaun traps. I start this lesson off with a poem from Lucky the Leprechaun. (Get this free here!) Then, we brainstorm our traps. We draw a blueprint, write out what materials we’ll need and then finally how we’re going to catch the leprechaun. Once we’ve thought our traps through (and I teach kinder so these are always very creative and imaginative) we get to work. I spread this activity out over a few days and ask for each student to bring in some sort of box before we get started on the trap creations. I always love seeing how they’ll lure in the leprechaun and how he’ll get trapped once inside! Get your leprechaun trap lesson plan here.)

What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day activities your students do in your classroom?

I love celebrating St. Patrick's Day in my classroom because there are many ways to enjoy the holiday without going overboard. Check out these no nonsense activities you can use to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in your classroom!

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Creating Individual Behavior Plans to Support all Learners: A Guest Post by Rachel Wilser

Classroom management can be one of the trickiest parts of teaching. It’s almost impossible to teach if you’re struggling to manage your class. And even if you have great systems in place for the majority of your students, it’s likely that there will be a few students who need some extra support, beyond what you have in place for your whole class. Even though it can feel frustrating at times, it’s essential to find a system for these kids. Unchecked, best case scenario these kids are just floating by and going through the motions of learning, and worst-case scenario they can hijack your classroom.

Today I’m going to share my top 5 tips for creating a behavior plan. (For our purposes, I’m considering a behavior plan to be anything outside of your normal management system that you use to help students manage their behavior, so that would include something as elaborate as a sticker chart, or as simple as a work tracker that students use to complete their independent work.)

1. Start small.

The ultimate goal is for students to be successful, so you need to set goals that students can achieve. They should be goals; they should involve some work, but they should not be unattainable. When you’re setting goals, you want to start with the most basic (or most bothersome) behavior first. It’s also important to make sure you don’t set too many goals; so even if your overarching goal would require 5 or 6 stepping stone goals overall don’t give them 6 goals at once. It’s too overwhelming, and you won’t have any success.

Classroom management can be one of the trickiest parts of teaching. Even if you have great systems in place for the majority of your students, it’s likely that there will be a few students who need some extra support. Read here to find my top 5 tips for creating a behavior plan.

2. Make goals as tangible as possible.

The more tangible your goal is the more likely your students are to meet it. So, instead of saying “pay attention” set the goal as “track the speaker”, or “raise your hand to be recognized”. Pictures of your goal behavior can also be super helpful, especially with younger students who might not always be able to read the text of their behavior plan.

3. Students and teachers need to be on the same page.

The ultimate goal of any individual behavior plan is to change the student’s behavior, so the plan (and any rewards) must be motivating to your student. Otherwise nothing changes. I’ve found the easiest way to ensure that students are on board is to ask them what rewards are motivating to them. It’s also important that the plan is manageable so that you’re motivated to stick with it as a teacher.

4. Fidelity

You can only help your student reach their goal(s) if you use the individual behavior plan the way it’s designed to be used, whatever it is, whether it’s AM//PM check-ins, daily check-ins, clean up check ins, timer based, etc. It’s also important to give rewards to students when they earn them, even if they’re display some other undesirable behavior at the time. This was hard for me to get on board for at first, but if they met the goal they have to get the reward. So if their goal is to keep their hands to themselves during carpet time, and they did it, but they also were talking to their neighbor they should get the star//sticker//break that they earned because they met their goal.

Classroom management can be one of the trickiest parts of teaching. Even if you have great systems in place for the majority of your students, it’s likely that there will be a few students who need some extra support. Read here to find my top 5 tips for creating a behavior plan.

5. Organized

Last, but certainly not least, is that staying organized makes managing behavior plans so much easier! I always keep a printed copy of the originals, and then I copy enough for each week either Friday afternoon or Monday morning, and put them in the bins for that day with other copies. I also make sure to have copies of any templates I use to communicate with parents ready to go so that pack up//dismissal can go smoothly. If I’m the monitor of the plan, I keep it on my clipboard. Sometimes students are in charge of their plans, and they usually get a special folder for that and keep it in their seat.

What’s the biggest challenge for you when creating individual behavior plans? What do you find to be particularly motivating for your students? My kids have always been big on time based rewards, like Lunch Bunch, or spending some extra time with me.

Classroom management can be one of the trickiest parts of teaching. Even if you have great systems in place for the majority of your students, it’s likely that there will be a few students who need some extra support. Read here to find my top 5 tips for creating a behavior plan.

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Incorporating Multisensory Activities in Handwriting to Strengthen Fine Motor Development

Motor development is a huge part of kindergarten! Fine motor skills are important because we use them in our writing, coloring, cutting and more. When a student has poor motor skills, they’re often embarrassed and feel less successful when completing assignments. I’ve even had students cry because they couldn’t do something that comes easily for their peers. That’s why, when I was getting my masters in education, I wanted to know the most effective way to improve students’ fine motor. I wanted a way to help students that came to my class with inefficient fine motor skills, so they could feel confident in all they did in my room. Through my research, I found that multisensory handwriting activities help students develop their fine motor.

Do you have students who need to strengthen their fine motor? Check out these multisensory activities you can use during handwriting to improve students' fine motor skills!

The best way to engage students is through hands on, whole body learning. We’ve learned this in school, through student teaching and by observing our own students year after year. Multisensory activities are just that! Read on to find the multisensory activities I use during handwriting.

Multisensory Activities to Incorporate During Handwriting

  1. Paint Bags – For this activity, ziplock bags are filled with paint. Students use their fingers to practice writing letters on top of the bag. I used painters tape to create a dotted line on the paint bags so students could practice uppercase and lowercase letters using the line.*Tip: tape your bags shut so you don’t have any big paint messes!
  2. Sand Paper – Grab different types of sand paper (not too rough) and with a sharpie, make a dotted line. Students can use their fingers to practice writing letters. Another way to do this is to use sharpie to write the letters on the sand paper. That way, students just trace over the letters with their fingers. Do you have students who need to strengthen their fine motor? Check out these multisensory activities you can use during handwriting to improve students' fine motor skills!
  3. Puff Paint – Use puff paint to write letters on a piece of paper. When the puff paint dries, it will be a raised letter for students to use their finger to trace over.
  4. Shaving cream – Spray shaving cream evenly in a tin. Students use their finger to write their letters in the shaving cream.
  5. Sand Table – I am fortunate enough to have a sand table in my room. Students flatten the sand and then practice writing their letters with their finger. If you do not have a sand table, you can make sand trays. Here’s an example from Pocket of Preschool.
  6. Play dough – Students make the letters out of play dough and then trace with their fingers over the raised dough. Students can also flatten the dough and use a toothpick to write the letters in the dough. Do you have students who need to strengthen their fine motor? Check out these multisensory activities you can use during handwriting to improve students' fine motor skills!
  7. Pokey thing – I have students use a pushpin to poke around letters (or sight words) that have been flipped around or mirrored. Using a pushpin strengthens their fine motor. Once they’ve poked all around the letters or sight word, they can trace the opposite side with their finger.

What activities do you incorporate in your classroom to strengthen your students’ fine motor?

Awesome Photo Hacks for Taking Quality Pictures of Your TpT Products

It’s hard to stand out on TeachersPayTeachers because there are so many amazing teacher authors with awesome products. That’s why it’s so important to put time into making your pictures look perfect. These photo hacks will help you make your TpT thumbnails stand out, Instagram posts get tons of likes and Pinterest pictures repinned.

It's hard to stand out on TeachersPayTeachers but these photo hacks will help you showcase your product and produce sales! Read to find out my favorite photo hacks and tips!

Equipment

It’s not necessary to use fancy equipment to take an amazing photo! Here’s what I’ve found that works great for my pictures.

  • iPhone to take the picture. I got a super fancy camera about a year ago and I have to be honest, I’ve used it maybe a handful of times. It’s much easier (and practical) to just whip out my iPhone and snap the shot, especially if it’s during class time.
  • I recently bought a Portable Diva Ring Light (affiliate link) to make my lighting brighter when taking pictures. It fits right on my phone and has 3 adjustable light settings.
  • This TriPod Stand (affiliate link) makes it easy to steady your camera, take videos or film time-lapse. It comes with a remote and is an easy set up for your iPhone.
  • When photographing a product, use a poster paper as a background. I like to use white but you can also use other colors that would work with your brand.


(affiliate links: by purchasing from these links I earn a slight commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business.)

Staging

  • When staging your photos, showcase your product in the center (or off-center a bit) and add in some additional pieces that’ll add to your display. For example, if your product needs to be colored, stage some crayons or colored pencils next to the sheet.

It's hard to stand out on TeachersPayTeachers but these photo hacks will help you showcase your product and produce sales! Read to find out my favorite photo hacks and tips!

General Tips

  • Try to capture your product in the natural light.
  • Print out your product and set it up how it’ll look finished.
  • Fill out your sheet or use a completed product one of your students has filled out.
  • If you’re lucky enough to have a newer iPhone, use portrait mode. This makes the product stand out and the background look blurred.
  • Take multiple of the same picture. I like to take a regular photo, a square photo (for Instagram), a portrait photo and a landscape photo. That way, there’s bound to be at least one that will work for each platform.

What photo hacks would you add to this list?

You may also be interested in…

How to Use Group Boards on Pinterest to Market TpT Products

How to Use Tailwind to Market TpT Products

Why You Should Have a Teacher Instagram

Tips to Get Your Product Noticed on TpT

 

The Ultimate Behavior Bundle for Any Classroom

Behavior management is a crucial part of the classroom. Most teachers will agree that learning can only happen when there is structure, routines and expectations put in place. That’s why it’s so important to take the first few weeks (or however long it takes) to establish these important aspects of your classroom. I have three behavior management systems in my classroom that you can read in another post. Here, I want to show you how I track student behavior and the importance of it.

 

Are you frustrated with your students behavior because you feel like you've tried everything? Read these intervention strategies I take when dealing with difficult students.

 

Tracking Behavior

In my classroom, I use a clip chart for individual behavior management. So, I track behavior for each student based on where their clip is at the end of the school day. (For more information on how the clip chart works, read here.) I use a graph to color in what color each students’ clip ends. This graph is a visual representation of their daily behavior. What I love most about this graph is that it is so easy to see if a student just had a behavior slip up or if behavior is something they struggle with. When I notice a student consistently getting low colors on my chart, I use a behavior intervention strategy (mentioned below).

Behavior Intervention When the Clip Chart Doesn’t Work

Every student responds differently to each behavior management strategy. Throughout my experience in teaching, I’ve had to find ways to reach each student. So when I notice a student getting low colors on my chart for a period of time, I try a behavior intervention until I find one that works.

Are you frustrated with your students behavior because you feel like you've tried everything? Read these intervention strategies I take when dealing with difficult students.

Behavior Intervention Strategies

  • Chunk the Day – Sticker Chart: This chart separates the school day into smaller parts. After each part of the day, I conference with the student about their behavior and they either get to add a sticker to their chart or they don’t.
  • Recess & Lunch – Sticker Chart: Similar to chunk the day, this sticker chart is specifically for recess and lunch time behavior. This year, I’ve had a few students that do fine in the classroom but struggle with the freedom at recess and lunch. This sticker chart works well for these students.

Are you frustrated with your students behavior because you feel like you've tried everything? Read these intervention strategies I take when dealing with difficult students.

  • Blurt Chart: This is for the student who shouts out. They get three chances (or whatever you decide) and then get a consequence. I’ve never used this but there are lots of blurt chart ideas on Pinterest.
  • Kerplunk: This is a whole class intervention and something that has become very popular amongst teacher Instagrams. You set up the game Kerplunk and each time the class shows the desired behavior, you have one student pull a stick. Once all the marbles/balls fall, your class wins a reward! I started this last month and am absolutely loving it! My kids responded so well and are so excited when they get to pull a stick.

What behavior interventions work best for you? Do you track your students daily behavior? Leave a comment below!

Are you frustrated with your students behavior because you feel like you've tried everything? Read these intervention strategies I take when dealing with difficult students.

3 Things to Know about English Language Learners a Guest Post by Pearl Hong

Studies are showing that at least 10% of our classrooms in the United States consist of

English Language Learners (ELL) with 75% of these students being immigrants. Having

strategies to combat the language barrier may be helpful, but in order to be an effective

teacher to ELLs — understanding their background is necessary. Here are 3 things you’ll

want to know about your ELL students:

English Language Learners are in all of our classes and we MUST know how to work with them. Read these awesome tips about working with ELL students.

First. ELLs have emotional needs.

Imagine a time you’ve been placed in a setting where you’re completely clueless. The

smell, the sounds and noises surrounding you are all…foreign. For some, it may have

been a childhood experience of moving. Or some, it may have been an experience to a

different country. These are all feelings that could temporarily “freeze” the students

capability of speaking or understanding. Acknowledging that nerves, fear,

embarrassment are just a few of the obstacles your student is experiencing will help you

better determine instructional skills that will allow them to feel more comfortable. As a

result, the more comfortable your students feel, the more their performance and

participation level will rise.

English Language Learners are in all of our classes and we MUST know how to work with them. Read these awesome tips about working with ELL students.

Second. SIMPLE is key.

Whatever instruction you choose to use, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Their sense to see or hear

clearly might be held back due to the heightened nerves they may be experiencing.

Avoid using distracting font, clipart and unorganized structure in your materials. Even

when you think that one extra clipart is necessary, it may be the one thing that distracts

your student from understanding the content. Try using larger, clean font. SIMPLE is

key.

English Language Learners are in all of our classes and we MUST know how to work with them. Read these awesome tips about working with ELL students.

Third. Place yourself in your student’s shoes.

When I was working for a language company, we were provided subsidized lessons to

learn the local language. Taking those lessons was exactly what I needed to better

understand what my students go through everyday. Not saying you should take on a

whole new language, but maybe even something as little as using a language-learning

app, reading something in your second language (if you’re bilingual) or even watching a

video clip or movie in a different language with only English subtitles may be the one

thing you need to connect with your students’ needs. Trust me, this will help you grow

so much as a teacher to experience this first hand. Your ideas for better instruction,

creating lesson materials, seating ideas and so on will start overflowing once you get a

small grasp of what it’s like to have to learn and communicate in a second language.

English Language Learners are in all of our classes and we MUST know how to work with them. Read these awesome tips about working with ELL students.

About Me

Pearl Hong

-9+ years experience working with ELLs overseas and in the US

-Taught ESL to students from 10+ countries

-M.Ed in Teaching & Learning, 2016

IG: lets.talk.ell | TPT: Let’s Talk ELL | Blog: www.letstalkell.blogspot.com

Tips for Using Interactive Notebooks in Kindergarten

I love seeing all the creative ways teachers use interactive notebooks in their classrooms but I’ve always felt that they’re more for older students because of all the different pieces and specific places to glue. (If you’ve ever used glue with kindergarten, you know what I’m talking about – total mess!) But this year, I was determined to make interactive notebooks work for my kindergarten class. For my first interactive notebook experience, I chose to use them in science however, these tips would work in any subject!

Want to use interactive notebooks but stuck with getting started? Check out these tips to using interactive notebooks in a kindergarten classroom.

Tips to Making Interactive Notebooks Work in Kindergarten

Setting Up Your Interactive Notebooks

  • Use a full-page label sheet to for the front cover. (This tip comes from Ashley at Teach Create Motivate.) I designed my cover to say Science Notebook with two scientists and a place for students to write their name. When I was ready to put these covers on my student’s notebooks, I printed them on these full-page labels which you put in your printer just like a regular paper. Then I trimmed the sides to fit and stuck it on the front, just like a giant sticker!
  • Glue a front cover for every unit or sub topic. My science curriculum has multiple units so each unit has different cover inside the notebook and that’s how we know everything after that cover page belongs to that unit. Some teachers use tabs to separate units or subtopics. I don’t do this because once we’re done with a science unit we don’t come back to it so there’s no need for students to tab back.

Want to use interactive notebooks but stuck with getting started? Check out these tips to using interactive notebooks in a kindergarten classroom.

General Tips

  • Trim the actual interactive notebook pages that go in the notebook. This makes one less step for students and saves a ton of time!
  • Give your students one page at a time. If you give them the background page plus any other pages where you need to cut and glue or fold, things get jumbled and at least one kiddo is going to cut something that shouldn’t be cut.

Want to use interactive notebooks but stuck with getting started? Check out these tips to using interactive notebooks in a kindergarten classroom.

 

  • Model, model, model! Of course this goes for literally everything in kindergarten but especially for the tricky interactive notebook pages.
  • Help your students find the next page. You wouldn’t believe how many interactive notebook pages I’ve had to pull out because a student just opened his notebook and plopped it down wherever it opened.

Want to use interactive notebooks but stuck with getting started? Check out these tips to using interactive notebooks in a kindergarten classroom.

Although interactive notebooks can be tricky to navigate with the younger students, it’s totally possible with these tips and tricks! What would you add to this list?

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The Benefits of a Themed Library System in Kindergarten

When I first started teaching, I was stuck on how to organize my library. Some teachers organize by reading level, others by theme, some by genre and I wasn’t sure what would be the best way to organize for my kindergarten classroom. After thinking about it, I decided to organize my library by theme and I am so grateful I did because it’s been the perfect system for my room. Here are the benefits I’ve found to having a themed library system in kindergarten.

The Benefits of a Themed Library System in Kindergarten

Students Search by Interests

When your library is arranged by theme, students pick out books that look interesting to them. In kindergarten, most students can’t read so they pick books to look at the pictures. By organizing books by theme, kinder students find reading to be fun because they’re not worried about the words but what the picture shows. This way of organizing can spark a student’s curiosity to the world of reading. There’s a lot of power in choice and arranging your library by theme gives them many choices!

Are you having trouble figuring out how to organize your library? Read here to find out why it's beneficial to arrange your classroom library by theme.

They’re Exposed to Many Different Words and Vocabulary

Organizing by theme exposes students to many different words and vocabulary. When books are arranged by level, a student who reads at an “A” might only see words like The cat sat on the mat. This is great when students are starting to decode and recognize sight words but it’s not great for vocabulary. Early on in the year, I teach my students how to read through pictures. I also teach them that in a story the pictures match the words. So a student interested in volcanos might pick a book with a volcano on the front cover and be able to match that the word is volcano because it starts with a “v” sound. A themed library gives students of all levels a chance to broaden their vocabulary.

Eliminates Competition

A library organized by theme eliminates competition in reading. I absolutely do not support telling kindergarten students their reading levels. This can make low readers feel horrible about themselves and high readers feel like their better than their peers. With such a reading range in the lower grades, it’s best to keep their reading levels between the teacher and the parents. When you organize books by theme, it doesn’t matter if an “A” level book is in with the “G” level. It also doesn’t matter if an “A” level reader picks the “G” level book. In kindergarten, I believe it’s so important to just get them exposed to books and words. There’s a time and a place for leveled reading (guided reading/literacy centers) but your library is not one.

Are you having trouble figuring out how to organize your library? Read here to find out why it's beneficial to arrange your classroom library by theme.

Tips to Organizing Your Library

Color Code Your Themes

I put colored stickers on all my books as well as the bin that those books go in. This makes it so kindergarten students are able to keep the books organized. Each week, a student gets to be the librarian. When they’re the librarian, they take the books from our purple bin (where students put books their done with) and put them away according to their colored sticker. Students love a chance to help and kindergarten students are very capable of keeping things organized, you just have to give them the tools!

Separate Non-Fiction and Fiction

Non-fiction and fiction is something we talk about often in kindergarten. Students learn about real stories and fantasy. I find that it’s best to separate these types of books since they are very different.  I  have non-fiction bins for animals, science, social studies and math books.

Are you having trouble figuring out how to organize your library? Read here to find out why it's beneficial to arrange your classroom library by theme.

Save Seasonal Books for the Season

To add excitement in your library, only put your seasonal or holiday books out when the holiday is near. My students love when I change our seasonal books. They know right away because I have a hanging bookshelf that holds all those holiday books. I put them on top of our bookcases as well. This puts them on display and makes them special.

 

There are many ways to organize your classroom library but I’ve found so many benefits to arranging my library by theme. How is your library organized for your students?

Are you having trouble figuring out how to organize your library? Read here to find out why it's beneficial to arrange your classroom library by theme.

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How to Organize Seasonal Materials in Your Classroom

Tips to Be a More Productive Planner for a Smooth Week of Teaching

 

Tips to Be a More Productive Planner for a Smooth Week of Teaching

Teaching is such a rewarding profession when you see the difference you’re making in a child’s life but it’s also a challenging job because there is so much that goes into being a teacher. Do you feel like there are never enough hours in the day? I do. Do you feel like your on a hamster wheel trying to keep up with everything we need to do throughout the school year? Yeah, me too. These are some tips I’ve found helpful in being a productive planner so I don’t have to take tons of work home or spend all of my Sunday (or weekend) planning the week.

Tips to Be a More Productive Planner for a Smooth Week of Teaching

Do you feel like you're on a hamster wheel trying to keep up with everything on your to-do list? Check out my tips to be a more productive planner for a smooth week of teaching!

Plan During Preps

As much as I’d love to go into the staff room or see which of my teacher friends also have preps so I can chat with them, I try to always utilize my prep periods to get as much planning done as I can. This is often challenging because my preps are only 30 minutes which isn’t much time once I use the restroom and fill up my water bottle. That’s why I try to plan one subject at a time and make lists for things I can’t do in that sitting.

Start Planning on Wednesday for the Next Week

I also try to start planning for the next week by Wednesday (sometimes even Tuesday). This may sound crazy but this gives me enough time to get all my materials ready, papers copied and anything prepped that I’ll need.

Do you feel like you're on a hamster wheel trying to keep up with everything on your to-do list? Check out my tips to be a more productive planner for a smooth week of teaching!

Use Lists

Write out a list of everything you need to do (like make anchor charts or find a hands on activity) and a list of all the materials you need to get out. I even categorize my lists by subject! That way I can make sure everything is taken care of for each part of our day.

Get Any Needed Materials Ready

I’m super fortunate to have a full-time assistant teacher that can help me prep materials and make copies so I utilize her to the max. I get all my worksheets or copies I need ready so she can copy. Then, I organize them by what day I’ll need them. Behind my desk, I have a file box that holds each day’s copies. I also pull out any physical materials I’ll need like our big book, math manipulatives and any tools for a science experiment. All of these materials have specific spots in my classroom so when I need them, they’re waiting for me!

Do you feel like you're on a hamster wheel trying to keep up with everything on your to-do list? Check out my tips to be a more productive planner for a smooth week of teaching!

Check Files, Look at Last Year’s Planner, Search TpT

I love when I can look through my file and pull something that worked well the previous year. It makes it so easy to plan for the subject! For some lessons, I even try to write a sticky note telling myself what went well or what to change so when I pull it out the next year, I know how to adjust! I highly recommend using some kind of filing system for language arts, math and seasonal things.

It’s also helpful to check my planner from the previous year to see what time of year I planned certain units, projects or event special activities. I look to my previous planner for things like how long I’ll need for an activity for the 100th day of school or how many weeks my hatching chicks unit is.

When planning lessons, I always try to search TpT to find ways to give my lessons a little extra umph! Why reinvent the wheel, right? Using another teacher-author’s creation saves me time in making my own.

Do you feel like you're on a hamster wheel trying to keep up with everything on your to-do list? Check out my tips to be a more productive planner for a smooth week of teaching!

How do you make the most of your time so you can productively plan your teaching week? Share below!

Technology Programs You Must Try in Your Classroom

Hi! My name is Bailee May. You may know me as TalkTechyToMe from Instagram or Teachers Pay Teachers. This is my second year of teaching, and I have been teaching in the third grade. I absolutely love integrating technology into the classroom, hence my Teachers Pay Teachers and Instagram name. If you are willing and wanting to integrate more technology into your classroom my biggest advice for you is DON’T BE AFRAID. Integrating technology may be intimidating and scary at first, but as soon as you try it I promise it will be a game changer in the classroom. I am here today guest posting on One Kreative Kindergarten’s blog to share with you a few technology tips you can try in your classroom.

Want to use more technology in your room but don't know where to start? Check out Bailee May's (from Talktechytome) guest post on awesome technology programs to use in the classroom!

Epic! – The Online Digital Library

This resource is free for educators, and it allows access to over 25,000 of the best books, learning videos, and so much more. This has been one of the biggest game changers in my classroom. Just think about it Epic! + any device = students reading more books. When students have access to this resource at their fingertips, they thrive on reading books. The books on Epic! come with reading levels. You can create folders with grade level appropriate books for your students. This helps eliminate students from reading books out of their reading level.

One of my favorite things about Epic! is that they have audio and read to me books for our struggling readers. The read to me books highlight the words as they are being read aloud that way students can follow along word for word. The audio books are read aloud books but on the website, which allows students to make mental pictures as they listen. I can go on and on about this amazing resource. I am not being sponsored for this post; I genuinely think this resource is amazing! If you haven’t used it yet, go try it! The website to this resource is www.getepic.com. Here are a few of my students actively engaged reading books on Epic!.

Want to use more technology in your room but don't know where to start? Check out Bailee May's (from Talktechytome) guest post on awesome technology programs to use in the classroom!  Want to use more technology in your room but don't know where to start? Check out Bailee May's (from Talktechytome) guest post on awesome technology programs to use in the classroom!  Want to use more technology in your room but don't know where to start? Check out Bailee May's (from Talktechytome) guest post on awesome technology programs to use in the classroom!

Prodigy – Curriculum-Aligned Math Game

This resource is free for educators and has content from all major math topics. This resource is for Grades 1-8 and it is a great tool to use to help prepare students for any state test. When creating assignments on Prodigy you can relate it to one or more specific standards, and there will be questions generated based on the standard(s) you picked. You can see each student’s progress for the standards on the assignment. I use this website as enrichment for my students, or when I have those early finishers on a math activity. There are many ways to use this resource in your classroom. I have many students who go home and play this game. I absolutely love how engaged and excited they get about math. The website to this resource is www.prodigygame.com. Here are a few pictures of my students playing Prodigy.

 Want to use more technology in your room but don't know where to start? Check out Bailee May's (from Talktechytome) guest post on awesome technology programs to use in the classroom!

Plickers

These cards are perfect for almost anything. They can be used for quick checks, exit tickets, or in my classroom, as lunch count. I use Plickers every morning to take lunch count because it made it easier. My school has to have my lunch list in alphabetical order and by lunch choice. Plickers made the ABC order work with ease. All I had to do is assign each numbered card to a student, then I use the app to scan cards and instantly it tells me what each student chose.

I use them also for exit tickets. It is awesome is that each card is designed differently that way there are no students who are tempted to peek at their neighbor. In the picture below I shrunk the Plicker cards by 75% so that they would fit in the Target adhesive labels. These cards are a simple and easy tool to use in the classroom for whatever fits your class best. The website for this resource is www.plickers.com.

Want to use more technology in your room but don't know where to start? Check out Bailee May's (from Talktechytome) guest post on awesome technology programs to use in the classroom!

Since I use a lot of technology in the classroom, I have had to make strict rules for my students to follow that way we can use it appropriately and more often. Here is a set of rules that I put on my classroom Chromebook cart. These have been helpful and good reminders for my students. The rules can be found in my TpT store.

Want to use more technology in your room but don't know where to start? Check out Bailee May's (from Talktechytome) guest post on awesome technology programs to use in the classroom!

There are so many technology tools I use in the classroom, and these are a few of my favorites! If you want to learn more about the different tools I use in my classroom, be sure to follow me on Instagram. I currently do not have a blog, but I am working on creating one. Being a guest on Danielle’s blog has me really excited to create one. I hope you guys have learned something new to use in your classroom. Remember DO NOT BE AFRAID! You never know what technology tool may suit your classroom the best. Just go for it!

Want to use more technology in your room but don't know where to start? Check out Bailee May's (from Talktechytome) guest post on awesome technology programs to use in the classroom!