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Classroom DIY: Crate Seats

Summer is not over yet! There’s still time to complete some of the DIY projects on your to-do list. For me, these crates have been on my list for quite some time because 1. they’re adorable 2. they’re comfy and 3. they provide hidden storage!

Classroom DIY: Crate Seats

My dad always jokes each summer and asks what DIY project we’re doing. He is the handy one in my family so he gets pulled into everything DIY. He was very happy to hear that these crates were my focus this summer. (A one day project.) Last summer, we made cubbies for my classroom and they took three weeks to put together and install. On top of that project, I got married; so, as you can imagine we were very busy!

This project is very easy (if you or someone you know is good at cutting wood) and will only take you a couple hours to complete.

How to make your own DIY crate seats:

Classroom DIY: Crate Seats

1. Buy all materials.

  • Crates: I bought the crates at Target for $2.99. I chose blue because it goes with my theme but Target has many colors. (If you don’t find a color you like, buy the white and spray paint it!)
  • Wood: My dad bought particleboard from Home Depot. He bought a half sheet, 3/4 inch thick. A half sheet was enough for the 5 seats I made. (After I finished the project, I decided that I want to make 5 more for my assistant teacher’s guided reading table and I’ll need to buy more wood.)
  • Foam: I got 2 in thick foam from Joannes. One sheet was enough for 5 seats.
  • Fabric: At first, I was going to get just regular fabric, but my mom (yay mom!) found and suggested outdoor fabric. This fabric is more durable and will hopefully be easier to clean. I bought 4 yards of fabric and have enough to make 10 seats.
  • Extras: You’ll need something to cut the wood (my dad used a hand saw), a staple gun (with staples), screw gun (with screws), and scissors.

Classroom DIY: Crate Seats

2. Put it all together.

  1. Measure the top of the crate as well as inside lip of crate and cut wood to fit. (Each seat is made with two pieces of wood.) The foam and fabric go on the larger piece and the smaller piece goes on the bottom to fit into the crate.
  2. Cut your foam and fabric. Warning: the foam is VERY difficult to cut. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, because the fabric covers it. Make sure you leave about 3 inches of extra fabric on all sides.
  3. Take larger piece of wood and put the foam on top. Next, cover the foam and wood with the fabric. When you’re wrapping the fabric, make sure you pull tight. (It’s a good idea to have two people help with this job – thanks mom!) I wrapped my seats like I would a present, that way they are all consistent.
  4. After you’ve stapled the fabric to the foam and wood, you’ve finished the top part of your seat! Next, take the smaller piece of wood and center it on the bottom of the seat and screw it in so it’s tight.
  5. Put it on your crate and take a seat!

Classroom DIY: Crate Seats

I made these crate seats to put around my guided reading table. I love how they look and they are the perfect size. If your table is not the right size, check and see if the legs are adjustable. The best part about these crates is the extra storage. I use the storage to hold all my guided reading books. This frees up some space in my classroom that I can use for something else. This was the perfect summer DIY project and I am so happy with how they turned out!

Check out my other classroom DIY projects here. Happy DIYing!

Classroom DIY: Guided Reading Caddies

Guided reading is one of my favorite times of the day as I get to work with a small group of students. During this time, I focus on their strengths or weaknesses to continue to help them grow in their reading development.

I’m lucky to have a full-time assistant teacher who also works with a small group during our guided reading time. There have been many times where my assistant or I sit down with our groups and then realize we don’t have certain materials we need in order for our small group lessons. That is why I created Guided Reading Caddies! In our caddies, we have everything we could ever need during our reading lesson.

What’s in my guided reading caddie?

DIY: Guided Reading Caddies

 1. Hole Punch 

– To begin our guided reading lesson, I start off with sight words that students are working on. If it is our first meeting for the week, I introduce these sight words. (Students also get their sight words in their homework so most likely they’ve seen them prior to our group meeting). Students have sight word flash cards that they cut out during word work. I use these flash cards to test if they know the word. If they do know it, the student hole punches the card and puts it on a binder ring. This ring holds all the sight words they know and as the year goes on, they get verrrry full. I recommend getting large binder rings like these. If the student does not know the sight word, it goes back into a ziplock in their book bag. Since I start with sight words each guided reading lesson, the sight word is continually shown and eventually the student gets to put their card on their ring.

2. Mini Whiteboards/Expo Pens/Expo Erasers

– Sometimes during a guided reading lesson, I need to write something down so these materials come in handy. For example, during a reading lesson, a student might be having a hard time sounding out a word. In this case, I grab my mini whiteboard, expo pen and eraser so I can help them by breaking the word apart on my whiteboard. — I also have the students use these boards sometimes. During the lesson, I might say the sounds slowly while they write the letters down and then read the word back to me. There’s a million possibilities of what you can do during a guided reading lesson with mini whiteboards, expo pens and expo erasers!

3. Magnets 

– I like to keep alphabet magnets in my caddie as an optional warm up activity before we start reading. Students can practice making their sight words with the magnets or I can say sounds while they put the word together. Again, many possibilities and always a good idea to have them just in case!

DIY: Guided Reading Caddies

4. Guided Reading Strategy Cards

– Before we dive into reading, I like to introduce or reinforce a reading strategy. I introduce these one at a time until students know and use them all. I keep the cards in my caddy and pull the one we are working on during that lesson. Students also have a reading strategy bookmark in their book bags to refer to. Get this freebie here!

5. Stickers to End the Lesson

– And, what is a kindergarten guided reading lesson without a sticker at the end to celebrate all our hard work!? On the first day we do guided reading groups, students get to pick a colored construction paper and we fold it in half (nothing fancy). These “books” are where they keep their stickers throughout the year. Students love filling up these sticker books and taking them home at the end of the year.

6. Guided Reading Binder 

– This item doesn’t exactly fit inside my caddie but it is probably the most important because it holds all my guided reading lessons! In my binder, I have my literacy center schedule of what group goes where on what day, my individual group guided reading lessons, student sight word progress data forms and student reading assessments. Find all these resources here.

How to Make Your Own Guided Reading Caddie

1. Pick any Storage Box – I chose mine from the dollar store but you can get them from Target, Walmart, the Container Store.. etc.

2. Jazz It Up – I recently bought myself a Cricut and I’ve been having a blast playing around with it so I used my Cricut to cut out vinyl and fancied my storage box that way. If you have a Cricut like me, it is super easy to just use Design Space, pick your favorite font and cut your vinyl. If you do not have a Cricut, you can jazz your caddie up with a laminated label! Find some freebie labels here.

DIY: Guided Reading Caddies

What do you put in your guided reading caddie?

Top 10 Teacher Must Haves

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Recently, I asked teachers what their favorite school supplies are for the classroom. As you can imagine, many teachers had a hard time mentioning just one! I compiled a list of the top 10 teacher must haves. Does your favorite make the list?

Top 10 Teacher Must Haves

1. Flair Pens

Teachers are ALWAYS talking and obsessing over the magical wonder of flair pens and I completely agree. These pens will actually change your life. They come in many different colors including pastels and tropical colors [major heart eyes!!] I love the way the pens write. It makes correcting (or for me, drawing stars) a much more enjoyable task!

2. Sharpies/Chart Paper Markers

Is one of your guilty pleasures creating beautiful anchor charts? Well, sharpies and chart paper markers make the list of top teacher must haves. I really like the thin tip markers by Crayola. These pens have a pointy tip for making writing and detail easy but if you hold the marker at an angle it goes on thicker. Easy to draw with! And of course what would we do without sharpies!

3. Chart Paper

Again with the guilty pleasure! Chart paper is really an essential but not just any chart paper.. my favorite is the post-it sticky kind because it is SO easy to pick up and move ANYWHERE! Sometimes I’ll teach from one of my anchor charts at the carpet and then peel it off the chart and stick it on my whiteboard so students can use it at their tables. AMAZING! This one comes in plain white, dry erase or primary lines.

4. HP Printer and Instant Ink

I am a newbie here myself but I’ve heard great things about using an HP printer so you can get instant ink. If you’re tired of buying loads and loads of ink like me, you must sign up for Instant Ink. The printer knows when you are running low on ink and ships you more BEFORE you run out! I just bought myself a new printer and signed up and already I know it’s worth it. Click here to get a month of ink free!

5. Laminator and Laminating Sheets

Laminating all the things is not only one of my favorite things but is also so worth the time it takes! I have laminated pretty much everything that I prep and it has lasted three years so far and looks like it will continue to last a long time. I like to laminate decor, games, word work, puzzles.. everything! Especially if students are going to be using it because we all know kindergarteners are not the most gentle.

6. Post-its

Post-its made the list because duh, teachers write lists about lists! I love using the larger post its that have lines on them because my lists usually don’t fit all on the standard size. And, these bright colors make every teacher heart happy!

7. Expo markers

I recently got the multicolored large pack of expo markers on super discount on Amazon Prime Day and am obsessed! Now, these are sacred so I never let my students use them.. however the thin tip black expos are what I give students to use on their mini whiteboards. These are good for informal assessments or during word work. Tip: expo markers work on anything laminated. I laminate my word work and students use their markers to complete the work depending on what sight or spelling words we have.

8. Astrobrights

Holy brightness! This pack of Astrobrights paper is aaaamazing! I like to print important flyers on this type of paper because it gets parents attention. How many times do you send home Friday Folders and you never hear back? Well, using bright colors get noticed way more and parents will respond.

9. Lesson Planner

Have you tried an Erin Condren planner? If you have, I’m sure you’re hooked. These teacher planners come with everything you could ever want and they are ADORABLE! I seriously love planning for my kinders and I think most of the enjoyment is because I get to write in my Erin Condren planner. You can even customize!! This is what my planner looks like for this upcoming year!

If you want $10 off your next Erin Condren planner, use my referral code here.

10. Teacher Toolbox

I’m new to teacher toolboxes as of this year but I am SO excited to use it for all the things and stay super organized. I purchased a couple like this off of amazon and made my own labels to fit with my jungle theme. There are also a ton of other label designs on TpT!

Teacher Toolbox

Behavior Management You Need in Your Classroom

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In my opinion, behavior management is the MOST important aspect of a classroom. If students don’t know expectations or are in an environment that is not structured, it will be very difficult to facilitate any learning.
In my classroom, I use three different behavior management systems: whole class, table groups and individual. I think it is important to have multiple behavior systems as different situations call for use of different systems.

Whole Class: “Eye Like What I See”

For this system, two large eyeballs sit at the top of my whiteboard. I draw a T-chart with a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other. Whenever students are showing good behavior as a whole class, I give students a “happy face point”. On the other hand, when students are not listening, they receive a “sad face point” as a class. At the end of the day, we count up how many happy vs. how many sad face points and if they earned more happy face than sad face points, they receive a pair of eyes that I draw on the white board next to our big eyeballs. I set a number of eyes to aim for and once they get that many pairs, they earn a reward as a class. Usually in the beginning of the year, I set the number of pairs at 10 in order to get a reward and then later on in the year, students have to earn 15 or 20 eyeball pairs in order to receive a class reward.

Table Groups: “Quit Monkeyin’ Around”

I use the table group system when I notice certain tables showing a desired behavior. I like to use positive reinforcement and compliment one table to encourage other tables to then want that reinforcement also. For this system, I give “table points” by hanging a monkey on the corresponding table’s hanging sign. Whichever table has the most points at the end of the day (before free play) gets to start free play first. This system is important as it encourages students to work together at their tables.

Individual: “Roarin’ to Learn” Clip Chart

For individual behavior, I use a popular system, a clip chart. Every student has a clip and begins each day on green. As individual students are following rules, trying their best, etc, I ask them to move their clip up. They can move up three times on my chart. At the top of my chart I have a ribbon and when students move their clip up to the ribbon, they have reached the top of the clip chart and had the very best behavior for the day. Students get to the ribbon when they go above and beyond normal good behavior. On the flip side, when students need reminders and warnings, they are asked the move their clips down. The first time they move it down, it serves as just a warning and no consequence is given. When they get to orange, they miss five minutes of free play and red is when I contact their parent. What I love about this system is that students are never stuck on one color of the chart. If they’ve needed a couple warnings but turned their behavior around, they are asked to move their clips back up and can end the day on a good behavior color. I consider green and above a good behavior color. At the end of the day, we record our color and at the end of the week, I send the slip home for parents to see. Students really respond to this system and are proud when they work hard to get to a top chart color.


Where there is no structure, there is no learning. Read about the behavior management systems you need in your classroom.

What behavior management systems work best in your classrooms?