Thursday, September 3, 2015

Teacher Tricks & Tidbits #2

Graphics & fonts courtesy of Mrs. Stanford's ClassEmily Wean Designs, and Cara Carroll

If you are anything like me, you have students asking to go to the bathroom  Many times they just want to get out of the room with a friend & they miss valuable learning, but sometimes it is hard to decide when to let them go & when not to.  So... I started using a system where I let the students leave for water/ bathroom breaks 3 times a day.  I put all their names on index cards in a pocket chart.  I have a bucket of little circle counters, and they put one in front of their name each time they go.  This is a great visual for me as well as for the students, and has helped greatly in regards to managing bathroom breaks.  I highly recommend it!

Do you have a different bathroom break system that works well for you?  Please comment below!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Well hello there...
My little ole blog got a makeover, so I thought I would try & revive it.  Those of you who stuck with me are AMAZING followers.  So thank you!!

I went to a really awesome technology training at Region 20 and thought I would share a little technology tip I learned.  Have you heard of Padlet?  It is a website where you can pose a question, give students the link, and they respond.  It seems great for all ages, but I could definitely see using it with first graders.  I plan on pulling it up on the screen and having them type the answer to a question so all the students can see what their classmates are saying.  Here is a link to my sample padlet.

You could use it to activate prior knowledge, have students respond to a book, have them make predictions, have them write their definition of a vocabulary word... etc.  The possibilities are endless!  What would you use it for in your classroom?

Adios for now,
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

News!! + A free e-book for burnt out teachers

Oh hello blog world... I'm embarrassed as I check back into the blog & realize I haven't posted for an ENTIRE year.  Oh dear.  There is a reason though, which is that my husband and I have been in the adoption process for about the last year.  We are adopting a newborn!!  So this past year has been incredibly busy with trips to visit our agency, paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork.  We are now in the approved and waiting stage, so depending on when we get a placement, I may or may not be busy taking care of a baby in 2015.  Here is one of the fun photos my very talented SIL took :)

I also just got back from visiting my sis in Denver to surprise her for her engagement-- YAY!!  So needless to say, I spent countless hours at the airport traveling there & back.  In that time, I was able to finish up my e-book.  I have noticed that teacher burn out is everywhere, and sadly it is the really dedicated teachers that are ready to throw in the towel.  I have been thinking about this for awhile, and came up with 30 steps to teacher transformation.  If you are interested in receiving a copy of this e-book, send me an email at and I will send you a link to download it.  The only thing I ask is that you try it out, and when you have completed the 30 steps, you email me to share your honest feedback.  It all sounds great in my head, but I need some people to test it out for me & would love for you to let me know your thoughts!

Also, how is it almost 2015?!  I hope you have a great New Year's with your family & friends :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Teacher Tricks & Tidbits #1

After having several student teachers in my class, I thought back to my time in college & realized that many of the ideas I use in my classroom where not learned in the college setting.  They were taken from other teachers, and many of them have been instrumental in my classroom running smoothly.  So I thought that I would start a series of blogposts called...

Graphics & fonts courtesy of Mrs. Stanford's Class, Emily Wean Designs, and Cara Carroll

The first trick I learned from my student teaching mentor {shout out Mrs. P-Y!} is table points.  It is simple & effective in my first grade classroom.  I have named each table, or you could number them.  Staring on Monday, I write each table name on the board.  During the week I give points to tables who have all their items put away on time {I count from 10 to 0}, who are using synergy, or who are just being extremely well behaved.  At the end of the week, the table with the most points picks a prize from the prize box.

What I love about this is that you really start to see kids working as a team.  If a kid is a slow poke, other students will help them get their things put away on time.  Kids who love to chit chat will be reminded by their table mates to work quietly.  It is miraculous!

If you have any tricks, or tidbits, I would love to know!  Feel free to take this image {and copy & paste the links to the credits} and use it on your blog, FB, twitter, instagram, pinterest... am I missing anything?  Ha.  And then comment below with a link to your post because I'd love to read it!  Like I said, I learn best from other teachers like you :)

Stay tuned for trick #2...
Sunday, December 1, 2013

SALE!! + Class Meeting Ideas

I LOVE shopping in my PJs at home.  Not fighting the crowds.  And watching HGTV while I shop.

Tomorrow is the perfect chance to do that during the Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale on the TpT Store.  {Isn't this button cute?  Thanks Primarily Speaking!}

I just finished my Class Meeting Pack in English or Spanish, so grab it while it's on sale if you would like to try out class meetings with your students :)

I also created some Christmas file folder games in English & Spanish last year.  

If you are looking for a craftivity to tie in with New Year's Goals, we had SO much fun with this last year in my class!  It is available in English & Spanish too.

Happy Shopping :)
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

M.A.T.H. Centers... Finally

I have been doing lots of IRIs and state mandated testing, so my kids were OvErJoYeD to start math centers recently.  I heard lots of things like:  "You're the nicest teacher ever" and "I loooove math centers!".  Made my day.

For the longest time, I had a hard time with math centers but I've finally seemed to find a system that really works.  I use 4 different colored bags to represent the letters M.A.T.H. {master facts, activities and games, talk math, and hands on}.  For each letter I have 3 bags, so there are 12 centers total.  You can find the resources to do this in your own classroom on TpT in English or in Spanish.  {The bags came from oriental trading}

I use a lot of game boards {purchased by our district}, games that we have already played as a whole class, and other easy games and activities.  Click here to get a few ideas of free games and activities.  Here are some pictures of the centers being played in my classroom:

I let students pick their own center and partner, but they are only allowed to play each center once.  The centers are labeled with a letter and a number, so students mark an "X" in the box after they choose their center.

I switch out the center activities and games periodically when we have done a new activity/ game in class.  There is really no schedule to changing the centers, though.  I just change a bag when I have something new to put in it.

I have found it to be an easy and manageable system!  I would love to hear how you do math centers in your class or if this idea sounds like something that you could use.  I can't believe we are nearing the end of October!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A glance into my classroom {aka second home}

I decided that since I spend a craaazy amount of time in my classroom, I needed to brighten it up and add some "homey" touches.  So I did a small makeover this year, and wanted to show you some pics!

Here is my Leader in Me/ 7 Habits area.  I have my 7 habits posters in Spanish hanging in frames from the dollar tree.  I just glued ribbon to them and used hooks to hang them up!  I also have the habits listed on the tree.  The leader board, which I talk about more in a previous post, shows all my classroom jobs.  Each week, we will move the popsicle sticks and the jobs will change.  If you're wondering if this is a good system to use, I'll get back to you!  We're starting our jobs on Tuesday :)

I have an area to hang language arts, math, and science/ social studies posters.  I just used laminated butcher paper and border for this! {an excellent strategy for a Dual Language classroom}

Word wall + vocabulary wall + guided reading table + cute folders my friend Kelley got me :)

Here is one of my "homey" touches.  I bought a sheer curtain for $5 from Big Lots, then, I attached ribbon with safety pins.  I covered clothespins with scrapbook paper and hung pictures on.  Ta-da!  As cheesy as it sounds, these pictures remind me of my sweet friends and family on stressful days :)

Reading Center + Cute pillows from Ross

Pom Poms + Table signs

Click below to check out some other amazing classrooms-- teachers are SO creative!