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5 "Must Dos" for Teachers on the First Day of School




     As we know all too well, the first day jitters are not just felt by students. Many of us teachers get very little sleep the night before the first day of school, and if we do, images of an 'out of control' classroom or an alarm clock that doesn't go off may dance in our heads. Does this scenario sound all too familiar? (...or is t just me? 😁)

     If so, the good news is that having the following five things prepped before the students walk in on the first day of school will definitely help ease your anxiety on that first morning back.

5th Grade Comma Practice Made Fun and Interactive with Work Mats



We are entering the last quarter of the school year, and keeping students engaged means keeping lessons fresh. Therefore, this week our comma grammar practice involved Play-Doh. Yep, you read correctly. Fifth graders got to 'play' with Play-Doh.

I had previously introduced commas to them using "Fold and Go" Interactive Booklets, had them implement the skills in an Italian Restaurant classroom transformation, and now they reviewed these skills even further using work mats and Play-Doh in a scoot activity.

6 Ways to Get Free Books for Your Students



As teachers, we know that in order to cultivate readers we need to give our students access to books, but  how can we do this for each student in our class without breaking the bank? Well, I'm here to tell you that there are at least 6 ways to give kids FREE access to books!

Classroom Transformation: Courtroom Edition - Opinion Writing




We are officially one week away from our state writing test. Nerves are kicking in and some are weary. When motivation seems to be dropping, this is usually an indication that a classroom transformation is in order.  Just walking into a "new room" is enough to get students motivated to work their hardest. This time around, I created a courtroom experience for my students where they were able to apply skills they've learned about text-based opinion writing in order to develop a focused and well supported paragraph.


Classroom Transformation - Winter Wonderland


Many teachers love the idea of transforming their classrooms, but dismiss the idea because they think it will take too much work, time, and/or money. I'm here to tell you that there is no need to become overwhelmed when thinking of creating an engaging environment for your students. Many classroom transformations can be set up in less than an hour, and materials can be gathered all in one location. (My favorite location to find most materials for my classroom transformations is Dollar Tree because it is pretty much a "thrifty" one stop shop.)

This week, I will be sharing with you how I created a Winter Wonderland classroom transformation in no time at all, and how you can use the same model to incorporate this transformation to meet your students' needs with very little effort.

7 Effective Behavior Management Strategies for Upper Elementary Classrooms


Helping students learn is our primary concern as educators, but that can definitely prove to be challenging in a chaotic classroom environment. Therefore, we must do our best to provide a safe and calm environment for our students. So, how can we most effectively accomplish this?

First, let me start off by saying that it is near impossible to have a perfect day, everyday, every year, without facing zero behavioral issues. Let's face it, life just isn't perfect. However, there are definitely a few things that can be done to guarantee less behavioral issues in upper elementary classrooms, leading to a better learning environment. 

A Writers' Workshop to Motivate Students During Text-Based Writing



How can we continue to inspire students to give 100% while practicing their text-based writing skills so late in the school year? Why, candy extrinsic motivation of course. 

Let's be honest. Getting eight, nine, and ten year olds to write a well developed, multiple paragraph essay, after reading and synthesizing multiple nonfiction texts, is no easy task. It takes lots and lots of practice, plus lots and lots of motivation. By the time the end of the year rolls around, and preparation (for high stakes testing) has been going on for months, motivation to write can begin to decline. This is what happens in my classroom pretty much EVERY...SINGLE...YEAR...IF I don't think outside the box.  This year, I decided to change it up a bit, and boy, oh boy, did we see a change. What did we do differently? We incorporated colored candy extrinsic rewards into our Writer's Workshop.