Thrifty Thursday

Today I am going to start a new blog series.

Thrifty Thursday is something I have been tossing around in my mind for awhile.  We all know that although the job is rich in emotional rewards, it is not so rich in material rewards. Often we are low on resources and fill in the needs in our own classrooms from our own pockets.

 We also all know that according to best practices, students must be engaged.  So every Thursday I will be introducing an activity that meets the standards while engages students CHEAPLY.

The second part of Thrifty Thursdays is another way to add printable resources to your classroom on the cheap.  I will debut a new item for 50% for 24 hours ONLY. At the end of the 24 hour period, the item will be full price.

So how about we give this a go?

Today we will be focusing on building number sense.

I went to the Dollar Tree and bought two necklace and bracelet sets just like these:

I bought a purple and a blue set.  Then I chopped them up!

I cut the necklace and bracelet up in to lengths of one bead, two beads, three beads, and so on with both a purple and blue set.  Students then use the making ten mat to build 10 with the beads. For example in this picture six blue beads plus four purple beads equals ten.

Students then record their work on the recording sheet.
I also found the super cute purple container at the Dollar Tree and created a label for it.
The entire cost for this center?  Three whole dollars!

Want to download your own copy for FREE?  Click here!

Now for my newest item....

I have *FINALLY* finished my September Math Centers.  This is a  STEAL. The file is over 130 pages with FOURTEEN different centers.

The center is normally $10 but for the next 24 hours it will only be $5!! 

Click here for this great pack of FREE math centers, plus get tips and updates from me!



Welcome Back Week: Parent Communication

Well.  This was actually supposed to happen yesterday.
I am not exactly sure what happened.  All I know is that this little darling girl here?

She  slept.  That means I slept.  OVER 9 HOURS.  Yes, that is right folks.  My eight week old is officially sleeping though the night and has been for the last week and a half.   I feel like I hit the newborn jackpot!

So, back on track: Parent Communication.  I already shared with you the handbook I send home on the first day of school.  Today  I am going to share weekly parent communication.

I was so lucky because my school bought every child in the school an agenda.  Every day students wrote down their homework.  Each day I stamped a smiley face if the students had a good day and if not I jotted in a quick note so parents could talk to the child at home.

On Fridays I looked at the overall  behavior of each student and filled out this weekly report.

Students got an S if they were doing well, P if they needed progress and had a note or two in the agenda and an N if they needed improvement and had several notes. I loved it because:

1.)  It was easy to fill out.
2.) It saved paper because  an entire nine weeks fit on one sheet of paper.
3.) At the end of the nine weeks it was a great snapshot of the student's behavior for the entire grading period.

I can't take credit for the format.  It was already created and in place at the first school I taught at.  I simply adjusted and edited it over time.

I left the document in Word form so you could adjust and edit it as needed.  

I sent this home in the Friday Folder with all the graded papers for the week  and any notes from the school or myself.

We used the Nicky folders that can be found here.
The front had a clear insert pocket.  We added this over sheet to the front of the cover to brighten it up and also to identify each kid's folder easily.
***Edited so now you can change the grade level.

An editable copy is available for free here.  It is a Power point file.  Please note all the images are locked per the artists' (Lilly Bimble and Fancy Dog Studio) terms of use. You can type in the student's name in the blue box and add your own name.  I used the font MissLawPrimer which is available here for FREE!

How do you communicate regularly with parents?
Link up below!



Welcome Back Week: Helpful Hints

The first day of school I have only thee goals: get them to school, get the fed, and get them home. If I manage to do all three I call the day a success. Believe it not one year I bombed out on the last one. That was a low point for me!!!

So today I am going to share a few helpful hints to making the first week a success.

The first hint is the very one I bombed out on one year- I like to learn from my mistakes!!!  One of the VERY first things I like to do as kid are coming in the door is ask them how they get home.  I double check this against the form parents fill out at Open House.   You can get a copy of these forms for only $2.00! There are several different themed sets -an owl set, super hero set, monster set, and frog set.



That bus form is SO helpful!

After I talk to kids I make some sort of bus pass tag.   Some years I have made necklaces to wear and ask kids to bring them back each day.  I think a better, more effective way would be paper bracelets.

I made these simple bracelets. These can be put around students wrists.  However, they may be too big for this so a better idea would be to loop it around the student's BOOK BAG and staple it on.  The font I used was Miss Law Primer which can be found on TpT for FREE here.

Another hint is more of a paper management tip.  My desk is always piled with TONS and TONS of paper work that students are returning the first week of school.  Another teachers shared this checklist with me and I LOVED it.

I staple this on the cover of a file folder.  Then as papers come in I check them off the list and then keep the stack of papers in the folder.  I keep ALL the papers in paper clipped stacks in the folder under I have collected them all (or all I will ever collect, if you get my drift!). Then I file them as needed OR keep them in this folder and creatively label it beginning of the year forms.

You can down load and editable checklist here in Word. The cute font is Hello Lovebug by Jen Jones and is available free (for personal use) here.

Hope these hints help!  Want to share yours?  Link up below!



Procedures, Procedures

The one thing I *HATE* about the first few weeks of school is that kids don't know how things operate in my classroom.  It sounds all bad and bossy, but man!  It all goes so much smoother if we all just follow the plan.  When kids learn and get procedures, it is just like things click into place.

So today we are going to focus on just that- procedures.

On Monday I posted my first day of school lessons and you may have noticed that I really embedded the teaching of several procedures into the day.  I think it makes things easier and more meaningful for kids. 

One of the FIRST procedures I teach is where is the bathroom and how to ask to go. I go over this pretty much as soon as the bell rings.  Can you imagine being in a setting where you don't know the rules for basic bodily functions?  Shudder. Then I share where the Kleenex and water fountain procedures as well.  This is a good time to throw in the time for lunch and snack, too. Get those basics knocked out first thing!!

Over the last few years I have been adding to the list of procedures that I teach at the beginning of the year and I refer to it each and every year. Usually I keep a clipboard with my lessons, how kids go home form, and the procedure list.  I check them off as we go over them!

Do you want to see all the fun things I teach?  Here is a list AND a suggested sequence for teaching them.

Click here for your free copy!

I also added a suggested teaching sequence.  This just shows what order I chose to teach the procedures in my own classroom.

Did I miss any or did I get them all?

  If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to catch all the freebies and ideas and more!




Welcome Back Week: Classroom Information

Today's topic is classroom information! 

After several years I have decided I really want things spelled out about how things work in my school and classroom. It has saved me MANY times because it is, " all in the classroom handbook."

I mentioned yesterday that the "Me Bags" were homework for the SECOND day of school.  I do send home homework for the first day of school also.  I send home this:
This is my parent handbook.  It is about 8 pages long and information about anything and everything that happens in my classroom.  As far as homework goes, I ask parents to read it the first night of school (the kids love that it is really their parent's homework!) and sign and return the last page.

Want to see all I included?  Look below! I can't share the exact copy above due to artist's terms of use with the clip art BUT I do have an editable Power Point version to share with you that does NOT  have the clip art! The clip art used is free from Tracee Orman and from  Microsoft's online clipart!  The fonts are Wish I Were Taller from Kevin and Amanda (available free here) and Miss Law Primer from Kathy Law (available free here).

I also sent home a weekly newsletter.  Actually, my co-teacher was awesome and wrote it each week, but it had both our names on it! : )  I did design the template.  It was owls to match our classroom theme.
I have listed an editable version of these newsletters on Teachers Pay Teachers for only  $2.00. There are 3 page options and includes a filled out newsletter as an example.

How do you share information about your classroom? Make sure to link up below!



First Day of School Lessons!

I love the first day of school.  The fuzzy butterflies in my tummy, the brand new supplies, the sweet freshly scrubbed faces...even that early wake up call doesn't seem so bad on the first day.  Maybe on the second day, but not on the first!

Here is a sneak peek at my lesson plans for the first day of school.  Since I am not in the classroom this year, these are from last school year.  It is funny how I tend to keep things very similar from year to year!

Here are my lessons:
7:15-8:00 Announcements on the television
Take attendance on paper.
Send up lunch count.

8:00-8:30 Morning Work- students will complete the class names word search made on Puzzlemaker and then read a book when finished.  Make sure to put out a sharpened pencil on each desk and basket of books on each table group. 

When students arrive, they will put all supplies in their brown paper grocery bags under their desks. I actually do NOT organize supplies on the first day usually (crazy, I know!).  I find that it takes FOREVER and I would rather use that time establishing procedures. Students keep supplies in bags like these I get free at Publixs ( I just make sure to tell them I am a teacher)

Put large supplies such as hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectant wipes, baggies, copier paper in marked boxes in the room


8:30-8:50 Create a looks like/ sounds like chart for the hallway and bathroom.  Use these to create and go over hallway procedures, bathroom procedures with the kids.

Here is my chart from last year

Practice getting in number order by calling students to line up.  Time and see how quick and quiet we can do it.

MUST KNOW procedures taught:
Number order
Quiet mouse game
Turn off light when exiting room

Wednesday is Procedures day of the linky if you want to see all the procedures I teach!

8:50-9:00 Review bathroom and hall procedures just created. Take a bathroom break.
Use time to practice hall, bathroom and Quiet Mouse procedures

9:05-9:50 Pull kids to carpet.  Introduce myself and Tina. 
 Discuss mini lesson procedures for good listening, when I am reading a book, when to ask questions at a mini lesson and “knees please.”
Read aloud My Teacher’s Secret Life.  Share my Me Bag and Tina’s Me Bag. Me bags are a great, simple homework activity that I send home the second day of school.  Staple the letter to a paper lunch bag and have students fill with items about themselves   We share our Me Bags when we need a break that first week!

I love this book! It is too cute!

Procedures taught:
Knees please
Good listener
Teacher read aloud 

9:50-10:05 Create a looks like/ sounds like chart for recess and lunchtime.  Review cafeteria expectations and recess expectations. Make sure recess includes not sitting on tether balls, not running on red, coming when I whistle.  One whistle blow means “stop/ danger.”  Three  whistle blows means “line up.”

10:05-10:50 Use time to practice hall, bathroom and Quiet Mouse procedures.

Go to:
Cafeteria and practice lunch room procedures and where we sit- we are table 6B.

Go to recess. 

10:50-11:10 Go the carpet and read aloud the book If Everybody Did.  
This is another book I love for the first day of school!

Write our Class Promise.   Review pencil sharpening / crayon/ marker/ colored pencil procedures/where to turn in work.   Pass out each child’s cut out and ask them to decorate it as themselves.  While students are working, call individuals over to sign the class promise.
Try to include these ideas:
·No put downs
·Personal best
·Active learner

Early finishers will write one sentence with the prompt “This year I will…” about how they will behave.

Go over  Behavior Chart and pulling sticks.

11:10-11:20 Review cafeteria and bathroom procedures.  Go to lunch and take a bathroom break.

11:22-11:52 Lunch

11:55-12: 30 Finish person cut out and turn in.  Review turn in procedures.

12:30-12:40 Bathroom

12:40-1:20 Specials PE

1:20- 1:50 Review Procedures for:

·entering room in the morning/ turn in HW and meet me at table
·where to put lunch box
·what to do (sharpen pencils, put book bag)
·show agendas and sticker with HW
·How to hang up book bag
Practice writing in agenda and introduce the homework notebook.  Eat snack. Review procedures for:
·Pencil sharpening
·Bathroom- how to ask and go
·Asking questions
·Knees please
·Give me 5

***If time go over ticket system and decorate ticket folders.

Pack up to go home!!!

1:50-2:10 Pack up to go home!!! Read aloud Flat Stanley.


I always love reading this book as my first read aloud since it is a simple chapter book for second graders and is a great lead in to my first Social Studies unit, map skills.

For a printable version of my lessons click on the picture below!

Make sure to check back tomorrow for information about the classroom!  Also , check out all the also links about other first day plans!!



Fun Free Stuff!

Back to School season is in full swing!  I have decided to host a linky party celebrating  the nitty-gritty details that often get lost in the shuffle this time of year.

It starts TOMORROW and each day has a theme.  Monday we will all share our first day of school lesson plans- I may even try to dig mine out for the WHOLE week! It is always nice to get new, fresh ideas from colleagues.

Tuesday we will share any classroom information, parent handbooks, just stuff we need to get out to the general public.

Wednesday will focus on procedures.  How do you teach those seemingly silly details that make a classroom smoothly?  My list is 100 miles long it seems!

Thursday will be a smorgasbord of just good helpful tips.  It can be how to get organized, fun projects, settling in at a new school.  Pretty much the window is wide open on this day!

On Friday we will focus specifically on parent communication.

Make sure to check back everyday for your freebie(s)!  I hope you can link up too!

 And in other news...

I hope everyone is getting their shop on!  Don't forget the big TPT sale starts today and lasts through tomorrow!  I have ALREADY been shopping! Yikes!



Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale!

It is hard to believe it is THAT time of year again!  Teachers Pay Teachers is doing their big Back to School Sale!  Buyers can get 10% off items if they use the code BTS13.  Most sellers (myself) included put their stores on sale for 20%.  That means you can get 28% off!  Yahoo!

I have been busy adding to my wishlist- so far it is over $100!  Eek!

Here is a sample of a few things you may want:

The purpose of this unit is to teach students how to effectively engage in class discussions after developing a class set of norms. Although the mini unit is six lessons long, I hope to teach the unit in less than a week. The lessons included three picture books: Listen, Buddy by Helen Lester, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow and Mr. Chatterbox by Roger Hargreaves.

This unit includes:
*6 mini lessons with correlated Common Core Standards for 2nd and 3rd grades
*Printable anchor charts for each mini lesson
*3 Listening and Speaking Posters
*One class book idea
*Two partner activities (Pal Ponderings and All About Us) for students to practice listening and speaking skills

Additional Activities to Supplement the Unit include
*The partner game Quiz, Quiz, Switch
*The writing activity, All About My Friend ______, which is differentiated by difficulty level.
*A Comparison/ Contrast writing activity that can be differentiated by providing the given text frame

Another great item to pick up is

This packet was created to help make guided reading more concrete and easy for a teacher to organize and implement. This packet includes information on how to run guided reading groups, how to fit guided reading instruction into a very packed schedule (if we only had more time in the day!), and is a great guide on getting started. Several photographs (including full page collages) are included to show how my teaching area for guided reading has evolved of the years and how I set up my materials.

This packet also includes several ready-to-use ideas to make reading more meaningful and meet the needs of your diverse learners.

Concepts addressed in this packet:

*Guided Reading and Reading Workshop: How it All Fits Together

*What Does Guided Reading Look Like: A Flow Chart of What a Typical Guided Reading Lesson Looks Like

*Teacher Tool Kit: Materials Needed for Guided Reading

*Lesson Planning: A Lesson Plan for Guided Reading

*Record Keeping and Assessment: A Variety of Forms to Organize Guided Reading Data

*Prompt Cards: Questions for Students to Answer After Rereading the Familiar Text at the Beginning of the Guided Reading Lesson.

*Activating Strategies: Printables and More

*During Reading Strategies: Printables and More

*After Reading Strategies: Printables and More 

If you are starting math workshop you might enjoy these simple games:

This packet includes five different mathematical sorts. Students find different combinations of ten and recognize if combinations are equal or not equal to ten. Each sort is slightly different and scaffolded by difficulty. These standards are correlated to first and second grade Common Core standards.

*Cooking Up 10- Adding ten frames to find combinations of ten
*Sandy 10- Adding a ten frame to a single digit to find a combination of ten
*Tool Box 10- Adding single digits to find combinations of ten
*Icy Pop 10- Adding and subtracting to find combinations of ten
*Big Top 10- Adding two and three digits to find combinations of ten

And these other items might help you get organized for the beginning of the year:

August Daily Math Pages- September's pages  are in progress!

I am off to look for more clip art...shhhh, don't tell my hubby! ;)


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