Thursday, February 6, 2014

Use Velcro Dots to Calm Students

Today I wanted to share a little tip to help calm those students that become distracted and squirmy during lessons. I buy Velcro dots and stick them to the upper right and left hand corners of students desks. The calming effect the students get from rubbing their fingers over the Velcro is amazing!

I recommend the black because they don't show dirt, and students are less tempted to write on them. My kids love them and will often ask for new ones if their's go missing. I promise that your kids will settle down and lessons will be more effective without all of the distractions.  Try it and let me know how it worked for you.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Purge

I have been teaching for 17 years and like many of you who have been at it for years, I have collected numerous books, units, games etc. My colleagues always tell me "You are so organized!" and in my head I think to myself "if you only knew". The other day I was working in my room and realized that I am "neat", not necessarily organized.  I have all of my files color coded to match that grades textbook (7th red, 8th green, 9th orange), I have set organization for classroom procedures, and of course gone digital and rely heavily on my clouds.  Yet I still felt like I was looking for stuff all the time.

Then I realized I just had too much stuff that I don't use. We all go through our closets every year (or two) and purge our belongings. We hold yard sales, and donate things. Teachers on the other hand, tend to find neat ways to hoard their stuff.  

So do schools in general. I am getting some much needed, and very expensive, new textbooks. I asked what to do with my old ones and they want to box them up and store them. Why they are not on their way to the dumpster is beyond me.

I started with books, literature sets, and units that I no longer teach and set them on one side of my room in rows like a yard sale. I then went to the elementary librarian (I am in the high school)  to announce that there were free books in my room at the end of their faculty meeting. Within one hour (no exaggeration) everything was whisked away. It was amazing! Someone mentioned Ebay, and I will admit I have made some decent money there selling teaching units and Big Books, but I felt that route was too time consuming. Plus, I feel better when I can help other people out rather than making a couple of dollars.

After that I took a trash can over to my shelves and started checking out binders. I did not even open them. If I did not use them last year I pitched them. I freed up two more shelves! It was liberating!

Monday I am going through the filing cabinets, No extra copies. Nothing that I have not used in the last two years is going to stay! I have people asking me if I am retiring, others probably think I am gravely ill, but the truth  is I am on a quest to truly get myself organized. We purge our homes, our bodies, even our emotions. Why not our classrooms? Take a deep breath and let it go, literally..

Sunday, August 4, 2013

In a Million Words or Less.....

This is a homework activity that I give my seventh grade parents at open house every year. It really helps me to connect with my kids right away. Parents seem like it and often share valuable information. I always send a thank you note back to the parents that participate wether it be by snail mail or email! In it I include their grade for completeing the assignment, which is always an A! (I'm blonde not stupid) I have updated and loaded this FREE activity to my TPT store.  Just Download it and insert in your information. This activity really gets my year off to a great start. I hope it does yours too.

You can down load your free copy here: In a Million Words or Less.....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Interactive Notebook Activities for Your Whiteboard

I love doing ISN's in my classroom!  However, sometimes I find myself explaining several times what I want on the left side due to multi-step directions. . This year I decided to create a PowerPoint of the various activities that I had into one PowerPoint so I could provide them with a visual.  This is a collection of fifty different activities to use in social studies or ELA . I am offering this as a FREE resource in my TPT store. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment and don't forget to follow me if you haven't already.

To download this FREE product click HERE

 I also have a document version and you can download it HERE

Sunday, July 21, 2013

That's My Pencil!

Last year I went through over 350 pencils! That's more than three pencils for every student in every class! It has gotten out of hand and I'm not going to take it anymore. So I say........

The fact is I am a softy when it comes to students asking for paper, pencils, and other supplies.  I am also often asked for supplies from kids working on projects in other classes and will try to help them. However, it has become so bad that I feel a little abused.

If you are a teacher and are planning on doing a project that requires colored pencils, construction paper, glue etc..... don't rely on other teachers to supply your classes, and if you do get the goods make sure to return them.

Sorry about the rant, but I must admit I feel much better. I did see a pin on Pinterest  of a cute way to mark your pencils so I made some. I bought the Zebra pencils at Mardel's and put red tape flags on them. Will it work to keep my pencils in my classroom? Who knows but they are easy and cute!

Let me know if you have any ideas on how to keep your classroom supplies from walking out the door. Maybe one of those detectors like they use at Walmart. No, they go off way to often.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas and don't forget to follow me.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Free Plot Diagram Posters

Hello everyone! This girl is finally getting back to teacher mode. It's been a great and productive summer, but now it is time to think about the classroom and all the things that that need to get done. I thought I would start by giving away a free gift to my fellow teachers.

Every Year I start with short stories and elements of a plot, genre, etc... One of the projects I assign is a plot diagram over an Accelerated reader book they have read. I have had this listed in my TPT store for $3.00 but am giving it away FREE to my followers. This activity includes student guide, teacher guide, and grading rubric!

Just click on the link below to get your free copy.
Free Plot Diagram Project

Here are some examples from my students:

This is really a great alternative to the traditional book report. If you use it let me know how it went and don't forget to follow me! 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Free Wet and Water Punch Cards

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer break. I know I sure am. So much so that my blog has been very neglected. As I attempt to get back into the swing of things, I thought I would share a little freebie. 

This is a templet for the punch-cards I use in class.  I laminate the cards and put them on a ring to hang by my classroom door. When a student needs to go to the restroom they find their card and bring it to me to punch for them. This was a great way to keep track of and limit the number of times students leave the room. 

My students are allowed to leave five times per semester for the restroom or get water.  Since they have time between classes, and are allowed to go in other classes this was more than enough passes. students who had unused punches got a piece of candy for each punch they did not use.  

This freebie  has five different colors and eight cards per page. It is in Word format so you can edit for your particular needs. You can download it free in my TPT store. Enjoy!