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November 5, 2023

Following Directions Fun

 Following directions takes practice!

Here are a few ideas to consider...

1. Blindfolded Buddies

Hide sets of objects around the room (such as a stack of plastic cups, a container of dice, etc.) Students get paired up. One wears a blindfold while the other gives directions to find the objects. Once found, the pair waits at a designated spot in the room for classmates to finish. Students return the objects and switch places.

2. Coloring Craziness

Purchase identical dollar store coloring books for students or use free coloring pages. Give students directions to color certain parts of a picture with a specific color such as, "Color 3 of the dogs green. Color 2 of the dogs blue." Once students get going, give silly directions such as, "Draw wings on 1 of the blue dogs."

3. Fun With Food

Use snack foods such as goldfish crackers and pretzel sticks. Have students follow your directions to arrange the snacks on a paper plate. You can add math concepts such as patterns, even/odd numbers, fractions, etc. to your directions.

4. Scavenger Hunt

Use small treats and party favor prizes. Break students into small groups and give them written clues and directions to find the prizes. Sometimes the clues lead to more clues and sometimes they lead to a prize.

5. Play Games

Vintage games such as Simon Says and Red Light Green Light are good for following directions and require no prep.

For an easy printable game, try this student favorite: 

Following directions just may improve with plenty of practice!

October 3, 2023

13 Group Halloween Costumes for Teachers

Halloween is a fun time of year when people of all ages can dress up and get into the spirit of the holiday. For teachers, Halloween can be a great opportunity to bond with colleagues and create a fun atmosphere in the classroom. If you're looking for group costume ideas for you and your teacher friends, here are 13 ideas to get you started...

1.  The Wizard of Oz: 

Dorothy, The Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda the Good Witch, Toto

2. Superheroes: 

Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Captain America

3. Harry Potter: 

Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Draco, Moaning Myrtle, Snape, Bellatrix

4. Alice in Wonderland: 

Alice, Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit

5. Flintstones: 

Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty, Pebbles, Bam Bam

6. Addams Family: 

Morticia, Gomez, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley

7. Scooby-Doo Gang: 

Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne, Fred, Velma

8. Muppets: 

Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Gonzo

9. Dominoes: 

Black Sweats with Dots

10. Dunkin' Donuts: 

Basketball jerseys, shorts, socks, headbands + donut innertubes

11. Bucket Fillers: 

Round bins, shirts with shapes, sparkly headbands

12. Emojis: 

Yellow shirts with different expressions

13. Play-Doh Containers: 

Yellow shirts, lids for hats

No matter which group costume you choose, you're sure to have a great time with your fellow teachers.

Happy Halloween!

Click: October Lesson Plan Ideas

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September 17, 2023

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy Matey! Let's add some pirate themed fun to your lesson plans on Talk Like a Pirate Day!

1.  Have small groups write skits using kid-friendly pirate phrases.

Take the opportunity to compare and contrast formal and informal language. Sort your crew into small groups and let the writing begin. Be sure to allow time for performances!

2. Read a pirate themed book.

So many choices! Students love the Magic Treehouse series so try Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne or choose a pirate book from your local library.

3. Make a pirate themed craft.

Talk Like a Pirate Day is the perfect opportunity to meet up with a younger buddy class for some crafting fun!

4. Play Sink or Swim with spelling words.

Divide students into 2 teams and have them line up on opposite sides of the room. Starting with the first student on one team, give a spelling word. If the student spells it correctly, they get to sink a classmate of their choice on the opposite team. That student sits down. If the student spells the word incorrectly, then they are sunk! Next, play goes to the first student on the opposite team. Now if this student spells the word correctly, they can either sink a person on the opposite team or save someone on their own team. If they save, that student resumes play with their team at the end of the line. Continue until all members of one team are sunk!

5. Create an X Marks the Spot Math Activity.

Hide math problems around the school. Provide a map for students to find the problems. Pay out chocolate coins for correct answers!

6.  Write letters in a Bottle.

Students pretend to be shipwrecked and write a letter in a bottle. Have students switch bottles and write back.

Save time with 5 and 6:

Have fun Me Hearties!

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September 6, 2023

Math Motivation with Food

If you find your students (and you!) getting a little bored with the math curriculum, try adding food to your lessons.

1. Appetizing Assignments

Grab some snacks and lots of math problems. The problems could come from students' math books, task cards, or worksheets.  Assign a $ value to each math problem. Then assign a $ amount to the snacks, and put them on display. Students solve problems correctly in order to get enough $ to buy the desired snack. 

Possibilities for distributing the problems:

  • Use premade worksheets and write the value on each problem before copying the pages for the class.
  • Label bins or bags with $ values.Write problems and their values on 3X5 index cards. Add the completed index cards to the appropriate bins. Students select one problem at a time to solve.
  • Use task cards you already have on hand. A wipe-off marker or removable sticker can be used to assign values to the problems.

2. (X, Y) Marks the Spot

*This game is for classrooms with square tile floors that can be used as coordinates.

While students are at recess or special, hide several snacks at various coordinates throughout the room. Mark the coordinate (0, 0) with tape, chalk, or an erasable marker.

Write various coordinates on 3 X 5 index cards and place them in a bin. When students return, they each select a card. One at a time, they stand on (0, 0) and proceed to the coordinates on their card. If a snack is found, the student takes it and goes to the end of the line. If there is no snack, the student just returns to the end of the line to try again. Continue as time allows or until cards run out. 

3. Cheese Cracker Math

This area and perimeter activity can quickly and easily be added to your lessons: 

★★★★★ Extremely Satisfied
Jenneane says, "I can't say enough about this resource! My students love any opportunity to work with food!

More Math!
Students are sure to be motivated for math! 

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July 19, 2023

The First Few Days of School

As a brand new teacher, I asked about the school's procedure regarding lesson plans. My principal, Mr. Smith, answered, "Just create a checklist for the first few days of school." This was great practical advice that I followed year after year.  

Here's a sample list of what I put on my back-to-school Day 1 Lesson Plan:

1. Greet students at the door, and ask them to find their seats.

2. Briefly introduce yourself and any other adults such as aides and student teachers working with you.

3. Collect any papers or forms.

4. Confirm and list am and pm bus 🚌 numbers and other transportation methods with students. Collecting this information gives you plenty of time to check records or consult with the office before pm dismissal if necessary. 

5. Take lunch count and attendance (at least remember on the first day of school!)

6. Have students unpack all those shiny back-to-school supplies and put them away inside their desks.

7. Show students where to keep their backpacks, lunch boxes, and jackets. 

8. Briefly explain bathroom rules and take a class bathroom break. By this time, they will have to go!

9. Now they're probably hungry. Eating schedules are most likely out of sync. Consider a quick class snack to help curb those hunger pains until lunch.

10. Explain the class rules or develop them as a class.

11. Time for an icebreaker. Grab a FREE one here: Back to School Ice Breaker

12. Go over emergency procedures such as a fire 🔥 drill. 

13. Explain the lunch and recess procedures. It's probably close to lunch by now. Show students where to line up and meet you after lunch.

14. Story Time - Start with a chapter book such as The Worst Best School Year Ever.

15. Tour the school! One year, on the last day of school, we were discussing our favorite moments of the year. One student commented that the tour on the first day of school was his favorite. He further explained that being new to the school, the tour made him feel more at ease. Other students liked that they got to see their "old" teachers and changes in the building.

16. Go over first-day homework. Consider a fun assignment such as a Me Bag. You can get a FREE one here: Me Bag

17. If you have an early dismissal 🕜, start dismissal procedures.

18. If you have a full day, make a time capsule! This printable time capsule is easy to use and easy to store until the last day of school: Back to School Time Capsule

Need fresh ideas for Back to School? Try...

Back to School Games

Just for fun...

The Last Week of Summer

Wishing you a smooth back-to-school transition! 

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July 3, 2023

Fun Back to School Games

Back to School games can be a fun way to help students get to know each other and build community.  Try mixing up some printable activities with some interactive games for back-to-school fun!

1. Duck and Cover

Students form a circle. One student stands in the middle, spins around, stops, and points to a classmate saying, "Duck and cover!" The student that was pointed at ducks and covers their head. The students on either side of the student ducking try to say the other classmate's name first. The slowest to respond loses the round and goes to the middle. The student who was just in the middle takes that student's place in the circle. Begin the next round and continue as time permits. What a fun and fast-paced way to learn classmates' names!

2. FREE Printable Icebreaker

This is the one where students try to find classmates who share the same interests or experiences. Grab a FREE Back-to-School Icebreaker HERE!

3. Following Directions Game

Students love this game! You can even time students, and have them try to beat their best score throughout the school year! 

4. Fishing Game

This game helps students who are shy or introverted participate. Students fish for questions with straightforward answers.

Mix these games into your first-day (or second-day) plans and watch your class family connections form!

Make sure to have some fun yourself before you go back to school...

The Last Week of Summer

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May 31, 2023

Stay Ahead of the Game: Early Preparation is Key for Teachers Preparing for a New School Year

The end of the school year can be hectic and exhausting, but next year will be here before you know it! Preparing early is the key to starting the year off on the right foot. Catch your breath and then consider these practical strategies to help you stay ahead of the game:

1. Reflect on the Current School Year.

What lessons were successful? What didn't go as planned? Did you have any behavior management challenges? Reflecting on the current year can help you make necessary adjustments for next year. Perhaps you noticed that your students struggled with a particular concept or skill. Or maybe you want to focus on building stronger relationships with your students and their families. By taking the time to reflect on the current year, you can set meaningful goals that will improve your teaching, your relationships, and your students' learning. 

2. Set Goals for Next Year.

Reflecting on the previous year can help you set goals for the upcoming school year. You could choose a few new strategies to try based on your reflections. By setting goals, you can find new and innovative ways to teach and improve learning. 

3. Plan Your Curriculum and Lessons in Advance.

Start by outlining your curriculum objectives and breaking them down into smaller, manageable units. This will allow you to focus on a few specific goals at a time and ensure that each lesson builds upon the previous one. When planning your lessons, consider the needs and interests of your students. Think about different learning styles and try to incorporate a variety of activities to keep students engaged and motivated. By planning ahead, you'll have more time to gather the necessary materials and resources for your lessons. 

4. Get Organized and Stock Up on Supplies.

Start by creating a list of the materials you need for your units. This could include books, workbooks, worksheets, manipulatives, and any other supplies you'll need for activities and projects. Consider creating a storage system that will make it easy for you to keep your materials organized throughout the year. Take some time to label your supplies and arrange them in a logical order. You could use color-coded bins or folders to identify the materials for each subject and unit. Finally, stock up on any additional supplies you may need throughout the year.  By taking advantage of the summer months, you can organize your classroom and label your supplies to save time and minimize stress once school begins. 

5. Attend Professional Development Opportunities.

Attending professional development opportunities is important to ensure that you are up-to-date on the latest teaching strategies and approaches. Professional development opportunities may include conferences, workshops, and online courses. These opportunities can provide you with new ideas, resources, and techniques to enhance your teaching skills. By attending professional development opportunities, you can network with other educators to share ideas and experiences. This can not only help to improve your teaching but also provide a sense of community. In addition, attending professional development opportunities can help you develop leadership skills. You could learn how to effectively lead teams and mentor other teachers, making you an invaluable asset to your school community.

6. Take Care of Yourself.

Teaching is an incredibly demanding job so it is important to take care of yourself. Make it a habit to prioritize your own physical and emotional well-being in order to avoid exhaustion and stay energized throughout the school year. One way to take care of yourself is to ensure you are getting enough sleep each night. Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining focus and concentration, as well as for regulating moods and emotions. In addition to getting enough rest, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Eating a nutritious diet can help you feel more alert and energized. Regular exercise can boost energy levels and reduce stress, allowing you to feel more balanced and focused. Lastly, make time for activities that bring you joy and help you relax. Engaging in hobbies, spending time with family and friends, or practicing mindfulness can all help promote overall well-being. By prioritizing self-care, you can ensure that you are able to bring your best self to the classroom each day.

In conclusion, early preparation is key for preparing for a new school year. Reflecting on the current year, setting goals, planning curriculum and lessons in advance, getting organized, attending professional development opportunities, and taking care of yourself are all practical strategies that can help you stay ahead of the game. Remember, don't wait until the last minute - start preparing now and feel confident and ready for the new year! 

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