December 21, 2018

NYE Craftivity & Writing Prompts!

New Years Eve is coming up and before we know it we’ll all be heading back to our classrooms! New Years is a wonderful time for everyone to take a moment and reflect on the past year and how one can continue to improve and move forward. Maybe it’s shedding a few pounds, finishing that book you started last summer, or learn a new language. Everyone’s goals are different but they’re all there to help us focus on making this next year count.

Student’s goals and resolutions are just as important!

This time of year we, as teachers, can help our students understand the importance of goal setting and helping them make a plan to meet those goals. I mean, I wish 10 lbs could just drop off of me in my sleep but it’s the work I put into it that’ll get me those results. It’s vital that students understand this concept. Plus January is a great mid-point for reviewing this concept of goal setting if you’ve begun discussing it at the beginning of the year when setting up your reading and writing workshops.

The activity that I have for you today is equal parts fun and equal parts educational. Let's take a peek at this fun NYE Craftivity!

Let's Party!

I’ve paired a couple writing prompts with a cute New Years display! I’ve included both boy and girl templates, which students will color and cut out. Have students color, or if you’re brave, use glitter to make their year glasses pop! Students can decorate their party hats any which way you want or feel free to use patterns. Add colorful pom-poms or ribbons to the top for a fun touch. Put it all together and it really brightens your room or hallways!

Goal Setting

The purpose of this activity is to kickstart kids back into doing ‘school’ and these prompts will help them get those writing gears working again. I’ve included 2 basic goal/resolution writing templates and the Countdown to a New Year gives them 5 different writing prompts to build a paragraph. Feel free to use your own lined paper or use the primary paper included in this download.

Reflecting on our goals

Another great way to introduce or review goal setting is by reflecting on the goals we've had in the past. Whether intentionally set or more on-the-fly, these pages help students see where they're going with our goals by reflection on how we achieved, or didn't achieve, our last ones.

As a teacher, have you set a goal and didn't reach it? This is important to share with your kiddos and reflect on how you could improve this year!

Happy New Year to all of my teacher blogger friends!!

December 15, 2018

Solving Strategies with Eureka Math

Today I am so excited to finally share Module 4 of my Eureka Math set of resources! It's taken months to finally pull together and I personally am thankful to all of my friends and followers here for their patience!

These last few months have been keeping me busy: our family moved to San Diego, I've been on multi-step interviews for a new teaching position (which I got, yay!), prepping my lettering shop for the holidays, and life in general just seemed to have gotten in the way. However, I'm happy to say that as we're on the heels of a Winter Break and gearing up to travel to Texas to visit with my husband's family for the holidays, here's Module 4 for second grade!

Application Problems & Problem Sets

As always, Module 4 is packed full of 31 engaging lessons that have students learn new strategies for solving multi-step problems, word problems, and begin composing and decomposing multi-digit number expressions. Students are really introduced in this module to building upon their understanding of addition and subtraction rules while learning new strategies like the vertical way and using place value charts to visualize their bundling and unbundling.

This is a fun module and always one where you'll find your students really relying on what they know and have learned in the previous three modules!

So, let's take a peek at Module 4!

Student work spaces

Something new to the application pages are the empty work spaces for students to use while following the lesson prompts from the teacher. After the mid-module assessment, the lessons require quite a bit of practice and work and I thought the best way to have kids follow along is by having a work space for them to work in while the teacher models how to solve each concept development problem.

Each lesson has a coordinating Application Problem, Concept Development, and Problem Set. In my opinion, Eureka Math's version can be overwhelming with words, little to no visuals, and only have teachers model the skill, which often lead to boring lessons that were predictable and had very little engagement with my students.

Now, with each module I create I incorporate the concept taught in each lesson but do so with more of a chance for students to visualize the skill, work through a little note-taking while the teacher instructs during the Concept Development, and a Problem Sets that focus on up to an average of 3-4 practice problems for students to complete either together or independently.

I've found that using Eureka Math is a great foundation, but to be used as an launching place for more engaging activities like centers, small groups, or group work. So, I've designed my resources with this in mind and hope teachers can find unique ways to include these modules into their lessons.

Skill Practice

Piggy backing on what I just said..

Each lesson has an aligned Application Problem, a little section for skill introduction (for use during the Concept Development lesson), and a Problem Set. The Application Problem is identical to the word problem given at the beginning of each lesson and gives students a space to work through the RDW process.

Depending on the skill, the notes section introduces the skill or vocabulary that students will be learning and practicing in that lesson. It incorporates the processes talked about in the lesson for the Concept Development in a way that students can easily follow along and provide a visual to what the teacher will be discussing.

Personally, I've always been more successful when math concepts are broken down into easy steps and match with what the teacher is saying. My hope is that this way of designing the lesson sheets are helpful to other teachers as well as their students!


This module comes with both a mid-module and end-of-module assessment! Much like the other worksheets provided in the original Eureka Math workbook, their assessments require too much of demonstrating understanding how to solve multiples of the same problem. I've decided to cut down the assessments to two pages and include the problems that are covered specific skills. That way these assessments are used in more of an informal way for teachers to check-in with their students throughout the module - and use more comprehensive assessments later on.


And just like all of my other modules I've included the given sprints! These pages are optional considering Eureka Math has their own workbook just for Sprints and may be easier than printing these - but I wanted to include them anyways! :)

I hope you're just as excited as I am about this new release of Module 4 and find it to be helpful this school year! Other modules are in the works, so be sure to follow me on TpT and Facebook to know when new modules are released!

Until then...

Catch up on all the modules so far!

Second Grade

December 12, 2018

The Affordable Glasses All Teachers Need to Know About

Affiliate links are used within this post, but rest-assured my opinions are 100% my own.

My glasses journey began when I was a sophomore in high school and finally realized that I couldn't see the board - it was fuzzy and I found myself having to sit up front in order to copy the notes adequately. Turns out, I am nearsighted and there's always been a part of me that wonders why my teachers over the years never noticed my need for glasses. Having gone through years of eye strain, I am quick to recognize similar body language in my students who may need glasses - hopefully curbing years of misconceptions about their abilities or even behavior. 

As an adult, I've been overpaying for my prescription and frames for years and can't believe I never heard of Warby Parker before! It wasn't until my husband and I first moved from the east coast to California that I had even heard of this brand. We were walking along Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice one afternoon and I walked by this cute blue building and being curious about their frames I stepped inside to take a peek.

I was totally expecting to fall in love with at least one pair of frames, but was nervous about the price tag. But that's where this story gets good...and informational.

Affordable (and cute!) Eyewear

My husband and I while visiting Luxembourg in 2017!
Frames: Oliver in Whiskey Tortoise

All of their frames from glasses to sunglasses are all $95. That's it! The reason their frames are so affordable is because they design and craft their frames in-house, cutting out the middle man. "The eyewear industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options." (Warby Parker website). In doing this, they've created a company that makes glasses affordable and available to those who need them!

My husband, son, and I while visiting the Louvre in Paris, 2017!
Frames: Oliver in Whiskey Tortoise

Furthermore, when I picked out my first pair I literally only paid $5 out of pocket thanks to vision insurance. Warby Parker accepts most insurance and having my eye exam and frames mostly paid for was a huge plus!

A few years later I found myself looking to invest in prescription sunglasses as well as take a peek at upgrading my frames since WP is always releasing new styles. Now, my first pair have stood the test of time and the handling of a 2 year old - and that's saying something! I still use them regularly, but I wanted to try a new color or style of frame. At this point, my eye prescription on file had expired, but this is where their services are ah-mazing!

FREE Home Try-On

Thinking about testing out Warby Parker but don't have a storefront near you? Or just like to try things on at home without the hassle or pressure to make a purchase right then and there? Opt for their Home Try-On program absolutely free! Online you pick 5 frames to try and within a few days your frames will arrive and you have 5 days to think about what you liked or didn't like.

For me, I knew I wanted a mix of sunglasses and regular glasses so I chose a few different styles and colors to try. When I received them, I absolutely fell in love with their Welty frames in the Rose Crystal color. The frames are a bit larger than the Oliver's I already have and the crystal pink is so cute and a touch feminine. For my new prescription sunglasses I went with the Raglan frames in Pearled Tortoise. Both were featured in my Home Try-On and loved them instantly.

That moment you want a cute photo with your son and he's in the middle of snacking on raisins.
Frames: Welty in Rose Crystal

Update your prescription without leaving your house!

I was guided to download their free app, Prescription Check, to participate in eye tests and answer a few questions about my eye health. I was a bit skeptical that an app could accurately check my vision and determine if my prescription had changed or not. After spending about 30 minutes or so completing the guided exam, my results were sent off to an eye specialist to review and approve my new prescription. For $40 I was able to update my prescription without leaving my home! I mean, wow! Now, if the specialist determined I needed to go in-person for an eye exam then I wouldn't pay a dime and would have to book an appointment with my eye doctor to get a new prescription. But, having this (often time consuming) task be completed with ease, it made me love Warby Parker even more!

Pay in Installments!

This go-around I purchased my new pink frames and prescription sunglasses through their Affirm program, which allows me to pay just $90 in three installments without interest. Since being a stay-at-home-mom who will begin teaching again in January, my first payment is due right when I receive my first paycheck. Until then, I am able to enjoy my new glasses without worrying about paying for them upfront right away. The balance you pay each month is determined by how many frames you buy, so for my two glasses (and this time without vision insurance) $90 a month for three months is totally do-able!

I truly cannot recommend this company and their quality of glasses more. I've been using Warby's since 2016 and I seriously can't imagine shopping anywhere else for frames. They've managed to take the stress out of every possible aspect of shopping for new glasses and I couldn't believe how easy it was to update my prescription...right from home! Plus, their Home Try-On program helped me find new frames I wouldn't have picked for myself initially in-store, but within the comfort of my home I found my new favorites!

I would love to talk more about Warby Parker if you have any questions or hesitations. The only downside is they only have frames for men and women, but hopefully (fingers crossed) they can add a children's line!

November 26, 2018

Cyber Monday Sale

It's Cyber Monday and that means you'll find all kinds of sales at your favorite shops and retailers. Luckily, Teachers Pay Teachers has you covered as thousands of teacher-authors are participating - including me! Over at my shop you'll find EVERYTHING on sale with 20% off your entire purchase. Just use the promo code: CYBER18 at checkout!

Here's a peek at a few of my favorite and most popular resources you can snag for 20% off!

Eureka Math!

Eureka Math is one of the newest and on-trend math curriculums that has has seemingly taken over schools around the country. The concepts that are taught really help students learn new strategies to solve math problems and introduces a few new ways students can think about certain math concepts. However, when my school first introduced this new curriculum I quickly realized the workbooks had a LOT of busy work for kids and it was in a format that wasn't really helpful. So, I decided to add my own spin to the work and create these interactive notebook style resources!

I've been busy trying to upload all of the modules for both first and second grade. It's a lot of work, but I'm excited every time I get one finished to share. So far you can pick up Modules 1-2 for 1st grade and Modules 1-3 for second grade!

Guided Reading


Fraction Bundle

Even and Odd Turkey Trot Dice Game

Behavior Management

Think Sheets

Management Bundle

Bundle all of these behavior management resources into one download! Enjoy products like my think sheets, clip slips, awesome behavior notes, and full lesson plans for establishing the classroom culture!

There's so much more! Go ahead and make your way over to see what all you can get for 20% off!

November 15, 2018

Preparing for Parent/Teacher Conferences

Today I am going to be discussing Parent/Teacher Conferences! These conferences are wonderful opportunities to meet with parents for the first time and discuss how the first couple months have been going for their child. Typically, after routines and procedures have been established, teachers hit the ground running with instruction and conferences are great times to share with parents the work students are doing and the progress they're showing! 

This means that teachers need to communicate a lot of information to parents and in a short amount of time. Here I have a resource that has been very helpful to me in the past and it keeps me focused the whole time! It's so easy to get sidetracked so here are a few things I've done that you may find helpful!

Break down the information by quarter or trimester!

Obviously you want to focus on the immediate goals for each child so it's important to dedicate some time to look up student scores and make them easy to compare to quarterly or trimester benchmarks.

This resource includes conference forms for all 4 quarters and now trimesters! It includes areas to document important information about reading, writing, and math so you can focus your conversation with your parents. It also provides the teacher to discuss where the student is at in terms of their work habits and attitude. Having the benchmarks available helps show if students are below, meets, or exceeds the given benchmark for that academic period.

Include student work samples

Student work samples are great tools to use during conferences to show where students should be performing or the goals they should be working towards. I keep previous students' work to help compare. I've gotten a lot of compliments from parents on how helpful it is for them to see what I'm referring to in regards to what I expect each quarter {especially writing!}.

Planning and organization!

I always put out the conference time sign up sheet at my Back to School Night and Open House that way I can get the majority of parents locked in to a time early and it's one less thing to do. However, everyone is different! Plan your conferences to be about 15-20mins each, especially if you're meeting with all your parents the first quarter. Give yourself a few minutes between each conference to prepare and have materials ready. 

Tip: have resource information readily available too like:

-specialists emails or phone numbers
-a laptop or iPad with your schools website so you can show 
them how to navigate it to find other resources

Keep a record...

It's important that teachers keep records of their conferences with each child's parents/guardians. It's important because it can be used as documentation in other meetings, especially if it's related to academic or disciplinary issues. 

This form is good if you want to see your whole class at a glance as you have conferences throughout the year. Or...

You can use this alternative form, which looks at individual students and how often you've met or talked with their parents. I like this form personally because I can keep it in their file in my classroom. It's also helpful if you have students with IEPs or Child Study (in LCPS that the initial meeting that establishes interventions before officially giving a child an IEP).

Don't Forget!

I've included Don't Forget! slips with my resource pack because it's another small thing that parents really appreciate {especially if they signed up for a conference back in Sept}. Just fill out the student's name and the time/date of the conference and send home a week or so before your conferences begin! 

Every year this packet has been such a time saver and an easy way to organize student progress and work in a nutshell for parents.

What are some tricks of the trade you utilize during conferences?

November 13, 2018

Engaging Those Reluctant & Excelling Writers

Two types of writers...

We all have those students who are the reluctant writers. They are the quiet ones - the ones those students who don’t actively ask for help. They hope they can be unseen and overshadowed by the more advanced writers in the class - and will even find ways to become distracted so they don’t have to put pencil to paper. I’ve had my fair share and I can’t blame them for not enjoying writing. It can be a difficult subject for some and depending on their experiences before stepping into my classroom they may already be frustrated or lack in their confidence in their abilities before they even start.

We also know those students who lie on the opposite side of the spectrum - these are the advanced writers. They love to write and often grasp writing skills quickly and are among the first to finish. These students enjoy writing and are eager for a challenge just to keep their minds busy. Teachers often times miss these students too because their focus are on those middle-of-the-road students and assign mundane review tasks just so the excelling students stay busy.

The Answer: A Discovery Journal

How exactly do I manage to grab the attention and excitement for writing from both groups of kids? Well, ever since I began Discovery Journals with my class in second grade it has been proven to show an increase in student involvement both in school and at home. 

Discovery Journals is an at-home research/informative writing project that spans the entire school year. It is optional and is not graded, however I do look over each journal and make little notes to the student as guidance for their following entry. I typically begin this activity a few months after school has started - just so kids aren’t overwhelmed and gives them time to get settled in academically.

Research made easy...

I always share with students this new opportunity and how it will give them extra practice with their writing skills. What’s the hook? They get to choose the topic of their writing each and every week (student choice is everything!). Beginning with the letter A and moving through the alphabet, they are to pick a topic, research it at home either using books or supervised online resources, then use the provided brainstorming sheets to record their facts and write a short paragraph or two as an informative writing piece. Students are then to present their writing in a oral presentation to the class on a day designated by the teacher (I typically pick Friday). 

I always try to give my parents as much information up front as possible. I never try to assume that they know how each little assignment or project is supposed to be completed - even if I feel like I do a great job at explaining it. Since composition notebooks are the only material that parents need to provide, it is important that students find the ‘just right’ notebook for their abilities. So, I provided this (above) optional handout for teachers to send home with the parent letter so they know what kind of writing tablet they should be looking for for their child.

The main structure of this project is for students to properly plan their writing so they have material to which to write with. The planning sheets include A-Z and once students complete Z they can pick their own topics. These blacklines allow students to:

  • draw a picture of their topic (example: alligators (sketch a picture))
  • come up with a topic sentence that hooks the reader
  • three facts to use within their writing
  • find one new vocabulary word to use in their writing and define it for their readers
  • a concluding sentence

Afterwards, students are equipped with enough material to begin their writing, which they will complete within their Discovery Journals (aka composition notebook).

I am always so excited to share this with my kiddos and hope you can engage your students too with this fun at-home project!

October 17, 2018

Life Happens...

Hello, friends!

Yeah, it's been a minute since I've been here or on the socials so thank you for sticking it out with me. A touch of busy-ness has fallen upon us as a family and a couple of major life changes has taken place. So, I suppose the distance between me and this space has been for a good reason. But, much like in all things I try to embrace the change, lean into the uncertain, and at the end of the day realize that life happens!

So, what exactly has been going on?

We moved to San Diego!

The first, and most major, thing that has affected us as a family is that we moved! It all happened so quickly! One minute my husband is going on a job interview, we waited a couple of weeks, then on a Monday he got the offer, by Friday it was my last day at work, and Sunday we moved in to our new apartment right in the heart of downtown San Diego. I mean, talk about craziness!

Our move was relatively painless thanks to awesome movers. But, there's always something that goes wrong on any move and for us it was not anticipating the fact that our sofa (yeah the custom made sleeper sofa sectional we bought a few months ago) didn't fit in the door. We didn't realize the floorplan we have is different from the model apartment they showed us when we first visited (and our sofa being the most obvious decision maker in any apartment we move to). So, the entryway to our new apartment is one of those L shaped designs where there's this corner you go around before getting to the kitchen and living room. Yeah, that corner kept us from moving our sofa in (a.k.a. our bed as well) and we were devastated.

My husband and I love living minimally, so we opted to save money and purchased a custom sectional sofa that folds out into our bed at night. We've loved living this way and it was a huuuuge bummer that the floorplan didn't allow for us to move it in. However, the property manager is amazing and gave us storage for free in the building and so our sofa is all wrapped up and safely hanging out in storage. Glass half full, right?

Our roadblocks with childcare

Playing at our local children's museum!

When we were preparing for our move, it didn't leave us with a ton of time to find a school for Greyson. I mean, we were moving in the middle of September and most school spots are already filled. Then there's the expense of it all! Some schools charge over 1k a month (a month!!) for parents to send their children to. I mean, I love these trendy schools that have organic snacks, but seriously.

Thankfully, and after a hundred emails and phone calls later, I was able to find a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class for him that fit with our budget. Even if it's part time, Greyson loves school and I am thankful for the break. Two year olds are exhausting!

Now that he's enjoying school and I have some child-free time, I am able to rededicate myself to this space, my teacher shop, and my lettering business. Also, I've been applying to a number of teaching job postings in hopes that I can resume teaching here soon or at the beginning of the new year. Fingers crossed!

I'm working on my CLAD certification

I'm continuing my online program to earn my English Language Learners certification for my California teaching credential. Out here it's a requirement for teachers to have considering the high demographic of ELL and bilingual students. I've opted to take the courses instead of the 3-part test and I've found that I'm really learning a lot! There's so much insight and enlightenment that I've experienced just in these first two classes that I know I will be taking a lot of what I'm learning and apply it in my future classroom. I'm learning new ways to celebrate the diversity while learning new ways to adapt my lessons to accommodate those who are learning English. I couldn't recommend this coursework enough and think every teacher could benefit!

The #MomHustle

One quality about myself is my creativity and the fact that I can't sit still for long. Knowing I was going to be home for a little while until I found work, I wanted to throw myself into being productive with my time. I continue to run both my teacher store as well as my lettering shop. I'm so thankful that I have these two outlets to share my work with others, but that I am learning all kinds of new skills being a small business owner. 

I'm proud of the growth that my lettering shop has received this season. I re-launched it back in September before our move and I'm thankful I've been able to keep it up now being in San Diego. I'm always looking for new products to share, practice my lettering, and connect with others. It's truly been a blessing for me and I am thankful it's allowed me to channel this creative energy in a meaningful way.

If you're interested in checking it out or learning more about my shop, I'd love to have you pop on over to my shop's blog and Etsy page!

Again, thank you all for being so patient with me as I have transitioned into our new normal! I'm grateful that many of you still connect with me here, on Facebook, and over at my TpT shop! I look forward to creating some new teacher resources soon -- especially Eureka Math products! 

xo Kelly

September 26, 2018

Easy ways to get organized this upcoming school year!

Get back to school ready with these easy-to-implement organization ideas! |

Yeah, it may be summer break for most teachers (ahem...including this one) but much like most teachers we're always thinking about the year ahead.

I am so excited to begin teaching first grade this upcoming school year; covering a teacher friend who is staying home with her new baby (expected to arrive this July!). It's such an honor when a teacher entrusts their class with you and these little firsties will have so much fun while in my care.

One of the big things I like to tackle first when planning on getting into my classroom the first day back is envisioning the organization. From teacher and student materials to the physical makeup of the desks, chairs and bookcases. It all plays a part in how well a classroom functions throughout the school year. 

So, over the last few weeks I've been cultivating a little list of my favorite classroom organization ideas from fellow teachers across the web (i.e. Pinterest). Each idea makes for creative uses of space without much prep or thought - both being huge pluses for me!

Arranging the Classroom

Knowing your physical space in your classroom, and using it effectively, will save you all school year long! Over the years, and in different rooms, I've tried a number of different arrangements in terms of the big furniture like student and teacher desks, center spaces, reading nooks, and gathering space. Other uses of space incorporate your walls, doors, or anything you can hang something on. Using these spaces in the right way helps the flow of traffic throughout your room and allows students to work independently without any hassles.

But, always keep in mind that you won't truly know what works until your kiddos get in there. Each class and each year is going to feel and need something different than what you've done before! Keep an open mind and be thoughtful about how you'd like your room to feel and work.

Flexible seating options.
This is the newest approach to classroom arrangement and it's large in part due to the influx of students who need to fidget or those who do their best work in a position other than seated at a desk. By offering students a choice, they have the opportunity to think about what environment helps them do their best - but, of course, understanding the ground rules for each seating choice.

I love this idea to break the small group learning table into identifiable spaces for the kiddos. You can find this, and more fun organizational tips over at Adrienne Teaches!

Designate the right space.
Have visible and designated areas for each major subject. The bright and welcoming colors in First Grade Made's classroom invite students to that space! I love her use of bins for centers and how each wall clearly states where students can find the anchor charts or their work throughout the year.

Arranging the Teacher

Being an organized teacher go hand in hand. If you're unorganized then you'll quickly find yourself underneath papers you don't know what to do with and students all over the place. By incorporating some easy tips and figuring out what works for you will take so much wasted time off your plate!

Use the walls and boards!
This is a 'duh' statement but how you use them is completely up to you and oh, so important! I loved my hot glue gun when I had walls made of cinderblock because I could literally hang anything and it would stay up the whole year - then easily be removed.

Clothespins to the rescue!
Using hot glue to glue clothespins to your cinderblock walls is the perfect option for hanging posters that come up and down regularly - such as my Star Student posters. Another way you can hang clothespins on other types of walls is by hot gluing pushpins to the backs and sticking them in the wall or board that way!

Pocket folders are the best!
Use doors or walls to hang folder pockets for student's unfinished work, for example - but think about the traffic to this place before designating just any ole' door or wall. Make sure students can access this easily.

Anchor chart organization
I love creating fun anchor charts for my kiddos but storing and displaying them can take up so much space! Luckily I found this idea to use a magnetic curtain rod to help me display my charts and have a place for them when I'm done. I just simply flip and display my next poster!

Teachers, embrace the binders!
I am all for teachers using technology to keep track of their lessons or even student data, but nothing's as good (or reliable) and paper and pencil. So, finding a binder system that works for you is instrumental in staying organized and keeping grades easily accessible for when you need them most.

Arranging the Supplies


School supplies have a zillion different ways to be organized, but these few ideas caught my eye! Much like designating a space for your centers or student work, every day supplies need designated areas to be stored when not in use and easily accessible to students if you want your day running smoothly. Here are a couple of ways you can organize your supplies...

Supply stations.
Again, the easiest thing you can spend your money on are these various Sterilite plastic bins because you can literally use them or absolutely anything and everything. If you have desks that don't have inside cubbies, use these drawers for each student to keep their things. Use stations or groups of tables? Use a set of drawers for each major subject for every table group and assign table captains to retrieve their materials.

Creekside Teacher Tales decorated her plastic drawers to keep her crayons organized in her classroom. I love this idea - really for any grade!

Charging stations.
Nowadays technology is found in almost every classroom; going beyond just computer desktops. Now students have individual iPads or similar device and much like anything, teachers need to keep these charging stations easily accessible and organized. I love the numbered cubbies from Time 4 Kindergarten's room! Such an easy way to keep these devices safe.

Desk Fairy
I love this idea of a desk fairy because student desks tend to quickly get out of hand. So, if you're prepared to go the extra mile and reward students for tidiness then this idea is perfect! Because let's face it, both students and teachers need to be organized!

Now, I want to hear from you! What are some of YOUR favorite ways to organize your classroom? Share a link in the comments here or on Facebook! I'd love to see!

September 1, 2018

An Organized Classroom

One piece of unsolicited advice that I would offer anyone - teacher or not - it is to be well organized. The more time you spend early on getting your personal or work space in order the easier your future days will be. This is especially important for teachers at the beginning of the school year when they begin thinking and planning out the vibe and flow they want to have.

Imagine your classroom floor plan.
Where will furniture be placed? How will traffic flow? How will students find their materials? Where will student learning be displayed? Turned in? Handed back out? Will your students have jobs? How will they know the daily schedule?

All of these questions allow you to think about what kind of space you want to create. Our classrooms should be equipped to not only manage the learning, but to give students daily opportunities to be independent and take ownership over what and how they learn.

Today I'm excited to share with you all how I get organized and answer those questions at the beginning of each year!

One: Classroom Jobs

Having classroom jobs, or responsibilities, are such an important component of our classroom culture. Everyone has a stake in their ability to learn so therefore they need to be accountable for ensuring our learning space is a well maintained machine. Discussing Hopes & Dreams at the beginning of the year helps reinforce this all the way to June and lends itself to a discussion about jobs.

Now, classroom jobs will look different depending on the grade level. When I taught 2nd grade I had a number of jobs that were appropriate for that age group. In kindergarten, I may have less jobs or have more students helping with certain jobs.

This resource includes a wide variety of jobs such as:
  • Line Leader: The obvious and most coveted of all jobs ;)
  • Caboose: Another obvious but necessary job
  • Teacher Helper: Need help passing out/collecting papers or materials? The teacher helper is there for you!
  • Substitute: Is a helper absent? Get a substitute to fill in for any jobs whose kiddo isn’t in school that day.
  • Scrap Collector: By the end of the day it’s always interesting to find all those little scraps that happen to fall on the floor. Get your scrap collector to recycle those papers!
  • Safety Monitor: Do you have a safety bag you have to take with you everywhere? Your safety monitor is responsible for remembering that bag during specials, lunch, and drills.
  • Lunch Counter: Do you have to report a lunch count to the cafeteria each day? If so, this job requires students to take a tally of each lunch choice and report it to the cafeteria.
  • Lunch Monitor: This helper keeps an eye on behavior during lunchtime and reports to the teacher about what happened. My previous school’s lunchroom had a point system for behavior and this job correlates to that system. 
  • Attendance Runner: Also at my previous school, after taking attendance each morning this student runs it to the office.
  • Pencil Sharpener: At the end of the day this person is responsible for sharpening all the pencils and replaces old ones.
  • Librarians: Our school had a cart that we would deliver to the library of all returning books that week. The librarians would be responsible for delivering the cart as well as making sure our classroom library was organized.
  • Messenger: Need to run something to another classroom or ask another teacher something? Send the messenger!
  • Calendar Helper: This student helps out with calendar math every morning and is responsible for preparing the calendar for the following day.
  • Door Holder: The obvious third most coveted job.
  • Clip Chart Monitor: If you incorporate a clip chart in your room this helper is to put all the clips back to green at the end of the day.
  • Trash Collector: Last but not least, this helper keeps the classroom tidy.
I've added a few new jobs to this download so head on over to TpT to check them out!

Two | Writing Process Posters

I found this to be so helpful when I taught 2nd grade because it allowed everyone (including me!) to see what stage they were at in their writing! I used it as a clip chart of sorts by laminating and displaying them with student clips on the sides. As students worked through the different stages they would move their clips.

Three | Literacy Center Rotation Cards

Launching the Daily 5 in any classroom can be overwhelming at first, but the first step is getting prepared and organized. Before the kiddos arrive on the first day it’s important to have your centers established and prepared based on what you’re introducing in each lesson. This download has all the resources you need to get your reading block running and off the ground. Let’s take a peek as to what’s included.

Colorful reading center cards grab your attention and clearly identify each center!

Corresponding posters that you can display around your classroom so students know where each center is located.

These helpful posters are perfect when launching your Daily 5 routines and expectations. They easily accompany your beginning of the year lessons and give wonderful visuals and reminders for students throughout the year.

Everyone knows that anchor charts when beginning the Daily 5 routines are a vital part of each lesson. These posters are perfect for printing or even display and write on them using your smart board!

Last but not least, have students begin charting their stamina as you build up your independent reading time each day! Stamina charts come with both a chart for the whole class or individual student charts!

Four | Labels, labels, labels!

Labeling your classroom effectively is crucial for your students to be more independent and free up your time to do more important things. The better your kiddos know your classroom the better it will function overall. Here are a few of my favorite labels for the classroom.

Daily Schedule Cards

These schedule cards are a MUST because it helps students see what their days are going to be like. I’ve added a bunch of cards that practically cover almost all holidays, subjects, occasions, and fun things that could happen in any classroom. I love using these guys year after year!

Library Labels

I have just recently added these cards to my shop, which offer a number of different ways to organize your classroom library. There is by genre, Lexile, AR, DRA, and F&P. Whichever you choose, make sure your students learn to keep the library space organized too!

Enjoy your back to school and happy organizing!