Magic Scrap

I definitely didn't invent this, and you've all probably heard of it already.
If not, keep reading.

Right before the end of the day, our floor is always a mess! The perfect solution...

Look around the room and find one or two pieces of paper (or a crayon, or a pencil...), laying on the ground. Call out, "Magic scrap!" Your students will immediately drop to the floor and begin picking everything up. Whoever finds the magic piece gets a small prize.

It's the best way to get your floor clean in seconds!

Management Monday!

Have you ever had your students in line at the end of the day and you look up desperately at the clock.  Oh no, still 5 minutes until the bell rings.  To anyone BUT a teacher, 5 minutes seems so short.  When I first started teaching, I would let my students just stand in line and talk to each other  (which was not great management on my part, but hey, I was just trying to stay afloat).  Now, I am more productive.  We go over our doubles facts rhymes (<---Click here for that download) from Halloween that my kids STILL love or we do our "Good-bye Rhymes". I got the "Good-bye Rhymes" idea from The First Grade Parade. I needed mine to be a little bigger so I could hold them up for my students to read.  So, I made bigger cards and I bound them together in a book. We flip through as many rhymes as we can before the bell rings. They are so CUTE. I added a few of my own and ta-da....I have a management strategy for lining up! Thanks Cara!

Click HERE for the download. Here is an example of a few:

{*Parents: print these off and practice them at home. Make movements up for each or make paper plate masks to use as costumes to act out each one}

Just something cute

I love to do fun, different ways to say THANK YOU in my classroom.

    • For instance, instead of telling our room mom just a plain thank you, we tell her like Elvis.  Yes, you heard me right....ELVIS, the King, the hip shaker, the legend.  We all put our rock star hands up and we strum our imaginary guitar while we say, just like Elvis, "Thank you, thank you very much!"  The kids think it's hilarious and most have NO idea who this Elvis guy is. 

    • We also say thank you by giving the "Seal of approval".  When they hear me say "Let's give the seal of approval", my students flap their arms like a seal and say "arr, arr, arr".

    •  How do you think a pirate shows his/her appreciation?  "Yaaaaaaaaar GRRRRReat!" (while making a hook with their finger)

      • We also give a "round of applause" by clapping in a circle.  

      Are you a follower on our fanpage on Facebook?  Click HERE to follow us there too!

        My Word Helpers

        I know there are a lot of variations of tricky-word word helpers and these are the ones that I like the most!  They work great especially if you can find a stuffed animal (or Beanie Baby) that goes with each one.  I hang them right next to my guided reading table.

        Using decoding strategies while helping your students become independent readers is very important! I like to link the decoding strategies with an animal to help my students remember them.

        Animal Decoding Strategies:-Fly Eye (use the picture for clues)
        -Lips Fish (get your lips ready for the word)
        -Stretchy Snake (stretch the word and put it back together)
        -Chunky Monkey (find a chunk you know in the word)
        -Flippy Dolphin (flip the vowel sound)
        -Skippy Kangaroo (skip the word, finish the sentence and come back to the word)
        -Asking Alligator (ask someone for help)

        Posters {color and B/W}


        Reading Sticks

        Pennant Banner (see below)

        "Word Helper" letters for bulletin board

        I also made the posters into pennant banners! It turned out cute and I hope you like it! 


        If you want the posters ONLY, but also want lots of mini-lesson ideas. These packs are just it! 

        (please note that only the posters are included with these- the bookmarks, sticks, banner, and bulletin board words are only exclusive to the pack that is posted above (Animal Word Helpers)

        Christmas Tree Geometry

        I did this a couple years ago and thought this turned out really cute. It was a good way integrate math into our Christmas decor. I plan on doing it again this year; once I get back from Thanksgiving break.
        I had my students take different nets; cubes, cylinders, pyramids, etc. and they made Christmas tree ornaments.

        First, they got to decorate the nets however they wanted, then they folded and taped/glued them together, and then we hung them on our tree!

        I will come back and post a picture when we're done. You'll notice there are many different types of polyhedra, which could be available for your students who need a challenge.

        I'm so excited to start getting ready for Christmas. Check back here for lots of cute holiday classroom ideas!

        Holiday Book Exchange

        This year I am doing a Holiday Book Exchange.  Each child can bring in a book wrapped in lovely Christmas wrapping paper.  I haven't decided how we will actually do the exchange once the students bring their books in, but I'm really excited. I want to get my students even MORE excited about BOOKS and READING!  And let me tell you...they already love books and this will add more love into their hearts!  I made this letter to tell the parents about it. Once we exchange the books, of course we will read them together! The students can find books at:
        • Local bookstore (Borders or Barnes and Noble)
        • Local Thrift Stores (DI, Savers, Salvation Army)
        • Gently used book from home
        • And of COURSE our Scholastic Book Club. I just so happen to attach 3 catalogs with my book exchange note :)
         Here is a download of the note!

        If you have any ideas on how to actually exchange the books when we get them all...Please leave a comment!  Happy Reading!

        I couldn't help it!

        I know today is Thanksgiving and school is out...but just take note for next year! I did these cute pilgrims with my students and they turned out GREAT. I got the idea from my favorite 1st grade blog, The First Grade Parade. We learned about the hard times that the English Colonists went through. Look how cute our paper plate pilgrims turned out!
        Yes! This is one of my students' work. She is a fabulous artist.

        This student said. I have toys but the pilgrims did not.
        How would you modify this to fit your grade level?

        Student Birthdays!

        When a student in my classroom has a birthday we like to celebrate!  Besides getting a birthday necklace to wear, they also get a birthday balloon like this:

        I order the medium sized Pixy Stix and my team and I divide them up and split the cost.

        I also send home a "Birthday Bag" to the birthday student.  They get to take the bag home with them and read the book, Happy Birthday To You by Dr. Seuss.  Then, there is a class book that they will add a page to.  The student will write about something they wished for on their birthday and draw a picture to match. The next day, that student returns the bag and gets the chance to read their page they wrote to the class.
        Birthday Book Downloads {click each one to download}:

         While we are on the subject of birthdays...What do I do with the students who have birthdays while we are off track (year round school), on the weekend, or during the summer?  Well, we have an UN-BIRTHDAY PARTY, of course!  Basically we celebrate everyone's birthday all in one day (or one hour)!  I buy a cake, we exchange gifts (we draw names and each student brings a gift for whoever they drew for), and we play party games.  Oh yes, we also watch Alice in Wonderland (not my favorite movie, but it goes with the "un-birthday" theme).  Who doesn't love parties? It's so fun and perfect for the end of the year!  Click HERE to find out more!

        What do you do for birthdays in  your classroom?

        Clipart and/or fonts by Diane J. Hook and used with permission by

        Management Monday

        Today's "Monday Management" tip comes from one of the cutesy-est (cutesiest?) teachers I know...

        Mrs. Lamb!

        Mrs. Lamb and I went to college together (another SUU alum!) and then we both randomly got hired at the same school. I love everything about her classroom! Management is one of her natural talents. Here are two things she does to help keep her students in line:
        • Mystery Motivator: Cut out the letters of words that spell out a prize for good behavior. Flip them over and hang them up in your classroom. Every time your students get caught having good behavior, they get to flip a letter over. Once all the letters have been flipped, they earn the 'prize' that has been spelled out. Ideas for prizes include: extra recess, quiet free time, popsicle party, movie and popcorn, etc.
        • Behavior Chart: Create a chart with 4 different colors. Blue = Way to Go! Green = Keep it Up! Yellow = Warning. Red = Stop and Think. Write each students' name on a clothes pin and put them all on green. Throughout the day, students move their name down for bad behavior, or get rewarded for good behavior by moving up to blue. This is a great idea for keeping track of who already has had warnings for the day. (Our school follows the Stop and Think program for behavior.) Students who move to blue get a 'Caught Ya' ticket, which they save up to buy prizes in Mrs. Lamb's school store.
        Click HERE to download a copy of her Caught Ya tickets.

        And to prove how cutesy she is, here are some pictures of her super cute classroom.

        FYI - Mrs. Lamb makes all her stuff from scratch. Her reading buddies and swimming friends are just clipart images, she has blown them up, traced onto poster board, pieced them together, and chalked the edges. Her dot numbers come are just a font that she blew up very large. 

        Plymouth or Plimoth?

        If you haven't done so already, you HAVE to visit and take your students on an exciting electronic field trip though Plimoth Plantation.

        Lots of fun things to learn about:
        • Meet a real descendent of a Wampanoag
        • Find out what the pilgrims really ate at the "First Thanksgiving"
        • Examine primary source documents
        • Learn what is a myth and what is a fact
        • Read about the lives of Wampanoags and Colonists
        Click here to download the teacher's guide.

        And... just for fun... I thought I'd throw in a picture of me in front of the Mayflower II (Replica of the real Mayflower). A year ago I was able to go on a Teacher's of American History Tour. We got to visit Plimoth Plantation and see the Mayflower II.

        (I'm the one in the Purple.)

        ABC order

        Learning about ABC order is tons of FUN in our classroom!  We read the cute book, Alpha Betti and this story is great for introducing ABC order for 1st graders and for reviewing it for upper grades. This story is great for all ages! 

        Then, we practice by putting cereal boxes in ABC order! Click HERE for the download.
        There aren't in ABC order...I promise I do know the order of the alphabet! :)

        Thanksgiving Math Activity

        This is a super fun activity for upper grades, but could easily be adapted for younger grades as well. Click here for a download.


        • You will need to gather some grocery ads from a couple different stores beforehand. (You'll need one per group from each different store.)
        • Divide your students in groups and make sure they have a poster board, scissors, markers, and glue.
        • You'll also want to have blank copies of the budget form.


        • Groups will work together to create a menu for a Thanksgiving dinner on a $40 budget.
        • They will need to go through the ads, compare prices of different food items to make sure they get the best deal.
        • They will need to calculate the total cost of the meal using the budget form, making sure to add, subtract, multiply and divide as needed. They cannot spend more than $40.
        • They will make a poster showing the final menu (using the pictures from the ads) with prices of each food item clearly marked. Make sure they write which store they purchase each item from.
        Important Information:
        • Tell students they need to be able to feed a family of 6 people.
        • They can choose whatever they want to eat; but should include a meat, a vegetable, some side dishes, a dessert, and a beverage.
        • Students do not need to buy condiments, dishes, silverware, etc.
        Teacher's Notes:
        • My team has been doing this activity for the past 4 years. Each year my students walk away with a whole new appreciation for what their families go through when planning a big meal such as Thanksgiving. They see how expensive food is and how hard it is to budget. A lot of times they even go home and tell their parents which store has the best deals on different food items. It is overall a wonderful learning experience!!
        • Groups will most likely argue about what food items to choose. I tell them beforehand that part of their grade on this project is teamwork and they have to work together to make everyone happy. That way, when they start arguing over which dessert to choose and complain to me, I just tell them they need to work it out together as part of their grade.
        • HAVE FUN! If you try this activity, make sure to leave a comment to tell us how it goes!

        Giveaway results!

        And the winner of our first giveaway, Sponsored by Tricia Fogg (an independent Scentsy consultant) is........Comment #28 
        (courtesy of!!!
        Rod and Shelly said this-
        Thanks for having your blog! I too, LOVE scentsy! I will also post your link on facebook! 
        Congrats! Please email me ( so I can get your information from you and we can get your new Scentsy sent right to your house!  Look for our next giveaway coming soon!

        Top 10 Things You Don't Learn About Teaching in College

        Want to use a Youtube Video clip in your classroom?

        Here's how: Go to, copy the link to the Youtube video you’d like to show, then click download. From there choose the quality of the video. Then you’re good to go.

        Leave a comment with a link to a great Youtube video you'd like to share with your class.

        Thanksgiving our way!

        After reading this cute story, we got HUNGRY! I told my students to think of what they would want if they could make their own Thanksgiving dinner. We made a class list of what we would have to buy at the grocery store (the kiddos came up with: cake, pepsi, Kit-Kats, strawberries). Then, they made their own list.  Click here for a  download of the shopping list.

        Management Monday!

        Do you have a student/child who just can't seem to get motivated to finish his/her work?  I do a "work chart" with my students who need a little extra push. I first meet with the student and their parents to introduce the work chart and explain how to do it (I invite the parents because they are always a huge part of the child's goal setting).  I tell the student that anytime they finish a task on time they can color in one square. When they fill in 10 they will get a special prize (I always find out what they love...Spiderman, Spongebob, Barbie's etc.) and I buy them something special.  Then we start over again...they get a new chart and they try to color in 10 more squares. After the 3rd chart, I add double the squares (so they have to get 20 tasks finished before a prize).  I notice that after the 3rd chart, they actually forget about the chart and just start finishing their work on their own. :)


        Next week we will be learning about GROWING patterns and review REPEATING patterns.  We will make a venn diagram to compare and contrast the two types.  Then, we are going to go on a pattern hunt around the classroom.  I have 10 items around the classroom (which are numbered 1-10) and each student will walk around the classroom with their clipboard and decide if each pattern is a growing or repeating pattern.  :)
        Click here to download the Growing or Repeating activity.

        Books I love about Growing patterns:

         Books I love about repeating patterns:

        Care Bear Card

        Like most teachers, I worry about my students all the time. Especially lately. I have had some pretty sad things going on with my students at school. Some kids just have rough home lives, and various other problems/illnesses/stresses, that make me want to cry most of the time.

        Today, I came up with a cute way to help these students feel cared for. It's the Care Bear Card!
        The bottom says:
        Keep this card as long as you need.

        When you feel better, return it to your teacher;

        or give it to someone else who needs to know they’re cared for.

        I laminated mine and wrote on it with a Vis-A-Vis; so they can be reusable. I have included my blank template below that you are free to use!
        Please leave a comment to let us know what you do to cheer up your students when they're feeling sad!

        (I do not believe the care bear image is copyright, but here's the link.)

        Parent Volunteers

        I love my parent volunteers! At the beginning of the year, the parents are able to pick a time to come in to the classroom and work with students or do miscellaneous projects to help me each week.  I just want to show you how I organize what I want them to do. I keep the items (lamination cut outs, cutting projects, or testing materials) in bins organized by days of the week. If a parent comes in on a Monday he/she can check the Monday bin to see if there is any work for them to do right when they come in. Sometimes I don't have anything in there, that means I have something more specific for them to do.
        I also have volunteers who help from home. I send home a "work bag" with something I need for them to help me with. I  include all the supplies needed with a note explaining what I need them to do and when I need it back to school by. I usually give them at least a week. Then on my own personal spreadsheet I have all of my at home volunteers on a list. I make sure to mark by their name what I sent home and when it is due. This ensures the parent doesn't forget to send it in and I make sure that I am not sending home tons of stuff with just one parent.
        Work bag

        Management Monday!

        Every Monday we are going to post a couple of tips on management ideas (motivators, positive reinforcements, transitions, etc).  Here is my tip today- I actually just started this class motivator with my class this week because I wanted something different.
        I got it from another fellow teacher/blogger at First Grader at Last!

        Brownie Points......I LOVE it and it is a great twist on the good old marble jar!  I always make sure to have a motivator for each part of the classroom: *individual, *table, *and whole class.  This is for the WHOLE CLASS!  Just buy a regular old cookie sheet and attach magnet tape to the back, and then stick it to your white board. Anytime the class as a whole are doing a great job by listening, following directions, being responsible, finishing their work, working quietly, etc.... you can give them a "brownie".  When they fill up the whole tray they can pick from the mystery envelope (which I would have taped to the bottom of the tray for a great mystery).  The students can earn extra recess, lunch with the teacher, popcorn party, or an afternoon movie.  What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment.

        You can find the brownie download {here}.

        Current Events

        I think that it is very important for my 5th graders to be up to date on the current issues facing our country. The best way I have found to do this is by showing my students a 10 minute daily news program called CNN Student News.
        You can stream the program straight from the internet, but I prefer to use iTunes to download the daily podcast. It's simple to download: Open up your iTunes, go to the iTunes Store, type in CNN Student News, and download the current episode. It's completely free!

        I have shown this program for 4 years, and think it has a great impact on my students and their knowledge of current events and important issues facing America. Over the years, my students have been up to date on all the important events; like the 2008 Presidential Election, the Earthquake in Haiti, and most recently, the miners in Chile.

        I recommend this program to all 5th grade students and above. It helps students become more aware of their country, helps meet state curriculum standards, and overall makes them better American citizens.

        Free Stuff!

        Every teacher likes free stuff, right?! Have you ever thought what you’d like to get for your classroom if you could afford it? Would it be technology? Books? Or even just some extra basic supplies? Read on to find out how you can get free materials for your classroom.
        I was introduced to this awesome website about four years ago. Since then, I have received a total of 5 (FIVE!) grants from this website. The best part about it: IT'S SUPER EASY! It honestly takes me an evening, just a couple hours, to write a whole grant.
        Sometimes when I share this information with teachers, their reply is, “I don’t have time for things like that,” or, “It seems too complicated,” or even, “No one would donate to me.” But honestly, take it from someone who has received almost 25 hundred dollars in materials for my classroom, it is not too difficult.
        Here are the steps:
        2. Sign up for a teacher account
        • Click create a project
        • Click get started
        3. Write your proposal
        • Create a name for your project
        • Go shopping
        • Follow the prompts to write your essay (a series of questions that help explain what you need and why you need it)
        4. Press submit
        • Then all you have to do is wait until someone donates money to fund your project. (Sometimes it takes up to 6 months for a project to be funded. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't get funded right away.)
        Here are the projects that I have had funded:

        LCD Projector: $823.17

        Literature circle books: $264.63

        Chemistry supplies: $559.76

        Shakespeare for Kids books: $300.00

        A class set of books on Ellis Island: $465.83
        Total: $2,413.39
        Good luck and happy grant writing!
        Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...