Management Monday: End of the Year Behavior!

Being in year round school {we're in school until July}, this time of the year is very difficult for my students {and me too}. The traditional schools are already out of school for summer, the weather is great, and we all have "summer fever"...which makes for a little stress on my behavior management.  The behavior of my students always takes a slight step back.  Since it takes a step back, I guess I'll have to!  Talking to teachers on my team, they told us that at the end of the year, they start a money management system by giving school money out to students who are following the expectations. Then they have a class store/party {we'll have parent volunteers donate items and their time} at the end where they can buy things. HALLELUJAH! It's exactly what we needed {me and my teammate who works on the same track as I}. So, I ran with it and started creating!  I created a packet to explain the money management. I know some of you are out of school already, but print it and save it for next year! This could work for any grade level {I'm using it in 1st grade}.

Here are a few things from the packet...


 Parent Volunteer Letter:

 Supplies need for end of the year class store:

Signs to help the students navigate {7 total}:

 Receipts from the class store:
 Labels {use Avery 5160}  for your "Wallet" {it's a ziplock your kiddos put their coins in}:

If you would like the labels that go on the ziplock baggies {Wallets}, you must click {here}
I could not get those little guys to format in my packet!

Summer Birthdays

In my class we celebrate summer birthdays all at the same time, usually during the last week of school. I made an invite to send home with my students and I thought I'd share. 
What do you do to celebrate summer birthdays?

Civil War Battle Projects

I posted a couple months ago about the Revolutionary War battle projects my students were working on. Well, I have now adapted that same project to go with the Civil War. The best thing about this project is that it is mostly an independent project - it's great to do with a sub. 

I have included this list of 15 battles. You can cut up these slips to assign battles to your students.
After students do their research in the computer lab, they work on designing a battle poster using the information from their research. 

Here's how some of them turned out:

(Oh, and can we please not talk about the fact that school ends in 6 days and I still have 150 years of American history cover...)

End of Year Writing

I created this little brainstorm page to guide students through an end of the year reflection essay.
The completed essay will be 10 paragraphs long highlighting some of their favorite things throughout the year. 

I've never done a structured piece of writing like this at the end of the year before, so I'm a little unsure that the finished product will look like. I'm excited to see how they all turn out!

Management Monday: Next year!

As we are all finishing up this year, we can't help but think about next year.  I have a list of things I MUST do to get ready for the next year BEFORE this year is even over. Like most of you know , I love to make lists! Here is my list to help you organize for next year {click the pic to download}:

How are you preparing for the next school year?

Parent Volunteer Gift Ideas to say thanks!

How to thank your parent volunteers at the end of the year. . .
At the end of each year, I scramble on what to give my parent volunteers as a thank you gift. I am in love with using "a play on words".  It's totally my style.  Here are some things I've done in the past!  I've provided you with the tags that go with each gift.  If you'd like to print the tags smaller {they are quite large}, download the file and go to file then page set up and change the percentage to 60% or smaller.

This first gift to say thank you to a parent volunteer is a tag that goes on a set of measuring cups! This year, I'm giving my parent volunteers a set of colorful measuring cups from The Dollar Tree {I have 17 classroom and at-home volunteers this year!!!!} with this tag:
 And this goes on the back:

This next parent volunteer thank you gift gift goes with a bottle of Bath and Body Works hand lotion/soap! Well, it could go with any hand lotion or soap, but I just love the deals I can get at BBW!  Thanks Jess for this idea!


This is what I did for my volunteers last year! I bought those cute popcorn containers from the Target Dollar Spot {I said Target Dollar Spot- need I say more?}. I filled each one with movie theater candy and home-made caramel corn! Yum.
How do you say "THANKS" to your volunteers?

Reference Books - Sort

                 I have a confession...

I've taught for 5 years and I have never explicitly taught the differences between a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, and an atlas...

I just assumed they always knew...

We use dictionaries all year... 
and atlases...
and thesauruses...
and online encyclopedias...
                         So I thought they would know!

But they don't. I was shocked to see that my students struggled to identify the differences between the uses of each of these books.

So, I made this sort...
What do ya think?

Management Monday - Student Planners

I think it's very important to make sure students have a daily homework planner. In my class, this planner needs to be filled out each day in class (we do it together), checked and signed off by a parent/guardian each night, then returned for a teacher stamp each morning.This way, everyone's on the same page about what and when homework, projects, and notes are due.

I know you can buy fancy student planners, but I prefer to make my own.

First, I make a weekly template and include any homework that stays the same each week (my students always have to read 30 minutes, and always have to work on spelling). I can add my math homework or anything else that is due on the blank lines. I also personalize each day, making sure to add in vacation days. (This is very helpful because I don't feel like I have to send home reminder notes all the time.) I continue until I have a page for each week of the school year.

Here's my general template:
I always buy 1/2 inch binders from Costco (they come is a 6 pack for around $8 each). I like them because they're skinny enough that they don't take up much room in desks and fit well in backpacks.

And of course, you'll need a cute cover.
*Helpful hint - It does get time consuming for me to stamp everyone's planner everyday, but I feel it's important to do this otherwise students won't care if they get a parent signature or not. You can have a class secretary do this. I, personally, like to check to make sure everyone returned their homework each day, so I turn on CNN Student News (click here for information on downloading this free 10 minute news podcast) and stamp folders and check homework during this time.


What does the teacher want? Money! YES! :)

As the year winds down, we start to think of more and more hands-on activities! Here is a fun little independent game {or partner game} to practice counting coins AND to take an assessment on. We were practicing only counting nickels and pennies, but you can use any combination.You just need a bag of school money, a cup {that's optional}, and the recording sheet.

The students can scoop and total with a little cup or pinch and total by pinching the coins in the bag.

Click HERE to download {both are included}! :)

Are ya'll facebook followers of What the Teacher Wants? Click {Here} to go there now!  I have an important question I've asked a few days ago that I need your input on! :) Thanks!

More Science: Electricity

We've been doing so much "fun science" lately. 
Hands on science = fun science!

I mentioned before that my team does rotations for science. There are five science standards for 5th grade and we split up all the units. I teach my matter unit four times and the other teachers cover everything else. I absolutely love it! But I also LOVE the end of the year when I review before testing and I pull out all my fun stuff. The past couple days we've been playing with circuits, static electricity, electromagnetism, and bar magnets. It's been great!!

I want to share some of my electricity stuff with you all, but I feel bad because I made it last year and it's not super cute. (It is in no way up to normal What The Teacher Wants standards...) I would fix it up all cute, but let's face it: it's May, there are only 14 days of school left, and I'm T.I.R.E.D!! :)

In this activity, students use batteries, paperclips, and Christmas lights to make a simple circuit. (One of the questions on the worksheet helps them find out that you can make the light brighter by adding an extra battery.) This is inquiry based where the students design their own experiment and learn through trial and error.

In this activity, students (kind of) make an electroscope.  They get to test different objects to determine how they are attracted to each other through static electricity.

Now, I want to know... 
What "fun science" do YOU do with your class?

Playing with Diapers

We really did play with diapers today and my students loved it. It was all part of an inquiry-based science experiment that ended up being lots of fun. This activity is simple and easy to do without a lot of preparation.
First, download this form.
Then, gather the materials you'll need:
We used a diapers, graduated cylinders, water, plates and/or cups. 
(One per group. 4 students in a group = 8 groups total.)

Last, let your students explore.
I promise your students will love it! :)

FYI - For more science resources for Matter check out my Physical and Chemical Changes Resource Pack for sale at Teachers Pay Teachers

Management Monday: The to-do list!

It's time to put away that mess of a to-do list {aka 1,000 sticky notes} all over your desk.  I used to write every to-do list on a separate sticky note. After about 10 on my desk {and some stuck to my butt}, I would throw them away and forget whatever it was I had to do! Sometimes, my desk looked like this {do you see the sticky note to-do list EXPLOSION?}:

But, then....I saw this amazing post by one of my favorite bloggy gals, Katie {Persnickety Pickles}.  Basically she made the cutest to-do lists!  I loved the idea, and I had a couple things I wanted to add on my to-do list topics, so I changed it up a bit. Then, I put my to-do list on a clipboard {a cutesy one from Target in the dollar section} and I hang it up next to my desk for easy access.
I {almost} never lose my list for the week! 

Click {HERE} for the to-do list! There are 2 included, one for school and one for home!

I also think this will be GREAT  for an end of the year gift to your teammates on your grade level!

P.S. Doesn't it feel SO good to cross things off of your to-do list? Sometimes I write things I've already done, just so I can

  • Wake up
  • Brush Teeth
  • Laminate
  • Get reading books
  • Watch Oprah

It's easy as ABC and 123

I can hear the Jackson 5 singin' to me right now! 

I just wanted to share a little guest post I wrote today for ABC and 123's blog {such a great blog}. On the first Wednesday of every month, I have the honor to write a guest blog post about the dreaded topic.....dun, dun, dun....{QUE horror music}.....


This months post is a review game for telling time {all grade levels} with a FREE download.  So, go on, check it out!  You'll see this little picture and you'll know it's me {don't forget to show your love by leaving a comment over there at ABC and 123}!

Click {HERE} to go there now!

Because I appreciate YOU!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!  I have a little download that I think I'll use as an "end of the year" gift to my teammates!  It's my take on subway art, but it really doesn't look like subway art at all. It's called, Rachelle Art. Ha!  Click {HERE} to download!

I also love this subway art from my fave gals from eighteen25
{It's where I got my "inspiration".}
See it {here}.

Also, did you hear about the GREAT sale going on at Teachers Pay Teachers just for TODAY? Well, head over to  The Lesson Plan SOS Blog and those gals will show you what teachers/bloggy gals are participating in the sale. I bought 3 units!

Management Monday

I'd like to revisit a little management tip I posted a looonnnnngggg time ago.

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. :)

Click {HERE} to download the 10 square work chart

and {HERE} to download the 20 square work chart

What do you do to motivate those little kiddos who need that extra push? I'd love to hear!

I linked up with the Lesson Plan Diva!
I linked up with Fun in First Grade!
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