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A Teacher's Week

We go through a roller coaster of emotions and moods throughout the week, don't we?  Whether you teach in pre-k or high school, I think you can relate!



We got this! Interventions, meetings, differentiation, small groups, documentation - no problem! We are super heroes!

Alright! We are half way though! I mean seriously, did you see how we handled that surprise fire alarm? Perfection!

What? Your administration did not high five you for all that amazing work from the last 3 days? No matter! You are awesome!

Party!  I think a dance party with your students is in order!  You rocked this week!


Oh ya! You deserve it! Watch your favorite Netflix series and put your feet up!

Oh crud!  I didn't do any laundry or housework yesterday!  Two days worth of work in two hours?  No problem - I am a teacher!


You all amaze me at all you accomplish and the creative ways you teach to your students.  Thank you teachers for all you do!  You may not always hear is, but you ARE appreciated!

Do you use Bean Bags in the Classroom? Must read!

Replacing all those little styrofoam balls in bean bags is major $$$! My bean bags were getting flat and so I went to Staples to purchase a bag of packing peanuts to fill them up.  I promptly walked away.  Ummmm, no thank you!  It was over $20 for one bag!  I could have purchased new bean bags for that price!!!!

One of my coworkers came up with the idea of using plastic shopping bags! I just save up lots of my plastic bags after grocery shopping and bring them to school.  Ask parents for them too as I am sure many of them would LOVE to get rid of some of those plastic bags and feel like they went to great use.  It's free and it makes the bean bags so cushiony without the noise.  I just zip the bean bags open and add my piles of plastic bags.  Easy peasy!  My students sure appreciate the extra padding, and I appreciate the savings in my pocket!

Christmas Gifts for Students

It is a dilemma we teachers have every single year.  What do we purchase our students for Christmas (that we can afford)?  I have searched around for some of the best ideas from some amazing teachers.  Here are some fabulous ideas!

1.  $1.00 Books from Scholastic
Every month Scholastic offers a dollar deal in their flyer.  Order several every month and you will have a great assortment by the time Christmas rolls around or just order all the same books for the whole class.  You can also use your Bonus Points toward the books.

2.  Scholastic $5 Book Coupons 
I actually make a purchase of Scholastic $5 Book Coupons at the beginning of the school year and even though the coupons state that they are Birthday Coupons, I use them to purchase my student's Christmas books.  Why?  It costs me $34 to purchase 32 coupons, so each coupon basically costs $1.00, but I am able to purchase $5 books with each coupon!  With my upfront purchase of $34, I can buy $160 worth of books.  Mad Libs is always a fun activity at the party.   

3.  Coloring books and crayons
You can pick up some amazing coloring books for $1.00 or less at stores like Dollar Tree and if you purchase crayons at Back to School time, you can get some pretty amazing deals.  You could also create your own coloring book and staple it together.  There are 3 cute (and free) coloring sheets available on ClassDojo.  Just scroll down to the Classroom Decoration Pack available on the ClassDojo Resources page and download for free.  

4.  Snowman Soup
Assemble items for Snowman Soup!  It's like a mini hot chocolate kit for kids!

5. Homework Pass and Candy Canes  
Print some free editable homework passes and give each child a candy cane!  

6.  Personalized Bookmarks
Print and laminate bookmarks for your students.  Here is a printable bookmark freebie for you.  You can edit the to and from section! 

7.  Pack of Gum with a Gum Pass
Gum has been banned from school since the beginning of time, so allowing your students to chew the gum you bought them during class time is almost downright scandalous!  Telling them, "Don't tell the  principal!" makes it that much more fun.  Download the free printable and editable gum pass here.

8. Make an ornament
Purchase supplies for your class as a present and enjoy an afternoon of art with your students.  You could make a Snowman Handprint Ornament.  

9.  Build a gingerbread house
Purchase graham crackers, white icing, mini candy canes, gum drops, colored chocolate chips (yes, there is such a thing), m&m's or Skittles, and other small candies.  Let the students construct gingerbread houses with the supplies.  Turn on some Christmas music and display a fireplace or Christmas tree on the projector.  Have a fun afternoon together!

10.  Plan a special day
Pajama day, Grinch Day, North Pole Express Day, Game Day, Frozen Theme or visit the arctic.  Make it a day to look forward to and give the gift of fun!

11.  Personalized Pencils
Purchase Personalized Pencils for each of your students with their own name.  They receive 3 pencils in a pouch for less than a $1.00 per student.  Bonus!  When your students lose their pencils, you will know who it belongs to.  Win-Win!

12. Fun pair of gloves or socks
You can find lots of fun and silly Christmas themed socks for $1 at stores like Dollar Tree this time of the year.  $1 gloves would also make a great gift!  Both of these are fun and yet practical because many of our students are in need of these items.  

13. Filled Stocking
Dollar Tree always has $1 stockings available and I have also seen the mini-stockings for less than 50 cents each.  You can fill them with wrapped candies, stickers, candy canes, bookmarks, a hot chocolate package, a homework pass or classroom coupon.  

14.  Personalized Ornament
Purchase plastic ornaments and a metallic sharpie marker.  Write the student's name, grade, and year on the ornament and of course who it is from.  

15.  A donation in their name to a charity
Make a donation in honor of your students.  Print out a certificate stating where the donation was made to and put each student's name on the certificate.  St. Jude's is one great cause you could donate to.

Keeping Students Accountable while using the EPIC app

More of us are engaging our students by using technology in our classrooms.  But how do we keep them accountable?  I use the EPIC app for independent and group reading in my classroom.  It is also a wonderful resource for research. An EPIC account is available free for all educators.  Students can access EPIC on tablets and computers.  You can check out one of the research projects we completed in my classroom below using EPIC.

My friend, Kami from Teaching with APPitude, is such a wonderful resource for all things iPads.  In this video, she teaches how she keeps her students accountable using the EPIC app.  I love how she show step by step how she assigns books in her classroom and how she keeps her students on track in such a simple way.

I have learned so many wonderful easy technology tips from Kami.  You can find her on Facebook and check out many of her videos. She does such an excellent job of explaining, and she is fun to watch too!

Last year, my class created animal report posters and we exclusively used the EPIC app for our research. (Check out our posters below.)  My students were able to gather multiple sources to cite their research, and it was such a blessing because they were able to find books on their level.  

Each of my students picked an animal.  If some students wanted to pick the same animal, I was fine with that.  It actually turned out to be a blessing because they were able to help each other out a bit.  Each of them were able to find several books that were on topic and on level.  Some books were even read aloud books so my students who needed support, had it. Since research for 2nd-4th Graders is such a new concept, having all of the books in one place is so helpful.

I find using the poster display is makes it very possible for my students because it doubles as a graphic organizer for them to gather all of their information.

You can see some more examples below and also a timeline for my lesson plan for the week.

These animal report posters are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store along with many other research posters.

Teaching Common, Proper and Abstract Nouns with Engaging Activities

I love teaching grammar when I can get my students involved and active!  This week we were studying common and proper nouns (with a bit of abstract nouns thrown in there too).  If you have to cover the Common Core Standards it covers L.3.1C and L.3.2A.  I am not a worksheet type of teacher and so when it can be more interactive and engaging I am all about it!

Some weeks I make my own activities, but I was short on time.  I was saved by Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey, a 3rd Grade teacher from my neighboring state.  At our school, our mascot is the Bulldogs, and I have a dog theme in my classroom, so when I saw her "Paws-itively Perfect Proper Nouns activities, I knew I had to use it in my classroom!

On Monday we started our mini-books.  The kids love stapling them together (why I am not sure, but it is such a treat for them),  I enjoy giving them 5-10 minutes to take ownership of their book by coloring the cover.  I use this time to remember to submit my attendance (which I always forget) and to make sure I have my supplies ready for the next few subjects or bring up the website that I may be using in the next subject.  A lot of times we feel guilty as teachers giving the students time to color when it isn't a "state standard" we have to cover, but I feel like this allows me to get totally organized so I don't waste any teaching time later in the day.

Mini books can be homemade.  Just staple a few index cards together and have the students write a rule on each page with examples for proper nouns, common nouns and abstract nouns.

The mini-book introduces the students to Butch the Bulldog as he takes them through the rules of nouns.  I love that Butch doesn't just "tell" the students the rules, but makes them infer from examples.  On these pages, there are several different ways to practice the concepts of common, proper and abstract nouns.  Check out the quick check practice on the back of the mini-book.  >>>

With a homemade mini book, you could also have students write several words on one of the pages and color code them.

Throughout the week, we had different centers.  The correct/incorrect proper nouns center is one of my favorites because I love having my students sort.  First, they sort by whether or not the proper nouns are written correctly.  Afterward, I had my students rewrite the incorrect sentences.  

I like this type of sorting activity and use it often.  This is where I put those worksheets that I have a dislike for into practice.  I cut up parts of the worksheet and have the kids sort them!  Just like this correct/incorrect sorting activity and then we correct some of the sentences on our white boards.  I find that the kids are more invested and engaged even though they are truly doing the same work.

We use IXL at my school, so another one of my centers involved working toward earning a medal for completing the skills that we were covering:  common and proper nouns and abstract nouns.  IXL is free for the first 10 questions, but it is worth every penny for the subscription!  This is the 3rd year that our school has purchased it.  

The Color-a-Noun center was probably the most popular.  Who doesn't enjoy coloring with dry erase markers?  I laminated this center so I could use it over and over.  However, I tell you one way to get those kids motivated to do this activity would be to let them use the sheet without lamination and allow them to use the smelly markers!  My kids go ape over using those.  

After using this Color-a Noun activity, I was inspired to make a few homemade sorting activities similar to this for my classroom.  It was so easy.  All you have to do is make several shapes (circles "polka dots" are super easy) all over the page and write a word in each one.  Then at the bottom add a code.

The Paws-itively Perfect Proper nouns activity pack has even more print and go activities.  If you love these hands-on type activities as much as I do, you may want to check out similar resources here >>> Grammar resources by Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey <<< 

How to Solve, "I can't find my ...." syndrome in the classroom

We teachers would seriously be rich if we earned a quarter every time one of our students said, "I can't find my pencil." or "My scissors are gone."  Since we have student desks in our classroom, my students' supplies would get buried in their desks.  I had to come up with a solution.  Dollar Tree to the rescue!

I wanted my students to have a few of their main supplies ON their desk so they could quickly grab it.  I purchased these colorful plastic cups from Dollar Tree (4 cups for $1.00), and velcro with sticky back tape in long strips.  I cut the velcro to the size of the bottom of the cups and put the rougher velcro on the bottom of the cup and the softer velcro on the corner of their desk.  Done!  They now have a removable supply holder that holds a few of their pencils, a glue stick, scissors, ruler and pen. No more searching around for their glue stick when they need it.  I also love that I can eye what is in the cup quickly.

What is even more amazing is how these $0.25 cups have held up.  I have used them for two years now and they are going to last for year number three!  Since it was the end of the school year, I just took the cups home and washed them in my dishwasher.  After they dried out, I stacked them up and put them in storage for the summer.  They have been an amazing investment.

You can see how I velcro them onto the corner of each students' desk with the essential supplies they will need for a typical day.  They do still keep a box (or pencil bag) of crayons and colored pencils in their desk.  

Wondering where we keep the rest of our school supplies?  Hop on over to All About 3rd Grade and scroll down to tip #3!

Looking for a Printer? Bonus - Never Go to the Store for Ink Again!

Oh man!  I ran out of printer ink again!  This used to be me, and then I would forget to buy ink the next time I was at the store.  That is until I found the HP Instant Ink program.  When you purchase a HP (instant ink compatible) printer, you never EVER have to buy your ink at the store again!  It is shipped to your house and it is WAY less than purchasing it at the store!

There are different monthly programs you can sign up for.  For example, I purchased 100 pages (color or b&w) printed per month for $4.99 + tax.  You can sign up for less or more pages printed per month.  It seems too good to be true, but this is one of the best decisions I have ever made!  It saves me so much time and hassle.

What do I love about my HP printer?
1.  I don't have to go to the store to buy ink EVER again.
2.  The ink is shipped to my house automatically.  I don't even have to order it because your printer knows how much ink you have remaining and it orders it for you!
3.  It is so much more economical!  When I purchased ink at the store I spent around $65 -$75 just to have ink for 6 months. I personally pay $4.99 + tax now per month.  That is only around $60 for the whole year!
4.  I can change my printing plan when I need to.  I currently pay $4.99 + tax for 100 sheets printed for the month.  If I think I am going to print more or less for the following months, I can change that plan.
5.  Did I mention I never EVER have to purchase ink at the store again?!?!?!

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  I am compensated for sharing my recommendations.)

Would you like a month's printing for free?  Use this referral link.

Here are some great printers you can order through Amazon!

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