Earth Day is quickly approaching and while I know that many of you may already have the day planned out, I wanted to offer a few more ideas and suggestions that you might be able to incorporate into your instruction. Instead of simply focusing on Earth Day for one day, I like to incorporate cross curricular Earth Day activities throughout the week leading up to Earth Day. I think it's important to expand on the topic and give lots of time for disuccsion and opportunities for new learning. There is SO much to know about Earth Day! One day is never enough. I also love giving my kids opportunities to build their schema before Earth Day … [Read more...] about Earth Day
***This post contains affiliate links via Amazon*** A couple of days ago we chatted all about how I plan for a thematic unit with a focus on insects. Today we're diving into a couple of insects I focus on during this unit of learning...bees and ants! Our kids are naturally curious about bugs. Each year I was in the classroom a recurring theme of interest kept occurring. My kids were SO inquisitve about bees and ants. I do think a big part of this was due to the fact that these two particular insects were always swarming about during recess and other outdoor activities, but nonetheless they wanted to know all they could about these … [Read more...] about All About Insects – Part 2 (Bees and Ants)
One of my favorite thematic units to teach is INSECTS! Does anyone else feel the same?! Now, many of you may be scoffing at the word "thematic", but don't let that word fool you. I don't mean thematic in the sense of arts and crafts and fluff and stuff. I mean thematic in the sense of cross-curricular learning. Now that we have that out of the way, let's chat about insects. This is the perfect time of the year to learn about these little creatures. As the weather changes and gives way to the emergence of bugs EVERYWHERE, our cross-curricular learning comes to life! SCIENCE OF INSECTS To make our cross-curricular unit of … [Read more...] about All About Insects – Part 1
If you're anything like me, as a teacher you love teaching thematically. SO much content can be covered on a cross-curricular level...so many connections can be made... when taking this approach to instruction. And because most public schools don't support teaching about Easter, this is a great time of the year for teaching all about oviparous and viviparous animals! Today I wanted to share with you a few activities and read alouds I love incorporating in my plans this time of the year. No thematic unit of learning is complete without a good set of read alouds! These are a few of my favorite oviparous animal books to keep in the … [Read more...] about Let’s Talk About Oviparous Animals
With all the random crazy weather days we've had this year, I know many teacher friends who have yet to celebrate the 100th day. If you're anything like me, you like this special day to be organized, simple, and FUN, but MEANINGFUL at the same time. I gotcha covered, friends! Check out some ideas below for celebrating the 100th day of school. For the first few years of my teaching career, I didn't think the 100th day of school was all that. I mean sure...it was special. SUPER special (for lack of a better description). But I didn't invest much time in planning because I guess I didn't think it was THAT big of a deal. Oh, how … [Read more...] about 100th Day of School
The best way to spread holiday cheer is celebrating differences far and near...don't you think?! Holidays Around the World has always been one of my favorite themes for the month of December. I've planned for this many different ways over the years. Some years we'd learn about several countries in a 2-3 day time frame. Some years we'd take a week to study different cultures and celebrations. When I last taught Kindergarten, our entire campus (it was a Pre-K/Kindergarten campus only) traveled the world in one day. Our kids got boarding passes and boarded a plane. Destination - holidays around the world. Our administrators acted as the … [Read more...] about Holidays Around the World
*This post contains affiliate links via Amazon* On a personal level, Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday. The parades. The family. The FOOD!!!! And when the weather cooperates, it's one of the most magical days of the year (for me, anway). So it should come as no surprise that I would feel the same about celebrating Thanksgiving in the classroom, too. Well, any holiday, really ;) Here are a few things I've done with my Kindergarten and First Graders through the years during the month of November. Of course, I don't have time for everything you see every single year, so depending on the dynamic and abilities of my students, I … [Read more...] about Celebrating Thanksgiving
Last week we chatted all about BAT WEEK, so I figured it was only fitting to follow-up with some ideas for Spider Week! As I've said before, teaching foundational concepts and skills using these two creatures as the thematic vehicle for instruction is so very fitting for this time of the year. Especially on campuses where any talk of Halloween is forbidden. Bats and spiders are a little "spooky"...which fits right in with Halloween...but not scary (depending on your phobias ;) I'm always asked about how I'm able to incorporate thematic teaching this time of the year while being sensitive to the understanding that Halloween just isn't … [Read more...] about Spider Week
Ahhh. It's October. This time of the year lends itself to SO many themes we can use to teach different skills and concepts. Candy, the skeletal system, pumpkins, and Fall. And SO many more! Two of my most favorite thematic units of study this time of the year are bats and spiders. I typically start the month of October using these two themes the first couple of weeks. Today I wanted to take a minute to share with you what the first couple of weeks of October might look like in my classroom. Today we'll start with bats! Tune-in tomorrow for Spider Week activities and ideas! I always start out bat week using a schema … [Read more...] about Bat Week
One of the most challenging tasks at the beginning of any school year is the daunting feat of teaching a classroom full of 5 -7 year olds to function independently...and effectively!!...in centers/stations. From organizing independent groups to setting up differentiated learning centers, fast finisher activities, and planning for small group, it's a challenge to say the least! #andalltheteacherssaidamen Something I hear from teachers quite frequently is, "they always forget what they're supposed to do! I end up losing so much of my small group instructional time trying to redirect confused learners and fan out small flames." Does that … [Read more...] about Audio CVC Centers
I often get asked how I'm able to fit things into my day and I'm hoping this helps give you an idea of how that looks. Let's go ahead and start with the plans. I'm fortunate enough to be able to help teachers plan for their days while pushing in to assist and mentor. We talk a lot about "fitting it all in" and I hope this helps you to see what that looks like. I tend to OVERplan because I'd rather have more than enough to get through the day(s). You can download them HERE for a closer look. Whew. Now let's break it all down. MORNING WARM-UP Most kids are still filtering in during this time, so I like to give my kids something … [Read more...] about Fitting It All In
It's back to school season...my FAVORITE time of the year! While it's an exciting time for our kids, I know our teachers are just as excited, too. As a parent, I love to start the school year with a few teacher appreciation gifts. And while I might not "know" my child's teacher(s), I truly appreciate them. I appreciate the time they've spent all summer readying their classrooms to pour into their students. I appreciate the time they've spent away from their own families to prep for their new classroom family. I appreciate everything they WILL DO for my child...and every other child...throughout the year. I appreciate everything about … [Read more...] about Back To School Printables
Back to school is one of my most favorite "seasons" of the year. The excitement and anticipation of a new year is palpable. The new backpacks & lunchkits, fresh supplies, & chance to start over. I love it ALL. This back-to-school season I had the opportunity to help one of my favorite campuses prep for the school year by creating a special board for the front office. Administration came up with the most AMAZING idea. We see staff shout-out boards decorate teacher's lounges & office hallways everywhere. This is similar in concept, but instead of teachers and staff recognizing their co-workers, this board is intended to … [Read more...] about Boast Board – Bulletin Board Idea
Encouraging students to be responsible learners can oftentimes be a challenging task. It's wonderful when our students come to us with experience in responsibility (like doing chores at home!), but oftentimes that just isn't our reality. So it's our job, as teachers, to TEACH our students HOW to be responsible. Teach them what it means. What it looks like and what it doesn't look like. Model responsibility. Encourage it. Most of all...provide them with opportunities to be responsible!!! One of the most effective ways to instill within our students a sense of responsibility is by trusting them with a specific job. A task for which … [Read more...] about Help Wanted: Classroom Jobs!
Prior to the start of the new school year, I always like to reflect on my relationships with my parents from the previous years. What could I have done better? How can I improve? How can I deepen my relationships with both parents AND students? These aren't always comfortable questions to ask myself because at some point they lead me back to my mistakes and weaknesses and confronting my shortcomings isn't always easy. However, being willing to recognize and admit my areas of weakness always leads to change and improvement and that's ALWAYS a good thing!!! While I think my parent relationship game is pretty strong, I will admittedly tell … [Read more...] about Managing Parent Communication
There are so many things to anticipate with the start of a new school year. Organization...classroom management...centers....small group...and everything in between! I love trying new things and making learning hands-on and engaging for my kids. I think that's the key to creating lasting connections that kids can refer back to when trying to recall and apply new information. When our kids can get their hands "dirty" so to speak, they're more engaged in what they're learning. I think that's pretty much common sense, but so often we get bogged down with SO many other responsibilities and obligations that the path of least resistance seems … [Read more...] about Math Fun For Our Little Ones
It's that time of year again. Time to go back to school. Can you believe it?! I know the Target Dollar Spot has been preparing us for this moment for a couple of months now, but I still can't believe it's already time to return to the classroom. This summer I had the opportunity to present a few professional development sessions centered around the back to school season and everything it entails. From setting up and organizing classrooms to establishing routines and procedures, we covered lots of ground! In my opinion, one of the most important things we as teachers do at the beginning of the year (besides setting the foundation for … [Read more...] about Back to School with Social Studies
Earlier this afternoon I posted this picture on Instagram.... I received a few messages after posting regaring the containers I used for organization, so I thought I'd take a minute to break it all down in case anyone else is curious, too! Storage containers, Sterilite drawers, and clear shoe organizers!!! Affordable and efficient!!! I absolutely love the clear shoe organizer for catching lots of odds and ends that would typically end up in a drawer and eventually find themselves at the bottom of said drawer leaving me baffled and beyond frustrated. The visual piece helps keep things organized and easy to find!!! These are the … [Read more...] about Storage Solutions for the Classroom
Yes YOU. The one whose weary body hits snooze 5 times before hurriedly rushing out the door to get to school on time. I'm talking to you. The permanently positive teacher who slides into the classroom on rainbows and dreads the end of the school year because it means having to say goodbye to your students. I'm talking to you. And all of you amazing teachers in between. I'm talking to you, too. To the teacher who doesn't like a classroom full of stuff and has opted for a more streamlined and calming decor scheme, IT'S OKAY. It doesn't mean you're not an awesome teacher because your … [Read more...] about Hey Teachers….It’s OKAY.
As the end-of-the-year quickly approaches, we often find ourselves looking for exciting ways to engage our kids, keep their interest, and teach them all the way until the last day. Okay, okay....the last week(ish), LOL. So often Science and Social Studies take a backseat to the daily demands of math and literacy, but there are SO many ways to incorporate science on a cross-curricular level. Why not end the year with a BANG and incorporate hands-on science activities that include a literacy and math component as well?! Abby and I created a year's worth of The Science Of...resources to meet the needs of science, … [Read more...] about End of Year Science
Can y'all believe we're already (quickly) approaching the end of April?! WHERE DID THE YEAR GO?! Our babies get out at the end of May and you know how May goes. Everything sort of hits us at once. Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, testing, assessment after assessment, portfolios, cumulative folders, plays, musicals, field trips, graduation, etc., etc., etc. Try as we may to be on top of things, sometimes the inevitable just sneaks up on us! For me, that is usually Mother's Day. I always think I have more time to plan and prep. What about you?! Well today I wanted to share with you some Mother's … [Read more...] about Celebrating Mother’s Day
If you're anything like me, as a teacher you love teaching thematically. SO much content can be covered on a cross-curricular level...so many connections can be made... when taking this approach to instruction. And because most public schools don't support teaching about Easter, this is a great time of the year for teaching all about oviparous and viviparous animals! Today I wanted to share with you a few activities and read alouds I love incorporating in my plans this time of the year. No thematic unit of learning is complete without a good set of read alouds! These are a few of my favorite oviparous animal books … [Read more...] about Learning About Oviparous Animals
Today we're talking all about sight words. Specifically, my top 5 effective tips for making sight words STICK! So often we as teachers focus on assessing our student's sight word automaticity in isolation, but overlook the need to reinforce that same instant recall when identifying sight words in context. We assume that easily reading sight words in context will be a by-product of focused instruction of words in isolation, right?! TRUTH: I would always get so frustrated when my kids would recall words in isolation with NO problem, but when reading them in context...it was like crickets! Complete and … [Read more...] about 5 Tips for Teaching Sight Words – How to Make Them Stick!
Happy first day of Spring to you!!! To be completely honest, I'm not sure Texas even had a winter. Well, not much of one anyway. A few chilly days, but nothing to write home about. I'm definitely NOT complaining....I'm cold when the temps dip below 80 degrees...but it's crazy to think it's already SPRING!!!! And you know what that means?! Summer break is only 48 short days away...but who's counting?! #andalltheteacherssaidAMEN Now let's get on with the reason we're here! WEATHER. Y'all. Have I told you before that this is one of my most favorite thematic units to teach?!?! I love … [Read more...] about All About the Weather – Ideas & Freebies!