Last Day of School

Just in time for those adorable last day of school pics, I posted a new Last Day Chalkboard Sign to my TPT store.

These coordinate with my First Day of School Chalkboard Signs and can be used to take those adorable first/last day of school pictures in the classroom.

The signs are editable, so you can customize to fit your needs:
1st Grade (2nd, 3rd, etc.)
Jr. High
High School

... whatever you want!

Simply print and use.  You might choose to put it in a picture frame, laminate it, attach to cardstock or poster board, etc.  Use it any way that suits your needs.

You can add it to your cart HERE.

While your at it, be sure to also pick up my First Day of School Chalkboard Sign so you'll be set to start the new school year, too!

Switch! Spelling Game

A month ago I decided I needed a new way for my students to practice spelling skills.  I wanted to create a game that was engaging, not only for the player whose turn it was, but for both players at all times.

You know what I'm talking about.  When two kids are playing a game and one of them isn't paying attention because it's not their turn.  They're looking around, disengaged, and definitely not learning.  Not with this game!

When I created Switch!, I made sure that both students would have a job to do no matter whose turn it was.  Here's how it works:

Player 1 spins and moves to the color they spin.  Then they perform a task.  Here's where Partner 2 plays a role because if  Player 1 spins "Write It" or "Spell It" Player 2 is drawing a Word Card for Player 1 and reading it to them.  Player 1 is either writing the word or spelling it verbally while Player 2 checks the spelling.  If they spin "Switch" the players reverse roles.  If the spinner lands on the blue question mark, Player 1 moves and follows directions on that space, which may include switching spaces on the game board with their partner.  That always gets their attention!

Also, I built in a reward for spelling words correctly: they get to move a bonus space.  So, no penalties for errors, but positive reinforcement for getting it right.  Boy, do my kids try hard to get it right!

When I introduced this game to my students, I did so in small groups.  It took several turns for them to learn the rules, but after that they flew!  Now I just place 3 sets of the games in my word work bins and they are able to play independently.

My students are loving this new game.  I am seeing a high level of engagement and improvement in their spelling skills, especially for the vowel teams and diphthongs we've been working on.  Each week, I print out a new set of word cards and I'm ready to go.

You can check out my Switch! game on TPT here
Switch!  Spelling Game for any Word List

I hope your students love it as much as mine do.

Teacher's Assistants

How do you handle classroom jobs in your classroom? 

I used to have a job for every student in my classroom. But, I always forgot who did what and got tired of referencing my job chart to find out. When we were out of the classroom, I never could remember who was in charge of what. No more!

Now, I have 2 teacher’s assistants per day and they literally do ALL of the jobs that day. This method has really worked for me and has simplified managing student jobs. Everyone gets a turn at doing everything and I don’t have to keep track of which students have held certain jobs or not. Plus, I don’t have to dedicate as much wall space in my room for this simple little chart versus the entire bulletin board my former job chart took up.

Each day I have a boy and girl assistant. They are my line leaders, take lunch money to the café, return library books, pass out papers, EVERYTHING! They love being “in charge” for the day and I love not having the hassle of assigning jobs and keeping track of who is supposed to be doing things.

I put my Teacher's Assistants chart on TPT if you are ready to ditch your old system and simplify like I did!  There are 4 different borders to choose from: 

Included in this packet are number cards and choice of 6 different color charts. Please check out the preview to see color choices. Each chart has a black & white border.

**Please note that the magnetic border shown in the photographs is obviously not included. However, I wanted to show you how I hang mine in my own classroom.

Simply print out the chart and number cards, laminate, and hang.  I punched holes in the top of my number cards and hang them from a magnetic hook.  You'll want to assign each student a number.  You may be like me and use student numbers for other things such as student mailboxes or desks.  You're all set!

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.  Leave me a comment below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Melted Crayon Heart Valentines

Still need a Valentine idea for your class this year?  Here is what I am doing for my kiddos. 

I'm sure you've seen these around.  I got the idea from Pinterest a couple of years back.  In the past I've simply put them in a cellophane bag; however this year, I wanted to do something different.  So, I whipped up these cards.  The crayon heart attaches to them with a few dots of hot glue.

Here are the instructions to make these:
1.  Gather all the broken and old crayons from your class.  For me, this is simple because at the beginning of each new year I swap out my students old crayons for a brand new box, then I set the old broken crayons aside for this Valentines Day project.

2.  Peel off the paper.  This is the tedious part.  Grab a beverage and something good on T.V. and peel away.  Some wrappers come off easily and some don't.  I have found that what works best for me is to use a small utility knife and cut a slit down the length of each crayon.  The wrapper will peel right off.

3.  Put crayons into a silicone mold.  These are pretty easy to find this time of year with the seasonal baking supplies.

4.  Heat oven to 200 - 250 degrees.  Place silicone mold onto a cookie sheet and place in oven.  Heat until melted, about 15 min.

5.  Be careful taking out of oven.  Try not to mix up the colors.  You want to be able to see each individual color.  (Unless, of course, a more solid color is the effect you're going for.)  Let cool.  Hint:  Once the was has solidified enough for me to move it, I place the mold in the freezer to cool it quicker.

6.  Carefully pop out the heart-shaped crayons and attached to a card front using a few drops of hot glue or strong double-sided tape.

How to prepare cards:
1.  You can purchase my cards here.
Valentine Cards for Melted Crayon Hearts

2.  You can either print out color copies onto white card stock, or use the blackline masters to print onto colored card stock.  Your choice!

3.  Cut out cards.  There are four cards on each sheet.

Enjoy!  I hope this helps someone else out there with putting together a last-minute fun idea for your classroom Valentines.

Pumpkin STEM

It IS still pumpkin season, right?  You wouldn't know by all the Christmas décor already in stores.  As for me, I'm going to savor the beauty of fall until Thanksgiving!

These are photos of our Pumpkin STEM Challenge.  I have an investigation station set up in my room.  A place where students can investigate and manipulate and learn.  A couple of weeks ago, I gave my students a STEM challenge to build a gate that can hold five little pumpkins.  The "Five Little Pumpkins" was our poem for the week to go along with this.

The only supplies given were connecting cubes and popsicle sticks.  The challenge was to be able to get all five pumpkins onto your structure.

The first group was able to build a "gate" to hold 2 pumpkins.  They posted this on our Seesaw Class feed for other students to see what they did, comment, and think about what they would do to improve upon the design.  Could they build one to fit all 5 pumpkins?
The next group built this structure, posted it on Seesaw, and other students could comment and view.  These students didn't really build a structure, rather they just laid the materials on the table and stacked pumpkins on top of it...  well, only 4 pumpkins would fit.  Again, I asked the students how we could take what the first two groups did and improve.
The next group built their structure up and got those pumpkins raised; however the feedback they received after posting their work to Seesaw was that the structures were individual, not connected.  And, once again, not all 5 pumpkins were on it.
The last group built this structure and were able to get all 5 pumpkins onto the gate.  We all agreed this was the most successful design.

This was a great learning experience and lots of fun for the kids.  Critical thinking, constructive criticism, receiving feedback, were all skills we learned from this challenge.

It's not too late... it's still officially fall and pumpkin season!  Get your Pumpkin STEM Challenge on!

1st Day of.....

Hey guys!  Don't forget to pick up your 1st Day of School EDITABLE Chalkboard Sign.  Now you can take those adorable 1st day of school photos of your students holding this cute little sign.

Simply print and either put into a simple frame, or create your own!

Snag yours during the TPT Best Year Ever Sale for 28% off using the code "BESTYEAR".  Guys this means you can have it for like $1.44, if I've done my math right!


Did I mention it's EDITABLE?!  You can easily change it to reflect the year you're teaching. 
1st-12th Grade
whatever you want or need!

Oh, and there's 2 designs to choose from:
First Day of School Editable Chalkboard Sign Bus
School Bus Design

First Day of School Editable Chalkboard Sign Kids
Kids Design

Get yours quick... today is the last day of the TPT sale!

Back to School TPT Sale!!!

It's coming!  The Teachers Pay Teachers sitewide back to school sale is coming Monday, August 1st and Tuesday August 2nd.

NOW is the time to purchase all those TPT resources on your back to school list.  If you're like me, you're adding things to your cart in anticipation of the big sale!

Be sure to visit my store where everything will be up to 28% off using the PROMO CODEBestYear.

Shop here!  Thanks for checking out my resources for your back to school needs!