Author Archives: Kathleen

 

Everything has changed in the year of COVID! Our normal routines are all askew!, but one thing has not changed! We still need to get our kids off to a good start, feeling confident and capable under the new COVID guidelines that have been established.

"How do you see your role in the classroom in terms of the first month of school?"  That was a pivotal question on my job interview many years ago. Sometimes the more things change, the more the stay the same. Whether it was asked during your interview or not, the answer can make or break your classroom management plan. If you don't accomplish anything else during the first weeks of school but to have control of your class, then you have done a good job! It was my answer and the  school superintendent interviewing me agreed!

Whether you are totally back, doing distance teaching,  or a hybrid version it is still critical that clear, concise rules and procedures are established during the first few weeks of school. Nothing can be accomplished until the class knows that you, the teacher, are in charge. Just as teachers  have high expectations of students, students have high expectations of teachers. If you send the message that you don't always mean what you say and are quite lax about enforcing established rules, don't be surprised when your students do whatever they please in your classroom. This doesn't mean there are no exceptions, but there needs to be a valid reason for an exception and the student should understand that he is getting a special privilege.

So what rules are important and how do you establish them? Here are a few helpful hints.

1. Greet your students warmly. After giving seat assignments, taking attendance, putting away all their school supplies, etc., begin discussions about the wonderful school year you are about to share. Discuss how important it is for the teacher and classmates to respect each other. Discuss how people feel when they and/or their property are not respected. It is as important to give respect as it is to receive it.

2.  Together with the kids write a list of the classroom rules. Keep it short. Too many rules can become overwhelming for kids. Write rules that encompass many things. Here are a few examples. You can verbally expand on these rules but they do not need to be written out. It is always nice to say to kids, "We only have 3 or 4 rules to follow. So I expect everyone to follow them." It makes the requirements seem much more doable!

  • Respect the teacher and your classmates. It is wrong and rude to use inappropriate or insulting language.
  • Respect the property of others. Materials are expensive and cannot always be easily replaced.
  • Listen when others are speaking. It is rude to interrupt lessons or the conversations of others.
  • Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself. It is not okay to risk the safety of someone else.

3.  After discussing rules and receiving student input, give students the opportunity to write the rules they feel are most important. You will have an opportunity to view what your students think and kids have the opportunity to assess what they learned in the discussion.

After reviewing the activities to get your year started on a positive note, download FREE achievement/behavior awards created especially for you, my followers!  The free awards are not the same ones offered in this resource. The free awards can be downloaded below.

Of course you know what to do, but time is often a factor at this time of year. If you are short on time you might want to try my resource highlighting three areas of school rules. My principal always wanted all of them addressed the first week of school. After a long vacation kids need reminders! Throughout the year too!

Important areas to discuss:

  • classroom rules
  • school bus safety and
  • fire safety

includes boy and girl clip art

includes boy and girl clip art

After a class discussion kids can list the highlights of what they see as the most important. When you have completed each section, there is an achievement award for you to reward your students.

Happy teachers said:

  • Rules are something I spend all year on with my students, thanks for sharing another way to cover rules.
  • Thank you! I especially love the awards that go along with each topic!
  • I am glad I found this item. This is just what I needed for back to school. Thank you!

 

Getting to Know You Activities

Get off to a good start! Plan to do an activity that you know they can complete with success. Getting to know you activities are especially appropriate and fun this time of year! We want kids to be happy and comfortable. Kids love to share information about themselves and learn what their classmates have been doing. To make the most of these activities be sure to take notes documenting what you see when the kids are working.

Teacher tip: Keep a year long log. I always started the year with a large index card for each student. (Before meeting the kids, I wrote their name and any services they are mandated to receive, OT, PT, Speech, etc. This helps to  have important information at your fingertips) Be sure to date every comment. Your notes may include observations such as: works well with a partner, work is neat, poor organizational skills, able to stay on task, poor spelling, unable to write a sentence. The list is endless! After a few days, you will have a wealth of information about each child. What last year's teacher saw may not be what you see. As the year progresses add information regarding academics and behavior. Also write dated notes whenever you have a parent conference--in person or on the phone. These notes are invaluable when writing report cards and to prepare for another parent conferences.

 

Classmates, so alike, so different

 

 Find the Classmate who. . .

 

Two Truths and a Lie

Be sure to tell kids to make each statement believable. Who could guess the lie this fourth grader told?

  1. I love to dance on stage.
  2. I've never been on a plane.
  3. I have four pet chickens.

 

Before you go, be sure to download the FREE awards I made especially for you. I hope you and your kids enjoy them.

 

 

However you start off the school year I hope you and your students have fun! The beginning of the year is such an important time as well as a very exciting time! I wish you a great school year!

If you have any comments about this post, I would love to hear from you! What's the most important thing for you to accomplish in those first few days?

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to learn about more freebies coming your way!

 

 

 

 

Hard to believe but it's that time again! School has started and it's time for our September $100 Teacher Pay Teachers gift card giveaway!! One lucky teacher will be receiving a $100 TpT gift card! Now that's a great way to start the new year!

Prize: $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)

Co-hosts:   An Apple for the TeacherThe Homeschool Style-Katie RingThe Fun FactoryTheBeezyTeacherA Plus KidsThe Monkey MarketLockwood's Little LearnersSecondary Urban LegendsMrs Hansens HelpfulsJackie CrewsTeaching Math and MoreJulie's Learning CornerGuide Teach InspirePint Size LearnersTeachers ToolkitThe Cozy Crafty ClassroomMrs Wenning's Classroom, Angelica's ResourcesMs. KMickey's PlaceChocolate 4 TeachersIt's a Teacher ThingMind SparksHeart 2 Heart Teaching, and  Teach Me T.

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 9/13/20 and is open worldwide.

Wishing you good luck!

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Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

 

 [POST ENDS HERE]

Do you need a resource to help you initiate a conversation about COVID-19? The story of Typhoid Mary and what happened in America about 100 years ago is a great way to get started. Mary Mallon’s story parallels much of what is happening today. Additionally, the resource, "Typhoid Mary," is written with rigor built-in so your students will also be learning reading strategies to help them become more proficient readers and learners.

Readers will read Mary Mallon's story and complete print-and-go worksheets included to support readers' understanding of the text. Collaborative activities, including a mock classroom trial, allow readers to thoroughly explore the responsibilities of the public during an outbreak of an infectious disease, i.e., social distancing or staying at home, etc.  Additionally, all forms you need to organize a classroom trial are included. This resource will work well in your remote learning classroom. Using ”Typhoid Mary” will not only be informative about the subject matter, it will also help you teach strategies to aid comprehension. Now to talk more about this rigorous reading resource.

Rigorous Reading resources provide students with information about the subject matter as well as how to tackle difficult text and break it down into manageable pieces to increase comprehension. What elements does a resource need to accomplish this? Here are 4 steps used to create the rigorous reading resource “Typhoid Mary.”

First, the resource must have a pre-reading activity that gets kids interested to find out more. The main idea is to get kids to commit by stating an opinion. It doesn’t matter what they choose as long as they make a choice. Once they do, they are participating! Good start!
There are many ways to create a pre-reading strategy. They need to be simple and take no longer than 5 or 6 minutes. An agree/disagree list of 5 statements, about the general theme of the story, is an easy way to accomplish this. A short class discussion about the choices will set the stage for the story.

 

Second, vocabulary activities are mandatory. They introduce readers to words they may not know. It is discouraging and confusing for struggling and even more proficient readers to not understand the vocabulary. They often will not stop to find a definition, but continue to read on with little understanding or worse, they just give up altogether. “Typhoid Mary” has vocabulary puzzles and an activity to demonstrate the use vocabulary words in sentences.



Third, “Typhoid Mary” has during-reading or focusing questions as well. Each page has a question or two to require the reader to reflect on what they have just read. Struggling readers tend to read on and on without any reflection whatsoever. This always results in poor comprehension. The questions embedded in text of ”Typhoid Mary” help the reader to focus on the important message in that section of the story. The questions also make great classroom conversation starters.



Lastly, culminating activities are so important to emphasize the salient points of what readers have learned. “Typhoid Mary” has several concluding activities, one is a very special concluding activity, a classroom trial.

Students create a mock trial to assess the culpability of an asymptomatic carrier of disease. The trial can take a few days or longer. There are suggestions to make the trial shorter if needed. Everyone in your class can participate.  Each role should be played by a group of students who work collaboratively to complete the documents.  Each team receives a document outlining the responsibilities of their role (prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, jury and witnesses) to be acted out in your classroom trial. There are documents to guide the students playing each role and help them accomplish what they need to do i.e., build a case, write questions,  prepare to defend their theory, list facts that weaken the opposition's case, assess the evidence and come to a reasonable, well thought out conclusion.  

 

ASSIGN GROUPS OF STUDENTS TO PLAY EACH ROLE

 

EACH TEAM MUST COMPLETE DOCUMENTS TO PREPARE FOR TRIAL

 

Lessons from “Typhoid Mary”

1. People need to wash their hands with soap frequently to keep germs from spreading.

2. People need to keep their living space clean and use sanitizers.

3. Poor sanitation causes disease to spread.

4. Infectious diseases can spread very quickly.

5. People who are infected need to take precautions not to infect others.

6. People who are not infected need to take precautions to protect themselves.

 

Lessons for each Role

Readers use perspective to build a case. Reader use higher level problem solving skills to prove their point of view.

Prosecutor and Defense Attorney

1. Determine a theory of what happened and construct a strategy to win your case.

2. Collaborate to write good questions.

3. Explore  witnesses' possible answers to both prosecution and defense questions. Be prepared to rebut testimony that will diminish your argument.

Judge

1. Collect witness lists and be sure each witness called is on that list.

2. Do not allow lawyers or witnesses to demonstrate unacceptable behavior.

3. Make decisions to keep the trial running smoothly.

Jury Members

1.Take notes during the trial.

2. Collaborate to determine a fair verdict.

Witnesses

1. Re-read the part of the story that talks about your character.

2. Use interpretive skills to determine what your testimony will be.

3. Answer questions on the witness stand.

 

If you are ready to teach your kids some great comprehension skills using this timely topic, click here.

 

 

Do you need some inspiration to feel motivated about starting another school year? I have teamed up with some talented teacher-authors to share inspirational ideas for next school year. From classroom organization to first day of school activities, this collection of blog posts will set you up for back-to-school success. There’s something for everyone from PreK to middle school. Here are a few  favorite teacher blog posts (labeled by grade). I hope you find the posts as inspiring as I do.

Save

K – 6th Grade

Start the School Year Off Right! will help you get ready for the busy season.  Melissa Bonito from Peas in a Pod offers some smart tips and tricks to help set the stage for a smooth school year. You won’t want to miss her top 5 back to school tips, and how she goes about teaching classroom procedures!

2nd – 5th Grade

Kelly Malloy from An Apple for the Teacher is full of classroom design inspiration! She offers multiple pictures of her classroom throughout the years. Her latest post, My Students Are Amazing, offers a peek at her classroom door display for September. Hint**There’s a freebie in this post!

K – Middle School

In Organize & Transform Your Classroom, Suzy Memeo from StudentSavvy offers tips on creating a space that makes you happy! She will guide you as you come up with your plan, locate the problem areas in your classroom, and tackle them. Her beautiful designs are a must see!

Prek – 3rd Grade

Read all about creating a life long love for reading within each of our students in My Favorite Way to Increase Reading Engagement by Paula Beckerman from Paula’s Primary Classroom. She says, “After 25 years of teaching early childhood, I haven’t found any magic tricks that always work for everyone, each child is unique after all!  There is, however, something that has served me incredibly well, year after year.” Find out what it is HERE!

3rd – 6th Grade

“How do you see your role in the classroom in terms of the first month of school?”  That was a pivotal question on my job interview many years ago. Sometimes the more things change, the more the stay the same. Whether it was asked during your interview or not, the answer can make or break your classroom management plan. If you don’t accomplish anything else during the first weeks of school but to have control of your class, then you have done a good job! It was my answer and the  school superintendent interviewing me agreed! Read more about how Kathleen Guleksen, from A Plus Kids, does just that!

Hint**There is a freebie in this post!

We are so happy to share these tips with you. Do  you have any beginning-of-the-year strategies that work well for you?  We would love to hear them. Please leave your tip or comment below.

 

 

 

I am co-hosting this special giveaway with Kelly Malloy and other awesome teacher bloggers. We are excited to have collected things teachers love for our giveaway!  Look at all the special things to love--and to make your life easier. Which item do you need the most?

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  

Prize: Things We LOVE prize pack including: Mr. Sketch Markers, Flair Markers, Personal Laminator, Dry Erase Pockets, Dry Erase Markers, Astrobrights Paper, Ticonderoga Pencils, and a $50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card.

 

Mr. Sketch Markers

Flair MarkersPersonal LaminatorDry Erase Pockets

  A

Dry Erase Markers

Astrobrights Paper

Ticonderoga Pencils

$50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card

 

 

Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)

Co-hosts:   An Apple for the Teacher,  A Plus KidsThe Cozy Crafty ClassroomSliding into 1stThe Fun FactoryKelly McCownThe Craft of TeachingCarla HoffStar KidsTheBeezyTeacher, Learning InspiredThe Chocolate TeacherMs. KSamson's ShoppeBusy Little BeesThe Froggy FactoryLeah PopinskiJackie CrewsPeas In ,A PodMM Bilingual180 Days of ReadingSarah Griffin, and Mr L's Classroom.

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 2/21/19 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!

Good luck!

 

*** VALENTINE'S DAY GIVEAWAY ***
To help with the purchasing of Valentine's Day and Spring resources for your classroom, a team of amazing teachers and I have grouped together to gift ONE awesome, lucky teacher with a TPT gift card!

PRIZE: 1 x $150 TPT Giftcard
Starts: Friday 8th February 2019 12am
Ends: Saturday 16th February 2019 12am
#1 TAG your teacher friends by adding their names in the comment section

#2 SHARE THIS POST

#3 ENTER HERE: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

REMEMBER: each entry counts as ONE entry, the more links you complete, the higher your chances of winning!!
Raffle CLOSES: Saturday 16th February 2019 12am

GOOD LUCK!!!

Imagine winning a $200 Amazon gift card! That's exactly what will happen for two lucky winners of the Back to School Rafflecopter contest! What a great way to start the new school year and get whatever you need for your classroom--or maybe even for yourself!
I am happy to be co-hosting the giveaway with other teacher authors.  A new Rafflecopter contest has begun and will end next Saturday. So be sure to enter on the Rafflecopter below and I wish you good luck! Remember two winners will each receive a $200 Amazon gift card!
 
GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  
 
Prize: $200 Amazon Gift Card (2 Prizes!)
 
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)
 


Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 8/11/18 and is open worldwide.  
 
 
Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

A talented group of bloggers are celebrating America's Independence Day with a super giveaway event. One lucky contestant will win a $150 TpT gift card!! That would be a great help to help you get ready for a new school year! The giveaway is now in full swing but it will end next Saturday, July 7th at 12am. So hurry and enter the contest now.
Here is what you need to know to participate:
#1 TAG your teacher friends by adding their names in the comment section
#2 SHARE THIS POST
#3 ENTER in the Rafflecopter below.
REMEMBER: each entry counts as ONE entry, the more links you complete, the higher your chances of winning!!

GOOD LUCK!!!

It's Teacher Appreciation Week! To celebrate I have joined some teacher-blogger friends to co-host this mega giveaway of 10 teacher must haves, teacher-favorite flair pens, Sharpies, smooth writing Ticonderoga pencils just to name a few prizes. Of course, my personal favorite prize is the can't-live-without laminator and the $50 TpT gift card would be wonderful to put a dent in anyone's wish list. See the complete list of prizes below.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  
 
Prize: 10 Teacher "Must Haves" prize pack including:
Mr. Sketch Markers
Flair Markers
Personal Laminator
Dry Erase Pockets
Dry Erase Markers
Astrobrights Paper
Sharpies
Ticonderoga Pencils
 Wall Calendar
$50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card.
 
 
 


Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!
 

 

Do your students need practice with money word problems? Are you sometimes rushed in the morning and need something quick?  I finally finished my update of the Supermarket Shopper, a classroom activity that is handy when you're short on time--and isn't that most of the time? The Supermarket Shopper is a versatile activity that can be used for elementary school students to practice addition, subtraction, (and multiplication and division). What I like about it the most is that it takes less than a minute  to be ready and can so easily provide differentiation.

Setting up the board does take a bit of time but once it is set up, it is good to go everyday with very little effort on the part of the teacher. If it is set up on a tri-fold it can easily be stored and pulled out again when needed.

 

The supermarket is divided into four departments and each department has food items.

The food items are given prices. This is where differentiation comes in. Younger kids will have prices with lower numbers and more able math students will have prices with higher numbers. Complete directions for differentiation are included.

 

Four word problems are posted on the side of the supermarket board. Each day only the numbers need to change.  So teachers give those price cards a shuffle! Now the problems are different because the numbers are different. This provides repetition for students to learn how to solve word problems. After a few days four new word problems are posted.

 

Here a student is finding the amount of money to pay for a food item. The student must find the price of the item by looking on the supermarket board. Then the student counts out the correct amount of money. The coins are cut and pasted to the answer sheet. Students can work collaboratively to check their work.

 

Here is an example of a word problem sheet. The objective in this example is addition. An  objective can be practiced until students reach mastery. Many different objectives can be mastered using the Supermarket Shopper!

Kids love the Supermarket Shopper because it is different and fun!  If you think the Supermarket Shopper might make your life easier and motivate your students to enjoy a fun math activity, you can get a better look at A+ Kids.