Thursday, July 26, 2018

3 Ways to Keep Your Classroom Organized

I'll be the first to admit that my classroom is NOT Pinterest ready or worthy most of the time.  Please do not look at these images and think that I have it all together.  I too have bought a one-way ticket onto #thestrugglebus.  lol...

To be completely honest,  I am rushing through the door most mornings with too many bags hanging onto my arms, classroom key stuck at the bottom of my purse, and some type of stain on my clothes that the bleach didn't take out or from the coffee that I rushed to make in the morning.

But because so, I desperately need ORGANIZATION, a place for everything in my classroom, and everything to be organized with some type of labels! Without this, I would literally lose my mind! :)

Therefore, here are 3 ways that I keep my classroom organized.

1.  Designate Different Learning Spaces in Your Classroom

Every area in your classroom needs to serve a purpose and expectations in each area need to be taught and practiced over and over again.

For instance, students need to know how to check out baskets of books to read at the Library Center, what the rules are when they are there, how to correctly read with a Book Buddy (stuffed animal), and finally, how to clean up when they are done.

In the Writing Area, students are encouraged to sit on the floor, grab a Crate Seat, or go back to their table to write.  During our Writing Time, students know that they are expected to use the writing strategies that they have learned to create drafts and then work together to edit, revise, and publish their work.

The Teacher Area is for me to plan lessons, store my teaching materials, and charge and store my teaching electronic devices, electronic pencil sharpener, and classroom telephone.

The Word Wall is next to the Writing Area and can be used to help students spell high frequency words.  Students are encouraged to walk up or sit by the Word Wall anytime during their Independent Writing Time.

If you would like to make your banners and Word Wall Letters, click to the images below.

2. Organize #AllthePapers :)

Yes, while I teach in a digital classroom, I am still a firm believer that young children need to know how to build stamina for writing and working with some paper and pencil.  Therefore, it is important for to me to keep it all organized and know exactly what I am doing every day ahead of time.

I always make copies a week ahead and then immediately store them in these Sterilite Drawers with the days of the week labeled on them.  No need to go through piles and piles of papers to find the ones that I need.  I also use the Mini Drawers to store all of my supplies.  I love that everything that I need is right at my Teacher Area, and the labels have saved me so much time to focus on the kids and instruction.

3. #LabelAllTheThings

Yes, that's right.  Label all the things.  Make it so easy for your students to find what they need to learn that they do not even have to ask you.  The more self-sufficient the students are, the more that they can concentrate on the tasks at hand.  From the kids' cubbies to storage for supplies to everything else, labels will help save you so much time, I promise. :)

And now...a FREEBIE!!!!  If you would like to organize your math manipulatives, click to the images below download these fun and bright Math Manipulative Labels for FREE!  

Happy Organizing!!! :)

Disclosure: The links are affiliated links, meaning that I will earn a commission if you click through the links and make a purchase.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Fun Meet-The-Teacher Night Ideas

One of the most exciting nights of the school year for me is definitely Meet-the-Teacher Night.  I'll be the first one to say that I love it, but I am also terrified of it ALL at the same time.  I mean, having gone through days of PDs, getting my class list like several hours before, and being expected to have every child's name labeled on #allthethings, forms passed out, my classroom completely setup, and everything ready to welcome twenty-something kids and their families?!!!  I mean, "Really?" (Insert crying and laughing emoji.) hahah....

While I still get nervous and excited this special night, I have learned throughout the years that with some preparation beforehand, this night can be also FUN for both the kids and ME!  Scroll down to read more!

1. Introduce Yourself Digitally
Create a slideshow of fun information about yourself and let it loop on the front board  As parents and students come in and out of your classroom, they will have an opportunity to get to know you better by reading all about you!  

2. Scavenger Hunt

To help your students become familiar with your classroom, use a scavenger hunt and complete some important tasks even before the First Day of School!  I have done this for years, and it truly works like a charm!  Once the students and their parents have found their seat, thes cavenger hunt placed on their desk will ask them complete certain tasks including dropping off supplies, filling out important forms, and visiting different areas in our school.  I have also added for my students to take a picture at our photo op area, find their cubby, Book Box, and different learning areas in our classroom in the past several years.  These inclusions have helped my students become even more familiar with our classroom and ease those First Day Jitters greatly for my students. Once all tasks are completed, students are asked to return the form to me and receive a small gift for stopping by! Click to the image below for the complete set of Meet-the-Teacher Night Packet including EDITTABLE forms, signs, and printables!

3. Photo Op

This is one of the easiest photo ops that I have ever done in my classroom!  I simply hung bright colored streamers on an anchor chart rack and made these easy speech bubbles as props for my kids.  As part of their Meet-the-Teacher Night Scavenger Hunt, they were to take a photo here.  The kids thought it was so fun, and their parents completely loved it!  Scroll down and click on the images to download the newly updated Speech Bubble Photo Op Props with my HDFonts for FREE!

4. Student Gifts

Speaking of student gifts, here's what I gifted my students at Meet-the-Teacher Night last year after they turned in their Scavenger Hunt!  These were super easy to put together.  I simply bought a handful of glow sticks and tied two together with black ribbon along with these tags. They were super excited to receive these and were even more excited for the First Day of School!  For the complete set of Student Gift Tags for the entire year, scroll down and click to the images below.

Meet-the-Teacher Night can be stressful, but it DOESN'T have to!  With good preparation, it can be a breeze and you too will have a great time with your students!  You GOT THIS! :)

To read more click below!

Check out my Classroom Reveal last year!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Back to School with Amazon for K-2

Awwhhh.. Can you believe it?!  Amazon Prime Day is upon us again, and I have my gift cards and credit card in hand to grab all the things that I know for sure I will need this coming year!

Below are products that I have used and completely recommend for other teachers who are looking to stock up their classroom with teaching and learning materials that I wholeheartedly love and trust! Scroll down to see what they are and how I have used them!

Disclosure: The links are affiliated links, meaning that I will earn a commission if you click through the links and make a purchase.

Learning Tools:

1. Play Money- There is no other better way to teach young students how to identify coins, the values of coins, and adding coins together than having coins in their hands.  Children need to see them, touch them, and become familiar with them to be able to learn about money.  These coins are perfect for just that!

 2. Counters- I love these counters with a passion!  I really do!  They have been a lifesaver and a must-have in my classroom!  From learning to count, add, subtract, multiply, divide, playing bingo, playing math games, etc., they have been so versatile and easy to use.  I love that they are two-colored, especially when we are using them to play games.

3. Need magnetic counters and numbers for your easel or whiteboard?  Look no further! This complete set has it all!  This set makes modeling easy and provides great visuals for students to follow along!

 STEM Materials:

1. Codepillar- Are you dabbing into coding with your students or are you thinking about it?  This super fun and easy learning tool is great for little learners!  I love it so much, my own kids have one themselves!  Each section of the Codepillar dictates a direction for the Codepillar to go.  Students can decide which direction their Codepillar will go by simply adding them together and pressing GO! This tool is great for learning about directions and maps!  

2. Bloxels- My students used this last year to create a video game of the animal that they researched on and LOVED it!  Combined with coding and imagination, students will quickly take off as they see their own video game come to life!

3. Building Tools- These are some of the best building tools that my students have used.  They are easy to put together and easy to clean up afterwards!  No matter what the task is, these easy-to-use building tools are perfect for the primary classroom!  Hands-on, versatile, and great at encouraging young learners to use their imagination!


Supplies: I am a note-sending, anchor-chart loving, inclusive, bright-color obsessed kind of teacher. Therefore, it is no secret that I love all these things to help me build a bright, inclusive, and happy classroom!  Here are some examples of how I have used these items in my classroom!

What else is on your list of Amazon must-haves?

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