End of the Year MUST DOs!

The end of the year is quickly approaching! For me, our last day is Tuesday June 9th. There are a few things I like to do every year at the end of the year! They help me to go into the next school year not completely overwhelmed by what I didn’t do at the end of last year.

  • Have a box of supplies ready for the next school year. I got this idea from Samantha Henry on TPT. You can download here freebie here. I also like to throw masters of handouts I have found that like to use the next school year as well as those things that I can never seem to find at the beginning of the year.
  • Password list – I can’t tell you how many times I do not remember my passwords! Make sure you write them all down (don’t forget your school computer password – this was a mess for me last year). If you don’t do anything else do this! Download my FREEBIE on TPT here!
  • Send out thank you notes to your families. I think this is a nice gesture and it is good for families to know that we appreciate them and are grateful for everything they have done. With the craziness of this year I think this is even more important! I even like to give a little token to those parents who have volunteered during the year.
  • Put away your last week of school things and organize all loose materials! you will feel so much better when you walk into a clean classroom next school year! I know it is not fun, but put on some jamming music, a podcast, or show and get busy! It will be worth it!

Top 10 Amazon Teacher Purchases

  1. Laminator – a must have for any teacher! I know many schools provide large laminators, however I often find that it pulls apart. My personal laminator has been way more durable!
  2. Paper cutter – like a fool, I waited to purchase this going into my second year of teaching. If you are going to be a teacher and can only buy one thing pick this! We have so many things to cut (especially primary grades) and this saves your thumb from aching!
  3. Door bell – weird but super effective for getting student’s attention. This is my signal each morning for the kids to come to the carpet for morning meeting.
  4. Sticky clips – GAME CHANGER especially if you do not have much bulletin board space. These stick to cinderblock and are removable and re-stickable.
  5. Carpet markers – my kindergarteners starting ripping up my rug we sat on for whole group time. I transitioned to these and they are amazing. They stick firmly on the carpet in my classroom and the best part is that the kiddos cannot lift them up at all.
  6. Clear pockets with binder holes – Okay, so I keep all my third grade science and social studies units in their respective binders. I had had the problem with task cards and vocabulary cards falling out of the inside pocket until I found these. These are amazing! Just slip one in your binder rings and store all your vocabulary cards or task cards without them falling out!
  7. Heavy duty pencil sharpener – let’s be real, we sharpen 100s of pencils a week. You need a heavy duty sharper so you don’t have to walk to the office/resource room/where ever your school pencil sharper is. This one is great and has lasted me a few years!
  8. “Teacher Toolbox” – If you have ever searched for teacher organization on Pinterest you’ve seen this, it’s a classic for a reason! It’s a great way to store all those little office supplies! TPT has tons of great labels. No joke I have purchased 4 different versions of these! This year I switched it up with this FREE one on TPT!
  9. Dry erase pocket sheet protectors – These were a game changer when I first found them. I like whiteboards, but these are something else! You can print off any sheet and stick it in there for the kids to write on with dry erase marker. I would primarily use these for station work or game recording sheets. You also save paper 🙂
  10. Photo Case Storage Box – These are great for storing those amazing large station packs primary teachers will inevitably purchase on TPT! I like the clear sets over the colored sets but both are amazing! Look out at craft-stores for these too!

What are some of your teacher must haves?

Distance Learning Tips

I am a solid 8 weeks into distance teaching and we still have 3 and a half weeks left!!! It’s crazy to believe that our whole 4th quarter (and then some) has been remote. Despite this time being so unideal I am grateful for the way it has helped me to grow in how I use technology in the classroom. Today I thought I would share some technology related distance learning tips with you all!

Keep in mind that I do teach two grade levels: kindergarten (math) and third grade (social studies and science).

Educreations App for iPad – Okay, so Lauren introduced this app to me and I am forever grateful! I’ve been able to use this app when I teach math lessons to my kindergarteners. I am able to take a picture of our math worksheet and work through it with them. Best of all – it records anything I say! It has been so helpful! You can also use it as a typical whiteboard.

Brain Pop – Brain Pop videos have been LIFE! They also are offering FREE accounts during this time! My students are obsessed with Brain Pop videos and I basically have one for every single social studies or science lesson.

Google Forms!!! – Google Forms are just great in general. I would use them to poll parents for certain events or to get some feedback. During the pandemic I have been using them as my assignments for every single worksheet/quiz we would typically have. Not only does it provide them with instant feedback it is also way easier than having the parents take pictures and send it to you. I will do another blog post later about some Google Form tips and tricks.

Zoom/Google Meet for Morning Meetings – Let me be the first to say I am not a fan of video chatting and when we were discussing teaching live over Zoom I was not stoked. My third grade co-teachers and I have been hosting daily Zoom morning meetings and they have been amazing! We keep it simple and really try and use this time to continue to build connection and have fun (no academics…gasp!) Here’s what our schedule looks like:

  • Prayer (I teach at a Christian School)
  • Opening question – We try and keep it fun and silly 🙂
  • We quickly go over the assignments for the day
  • Game/Activity – This has been the best part! We’ve done scavenger hunts, would you rather, never have I ever, Trivia, GoNoodle, dance parties, show and tell, and so many other fun things!
  • Last little bit to chat (aka chaos).

On teacher appreciation day I got a sweet card from a student telling me how much she has loved seeing her classmates! It is so worth all the technology hiccups and love/hate relationship with Zoom. I would highly recommend! They miss their friends and I learned that most of them don’t even have each other’s numbers!

Comment with what technology you have loved using during this time!

CVC Matching Game

One of the most challenging parts about being a primary teacher is having engaging materials for my students to interact with. In my first year teaching kindergarten I had no clue what to do and found myself running to my co-teacher and TPT for all the help! One of my students’ favorite games was memory games or matching games…they loved them! I created this set of matching games using CVC words with all the vowels as middle letters. They are easy prep and can be used in literacy stations or as informal assessment. The beauty of this activity is that it can be used in a group or with an individual student! I hope these games are useful for you and that your students love them!

Each vowel has cards with graphics, purchased from Educlips, and matching words. I offer a color and black and white set.

You will have a page with 6 boxes to print. I suggest printing on cardstock paper so students cannot see through the cards and of course LAMINATE them!
The black and white versions still offer detailed images. I use the colored versions because I have HP Insta Ink and don’t really pay for ink! If you haven’t heard of it and you are a teacher – run to it!! You select an amount of pages you would like to be your printing allowance each week. I pick 500 during the first few months of school then dial it back to 100. HP will automatically send you ink when you are running low! All you will need to provide is the paper and have a HP printer (I got the cheapest one for $50). I’ve had it for over 3 years and LOVE it! Click on the button below for my referral link if you are interested! You will get a free month of ink and I will :).

Each pack also includes a recording sheet in case you would like your students to write out the words they match.

I hope this product is helpful to you! Stay tuned for more CVC literacy stations coming soon!

-Stacey

Custom Google Classroom Headers

I am so excited about the work that I’ve been able to do over the past month or so and providing teachers with custom Google Classroom headers! With everyone moving to an e-learning platform we have all had the need to use Google Classroom and why not make it as cute as can be? I would love to help you vamp up your Google Classroom! Send me and email or message and let me know what you are looking for!

These wonderful teachers gave me the opportunity to create these adorable headers for their Google Classrooms! Here are some samples of my work:

I am able to provide you with a variety of fonts, backgrounds, and clipart! If you wish to see more see my Custom Graphics tab. I look forward to working with you!

If you are wanting something more generic, I offer many options on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Happy distance teaching!

-Stacey

Schools “Out”

Last week we officially got the call that all Oregon schools would be closed for the rest of the school year. I honestly expected this call but was dreading it. We had already had three weeks of distance learning and I was over it – learning that we would have ten more weeks of it was not ideal. This week my focus is on having a good attitude regardless of this circumstance. I have appreciated the teacher Instagram community so much last week and this week. People are focusing on spreading positivity and having fun regardless of what we are all going for. It’s encouraging hearing about what people are doing to have fun during this time! Some of my favorite mood lifters have been:

  1. Callie Danielle’s Procreate Tutorials
  2. AlatteLearning and her crew listening to Taylor Swift Albums
  3. Teach Create Motivate’s new FREE digital teacher journal

These have been helpful for me in keeping some fun and positivity in my days! Check out these awesome ladies! I am so grateful to get to benefit from their talent, fun, and positivity.

Hang in there! YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS!!

Teaching Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is a topic that is more needed now more than ever in our classrooms! With many schools moving towards distance learning/e-learning/virtual learning students are spending a lot of time on the computer! My third grade students haven’t spent much time online this school year mainly due to technical issues with our connection. However, that is not the case anymore and there entire school days are online!

I’ve created this digital citizenship mini unit for teachers to help students understand the importance of being safe online, netiquette, their digital footprint, and cyberbullying. It includes four informative slides, three activities, and a Google Form to serve as an assessment. I hope this resource can help you as you navigate this challenging time with your students and families! Click here to view on TPT!