Creating a classroom schedule that fits in all of the curriculum, specials, pull outs, etc is like cracking the code to a government vault. It's nearly impossible to make it all work. The number one question that I receive from my teacher besties is, "How did you fit this all in?"  So I decided to show you my schedule. But first... Before I share my schedule, I feel like you need to agree to a few things... I know that every school, every district, every administrator  and every state is different. Plus, every class has very unique needs.  My schedule won't work for everyone.  Got it? Yes, I had a very unique start and end time.  Most students at my school were in classes with a traditional 8-3 type schedule. There were a few classes in each grade that had this alternative schedule. Parents loved having a choice. Plus, it allowed the school to fit more students in one classroom because they had an AM group and a PM group that shared the same clas...
I'm not trying to be a Debby Downer by talking about going back to school when you are dreaming about winter break. I personally like to have my plans ready for the first week back before leaving for break. This gives me more time to enjoy my break rather than stressing about my plans. Here are four super simple but very important things that you should include in your plans after winter break! I've included several of freebies! 1. Plan Down Time to Talk and Share When a family is apart from one another for a couple of weeks, they have lots to talk about the next time they are together!  Your students have missed their classroom family. They want to tell you what they got for Christmas or that funny thing that happened to their Uncle Frank. Just plan some time first thing in the morning to share stories. Your kids will love having the chance to share and it MIGHT help to get the chatting out now rather than later. I like to put my class in a circle and go a...
What do you do when you have students who don't celebrate the holidays? I almost didn't write this post because I know that it is a sensitive topic. I was a little afraid that I might upset people and get angry mail. But this conversation needs to be had. I have seen several Facebook posts where teachers are asking what to do if they have students who do not celebrate the holidays. Some of the responses are helpful and others just make me so sad. I have seen people say things like, "I'm going to celebrate Christmas in my classroom anyway because that one kid's beliefs aren't more important than my own. I'm not going to let him ruin it for everyone." 😳 They are right. The one student's beliefs are not MORE important than her's. But his beliefs are JUST AS important.  I personally believe that we need to love all of our classroom babies. That means I don't do things in my classroom that make a student feel disrespect...
Dear Tired Teacher, You need to hear this... I know that you are exhausted. I know that you spend countless hours at school worrying about your babies. I know that you are stressed about test scores, report cards, grading, observations and conferences. The holiday season is upon us and that brings even more stress and even longer to do lists. I hate to be the bearer of that bad news. Before you start stressing about student gifts and holiday crafts, can I offer some advice? If not, my feelings won't be hurt if you close out this post. Most of your kids will not remember the gift that you stressed about and spent your own hard earned money on. Most of your kids won't remember the holiday crafts that you spend hours planning and prepping. Do you know what your kids will remember? They will remember feeling loved. They will remember feeling important. They will remember being happy. They will remember feeling proud. Those memories don't hav...
Let me start by saying that you do  NOT  have to get your students a Christmas gift. You go out of your way to create meaningful experiences for them every day. That is enough. But sometimes we really want to send our babies home with a little something. A couple dozen gifts is tough to do on a teacher salary. Even going to the dollar store and getting cheap goodies gets expensive and most of the junk will break or get lost within a day or two. I put together a list of fun, but inexpensive, gifts that I think your students will find meaningful. 1. Book Books are hands-down my favorite gift to give my students for any holiday! Scholastic dollar books make it a very economical gift. Plus, you can use your bonus points to order books that are higher priced. Check out  THIS  post to learn more about getting the most out of your Scholastic book order. You can just write a note on the front cover, wrap them up and give them to students. Or.... have a book raffle!!!...
We have all been there. We have all had that one student who constantly pushes our buttons and doesn't seem to follow any of the class rules. We have all had a challenging kiddo with behavior that has made us cry. So how do we deal with a student who has challenging behavior? I think that lots of teachers would say that you need a good behavior management program.  I agree. Good classroom management is key! But I also think that you can have an amazing program and still struggle with a kid or two that just don't seem to care. I am about to share my honest opinions about challenging student behavior. Please know that I am not a psychologist. I am not a child behavior expert. I am just a mom and a teacher who has been insanely stressed by student behavior. I am just like you. So if you don't agree with what I am about to say, no worries. I hope we can still be friends.  So here goes... There is NO classroom discipline program that is perfe...
If you have been following my blog for long you probably know that I totally geek out over math centers in the classroom. I think math centers are THE BEST way to differentiate and meet all of your students' needs. I wrote an entire blog post series about how I run math centers . It is a must read! Here is the thing: Even if you have the best math center routine and activities, you are still going to have some students who struggle during math center time. Sometimes you have students who don't behave during center time. Other students may not get their work completed or find the work to be too hard. This is normal! They are kids! They won't be perfect. But with a little help...they can be NEAR perfect! 😜 I typed up some of the most common math center challenges and provided several suggestions. What should I do if students are not behaving during center time? Do you need to practice procedures and expectations? The number one way that I have found to im...
My favorite part of teaching was always to help a student to discover their love for reading. It felt like the greatest honor. Once a student grows that love for reading, I know that I have made a forever impact.  The number one way to help a kiddo learn to love to read (according to me 😜) is to introduce them to tons of books. I want to surround them with possibilities.  But that costs money. And money is something that teachers do not have a lot of. In THIS post, I wrote about some ways that I grew my classroom library on a limited budget. My very favorite way was by using Scholastic book orders .  Do you use Scholastic book orders in your classroom? Are you getting the most out of your orders? Are you earning points and filling your library with engaging and fee books? Let me give you some tips to help you earn more bonus points that can be used to put books in the hands of your students. 1. Get Your Students Involved I have received emails from pare...