A lesson is just not complete without checking for student understanding. If I do not check for understanding, I am unable to self evaluate. Was the lesson effective? What should I change in the future? Also, without checking for understanding, I do not know which students need additional support and which students need enrichment.  I know that I need to check for understanding, but I do NOT have time to give and grade daily assessments! I want to share five different ways that I informally assess my kiddos. These activities are super quick, but give me the information that I need to plan for future lessons.  1. Price of Admission I love this activity! I laminated a piece of paper with the Price of Admission heading. The paper hangs just outside of my classroom.  Each morning, before my kids enter the room, I use an Expo marker to write a task. This works best with a task that does not have just one right answer.  Name a fraction greater than one-half. Give...
February is Black History Month. It is a fantastic time to integrate lots of history into your reading and writing blocks! I think that it is very important that we include black history into our lessons. I like to use my Black History Interactive Notebook along with meaningful and engaging read alouds.  Here are some of my favorite books for Black History Month (or any time of the year really!). If you want to know more about the book, click on the picture and it will take you to Amazon. Salt in His Shoes This is a great story about Michael Jordan and how persistence and hard work led to his success. Freedom on the Menu This is a story about the Greensboro Sit-ins and how an eight year old made a difference. Through My Eyes This is a book about segregation that is written by Ruby Bridges.  Martin's Big Words This biography of Martin, Luther King Jr. includes many of King's own words and is written in a way that children can understa...
I firmly believe that every elementary classroom should have a fantastic classroom library. The library should be filled with books that their students are wanting to read. This means that teachers are having to regularly update their libraries to reflect the current interests of their students. Buying books gets pricey and most teachers are not rolling in the dough. Sadly, very few schools have the funds to help fill classroom libraries. I am super proud of my extensive library. I did not buy the books full price. Let me share some great ways to grow your classroom library on a budget. 1.      Scholastic Every teacher needs to sign up with Scholastic Book Clubs ! It’s a fantastic way to get free and discounted books and it is a good way to help parents put new books in kids’ hands. When you sign up, I recommend that you request book orders for your grade level, one below and one above. So if you teach third grade- request 2 nd , 3 rd and 4 th .  I send home the orde...
If you are looking for a way to get students engaged in their lessons and include student families in the classroom- a Super Bowl classroom party is the answer!  Last year, I threw a Super Bowl party in my classroom. The parents and my students could not stop raving about it, so I wanted to share with you. I am not a sports fan. Most people find that hard to believe when they see my sports themed classroom.  I don't love sports, but my students do. After the holidays, the whole country seems to get football crazy. I knew that I wanted to take advantage of my students' excitement for the big game. I also knew that state testing was right around the corner and I could not afford to waste any class time. So I found a way to throw a fun (and simple) party and keep it academic. Guests I am blessed to have several moms who volunteer in the classroom from time to time. I also noticed that the majority of my field trip chaperones are moms. I wanted to get more ...
I love using Stitch Fix for my teacher clothes! It is a personalized styling service and it is amazing. You simply fill out a style profile with sizing and preferences. Then, your very own stylist selects five pieces to send to you to try on at home. I love being able to try the clothes on with my accessories and shoes! You can keep what you love and return what you do not want in a prepaid envelope. You are charged a $20 styling fee, but the fee goes towards any of the clothes that you keep. I am always keeping something, so I never really pay that fee! Plus, if you keep all five pieces, you get 25% off of the entire order. And you never pay for shipping! I constantly have people asking me about how I am able to get such great pieces in my fix and how I am able to get so many of my pieces for free. A teacher can't usually afford designer clothing! I thought I would share some tips that I have learned along the way so that you can get the best clothes. at the best b...