Are you coming down to the end of your first semester? Do you wrap up your semester with parties or rewards for your class? Many teachers are searching the Not So Wimpy Teacher Facebook groups for advice on movies that they can show their classes as a reward at the end of the semester. All of the movies suggested below are rated G. The majority of these movies are holiday related. However, I did include a movie that is winter themed in case you have children that do not celebrate the holidays. (If you click on the title of the movie, it will take you to Amazon where you can read more about it.) Santa Buddies You can't go wrong with movies about adorable puppies! In this movie, the Christmas magic is beginning to disappear, and it's up to the puppies to save Christmas. Students will learn lessons of being kind, taking responsibility for their actions, and thinking about and caring for others. You could also show The Search for Santa Paws , which is another movie fr...
The holidays have arrived and many teachers are busy searching the internet and the Not So Wimpy Teacher Facebook groups for unique and easy presents that their students can make for their parents.  I thought I'd gather and share a few of my favorite ideas I have seen in the groups. They are all simple and don't cost a lot of money. There is even a freebie at the end!!!  Plus, none of these ideas require glitter. That's important. #sanitysaver Canvas Art I love this idea shown on Pinterest by Ragzz Custom Apparel and Gifts. Many teachers purchase 5x7 canvas panels from Amazon for this project. Students use a sharpie to write out their message and make fingerprints for the lightbulbs. You could also do the same project on white ceramic tiles that you purchase from Home Depot (use ceramic paint for the lightbulbs and felt-tip marker for the string). You could even complete the same project on a plastic ornament as well. Students could have a ...
The holiday season is upon us and teachers in my Facebook groups are stating to plan their classroom holiday parties. I thought I would share some of my favorite Christmas classroom party ideas. I want to start with a warning. I love throwing parties. I love themes. Planning these fun activities was therapeutic to me. So don't look at these ideas and get overwhelemed. Choose the bits and pieces that sound the easiest for you to manage.  Give yourself some grace. Your students will have fun even if it is not the party of the century! You will be making memories and that will mean the world to them. Click on the photos below to get tons of food, crafts, activities and book ideas for each theme. 1. Holidays Around the World I love this theme because it's super educational. Students are able to learn about geography, history and culture. But the food and crafts make it super fun! 2. Reindeer I love a reindeer themed party because there are to...
Writing was always my toughest and least favorite subject to teach. Anyone relate? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE writing! As a young child I actually wanted to be an author. I wrote mini chapter books and submitted my writing to young authors competitions. I read the thesaurus for fun. Yup, I was a big ol' nerd. Did you see the movie My Girl? I totally wanted to be in that summer writing class with Vada. (It doesn't hurt that Mr. Bixler was pretty good looking.😉) As a teacher, I quickly learned that liking to write and being a great writing teacher are two entirely different things. I was NO Mr. Bixler.  Writing is so subjective. I might love the way a student wrote a story and another teacher might think that it needs significant revisions. There is no one right way to write and that makes it crazy hard to teach. Plus, somewhere along the line many students have decided that they don't like writing. This can be caused by poor writing instruction....
If you are anything like me, you've come to the conclusion that writing conferences are hard! How do you find time for them all?  When I first started teaching, I would send everyone to their desks to write after my mini-lessons. Then, I would meet with one student at a time to conference on their writing. This took a LONG time! I hoped to meet with four students per day, but sometimes one student took up my whole time! I may not see this kiddo again for four weeks!  I was not giving my students what they needed. I realized this was a problem. So, I tried several new ideas, and came up with a solution that worked for me.  If you prefer, I made a video with this same content. You can watch it HERE . I hope these ideas will be make writing time less stressful for you and more meaningful for your students. Why Conference? Conferencing time is your time to differentiate and meet the needs of each of your students in your classroom. Our classrooms are not made u...
Do you start the year by teaching about place value and rounding? It's pretty common.  Lots of teachers in our teacher Facebook groups have been struggling with teaching rounding strategies. I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of the strategies that I used in my classroom. Ditch the Rhymes Confession time! When I first began teaching, I thought it was necessary to have a rhyme for rounding. I taught my students all the different rhymes you hear. My go-to rhyme was, "Five or more, raise the score. Four or less, let it rest."  I came to a realization several years ago that I was doing a disservice to my students when I taught them rhymes about rounding. I was teaching steps and my students did not truly understand why they rounded the way they did. Then, when we were ready for more challenging numbers, my students were stumped and did not have a solid number sense foundation. Rhymes don't teach number sense.  Students should...
Do you use a yearly pacing guide?  It is so handy to have a map of how you plan to fit the various standards into your academic year. Things WILL change, but it nice to have some idea of where you'd like to be with your instruction. I think that it makes lesson planning easier. I get lots of teachers who email me to ask how I fit everything in and what order I teach and use my resources.  For math, I always followed my curriculum. I taught a lesson each day and I didn't change the order. But, I didn't really use my ELA curriculum (Shhhhh!!!) and so I had to create an order that made the most sense for me and for my students.  Click HERE to grab my FREE ELA pacing guide for third grade. I realize that this won't work for everyone. Some states have very different standards and some schools don't organize their year into quarters. Many of you don't teach third grade. The freebie is not editable. However, you are welcome to use my ideas...
I am often asked about the notebook that my students used for writing workshop. After all, having the right materials helps our students to be organized and more successful.  So here is a look at my notebook and answers to the questions that I am asked most often... Type of Notebook I tried everything: spiral notebooks, binders, folders and composition books! They all have their positives and their negatives. Always use what works best for YOU! I personally like the composition books the best. They are more durable than folders and spiral notebooks, but they are cheaper and take up less space than binders.  The first time that I used composition books, it was a bit of a mess. Students had multiple stories written right after one another and no room for revisions. After that year, I decided to add dividers to the notebooks to fix that issue. Dividers & Cover I don't think it really matters what type of paper you print the cover on. I typically have s...