If you have been following me for long, you know how much I loved using centers in my classroom! Math and reading centers are engaging and make differentiation a piece of cake. (If you are looking for more information about math centers, you can check out THIS blog post or THIS video series.) My math centers for grades 2-5 are very popular and I have just started to release a line of 3rd grade reading centers . Teachers love having the activities prepped and ready to go for their students.  That being said, I get questions every day about prepping centers. I thought that it might help everyone if I publicly shared my favorite tips. Enjoy! Printing Some teachers have trouble getting their printers to print centers. Either they get weird lines through the centers or their printer just has trouble flattening the file. The reason is that the centers have lots of layers and images on them. This can especially be tough on older printers. No worries! There are simp...
Teacher communication is a vital part of a classroom's success. A perfect way to start this line of communication at the beginning of the year is at Open House or Curriculum Night. Every school has a different name for this event.  I am NOT referring to Meet the Teacher, when you open your classroom doors, and meet your students for the first time. Let's face it, that event can be a little chaotic for families and teachers!  At my school, I felt overwhelmed when a rush of over 40 parents and students, that I did not know, came streaming into my classroom. I am sure that I had families go home exhausted from that event as well. There are lots of ways to prepare for this event in order to feel more organized. To read more about Meet the Teacher ideas, click HERE . Today, I want to discuss how you can start the year off right with Curriculum Night. Why Should I Offer Curriculum Night? Curriculum Night is an opportunity for teachers to explain their expectations, pr...
I am a creature of habit, I have always felt most comfortable using email for parent communication . However, I've come to realize that with smartphones being the norm, a texting feature may be convenient for many families. This summer, I decided to reach out and learn about popular and free parent communication apps for my classroom. I looked into Bloomz, Remind, ClassDojo, and ClassTag.  There are several similarities with these applications. Each communication tool will send out messages to a whole group, or can be sent to individuals.  Messages, photos, and videos can be shared with each of these.  All of these allow you to share information through your phone, without sharing your phone number and keeping parent information secure.  Families will have instant access across multiple devices, including desktop, iPad, iPhone, and Android.  All users seem to agree that these are all very user-friendly. Bloomz Bloomz is a popular parent communication app to use w...
Building relationships with your students is often more important than any reading or math skill that we'll teach in our classrooms. When kids know you care, they'll work harder and enjoy school more. One way to strengthen relationships with your students is by recognizing their birthdays. Let them know you care by focusing on their special day! The good news? It doesn't have to cost a dime! Try these  simple ways to celebrate student birthdays. Read all about it. Grow your classroom library  and celebrate student birthdays by inviting them to bring in an extra copy of their favorite book. Students can write their name and birthday in the front of the book and add their special story to your shelves. Have the student read their book (or a portion depending on the length) aloud to the class. For struggling readers, you may choose to read to them. Your students' birthdays will be part of your classroom forever while letting them provide their own gift of lit...
It's funny how ideas pop into your head at the oddest times, mine usually come to me in the middle of the night or on my drive to work. My latest brainstorm came to me at mile marker 0.2 on my summer run. Yep....I was already breathing heavy and regretting a 7 a.m. run when the temperature was already 90 degrees. Well, I set a goal this summer that I would get out and start running again. It's been a while, and a slight injury had me benched. However, I knew I could get back into routine. My mistake though, was trying to start off too strong and jump right back into a full run. I'm sure you all have heard the phrase from Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." That became my motto during this muggy 7 a.m. run, "Just keep running, just keep running." That's when it hit me, I shouldn't feel like I'm drowning already, like I'm barely keeping my head above water. I won't want to do this again tomorrow if that is...