Genius ideas to use with everyday items in the classroom

Teachers....we are a unique breed that's for sure.  My mom was a teacher for 30 years and I can't tell you the random things she would find/bring home/collect etc.  I know, I know, I'm preaching to the choir here.  We would go on trips and go way out of our way for something she knew she could use in her classroom.  She collected Pringles can and covered them with 1970's shelf liner paper -no joke!  AND here's the kicker, we didn't even eat Pringles chips.  ( did you see how I started a sentence with and...oh the horror!! )

Welcome to another edition of :
( disclaimer... ok, so maybe all of these ideas aren't genius...but hey they aren't bad... )



random hacks for teaching

I thought I would compile a list of everyday or not so everyday items that teachers can use in their classroom.  I hope you find a lot of new ones you didn't think of before to help you out.



using tile spacers as manipulatives to practice multiplication sentences and repeated addition


Tile spacers are PERFECT for teaching repeated addition and then the corresponding multiplication sentence to match.  FIRST, they are really FUN to touch, bend, etc.  They are kinda bendy and definitely a little addictive to hold on to I must say!  SECOND they are perfect to teach this concept and the kids loved using them as manipulatives.  They are CHEAP at the Home Depot at just over $5 for 500 of them too!

Creative uses for pool noodles are popping up everywhere you look.  I bet the pool noodle inventors could've never imagined all the things that they are used for nowadays.  For the last several years I have used a pool noodle on my classroom door so my students aren't constantly having to jump up to answer it when a classmate needs their water or homework from their backpack during a lesson. 






pool noodle door stop hack for teachers


We all have these in our classroom and yes, they work perfectly on a bulletin board when you don't want to rip your student's work or the background paper...but here's another way you can use a staple remover that I bet you didn't think of before:


open key ring with staple remover

I know I don't want to ruin my pretty nails like ever...so a staple remover to the rescue ladies!



Another popular item found in classrooms across the world...but let's think outside the box on this one.  They are perfect to use when you need to write yourself a note and remind yourself to do something later.  They are perfect to use when you need to send a quick note home or a note to a colleague as well.  But did you know that they work perfectly to CLEAN the keys on your computer keypad, or even better your students grimy keypads?!?!


random uses for sticky notes



If you have scrap fabric laying around or know a quilter ask them to share.  Lots of people have scraps of fabric hanging around and it's perfect to use as an inexpensive way to decorate your classroom.  Here's a banner I made with scraps:

clever way to use extra fabric in the classroom



Curtain rods can be used to hang things other than curtains obviously.  I have used a curtain rod to hang my anchor chart each week for the skill we are working on.  It has been so easy to change out each week.  I just used command hooks on either side and then hung the rod.  Lastly I punched holes in my anchor chart and hung them from the rod with over sized o rings.

teacher hacks for the classroom


Teachers are the kings and queens of using things for other purposes and saving a buck here and there right!?!?  See how this is suppose to be used for filing papers?  LOL  Nope, use an over sized paper clip to organize your computer cords...stop the chaos!

how to organize all those computer cords


hack for storing small items


Eye glass cases aren't that hard to get a hold of...through donations, older parents, etc. it's easy to collect them.  You can use them to store thumb tacks, staples, paper clips...you name it.  It's nice if you are working on something and need them handy because it's so portable.  I can't tell you how many times I had a tiny little paper clip box beside me and the side opened or top popped off and they ended up all over the floor.



clever use for command hooks in the classroom

I also hang command hooks around my room with word lists and journal prompt ideas as well as their password codes in various places.  They know they are free to get up and grab what they need when they need it.  Handy...yes!

Other ideas:

use shaving cream on student desks to practice multiplication facts

shaving cream - use on desks to work on sight words or multiplication facts.  Not only is it fun and smells good but it cleans the desks too!  #winwin

lazy susan - this works wonders to hold crayons, scissors, etc. as a community supply holder at student tables.  Ordinarymom.ca use this brilliant hack to organize her supplies.

use a lazy susan to store community classroom supplies

I hope you can incorporate a few of these ideas if you haven't yet.  I always enjoy coming across new ideas to make my life easier in the classroom.  What great ideas do you have to share?  Happy teaching!
xo,
















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Keeping passwords organized


It's another edition of...

all about technology - ok not really technology but remembering passwords and stuff you know, that isn't easy for some of us. #pointingatmyself 
I wanted to title this:  Passwords and usernames and Chrome Books oh my!  But I didn't think that would get much reach on SEO! LOL

Oh my goodness y'all, I'm a tech immigrant definitely not a tech native.  When I was little we stayed outside until the streetlights came on and we had a phone that was CONNECTED to a wall AND it even had a rotary dial.  Yes, I'm aging myself but that's okay.  So with all that being said, I never had to remember much as a kid.  Maybe just my locker combination...

blog post on keeping passwords and usernames organized and safe
So all this business of remembering how to sign into a chrome book, what passwords for like 10 different websites - oh, and don't forget usernames....o m geeee how is an old lady aging princess like me suppose to help my students remember all of this and remember it all myself?!?!

Well that's when you realize you need help, you own it and you take care of business.  My memory is definitely not my strong suit...never has been.  So, in order for me to remember all of the things I needed some scaffolding to help a sista out.  This included a notebook for my own usernames and passwords as well as some support for my students.  This is what I came up with and it works for me/us in my classroom.


Keep your students passwords organized with this freebie

My students have a couple of rings they can use that I put on a hook in our class that has the info they need as well as this notebook.  So if they forget their username they can grab the 'ring' or the notebook and easily find what they need.  I have one for myself that I use as well for the reason in the first paragraph. #imold
I hope you find this useful, I've included this as a freebie for you - here's a link to the google doc if you want to grab it.  Enjoy my friends and happy hump day!

Grab it { here }
As always ~ Happy Teaching!
xo,








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Commutative Property


Happy weekend friends, you survived another week of being a 'super teacher'.  I wanted to share a fun activity we did this week for the commutative property of multiplication but you could certainly apply this to the commutative property of addition too.

commutative property of multiplication, commutative property of addition ideas and tips

As you know I'm always trying to think of a more clever, memorable way to teach a concept that I think will 'stick' with them and if I do, I always share what worked for me.  Last year I focused on the word....commute - and talked about how sometimes parents commute to work.  That when they drive one direction, they most likely commute the same direction back.  You are just flip flopping the directions.  I called on some kids to pretend to 'drive' around our classroom.  They did remember the name of the property because of that which was nice.  This year I tried something very different.
I decided to focus more on the concept and how it flip flops the numbers.  So of course we made flip flops, they had a lot of fun, we also played some dice games and made drawings to match our commutative property equations.

commutative properties in math - lots of ideas, photos and ways to teach it.


So, we talked about how the numbers 'flip flop' and made the flip flop craftivity.  In my pack I've included one for multiplication and one also for addition in case you change grade levels OR have to teach both like in third with Envision we teach both.
I had them come up with a number sentence and as you can see from the above photo - there was a cover on their flip flops.  The cover looks something like this ( I've included a few options )

commutative property of multiplication, commutative property of addition flip flop craftivity
I've included just a simple explanation that the numbers flip flop and I've included the proper vocabulary ( addends, product, etc. ) as another option.  This is the TOP page that would be cute run on scrapbook paper.  The bottom page is the same just doesn't have the words so they can write and draw number sentences to show the commutative property.




I've also included an optional flip flop crown/hat to wear home.  This would be especially cute for first or second graders.  It's very similar to the craftivity but they would write the number sentences on the hat.

commutative property of addition crown or hat to wear home

I took these pictures of the kids with their hands out, these pictures will be added to a bulletin board with the flip flops.

commutative property of addition, commutative property of multiplication bulletin board idea with pictures of your students.


commutative property of addition and multiplication craft, printables and ideas

If you want to use this to teach this concept to your students you can grab it {here} This pack includes the craft, printables and dice activities to use for both the commutative property of multiplication as well as the commutative property of addition.

commutative property of addition, commutative property of multiplication dice games, craft and printables


I hope this has been helpful to you, let me know if you try it out.  Happy teaching! xoxo,





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7 tips for mainstreaming a child into your classroom


So you are a mainstream teacher, maybe you take turns, maybe you enjoy it and request to do it but however it turns out you are the mainstream teacher this year.  Here are some tips to make the mainstream experience a GREAT one not only for the child and aide coming in to join your class but for everyone involved.
Welcome to another edition in my weekly series:



7 tips to help make mainstreaming a great experience for everyone

Being a mainstream teacher is a wonderful experience for all involved usually.  Sometimes it can be a poor placement and it can be an unfortunate experience but usually it's really is a great experience.  Here are some tips to make the most of it:

Reach out to the parents right away.  Be sure to introduce yourself and let them know how excited you are to be their child's mainstream teacher.  Reassure them that your intentions are to include their child in all things according to the IEP that they are expecting.  That way there is a clear understanding from the beginning and they feel more confident knowing that you are excited to be their child's mainstream teacher.

mainstreaming in the classroom, 7 tips to help you out.


Be sure to introduce yourself to the one on one aide as well.  Most likely this child will come to you with an aide.  Make the aide feel right at home in your classroom, be sure there is a seat available for the child with a name tag as well as a chair for the aide too.  It just makes them both feel like they are part of your class.

Be sure to have some options available in case they are needed...for in stance a flexible seating option - maybe borrow a hooki stool from someone if you don't already have one so if they need some wiggle room it's easy and not too distracting to the other students.


This one sounds easy but trust me it can be easy to screw this part up.  Don't forget to include them...sounds easy enough right?!?!  If your class earned a popsicle party and he/she was in your room for some of the points include the child in the party.  Make them feel like they are just as much a part of your class as the kids on your roster.  When there is an assembly try to remember to include them so they don't miss out ( if it's part of their IEP  and supported by parents, etc. )

Try to have fidget tools available for them.  I know none of us are fans of the fidget spinners but the cube has worked wonders with some of my kiddos with ADHD.  There are several options out there, ask the special ed team for support on this and see what is in their IEP as well.






Sometimes students that come into your room aren't use to the hustle and bustle of a gen ed classroom even with great classroom management...so have some larger headphones available to them 
( not earbuds ) that can actually block out the noise.

It's always a good idea to find some picture books to read to your students to prepare them for their new classmate.  I always refer to the child that comes in whether for 30 min. a day or a 1/2 day as their classmate not a visitor.  This child needs to have a spot to hang their work, a name tag and an invite to open house where they can share their work with their parents.  They need to feel like they are just as much a part of your classroom as anyone else.  So prepare your students so they can be welcoming to this child.  Picture books are the perfect way to get the conversation started and always be sure to make that child feel like they are special obviously but also part of your class for sure!


I hope you found this helpful if you are going to be a mainstream teacher this year.  I remember the first time years ago when I was assigned this very important job.  I felt very inadequate because I didn't have a special ed degree.  You'll find though that reaching out to the special ed team is a great resource.  They will be happy to help you with this transition.
** ALSO Bonus # 8 - Collect work samples from them so that you can be prepared at their annual IEP to show what they are doing when they come to visit you.  This will really impress the parents that you care enough to do this and you are able to speak on this.  If necessary take notes/documentation this has been very helpful in the past to bring up specific instances of when things were off, etc.  To have dates and examples available was beneficial.  
Let me know if you have used any of these tips when you have been a mainstream teacher... what would you add to the list?
As always, happy teaching!
xo,



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Teaching Context Clues




Hi friends, welcome to my weekly series ~ ~ ~ 


This week we are diving deeper into context clues.  How do you teach it, what does it look like in your classroom?  How can you assess on it?  We will be touching on each of these in regards to context clues.  I taught this skill last week and felt like my students had a pretty good grasp of it...however after a ELA quiz last week I saw that they could've done better and that told me I needed to re teach.  I knew I could get my students attention and have them buy into this way of teaching it if I turned them into mini detectives.

So, I made an anchor chart and we reviewed all of the strategies that help us figure out a word when we are unsure of it's meaning.  I went to my favorite go to - Flocabulary for an awesome rap/video and then we got right to work...

Context clue detectives at work, printables, lesson ideas and more


I knew since I was reteaching it I had to make a big impact on their learning and make it memorable.  So I created some fun activities and ways to do just that.  The magnifying glass craft is actually a mini book on the glass part.  It has staples if you look closely.  They have 4 pieces of glass ( stapled ) that they wrote a strategy to help them with unknown words on each of those.  This is something they can keep all year and refer back to because I've included a page for their interactive notebook that is similar.  

First off let me say my kids LOVED this lesson!  It took most of our morning and they didn't mind one bit.  IN FACT, we were due for the chrome book cart and they BEGGED me to let them finish presenting their passages first.  That has to tell you something.  They were so engaged throughout my morning which made me so happy!

We made our magnifying glass mini book/craftivity and that reinforced all the strategies that are used when trying to figure out the word.  Then we took a little power point quiz and they recorded their answers on  their detective notebooks.  Of course they felt like little detectives all morning with this activity which they loved.
Then I modeled how I wanted their passage to look - they had to write a short passage in which they changed important words to silly ( nonsense ) words and had to use clues to help their audience figure out what they were talking about.  They were so CREATIVE!!!  After they wrote 4 nonsense words in their passage with the correct use of synonyms or examples to guide their audience they were allowed to wear their hats and read them in front of the class on stage.  When they finished their passage they called on their classmates to 'guess' what their nonsense words were - this was their favorite part for sure!

context clue detectives in action, lesson ideas and printables

Kahoot is always a great go to when trying to reinforce a skill you've been working on OR if you need to reteach something.



My teacher heart was so full because they were so engaged and excited while learning today!
Keep your kids engaged with this context clues lesson


context clues, detective day, anchor charts, activities, hands on


vocabulary , context clues

We had an amazing day of learning - one that I think will stick with them, especially knowing I had to reteach this to make it stick more.  I'm pretty sure it 'stuck' this time.  If you want to try it out in you classroom you can grab it ( here )
Thanks, and let me know if you test it out...as always ~ ~
Happy teaching! 
xox,





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