Groundhog Day Ideas

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Happy hump day friends, thanks for joining me for my newest edition of:

Groundhog's Day is coming up pretty quick and I thought I'd put together some fun ideas to help you out.  This first one would be a yummy, cute way to celebrate: 

It's a great time to discuss how shadows work and wouldn't it be fun to go outside with some sidewalk chalk and work with a partner in tracing our shadows?  Just hand out sidewalk chalk to your students ( have them pair up ) 1 per group is fine.  Then have one stand still they can put one hand up and one down creating a clever look.  Their partner will trace their shadow on the blacktop or sidewalk.  The kids get a kick out of this and it's the perfect time to talk more about the sun and shadows.

Here are a couple freebies that look awesome that you can grab if you are prepping for this special day!

You can get the 120 Mystery Chart here:  Also how perfect is this since the 100th day just passed for many of you and the 120th is coming up.

and the freebie pack here: 

I have a fun Groundhog Day pack that includes a super cute craft you can grab here:

groundhog day craft

I hope this has given you a few ideas you can try or grab to make your Groundhog Day fun for your child or students.  Don't forget it's : Thursday, Feb. 2nd this year!


Picture book response ideas

Saturday, January 28, 2017

using picture books in the classroom

Do you love picture books?  I know that's a silly question for my audience of teachers but I am curious how you use picture books to teach.  Reading them aloud for pleasure and enjoyment is important for sure!  It's vital for your students to see you read a book with expression, thinking aloud about the characters or problem and responding and just laughing or enjoying the book.  All very important!  Kids need to see adults enjoy books and have a love of reading.  There are also so many other ways to use picture books in the classroom and I wanted to share some with you.  I'm going to give you some picture book ideas to use for each month of the year:  starting with August.  As the year goes on I will add a month so before 2017 ends you will have ideas to use with several picture books for several topics for the entire year!

I love to read a couple books in August for back to school. A few great ones for the younger guys ( preschool - 1st grade ) are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,  If you Give a Mouse a Cookie,  The Rainbow Fish and Chrysanthemum.  A couple I like for the older kids ( 2 - 3rd grade ) - My Mouth is a Volcano and Officer Buckle and Gloria.
Why do I love these for the younger kids you ask...there are several reasons!
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is wonderful for teaching the letters of the alphabet in a fun, 'catchy' way.  Grabbing the audio from Scholastic is another great idea.  My first graders loved singing the Chicka Chicka song.  There are so many extensions you can do with this book: snack: celery stick with alpha letters to spell their names, art: palm tree with their letters of their name going up or down the tree or a class book. I have a fun pack that you can use when you are reading this book:   
 chicka chicka boom boom ideas, resources and snack

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie is great because it is a predictable, circle story that kids can be successful with predicting.  So even if they aren't fluent 'readers' yet, they can predict what the mouse will do/say which will give them confidence and success early in the year in K or 1.

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie book study

Or if you like her books you can grab the bundle:  these response packs are PERFECT for an unexpected sub day. 

The Rainbow Fish is awesome for talking about friendship and sharing.  Perfect for the first month of school for preschool - 1st graders.  Also talking about how the character changed over the course of the story is always a great discussion to have with your students.  I have lots of response activities and a fun craft to do with this book.

The Rainbow Fish ideas and resources

Chrysanthemum is a fantastic read for the beginning of the year for the little guys but also for the older kids too.  It covers so many topics from bullying, name activities, how to be a friend and more.

Chrysanthemum ideas and resources

back to school with Chrysanthemum

If you teach 2nd - 3rd grade another great read is Officer Buckle and Gloria.  I love this book because it talks alot about the importance of school/classroom rules.  There's no better time than back to school to read this since you are covering rules anyway.  It's a favorite among this age for sure.

Officer Buckle ideas and resources

I also love reading My Mouth is a Volcano with these guys.  Even in 2nd and 3rd grade we are dealing with blurting out and this seems to help a bit.  It's a great book to use when talking about rules and self control too.

My Mouth is a Volcano ideas and resources

I can't wait to continue sharing my favorite books each month with you!  Book activities and responses are a great way to teach certain skills and concepts too like character traits, theme, etc.  Be sure to check back in next month for my newest book response ideas for the classroom!  Happy Teaching! xo,


100th and 101st Day of School

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Welcome to my Wait for it Wednesday ~ it's the perfect time to start thinking about the 100th day of School my friends!

Hooray, hooray it's the 100th day of School!  Kids love to celebrate the 100th day.  Today one of my 3rd graders asked if we are going to celebrate it.  I told her sadly no, that was a k-1-2 thing.  Then I felt bad.  But then I looked at my plan book and realized even if I wanted to do it would almost be virtually impossible with getting everything in right now.  Although I do think it would be fun to do with 3rd graders and I'm pretty sure I've seen 100th day for BIG kids packs out there.
However, if you do teach TK, K, 1st or 2nd grade I do have some fun ideas I'd like to share with you.  I have a couple ways that I like to celebrate the 100th day and a fun little way to celebrate the 101st day of school.

The first year I implemented it was in 2008 and it was a huge hit!  We even made it into our local newspaper.  We transformed into dalmatians with ears, name tags/collars, dots, dots and more dots and so much more.
First of course we had to give ourselves dog names, we then called ourselves these names all day which was fun and funny...when we forgot we had to look at each others collars to figure it out.  I definitely enlisted parent helpers to make sure it went smoothly.  

1. We strung 101 cheerios onto a 'dog collar' with a dog registration.     ( they had to name themselves )  Guess how many named themselves after their own pet?!?  I have included dog tags and counting mats for this activity.

2.  Estimation station:  We took guesses on how many dog bones were in the container...  ( Scooby Do graham crackers shaped like bones )  We also played a race to 101 dice game in this rotation.  I have included little dog bone guess tags in this pack.

3  Color 101 black dots onto a plain white shirt with a sharpie.     { Note went home asking parents to bring in a shirt that could get  { 'ruined'  }

4  Take 101 steps and see where you end up at school then do a follow up response page that I have included in this pack.

5  Take a photo in front of our 'dog house'.

* We made dog ears and painted their faces like mine above - again with parent permission ** I also have dog ear templates included in my pack.

I had a parent decorate our classroom door to make it extra festive.

This extra little step was no big deal and helped build up the  excitement for our day!

101st day of school ideas

101st day of school ideas

101st day of school ideas

In my 20+ years of teaching this has by far been my favorite teaching day(s) of the year.  If you are interested you can grab my pack ( here ).

There's tons of other activities included in this pack:
a mini book, skip counting, dalmatian craftivity, writing pages, response pages, snack idea with response page and so much more.

101st day of school craftivity
Happy teaching! xo


Inauguration Day

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Inauguration Day is what I have in store this week for my weekly edition of : 

The Inauguration Day is this Friday, are you ready?  Whether you are mentally ready or not for this new presidency depending on what side of the fence you are on ~ it's here.  So take this opportunity to teach your littles about how this day in government plays out.  If you had your students vote this past November then this is the perfect way to follow it up.

In this Inauguration Day freebie I have 2 close reads and a fun prior knowledge activity for your students to complete about the presidency in general.  If you are interested you can grab it in my TPT store by clicking { here }

Hope you find it helpful!  Have a great week teacher friends!


Dollar Store hacks

Saturday, January 14, 2017
I've written posts about the Dollar store before  ~ I can't help myself.  Seriously if you have a couple minutes walk around the Dollar Store and things will just POP out at you and you'll get ideas for how you can use these in your classroom.

The Dollar Store is a great place to find teacher hacks, check these out to make your life a little easier.

Recently I went with my hubby for household items....well I came home with a couple bags of ideas I could use for teaching.
This one jumped out at me to use as a sorting center for any age.  I displayed the idea as an odd/even sorting center but it could be used for long/short vowels, phonics skills, word endings, grammar and the list goes on and on.  I grabbed 2 of these frog packages in the toy isle and then wrote on the frogs and their corresponding 'ponds'.

Dollar store game or center hack - you can use for math, ela, your choice.

Another fun item I found I stumbled upon by accident.  I really don't even remember what isle I got it from or what is suppose to even be used for...but...check it out.

It's perfect for a winter background, doesn't it look just like snow?  I have a new pack The Snowy Day and I thought this would be perfect for the craft I included in the pack.

My idea was to use with shaving cream but the above background idea from the Dollar Store would be so cute too.

Are you tired of having to have your door locked but your students need to go in and out of it all day?  Use a pool noodle!  Cut to the length you want and slice down the middle - stick in the door and you are all set!

Use a pool noodle to make your life easier, read more on the blog.

What are your favorite Dollar Store finds?


Pin Art

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter break is over sooo....welcome back to 

Lots of rain or snow...what to do?  Indoor recess can quickly become a headache.  Re entering the room after I've been in the teacher's lounge for 40 minutes use to be a rough time.  The duty aides looked frazzled as they walked from room to room and I never knew what I would be walking into for the rest of my afternoon.  Well that has changed thank goodness and all it took was some very specific goals/rules and pin art.

Setting up very specific rules and expectation and some pin art
( and soft music ) playing on the smart board has transformed my rainy days.  When I come back from the teacher's lounge I no longer have that terrified look on my face LOL.  I come in with confidence and hear glowing reports from the noon duties that my kids were not running around like wild animals.  They were quietly working on their pin art.  Ahh, the difference it's made has been amazing!  I have 5 packs now - seasonal, 2 random images, alphabet and emojis.  I just heard the weather report for this upcoming week in So. Cal and there's rain in the forecast so - my emoji pin art is already to go.  

My newest pack and my most favorite is the emoji pack.  Here's a sneak peek:

We've been having a blast with them!

What are you waiting for ~ check them out and save your sanity!

Click the picture above, it will take you to my product lines and my pin art set is in this category.

What else do you do to save your sanity at recess comment below for a chance to win my newest Emoji set.


8 tips for better Instagram Engagement

Monday, January 9, 2017
I'm FAR from an Instagram guru that's for sure, but my teenagers are impressed with how many followers I have which I get a kick out of.  Compared to some of my close friends I don't have tons of followers but I have learned a few things over the years.

8 tips for better Instagram Engagement that you can use right away

# 1  The first one is EASY ~ BE YOU!  There's no other you in the whole world so just be you.  Be authentic to who you are...let your personality shine and don't be afraid to showcase all parts of you.

Your audience most likely is filled with teachers - either teacher bloggers like yourself or teachers that want ideas from you.  But you don't ONLY have to share teacher stuff.  That's the beauty of Instagram.  A picture of a #momfail or good hair day is FINE to show.  In fact it makes you more real and relatable to your readers.

#2 Ask questions to your readers.  You can use the app Word Swagg to either put a question in your photo.  OR you can just ask a question without a photo with Word Swagg.  There are tons of font and color choices to match your branding or your mood.  That way you will get feedback/answers and it's a great way for you to respond with your readers in the comments.  This definitely promotes engagement in your posts.

 #3 Include funny memes or comic type pictures if that's your personality.  I LOVE to put silly things on my Instagram.  Your audience will get a kick out of it and it doesn't have to be about teaching.  If you find something funny share it, if you think it's funny most likely your audience will too.  After a long work day your followers will probably want a good laugh.

#4 Use quotes - but they are BEST if they come from you.  It's okay to repost a quote but a.)  be sure to tag the person that posted it and b.) don't screenshot it and repost without their watermark.  That's a surefire way to lose friends and supporters in the world of social media.  If it's not yours don't pass it off as yours.  Some of my most popular posts have been quotes.

#5 Engage with others!  Take time to comment and respond to who you follow.  You taking the time to comment on their post if it was something you really liked shows that you care and want to collaborate or engage.  That way they are more likely to do the same with you.  PLUS others that comment might see your comment and take a peek at your page.  If they like what they see you just might gain an authentic follower.

#6 Don't compare yourself to others.  Having authentic followers is KEY!  There are accounts that spam you or try to get you to pay for followers.  That is a waste of time.  You want followers most likely that will stop by your blog, visit your store, etc.  Authentic followers that are within my 'tribe' so to speak are the ones I want.  For instance, most of my followers are in education like me.  But, I also am very athletic and enjoy swimming and running so I have some triathlete followers that interact with my workout posts.  They are still true followers to me even though they won't be shopping in my TPT store anytime soon.  
I have chosen not to have 2 accounts on Instagram which may or may not be the best idea.  But that's how I've rolled with it so I'm keeping it like that.  But you wouldn't want random followers that are into things that you have no interest in or even worse that you have strong feelings against - and go against your beliefs, etc.

#7 Use those hashtags!  Many people search hashtags of their interests and often that's another way to gain followers that might not otherwise find you.  

#8 Take the time to follow others and support them.  Nothing bugs me more than someone with 8,000 + followers and they follow like 200.  We are all in this journey together of branding ourselves, finding our 'tribe', etc.  Be supportive of other #girlbosses - the world is big enough for all of us!

** Don't forget to use bitly links in your profile.  If you refer to a product, fb post etc.  You'll want to use a bitly link in your bio so your followers can find what you are talking about in your post.

If you want to stop by and check out my Instagram I'd love to have you leave a comment so I can find you as well and support you.  

You can find me at teachingmore

instagram engagement tips

Happy Instagramming!  ( is that a verb )