Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rainbow Of Possibilities Door

Hello friends! Lately I've been getting some questions about how I decorated my classroom door! I wanted to write a quick blog post with some free printables to help you create this door too!

My classroom door!
First, the beautiful paper cloud at the top of the door was created using an awesome blog post from the amazing Doodle Bugs TeachingClick here to check out her blog post so you can create your own. I absolutely love my paper cloud and I'm so glad it held up all year long. Now I can use it for my classroom next year! Yay! It took me a while to create but it was so worth it because I can use it over and over it's so pretty! I definitely recommend finding a good show to binge-watch on Netflix while you create it. ;)

Once your paper cloud is finished, you will need to cover your door with black paper.  After that, it's time to hang the paper cloud! After some trial and error, I found the best way to attach my paper cloud to the door was with 3M Scotch Mounting Tape. You can grab my favorite kind here!

Once your door is covered and the cloud is hung, you can figure out where you want the letters to go. I liked hanging the paper cloud first because I was able to position the letters so they were not covered by the paper cloud. 

Print out the letters. I used Recollections Cardstock Paper to print out the word "rainbow." I love this paper because it has so many different bright colors! Perfect for a fun rainbow!  I used plain White Card Stock on the rest of the door. I've included a link to the printable letters below.

Once the letters are printed, you can just cut them out using your scissors. No need for a fancy Cricut or anything like that! :)

After I cut out my letters, I put them in order. Then, I glued them to my door.

Optional: you can add in some brightly colored raindrops and/or twisted pipe cleaners to fill in some of the empty space. To make the raindrops, I just drew them on my bright paper, cut them out, and glued them on the door.

If you like this door but don't have the time or are not allowed to decorate your door, click the picture below to grab it free as a poster! Two different versions are included.

Hope this tutorial and freebies are helpful! A big thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for allowing me to link up to her blog post so I could include the paper cloud tutorial!

Happy decorating,


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Friday, April 6, 2018

Keep Students Reading All Summer!

Hello friends! I can't believe another school year is coming to an end! With our building under construction and many of new changes coming to our district, we have a very long summer ahead of us! A long summer sounds like a teacher's dream right? Although I am excited to have a little extra time with my family, I am worried about my students regressing!

What can we do to prevent the summer slide? Well, we all know how important it is to get our kids reading every day! Most of our high-achieving students will be reading throughout the summer because they enjoy it. As for our students who need to be reading the most, they typically need a little more motivation. One of the best motivators I've found is to use reading logs. Reading logs can help to keep students accountable for their reading and it can be a great visual too.

Just sending home a reading log sounds kind of boring right? Thinking of myself as a student, it would have gotten lost by the first day of summer. To make summer reading a little more fun, I like to  put together personalized baggies for students.

The first thing I add to the baggie is a letter to parents explaining the reading log and our goal. I'll include a link below so you can grab your copy of the FREE letter! I always like to include my letters on brightly colored paper so they stand out! My favorite paper is Astrobrights! It's so bright, fun, and sturdy! Click the link to grab it!

Next, you will need to add a reading log.  I copied mine front to back. Add as many as you think your students will need!

To remind students to keep on reading and to add something fun, I like to include special bookmarks! You can grab these for free too!

Finally, I wanted to add something personal to my students' reading baggies, so I added a cute cover! I took my students' photos reading a book and added them to the cover page, included in the freebie. You don't have to add their picture but I think it makes it a lot more fun and they really enjoyed it!

I also added some printable books and passages to my students baggies! You may want to do this if students don't have access to reading materials at their level. I always seem to have some extra books or passages left over at the end of the year so those have been great to add!

To increase motivation, I like to give students a small reward when they return their reading log after summer break!

If you want to grab the materials listed above click the image below to grab them for FREE!

What do you do to motivate your students to read during the summer? Leave me a comment below!


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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Levels of Understanding

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful 2017 and New Year's celebration! Being almost six months pregnant, my NYE consisted of sparkling cider and falling asleep long before the ball dropped. Even though I was out before 9:30, I still made a few resolutions before 2018!

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to check my students’ level of understanding more frequently! This can sometimes be an abstract concept for students. Although it is a difficult concept, it provides very important information for us as teachers and for our little learners. In order for students to grow in their understanding, it is important for students to think about what they know and do not know.

Levels of Understanding 

In order to make this abstract concept a little more clear, I use a visual along with a short and simple explanation for each level. These levels and explanations are based upon Marzano's Levels of Understanding and are communicated to students in a child friendly way. It is very important to explicitly explain what each level means along with examples. Working with younger students, it can take a while before students grasp each concept. My students often struggled with not being at level 5 so it is important to reinforce that it is OK not to know everything right away! This can make a great lesson to tie into growth mindset. 

I chose to make the cards into a display since I have a low number of students and they don’t have assigned desks. You can also put them on the corners of students desks. You may also choose to put them on loose-leaf rings and have students keep them in their desks or with their things. Students can hold the cards up at the end of a lesson. There are many different ways to use these! Just choose what fits your classroom management, needs and style best! See below on how I set up my display and cards.

After a lesson, students will “check out" by moving their card to where their level of understanding is. Using the different colors allows me quickly assess where the majority of my groups are. For example, if I see most of the cards on green or yellow, I know I have some reteaching to do!

Set Up:

If you are using the black and white version (this is what I used) I would recommend printing each level on a different color. I love using Astrobrights! I like putting each level on a different color because it allows you to quickly check to see where the majority of your class’ understanding is.

As mentioned on the previously,  these can either be put on rings or the adhesive square label pockets from Target, I don't have a link for them but they are typically sold in the Dollar Spot! If you are going to put them on a loose-leaf ring, I recommend laminating them and then hole punching them at the top corner to attach them.

Make a Poster or Display:

You may choose to make this into a display with the adhesive pockets (if you have them.) You should be able to fit about 20-25 of the adhesive pockets on a piece of poster board. In my example I only included 6 because I have a very small number of students. To fill some of the space, I added the posters to the bottom.

Print and cut out the letters, included in Levels of Understanding.

Add the letters to the top of the poster boar and laminate it. 

Teacher tip: fill in the inside of the letters with a Sharpie!

Place all of the cards in the adhesive square pouches.

Stick the pouches to the poster board. You will want to add student names or numbers under the pouches to distinguish each students pouch. I used my label maker for this. You can also attach them with Velcro.

If you'd like to try this out in your classroom, click the image below!

Again, this can take some time for students to fully understand where they are, but it is a great tool! Do you use a self assessment tool in your classroom? Leave me a comment below!


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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Handwriting Tips Made Fun!

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Hello all! Working with elementary aged students, handwriting can often be a struggle. It's such a crucial skill for students to learn but can often lead to frustration for students who struggle in this area. With limited time in the school day, it can often be tough to get the chance for students to work on this skill. I'm going to show you some fun, simple, and quick tips that your students will love!

1. Glitter Gel Baggies
Students love this activity and it is a very simple DIY project that you can create right in your kitchen! Once you've made the baggie, students can practice tracing letters, sight words, etc. on them! I like to even write letters and words and place them below the baggie so students know what to trace.

Get your supplies!
First you will need to get your supplies! You will need Elmer's School Glue. I like to use the glitter glue (if you couldn't tell from my blog name I reaaaaalllyy like glitter). You will also need contact solution. I like to use the Target brand because it is inexpensive and I like any excuse to go to Target. ;) Just make sure the contact solution that you use has borate or boric acid in the ingredients. Finally, you need Baking Soda.

Step 1: Squeeze the entire bottle of Elmer's Glue into a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Add 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda to the bowl.

Step 3: Add 1/4 tablespoon of the contact solution to the bowl.

Step 4: Stir up all of the ingredients until it is evenly mixed.

Step 5: Add the mixture to a baggie and tape up the top of it. Give the baggie to students so they can practice tracing letters, words, and more!

2. Mr. Sketch Scented Markers
What is it about these fun markers that instantly improves students' writing motivation? I mean I get it...when I bring Paper Mate Flair Pens to my staff meetings or PD, it instantly makes my note taking 5000% more enjoyable.

I recommend using these Mr. Sketch Scented Markers to give students a little extra motivation to practice handwriting. One of my students favorite ways to practice handwriting is with rainbow writing. If you're not familiar with rainbow writing, students get to use all different colors for some fun and repeated practice!

First students will choose a color and trace the letter. They will select another color and trace again. Repeat until it looks like a rainbow!

Rainbow writing is a really simple and low prep activity that your students are sure to enjoy with these fun and amazing smelling markers!

3. Tactile Letter Craft
Tactile letters are a fun craft to make and it gets students thinking about the formation of letters. When they are finished making the letters, they can trace over them with their fingers. It's a fun multisensory activity for students! Using a multisensory approach will help students to make connections and improves memory.

Your students will love creating these letters!

To make these tactile letters you will need: paper for the letters, pipe cleaners, Elmer's School Glue, and an X-ACTO Knife (for teacher use only).

First I printed the letters out for each student. You can make them on the computer or write them out by hand.

Student will add the Elmer's School Glue to each part of the letter. I like using the clear glue for this project!

Students will glue the pipe cleaner to the letters. They can trim it as needed. Let the glue dry while pushing down on the pipe cleaners.

Next, students will cut out the letters.

When students are finished I like to use an X-ACTO Knife to cut out the centers of the letters. Please note, the X-ACTO Knife should be used by only the teacher. 

4. Trace Letters with an EXPO Marker
One simple activity to give students some repeated practice is by using EXPO Dry Erase Markers on handwriting pages. Just be sure to put the pages in plastic sleeves. Students can practice over and over again. Best of all if they make a mistake, they can easily erase it and try again!

My Favorite Handwriting Pencils
Once your students have gotten some practice using the activities above, the Paper Mate Handwriting pencils are a great tool for some paper and pencil practice! My students love these brightly colored pencils and their easy, comfortable grip! These pencils are launching in February 2018 so be on the look out for them!!

Have you used any of these tips in your classroom? What are some of your favorite handwriting activities? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Teaching,

Thank you Go Teach! for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own