All About Planning

I report back to work on MONDAY, so I have spent the last few weeks trying to come up with my outline for the year, and some awesome planning sheets.

Planning ideas to make back to school easier

#teacherconfession I am AWFUL about using a planner!  I LOVE planners, love the way they work, love to decorate them, but I am not good about sitting down and using them.  I have never been good at it, but I am pretty good about sitting in front of my computer.

Brainstorming ideas for back to school

I started in Vegas talking with my bestie about some awesome apps that she used for math on her iPads.  Her school is 1:1 starting in 3rd grade!!  Then I started outlining a brief sketch of what I wanted my planner to look like as well as some ideas that I knew I needed to start working on.  I love using my flair pens to help me with my planning!

Weekly Planning sheets for digital plans '15-'16 school year

From there I actually started to create what I wanted my weekly planning pages to look like and started working on some plans for the first few days of school!  We start school on a Wednesday this year!!  

I have this big chunk of time on Tuesday when my kids have specials, so I have a big chunk of blank space.  What do you think I should put on my planner in this blank chunk?!

I love typing my lesson plans too because it allows me to share them with you all on Sundays and then I will be able to add products so you can click right to them!!  I can't wait to share my first week of school plans soon!

Outlining the big ideas, and filling in details

We are switching back to quarters this school year, which put me in a bit of a pickle when I was trying to plan.  In the past we've had trimester so I spent each trimester focusing on each type of science.  My partner teacher and I were able to come up with what we wanted to do, and where we wanted to plug them in based on the number of weeks in each quarter.

From there we went in and started adding ideas to our plans, once again, just a rough sketch!

Long Term Planning sheets for the school year

Finally, we started working on our long term plans for the school year.  This way we can get a rough idea of when we have breaks, early dismissal days, tests in other subjects, or how quickly or slowly we can move through a subject.  We were able to plan some subjects through the year (handwriting), and some through November.

I know that these are ROUGH ideas, and will depend on our class.  We have built in days for preassessments, so that way we can give the assessment before we begin the lessons.  Then we will have the opportunity to look through our plans and see where we can compact some lesson, or where we need to spend more time.

I hope that you have found some great ideas on how you want to start planning for the future.  I am excited about doing this, because then I won't be freaking out in April trying to figure out how I am going to squeeze in three more units for math, science, religion or any other subject that I "have" to teach!

If you having any questions about planning, please let me know!  I know I am no expert on keeping a plan book, but I am open to sharing what I use and talking about new ways to plan!

Back to School: What's on your Math Wall?

Math Wall . . . 
(Formerly known as just "the calendar"it's so much more now!
I have really grown to love my math wall!  So much that I re-decorate it! In kindergarten we use it every single day. I use it during calendar time, and during math time. The skills that we cover in our "Math Talks" are endless! It's something that I have enjoyed doing so much and I see so much value in, that I add to it every year. We do all of the typical things like calendar, days of the week, etc., but I really love doing number of the day. I use my number sense anchor charts by placing the anchor chart backward in a clear plastic sleeve that I keep hanging on the wall. We do the reveal by them asking questions about the number, but not what it is (this is so cute!). (I have several sets of my Number Sense Anchor Charts printed out so that I can use them in a variety of ways, (then I don't have to bother with the ones that I have posted currently.)

After the big reveal. . . . I have my number talk helper of the day come up to 
help me answer questions about the number. If my helper is able to write, I let them write the answers on the sticky note to place on the Number of the Day Anchor Chart. If they are not able to write yet, I model, talk aloud saying the number formation poem and and sometimes do hand over hand with them. 
(The other students are air writing while I'm writing on the sticky note). 
We answer all the questions the chart asks about the number, and then do a little cheer for the number. It is such a fun, interactive way to involve kids and get them talking and "seeing" math on a daily basis!

My ten frames are on a magnet board from IKEA. I use them ALL the time!
They are such an awesome visual for kids to concretely see number sense.
What is on your Math Wall?

Back to School: BEE Books!

I have to share a one of the best things I have ever implemented in my classroom with you today.  BEE books!

I got this idea from Jessica Meacham years ago and I have pretty much used them the same way for the last 8 years or so. They are that amazing!  In one neat folder there are resources for families, a behavior calendar, a place to keep papers, homework, and a zipper pouch for money and notes so they don't get lost.  I told you....AMAZING!
    The front inside cover has a little sticker with my contact information and a "Left at Home" sticker.  All papers at the end of the day that need to go home go in this side of the folder.  

 The first thing they see inside the folder is a zipper pocket with a little sticker that says "Money and Notes".  I encourage (actually I insist) that parents put any money or notes in this pocket.  I am horrible about being handed a note and then setting it down, sticking it in my pocket, or just burying it under a pile of homework.  (this makes me sound really unorganized but if you've ever been in a primary classroom you know what I mean!)  If they use the pocket I am SURE to see it because I check through them every morning.  It's quick and easy with the clear pocket in the front. 

Also included inside:

You can customize BEE Books to make them fit your needs, that's what I love about them most!  Add as many clear page protectors as you need to make them work for you.   

Here are some labels and an alphabet resource to get you started!  The labels are just good 'ol shipping labels and the cover labels I print on regular paper and tape with clear packing tape (this is needed to make them last all year long). 

Click HERE to get started!

I also have the behavior calendars as a forever freebie in my store too. You can get those by clicking on the picture.

  Thanks for stopping by Hello Sunshine Teachers today!   Remember we will be sharing fun back to school ideas all month long! 


First Day Fun with Playdough!

Good Morning!

We all know the first day of school can be hectic for most teachers. 

At many of the schools I've worked at, we've had a “Meet the Teacher/Bring Your Supplies Day” before school officially begins.  However, there were a couple years when we didn't have those days and students brought all their supplies and met their teacher on the first day of school!  When the first day comes, with all the supplies to put away, it does get very hectic!  Instead of expecting children to settle down with a worksheet, I placed a Ziploc bag filled with play dough and some work mats on each desk.  This is a highly engaging activity that requires no teacher guidance - allowing time to collect and assemble supplies. In addition, it also provides the children with a fun activity to calm their back to school jitters!

When I used this activity in my classroom, I had each child practice making numbers and their name with the play dough. Then I had them make something to represent their favorite summer activity.  This became one of our first “getting to know you” activities.  Each child shared about what they made.

Click here or on either picture above to download the recipe and some fun work mats!  Use these work mats or create your own for your students.  Be sure to laminate them.  :) 

Some additional ideas for how to work the play dough into an educational/getting to know you activity:
-use the dough to represent a favorite hobby or food
-use the dough to mold elements from a favorite book or story, etc.
-use the dough to create letters or build their name

What ideas do you have for incorporating play dough fun with the first day of school? 

Back to School: Building a Community

Happy Sunday!

Pamela and I are teaming up today to provide you with some awesome Community Building activities and resources for back to school.  Grab a cool one, sit back, and be ready for some inspiration.

Building a classroom community is SO important!  Student have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates to be successful.  But how do you instill them with that sense of community?  Check out these great ideas to get you started!

Building a classroom community is SO important!  Students have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates in order to be successful at school.  

But how do you instill them with that sense of community?

Filling the first few days of school with team building activities has worked really well for me in establishing a culture of cooperation and teamwork.

Some of my favorites (in no particular order) are:

Building a classroom community is SO important!  Student have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates to be successful.  But how do you instill them with that sense of community?  Check out these great ideas to get you started!

For each group of 4 students you will need:

  • 1 gummy candy life preserver
  • 1 gummy worm
  • 1 plastic cup
  • 4 paper clips
  • paper plate
This is the background for the activity.

Poor Fred! He was sailing along on a boat (your plastic cup) when a strong wind blew it upside-down. Fred (your candy worm) ended up on top of the upside-down boat. Unfortunately for Fred, his life preserver (your candy life preserver) is still trapped under the boat. Your job is to place the life preserver firmly around Fred’s body, but you must obey three rules:

1. Fred may not fall into the “sea” (onto the table) more than one time; if he does, Fred “drowns.” 2. You may not injure him in any way. 3. You may use only the four paper clips to move Fred, the boat, and the life preserver. You may not touch anything except the paper clips. 

The students must work together to accomplish the task.

It is also important to "debrief" after the activity and discuss the strategies that different teams used that worked and didn't work.

After the activity let the kids eat the extra worms and candy rings.

Building a classroom community is SO important!  Student have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates to be successful.  But how do you instill them with that sense of community?  Check out these great ideas to get you started!

For this one I got 100 piece jigsaw puzzles from the dollar store.  Put the kids in table groups or groups of 4.  The challenge is to be the first team to complete their puzzle.  I give a small prize for the team that finishes first.

Again, "debrief" after the activity and discuss the strategies that different teams used that worked and didn't work.

Building a classroom community is SO important!  Student have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates to be successful.  But how do you instill them with that sense of community?  Check out these great ideas to get you started!

The object is to keep the stick of spaghetti between the two plates and make your way down the aisle without breaking the spaghetti.  If it breaks, you have to go back to the start and begin again.
I used Chinet plates and generic spaghetti, but no tape.  It was WAY harder that it looked!

Probably one of my favorites has been this one.

Building a classroom community is SO important!  Student have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates to be successful.  But how do you instill them with that sense of community?  Check out these great ideas to get you started!

Building a classroom community is SO important!  Student have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates to be successful.  But how do you instill them with that sense of community?  Check out these great ideas to get you started!

For this activity, groups have 20 minutes to build the tallest freestanding tower using only the materials provided: 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 yard of masking tape, 1 yard of string and 1 marshmallow.

They do not have to use all of the materials, but nothing extra can be added.

The tower must stand by itself and the marshmallow must be at the top of the tower.

Don't forget to "debrief" after the activity and discuss the strategies that different teams used that worked and didn't work.  This is an important part of learning how to (and how NOT to) work together.

Building a classroom community is SO important!  Student have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates to be successful.  But how do you instill them with that sense of community?  Check out these great ideas to get you started!

Another fun getting-to-know-you activity is this fun cootie catcher activity from Teacher's Clubhouse.

Visit me at Confessions of a Teaching Junkie for more back-back-to-school ideas and sign up to get this freebie.
Building a classroom community is SO important!  Student have to learn very early on that they will need to work together and depend on their classmates to be successful.  But how do you instill them with that sense of community?  Check out these great ideas to get you started!

We would love to hear about some of your favorite team building activities too!  Please share!

Wow, I loved reading all of Teresa's awesome activities!

Here are a few more ideas, starting with three picture books that I've used with big kids as we start the year.  I love how they open the door to discussions about what elements go into creating a purposeful, supportive community... perfect for Back to School!

Back to School Picture Books to Teach Community Building - Cricking + The Invisible Boy + Roxaboxen


Roxaboxen - Back to School Picture Books to Teach Community Buiding
Roxaboxen (Alice McLerran, author, Barbara Cooney, illustrator) is a sweetly nostalgic tale that celebrates creativity, imagination, and community.  Kids like knowing that Alice McLerran based this story on her own mother's childhood memories from the early 1900s; see the picture below about the real-world setting of this wonderful book!  Readers will likely recognize the familiar folk art style of illustrator Barbara Cooney, whose lengthy list of books includes many awards, including two Caldecott Medals (for Chanticleer and the Fox, 1959, and Ox-Cart Man, 1980), and the National Book Award for her beloved Miss Rumphius (1983).

Activities to accompany Roxaboxen:

* World-building Makerspace - Set up a corner with ingredients to build an imaginary world.  Big kids enjoy imaginary play as much as their younger counterparts do!  Rocks, sticks, blocks, fabric, string, tent frames... you can go as small (a tub in a learning center) to as big (a corner of your classroom) as you like.

* Extend the World-Building Experiences - Establish another center in which students can write about the worlds they've created.  Have instructions and rubrics on hand to guide the activity, and provide all of the materials needed to produce these relevant pieces.  You could leave the genre wide open, or choose it based on what you are working on in class.  Consider compiling the finished works into a classroom book - it's sure to be a student favorite!

* Family Memories Writing Project - This book introduces the sometimes new-to-children idea that their parents and grandparents have a wealth of information to share from their own experiences!  I've had my students interview their elders and use their findings to create the most fabulous personal narratives!  (I've learned that students find it easier to conduct these interviews when I provide them with a template.  One good way to introduce the activity is to discuss as a class what kinds of questions might result in the most interesting stories.)

Roxaboxen is a Real Place in Yuma AZ - Back to School Picture Books to Build Community
By the way, Roxaboxen is a real place in Yuma, Arizona!
You can read more here on the City of Yuma website.

The Invisible Boy

The Invisible Boy - Back to School Picture Books to Teach Community Buiding
If you are looking for an engaging picture book to springboard talks about inclusion, respect, and honoring one another's unique talents, The Invisible Boy (Trudy Ludwig, author, Patrice Barton, illustrator) is just the ticket!  I love this book!  Brian is a boy who feels invisible - a feeling that many of us, myself included, can relate to (at least at one time or another).  He spends most of his time as an observer, drawing comics in his ubiquitous notebook.  And then Justin joins their class....

Activities to accompany The Invisible Boy:

* Collaborative Discussion and Teaching Poster Presentations - Have small groups conduct collaborative discussions about one of the topics presented in this book:

  • Is it fair that some kids get the most attention for behaving inappropriately?
  • How might we make somebody feel invisible?
  • At one point, the main character "sits there wondering which is worse - being laughed at or feeling invisible."  Which one is worse?  Why?

Each group could take a different topic.  To culminate the discussion and share out with the larger group, teams can create a teaching poster which they then share with the whole class.

* Comic Strip - Provide students with a 3-frame comic strip template and instruct them to illustrate a time when somebody else has either made them feel invisible, or helped them to feel important.  The strip should have a BEGINNING (what it was like before the pivotal moment), a MIDDLE (the pivotal moment - what happened), and an END (what was it like after the pivotal moment).  To introduce the activity, I like to create an anchor chart of examples with the whole class, and post it for reference to help students who might have a harder time thinking up topics.


Crickwing - Back to School Picture Books to Teach Community BuidingI must admit that reading a story with a cockroach as main character was not something I was eager to do... and then I read Crickwing (Janell Cannon).  The first thing I noticed was that this delightful book reads like the folktales that we cover in our Third Grade curriculum - bonus!  The second thing I noticed was that the author's word choice is rich and precise, making this a wonderful mentor text when teaching writing - another bonus!  But the third thing I noticed is what makes it a perfect addition to today's list of books that teach community building:  Crickwing's multi-dimensional character provides a springboard to talk about bullying.  Why is Crickwing a bully?  Does he want to be a bully?  In discussing these important questions, our classroom community can figure out ways to discover, nurture, and support the BEST in each other.  By the way, students might notice that Janell Cannon is the author-illustrator of other favorites, like Stellaluna and Verdi.

Activities to accompany Crickwing:

* Compare Crickwing to Self - Using a Venn Diagram or a Double Bubble Map, the student will compare him- or herself to Crickwing.  As I introduce the activity, I create a sample comparing myself to Crickwing, modeling my thinking as I go along.

* Character Development Chart - Using a timeline or arc, discuss as a class what some of the significant moments are in Crickwing's personal growth.  Students can spin off into pairs to create more detailed, illustrated charts.

* Pair Text with Nonfiction Information - This story lends itself to lots of nonfiction comparisons.  The author provides nonfiction information about cockroaches and ants in notes included in the book.  Another interesting area to research would be food artistry; I'm especially fond of bento lunches;  and students will love how cute and creative they are, especially if you are able to share some of the how-to videos that are available.

Of course, there are tons more books out there - chapter books, too! - that are wonderful ways to introduce and reinforce community building in the classroom.  I hope that this little trio provided you with ideas that you can use with your learners!

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Back to School: 5 Ways to Teach Classroom Rules

Unless you are looping with your students from one grade to the next (as I did for four years with my fourth and fifth graders), Back to School means a whole new batch of students!  How do you ensure that all of those eager First Day of School faces stay sweet and smiling... and that yours does too?  Two words:  Classroom Rules.

Back to School:  5 Ways to Teach Classroom Rules

Of course, there's a lot more that goes into a happy learning environment than training a bunch of rule abiders.  But the simple truth is that establishing classroom rules does indeed go a long way toward creating and nurturing a safe, purposeful, happy learning community.  Keep reading for 5 fun, easy, standards-based ways to teach classroom rules!

This month at Hello Sunshine is all about Back to School.  If you are just joining us now, be sure to click HERE for a great activity to teach kids about the importance of using kind words, click HERE for some super fun ways to spotlight your student of the week,  click HERE for a neat way to use cooperative learning as your scholars discover more about their new teacher, click HERE for awesome kindergarten read alouds and activities, and click HERE for a sure-to-get-'em-laughing ice breaker and our original Back to School thematic link-up.  Be sure to follow Hello Sunshine for helpful posts like these!

Here are a few picture books to teach classroom rules.

Use Picture Books to Teach Classroom Rules.

My go-to lesson opener is a book.  I love to read, students love stories... it's a win/win!  Through literature, complex concepts can be more easily introduced in a manner that is relatable for the students.  What better way to open such an important discussion?

There are many wonderful books that would facilitate the start of such a discussion.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Miss Nelson is Missing - Picture Books to teach classroom rules

Miss Nelson is Missing! (Harry G. Allard Jr., author, and James Marshall, illustrator) has become a perennial favorite.  Thanks to a tricky switch by sweet Miss Nelson and the less-pleasant Miss Viola Swamp, the unruly children of Room 207 learn some important realities about treating others the way they would like to be treated.

Interrupting Chicken - Picture Books to teach classroom rulesBlabber Mouth - Picture Books to Teach Classroom RulesMy Mouth is a Volcano! - Picture Books to teach classroom rules

Blabber Mouse (True Kelley) provides a good launching pad for a discussion of appropriate and inappropriate times, situations, and guidelines for talking.

Featuring a similar theme is My Mouth is a Volcano! (Julia Cook, author, and Carrie Hartman, illustrator) delves more into the disrespectful nature of interrupting and the importance of listening.

Another title about interrupting is the very humorous Interrupting Chicken (David Ezra Stein).

Read It, Don't Eat It! - Picture Books to teach classroom rules

Read It, Don't Eat It! (Ian Schoenherr) presents important behaviors expected in the Library, but these expectations can be easily transferred to a better understanding of respecting classroom materials and resources.

What if Everybody Did That? - Picture Books to teach classroom rules

What If Everybody Did That? (Ellen Javernick, author, Colleen M. Madden, illustrator) makes the jump from behavior to consequences, and offers insight into personal responsibility.  

As I mentioned at the onset, there are SO MANY wonderful books that deal with behavior and the need for rules!  What are some of your favorites?  Please list them in the comments!

Students create comic strips about classrooms WITHOUT rules!

Use Non-Examples to Teach Classroom Rules.

The importance of having - and following - classroom rules is hardly new to even the youngest student.  By the time a youngster comes to kindergarten, he or she has already learned that certain behaviors are acceptable and that others... aren't.  And by the time that same child is in the middle or upper elementary grades, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors are often a matter of choice than a matter of confusion.

Using a non-example is a wonderful way to compare and contrast, and is thus a very effective instructional strategy.  Pedagogical value aside, non-examples can also be just plain silly!  Have your students create a picture (or, as my students always preferred, a comic strip) that is set in a classroom where there are no rules.  Remind them to cover many behavioral areas - disrespectful speaking, abuse of school property, distraction during lessons, etc.  You might want to put a time limit on this activity, because I've found that students will happily pursue this endeavor for much longer than expected!

Use this freebie to help your students read about and discuss classroom rules.

Use Collaborative Discussion to Teach Classroom Rules.

Having read (or been read to) about behavior and the need for rules, and then giving ample thought to a world absent of rules, students are ready to process their understanding collaboratively.

I've created a FREEBIE for you to use with your students for this activity; you can download it here!

FREEBIE Back to School Classroom Rules collaborative discussion activity

For this activity, begin by building more background knowledge.  I've written a passage for students to read independently to this purpose.  I also included a planner page for students to respond to the text as they read.

Next, students gather for a collaborative discussion.  For the most successful collaborative discussions, I like to group students into teams of 4 or 5.  (Only 3 students often results in two students deep in a dialogue with the "odd man out" sidelined as non-participating spectator.)  Students should be facing each other, either at a table or with desks and chairs turned inward.  Students will silently read the article closely, making notes on the recording sheet where indicated.  I set a time limit on the silent reading portion, check in at the designated time to confirm that we're ready to roll, and then instruct the students to start their discussion once everybody has read the article through.

I included a note-taking sheet with this resource to guide the discussion as well as to hold each participant accountable.

This freebie is part of a larger Back to School resource I hope to have available in my store SOON!  (I truly am the slowest person I know... so that "soon" thing is a fervent hope...  Fingers crossed!)

Build a safe learning community based on effective classroom rules.

 Use Community Circle to Teach Classroom Rules.

I love Community Circle!  For starters, I don't have a loud voice, so the teacher-student proximity of this format works really well for me personally.  But more importantly, Community Circle is the place where everybody can share informations, ideas, questions, and answers, all while nurturing that unique bond that grows over the school year.

After the reading, the creativity, and the discussion, now everybody is ready to come back together and apply what's been learned about classroom rules.

Quick management tip:  I like to use a My Turn Guy to reinforce the only-speak-when-it's-your-turn expectation of Community Circle.  A small stuffed animal that fills a child's cupped hands is perfect - it's small enough to be held, but big enough to be important and not get lost in the shuffle.

During Community Circle, students can collaborate once again, this time as a whole group and in concert with you, to come up with this year's classroom rules.  And that leads me to our fifth and final step:

When students have ownership of classroom rules, they are more likely to follow them.

 Use Ownership of Documentation to Teach Classroom Rules.

As much as I love - and have always used - adorable pre-made charts and posters, there's something especially effective about a document that's been created as a community.

Students are much more likely to feel a sense of ownership when they see those rules posted... when they know that this is the list they helped draft.  And when students feel ownership of the rules, they are much more likely to follow the rules!

The rules can be posted as one large chart, or as smaller individual posters.  You can be as plain or as fancy as you like!

The important thing is to use them a resource all the time.  It's validating and community-nurturing to refer to them regularly - after all, this was one of the first things created by this class as a community!  What I love is how eventually students start referring to the rules as well.  These documents can be cute, but more importantly, they will be oh so valuable!

Thank you so much for visiting Hello Sunshine today!  I hope you'll follow us and come back often!

Sticks 'n' Stones, The Power of Words

Stick and Stones activity

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."

Of course you’ve heard this saying and may have even used it to try and comfort a child who has just had unkind words hurled at them.  But I say it’s untrue.  Words do hurt.  Even as adults we’ve heard things that hurt and sting for a long time. To a child even the smallest insult can have a larger impact.

During the first week of school. teachers spend a lot of time teaching procedures.  They also explain the behavior expectations and the classroom management system for the year. One activity you should add to your first week is this simple activity that shows the lasting effect of unkind words and actions.

1.      Begin by asking the kids what unkind words they've heard other kids say.  Write these words on some of the Sticks 'n' Stones slips. You'll need them later on in the activity.
2.    Now give each student a piece of paper with a blank human figure on it.  Ask them student to color the figure to look like themselves. As you wonder around the room make lots of positive comments about their work.  You want the students to be super proud of their figures. After they finish coloring the figures, students should cut out the figures and write their name on the back.
3.    Have students sit in a circle with their finished figure, a pencil and crayons. Tell students to pass the cutouts to the person on their right.  Read one of the Sticks 'n' Stones cards and tell students that those words hurt. Ask the student holding the figure they received to make a tiny tear in one of the legs.  Make sure it’s small.  (You might hear a few gasps when they see their figure being torn.)

4.    Pass the figures to the right again and read another Sticks 'n' Stones card.  This time ask students to use a crayon and draw a dark zig-zag line across the center of the body. (make sure the color they use shows up on the figure.)  
5.    Pass the figures again and read a Sticks 'n' Stones card. This time have them draw an X on the face with their pencil.
 6.   You can continue passing the figures as many times as you want, reading the Sticks 'n' Stones cards and adding other tears and marks to the figures.  I usually had the students do 5 or 6 things.
7.    On the final rotation read a Sticks 'n' Stones card and have students crumple the figures into a small ball. Collect the crumpled figures.
8.  Students now return to their desks as you gently uncrumple the figures and give them back to the owners.  When the students have their own figure they can try to repair themselves by flattening, smoothing, erasing, or taping.  They'll notice that no matter how much they flatten, smooth, erase or tape their figure the damage can still be seen. 

 Sticks and Stones, a lesson about unkind words.

Now is when you can talk about the effects of unkind words and hurt feelings.  Once words are heard or read, some part of them remain in our memories and continue to hurt. The figures will make a great display about using kind words.

Click on any of the last graphic to download this lesson.  You'll also receive a free sample from my Positive Behavior Tool Box.
A Free Sample:  Positive Behavior Tool Box

Student Spotlight - Recognizing Each Student in Your Classroom

It's still July and many of us teachers don't want to think of going back to school (just yet)! But for some of us (including myself) my modified traditional school begins THIS WEEK! I know I'm dying over here too! I go back this week for training, meet my 2nd graders on Thursday and then school begins Monday, July 20th! AHHHHHHHHH! 

One thing that I have been prepping for these last few weeks is my spotlight student activity that I do weekly for the entire year. I love to organize it now, that way I don't have to worry about it throughout the year. I wanted to share what I do to prepare for this easy activity to save teachers time with back to school to-do list!

First thing depending on what grade level you teach you need to decide what you want to do as a spotlight for your students. I choose to do one student a week. On Monday of each week they bring in their All About Me poster and share it with the class. We then hang it on our spotlight bulletin board for the entire week. This student is my teacher helper all week. That way they get to be noticed for being a good helper and who doesn't love that?

On Friday as a fast finisher for the weekly assessments I give, my students write a friendly letter to our spotlight student! I then bind the letters together with the bright cover and give them this with their poster to take home. Parents and children love reading these adorable letters and they love that you take time to do something extra special for each child in your class. 

I believe you can do a student spotlight for all grade levels. I went ahead and found some adorable ideas from Pinterest for other ways to showcase each of your students in your class. Find a way that fits your style and plan it out so its ready to go on day one!