31.7.17

Bust the BTS Blues with a New Bulletin Board!

I can't believe it's already BTS time! This summer has flown by and I'm ready to get the school year underway! So, I thought I would revive an old post about my Kindergarten classroom and share my classroom bulletin boards. Nothing snaps me out of that BTS-FUNK like a fresh bulletin board display!

I strive to run an organized and efficient Kindergarten classroom. (With room for play and fun, of course!)  This summer I added a few things to my management system that have made a big difference!
1. My whiteboard is the hub of communication and information in my classroom (aside from the Smart Board). My "CHAMP" icons and schedule cards are on magnets so that I can easily adjust them each day or each learning block.  My Daily 5 posters are kinder-friendly and easy to understand.  (Grab them for free here!)  I also have a set of mini posters just for me, "The 7 C's of Teaching," to remind me of my responsibilities to these 21st Century kiddos!  (Grab them for free here.)  The small red pocket chart is used to spotlight our learning targets as they change throughout the day.
2. I also have a bulletin board that runs the length of the room.  The largest section is for learning targets.  Small pocket charts hold the target/standard cards for the week (or unit) so that I can readily access and display them as we transition throughout the day.  Beyond the word wall and birthday displays is the job chart.  I have 24 students and 24 jobs.  (Sounds crazy, I know!)  Students have one job per week and we rotate throughout the year.  Giving each student a job has had such an impact on our classroom community!  Some jobs are small and others are more popular, but when all students have ownership over the way the classroom runs they learn to work together and take responsibility for the good of the group!
  3. My favorite bulletin board is the one next to my desk!  I created this tree a couple of years ago and have added to it each year.  It serves as a place to post important information, student gifts and drawings, and words of inspiration about education. 
Plus, it's super cute (if I do say so myself)!




Missing anything?
Wondering where my calendar board is?
WELL... I DON'T HAVE ONE ANYMORE!
When I realized my Kinders weren't engaging like I had hoped and my day was starting off BLAH instead of WOW, I knew I needed to make a change. I tossed my traditional calendar and created monthly interactive calendars for the SMART Board! Read more about that here!
Check them out at TpT!

Don't teach Kinders?
Then check out these first everyday calendars for any primary grade!





Not ready to invest?
Then download this FREE version... test it with your SMART system and try it with your students... I PROMISE THEY WILL LOVE IT!
(And you will, too!)

25.7.17

My Favorite Ways to Teach Primary Students About Careers

Teaching our youngest students about careers is important! "College and Career Ready" begins as early as Kindergarten. It's part of our job to expose students to the wide variety of paths their future might take so that they may have the chance to explore and begin to recognize their own preferences and aspirations. Most importantly, we need to instill in students that they can be ANYTHING they want to be when they grow up!


SO, I've rounded 7 up my favorite ways to incorporate the theme of careers and community helpers into the Kindergarten curriculum.

#1 Read, Read, Read! "The Measured Mom" has compiled a comprehensive list of over 100 read alouds and picture books all about community helpers. Be sure to check it out!

#2 Make Memorable Moments! Take photos of your students dressed up as their favorite career and/or holding signs and compile to make a class photo collage!

#3 Play and Explore! Provide lots of time to play and explore various careers with hands-on activities including dress up, toys, games, and roll-playing. I LOVE this idea from Meri Cherry for creating a community model with students out of recycled materials... would make a great on-going project for any career or community helper unit!

#4 College Roll-Call! Everyone wears a t-shirt from their Alma Mater. Students can join in the fun wearing t-shirts from their favorite university. Create a graph of staff members showing who attended where.

#5 Senior Portraits! Display pictures of teachers and staff in their caps and gowns... students love to look through the photos and guess who they are.  Everyone also gets a kick out of checking out old hair styles and fashion. LOL!

#6 Senior Walk! Each year the high school seniors walk the halls of our elementary (and middle) school in their caps and gowns. The young students cheer and high five the seniors as they line the halls. The seniors bring their K-12 journey full circle as they revisited their first school and hand out honorary diplomas to teachers and staff members who influenced them along the way. Every year it leaves me misty-eyed and proud of my once-babies who are all grown up.

#7 Turn to Technology! Bring the wide world of careers alive for your students by turning to the Internet! Search for virtual field trips, send emails to professionals around the world, watch videos about various careers, FaceTime workers for real-time contact. Better yet, create your own digital content with student-made presentations, photos, and videos! Check out this playlist of fun animated songs about professions from Storybots on YouTube!

LOOKING FOR EVEN MORE IDEAS?!?
Then head over to my Pinterest board dedicated to Career and Community Helper teaching ideas!

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1.7.17

The HUGE List of Careers for Primary Students

College and Career Readiness is a buzz phrase in education today. As teachers, our ultimate goal is to help our students become successful, productive members of society. This means we help them to know their strengths and preferences, seeking knowledge, set goals, and achieve their dreams. This tall task doesn't just fall to high school teachers... as primary teachers it's our job to begin exposing students the myriad of paths they can take in life and instill in them the notion that they can be... ANYTHING!

This list is a great place to start your study of careers!


  • Community Helpers: crossing guard, dentist, dental hygienist, doctor, firefighter, housekeeper, nurse, park ranger, police officer,  postal worker, social worker, street cleaner, surgeon, trash collector, veterinarian  
  • Education: bus driver, cafeteria worker, coach, counselor, custodian, paraprofessional, principal, professor, nurse, secretary, teacher
  • Entertainment: actor, artist, author, coach, dancer, director, film producer, museum curator, musician, singer, sports player, photographer, videographer, writer, YouTuber    
  • Government: congress representative, FBI agent, governor, judge, mayor, military, president
  • Innovation: app designer, astronaut, coder, computer specialist, engineer, scientist, video game designer, web developer
  • Service Providers: advertiser, banker, hair stylist, electrician, plumber, mechanic, zoo keeper, architect, pet groomer, fashion designer, shop owner, chef, florist, interior designer, farmer, lawyer, minister, personal trainer, accountant, childcare provider, psychologist, realtor, restaurant worker, surveyor, construction worker
  • Transportation: bus driver, cab driver, pilot, ship captain, train engineer, uber driver

Let's keep this list growing!!
Comment below with your own career ideas!!



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7.4.17

Top 3 Ways to Reset Your Class After Spring Break

Ready or not, spring has officially arrived! I often feel an urgency to cover all the content I've missed, prepare my students for testing, and assess all. the. skills. for final quarter report cards. In so many ways, returning from Spring Break signals the beginning of the end. BUT, we still have six (or so) crucial weeks of instruction remaining! So, how can we refresh our day-to-day classroom operations to keep our students engaged up to the very last second of the very last day??? It has to be a teetering balance of consistency and freshness. Following are the TOP 3 ways to reset your class after spring break...

1. Share Responsibilities! Students of any age have become old pros at classroom routines by this point in the school year. Students will refocus on rules and procedures when they are in the driver's seat. Why not choose students to lead classroom maintenance like lunch and attendance or more complicated things like spelling and calendar time? Review classroom jobs and take input on things your students are ready to manage that could be added to the mix. It will be easy to finish the year strong when your class can take over and you can shift into cruise control!

2. Revive an Air of Mystery! Recapturing the magic of the start of school will help maintain engagement and behavior at any time of the year. In the beginning students wait anxiously for "what comes next," but by the end of the school year they may be bored with the predictable. Surprises of any sort will keep students on the edges of their seats. Using mystery as a motivation will be sure to revive anticipation and engagement.

3. Disguise Year-End Reviews! Whether you are prepping for standardized testing or simply reviewing for end-of-year report cards, students are bound to put up resistance. Disguising standards reviews in high-interest themes will satisfy students' inquisitive natures while completing the necessary task of reviewing. Use student inventories or simply your own observations about what interests them and choose engaging themes with which to disguise your reviews. Themes can be interwoven through teacher read-alouds, writing prompts, culminating projects, center activities, or simply through matchy stickers and reward/progress charts.


How else do you reset your class after Spring Break? Be sure to share ideas in the comments below!