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Tuesday Tips: Tips and Ideas to become your Best Self and the Best Teacher you can be!! Week 2

Well...It's another week and another set of tips and ideas to help you get ready for school whether you are back or still have a few weeks left...(lucky you...enjoy it to the fullest). Here are some ideas to keep you connected to your parents and continue to work together for the success of each student you teach!! I think you will LOVE #3!

Well...It's another week and another set of tips and ideas to help you get ready for back to school...whether you are back or still have a few weeks left...(lucky you...enjoy it to the fullest)...here are some ideas to keep you connected to your parents and continue to work together for the success of each student you teach!! These are all ideas that I have used throughout my teaching career with a few tweaks here and there.

1.  Back to School Informational Brochure

No matter how you present this information to your parents, it is BEST to have it in writing.  I always used a brochure which included all of my classroom policies.                                                                                                       The brochure was an easy way to keep all information in one place and it can be placed right on the refrigerator or a cork board for quick reference.                                                                                          I have seen these done in many ways...flipbooks, minibooks, folders...and so on...but, over the years, I have found a brochure to be quick and easy and it is sure to be a hit with your parents!!!                                                                                                One quick tip: If you download this and use it cut the margins on side left and right using a paper cutter so it folds easier into the trifold!

2.  Newsletters or News and Notes

I know many teachers write newsletters for the month or News and Notes more frequently. These quick informational letters can give parents and idea of what will be taught or what was taught through the week or month.  

It is important when you write these to include ideas for parents or caregivers to chat about with their child.  You might include  something like; This week we learned how to count by 5's to 50. Have your child count to 50 by 5"s...the class loves to show what they know!! 

Parents LOVE getting tips because...let's face it, when kids are asked what they did in school...their standard answer is,"NOTHING!"                                                                                                                                                                                       Here is a link to these Editable Newsletter Frames and News and Notes

3.  Kids News and Weekend News

Kids News is a great way to integrate reading and writing.  On Mondays we would brainstorm ideas about what we did over the weekend.  I would then write them on the smart board for reference or sometimes depending on the level of each student I would write them on sticky note if copying from the board was too difficult.

My first grade students would create a sentence or 2 about their weekend and write it on their paper. In September one to three sentences is really an accomplishment from some kiddos.

After writing and editing an adult volunteer would type these writing pieces into a Newsletter format. When the "Kids News" was returned to the classroom, students would partner up and "read" their news to their buddy. Hit the chime and the kiddos would find a new partner.

The first graders LOVED sharing and reading their news not to mention those at home who happen to read our news!!!  parents and children alike were so proud and happy with this great integrated activity!

Weekend News is similar to "Kids News"  except parents are asked to read the "news" and write a comment back to their child in the journal.

This starts out with a frame like the green one in this image.  So in the beginning the class is simply writing about the week and a few happenings.  Anyone he students wishes to write to is perfectly fine...in fact parents loved when their child wrote to grand-mom, aunt, uncle or an older sibling!

It gives the parent important information about their child's social, emotional and academic growth in that they find out what their child likes to do and how they feel about school and so on.

As time goes on you would add another frame from which to choose. Students can choose either one and then you can add another more detailed frame until eventually the class can choose a frame or write their own piece.  

By this time you should be touching on and teaching topic sentence, details and conclusion.

So something like I played on the playground with Jim. We had fun... will hopefully transform into...I played with Jim on the play ground. We quickly ran around on the blacktop and noticed a beautiful yellow and black butterfly perched on the fence.  We watched it flutter across the yard and it quietly landed on the tippy top of the sliding board. The we heard the clang of the bell and jogged into line. I guess we will look for it tomorrow!

Does this seem impossible?  Well...guess what? It is not impossible ...even from first graders. It is all in how you teach it and your expectations!!!

Oops...I almost forgot 2 extremely important steps.  Each time Weekend News came home, someone was expected to write back in response to what their child wrote.

The following Friday before we wrote our news, the children would partner up. ( I would use my partner sticks to choose buddies.)

They would then choose to read the current news they wrote or the response from their parent or whoever answered their news.

This choice was given so those whose parents could not write back from some reason could still share writing.

Again...reading and writing integrated and so much easier for YOU!!! The students are letting their parents know what is going on in the classroom and you have an informal assessment of their writing and can see what they need and what to teach small groups for differentiating instruction!!

It's a WIN WIN Situation!!

PS.  Here are some Frames that you may want to use to get started, but there is much more included in this Parent Teacher Conference Home & School Communication Forms & More resource.

Hope to see you next Tuesday, August 15th!!!

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Tuesday Tips: Tips and Ideas to Become your Best Self and the Best Teacher you can be!!!

It is almost time for school to start and if you live in the south, you just might be back in school already. So with school starting or almost starting, you just might find these Tuesday Tips for Back to School helpful as you start back to greet those smiles and hear the chatter and giggles!

I know many schools in the South are having or just had their first day back to school. Others here in the Northeast section of the US, have a few more weeks.

That being said...I thought I would share out a few "tips" to help your year get started.  Tips that I have used throughout my teaching career with a few tweaks here and there.

 Classroom Decor

  • It is important to make your room look inviting...inviting enough that your students want to come bounding through those doors.  It does not have to look like a Pinterest Promotion nor should you have everything set up and ready to go, but you should have enough up to get started and to make your room look "kid friendly" and comfortable.                                                                                

  • Allow your students to take ownership of the classroom and make it feel like it belongs to them! Save some activities for your students to create! Some suggestions might be:Create the Birthday Bulletin board together having children decorate and make the icons for your board. Maybe even plan a lesson around it and allow them to fell proud about the creation. Happy Birthday to Me! 

  • If possible, do not hang your rules up before the children are in classroom community. Instead chat about each rule and have your kiddos draw pictures or fill in frames about why these rules are important. 

You can also have them sign their name on the rule poster or on a separate sheet under the poster/posters to make them feel important and a part of the classroom community.

  • Take pictures of each child in a theme based hat or something related to the theme of your classroom.  Then they can decide with you where to place these cute little faces.

  • This is a photo from a Fifty's theme we used: "Rock into Learning!"

  • It is a great idea to takes many pictures of "students in action" to use all year long.

  • I used them for attendance and made multiple copies for my own use, such as portfolios, end of year memory books as well as Mother's Day gifts.  All kids LOVE to see their pictures around the room! 

  • Don't forget to have your students write or dictate their "Hopes and Dreams" for the school year! These also make a great bulletin board...  ...not to mention how much the parents love seeing these on Back to School Night!  I send home a letter where the parents write their academic and social Hopes and Dreams and display it with child's.  If a parent cannot do this, I write my Hopes and Dreams for them!

Here are some Back to School ideas that you might want to check out!

Getting Parents on YOUR SIDE

  • I often tell parents that they are the most important person in their child's life and I say that in all sincerity.  They know their children better than anyone and They were their first teacher. 
  • I also say,"We need to work together as a team to ensure your child's success. Your child needs YOU and me to make growth and be their best self!" So just how do you show parents that you care about their child and you want them to succeed in school and life!

Here are a few ways that I have tried to show parents that I care!

  • If your school allows a "Meet and Greet" before schools starts, this is a great way to ease parents and children into the new school year.  They can meet you, take a peek at the classroom and if you teach K or first, it will cure "The First Day Jitters!"
  • The night before school starts or if that is not possible, a few days before the start of school, call each child on the telephone.  Just simply say" Hi, I am Mrs. Simpson and I am Jimmy's first grade teacher this year. I am so excited that he is in my class.  I can't wait to meet him on the first day of school. Don't forget to bring your smile!"  Now granted...that is the message you might leave on the voice mail, but you get the idea.  Sometimes you find out a little about mom, dad, Jimmy and siblings...but...that is OK!  You won't believe how excited your students will be knowing you called and I have to admit...sometimes parents have also put their child on the phone and that makes it even better!
  • Now this is not a "one night stand!"  I make sure that after the first week of school that I make
    another phone call or send an e-mail just to say how Jimmy is doing and adjusting to the first week of school and then I try to do this about once each trimester or quarter.
     This shows that you truly care and then later on in the month or year if something difficult arises, they know you want what is best for their child!

Here are a few ideas to support Parent Communication.

So...Happy Tuesday Tips' Day and enjoy the rest of your day, week or summer!
See you next time!!

Tuesday Tips Live on Facebook

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5 Marvelous Math Ideas, Games and Resources to Teach and Reinforce Counting and Adding to 10

Looking for some fun ideas,games a resources for your Kinders to count and add to 10?  This is what you are looking for a I know you will LOVE #4 for SURE!!!

Kids love games....RIGHT?  We ALL love games, but teachers and parents especially love games that teach their children or students important concepts and skills.

In the lower grades from Pre-k to first grade, one important skill is adding numbers.  A teacher usually will start out with counting and then move on the adding numbers up to 10....you know the drill and if you present adding in a fun way...your kiddos and students will be "Hooked on Adding!"

So here are some marvelous math Ideas, games and resources to teach adding to 10:

1.  First:  We all will agree that kids LOVE to be silly!  Well....there is a great game where kids practice adding numbers to 10 with a silly staircase game which is perfect to add a little silly fun while learning math!   Education.com offers this great math game and more math fun on their site.  This fabulous game is complete with fun characters, stories and songs!  While I wait for a website URL that works, you can play the game by clicking the link below...we just have a little glitch in the system!!! Have fun playing!  Number Pair Staircase Game

2. I simply LOVE this idea for teaching students in younger grades the foundational skills of counting to 10. This Count and Clip actually goes up to 50 and as the numbers get higher the students are learning place value and adding 10's and 1's. it is a step up, but starts out lower and challenges students to discover place value in a fun way!

3. Everybody LOVES Ice Cream:  This game supports children in learning different names for numbers.  You can differentiate it by simply only giving out the lower numbers to struggling learners and higher numbers to advance learners or as partner challenges.  You can even add an ice cream treat!

4. So...I just LOVE this video to teach adding to 10. It is engaging and so much fun!

5. and here is a cute Freebie for you from Playdough to Plato. A rainbow for 10. This would be a great idea to decorate your classroom with math rainbows for all numbers or challenge your kiddos to fin and use other addition or subtraction facts that equal 10...like 100-90=10!

Well...there you have it...some marvelous math ideas, games and resources to teach and reinforce adding to...

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Everyone LOVES Pizza! 5 Great Ideas to Integrate PIZZA into your Curriculum

Growing up in a family who owned a Pizzeria, I always LOVEd to use Pizza in some way shape or form in my classroom. So I have rounded up some ideas for you to integrate PIZZA into YOUR Curriculum...I think you will LOVE them all!

Everybody loves PIZZA and the truth is...I grew up surrounded by pizza!! 

Yep...back in the 50's through 80's my family owned the most popular Italian Restaurant in Delaware County and what did it specialize in? 

You guessed it......PIZZA! Customers would line up around the block just to buy a delicious Marra's pizza...not to mention my dad's nickname was "Pizzi!"

That is the shore backstory as to why I love to write about and integrate pizza in any and all activities I can think of or find.  Yes...we have written about "How to Make Pizza," We have baked English Muffin pizzas in school and used them to describe fractions as well as made cute pizza crafts and written about our favorite pizza and we have also played games integrating pizza!

So here are a few ways to integrate that P word into your curriculum and have a little fun, too!

1.  Here are 15+ books about Pizza to get your students in the mood and maybe in the kitchen!

2. Pizza Craft:   Now...this is exactly what I used to do with my first graders...and then we would write about our favorite pizza. For upper grades, it would be a great idea to have them display a fraction by cutting equal parts and showing you various fractions using their pie or working with a partner and showing equivalent fractions!

3. Now there is one thing I remember most about being the "Pizza Princess" in school...pizza parties. ...yep my parents brought pizza to school at least once a month on Fridays for a special pizza party. I thought this game would be a great way to add a little fun to your lessons...especially if you are teaching Pre-K through First grade!

4. Now for a really fun way to end a unit on Fractions for the Upper Grades...I simply Love this game and would definitely use this if I were teaching fractions to third or fourth grade!

5. And Last,but not least, here is a freebie I found to add to these "PIZZA-ZZZZ" ideas!

So there you have it...some ideas to add pizza to your curriculum. I hope you have fun with these ideas...my dad would be proud if he knew you were adding some pizza ideas into your lessons! Have a great year!

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Drip, Drip, Drop a Great Craft for a Rainy Day and Few Extra Surprises to Make a Rainy Day a Happy Day!

Don't wish those clouds away...Let's turn those rainy days into fun days with this cute craft and some other ideas will be sure to put a smile on your face and turns that frown upside down

I am sitting here in my kitchen staring out my window watching the rain Drip, Drip, Drop and thought,
OH great! Another rainy summer day...UGH...Now what do we do?

Then I remembered about a cute raindrop craft:  Drip,Drip,Drop from Education.com

So...since you may also be stuck in the house with a few 5 or 6 year olds, Don't sing "Rain, Rain Go Away Come Again Another Day!" Instead why not try this fun, sparkly idea for you to use and you might just want to read a few books about weather that I have rounded up for you to read on a rainy day or any day!

On restless rainy afternoons, don't wish the clouds away—invite them to stay! These sparkly raindrops make for a fun weather-themed craft. This activity is a great way to introduce lessons about rain and water to your child. It's sure to keep the boredom at bay, and with all the cutting and constructing, it's great for honing fine motor skills too.

What You Need:
  • Blue washable paint
  • Blue construction paper
  • Pencil
  • Scratch paper
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Metallic sequins
  • Tape (optional)
  • String (optional)
What You Do:
  1. Practice tracing raindrop shapes with your child on a piece of scratch paper. Once you've mastered the shape, you're ready to start creating raindrops.
  2. Help your child trace or draw a raindrop on the cardboard and cut it out.
  3. Now take the blue construction paper and trace a raindrop using your cardboard raindrop and cut it out around the line to make it larger than the cardboard piece.
  4. Squeeze a prominent line of glue around the border of the raindrop and cover the outline with sequins while the glue is still wet. Let dry.
  5. Now, paint the cardboard raindrop blue on one side. Let dry.
  6. Apply glue around the outline of the cardboard raindrop and cover with sequins. Let dry.
  7. Make enough of these sparkly raindrops to create a true April shower.
  8. Hang up the raindrops by taping the end of a piece of string to the unpainted side of the cardboard raindrop at the pointed tip.
  9. Glue the cardboard raindrop and the construction paper raindrop together with the sequins facing out.
Ask questions about why rain is important. Then ask what she thinks her backyard would look like without rain? What does she think the saying "April showers bring May flowers" means?

Here are some weather ideas and books to read or use on a rainy, snowy, sunny, foggy, dreary or happy day!

1. Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today?

This is one of my faves....kids LOVE Dr. Seuss books with the whimsical language and rhyming patterns...so this would be a great choice to read on a weather filled day!

2.The Wind Blew

The Wind Blew is a great sequencing story about how the wind blew different items away. The kids LOVE IT! Teacher Love it too as it is predictable!

3. Why not try some weather Yoga?

This one of my Favorite ideas for a rainy day at home or in the classroom. We can all relax on this dreary day together...
Rain or Shine...this is a perfect idea to try!

 4.Thunder Cake

Yep...another favorite book for weather. You learn about thunder...and...you can make Thunder Cake, too! I mean what more can you ask for on a stormy day?

5. How's the Weather: A cute catchy song for younger students...I think first grade would like it too!

Here is an Extra Bonus for those young ones!!!

It's a Fun Freebie from ME to YOU! ENJOY!

If you have some older kiddos that you want to add a little weather fun and have them learn about weather, Here is a Weather resource that can be an addition to any weather unit!

I hope you have a great Rainy Day or Weather Day!

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Back to School Bulletin Board Ideas or Door Decorations to DIE for....

Okay so it is almost time to give up those lazy hazy days of summer and start thinking about the dreaded "S" word...wait who am I kidding...if you are a teacher, all you have been thinking about since summer started are ideas for Back to School...I mean that's what teachers do as they lay basking in the sun or lounging poolside or even while traveling by car, plane or train as they endure that flight or drive!

I actually remember one day calling my principal from the beach, watching he waves gently splash onto the the edge of the shore and "BOOM" an idea popped into my head and I just had to call the school and chat about the this magnificent idea I had...YEP...I was that teacher..Oh my!!!

Well I decided to make it easier for you and round up some ideas that I am positive you will LOVE and all you have too do is sit here and read this post by the pool, on the beach or while traveling...EASY PEASY as they say!!!

1. What I LOVE about this Bulletin Board is how the teachers have their pictures Blasting OFF in the rocket ship and the names of the students on stars....I might add a small photo of each student and attach it to the star.

2. Ahoy Matey...This Class is a Treasure is an adorable way to show off your little pirates with a Pirate theme. You might even want to dress the kiddos up in Pirate hats and add a class picture to the treasure chest or individual images to the treasure chest popping out as the treasure!

3. This is one of my faves...I LOVE the flowers...they are gorgeous and the idea of growing...PERFECT. You could add student names to the leaves or small photos of your kiddos in the center of the flowers!

4. All ABOARD...Chugga chugga... TOOT! TOOT!....we are headed for Pre-School. This is adorable with the teacher as an engineer and the students as passengers!! What a fun idea for the little ones!!!

5. A Brand New Batch...of Smart Cookies...LOVE IT! The cookies look so real I could take a bite out of them...maybe you need to send home a recipe for chocolate chip cookies for an after school snack!!!

6. Look Who's in Our Class...whoooooo doesn't love owls. This is a great one for any grade level. You could have the students create the owls for a personal touch! Great idea!

7. Superheroes are ALWAYS Popular. I love how the students are flying above the buildings. It might be fun to have photos of the class on each superhero to personalize it a bit more. This is definitely...Super-califragilisticexpialidoscious!!!

There you have it...some great Bulletin Board Ideas to get those wheels churning! Enjoy the rest of your summer!! These ideas will be right here waiting for you...or...better yet...save them to your boards so you are ready to go!!!

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