Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It's BTS - 5 Things I'm Doing Right Now to Be Ready

It's Back to School time whether you are ready or not! So, what can you do to start out on a positive note this school year?  Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

Here are the 5 things I'm working on right now to be ready for those cutie pies when they walk through my door.

1.  Classroom Management - Procedures

A few years ago, I made a list of all of my classroom procedures.  Then, I sparsed them out over the the first week of school by priority.  First, I taught the procedure, we practiced, then I reminded, etc., etc.  Does that work? Kind of.  Some students get it the first time and others not so much.

This school year, I took a cue from some very smart teacher bloggers and made a procedure manual for my kiddos. It's still a work in progress, so I'm going to copy it right before the first day. Then, I'm going to make that the focus of our first week of school - setting up those procedures and routines. Each student will then have their own copy to use as a reference. I think my 3rd graders are going to really like that.

2.  Curriculum 

  I have printed all of the curriculum maps that my county provides for us so I can start thinking about what I'm teaching in the first month of school. This is my 6th year in 3rd grade, so I know what we are teaching, but I always want to try new things to keep it fresh for me.  As Angela Watson says, "Find some bright spots in your curriculum to look forward to". That's my goal for curriculum this year - keeping it fresh and interesting for both students and this teacher! 

3.  Classroom Decor

 At my school we take EVERYTHING down in our classrooms before we leave for the summer. So, classroom set up is kind of a big deal and takes quite a bit of time.  Even if you have your stuff ready to go - borders bought, signs printed and laminated, baskets labeled, and so on. During the summer, if I am changing my room decor, I work on lots of this kind of stuff while I have the time.  Then in August it just has to be hung up, stapled, or hot glued where I want it. I know there are teachers who walk in on the first reporting day and start thinking about this stuff but - I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY DO IT!! Sounds terrifying to me. It's such a better feeling to be ready even if you give up a little time in the summer.

4.  First Week's Plans 

 That first week is a killer!  Exhaustion, sleeplessness, hyper-multi-tasking...all these things converge and by Friday, everyone stumbles home in a daze.  So, in order to survive that week, I'm getting all my first week's plans done and ready to go before returning. It's one more thing I don't have to worry about.

5.  Personal Goals 

 One of the hardest things to do after we return to school in August is to balance school life and personal life.  That first month to 6 weeks is overwhelming and it's hard to just go home and leave things undone.  But you have to. You have to have a life, so make a plan to do that. I like to stay in shape by running and I will admit I let that go last year.  So, this year my personal goal is to run 3 times a week. No matter what.

Teaching is a tough job, but I love it and I would not want to be doing anything else.  So, if doing a few things before we return to school helps me be a better teacher or a more balanced human - it's totally worth it.

What are you working on?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Teacher Time Savers Linky Party

Timesaver ideas for teachers. Now that's a list I would be pretty happy to have!  There are a million things to do and very little time to do them.  So, when I started thinking about a timesaver to share with you, I thought about classroom jobs. Because this little change in your classroom job routine will make a huge difference. Almost every teacher has classroom jobs, so this is a universal teacher timesaver.

Soooo, what is my super helpful time saving tip? First, the disclaimer:  this is not my original idea, but an idea I found on Pinterest a few years ago.  I tried it and it was pure genius!  My super helpful idea is.....classroom jobs are kept for 4-5 weeks at a time, not changed out each week. How does this save time?  

1 -Students get really good at their job, so I don't have to train, retrain, remind, or in the end - do it myself.  


2 - They train their replacements.

Now I know most teachers will tell you that they want their students to be able to do all the classroom jobs sometime during the year, and that would be nice for them. But honestly, the real reason we do classroom jobs is to help us. We just can't do everything. This method gets all those little tasks taken care of, allows students to become proficient at their job, and SAVES us time. All you have to do is change the jobs at the interim report card and the 9 week report card. Your students will do the rest.

So, that's my teacher timesaver.  I hope you try it and enjoy the extra time it gives you to do the important stuff - teaching!

If you are looking for a quick math center, check out my True or False? Prove It! Centers. They are perfect for 2nd - 4th grade and they are so easy and fast to prepare plus they get those little mathematicians writing about their math thinking!


Thanks to Tammy from Literacy Loves Company for the fun and helpful Teacher Time Savers Linky Party! Make sure you check all of the timesaving tips from teacher bloggers on this link up!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What's in Your Cart? BTS Linky Party

I'm so happy to be joining up with other TPT Sellers/Buyers to share what's in my cart for the upcoming TPT BTS Sale on August 3rd and 4th! This is such a great time to buy the goodies you need for your classroom - up to 28% savings!!

But first! Here's what you need from my store:

Fluency Bundle Pack - This bundle pack is all you will need to help those struggling readers gain fluency. For just $10.00, you get 308 flashcards that cover syllables, blends, phrases, and pyramid sentences.

Smarty Pants Reading and Math Goal Setting - Start your kiddos out thinking about their learning in reading and math by setting goals! Last year was my first year goal setting with my 3rd graders and I cannot wait to do it again! So powerful!

Reading Wonders Constructed Response Unit One - If you use Reading Wonders in your classroom, you know it leaves a lot to be desired. This resource gives you that extra something to get those 3rd graders thinking at a higher level. This is the complete Unit 1 pack to start your year out with higher order thinking through Constructed Response. 
 *Also available for Common Core.

Resources in my cart:

Interactive Anchor Chart Start Up Kit from The Applicious Teacher

Detective Clip Art from Whimsy Clips - thinking about using for an upcoming TPT resource!

Math Class Clip Art from Whimsy Clips - another possible project in the works!

These are just a few of the goodies I'm looking forward to buying during the sale - can't wait!

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure you check out the rest of the linky party! And don't forget to use the promo code: BTS15 so you get the extra 10% - Happy Shopping!