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2016 - Year In Review

Happy New Year! At the beginning of each new year, I love looking back on the highlights of the year I'm leaving behind. Here is my 2016 Year In Review. These are my Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016!

The Best Ways to Get Organized in the Classroom

Having an organized classroom does not come naturally to everyone. Most of us have some tricks and routines that we rely on to stay organized, be it organized chaos or something a little more polished. Here are my personal favorite ways to stay organized in the classroom.

Classroom organization doesn't come easily to everyone. If you're a teacher looking to better organize your life in (and out of!) the classroom, this post is for you! Grab ideas, free app ideas and discounts for getting organized in your elementary or middle school classroom.

How to Use Pumpkins in the Classroom

This is the PERFECT time to bring the outdoors into the classroom! Many teachers take their students on outdoor scavenger hunts, integrate the changing colors of the leaves into art activities, and read fall-themed stories, but have you ever thought of bringing pumpkins into the classroom?

This is the PERFECT time to bring the outdoors into the classroom! Read and write about pumpkins and investigate them inside and out! This post is full of book suggestions and ideas for pumpkin math activities that you can easily do with the students in your classroom.

Fun Ways to Start the Day in the Elementary Classroom

Are you looking for meaningful morning activities for your classroom? Limit the worksheets and check out some hands-on, curriculum-related ideas that will get your students learning from the moment they walk in the classroom! From brain breaks to warm-up activities to morning meeting, it's here!

Morning arrival can be a hectic time in the classroom. Some schools serve breakfast, others have students trickling in over a period of time, and on many occasions there are forms, book orders or money to collect. In my 18 years of teaching I've tried many different morning routines, and have read about many others. This is my round-up of some great ways to start your school day!

If I Were A Thanksgiving Turkey....

I love inspiring my students to write using seasonal themes and resources! In the days leading up to Thanksgiving we read lots of books and discuss its origins and the traditions surrounding it. Several years ago, I scoured the internet to find a fun activity that I could display in the hallway outside the classroom, but couldn't find anything just right. So, I created this...

What would it BE like to be the Thanksgiving turkey? Let your students' imaginations run wild with this fun writing and art activity! This is the perfect activity for the days leading up to Thanksgiving break!

Making Guest Teacher Days Run Smoothly

Sick Day. Professional Development. Daytime Appointment. Whatever the reason, I dread being out of my classroom.

Do you dread being away from your classroom? Do your students fall apart when there is a guest or substitute teacher in the room? Make your sub rules & expectations explicitly clear with an anchor chart like the one in this post!

Excite Your Students With A GoNoodle Welcome!

The final week of my summer holidays has arrived and I've been spending some time in my classroom in preparation for a new school year. I'm thrilled to be a GoNoodle Ambassador for a second year and was excited to incorporate GoNoodle into my welcome bulletin board. It turned out so cute, I thought I'd share it with you - my loyal followers!

Do your students love GoNoodle as much as mine? Welcome them back to school and get them excited for this year's brain breaks with this FREE GoNoodle bulletin board printable! This completely editable file includes all 25 GoNoodle Champs and the lettering you'll need for the welcome header.

The Best Word Walls For Every Classroom

Today's classrooms contain more posted information than ever - learning goals, success criteria, classroom expectations, anchor charts, word walls... I could go on and on. Teachers are expected to cram more information to the same space year after year. How do you fit it all in?

Let's talk about word walls. My word wall is one area that I personally felt was taking a TON of space, and I knew that I could use it more efficiently, so I've rounded up for you some great examples of how you can make a word wall work in ANY classroom!

Word walls are a very important part of every elementary classroom! This is a round-up of ideas for making your word wall interactive and engaging - a word wall your students will actually use!

Inexpensive Back to School Gifts for Your Students

It is just about time to welcome students back to school! First day jitters are a real thing for many students, so I like to greet my kiddos on the first day with some sort of small gift. I feel like it sends the message that I am so happy to see them and I'm excited for our time together. These gifts don't need to be expensive. Here's a round-up of some of my favorite inexpensive (or free!) welcome back gifts for students!

It is just about time to welcome students back to school! First day jitters are a real thing for many students, and a small gift from the teacher may be just the fun thing to put your students at ease!

3 Easy Ways to Prepare For a Stress-Free Back to School

Summer is here! Sit back, relax, and... wait... you're planning for the new school year already?! Teachers don't let school go easily, do they?! Don't feel bad... I personally start thinking about the new school year before the current one is even done. (Is that bad??)

In my 18 years in the profession I've come up with THREE must-do items to prepare now for a stress-free back to school season!

Are you a teacher on summer vacation? Heading back to school is probably on your mind, even if you have weeks to go, so harness that energy and get these THREE things done now to make for a stress-free return to the classroom!

The Great Homework Debate - Is It Worth It?

Homework - to assign it or not. Is it useful? Does it actually benefit students? The debate rages on and most people I know don't really have the answers.
Do you assign homework in your classroom? The debate rages on - homework or no homework? I'm breaking down the advantages and disadvantages to assigning homework, and providing an easy low-prep solution!

How to Dig Yourself Out of an End-of-the-Year Rut

Are you a teacher facing your final weeks and days of the school year? You'll want to check out these tips for reducing stress and staying positive as the year winds down!

It's true. I'm done. I am 13 teaching days away from the end of this school year and I have so little left in me that some days I don't know if I'll make it through dinner.

This has been a challenging school year. 20 students with a very diverse set of academic needs, students who struggle with coping skills and self-esteem, the death of a classroom parent. I'm not the first teacher to juggle all of this in a single school year, and I won't be the last, but sometimes all of this becomes overwhelming.

So... how CAN we dig ourselves out of this rut of complete exhaustion and find a way to enjoy these final weeks? I've got some suggestions for you!

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