Busy Bees Launch Giveaway!

Great news!! I have joined a group of Utah teachers to start a collaborative blog. I am super excited about it. We have a great group of teachers, and I think there will be some really useful and interesting content on the blog. Plus, if you head to the website, you can enter to win an Amazon gift card and a TpT gift card.  Just click the image below.

In honor of this launch, I am also having a giveaway. Enter below for a chance to win a $10 Oriental Trading gift card.  I love Oriental Trading. I have used them to get prizes, costumes, ornaments, and other things for my classroom.
Plus if you win, I am going to throw in a product of your choice from my TpT store. Click here to start browsing to see what product you might want.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! Keep an eye out for my next post on great books to read during Halloween time.

Global Read Aloud

Have you heard of the Global Read Aloud? I just heard about it, and it sounds like such a wonderful activity to do with your class. Starting October 5th, you begin reading a book with your students over a six week period. Other classes around the world are reading the same book, and then you can connect with them and discuss the book. You can make as many connections as you want, and put as much or as little time into it as you want.

I think this project would have so many positive benefits in a classroom. It will help your students continue to gain a love of reading, and also connect with other classes around the world. I think it would be great to just choose 1 class to connect with, and then continue connecting throughout the year. You can discuss the book, but you can also learn a lot about other cultures, the way other schools are run, and the thoughts and beliefs of other people from different places.

Here is a class in Madison, Wisconsin connecting with other students.

What a great activity! There are a few different books to choose from, so you really could do this for any grade you teach. There is also a Pinterest page that has some ideas for lessons and activities to go along with the books here. 

If you want to join in and be a part of the Global Read Aloud 2015, click here.

Monday Made It August 24th

I am a little late on Monday Made It, but I wanted to share what I have done this week.

On Friday, my twin girls turned 2. Time goes by so fast! I can't believe they are already 2! Anyway, we are going to Disneyland in October, so we decided to do a Minnie Mouse-Themed birthday party. I think it turned out really cute. 

These cupcakes are my FAVORITE! Didn't they turn out cute!? Also, they are beet cupcakes (I know, it sounds disgusting). But they are delicious. They are so moist and chocolatey. Once I made them for my students and no one had any idea they had beets in them.

Ok, I didn't make this cake. I was going to make more cupcakes, but ran out of time, so I just ordered a cake.

This is us. I made those cute dresses and hats for the girls. I didn't get a great picture of them, but I am planning on going to take some pictures this week some time. 

Whole Class Behavior Incentives

I think using incentive programs can help with classroom behavior so much. Plus, it gives the kids something to work toward and look forward to.
For my behavior incentives, I like to do a whole class, small group, and individual reward system. Today I am going to share 5 of my favorite ideas for whole class reward systems.

1. Marble Jar

The marble jar has been around since teaching began, I think. If you somehow haven't heard of it, the concept is simple: you put a marble in a jar when the class is being good, and when it is full they get a reward (generally a party).

The reason I really like the marble jar is because it helps a lot with hallway behavior. Any time we walked in the halls, I would hold up 3 fingers, and take down a finger if the class got too loud. However many fingers I still had up when we got where we were going is how many marbles they got to put in the jar. If we got down to 0 fingers then we had to go back to the class and try again, and they did not get any marbles. It worked really well for keeping the class quiet and orderly in the halls. I also did this for assemblies and specialties.


I found this cute BINGO game on tpt and my students loved it! All the specialty teachers in our school give the class ratings on how well they did in five different categories. They got a score of 1-5, with 5 being the best. If the class got all 5's, they would get to draw a bingo card. Then once they got a bingo (on the board it spells PRIZE instead of BINGO) they would get a reward:

P- Popsicle Day
I-Inside Games
Z-Zoo Day (bring your favorite stuffed animal to school)
E-Extra Recess

The product and pictures are from Miss Kindergarten:

You can find the Behavior Bingo on TPT by clicking here. 
3. Mr. Potato Head

This is a simple but cute idea. Get a Mr. Potato head and all the pieces. For good behavior, you put pieces on and for bad behavior you take them off. When Mr. Potato Head is all put together, the class gets a reward.

Image and Mr. Potato Head idea found here.

4. Bag of Popcorn

I think this one is a lot of fun. Put the popcorn bag up on the wall. Any time the class is being good they get a piece of popcorn. When the bag is full, they get a popcorn party (or you could do popcorn during read-aloud time or silent reading time).

This is available free for a limited time in my store. Click HERE!

5. Popsicle Sticks

I read a good idea somewhere about using popsicle sticks. You put a bunch of colored popsicle sticks in a jar and write rewards on a few of them. When the class is being especially well-behaved, draw a popsicle stick. If it is blank, you put it in a bag, and when there are 20 sticks in the bag the class gets a reward. If it has a reward, they will receive that reward some time during the week. The rewards can be simple, like watch a social studies or science movie, have a dance party (just 1-2 songs), play a game at the end of the day, etc. I like the element of chance in getting an instant reward. That makes it exciting every time you draw a popsicle stick.

Image from this website

There are so many fun ideas for behavior incentives. Hopefully some of these will be useful in your class this year. Keep an eye out for my post on small group and individual incentives.

What are some of your favorite whole-class incentives that have worked in your classes?

First Day: Tried and True

Hello! Today I am linking up with Chrissie from the Undercover Classroom.  We are sharing tried and true ideas for the first day of school. Head to the link-up to get lots of new ideas for your first day of school.

I am currently working on getting a bunch of my first day activities up on TPT, so hopefully I get get those up there within the next week or two. I decided to post my first day schedule so you can see exactly what I do. The first day is a LOT of procedures and routines. Let me know if you have questions about any of the things I do!

When I was teaching, I got pretty much all of the books for my class library from garage sales. You can find KILLER deals. One year I found The Recess Queen. This is such a great story to help go over recess rules and appropriate behavior with your class. In my pack I am going to include a "Who, What, When, Where, How, Why" retelling page, a page where you can write your own recess rules as a class, a page for students to write ideas of what to do when someone is mean or bossy, and many more. It will be a great resource!  Here is a sneak peek at one of the pages from my Recess Queen pack:

If you want to be notified when this pack is available, follow my store on TPT by clicking the picture above and then clicking "follow" on my page. 

***UPDATE*** This unit is now available! Click here to see it.

Good luck with back to school! Hopefully some of my ideas will be helpful to you!

Fun, Fun, Fun Summertime Blog Hop

I am so excited to participate in this Summertime Blog Hop hosted by Crystal at Mrs. Wyatt's Wise Owl Teacher Creations!! Be sure to read through this post, enter the giveaways, and head to the next blog by clicking the button at the bottom of this post.

"And we'll have fun, fun, fun till her daddy takes the T-Bird away...."   That is one of my favorite summertime songs. I love summer. Long days, playing outside in the pool, fireworks, ice cream...
Isn't summer the best?!?  The only problem is that over the summer sometimes you don't feel like doing work. Especially if you are a kid who just wants to go play. But even if it is hard, it is so important to keep your kids reading and learning over the summer. Otherwise their learning will slide backwards, thus the term "Summer Slide."

I am going to show you 2 products you can use to help your kids or students keep learning over the summer.

The first was made specifically for this reason. It is a summer pack that has connect 4 board for the student to choose different activities to do.

There four connect 4 sheets and each sheet has 12 squares with activities. Each week the child chooses 4 activities to complete to get four in a row.
There are a variety of subjects included, and some worksheets to go along with some of the activities.

I think this is a great summer packet because it doesn't necessarily feel like you are doing work. There are worksheets, but there are more hands-on activities for the kids to do. Click here to see it in my store.

The other product I think is great for summer is my board game template.

The game is called "Boating Bonanza," and it is just a template for a board game. It comes with blank cards so you can write your questions/activities on the back of the cards. You can use this for any subject you want, and the kids will love it! Click here to see this product in my store.

Good news! You can enter to win each of these products by entering the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck and thanks for visiting! Don't forget to hop on to the next blog by clicking the button under the Rafflecopters.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Management Tips

1. Make sure you have Structure in your classroom. If you have very defined procedures and routines set up in your classroom, you can eliminate a lot of behavior problems. When I was teaching, I spent more time in the first few weeks focusing on routines and procedures than lesson content. It is so crucial for your students to be familiar with how things are done in your class.

Here are some ideas of procedures that you might practice with your students.

-Morning routine
-Turning in homework
-Going to the bathroom
-Lining up
-Behavior outside the class (lunch, specialties, and bathroom)
-Recess rules/lining up
-Working in groups
-Asking questions
-Fire drills
-Sudden illness (bloody noses, throwing up, etc)
-Walking in the hallway
-Signaling for attention
-Sharpening pencils
-Finishing work early
-Passing out supplies
-End of day

Other Tips

- Don't introduce too many routines at one time. The beginning of the year can be overwhelming, and it will take some time for students to learn how everything is done.

-Introduce the routine and explain why it is important. Then model the routine, and give opportunities for them to practice.

2. Be Consistent. Your students should know that you mean what you say. If the class is being too loud, don't threaten to take away recess until you are actually willing to do that. If you make empty threats, your students will know that they can get away with misbehaving and you will lose control of the class.

I like to give three warnings. If a student is talking during class, I ask them to stop. If they continue, I say, "If you don't stop, I will move your desk." If they do it again, I immediately move their desk. Before discipline is given, the student should have a warning.

Before the school year starts, think of consequences for common behavior problems. This way you will know how to react when a situation arises. Here are some common problems you might run into:

-Talking in class
-Bothering other students
-Talking back
-Shouting out answers
-Hallway problems
-Hitting/kicking (I let them know that these behaviors will not be tolerated and they will not get a warning)
-Won't stay in their seat

3. Think Ahead. A lot of the time, behavior problems can be avoided if you think ahead about possible problems that might happen. Before an activity, you can give explicit directions about behavior and what is acceptable. Every year at my school they celebrate Grandparent's Day by having the grandparents come and read to their grandkids in school. The PTA provides cookies and water. My first year, I didn't realize how much instruction the kids needed and things did not go so well. I had kids running into the hall to look for their grandparents, taking 2-3 cookies, moving their chairs around, crying because their grandparent didn't come, etc. The next year before the grandparents came, I made sure to have a discussion with the class about appropriate behaviors, and things went much better.

If you think ahead and have a discussion before you start an activity, things will go much more smoothly.

Also, think about your wording. When you ask a question, instead of asking, "Who likes to eat popcorn?" You could say, "Raise your hand if you like to eat popcorn." This way students aren't shouting out their answer. They know to raise their hand.

4. Don't try to be the "Fun" teacher. At the beginning of the year, it is so important to set the tone for your class. They need to know that you aren't afraid to enforce consequences for breaking the rules. Once you have established the classroom rules and routines, you can let go a little and do more fun activities with your class. By then you will know what they can handle and they will know what you expect.

Also, in the primary grades, students love their teacher and want to please her/him. I remember my very first day teaching, the class was so noisy lining up for lunch and walking in the hall. I made them go back to the class and try again. They still didn't do it right, so we went back again, and I had to be very stern with them. After I dropped them off at lunch, I was walking through the cafeteria, feeling so bad and thinking they all hated me. A couple of my students called out to me and waved, so excited to say hi to me. It made me realize that my students would still love me, even if I had to crack down sometimes. Kids need boundaries, and I think it makes them feel safe knowing that their teacher will enforce the rules.

5. Have a quiet class. By this, I don't mean that your class needs to be quiet all the time. But before you begin talking to the class, you should make sure you have everyone's attention. During lessons, students should be quiet so that they aren't distracting other students. This also makes it so that hopefully you don't have to repeat yourself over and over. If you let students talk while you are talking, you end up raising your voice and having to shout over them, and the class gets louder and louder.

These five tips are things that really helped my management, and hopefully you can use some of them in your class too.

Don't forget to subscribe to my blog to get more ideas for your classroom!!