Wednesday, November 13, 2019

How to Celebrate Fall in your Classroom


Do you love the fall season? Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love all the apples,
pumpkins, sweater weather and the amazing smells in the air. This is also one of my favorite times
of the year in my classroom. There are so many great activities for the students to partake in.
What are some of your favorite things for your students to do in the fall? Today we are going to talk
about a few things that you can do with your students during this wonderful season. So sit back and
have fun making a list of all the things you want to do with your students this fall!




   The first thing that I love to have my students do in the fall is all different types of fall writing.
I love letting my students be creative with their writing. I do this in addition to our normal
writer’s workshop time. This is an opportunity for them to just have fun writing about fall.  They love
getting to create their own stories and just have a good time doing it. 




   The next thing that I love to do in the fall is pumpkin investigations. I use the book
How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin and the kids explore different things about the pumpkins. I usually
have them get into groups and then I assign them different sized pumpkins to investigate.
They are always so surprised by what they find out about the different sized pumpkins. It is also
great to have the kids do some close reading with the book as well. This is always one of the
kids’ favorite things about fall and I love watching the light bulbs go off in each of them. 




   Number three on my list of favorite fall holiday things is holiday crafts. The kids love doing crafts
that also incorporate math and reading. Why not make the usual math, and reading a little more
fun with different crafts. Most of the time the kids don’t even realize that they are reinforcing their
math and reading skills with fun crafts for the season. And an extra bonus, it helps you decorate
your classroom for Autumn. I love seeing the kids work up around the classroom. 




   The fourth thing on my list of favorite fall things in the classroom is holiday writing. I love to use
holiday writing crafts to go along with our writer’s workshop for the fall months. Using these
writing activities help to break things up around the holidays. So often there are random days and
weeks off around all the holidays. So by doing writing crafts, we are able to keep up with all of the
days off and still have fun during this crazy time of year. 




   One of my next favorite things to do during the fall is a Random Acts of Kindness Activity. This really
helps the kids remember what this time of year is all about. I love to post the random acts on leaves
on a garland at the front of the room. Each day during our morning meeting we turn over the random
act and the kids try to complete it by the end of the day. Then at the end of the day, I have them write
in a journal about what they experienced by doing the random act of kindness. I love seeing the
kid’s reflections about what they did. 

   The final thing on my list of favorite fall activities is fall books. One of my favorite ways to celebrate
fall is with books. There are so many great picture books out there that you can use in your classroom.
Some of them are great to just read and enjoy the love of reading a good book and some are great
to incorporate into a lesson. There are so many different ways to use great books. And the holidays
are my favorite time of year to incorporate books into my lessons. 



   Did you find some new ways to celebrate fall in your classroom? What are you going to take back
to your classroom this year? I hope you all have a great fall and I look forward to hearing how you are
going to celebrate this fun time of the year! Click below if you would like to check out my
teachers pay teachers store.






Monday, October 7, 2019

The Best Way to Run Student-Led Conferences


Parent-Teacher Conference time is quickly approaching. I know that this is a very stressful time
of year. You have to meet with all the parents, you’re talking for hours upon hours on end, and you’re
more tired than usual. But have you ever tried out student-led conferences? Once I started using
\student-led conferences, conference time got so much easier. Today I am going to show you how you
can run student-led conferences in just a few easy steps. 




    To prep for the conferences, I like to have my students fill out a few self-reflections. This is one
of my favorite parts of student-led conferences. It allows the students to think about how the grading
period has gone and what they can work on for the next grading period. They will use these reflections
to talk to their parents or their special guest about how they are doing in each area of their studies.
I also like to have the students think about their goals and how they can accomplish those goals for
the next grading period. 



The next thing that you have to think about are stations that you would like your students to work through during their conference. This is where the magic happens! With stations, most of your work is now put in the hands of the students. The conferences are no longer about you just talking to the parents about how the students are doing, but instead, the students are showing how they are doing. You can have any stations that you would like to have, whatever you want your students to showcase! I like to have a writing station, where they can show off a piece of their writing portfolio, a reading station, where they can read a fluency passage at their level, and a math station, where I usually bring in our technology and have the students show a math program we are using, like zearn or xtra math. You could also have them work through some problems showing what you are learning at that time. I also have a station where the students show their parents their goals, self-reflections, and a selection of their portfolio. The final station is where I meet with the parents and students. At this time they can ask any questions and I share their report card. This only needs to be about 5 minutes because the students have already showed their parents what they’ve been learning.




    The final thing that you need to do to run your own student-led conferences is to have student
directions. The student directions allow the students to lead the conference. I have done them
two different ways. The first way was a lotus diagram, which shows the students the order to do
the stations. The next way was with a check-off sheet. Both have worked really well with the students.
Just make sure that you have the students practice in pairs leading the conference, especially if they
have never done a student-led conference before. I worked in a school that had all the classes do
student-led conferences so I did not need to spend as much time practicing. The students had all
done it before and knew how to do it. But I always still practice with them a little and go over the
expectations of the conference. Every teacher has different expectations, so it is best if you review
them again. 


    Hopefully, now you feel confident in leading your own student-led conferences for your class.
If you are not quite sure where to start to lead your own conferences, then you can pick up your
own copy of EDITABLE Student-Led conferences from my TPT store. 




Tuesday, September 3, 2019

4 easy steps to a simple student led back to school event


  Do you have a Back to School Night, Open House, or Meet the Teacher at your school? Do you dread when you have to put on these events? This is always my least favorite day of the year. I can talk in front of my students all day long, but make me talk in front of their parents and I freeze up. Then I worked at a school that had us do Student-Led Back to School Night, and it was the best Back to School Night I’d ever led! Today I am going to take you through the steps to have your students lead your next Back to School event. 


   The first thing that you need to do is set up stations for your students to lead their special guests through. I like doing stations because it allows the student to be self-directed. It also allows you as the teacher to have your students practice before the big event. You can have all the stations set up ahead of time and the students can practice in pairs taking each other through the stations. This way they know exactly what they need to do ahead of time. 


   Next, you need to create a powerpoint presentation with all your important information for the year. I like to have this running on the board in the background. The parents can watch it when they’re ready. They can also watch just the parts they are most interested in. By having it run in the background, this frees you up to be available to talk to parents as they need and answer all their classroom questions. One thing you need to be careful about is parents thinking this is a time for a conference. If they start to ask specific questions about their child and how they are doing, I immediately go to my calendar with them and set up a time for a conference. This way they don’t feel like you are brushing them off, but it also allows you to be available for the other parents and guardians. 


   The next thing that you need to do is have all your directions for your students set up. I like to have these ready for the students to practice ahead of time. This way they know exactly what they need to do when the big night arrives. The first thing that I use is a lotus diagram. This allows the students to know the flow that they need to take their special guest through. I also like to have a scavenger hunt for the students to complete with their special guests. This gives the parents and guardians a chance to see all the different areas of the classroom. Then the parents or guardians know what the students are talking about when they go home and tell them about different things in the classroom. The scavenger hunt is always one of the students’ favorite parts of the event. 


   Finally, you need to have all the forms ready for parents or guardians to fill out. I like to know as much about the students as possible so I always have several forms for the parents to fill out. The school usually has lots of forms for the parents to fill out as well. My school usually also wants to know who came for the event so I always have a sign-in sheet put out for the parents to fill out. I can always use that to refresh my memory of who was there and who didn’t make it. I know that not every parent or guardian is going to be able to come so I want to make sure all the forms get sent home so they can fill them out and return them. 

   If you want to run your own student-led back to school night but you don’t want to do all the work, then you can click here and get your own editable student-led back to school night packet. 


 I hope that everyone has a great start to your school year!







Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Best Classroom Themes for the New School Year!

Hi there! Do you have a hard time coming up with how you will decorate your classroom? I used to
always struggle with this too, but then I started using a theme and everything clicked into place! 
                                     



One theme that my class really enjoyed was our Apple Theme. My students loved the bright primary
colors of red, green, yellow, and blue. The students reflexible seating from this room as well.
The layout in both rooms was very similar, but not exactly the same. 

This Beach Theme was one of my favorites as well. We all loved the calm colors of blue, teal and
yellow. It helped us all feel like we were on a beach somewhere. It was so relaxing!
 

On the far wall are our work boards. I love displaying the work that the students do throughout the year,
and they enjoy seeing their work up too. I am a big fan of using fabric on the boards because it allows me
to leave the same boards up for the whole year. The fabric also does not fade and I can reuse it every
time I decide to use the same theme. 


                                          


I like to display signs and posters for the students to use as references around the room. Here you see
the hand signals we use and our number line. The hand signals are so helpful. I can quickly glance
around the room and see what students need. 


                                    


At the front of the room is our Alphabet, Talking Question Frames and our Schedule. I love having
posters and signs around the room that the kids can use every day. They start to get used to these
reference items being in their particular places and know where they can always find it. 


On the far cabinets we have our Word Wall and our Classroom Jobs. We use a classroom economy,
and the kids get so excited to apply for the job that they want and then get that job. I have enough jobs
for every student and at the beginning of the year each student gets to try each job. Once we have gone
through all of the students then they can start applying for jobs. Each job has a different amount of
money they can earn. At the end of each month they can purchase reward coupons. 


                                     

At the very back of the room is our library. The students love to use the library and find interesting books.
I like to display books on the top of the shelves that go with the different holidays and special times
of the year. Some of the students favorite books are the ones that are on the tops of the shelves.
They just love getting to share books and tell their classmates about the books that they are reading.
I lenjoy seeing them get excited about the books in our library. 


If you would like to see more of what is happening in our classroom follow along at Instagram


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