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Free Calendars 2017-2018

I love calendars and I love to plan! There is so much satisfaction in putting something down on paper and seeing it completed; whether it's a lesson plan, a schedule for guided reading groups, or even a monthly dinner plan. I have also heard from many of you, how you love to use these calendars for holiday gifts...so fun!

Classroom Communication Tools (Freebies)

One of my passions as a teacher has always been finding and implementing new classroom management strategies! Having anywhere from 20-36 students (depending on my grade level) made it necessary to have strong, positive communication tools in place, to help maximize every minute of instructional time. So today, I want to share with you three classroom communication tools that I have had great success with, and will hopefully help you in your classroom, too.

The first communication tool that I LOVE, and that has saved me tons of interruptions, are these Hand Signal Posters. These posters are finger signs 0-5, all communicating a different message from the student to me. This way, if I was in the middle of a lesson, working with a small group, or helping an individual child, a student could hold up their fingers and I could quickly see what the student needed to communicate with me. These posters are perfect to display at the front of the class (above the whiteboard) for a quick and easy reference for students. Such a BIG TIME-SAVER!

 Another tool that is so handy when working with a small group is the STOP sign. It seemed like as soon as I would sit down to work with a group of students, five other students would raise their hands with questions. So, I taught my students that if I had my STOP sign on display, then they needed to ask three other students in the class their question before interrupting my small group and asking me. Four out of five times this worked like a charm! 

Majority of my student interruptions during small groups were from students asking me, "How do I spell _____?" So my solution to that problem was to implement personal Student Dictionaries. Every student would keep their own dictionary at their desk, which includes over 300 pre-printed words. There are also lines for students to add in words, so this way, they could ask three other friends in the class how to spell the word, and not interrupt me during group time. Love the independence this created! 

Now, back to the STOP sign for all of those other interruptions...My favorite way to display the stop sign is in a clear, stand-up sign holder shown below on the left. Although, you could also use a picture frame (pictured below on the right), or even just laminate the sign and pop some magnetic tape on the back to display it on the whiteboard. There are so many options and I have included two different sizes of this stop sign which you can grab here!

Last but certainly not least, is my favorite (and students' favorite) communication tool...Silent Response Cards! This tool allows EVERY SINGLE STUDENT TO PARTICIPATE!!! Yes, that's right, no more frustrated students grunting and waving their hand back-and-forth, in hopes that the teacher will call on them for the answer. 

Here's how it works...Each student is given a set of pre-made Silent Response Cards. The cards are double-sided and color-coded (a great project for a parent volunteer to prep). The teacher asks a question and students manipulate the cards to SILENTLY hold up the answer to the question. Here's an example: 

The best part about Silent Response Cards are that they can be used during language arts, math, science, social studies, test prep, and class games. This is also a quick assessment tool, because based on the colors being held up, it is easy to spot which students are and are not understanding a concept.  

Thanks for reading and I hope you find these freebies useful in your classroom!

My Favorite Turn-In Basket

This simple clip turn-in basket is one of my favorite classroom management tools ever! This sweet little basket is what finally freed up my recess time, so I wasn't spending the first half of it sifting through homework, figuring out which students did or did not turn in their homework.

The Toothpaste Lesson

One of my favorite activities to do with my students is "The Toothpaste Lesson." As early as preschool, most students are exposed to the phrase, "If you don't have anything nice to say, than don't say anything at all." I think it's great that they learn this, but what is even better is when they learn and understand "the why" behind the phrase.

Letter B and Letter D Reversal Posters

There are so many wonderful anchor charts out there on Pinterest for ideas to help with letter reversals. We have been working on visual discrimination when reading lowercase letter b and letter d. Once I introduced my kindergartener to the "b is for belly and d is for diaper" picture it has stuck! In fact, when we were reading our CVC words today, he smirked as soon as he came to a "d" word....I know he was thinking about that stinky diaper. :) This is the picture that I found on Pinterest to introduce the idea....it didn't have a photo credit, but thank you to the genius that came up with this!

I decided I wanted posters of this great visual cue to display, so I created these (FREE) posters. Scroll down to see the half-page and full-page formats, both with the letters colored in and without.

Friendly Bat Directed Drawing

Meet Frank! He's my Friendly Bat. We had so much fun drawing our bats today, that I wanted to share it with you. This Directed Drawing is perfect for October, or as an addition to a unit on bats. Here are the steps I used to direct the drawing of the bat:

Handwriting Practice: Letters and Numbers

Kindergarten is off to a great start and we have been doing lots of handwriting practice this week! We are working primarily on lowercase letter formation and numbers to 20.
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