Sunday, December 18, 2016

Classroom Management Series: How Class Experts Can Save Time!

Have you ever wished that there were 3 of you in the classroom?  6 of you?  20 of you?  I have.  I have had those lessons where I couldn't even remember the next question I needed to answer.  I finally figured out a solution...Class Experts.

What are Class Experts?

Class experts are students who show great strengths in a topic or skill.  They are the students who can divide easily, read history books, and build Legos with ease.  They are the ones who write beautiful letters, write intriguing stories, read tons of books, and can handle stressful situations.  Most importantly they are the ones who can answer the question, "Can you help your classmate?"  Class experts are the mini yous!  They are the ones who can help the flow and pace of the lesson and save you tons of time!

How to Determine Class Experts

Of course the obvious answer is - from observation, scores, and assignments.  But class experts are more than just "getting- it kids."  The class experts are the ones who have a passion for the topic or skill. They are the ones who are willing to help guide their friends and not do it for them.  And they are the ones who can help share the passion for learning.  Before adding a student as an expert be sure to ask them if they are willing to be the expert.

Keeping Track of Class Experts (FREE Class Expert Form

You will need a list for keeping track of the class experts and this list needs to be one that both you and the students can easily access.  This form can easily be created, placed on larger paper, or you can just download my editable form here.  (You can edit these by placing a text box over the space you want labeled or just write your information on the printed form.)


Be sure to post  your classroom expectations for class experts.  Here are my expectations.
  1. Ask an expert to help you through a problem, tell you a story, proofread your work, or watch to make sure you are performing a skill correctly.
  2. Do not over demand the time of the class expert.  It is important that they get their work done too.
  3. Use a class expert during appropriate times.  If the "green light" in not posted, do not interrupt an expert.
  4. Don't expect them to do the work for you. This is your chance to get help quickly.
  5. Share the knowledge. Pass on the wonderful skills and information you learn.

I hope this simple tip will help you mange your important teaching time.  Want more from the Classroom Management Series?  Just click the titles below.  FREE downloads are available to help guide you through the strategies.

Are Your Students Self-Assessing

Classroom Management: 5 Tips for Managing Writer's Workshop
Happy Teaching,

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Classroom Management Series. How Class Experts Can Save You Time

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Behavior Buddies!

Happy December, Y'all! This is Chandra from Teaching with Crayons and Curls! This year my firsties have LOVED LOVED LOVED spending the day with a stuffed animal. Our class uses a classroom economy similar to this one from True Life I'm a Teacher and they use their money to purchase coupons. The 'Furry Friend' (spending a day with a stuffed animal) coupon is one of their favorites, so I knew I had to use this to my advantage!

Meet our class Behavior Buddies- Listening Lion, Happy Hippo and Positive Pig! Aren't they adorable!?

Students earn these Behavior Buddies when they are showing positive behavior! I usually choose one student per day to spend the day with each stuffed animal. Usually, they are chosen at the end of the day and they get to spend the next school day with that Behavior Buddy. The furry friend stays with them throughout the day in OUR classroom. They don't go to recess, specials, or lunch. Just makes things a little easier (and cleaner!).

We've been using them for a few weeks now, and my students have started nominating each other to spend the day with a Behavior Buddy! I mean, how adorable and KIND is that!? It all started with one sweet little firstie saying, "Mrs. Dills, I think Sarah should get Listening Lion because she has been such a great listener today!" Yep, I made a HUGE deal about that!

When students earn a Behavior Buddy for showing positive behavior, I also want to make sure that this is communicated to their families! So, I created certificates that the student can bring home to show their family! It's a great way to build that positive school-to-home relationship!

I ordered all of my furry friends off Amazon. But, you can grab stuffed animals anywhere! Wal-Mart, Target, and the Dollar Store. There are many different animal options in my pack!

Since it's so close to Christmas, I thought it would be fun to introduce holiday themed Behavior Buddies. You can grab this pack for FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Just click here or on the image below!

I hope these cute little friends help promote positive behavior in YOUR classroom!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I can do that with Kahoot?

Do you use Kahoot in your classroom? Are you looking for new ideas to engage your students.  Blind Kahoot, Ghost Mode and Team Kahoot are just a few ways to change up your Kahoot routine.
Blind Kahoot is a cool way to introduce new content to your students. It’s “blind” because students have limited knowledge of the topic.  Here is the template used for Blind Kahoots.

Here is a video explaining the Blind Kahoot.
Team Kahoot mode is a great way to foster collaboration in your class. 
Photo credit: Kahoot

Players form small teams, with one device per team. Then find a Kahoot you want to play and select the "Play" button. Next, choose "Team Mode" to start playing. 
Credit: Kahoot

Have the team captains(students holding the devices) add their team’s name and each players’ nicknames.
Credit: Kahoot
Have you tried Ghost Mode? This is where students can compete against themselves from a previous game. After you finish a Kahoot, select the “Play Again” button (with the ghost icon). 
Credit: Kahoot
The same game is comes up and students play live along with their ghosts.  The ghost answers will be the same as the previous game.  What a great way to show growth!

If you want more info about Kahoot, check out their blog at


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Building a Classroom Community during the Holidays!

Hey Y'all! It's Erin from The Elementary Darling. The holidays are upon us. I am so excited to spend some family time over Thanksgiving! During my Thanksgiving break, I always plan my December lessons and make a wishlist of items that I will need to complete crafts, snacks, or activities with my students.I send home my wishlist before December. Some may say that I over plan, but the holidays are crazy enough as it is. We MAP test and benchmark test in December. Add that to the crafts (that you strategically matched to your standards) and the excitement and it gets a little crazy in the classroom. So today, I am going to share my favorite idea to build your classroom community during the holidays!

With all of the business, my students started getting stress some of my friends needed a little reminder to be nice and thankful. I wanted to spread joy and love throughout my classroom while building our classroom community, because let's be honest, we work on this ALL.YEAR.LONG.

So I decided we would build our classroom community by writing nice things about our friends on our paper chain. TWO in ONE deal my friends! You get classroom decor AND kindness from students in one fell swoop.

We filled our room with these strips. Each day, the students would receive two pieces of paper. They were encouraged to write to different people each day, We filled them out in our "spare time" and I asked them to watch their friends to see all of the wonderful things that each of them were doing during the day. I read them and the kids loved hearing all of the fabulous things people were saying about them. I filled them out as well so that all of the students would have great things said about them.

Each afternoon, I would add the strips and the students would watch our chain grow and decorate our classroom. They loved it, and so did I. It really brought out all of those good Holiday Feelings. The best part is, you can do this for very little cost! You can use cut strips of construction paper. If you don't want to do that, you can get the ones that I used from Oriental Trading. They have some really cute ones here or the plain red and green ones here.

How do you build your classroom community during the holidays? Leave us a comment and let us know the wonderful things that you do in the classroom! Happy Holidays, Friends!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

9 Things You Need from the Dollar Spot This Winter

You may think it's a little too early to be talking Christmas, but in my humble opinion, it's totally not too soon! In fact, Target (our favorite store) dropped their holiday merchandise THIS WEEK, so you have to stock up before the Dollar Spot is completely picked over!

Here are 9 things you could grab from the Dollar Spot before you miss your chance! 

First and foremost, you NEED these blank books in your life! My students L-O-V-E them, and so do I. Both of the book sets pictured below are too cute, but I chose to stock up on sets with more neutral covers since I can't do Christmas in my classroom. $3 for 6 blank books is a steal, in my opinion.

Want to help your students write neatly in their blank books? Grab my templates, which are FREE in my store!

I don't know about you, but I use mini erasers for ALL KINDS OF FUN THINGS in math! They are the perfect manipulatives to get your students excited about learning and practicing math. I most recently used fun erasers as a nonstandard unit of measurement. The opportunities are really endless. Snowmen, Christmas trees, penguins, oh my!

The next items can also be used in so many ways in your classroom. I use dominoes in math for fact families, addition, subtraction, and more. I thought the tumbling tower pieces might be good for STEM. If nothing else, they make easy, fun, and cheap games for indoor recess!

Clothespins can be found everywhere in my classroom. Most of my clothespins are boring, but the ones currently for sale in the Dollar Spot are just the opposite!

I found chalkboard clothespins first - how clever! You could use them to label stack of papers... "to grade," "to copy," or even "throw away after the kids go home." (Let's be real.)

Target had some pretty cute mini clothespins in the Dollar Spot too, which I've seen many teachers use for centers activities.

STAMPS! and INK! Just take my paycheck, Target! I bought myself some ink because, well, it was only a dollar, and I'm always needing an ink pad for some reason, so why not? The stamps were super cute, too! On second thought, maybe I should go back and get some...

I definitely did not buy any loud, jingly musical instruments for my classroom, but maybe you want to for yours! For only a dollar, a tambourine, triangle, or jingle stick would make a great gift for your students. If you put on annual performances, STOCK UP!

Because Target always seems to have us teachers in mind, you can find "shatter-resistant" clear ornaments in the Dollar Spot right now. Just look on Pinterest for lots of super cute ideas for ornaments that students can make as gifts for their families.

Do any of you have VIP caddies or VIP supplies as a behavior incentive? The Dollar Spot has plenty of festive pens and pencils to stock up on. I personally was obsessed with my own 6-color pen when I was a kid!

Primary teachers, these last items are for you! These magnetic letters, shapes, and numbers are super cute and would look great on your whiteboard! I came close to buying some for myself although I definitely don't need them.

What do you think? Are you running to Target now, or what?!

Have you seen anything else in the Dollar Spot lately that is perfect for the classroom?

Let me know in a comment below.

Happy holidays, and happy shopping! 

- Kristin from School and the City 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Gobble up this Grammar Freebie

Do you want to easily integrate reading and grammar with a fun Thanksgiving theme?! 
Check out this Turkey grammar mini book that can be used with any text! 
Just click the image below to download this fall freebie.
I love integrating reading and grammar, and this fun turkey mini book is a great way to do that in the month of November! There are so many awesome fall and Thanksgiving themed texts out there, and this activity can be used with any of them.
Students search for parts of speech in their books and record them on the turkeys. This is a great center activity or independent reading activity- students can use a text you have chosen or their own books. You could also use this as a shared reading activity while you read a favorite Thanksgiving book aloud! You can even send it home and have students search for parts of speech in their nightly reading.
Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving books that would be great to put in a center with the turkey mini books!

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pardon that... TURKEY?!

Each year around this time, your students read about the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and Native Americans, maybe even about Sarah Hale saving the holiday. But....

Officially, since 1989, it is tradition for the President of the United States to pardon the White House Thanksgiving turkey. It happened several times before 1989, too.

Each year, in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, the National Turkey Federation presents a turkey to the President. The turkey is pardoned, and spends the rest of his days on a farm in Virginia (some even participated in the Thanksgiving parade at Disney!).

Here is a fun video you can show your students of President Obama pardoning the turkey...

And you can also grab this free sample of my mix and match assessments all about the Turkey Pardoning!

In the sample, I have included the same passage about turkey pardoning on four levels (2nd-5th) with three levels of standard-based questions (3rd-5th). You can use this as an assessment or independent practice which you can differentiate, or use it in small groups to practice close reading! 

Happy gobbling!