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Having a bad day? Go to Australia. An Easy Clasroom Management Tool

Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This idea goes along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and comes from one of my college professors.  In his room, he had a table reserved as "Australia".  If one of his students was having a bad day they could go work at the Australia table for a few minutes until they were feeling better.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
I've never quite had room to make a whole Australia table (in fact last year I didn't even have counter space and ended up putting them on my whiteboard), so I use little Australian flags.  We always read the Alexander book on the first week of school and then I talk to my students about the flags.  We brainstorm reasons to use the flags, how to put it on their desks, when to put it back, etc. (We do not live in Australia we discuss, so constant flag usage is not an option).  They know that they are having a bad morning/recess/feeling sad/having some sort of other undisclosed mental emergency, they can go get an Australian flag and put it on their desk.  They may NOT give fiendish stares to another student who may be causing their Australia emergency, they may just put the flag on their desk, take a few deep breaths, and know that I know something is up.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This gives them an immediate way to show me they're upset, and is a great reminder for me to check in with them when I have a chance.  Two seconds after recess ends is NEVER the best time for mental check-ins, so this gives them the power to show me they might need a little extra love while not needing to wave their cute little arms in my face while I usher 29 other little kidlets in from the playground.

I've also found this to be a great tool to tell parents about at conferences.  If a parent happens to mention that their child is feeling upset or frustrated with a classmate and feels as if I should be noticing said frustration, I tell them all about the flags and ask their child if they've been using them.  I'm not a mind reader, but I can see a flag if you slap one on your desk.      
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
This simple strategy has always worked really well in my classroom, although there have been a few times I've had some fiendish stare-ers who needed a reminder or two on appropriate flag usage. These work especially well for shy students who might not want to talk about exactly what is bothering them immediately, or for students who need time to process before talking about something that is bothering them.

If you are short on time and don't want to make your own flags/poster, check out my TpT product that includes 8 different posters and 3 different styles of flags.  Just print and go!
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
Need an easy management tool for the elementary classroom?  This blog post details how to use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.
I hope you can use this idea in your classroom.  Let me know if you give it a try!

TpT Back to School Gift Card Giveaway Bloghop

It's Back to School time!  I know many of you went back this week (or even weeks ago!), but I'm one of those "Start with kids after Labor Day" teachers (I'll pay my dues mid-June while you are all out sipping yummy summer drinks), so I've been on the enjoying-summer-until-the-very-last-minute train.

Now it's time to get serious though.  I go back next Friday, so the TpT ONE DAY BONUS SALE is perfectly timed for me.  I didn't even know which grade I'd be teaching at the beginning of August, so I couldn't really take advantage of the last sale days.  Thankfully we have one more day!!!

If you're just finding my blog for the first time through this awesome BLOG HOP, thanks for stopping by!  Please follow me on Bloglovin' so you can be notified of my new posts.  I've been working on updating tons of freebies and items in my store this summer.  Here's a few items I've updated or finished this summer. (Freebies too!)
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Third-Grade-Homework-September-20-NO-PREP-Printables-Editable-Homework-Menu-834099
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Work-Center-Activities-for-Grades-2-3-220-Pages-of-Print-and-Go-Resources-178758

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-Challenges-Brainteasers-Perfect-Fast-Finishers-Homework-Extensions-1287275
There's only 24 hours to enter this $10 TpT Giftcard Giveaway.  It starts at 12am Eastern time on Sunday and runs until 12am Eastern time on Monday.  I'll notify the winner as soon as possible on Monday morning so you can spend the moolah from the gift card at the TpT sale.  Exciting!

All you need to do to enter is follow my TpT Store, my Blog, my IG or mix and match. 
When you finish entering here,  
go to the next stop on the hop by clicking the button below.
Good luck and Happy Back to School Super Teachers!
 

Back to School Writing Activity - Stones in the River

Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
Writing!  I love it so.
This activity is called Stones in the River.  It's perfect for the beginning of the year because it's all about brainstorming ideas, even though the kids don't know that yet.  It's a resource we come back to over and over again when we're stuck for writing ideas, or to add to as we think of more.  If I ever hear "I don't have anything to write about.", my automatic response is "Go to your river.", and then "Have you gone to your river?", and then "Why don't you add some things to your river?"  

During the first week of school I do this activity step-by-step with the kids.  I show them rivers I've created in the past and let them know that if they are dying to put color on their river, they can when we finish making as many stones as possible.
Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
Stones in the River Step by Step:
1. Get a long piece of art paper
2. Draw your river with 2 lines (straight, curvy, jagged, whatever) as far apart on the paper as possible.
3. Think of any people that you know who are important to you.  Every one of these people will be a stone in your river.  For every person you can think of write their name and then draw a circle or oval around it. These are now the first stones in your river.
Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
4. Think of any places where you've spent a lot of time, places you have visited or want to visit.  Every place you can think of will be a stone in your river.  These don't have to be theme parks or vacation destinations; they can be your bedroom or the playground.  You definitely spend a lot of time there! Write the place and put any kind of circle around it you want.  These are now stones in your river.
Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
5. Think of any things or events that are important to you.  Things can be animals, foods, or even colors.  Events can be holidays, special occasions, or memories.  These are now stones in your river too!  Look how crazy full your river is getting!
Stones in the River writing activity - perfect for the first week of school in the elementary classroom!  This post explains how to create "Rivers" with your students where they can keep their ideas for writing throughout the year!
6. Write your name on your river!  That way when we find it on the floor, we can bring it right back to you. We wouldn't want you to lose something so special.  :)

Students can color their rivers or continue adding to them.  I always remind them to keep extra space in their river because they will definitely want to add people, places, things, and events as our year together continues.  They fold these up, put them in their writer's notebook, and use them whenever they're stuck for ideas.

Follow-up mini lessons with our rivers include:
How you can use your river to spark an idea for writing
Genre switch - using a river idea to write pieces in multiple genres (a poem AND a narrative about your cat)
Adding on to your river when you think of new ideas

Happy back to school!  Enjoy the rest of August!

One of My Favorites! The C.H.I.P. Trophy

Step by step instructions for making C.H.I.P. (Caring helpful independent polite) Awards.  Great for elementary school students - From I Want to be a Super Teacher
I wish I could take credit for this idea, but "The C.H.I.P Trophy" was introduced to me after my first year of teaching by Kris Thurgood and Kim Christopherson, two teachers and sisters who started ilovethatteachingidea.com.  

The CHIP (stands for Caring, Helpful, Independent, Polite, Person) trophy is a shrunken chip bag glued atop a red Solo cup with a label taped to the front.  Every year as I burn my knuckles smacking down shrinking chip bags in the oven, my husband wonders aloud, "Is that really worth it?"  The answer -- ABSOLUTELY!  For nine years I used the CHIP trophy and I can attest to its power.
Step by step instructions for making C.H.I.P. (Caring helpful independent polite) Awards.  Great for elementary school students - From I Want to be a Super Teacher
After the success of the CHIP trophy, I decided to see if wearing a shrunken chip bag would also entice my students.  Yep!  Thus, the CHIP necklace was born.  This is simply a shrunken chip bag with a hole punched in it, tied with yarn. I love that third graders find these irresistible and will do almost anything to get one - including always saying please and thank you.
Step by step instructions for making C.H.I.P. (Caring helpful independent polite) Awards.  Great for elementary school students!
When I was going to "teacher" school I remember thinking badly upon extrinsic rewards and promising myself when I was a teacher, I would help my students to be motivated just for the sake of knowing they did the right thing.  Of course, this is always a goal, but after 10 years, I've learned that chip bags work much better than feelings of moral superiority.  CHIP trophies and necklaces are here to stay.
Step by step instructions for making C.H.I.P. (Caring helpful independent polite) Awards.  Great for elementary school students - From I Want to be a Super Teacher
At a parent conference a few years ago a grandmother related how excited her grandson was to bring home his CHIP trophy, saying he was so thrilled they decided to use it as the star on their Christmas tree.  Siblings of past students relate how their brothers/sisters/friends won the trophy when they were in third grade and how the dog ate/mutilated/stepped on it and made their brother/sister/friend cry.  I often hear from parents of trying to throw away their now 14 year old child's dusty CHIP trophy, but it had to be put in the "special things" box because their teenager refused to part with it.  Thus, I will continue to burn my hands every summer as I spend  a few days using my oven as a chip bag shrinking machine. 

Try it!
1. Put a chip bag (must have a foil inside) in your oven at 250-300 degrees (you can try shrinking more than one but I suggest one to start)
2. Watch it.
3. Keep watching it.
Nothing will happen.
Then . . .
All of a sudden . . .
The corners will start to curl!
4. Get your spatula and smack the bag flat
5. Flip the bag
6.  Repeat steps 4&5 until the bag is as small as you'd like it.
7.  Let it cool, hot glue it to a SOLO cup, smack on a label (Mine say CHIP Trophy Mrs. Smith's Third Grade Class) and start rewarding caring, helpful, independent, polite people!

If anyone tries this let me know.  I swear by CHIP trophies and I hope someone else can use this great idea!


Wonka Week: An End of Year Tradition and Freebie

Ideas for Wonka Week using golden ticket freebie - perfect for the end of the year!
You're almost there!  The end of the year is so very close! (or if you're out in May - congratulations you've officially made it to summer!)
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Wonka Week is my favorite go-to end of the school year activity, but it works equally well the week before Spring Break or any other time you're anticipating squirrely children and need something a little different to calm the masses.  

If you have extremely excited kiddos and need a little something new, try out Wonka Week using Golden Tickets for Classroom Management!  


Here’s what you need to do:
Buy: a bag or two of small wrapped candy bars (not the vacuum sealed kind – the wrapped in foil-lined paper kind), and 10-15 candy bars or other "big" prizes.  I get my candy bars here on Amazon and buy the large prizes at a Dollar Store.
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Print: the Wonka Tickets on yellow/gold paper.
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Put: Wonka tickets inside the special small candy bars (as many special candy bars as you have “big” prizes).  You will have to fold them up and reseal the small candy bars with a glue stick.
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Cut: the rest of the Wonka Tickets out and put them in a secure baggie hidden from view.
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Get: a beautiful clear bowl or vase to house all of the little candy bars. (Isn't mine pretty?! I pretty much LOVE this Teacher Appreciation Day Gift! Perfect for WONKA Week!)
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Display: the clear bowl full of small candy bars and the “big” prizes somewhere up high in your classroom - keep them visible but not reachable!  For maximum effect, put these out a few at a time the week before Wonka Week.  The anticipation will be palpable!
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
During the week give out Wonka Tickets instead of your normal classroom incentive to awesomely behaved students. At the end of the day you can let all students who received a Wonka Ticket trade it in for a pick in the candy bar bowl or do a random drawing of Wonka tickets, letting only students who are drawn choose from the chocolate. (I moved to the latter option after spending WAY too much money on chocolate!)  
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Students who get a Golden Wonka Ticket in their small candy bar get one of the exciting giant prizes!
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Secret Teacher Trick: to make sure the Wonka fun lasts as long as you want it to, only put one or two special “Golden Ticket” bars in the bowl at a time.  That way you can draw it out for as long as it is effective. 

If you are interested in trying out Wonka Week in your classroom, you can find a free copy of the Golden Tickets I use here.  
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management! 
I use Wonka Tickets as our shiny new classroom incentives and integrate Wonka themed activities with other subjects too.  
*WRITINGStudents love creating their own new candy along with advertisements
*MATH - Make WONKA bars to practice place value and number sense (see my blog post about this here)
*ART/MATH - Design a new floor for Wonka's Factory to practice mathematical problem solving skills (a differentiated version of this activity can be found here in my TpT store)
Real world math project that can be used as a fun activity during Wonka Week - perfect for the end of the year!
*SCIENCE - Candy-based science experiments are tons of fun!  The one pictured below answers the question - What will happen to a Gobstopper when submerged in water over time? (I pretty much had extra cups, Gobstoppers, a sink, and some time to kill - but even with this not so exciting experiment - the kids were INTO IT!  Anything that involves candy works wonders.
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
You can also check out my WONKA Pinterest Board with ideas for Wonka themed learning activities, costumes, and fun stuff based on a candy/Wonka theme.
Wonka Week:Pinterest board with ideas you can use for Wonka Week in your classroom

I hope you can use this idea.  My kids always love it and it's a fun way to end the year,

Oooo Baby! A Giveaway, a Sale, and a BABY

It's been almost a month since Dennett Jae Smith joined us on April 6th and the days are flying by! My great intentions of blogging in full makeup and actual clothes (not yoga or sweatpants) while baby Dennett naps peacefully for long periods of time have failed, but I have scored some sweet snuggling sessions with this cutie, which are pretty much the BEST and I may have even snuck in a shower or two - Victory!
I'm out of pajama pants and back on my computer for a short time only, to give away 2 $10 TpT Gift Cards in preparation for the big Teacher Appreciation sale May 3-4!

All you have to do is fill out the super quick Rafflecopter below and I'll draw 2 winners on Tuesday night in time for some Wednesday sale shopping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The sale starts at midnight, so good luck and go find some sweet deals at TpT to get you through the rest of this school year!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Pi Day Easy Peasy Activity - All You Need is Yarn

Here's a quick Pi Day activity for tomorrow if you need something fun to introduce or celebrate the day.  All you need is yarn, scissors, and round things.  Every classroom has those right?!

First, have students choose a round object.
Next, students wrap the yarn around the circumference of the round object and cut the yarn to show one measurement around their object.
Now have students take this long piece of yarn and see how many times they can measure the diameter of their circle.  They will cut a piece of yarn for every diameter they measure.
If students do this correctly they should end up with 3 diameter yarn pieces plus an itty little left over piece or 3.14 diameters (Pi!)

Yarn, scissors, round things, DONE!
Fun, memorable, and quick - my kind of Pi Day activity!

Happy (almost) Pi Day,

Leprechaun Traps Pictures, PowerPoint, and Printable Freebies


If you're looking for a quick St. Patrick's Day art project, or even a longer STEM building project Leprechaun Traps could be just the ticket.  Here are a few pics of traps my students have made in past years.  All of these pictures are included in the free PowerPoint as well.
Although this used to be a staple in my classroom during the month of March, I've since shied away from giving this as a homework option as parents tended to become stressed out maniacs and no teacher needs 30 stressed out maniacs with access to their e-mail account around parent conference time (or really any time).  However, if time permits, this can be a worthwhile hands on problem solving project that lets students be creative and have fun (imagine that!) with the holiday while working on their teamwork skills.  Even if I don't have time for the art or building project, at the very least I like to use the PowerPoint with completed trap photos as an inferencing activity.  Click here or on the picture below to download the freebie from my store.
Happy March!

100th Day of School - Free Printables

Tomorrow is our 100th Day of School (We start after Labor Day and have had a snow day or two thrown into the mix).  If anyone out there is yet to celebrate like me, maybe this 100th Day Fun Stuff Freebie will be useful for you.
It includes a 100 Seconds Challenge, 100 Times Spelling, Hundreds Picture Spelling, and 4 templates for Hundreds Day Art.  My kiddos' art projects turned out pretty darn cute last year.
Throw in a hundreds day t-shirt (I got lazy and just glued 100 beads to my Halloween Super Teacher Tee) and I'm all planned for tomorrow.  Hooray!
If you've already celebrated the blessed day, then keep this on file until next year.  It's never too early to start planning!

Happy Hundreds Day,