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Engage Your Highest Mathematicians NOW with this Simple Strategy

Need an easy way to start challenging those advanced math kids NOW? Try math contracts! A simple strategy for elementary classroom teachers to differentiate for advanced math students.

Do you have a few kiddos who seem to know everything in math before you teach it, and might even be starting to look a little bored when math time rolls around?

You want to meet the needs of all your learners (absolutely!), but you also need something quick and easy because you have five million other things to do and that data wall ain't gonna update itself!

Math workshop time is awesome, but what are you going to do with those advanced kidlets while you're training, training, training and talking about place value basics before workshop begins?!

The answer is . . . Math Contracts!  Math contracts are my favorite (SUPER Simple) way to start differentiating for advanced mathematicians.

Need an easy way to start challenging those advanced math kids NOW? Try math contracts! A simple strategy for elementary classroom teachers to differentiate for advanced math students.

Math contracts are an easy way to keep your gifted mathematicians on their toes, that won't make you go insane.  Just get contracts started and your kids can work away whenever they need.

Differentiation Complete!

Easy Art Project for Year Long Bulletin Boards - Bubble Letter Name Art + Freebie

Looking for a simple back to school art project and year long bulletin board solution? Try this bubble letter name art idea! Super easy to prep and makes for darling year long bulletin boards for 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms. Love the mentor texts too!
Here's an idea for a simple art activity you can use when you need at least 15-20 minutes of students working/you can rest your voice time.  This project in one for the Back to School Art, Year Long Bulletin Boards, or Staying Sane file.

Not only does this art project give you a little time to catch your breath (and maybe, just maybe, run to the bathroom), the name tags the kids make during this activity can be used to create a variety of year long bulletin boards that you don't have to take down until May (or June if you're a late starting Michigander like myself).

Bubble Letter Name Art Instructions

>> Introduce with a book - The Name Jar is a great one to talk about the meaning & importance of names and The Big Orange Splot is my personal fave to talk about individuality/favorites/hopes and dreams (affiliate links).  If you don't have time for a mentor text, just tell students you want to get to know them better, not only as learners, but as people too + you'd like something special for every student to show off on your walls and/or bulletin boards.
Looking for a simple back to school art project and year long bulletin board solution? Try this bubble letter name art idea! Super easy to prep and makes for darling year long bulletin boards for 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms. Love the mentor texts too!

3 Simple Writing Activities for the First Weeks of School

Looking for back to school writing activities? This blog post includes ideas and lessons teachers can use during the first weeks of school to get started with writer's notebooks and generating ideas for writing. Perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade students. #2 is a great activity for the first day!
During the first days and weeks of the school year, it's super important to focus on establishing writing norms and immerse students in activities that help them generate ideas for writing.

If students have practiced, practiced, practiced your expectations for writing and have already come up with a number of ideas for things to write about, your life will be so much easier once it's time to start centers, or any sort of independent writing work!

Here are three ideas for writing activities you can use as writing lessons with your 2nd and 3rd grade students during those first weeks of school:

Looking for back to school writing activities? This blog post includes ideas and lessons teachers can use during the first weeks of school to get started with writer's notebooks and generating ideas for writing. Perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade students. #2 is a great activity for the first day!

#1 Introduce Writer's Notebooks

However you feel about a “workshop” model, having a special place for students to do their own writing is a MUST.  Whether that be a composition notebook with a special cover, a 3-ring binder with lined paper, or a spiral notebook, it really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you set norms for what does and does not go in the writer’s notebook and that you give students a chance to write in these on a consistent basis. 

5-10 minutes a day is enough, but students should be given at least a few minutes to write in their writer’s notebook (hereafter known as WNB) every day.  If you train them well at the beginning of the year, you can set yourself up for success and happiness once you introduce independent work (a.k.a. “centers”).

 
First week activities you can do with WNB:

3 Simple Math Ideas for the First Weeks of School

Looking for math ideas for the first weeks of school? These activities are perfect for kids in 2nd and 3rd grade. Includes activity ideas, free printables, and tips for implementing. Click to learn more!
Hey Super Teacher!

Back to School time is upon us! Whether you go back this week (I'm talking to you Colorado friends) or not for a few (lucky Michiganders), here are 3 math activities you can use on the first weeks of school (recommended for 2nd-3rd grades). 
1. Pentominoes - These are my go to Day 1 math activity!  I would HIGHLY recommend purchasing a class set if you are able.

Show students the book Chasing Vermeer (this mystery book has a pentomino by name chart and hidden pentominoes on the cover) and then see if students can figure out how the pentominoes are named (spoiler alert: it's by letters of the alphabet).

Then let them try to make squares and rectangles using as many pieces as they can. (Amazon affiliate links above)
Pentominoes are a super fast finisher that all students can use (and love), so not only do you have a fun first day math activity, you are also introducing a fast finisher students will have available to them all year.  During these first weeks of school it's pretty much priceless to have a "go to" fast finisher ready on Day 1!

Simple Management: Having a bad day? Go to Australia.

Need an easy classroom management idea for the elementary classroom? Use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.  Would work great in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade.
This idea goes along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and comes from a fantastic college professor of mine.  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.

Don't have room for an entire Australia table?  No worries! Just use mini Australian flags.  You can either stack them on a counter or put them on your white board.  Not much room needed at all. 

Not only is this a simple management tool you can use all year, it's a perfect mini-lesson and read aloud for the first week of school! 2 birds one stone!
 Need an easy classroom management idea for the elementary classroom? Use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.  Would work great in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade.

Here's what you do: