I am SO thankful for you, so I thought I'd share a freebie with you that I hope will be useful in your classroom!

My text features products are some of my absolute favorites.

I originally created them my own classroom. I needed a way to assess my students’ understanding of text features other than by observation, and I wanted the assessment to tie in curriculum and relevant content. Thus, this product line was born. The kids have fun using different colors to identify the different text features, and it provides great work samples for me. I first made them about science and social studies topics, then biographies, then holidays!

I'd love for you to download the Thanksgiving text features passage for FREE! 

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    At the end of the first quarter, teachers at my school are expected to hold conferences with each child's parents. This is the third year that I have chosen to do student-led conferences, and I don't plan on ever turning back! Let me tell you why:

    • It takes a LOT of pressure off of me. Students do a lot of the preparation and the spotlight is on them. 
    • Students take responsibility for their own learning, behavior, and progress. 
    • Students get to practice their speaking and presenting skills. 
    • Parents see their child in an environment and situation that they do not typically get to observe. 
    • Teachers can see how students interact with their parents, and parents can see how their children interact with the teacher. 
    • Students, parents, and the teacher work together as a team to set goals and determine next steps. 
    It is truly amazing. It's an excellent learning experience for the students - and for the adults - and the sense of pride they walk away with is priceless!

    When I first started researching student-led conferences, I read two super helpful blog posts: this one by Brooke Brown and this one by Alisha from Missing Tooth Grins.

    I actually use most of Brooke's student-led conference product combined with some of my own handouts that I create for the students and parents.

    In the weeks leading up to conferences, we prepare a little bit at a time by completing about one page a day. (This includes self-evaluation checklists and work samples.) Students keep everything in their data folders. Once all the papers and work samples are ready to go, we start practicing! We make two lines in the hallway: one for students and one for "parents." Students buddy up and take turns presenting their conference materials.

    They begin by welcoming their parent to the classroom, saying hello to me, and telling their parent where they can sit down. Then, they just follow their checklist!

    Yes, this takes some class time - maybe 20 minutes a day for a few days - but I believe that the time is valued by building those speaking and presentation skills.

    Conferences last for about 15 minutes, but I keep a buffer of 5 minutes between conferences just in case one runs over! Any behavioral or academic concerns that need to be addressed with the parent should come as no surprise to both the parents and the student. I think it's a great chance for all three parties to talk together to hold students accountable for making improvements.

    If parents don't bring their students, I simply use the materials that they prepared to hold the conference. It goes just fine.

    Are you thinking about trying student-led conferences? Let me know in a comment below!

    I'm really trying to be better about holding writing conferences this year.

    These simple questions have completely changed the quality of my writing conferences:
    🔹What did you write about? Why?
    🔹What was the easiest part of your writing process?
    🔹What was the most challenging part?

    I've found students to be very open and honest. It's helped me build relationships and obtain valuable insight. It makes note-taking easy!

    As for feedback, I'm just using sticky notes. It's easy, fast, and they stick right in students' notebooks! For now, I'm making a "Glow" sticky note and a "Grow" sticky note. This keeps conferences short and sweet, just like this blog post. ;)

    If you're looking for a conference log, I have one that you can download for free in my TPT store! 

    Happy conferring! 

    My Curriculum Night was just a few weeks ago, and I wanted to find something to keep parents busy while they waited in the hallway. I decided to bring my students' writing to LIFE by recording themselves reading it! Here's a detailed tutorial to show you just how EASY it is! 

    I used the Voice Memos app on my iPhone to record students reading aloud. It was very easy to trim and alter if needed, and the quality is good! Best of all, it's an app that's already on your iPhone so it's totally FREE!

    Students were called one at a time to enter the "recording studio," AKA my closet, where they read aloud their writing nice and clear. 

    After recording, I used the share button to upload my recordings to Google Drive. 

    I love Google Drive and use it for just about everything! 

    In order to get the QR codes for my students to scan, I just used the shareable link from the Google Drive file and copied it into GOQR.me.

    I use GOQR.ME, but there are plenty of free QR code generators that you can use instead. 

    That's it! Just download or copy the QR code and place it on a poster or wherever you wish.

    I pasted them into little squares that I ended up printing on white paper then gluing directly to their writing. 

    (Side note: I added the smileys to make the QR codes unreadable in order to protect my students' privacy. However, if you use the camera app on your phone to scan the code in step 8, you'll hear me reading aloud a social studies book that I detailed in this blog post - LOL!)

    You can do this with any writing that students produce as well as any books or book sets that you have on hand in your classroom. The possibilities are endless!

    Will you be trying this? Let me know in a comment below! 

    On a recent Instagram story, I mentioned that we earned a new unit for our 3rd grade team. I'm not sure how common this is, but you all had lots of questions for me!

    I had 25 students in my class, which is the state maximum for first, second, and third grades. However, we had to wait for the ten day attendance count and allotment funding to come through before hiring a new teacher. We were so lucky to find someone amazing, but at this point, we were 4+ weeks into the school year, so the transition was tough for everyone!

    How many students did you lose?

    Five. Five sweet, clever children that I had spent 5 weeks bonding with.

    How were students selected to move?

    There were so many details that went into this decision, which was made by the administration team:

    • reading levels and math levels - We have leveled classes, so this is important!
    • demographics - The new class needed to be just as balanced as ours, as far as ethnicity and gender. 
    • exceptionalities - The new class needed to have a fair amount of students receiving gifted and/or special education services. 
    • supports - Students served by EIP and/or ESOL were not moved as it would not be in their best interest. 
    • special circumstances - Last year, one of the 2nd grade classes was collapsed. To be as conscientious as possible, students who had to move last year due to the class collapse were not moved this year. Students brand new to the school were not moved either. 

    How was this handled with parents?

    At Sneak Peek, before school even started, all parents received a letter from administration stating that our numbers were high and we would likely earn an additional third grade unit. During Curriculum Night, we stressed to parents why this is a good thing and how smaller classes sizes benefit our students. 

    Parents were kept in the loop as a hire was made, and all parents received a timeline. Phone calls were made to parents of students that were moving. 

    Parents were invited for a coffee and meet-and-greet with the teacher on the students' first day in the new classroom. 

    How was this handled with students?

    Parents communicated the information after the phone call. 

    On the week that students moved, Tuesday afternoon there was an ice cream party in their new classroom with their new teacher. Students participated in some about me activities to get to know each other while they enjoyed ice cream. Students came back to my class SO excited about their new class! 

    On Wednesday, we helped our students move their materials and supplies to their new classroom. 

    On Thursday, they started with the new teacher! 

    How did you help students make the transition?

    While 5 of my students were at the ice cream party with their new teacher, I had a meeting with the rest of my class. We talked about how they might be feeling and how we could support them. We decided to make "binder covers" for them, which was essentially a white piece of paper that students could slide into the clear pocket on the front of their binders. 

    Students were excited to hear that we would still go to specials together and see each other at recess every day! 

    Of course, some students were still emotional about leaving. I was honest with them and told them that I cried, too. I made sure they knew that they didn't do anything wrong and that I love them and that I am so sad to see them go. We talked about how and why they will be a great addition to the new class. We talked about the positives and how this can and will benefit them. 

    How did you support the new teacher?

    Again, my grade level knew this was happening, so we made efforts to keep everything as consistent as possible. 
    • All of our gradebooks were the same, students' notebooks and folders were labeled the same, etc. 
    • Our amazing data clerk set up her grade book and transferred all of the grades for her. 
    • We graded papers for her. 
    • We made sure that her students' diagnostic tests and reading levels were completed. 
    • We gave her plenty of community supplies, like tissues, soap, hand sanitizer, etc. 
    • For her first week, we provided her copies and gave her the lesson plans a week in advance. 

    Luckily, she fits right in with us! 

    *          *          *          *          *

    This transition was truly difficult on all of us. Ultimately, it's a good thing. We had to remind ourselves that everything happens for a reason, and we decided as a team to trust that those students were placed in that new classroom with purpose. It's going to be a great year! 

    So you have a ton of dust jackets from all the amazing new books you picked up over the summer. Now what?

    Every new classroom I've moved into has provided me with new dust jackets to inherit. I don't know why teachers leave them behind... maybe they are a lot like me and just can't bear to trash them! of course I ended up with a bunch of dust jackets of my own, too, and had to ask my Instagram friends for suggestions on what to do with them.

    The most sane suggestion was "Don't be a hoarder; Trash them."

    OKAY, OKAY. I hear you loud and clear.

    But... is it hoarding if you make something out of the dust jackets instead of just shoving them in a cabinet?


    Here are the rest of the *brilliant* ideas I collected:

    • Laminate them and tape to books like library books.
    • Cut them into bookmarks. 
    • String them to make a pennant
    • Frame them for a gallery wall. 
    • Mod Podge letters, or wallpaper a whole wall! 
    • Make a bulletin board background.
    • Use them for your classroom's alphabet. 
    • Turn them into a writing center option. Students write a story to match the cover.
    • Use them to identify and sort genres. 

    from @sarahlarnett on Instagram

    from @theteachernextdoor on Instagram

    from @theeverydaylibrary on Instagram

    from @effiekaradimitri on Instagram

    from @itsthep2peepsoftce on Instagram

    Seasonal (time-sensitive) ideas:

    • Make a March Madness book bracket.
    • Make a cape and wear it on Halloween or Storybook Parade, etc. 
    • Make Christmas ornaments for student gifts. 

    So, what's your plan? Are dust jackets trash or treasure?

    I love to read, and chances are that you do too.

    As educators, we often read children's literature to stay in-the-know and professional books to improve our practices. But how often do we read fictional novels that can teach us just as much as a teacher textbook?

    Years ago, when I was in college, my mom (Hi, mom!) handed me a book and said, "If you're going to be a teacher, you need to read this."

    That book was Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. She told me it was about a school shooting. I refused for a long time, because I felt the content was too “heavy.” But, mama knows best, and she kept insisting. Now, I'm hoping you will read it too. 

    Nineteen Minutes tells the story of a school shooting, including multiple perspectives leading up to, during, and after the nineteen-minute event. It’s eye-opening, thought-provoking, and absolutely heartbreaking. It’s changed me as a person, and it’s my favorite book of all time. I fell in love with Jodi Picoult's craft and research-based fictional style, so I asked my mom for more. 

    Next she handed me House Rules, also by Picoult. House Rules is about the family of a boy who has Asperger’s Syndrome. When a murder happens nearby, he is assumed guilty by law enforcement due to his knowledge of historical murders, fixation on crime scenes, and lack of “normal” social habits. It’s insightful, informative, and tugs a little too hard on your heart strings. 

    Those two books by Picoult, recommended by the amazing educator that is my mother, absolutely changed my mindset and helped me grow as a person and as a teacher. 

    I realize that there are areas in which I need to continue to grow, and with all that is going on in our country right now, I started seeking out novels to help me do it. 

    I borrowed the ebook version of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas from my public library and read the entire thing on my phone in just a few short days. 

    Here's the synopsis from GoodReads: "Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed."

    I don’t think I have the words to review this book well enough to do it justice. I cried, I giggled, and I couldn’t put it down. I learned a lot. The author says it well in her acknowledgment: “Your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter. Be roses that grow in the concrete.”

    Image result for far from the tree
    image from http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/12/12/robin-benway-far-from-the-tree 
    Far From the Tree was recommended to me by a friend, and I certainly didn't expect to learn as much from it as I did. GoodReads describes this YA novel as "a contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment." It was so interesting - and eye-opening, and thought-provoking - to go through the story from the perspective of three siblings with different life experiences. As teachers, we often have students in our classroom who are either adopted or fostered. Even if students are happy in an amazing adoptive or foster family, they still have experiences and emotions that we could never imagine. That insight was gained through reading this book, making me a better and more empathetic educator.

    Buy them. Read them. Educate yourself. Have empathy. 

    All of the books mentioned in this blog post are linked on my Amazon page. (Look for the list titled "Novels for Educators.") Know that when you buy something through my Amazon influencer page, I receive a small portion as commission. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but the extra funds help me keep this blog up and running! 

    Do you have any titles to add to this list? Let me know in a comment below.

    Every year, my school does a Curriculum Night. You might call this Open House, Parent Night, or something along those lines.

    Basically, parents are invited into the classroom (without their students) to learn about:

    • grade level curriculum
      • content
      • resources
      • standardized testing
    • schoolwide expectations 
      • PBIS
      • important policies like transportation changes
    • classroom expectations
      • schedule
      • behavior
      • homework
      • communication

    It can be super intimidating, but it's a chance to show your parents that you LOVE THEIR KIDS and that together, WE'VE GOT THIS. 

    First, the parents trickle in. This year, I had them each sign in because I had confidential paperwork that I handed out to them and they had to sign for it! (In the past, I haven't asked them to sign in.) Also on my table I had my volunteer sign up form, which is provided by my PTA, and sometimes I put my wish list there, too.

    Then parents go find and sit at their child's desk. On the desk, I included a copy of our grading policy (since it's a lot of information) and a fun "quiz" to give parents something to do while they wait. I use this "Parent Night Kid Quiz" from Rachel Lynette, and it's super cute!

    Once parents are done rolling in, I start my presentation. I have a Google Slides presentation that I just update each year with new information. I always start my presentation by thanking parents for coming then telling them how much I love their children. Way back when, my mom told me that that's all parents really want to know. (Moms know everything - Thanks mom!) Then I introduce myself and talk through everything mentioned in the bullet points above.

    Since we switch for math classes, we let our parents swap too! I put a sticky note on each child's name tag so that the parents would easily know who their math teacher is. After I finish my homeroom, I chat with my math parents. Our math time is a lot shorter. I fill them in with a little info about me, then I only talk about math curriculum and procedures.

    That's a wrap!

    If you have any questions, leave them in a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP.

    BEST OF LUCK to you during your Curriculum Night / Parent Night / Open House / whatever!

    No matter what type of class we teach, we always have a range of levels that requires many levels of differentiation. I know. It's a challenge that all teachers face.

    However, I'm facing a new challenge this year: a split-level math class.

    For me, that means half of my class is starting at the beginning of the third grade curriculum (place value and rounding), while the other half is starting halfway through the third grade curriculum (area and perimeter) and will begin fourth grade curriculum in January.


    Image result for friends i'm fine

    I know the gradual release model to scaffold students towards independence. I know how to differentiate to meet the needs of different abilities and learning styles. I know how to pull small groups for remediation and enrichment. But teaching a class two totally different, practically unrelated content units? This is new for me.

    I stressed about it all summer, asking WHY and then WHY ME?

    Well, I've been in the trenches for two weeks. I've failed a lot. I've had many discussions with my students about how adults problem-solve too by trying new things and occasionally having to scrap ideas to try and find something better. It's been a learning experience for all of us. Math is my favorite, and I'm determined to keep it that way. 

     Image result for stop talking about problems  Image result for try again quote

    As I shared my fears with you on Instagram, you asked me some questions about my newly-structured math block:

    Why is this a thing? - Heather

    Girl, you are speaking my language! I DON'T KNOW!

    Okay, I do know. My district does something called "continuous achievement." Basically, students take math placement tests that place them at the level they are currently learning at. There are three levels of this model: on level, advanced, and accelerated.

    Last year, I taught the advanced math class and I loved every minute of it.

    This year I'm teaching advanced again... but half of the class is on level.

    It's all about meeting students where they are.

    What curriculum are you using? - Alison

    My school adopted McGraw Hill's MyMath curriculum last year. Before that, we didn't have a curriculum, so we've used MyMath as more of a supplement for our other resources. We use some resources provided by the district as well as resources that we find on our own. We follow our district's pacing guide, which actually doesn't even match up with MyMath! #frustrating

    How did you start your centers and small groups? - KC

    Very slowly! We didn't do any rotations for the first week of school. During that week, we did "math about me" activities and other review activities to start of interactive notebook and classwork procedures. As a whole class, I taught them how to play some simple multiplication games (applicable to both groups), how to access my online resources, and to always check the board for the next instructions. When we started trying small groups, students completed independent activities that they were already familiar with.

    As far as creating the groups, I was honest with my students. We talked about how everyone has different needs and therefore will be learning different things. I chose colors for the groups - green and orange - to match the workbooks. Trying to make this thing as easy as possible! (Sidenote: This is already driving me crazy because orange is my least favorite color!) I allowed the groups to name themselves, so now I have the Lizards and the Tigers.

    On my classroom Symbaloo, I have my math blocks color-coded. Green buttons are for the Lizards, orange buttons are for the Tigers, and blue is for both.

    Do you see every group every day? What does your schedule look like? - Kayla

    Yes, that's the plan. I have to teach both groups a full year's worth of curriculum, so I have to meet with them daily in order to stay on pace! My math block is only 75 minutes long. We start with a spiral review to warm up, then the goal is for each group to get 30 minutes of direct/guided instruction each day.

    At first, I was projecting the rotations on my board. I quickly realized that I wanted to use my board to teach my groups, but then the independent workers couldn't see their tasks. DUH. *facepalm* Thus, the guided math poster was born.

    I made it by gluing and labeling colored paper, then laminating it. I write daily tasks each morning with dry erase marker. I find it really helpful to let students know what they will need for my small group so that they can get prepared quickly and independently.


    Do you level independent work activities while you are working in small groups? - Stefani

    Yes and no. Right now, independent activities are leveled solely based on group placement. Students pick up their independent work from a labeled try, and turn their work in to a tray that matches their color.

    I plan to eventually provide even more enrichment to students who need it in the future once we get in the swing of things, probably through digital tools like Seesaw and Nearpod.

    What are you using for centers? - Katie

    I use the gradual release model, so the first thing students are doing is independently practicing the new skill. So far, this usually involves a...

    • workbook page
    • interactive notebook page
    • district activity
    • Nearpod
    • Seesaw assignment

    In case anyone finishes early, because they will,  I'll usually give them a followup task like...

    • iReady (adaptive math program)
    • online games (color-coded on Symbaloo)
    • practice multiplication facts (flash cards, online games, dice, card games)

    How are you tracking data? - Alison

    I'm tracking data the same way I did when I taught a regular math class, I'm just keeping everything separate as if it's two different classes... because it is!

    • I use exit tickets or quick checks to see which students have grasped a new concept and which need more support. 
    • I like to keep track of pretest and posttest scores for each unit so I can compare them. I do this on the checklist pages in the back of my planner. 
    • iReady is an adaptive program that my district provides, which will give me lots of data!
    • My district takes FastBridge (a screener) three times a year. 

    Is there a professional book you would recommend reading before implementing guided math? - Karen

    I haven't read any, but another Instagram friend, Mike, actually sent me some suggestions! (Thanks Mike, you're the GOAT!) Authors Laney Simmons and Donna Boucher have written a few books about guided math. Mike suggested Guided Math: A framework for Mathematics Instruction, Guided Math Workstations, and Guided Math Workshop. All can be found on Amazon and are relatively affordable. I've added them to my Amazon list of books for teachers, along with some of my personal favorites for teaching math.

    Still have questions for me? Leave them in a comment below, and I'll get back to you ASAP!

    Last year, I blogged about my first week of third grade. That's still a good resource for you if you're looking for ideas, but I did change things up just a little this year, so I thought I'd provide some more details for you.

    • Students come in with the option to read a book or draw a picture. 
    • Read aloud Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse and complete activity to make inferences about the teacher, then inferences about other students. 

    • Discuss class mantra (Be kind. Work Hard. Have Fun.) What does it mean to you?

    • Discuss team jobs (blog) - How do we take care of our classroom?
    • Teach call and response. 
    • Team building activity: cup towers. 

    • Read aloud The Crayon Box that Talked. Make chart for "Accountable Talk" to discuss how our words and tones matter. 

    • Another team building activity: tangrams (free). Afterwards, discuss. Did your team work together better this time? Were you more successful? Why? (Accountable talk!)

    • Practice drills: evacuation, shelter, & intruder - Talk about the WHY behind safety drills. 
    • Read aloud The Important Book. Students write on a sticky note what is important about them, then they do a gallery walk to see everyone else's. Start mentor sentence for the week on an anchor chart. (Students will start in their notebooks next week!) 
    • Discuss hallway procedures before walking to specials.
    • Discuss lunch procedures before heading to cafeteria. 
    • Complete "I AM" poem (free) and draw a self-portrait. (I am having my students record themselves reading these! More on this later.)
    • Start our first read aloud: How to Be Cool in the Third Grade
    • FIRST DAY task cards / SCOOT - Afterwards, go through the questions about things they are still wondering!
    • Pack up / prepare for dismissal / reflect on the day. "When your parents ask you what you did today, what are you going to say?"

    • Organize and label all binders and notebooks.

    • Read aloud: Recess Queen.  Discuss recess expectations before heading out to recess. 
    • Teach turn and talk. 
    • Read My Mouth is a Volcano. Discuss how to be respectful (by not interrupting). Talk about how to be problem solvers instead of interrupting a lesson. Students generate "What If" questions that they are still wondering about, such as: What if I need a bandaid? What if my device doesn't work?
    • Introduce Class Dojo and behavior economy.
    • Have a snowball fight! (This is always a huge hit!) Students write 3 facts about themselves on a piece of paper but do not write their names. Then they make "snowballs" by crumpling up the papers. I usually give students the length of one song to have their snowball "fight." When the song ends, they unroll and read their snowballs aloud one at a time and we try to guess who wrote it. 
    • Read Giraffes Can't Dance.
    • Watch Class Dojo "Big Ideas" video: Growth Mindset Chapter 1
    • Compare and contrast book and video. 

    • Review hallway procedures before walking to specials.
    • Quick class meeting.
    • Review cafeteria expectations then head to lunch. 

    • Pack up and review dismissal expectations. 
    • Read aloud: How to Be Cool in the Third Grade

    • First math class: 
      • Get supplies organized. 

    • Read Chocolate Milk Por Favor. Make predictions. 
    • Discuss independent reading expectations. 

    • Students practice independent reading. Teacher begins pulling students to record themselves reading their "I AM" poem. 
    • Set up writing notebooks. Make a T-chart about what 3rd grade writers DO and DO NOT do. Students brainstorm together. 

    • specials / class meeting / lunch / mentor sentence
    • Read What If Everybody Did That? and discuss implications. 
    • Review IPICK/ "just right book" procedures. Some students begin book shopping while others work on ME/WE book. 
    • Bandaid lesson: Fair isn't equal! Discuss our meaning of the word FAIR. 

    • Pack up and review dismissal expectations. 
    • Read aloud: How to Be Cool in the Third Grade

    • Math class:
      • Tour math supplies like dice, cards, cubes, flash cards, etc.
      • Give first timed test.
      • Students take pretest for unit (district mandated) while teacher grades timed tests and calls one student at a time to tell them results. On the back of the pretest, students write to tell me their favorite thing about math and their least favorite thing about math. 
    • Make predictions before and while reading Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind. Review IPICK and book shopping expectations. Students practice independent reading while some book shop. Teacher pulls students to listen to them read aloud (for about 30 seconds) and to complete the interest inventory

    • Give students a few more minutes to work on writing T-chart, then discuss as a class what 3rd grade writers do and do not do. 
    • Students look at their lists of what 3rd grade writers do and use it to make writing goals.
    • specials / class meeting / lunch / mentor sentence

    • Introduce STEM bins and create class norms for usage.
    • Introduce technology and access instructions. 
    • Girls practice STEM bins while boys practice accessing online resources (for 10 minutes), then swap. 
    • Discuss expectations for buddy reading, then practice for a few minutes.

    • Pack up and review dismissal expectations. 
    • Read aloud: How to Be Cool in the Third Grade

    • Math class:
      • Read aloud The Math Curse
      • Brain dump: Students list everything they learned in 2nd grade. 
      • Teach students how to play Battle (multiplication card game). 
      • Students choose: Play Battle or make a poster about something they learned last year.  Teacher pulls students for timed tests.
    • BrainPop: Predictions video and activity. Students glue predictions anchor chart (free) in reading notebook and use it to make predictions as we read The Juice Box Bully
    • Students practice Daily 5 rotations: independent reading, buddy reading, and Epic! 
    • Discuss what it means to be an expert. Students make a list of things they are experts at. (We will begin informational writing next week.)
    • specials / class meeting / lunch / mentor sentence
    • BrainPop: Bullying and quiz

    • Read aloud: How to Be Cool in the Third Grade
    • Pack up and review dismissal expectations. Students complete their team jobs.
      • highs & lows of the week

      Whew! We did it! 

      Here are a few things you need to know before you go to start planning your first week:

      • All of the books mentioned in this blog post are linked on my Amazon page. (Look for the list titled "Back to School Books and More." Know that when you buy something through my Amazon influencer page, I receive a small portion as commission. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but the extra funds help me keep this blog up and running! 

      • Expectations are so important to starting off a successful school year. I wanted my students' first week to be a mixture of fun and academics, but don't be fooled. We intertwined expectations into every activity. How to come to the carpet, how to transition, how to line up, and so on were all addressed each day as we worked through activities. It's imperative to start point out that expected behavior that some students demonstrate to help others get on track. (For example, "Oh my goodness, I love how John came to the carpet for our reading time! He walked calmly, he sat in a smart spot, and now he is sitting down with his hands in his lap ready to listen with his whole body. He didn't even need any reminders! Wow! Can you look like John when you get to the carpet?" ALL. DAY. LONG.)

      • Have any questions? Need any clarifications? Leave a comment on this post, and I'll get back to you ASAP!