I have found that with this particular class, the least-loved subject is writing. In fact, when I say it is time for writing, many of my students GROAN... It makes me cringe!!  No matter how fun I make the writing prompts, I still have a select few that hate to do it. 

After doing some research, I made a few changes, and now my kids LOVE writing workshop time. 


First, 
I showed this video clip of a Lucy Calkins interview. I started it at about the 1:25 mark. It really got my students thinking about how they can use their words to make a difference and the fact that their writing can and does matter. After watching the video, we discussed.



Then,
We used some sharpies to customize our writing folders with some of Lucy's words, "My words are powerful; My writing is gold." Now, these words of encouragement are the first things that my students see when they take their writing folders out of their desks. Sometimes, we chant it!!



Lastly,
I decided to change up the way our writing workshop looks.  Instead of keeping students at their desks, I allow them to move anywhere in the room that they can concentrate. I also dim the lights and play some music. My kids are really into a "hip hop instrumental" playlist on Pandora. (Update: We also love Piano Guys radio!)

Usually I have our writing workshop instructions projected on the board, but my students get so excited when we "write by the fire." I like to use theinternetfireplace.com... it even makes fire sounds!




After our writing workshop period, I ALWAYS let some students share. We compliment each other and encourage each other, letting the students know that their words are indeed important and valued. 

The progress I have seen my students make in writing is incredible!!! Do you have any other suggestions? 

Follow along on Bloglovin'Facebook, and Instagram for more fun ideas!

Congratulations - we survived another Monday!

As I am new to the teaching world, I am constantly overwhelmed.  However, there's at least one aspect of my job that I am an expert at: bulletin boards. Keep scrolling for some tips and pictures of my favorite boards. 

1. Make it 3D. 


Yes, I know what you are thinking. "If I make my bulletin board 3D, students will rip it down." As my classroom is right next to the bathroom, I just knew my snowman would be destroyed by the end of the month. I was so wrong; all of the kiddos loved him so much that he stayed intact! 

3D requires a little extra work (like balling up recycled paper to stuff your snowman) but the outcome is worth it. 

He won "Bulletin Board of the Month!"


2. Tailor your board to your students' interests.

This board was not my favorite - but it was a favorite of kids from all grade levels. I love the little burst of pride I get when I hear a student walk by my room and say "WOAH! Look at that bulletin board!" This Pokemon board got everyone excited and it made my 2nd grade kiddos think that their teacher is the coolest EVER for making a Pokemon bulletin board. (She is.)

This character trading card will be available on my TPT store... coming soon!

3. Get the kiddos involved.

For Read Across America week, I decided to change my bulletin board to "Oh the Places We'll Go." Of course, I could not complete the board without the multi-colored landscape featured in the book. Did I have the time or desire to color the hills? Of course not. Do I have students who are dying to help me and to have their work displayed for everyone to see? Absolutely. I put them to work, and it looks fine. 

Here's another tip: Need a specific font for your letters other than what's available on your Ellison? Download the font, type, print on cardstock, and have a student who needs to practice their motor skills cut them out for you. 

My board is so long, I had to take a panoramic picture - eek!

4. Use pictures. 

Incorporate pictures of your students into your bulletin board design whenever you can. Your students and coworkers will love it!  I like to take pictures with my iPhone during independent work. I use a big piece of colored butcher paper as my background. Then I use the Kicksend app to send pictures to my nearest Target to be printed for less than $5. Easy! 




5. Post the assignment details and the corresponding standards. 


Now that your bulletin board is the best in the school, let your administrators and coworkers know that not only was it fun, but it is also aligned with the Common Core standards. 

6. Don't make it harder than it has to be.


Notice anything about my bulletin board? Yep - I haven't changed the paper or border all year long. Pick something simple that will go with everything. None of us have the time or energy to change the background paper on a 10-ft bulletin board every month! 

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A fabulous bulletin board will make it look like you have it all together... even if you don't. Do you have any other suggestions for being a successful bulletin board decorator?