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Sep 27, 2015

1,000 Followers - BIG SALE, Giveaways, & More!

Teacher friends,
I'm thrilled to say I've reached a big personal milestone on Teachers pay Teachers! I'm so grateful for everyone who has supported my store and helped make this dream a reality!

To celebrate, I want to throw a big sale for the next two days and throw a couple giveaways!

Let's get this party started! ;)

Giveaway #1 - $25 Gift Card on TpT! 

Giveaway #2 - Science Trading Card BUNDLE! 

Giveaway #3 - Classroom Decor BUNDLE!
7 Classroom Decor themes in a bundle so you never have to worry about decorating your classroom AGAIN! 

My store will also be ON SALE for the next two days!! 

Sep 23, 2015

Best Practices for Conducting Centers!

Hello everyone!
My name is Stacey Lynch and I’ve been teaching for ten years now.  For several years I was good about meeting with my reading groups, but not so good with center rotations.

Then I entered the “Pinterest and TpT” world and my teaching life completely changed! 

I was able to view what other wonderful educators were doing for their center rotations.  Taking bits and pieces from what I read, I put together a well-run and successful reading rotation schedule for my first graders! 

Center 1: Meet with me
Center 2: Seat work
Center 3: Fun center
Center 4: Meet with co-teacher
Center 5: Journal writing

Let’s break this down!

Center 1:  Meet with me
We do a number of activities when they meet with me.  We read books on their level of course, but the other activities depend on the needs of the particular group.  Sometimes we’ll do regular reading / writing activities, a Science or Social Studies activity, phonics or sight word activities, some of their unfinished work, etc...  I’ll even teach them some of the center games they will have access to.

It took me some time to remember that it’s okay if I don’t accomplish everything I wanted to with my groups that day.  There is always the next day! I’d rather take my time teaching / helping them with the concept so they understand it instead of rushing through and have them not understand.  There are still times I have to remind myself of this.

Center 2: Seat Work:
Generally, this is reserved for chunk work and sight word work.  There are occasions where they will also start / finish assignments related to what they did when they met with me.

Center 3: Fun Center:
Fun center changes every day! 

Mondays: TPT center and / or computer center – I have found incredibly wonderful language arts related centers on TPT!  I use MANY of them for this center - games related to sight words, contractions, compound words, forming sentences, and much, much more! 

Sometimes I will have computer center.  The problem is I only have one student computer.  In the past I’ve had the students use that computer, my school tablet, and a laptop from the media center for this rotation.  They love it!

Tuesdays: Listening center –Listening centers should be utilized more, especially in the younger grades.  Not only is it important for students to be read to, they really enjoy it!

My very first Donors Choose project was to request books on cd for my listening center.  I made sure to get a variety of books – classic favorites, seasonal, and biographies. I am so grateful that this was funded!  

My students look forward to listening to and following along with the stories.  After listening to the story, they complete a short assignment, usually writing about the story elements, writing their favorite part, or listing some facts from the book.

Wednesdays: Puzzle center – I spent three summers as part of an organization that tutors upcoming third graders who are struggling with reading.  There were several parts to their day.  (Half day.)  One of those parts was puzzle center.  My boss talked about how important puzzles are since it helps with both visual and organizational skills, along with developing hand-eye coordination.  She always taught students how to separate the pieces – outside pieces vs inside pieces.  She wanted the students to put together the border first, and then focus on the inside.

I have carried this with me into my own classroom.  My students LOVE putting the puzzles together!  As an added bonus, they learn how to COLLABORATE!

Thursdays:  Same as Monday.

Fridays: Art center – Kids need time to be kids!  They need time to be creative! They do what they want to do *as long as they are on task and they are safe!*  I have a bin full of paper that students can use for art center.  They can draw, cut, glue, fold, color, etc…They bring their supplies over and have a BLAST!  Every once in a while, I will put out a template for them to work on, but for the most part, it’s a free for all!

Center 4: Meet with my co-teacher:
I am incredibly lucky to have an administration that believes in the power of co-teaching.  The ESOL teachers, Academic Support Specialists, Reading Specialist, and many of the paraeducators, plug into our classroom for an hour or two each day. 

Depending on who my co-teacher is, I’ve had them do different things when they meet with their groups.  I’ve given some a list of indicators we cover each week / marking period and they use that to guide their instruction.  My co-teacher last year was an awesome science geek and therefore mainly focused on science.  This year, my co-teacher will be working on sight words, blends, reading comprehension, and putting words together.

Center 5:  Journal writing:
My students write every day.  I start off the year with them copying words into their journals:  color words, number words, seasonal words, etc…When printing out their lists, I use the font that has the lines on it so the students can see where their letters should go.  For my “fast finishers,” I have them illustrate those words.

After a few weeks of writing those words, I’ll give them some sentence starters.  “My favorite color is….. I like it because…….”  I include a word bank for them and pictures for the words when possible.

Following that is a general topic.  Write about what you did over the weekend.  OR Imagine we could go on a field trip anywhere.  Where would you want to go?  What would you want to do?  Why would you want to go there?  I try to have a word bank when possible.

For each level of “journaling,” I have reminders:
1.  Start your sentence with a capital letter.
2.  End your sentence with a period.
3.  Leave a finger space in between your words.
4.  You must have at least 5 sentences.  ** (This one changes again, depending on the topic and what my writers are capable of.*)

I’ve been known to throw in other reminders and I always go over the reminders with them before we start our rotations.

Some people ask me why I have journal writing as my last center.  It’s not really my last center, it’s just the last center they go to before meeting with me. :-)  When it’s time to switch, they bring their journal with them to my table and we take a few minutes to go over their writing. 

What about reading center?   
While reading center is not one of my regular rotations, I use it when 1) My co-teacher might have been pulled for the morning.   2) I’m giving them a break from writing center.  3) I will use this in lieu of one of the *fun centers.*

That’s it!  My co-teacher and I meet with four groups every day.  I will start the next day with the group I didn’t get to.  Rotating centers every 20 minutes allows me to get through four centers each morning.  Between rotations two and three is a brain break...usually a Just Dance Kids video.  My students are able to transition with ease and focus with this setup.

Thank you Suzy at the StudentSavvy Blog for having me as a guest blogger!!

About me:

I’ve been teaching in Maryland for 10 years.  I taught 2nd and 3rd before moving down to 1st, where I’ve been for 6 years!  I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, am webmaster for my school’s website, and teach technology classes for my county. When I’m not teaching, you’ll find me singing, helping out with my husband’s acapella chorus, pinning away on Pinterest, or updating my blog.  I have one large, loveable, fur baby!

Make sure to check out my blog!

Sep 20, 2015

Speech and Language Strategies

Today's guest blogger is Miss Speechie from Speech Time Fun.

She is a licensed speech-language pathologist working in an elementary school.  She is here to share some strategies for classroom teachers to use in their classrooms to promote communication (for ALL students, not just those receiving speech).

"Communication?  Why do my students need that in school?"  Well, communication is involved in a lot of factors of the school day.  Students need to listen, express answers, write responses, and interact with peers and teachers.

Tip 1:

What is a multimodal approach?  Students should learn using most if not all of these methods:

  • Written: have them practice writing new vocabulary words in sentences.
  • Oral: have them say out loud new concepts.  Have them discuss with their peers in groups.
  • Visual: Use graphs, pictures, sentence strips, and any way to make learning visual (not just notes on a Smart Board.)
  • Tactile: Students should practice touching it.  Tap out syllables, write vocabulary/spelling words using rice or clay.  Tap out math concepts.
Why is this important?  Every student learns differently and can benefit from learning in a variety of ways.

Tip 2:

Why do students need to be their own advocate?  Students need to learn it is OK to ask for help.  It is OK to need more time.  It is OK to not understand right away.  Encourage students to speak up!  They should not be in trouble or afraid to ask for help.  It is great for them to recognize when they do not understand.  Set up a routine in your classrooms such as students can ask for help once directions are completed.

Tip 3:

What are carrier phrases?  They are the cues to how the response should begin.  For example, if you are working on main idea and the question asks "What was the story mainly about?"  You can help your students get started with responded with "The main idea is...." or "The story is mainly about..."  Some students struggle with retrieval or may be unsure how to word their response.  This way they can get started and will help retrieve that response.

Miss Speechie is a licensed speech-language pathologist from NY and works in an elementary school.  She is the author of the blog Speech Time Fun.  She has a store on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Follow her to learn more on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Sep 19, 2015

Johnny Appleseed - Fun Facts!

    It is already mid-September and time is flying by in the classroom! It’s my favorite time of the year as we near toward the cool fall weather. I love when the leaves begin turning different shades or orange and red.. I also love when stores begin to sell pumpkin and apple scents :) I have already stocked up on my pumpkin-EVERYTHING at Bath and Body Works - Woohoo!!

     Many of you in the classroom are teaching your students all about apples and hopefully about the American legend, Johnny Appleseed! Maybe after years of teaching you are already an expert on the tall tale but hopefully you'll find some interesting facts to share with your students! 

Fun Facts about Johnny Appleseed: 

His real name was John Chapman, but you probably already knew that one. ;) 

He got along with Native Americans. They admired his knowledge of plants and spices for medicinal use. John Chapman was also able to speak some of the language and enjoyed time communicating with them

He never married - Rumored that he was engaged to a young girl but ended it before marriage. 

John Chapman was a vegetarian. He also went out of his way to prevent from animals getting hurt. There was even a rumor that he camped in the snow so as to not disturb a bear with her cubs. He also rescued a wolf he found in a trap. He took it home and nursed it back to health! 

He was very wealthy but you never would have known it by the way he dressed. 
He never flaunted his wealth. Material items never interested him. He wore the same pants all year round. He never wore shoes - despite the tales he  never wore a pan on his head. 

He planned millions of seeds in hundreds of nurseries.  There is no way to estimate how many millions.  This was his service to man kind.

He often carried a pan (but never wore it on his head). He did however, tie it to his pack. He used it to gather nuts, boil potatoes, carry water, and get milk from a settler's cow. 

His favorite book was the bible - he carried it around everywhere he went. He was a deeply-religious man and often read stories from the bible to friends and visitors. 

He was kind enough to give away his trees to those who couldn't afford them. He sold his trees for a few pennies each. Some had no cash and he accepted just a simple promise to pay later when they could. Because of his kindness and generosity, very few failed to keep their word. 
Source: \

Even though he never married - he loved people, especially children. He welcomed everyone as a guest. He would tell people stories and read from the Bible. 

Hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Johnny Appleseed! 

Are you looking for Johnny Appleseed activities for the classroom? If your students are learning about the apple cycle as well, check out the resource below! This resource contains TONS of apple activities! It also has information on American tall tales. 

Did you already know most of these? Post your thoughts below! Do you know any other facts about John Chapman's life? 

Sep 11, 2015

Apple Activities & Apple Facts!

     Can you believe it’s already September? It’s my favorite time of the year as we near toward fall weather. I love when the leaves turn shades or orange and red. It’s also tradition of ours to go to the local “Apple Hill” in Amador County. There we eat apple doughnuts and drink apple cider- Yum! They also set up cute little shopping boutiques and share information about their local apple trees.
               Many of you in the classroom are teaching your students all about apples and the apple cycle. Here are some fun facts and activities to share with your students! 


Apples are a member of the rose family.
 Source: University of Illinois Extension

The largest apple picked weighed three pounds!
Source: University of Illinois Extension

 A bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds and yields 20-24 quarts of applesauce.
Source: University of Illinois Extension

Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500BC!
Source: University of Illinois Extension

Most apple blossoms are pink when they open but eventually fade to white
Source: University of Illinois Extension

 Apples are grown in all fifty states!

Apples trees can live for more than 100 years.

 Malusdomesticaphobia is the fear of apples. 

 There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples grown around the world. It would take you more than 20 years to try them all if you ate one a day!

I hope you enjoyed these fun apple facts!

If your students are learning about the apple cycle as well, check out the resource below! This resource contains TONS of apple activities! It also has information about Johnny Appleseed and American tall tales


Sep 6, 2015


Hey everyone! Happy Labor Day Weekend! I hope your having a wonderful (and safe!) weekend with friends and family.

I wanted to celebrate by throwing a sale: 20% off of my ENTIRE STORE just for today and tomorrow! I also decided to host a giveaway.. This is a really BIG ONE! I'm giving away my Triple Binder Bundle set to a lucky winner! Be sure to enter the rafflecopter giveaway below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sep 3, 2015

Tips to Ensure Success with Special Education

     In many districts, it’s common to see 25-30 students in a classroom at once. Adding students with IEPs into the mix adds to the stress, especially for educators who don't have a degree in or experience with special education. Here are some tips to set all off your students up for success!

1. Read your Student’s IEP - This is one of the most important things to do when teaching students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Remember - this is a legal document that you are required to follow. Additionally, a student’s IEP provides great information to help you save time figuring out what they need to be successful in the classroom. The IEP includes their present levels of academic functioning, instructional and testing accommodations they require, supplementary aids, services, and supports that they require, and their goals. Many case managers will provide you with an “IEP at a Glance.” This is a condensed version of the IEP document with the most important information. If your student’s case manager doesn’t provide you with one, you can download my editable IEP at a Glance form for free!

 2.Collaborate – Students with IEPs have an IEP team, which includes an administrator, classroom teachers, a special educator, parents, and related service providers as appropriate. To keep everyone on the same page and provide the student with the most appropriate program, it’s important to collaborate with the IEP team. Sometimes, that just means sending a quick email to a parent to let them know what their child was successful with that day. Other times, it means meeting with the occupational therapist to implement strategies into the classroom.

 3. Implement Backwards Planning – Backwards planning is a great practice to ensure that you’re addressing the standards and your student’s IEP goals. First, look at the standards for your grade level and your student’s IEP goals. After identifying what your end target is, you can plan units and lessons. Finally, consider what modifications and/or accommodations your student will need to participate. This helps to guarantee that your lessons are geared for your particular audience to meet the standards/goals instead of planning a lesson that doesn’t line up with student need and standards. 

4. Utilize Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – UDL is a fantastic way to teach ALL of your students, including those with higher needs. It focuses on providing multiples ways of representation, expression, and engagement. Multiple means of representation means that you present content and information in different ways. Similarly, you allow students to show what they know in a variety of ways and allow students different ways to learn (differentiation). Most importantly, realize they are a student first, just like the rest of your class! It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the additional work you may need to do, but when I remember they are just a student, it brings everything back into perspective!

 About Me 

Thanks for reading my post! My name is Georgia. I’m starting my 3rd year of teaching as a K-5 special education resource teacher. I love working with all different grade levels in both the general education and special education settings. I am also working towards my masters in Educational Leadership and Administration.

You can find me on TpT, and on The Exuberant Educator, my brand new blog!

Flash Freebie - Johnny Appleseed & Apple Activities!

The Flash Freebie is going on RIGHT NOW!  (until 8 PDT)  "Johnny Appleseed & Apple Activities!" will be listed as FREE!

Sep 1, 2015

Back to School Night Stress - How to Overcome it!

Hey teacher friends,

I hope you all are starting the year off strong! Many of us are back in the classroom, enjoying the first few weeks of school.
You are back in your teaching zone, loving the routine and new group of students. The first week was exhausting, but now you feel like everything is finally coming together. Suddenly, a fellow teacher asks you about your presentation for the upcoming Back to School Night. By upcoming, I mean tomorrow!

back to school night, open house

Wait, what?? You finally found your stride and now you need to be the host for the evening, showing off a beautifully decorated classroom while having the perfect presentation prepared? ! Where do you start? And most importantly, when do you have time?

Here are a few quick tips I have for hosting a successful Open House, Meet the Teacher, or Back to School Night:

1. If you decide to have a presentation, design an outline of what you want to cover.

Create a brief outline of the evening’s schedule. Estimate how much time you should be presenting. Try to keep it as short and concise. Anything over thirty minutes may not be remembered. Some topics you’ll want to cover are:    

        -A Quick Introduction / Meet the Teacher 

       -Homework / Grading Policies and Expectations

        -Behavior Expectations / Classroom Rules

        -Curriculum / Daily Schedule / Upcoming Events

        -Communication with Parents (parent/teacher conferences, email communication, and phone calls)
       -Parent Questions at the very end of the presentation

2. Create a Warm & Welcoming Environment

Make sure your classroom is organized, neat, and welcoming. Another great tip is to display student art throughout the room. This makes it fun for families to find their child’s work and see how they have progressed over the year! 

open house, meet the teacher night, back to school night

If you are need of some STEM materials for your class or if it's Back to School time and need new supplies, you can set up a designated donation desk! It may feel odd or uncomfortable asking parents for supplies, but it really shouldn't! This is a cute way to ask families to help out and for them to feel like a part of the classroom community!

open house, meet the teacher night, back to school night

3. Keep in mind what parents REALLY want to hear

Above all, you want THEIR child to be successful throughout the school year. In your presentation, show parents the resources you have available to make this year a great one! After your presentation, try to make personal connections with each and every family.

teaching resources open house back to school

4. Keep it simple – don’t try to cover the entire year in one night.

Most likely, the parents do not want to hear the entire curriculum for the year. They want to see that the teacher is caring, welcoming, and organized. They also want the feeling of certainty that their child will have a successful school year. 

5. Have a PowerPoint Presentation.

PowerPoint presentations are great for Back to School night! It will help you stay on topic and you’ll be less likely to forget something important you want to cover. You can make it creative and interactive, including pictures and examples of student work.

back to school night

6. Make it memorable.

       Be enthusiastic and positive! This is a great opportunity to get to know your students families and set the tone for a great year to come.
 If you need additional resources for Back to School Night, check out the

In it you'll find:
-Welcome Sign in Sheets
-Info Pamphlet for Parents
-Teacher Information Cards
-Classroom Door Sign
-Reminder Handout for Open House
-Volunteer Sign Up Sheet
-Parent-Teacher Conference Sign Ups
-Reminder Slips for Parent-Teacher Conferences
-How does Your Child Get Home – Transportation Information
-Supplies Wish List Cutouts
-Field Trip Chaperone Signups

Now in two different styles! 

Gold Apple and Glitter Design: 

Watercolor Design:  


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