Halloween Freebies!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Friday is almost here, which means that Halloween is quickly approaching.  For me, it's approaching even sooner as we will be celebrating Halloween on Thursday, not Friday.  Friday is actually a state holiday (not Halloween related, but the kids aren't entirely convinced of that). Read on for some festive freebies!

My kids are going to flip when they get one of these fun Halloween tags to add to their collection of brag tags. Usually the kids have to earn their brag tags, but when it comes to a fun holiday like Halloween, they won't have to earn this tag. I plan to give each student one of these tags so they can remember our day of Halloween festivities at school.

You can grab these for FREE by clicking {here}.  I've included color and black/white versions.

Are you familiar with brag tags?  I've used them for two years now, and I love them! I give out special tags for special days, exceptional behavior, achieving milestones, working hard, setting a great example and so on.  Students can earn new tags at any point in time.  When they do, they add it to their necklace.  The students wear their brag tags every Friday, and also any time they earn a new tag.
These brag tags are from Alison Rose and Miss Nelson.

Ok, on to freebie number two!  I also created these gift tags to attach to small gift bags of goodies for my students, and the students in my daughter's class.

Since I can't give out food or candy (too many allergies), I like to give my students a little something, and a goodie bag of stickers, bubbles, etc. is perfect.  And, perfectly easy.  You can grab these FREE tags by clicking {here}.  I've included color and black/white versions.

Happy Halloween!

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Keeping Things Organized, Part 2

I hope you're ready for a few more organization ideas, because I have a few!

Tip #1: Bag Your Colored Pencils and Markers
At the beginning of the school year, each of my students brings in loads of supplies, including sets of markers and colored pencils.  I'm not a huge fan of either, and we don't use them on a regular basis so I don't want them taking up space in my students' desks. So, I take the entire collection and bag the items for each table group (plus an extra).

You're probably saying to yourself right now, "Zip top bags?  That's your secret?"  Yep.  They may not be pretty, but they get the job done.  Since they aren't out on display and can be tucked away, the bag is the perfect tool for me.  You could always use pencil boxes too.  :)
I keep the bags in my storage cabinet and pull them out when it's time to use them.  The bags make it really easy to quickly pass out the materials.

I put about 3 boxes of colored pencils into their own zipper top baggies.

I do the same with the markers (this year, I was only able to put one box in each bag because not everyone sent in markers on the first day).

Tip #2: Store Your Math Game Boards in Tubs
On to the next tip!  I love math game boards.  I mean, I really, really love them!  They are a great way to fill the rest of our math block when a lesson runs short, they give the students some cooperative learning time, and I can even bring the activities out for Fun Friday because the kids love them too!  I place the game boards and baggies of materials in these tubs.

I keep 4 different games out at a time. I have about 5 copies of each of the games that I put out. This gives the students choices.  Most of the games that I set out are seasonal and I can keep them out all month because the kids never tire of them.  You can't beat that kind of prep work!

If you're interested in what I've got in my math tubs this month, you check them out here:
Freaky Five in a Row
Boo Bump
Stop, Drop, and Roll
Apple Bump

Tip #3: New Student Bags
New student bags are also a must.  There is nothing worse than getting that little slip of paper in your box 30 minutes before school starts informing you that a new student will arrive that day.  
No one has time to dig out all the materials needed for that!  So, I keep a bag of materials at the ready.  I can quickly stock the new student's desk and send home my second grade information without much effort at all.  
 Typically, my new student bags include:

  • my welcome letter and handbook for parents to reference
  • notebooks/journals
  • folders (homework folder, unfinished work folder, and writing folder)
  • a name stick, a clothespin for the clip chart, a cubby label, and a job card (I just quickly write their names on these items and place them in their designated spaces around the room)
  • a nameplate for the students' desk


Be sure to visit these lovely ladies for some more great organizational tips!

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Keeping Things Organized!

Hey everyone!  If you're anything like me, you're always looking to keep things organized.  In my world, everything has a place.  I fear clutter.  Therefore, I am always looking for tips to keep my organizational game strong.

What I'm about to share is truly just a snippet of how I keep my classroom organized.  But, fret not, you can find more ideas HERE.  And, for Part 2 of this post, click HERE.

Tip #1: The I'm Done Box
My first organizational tool is one that I use every single day.  I don't know how I could manage student papers without it!  Throughout the course of one school day, my students complete several different assignments. Assignments that I either need to grade, check, or comment on.  My solution for keeping track of those assignments is my I'm Done box.

When the students finish an assignment that I need to see, they are told to put it in this box.  The assignments sit in this box until I am ready to tackle its contents.  If I collect the papers, there is a very good chance they will end up in the wrong pile on my desk and could get thrown out by accident.  Truth: this has happened-eek!

Tip #2: Highlighting Master Copies
My second organizational tip is another one that I use every.single.day.  I love this one, and my friend and neighbor suggested I share it with you today.

Do you have any master copies in your files that are copies of copies of copies?  You know what I'm talking about. Those masters that are all grayish looking and yucky because somewhere along the line the actual master was misplaced.  To help keep my master copies in tip top shape, I mark them with yellow highlighter. This way, I know which pages need to stay in my files and I don't end up with yucky old masters.   

Bonus: the highlighter does not show up when you make the copies, so there are no worries there!

Be sure to check out all of my other posts on organization by clicking HERE!


Also, be sure to check out some fantastic organization tips from my sweet blogger friends. :)

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Word Problems, Spooky Number Lines, and More: Five for Friday

Happy Friday!!!  It's time to link up with Doodle Bugs to share a few highlights from the week.  Are you ready?

This week we continued to work on word problems...including two-step word problems.  My students had a blast being "Super Solvers" this week.  We played a game of I Spy on Monday and instead of moving about like spies as they visited each card posted around the room, they moved about like superheroes.

We also reviewed two-step word problems by completing this mini book.

Finally, we wrote a few word problems together.  I let them choose the superhero names and scenarios.  I think they did a great job choosing a name for our first superhero.  Wink, wink.

We also worked with number lines.  To make this a little more hands-on, I had the students make their own number lines.  They loved this!

They were told to glue their ghosts "shoulder to shoulder" to ensure that they fit on the sentence strip I gave them.  About 5 of them did this perfectly, those who ran out of sentence strip simply attached a bit of extra length to their original strip to make it longer.

They used spiders to hop along the ghosts to model addition and subtraction on a number line.  Click {here} to get the ghosts for FREE!

My students have been using these Roll-a-Story boards, and they are loving them!  I give each student their own board and one die (which they store in their pencil box).  When they have free time, or after they finish their writing task during Writer's Workshop, they can use this resource to get ideas for their writing.  I'm always looking for ways to motivate my students to write, so I am loving that they look forward to bringing out their story boards.  Looks like we might need to review some convention skills soon.  ;)

Finally, my students have been working on a writing piece to display in our hallway.  They wrote stories about a pet monster and then made these adorable drawings of their monsters to display next to their stories.  I simply had them draw their monster, trace it with a Sharpie, and then color it in with colored pencils.  Kid art is truly the BEST!  You can't help but smile at this cuteness, am I right?

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