Monday, July 25, 2016

Quick and Easy Labels

I LOVE getting ready for the beginning of the year. LOVE IT! There's something about new notebooks, clean desks, crisp bulletin boards, and FRESH LABELS. Today I'm sharing one of my teacher tricks for creating students labels to ((attempt)) to have the most ORGANIZED school year ever!

Teachers have a thing for pretty paper, don't they? I have a few packs laying around at all times a few more that I would love to purchase just sitting at Michael's and Hobby Lobby. ;)

Keep reading and FOLLOW ALONG for other fun classroom organizational tools!

Print up a page per students. That's right, I have a page for each student and I keep it throughout the year. At the end of the year I send home what is left I send it home with the kiddos--and they love it!

I also print up a stack of class sets as well. Total lifesaver for organizing t-shirts, book orders, beginning of the year school supplies, and SO. Much. MORE. No Joke.

I slice up the paper into squares...well most likely rectangles. Lots of squares/rectangles. I make enough for a each student to have 4-5 squares/rectangles for their own labels. I put the labels in the middle and laminate a set or two and leave the others as is (unlaminated).

I put the laminated ones out in the hallway of our school on clothes pins. Out walls are bricks so we hot glue them to the walls. Which is sah-weet! They are perfect to staple and place by awesome student work.

One of my >>>favorite tricks<<<< to keeping students engaged is taking their label cards--two per student and hole punching them on one corner and putting them on a ring. I use these to call on students and since their name is in the deck twice they are never off of the hook! EASY PEASY! Give it a try! Today! Tomorrow! As soon as you can!

And have the best day ever! And the best school year ever!

Over and out!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Teacher to Teacher Communication (Freebie!)

One post just wasn't enough about Teacher to Teacher communication. I have a handful of students that work with a resource teacher at our school (she's my teaching best friend and I couldn't make it through a school year with out her). She is AMAZING and goes to such lengths for the kids and to communicate with teachers.

One rambunctious favorite student of mine loved going to her class and needed lots of reminders to on how to behave and to work really hard :/ :/ :/! It was such a problem because there was wasted time...and as a teacher you know how important time is!!! We started using this sheet and It made world of difference in how we were able to work together. I think sometimes as teachers with think that we do our thing and resource teachers do their thing. BUT we always forget that #togetherwearebetter! It was such a positive tool!

At the beginning of the year I fill out the date and what we were working the year goes on my students take over and I simply check it before they head to resource. The resource teacher fills out who went above and beyond, who worked really hard, and who (if anyone ;) needed a few reminders. It keeps kids working hard AND accountable.

Also, I like to know what celebrations my kids have with other teachers!!! I want to celebrate with them and carry it over to our classroom.

I laminate my sheet and just write using an expo or visa-vis usually. If there is a day where there are celebrations or reminders I take a picture of it on my phone to discuss at parent-teacher conferences.

We began sharing resources and I had sets of my materials made for students to take back and forth and things for her to hold onto. It worked so well and the expectations were the same. When kids know that teachers are on the same page, they know the expectations are the same, and they exceed them!

I had a box for me to write what we learned, my students wrote their homework assignment, and she jotted a note as to what they accomplished! ALSO, students know not to mess around...they are there to work and learn and improve. It helps them meet so many learning goals.

Here's this! It's for you! Do you send groups of your students to see speech teachers? I love to know what they are working's just for me to see but I love asking my speechers (my nickname for them) what they are up to! Teacher to Teacher communication is the best!

Here's a googledrive link to the document:

Over and Out!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Just STACK it!

How is it that summer is flying by? We are ENJOYING every minutes at our house. We don't have any huge plans this summer but we are really loving spending lots of time at the pool! I've been finishing a lot of books poolside which is the ideal reading spot.

I've been gearing up for the new year and reading "Reading in the Wild" for the first time and "The Book Whisperer" again. Both are by Donalyn Miller and really reaffirm my core reading beliefs as well as enhance strategies that I implement in my classroom.

Have you read them? If not totally check them out here! (no affiliate...just check them out for some awesome PD!!! will look like a superstar when you talk about reading them once school starts back up!). My much loved copy of the Book Whisperer is read EVERY summer and has been borrowed among so many teacher friends...who always end up getting their own. It really is that good!

One idea she shared was something I already do with my class but I wanted to share it in this space...

It's book STACKS! A stack of book recommendations that I give my students. But there's so much more to it that makes it personal for each student!

At the beginning of the year I give my students a reading survey--it's very similar to Donalyn Miller's but with a few questions changed, a few taken out, and one or two added. I am generally not a keeper of things but I hold onto these the entire year and keep them in my GUIDED READING BINDER. They are referred to all year!!!

Once my students take the surveys I sit and read through them with sticky notes and a diet coke. As I read through each reading survey, I jot down any and all books I could recommend to each particular student. I pull up my pinterest boards full of book recommendations, goodreads, Amazon, and (my go-to's!!!).

I keep in mind which books I know I have in my classroom library as well as what books our library has. I have a general idea of what the library has. If there are books that aren't in my classroom I add them to our class wishlist!

7-8 book is the perfect amount to put on the sticky note list so there is a variety of books! I am always finding my self referring back to these during reading conferences and when students get stuck selecting a book I have a list of ideas. I keep this on their reading survey. When they read it, I check it off to keep current with their reading.

Rather than telling these to my students we go and visit our library shelves sometimes and other times I curate a stack and we talk about each book. It gives students options an builds a trust with them--because 99% of the time they find a book that they are enamored with.

Sometimes I get sticky notes on my computer from students asking for a stack! It's important to help our readers--whether they are strugglers and wild readers sift through books and select things that they not just like but LOVE!!!

So JUST STACK IT! Try it out with your readers and let me know what you think!

Over and out!


Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Yahoo! Hooray! Whoo-hoo! I am so so so excited to share this! If you follow me on instagram (bethvanteaching)...I hinted about this a few days ago!!!

We all know that reading is important and that building a classroom of readers. I wanted there to be a fun and engaging way for my students to track and share their reading that was basically easy and effortless as well. So we are using this emoji "READING STATUS OF THE CLASS"!

There are EIGHT "categories" that students can put their very own/somewhat custom emoji's on...
Let me show you!

Do you see why I am geeeeeking out and wishing I could insert a billion emoji's right here in this blogpost? I just put these up in my TeachersPayTeachers shop (<<<follow along here!;).

Your students take ownership by having their very own emoji that they move around the board as the read through a book! How fun, right?

As the school year goes on your students know when their friend is finishing up their highly anticipated next read.

They know that when a friend posts on "all of the sads" that maybe a favorite character might have died, something didn't work out, or that their book is finished (you know the sad feeling when you finish a book you love!).

Your students can easily share hilarious moments, suspenseful seconds, and when they are just simply loving their book.

They have ownership and investment into the board--and there is nothing better than that.

They share this with you! I always feel like I have >>>THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS<<< much to do and >>>this<<< much time and as much as I would love to confer with each student daily and doesn't always happen. BUT this helps me know where my students are and how to meet their needs as a reader.

You can refer to this board as a talking point, when you need to put a box of kleenexes on  students desk, and when you can say "FIVE MORE MINUTES" because a students is so anxious to finish the last few pages of their book.

It is so easy to setup and maintain throughout the school year (something meaningful and with longevity...YES PLEASE!) AND keeps you and your readers connected.

Find it in my store HERE

Check out my easy peasy emoji sticker writing activity here! ((because we can't get enough emoji!)

Over and out!

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