Classroom Freebies

New Teacher = Teacher Suggestions

Hi teacher friends!  In case no one else has said it lately, I will be the first to say:

THANKS for all you do!  You ARE changing lives every single day, whether it is noticed or not.  I truly appreciate all you do for your students.

Speaking of teaching being a difficult profession at times, I know personally for me, my first year was THE toughest!  In fact, my first full month, I secretly cried in my room every day after school.  And normally I am a collected person that can handle stress pretty well.  But it was completely overwhelming.
  Teacher Appreciation and First Year Advice for new teachers and veteran teachers alike! Stop by and grab a freebie as well! #newteacher #teachertips 

 Had I known then that first year teacher anxiety was normal and just part of the first year teacher struggles almost everyone encounters, I would have probably felt a lot better. 

 Instead, I was trying to tackle new ideas for everything for classroom management, lesson plans, routines, grading, meetings {oh the meetings!}, parent communication, and more.  

And each of these new experiences happened regularly all in a single day. No wonder I felt sad or had feelings of worthlessness.  Luckily, my physical symptoms were minor and didn't require medical attention, but headaches and fatigue were prevalent throughout that school year.  Not sure why I didn't put two and two together to figure out that I was quickly hitting first year teacher burnout levels. 

 Luckily, I made it through and it DID get easier after that initial school year.  But that was almost 15 years ago.  With today's additional stresses of school safety, income tied to student performance, and more, it's a miracle anyone is still interested in entering the education career field these days. 

 But I am thankful there are dedicated and brave souls who have taken on the task of educating tomorrow's future leaders.  Thank you for everything.

How to Deal with the Sunday Night Blues

Even veteran teachers can struggle with optimal mental health.  Many even have loss of interest in their career many times throughout their tenure.  The education field is losing great teachers every year to educators who have had to try and learn how to cope with depression and anxiety on their own.

 As I was thinking about that year (which I did survive and which taught me so many valuable lessons), I posted a thread on Facebook that asked for advice you would give to a First Year Teacher.  There were almost 200 comments and all AMAZING pieces of advice!

 I knew I would have to make a freebie eBook to compile all the responses!

 Thanks to all who contributed - the eBook ended up being 30 pages long and would be a perfect gift for a graduating student teacher, someone new to the field (or even a different grade level), or just to review even for a veteran teacher.

  Teacher Appreciation and First Year Advice for new teachers and veteran teachers alike! Stop by and grab a freebie as well!
Click HERE to grab the free eBook

More Ideas for Helping Yourself and Colleagues with Stress-Related Anxiety

I bet you know the feeling:  Sunday evening rolls around and instead of feeling well-rested from a couple days off work, your chest starts to tighten thinking about setting that alarm clock for the next morning, you immediately begin to run your mile ling to-do list for the next day of everything you need to get done before students even arrive in the morning, and you have nightmares of out-of-control classroom chaos.

 I have been there.

 Job satisfaction is really hard to improve when you are dreading the time you have to spend at work. Something I try to do when I am feeling anxious about work is to brighten a staff member's day.  Not only do I get to see that person smile, but it feels good in return.  Plus, you never know whether he or she has been feeling down in the dumps too.

 Check out these great options for spreading cheer to all who enter your hallways:

  Candy Bar Staff Awards are a fun way for all staff members to recognize each other.  And get a sweet treat as an added reward too!
  I don't know about you, but I know a lot of teacher colleagues who love candy.  And they deserve to get an award just for being amazing any day of the week.  So I put together the two, to create some candy bar ideas that can serve double duty! #funnystaffawards #employeerecognition 

  Secret Staff Buddies are like a cross between room service menus and secret gift exchanges for teachers!  Set the spending limit low (for example:  the cost of a stack of post-its or a morning coffee) and make it optional for participants each time so there is no added stress to something that should be a stress reliever.
  How do you keep teacher morale boosted high? Check out these ideas and grab some fun classroom door hangers for showing your appreciation for staff members! #teachermorale #jobsatisfaction

Teachers Color the World has some free coloring pages for teachers to download and get moving.  Coloring for adults is popular.  It does help to take your mind off things even for a few minutes before you have to go pick up students from their special.
  Teachers have so much stress, they need solutions to relieve that stress before teacher burnout occurs.  Free adult coloring pages might be just the ticket to help out. #adultcoloring #adultcoloringpagesfreeprintable 

 Are there other suggestions you think should be added?  Feel free to leave them in the comments below! 

 ~Charity 


 This post originally appeared at Organized Classroom.

Free Writing Folder Labels for You!

So - today I have a super easy and quick idea for all of you who don't want multiple pocket folders in your students' desks!  DIY multipocket folders from two 2-pocket folders with brads without needing staples, tape, binding machines, or anything else!

  Super quick idea today! DIY multipocket folders from two 2-pocket folders with brads without needing staples, tape, binding machines, or anything else! 

Of course, you could make them even larger IF you want to cut up classroom folders and use a binding machine, but I think the basic 4-pocket folder will work fantastic for a writing folder or a 4-subject folder!

What are brads in folders?

Brads in folders are the little metal clips inside of a 2 pocket folder. You place the paper(s) onto the fasteners, then open the brads so that the pointed ends are facing away from one another (like a butterfly's wigs when they are open). Now you have locked in your materials into the two-pocket folder easily!

How to make your own folder:

You will need:
  • Two 2-pocket folders, one WITH brads and one WITHOUT brads (make sure to check the back to school sales too in the fall!)
  • Labels to label the pockets (see below for some I already have made up for you!)
Steps: 1.  Take the folder that does NOT have the brads, and turn it inside out so the pockets are on the outside.
  Super quick idea today! DIY multipocket folders from two 2-pocket folders with brads without needing staples, tape, binding machines, or anything else! 

2.  Three-hole punch the open EDGE (not the folded edge) 

3.  Insert the holes onto the brads in your other folder and close up.
  Super quick idea today! DIY multipocket folders from two 2-pocket folders with brads without needing staples, tape, binding machines, or anything else! 

4.  Affix your labels and you are set to go!
  Super quick idea today! DIY multipocket folders from two 2-pocket folders with brads without needing staples, tape, binding machines, or anything else! 

 I like to add a name on the front cover, and the description of the pockets on the inside.
  Super quick idea today! DIY multipocket folders from two 2-pocket folders with brads without needing staples, tape, binding machines, or anything else! 

Super simple, right?  Of course since the middle folder is not closed up, you may see a gap, but it really should not matter.  If it drives you insane, you can always take a few extra minutes to glue it shut though. 

 I did try to place more than one folder and when I did, the middle pockets were not able to be opened freely since they were attached at the brads. 

 You could certainly try some different combinations, but I found just one folder to work perfectly.
  Super quick idea today! DIY multipocket folders from two 2-pocket folders with brads without needing staples, tape, binding machines, or anything else!


How can you use your new multi folder?

  • Different subjects in a self-contained classroom; examples - reading, math, science, social studies
  • Specials teachers can ask students to bring their specials folder; examples - PE, Art, Music, Computer Science
  • Writing folder for writer's workshop; examples - brainstorming, rough draft, editing, final copy
  • Homework folders; examples - work to be left home, work to be reviewed, graded work, homework
  • Math story problem processes; examples - keywords are underlined, relevant numbers are circled, a picture is drawn, final sentence is written and final answer circled
  • Book reports; examples - book chosen, main ideas list, rough draft and editing, final copy and illustrated cover
Below, I have some labels which match my completed Jungle Theme Classroom Resources and you are even able to customize the student names on the front folder label!

I have included labels for a writing folder to move the pages along in the writing process or for a multi-subject folder to keep those papers that are started, but not quite finished.

 Just have students place their paper into the correct folder and then grab it again the next day when you are ready to start your lesson!

 Happy creating and enjoy your freebie labels below!

  Super quick idea today! You can make your own 4-pocket folders from two 2-pocket folders without needing staples, tape, binding machines, or anything else!

Click Here for your Freebie


 What else could you use this handy folder trick for in your classroom?  I would love to hear in the comments below!

 ~Charity


 This post originally appeared at Organized Classroom.

Months of the year Birthday Cupcakes

Who doesn't love cupcakes?  Here is a summer prep you can do ahead of time in your classroom.  Best part they are free and ready for your room.  I made these for my classroom and they were a hit. Simply add your students names on cards around them.   You can grab them here




Sight Words Parent Activity Sheet

Teaching sight words to new readers is vital to their literacy success when learning to read.  Sight words are those words that come up repeatedly and may or may not follow the typically phonics rules.
  Many teachers like to send home sight word flash cards for students and parents to practice regularly outside of school hours.
  Do you like to have students practice sight words or even flash cards for math facts?  Do they lose them? Here is a solution!  Make little folder wallets! #classroomdiy #storagesolution 

I would always have parents who wanted to help their struggling reader at home but were unsure of how to steps.  Or they wanted to help, but weren't always available with extra time to constantly be flipping through printed flash cards.  Or they lost the flash cards in every corner of the house and car. 

Turns out, even as a parent myself, I understand ALL those reasons for not practicing at home regularly. 

So how can we help parents who might have limited time and other resources?  Are there other activities that we can share which might work better for certain families? 

Most definitely. 

Keep reading for a list of handy resources for better phonemic awareness comprehension, a way to transport the flash cards so they don't get lost, and even a parent "cheat sheet" for the fridge at home that has 5 activities anyone has time for in their busy day.

Sight Word Teaching Resources

Games

Children learn high frequency sight words even faster when they are excited about the activity at hand.  Using learning games for letter sounds and the ability to recognize these often used words  with help students from preschool to second grade and beyond.
  • Super cute bingo and board games can be found at this site.  There are tons of free print and play games for pre-primer to grade three.  Each game comes in both a bingo form and a board game.  Very cute graphics too!
  • I love it when a free worksheet or handout includes directions.  On this site, there are tons of printable sight word games that also include a video with directions for play.  Bonus!  18 different games in total.
  • If you prefer to have some whole class practice, make sure to check out these online interactive games - perfect for an interactive whiteboard lesson or as a brain break time filler.

YouTube videos for Teaching Sight Words

Kindergarten and first grade teachers are always adding sight word lessons and tips to their teacher toolbox.  What works for one student, might not work for the next.  If having a wide variety of solutions, books, pdfs, and even songs can make the difference in even one child, it's worth it to try. Some great online tutorials for teaching sight words and corrective measures can be found here.
  • You can't go wrong with putting learning to music:  VIDEO
  • How about a how to teach sight words lesson tutorial?  VIDEO
  • And even more sight words teaching tips:  VIDEO

Apps

Apps are popular and super accessible by most parents and schools these days.  They can help to develop even more sight word recognition by working at the student's level to help differentiate the content as needed.  Check out some of these great choices for your next app download.

Online Flash Cards

Need a list of sight words for your particular grade level or even some remediation lists for specific children?

How to Store Sight Word Flash Cards

Do you like to have students practice sight words or even flash cards for math facts?  Do they tend to lose them or get them all mixed up in a regular sandwich baggie?  Does it rip?

Here is an easy and inexpensive solution!  Make little folder wallets! Start with a basic 2-pocket folder, something with a large round circumference like a bowl or in my case an Easter bucket, pen, and scissors.
  Do you like to have students practice sight words or even flash cards for math facts?  Do they lose them? Here is a solution!  Make little folder wallets! 
Next, open the folder and folder the pockets up just to crease it.  That is where your flap will be.
  Do you like to have students practice sight words or even flash cards for math facts?  Do they lose them? Here is a solution!  Make little folder wallets! 
Open everything back up and place your bucket or bowl over one side of the folder and use your pen to trace the half circle.  Next, folder the folder in half with the pockets outward and cut along the line (see how you don't need 2 half circles?  I am all about saving time - lol).
  Do you like to have students practice sight words or even flash cards for math facts?  Do they lose them? Here is a solution!  Make little folder wallets! 
Open up your folder the correct way and fold the flaps down.  Some velcro, a button loop, or magnets would be a great addition to keep the flaps down when in use.  Fold it in half like a wallet and you are all set!

  Do you like to have students practice sight words or even flash cards for math facts?  Do they lose them? Here is a solution!  Make little folder wallets! 

Finish it off by decorating the front with each student's name.  On the inside, use one pocket for words to be practiced, and the other side for words already mastered.  You could even put them on o-rings, but this would ensure they are both together and stored easily.

  Do you like to have students practice sight words or even flash cards for math facts?  Do they lose them? Here is a solution!  Make little folder wallets!

How can I help my child with sight words?

Five super simple ways for parents and caregivers to help practice sight words at home:
  1. Practice flash cards a few a day. See it, Say it together, say it alone.
  2. Use shaving cream on a table and have the child practice writing simple words.  Bonus:  It cleans the table in the process.
  3. Point out words as you are driving, such as stop signs, the post office, and other familiar business names.
  4. Have the child and parent together clap out the word, then the letters, and then the word again.
  5. Create the words with modeling clay, Playdoh, or Wikki Stix.
Can you use a parent fridge "cheat sheet" with these ideas shown to hand out to parents on Open House or  Parent Teacher Conference Night?  Download it below for free!  Also includes a grayscale version if color copies aren't allowed.

Click the image below.

 
 I can see the handy little pocket wallet above used for sight words, math facts, vocabulary words, and more.  It would be a great Make It, Take It Parent Night activity too!

 What do you think it could be used for in your classroom?  I would love to hear in the comments below!

 Talk to you soon! ~Charity

  Charity Preston, M.A.

 This post originally appeared at Organized Classroom.

Fraction Flower Freebie

This fraction freebie is great for your math centers. You can use it to assess your students fraction sense then use the colored flowers for a bulletin board display. Click here to see example of my bulletin boards.

click image to go to the freebie

I also included a blank flower so you could add you or your students could add a fraction of your choice.



Emoji Back to School Classroom Wishlist Tags


The end of the year is fast approaching and one of my things to do over the summer is prep ahead of time for August /September planning.   Who are we kidding.... those months are very busy for teachers.  Right?  I am going to my favorite dollar store or Target dollar spot and grab some cute pencils and print these classroom items out on colorful paper and tape them to my pencils.  Parents will be able to grab a pencil and hopefully help me get started setting up my room come Open House time.  I can easily place these in a container and set them aside until August or September.  One thing checked off my list and best part you get them FREE and they are editable.  :)  Enjoy!  



Celebrating Spring with Synonyms

Teaching synonyms is a fun way for building vocabulary and allowing for more concise writing skills. You can use worksheets, anchor charts, manipulatives, bingo, or read alouds to introduce the concepts to your children. 

Being able to identify synonyms - and their opposite partner words - antonyms - are super fun topics for any grade level 2nd-4th English class! Sentence structure becomes immediately better when students are exposed to variations of common words they use regularly. 


What if your teacher lesson plans taught synonyms like a word detective? The class needs to find the clues that lead to a hidden mystery word. 

 Each day, you share another synonym for a common word and place it on a word wall or anchor chart. The master lists of synonyms grows each day, as does the student guesses as their ideas are eliminated when a new word is added. 

The look of excitement in their faces is so pleasing to watch. The thrill of hearing their guesses while realizing that their word choice is suddenly so much larger than it has been before. Learning has never been more fun!

Why teach synonyms?


The best reason to teach synonyms is honestly for a wider variety of word choice that expands the vocabulary library. Isn't our goal to grow students into better readers and thinkers? 

 By doing specific activities in school where students use their knowledge or skill to create more complex sentences, it enhances their ability to communicate with others and learn better. 

After working on a classroom brainstorming list to pool together various words that can mean the same thing, make a master list of the words and photocopy one for each child to keep within his or her writing folder for easy reference while writing. 

I guarantee if you ask students to swap out just one word from their writing this week for another option in their vocabulary book, you will start to see students using better words more often. The bonus is that you will start to hear it in their speaking skills as well.

How do you teach synonyms and antonyms?


Usually teaching synonyms and antonyms goes hand in hand, much like peanut butter and jelly. It doesn't always have to be taught simultaneously, but they are certainly two pieces of the grammar pie that go together very well. 

Anchor charts are a great way to teach this strategy too! 

This one is super cute and shows how to connect the S in synonym with the word same.

    

Love that these are petals of flowers! It would go great with the free synonyms worksheets I have for you below!

   

You just can't have an education post about teaching synonyms without seeing cinnamon rolls - haha! 

 

Another way I have always taught synonyms in the past is through literature. A few great choices are:
 
Pitch and Throw, Grasp, and Know: What Is a Synonym? by Brian P. Cleary
If You Were a Synonym (Word Fun) by Michael Dahl
Stroll and Walk, Babble and Talk: More About Synonyms by Brian P. Cleary

Need something more hands-on? How about a free pdf printable pack? I have created a fun version of a color-by-number activity: Spring Color-By-Synonyms! Super fun, right?

   

This completely free pack of printables includes 6 worksheets - 3 that are simple synonym choices for the K-2 crowd and 3 that are of a higher difficulty level. {Did someone use the word rigorous?} 

 

Of course, they are all included in the free set to use interchangeably with your students' needs. I know how you probably have a classroom full of students that could use either version, so they will all be at your fingertips for the taking! 

 

A word of warning: the higher difficulty versions do include some words not regularly used as synonyms as I specifically wanted to make it challenging. Many students will need a thesaurus or dictionary to look up the meanings of the word in question. 

This can be done in traditional book form, my personal favorite way to teach referencing skills in addition to the synonym unit, but students could also feasibly find help by using an online version such as dictionary.com or thesaurus.com to assist them in working through the words. 

These free worksheets for synonym practice can be used during your lesson, as a homework assignment, morning work, centers, or even as an extension activity for your gifted students who might be ready to tackle something a bit harder. 

All the answer keys are also included in the packet so you can check it in a flash. 

 Make sure to download your free Spring Color by Synonyms Printable Pack below right now! 

 


How do you usually cover synonyms and/or antonyms in your classroom? We love ideas around here! 

 Leave your ideas in a comment below!  #sharingiscaring 

~Charity 

This post originally appeared at Organized Classroom