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The BEST Word Wall

One of the best things that I have done for my classroom was to transform my word wall. I changed it from the typical 1 MILLION words all SPREAD OUT on a board to a compact, portable and VERY WELL USED word wall.

In my teaching career I have seen the impact that a word wall can have for my students. They use it all the time and the repetition really helps them to remember how to spell sight words! Moving up to third grade a few years back, however, meant that my wall space was limited and I needed to maximize my bulletin board space so that I could have up all the reference materials that are important and that need covered in my curriculum. 
Then came the birth of the Portable Word Wall.

MOST of the words on my word wall were printed from my Word Wall Portable Word Wall Set, but you could just as easily upgrade your current word wall to this system OR even just write the words on word cards like I did for many, MANY of my words. I would re-do all my word wall cards so that they are matchy-matchy, but really? Ain't nobody got time for that!

Now for the good part! Let's create your portable word wall!

How to Assemble the Cards:

1.) You will need *at least* 26 small binder rings and some small hook thumb tacks. I got mine at dollar tree but you can also find them on Amazon. You will need more if you plan to do theme words like seasonal words that you change out etc.
2.) Word Wall Cards
3.) Print and laminate your cards, then cut them out into cards.
4.) Use a hole punch to create a hole for your binder ring.
5.) Attach all words that begin with the same letter to your binder ring. 
6.) Repeat for all the letters in the alphabet. 

How to Create the Bulletin Board:

1.) First, measured the section of bulletin board that I would need for my cards to fit. I sectioned off the bottom portion of my bulletin board by putting a border above where my cards are. 

 2.) I placed a hook thumb tack in each of the grooves on the bulletin border. Here is an example of what I mean. 
Word Wall Cards

3.) Place the word wall rings that you created onto the word wall hooks. 

4.) I placed sticker letters under each of my cards so that my students would know which hook to return them to, but I also included letter word wall card covers in my word wall pack so that you don't have to worry about that. 

traveling word wall

Another thing that I love to do to ensure that students use their words and that they always have them on hand is for them to copy them down in their Word Wall Dictionary!  Here is an example of my FREE word wall dictionary below!

 Free Word Wall Dictionary!

Here is another look at what my word wall looks like up close! 

This word wall is really simple to make, update, use and students have a really easy time using it. I hope this is something that you love using in your classroom too! 

Back to School Calendars

I know that back to school is crazy busy for all of us! One of the ways that I like to make my life easier is by using editable calendars to update my parents on what is happening in the classroom! 

Some teachers like to print out their calendars and write the information on them, but I like to do it just a little bit differently. I have made several calendar sets on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I have had so many questions about how to edit them efficiently, so I thought that I would make a little tutorial for you! 

Here is a video version that will walk you through the process of how to edit your calendars the easiest way possible! I hope this helps you in your back to school season and all year long! 

Here are a few of the calendar sets that I have for sale in my store! These ones all already have the days of the month, included so there is one less step for you to do!

 I hope you have a great day! 

The Prettiest Art Project EVER!

Hello friends, 

I just wanted to share a really pretty art project that I did with my class before Christmas. I was a part of Art Club at my school in the past and my bff (Julie T.) did this with our students. I loved it so much that I decided to steal her idea and do it for myself with my class! 

This art project is simple, yet stunning and is sure to add a sparkle to your classroom!

Step 1:

Have your students take a ruler and line it up with the top of their page. Ask them to draw a light line where the bottom of the ruler falls.

Line up the ruler with the line you just drew and continue to draw light lines until you stripes that are the width of your ruler and until you have no more space left on your page.

Step 2:

Once they have drawn the lines, it is time to paint. I used black paint to paint my stripes, but you could paint any color that you like. My friend (Julie T.) used red, black, blue and green and they all turned out BEAUTIFUL!

Step 3:

While your paint is drying, decide on an image template.
We used anchors, hearts and stars. Here is a template for them if you would like to use them. :)

Step 4:

Place the template on top of your striped piece of paper and trace the outline.

Step 5:

Pour liquid glue into a container or a paper plate. Use a paint brush to paint the liquid glue inside the traced outline. Be careful not to get any paint onto the other parts of your paper.

Step 6:

As a crazy glitter lady, I don't allow my students to use this much glitter alone. I instructed them to bring their art to my table where I poured the glitter onto the art piece. I shook it off onto a large piece of paper (one paper for each colour of glitter) then we reused it toward other students' projects.  If there were naked parts of the shape where there was not enough glue or it had dried already, students were told to go back to their spot to paint a little bit more glue {CAREFULLY} onto thier art project.

Doesn't it look great? Hopefully this project will come in handy for all you low prep art teachers out there! Have a great day!

Don't forget to pin this image to be able to find it later! :D 

Teacher Approved STRUCTURE Videos for Science!

One of my favourite subjects to teach is Science!  In my province, grade 3 is lucky enough to get to teach all about structures! 

All those awesome STEM activities, hands on building projects are all a part of the curriculum that I get to teach! If you are one of the lucky ones that gets to teach about structures too, you may find a few ideas on this post about how to introduce your students to this fun and hands on topic! 

When I teach about Materials and Structures, I always like to give my students hands on activities to learn through inquiry, interactive notebook pages so that they have information to look back at and  even visual information through videos. 

Here is a list of TEACHER APPROVED and STUDENT LOVED videos about structures to help your students understand as much as possible in this awesome science unit!

Your students also need to know that sometimes structures fail! Engenieers need to consider many factors when they look at building structures such as bridges. Building a bridge that does not consider the force of wind is a sure fire way to have a structure (or bridge) come crashing down!

This video has some AMAZING LEGO STRUCTURES! Your students will go NUTS for these!

This video contains some amazing structures from around the world. The person speaking in this video moves along quite quickly, but this video does have some really good discussion points that you can bring up with your class.  

None of the videos shown belong to me, however I do hope that some of these videos make it into your classrooms so that you and your students can enjoy them!

Here is a pinterest image if you would like to save this for the future! 

Clear Your Wish List With a $60 TpT Gift Card!

It's hard to believe but it is time to start thinking about Back to School.

Six Teacher Authors are collaborating together to give you a chance to win one $60 TpT gift card. We hope to help you clear out some things off your wish list!

This giveaway starts on August 19th at 4:00 p.m. EDT and finishes August 21st at midnight EDT!
Clear Your Wish List With a $60 TpT Gift Card!

In the following Rafflecopter, there are links to all 6 of our TpT stores. Hidden on the first page of our store is a secret word *SECRET WORD: CAPS LOCKED TEXT * for you to find and enter.

Good luck!

Flexible Seating in the Classroom Part 2


How to manage students in flexible seating

I originally started flexible seating on the first day of school and that was  BIG MISTAKE. It is really important to set up classroom rules, routines and norms before you introduce something so 'fun'. With flexible seating there are so many different things that you will want your students to know that it is important to have your regular classroom stuff all worked out before you let them try out the seating. They need to know that you are in charge and that the seating isn't a toy.

In my class, I have a big toys vs tools conversation (click here to read about it). I talk to my students about how to use our classroom supplies (such as dice, counters, books etc.) as a tool. If we are using it in the wrong way, it becomes a toy and that is not how we use our things unless it is free time or you are given specific permission.

Once we have this conversation and our routines are set then I bring in my seating choices. I tell my students that they are learning how to be responsible. I teach grade 3, but you can do that in any grade. I tell them that as a grown up, I need to monitor myself and how I feel. I tell them that there are times that I really don't feel much like doing work, but there are people who count on me to get it done (like the principal and them). We talk about how they also need to learn to be responsible because people are counting on them too (like me and their parents). I tell them that sometimes, I can't concentrate as well when I am stuck in one spot. We talk about how moving from one spot might be a good choice if we aren't getting our work finished.

It is really important to model the behaviour that you wish to see. Don't be afraid to act it out for them. Show them what good work looks like and what visiting and fooling around looks like. Show them how to tell if it is time to move to a new spot -- like chatting with friends.

Another thing that I tell my students is that if they are not being productive, I can move them. One warning, then switch spots. If your second choice isn't any better, you may be moved to somewhere that you don't like.

When students are given the opportunity to sit with their friends, they are less likely to talk because they know they may be moved and really, it is way more fun to be quiet and sit with your friends than it is to not sit with your friends and be quiet.

One of the trickiest parts of flexible seating -- especially for type A teachers -- is the need to control the seating and tame the chaos. Having students up and moving around is one of the things that happens a lot when you run a flexible seating classroom, especially in the beginning.

Here is one of the problems with flexible seating:


Students WILL steal the seat of their classmate if their classmate happens to be out of the seat or out of the room. 


Find a way for students to 'sign up' or to show that a seat is occupied. I use a Flexible Seating Choice Board. It is a super simple way for your students to claim their spot so that others do not swipe it when they happen to be off doing their business in the bathroom. 

How to manage students during flexible seating

How this works:

I wanted this board to be as simple to use as possible. I printed off these pages, laminated them and attached them to my whiteboard. You can create a grid or stack them like the pictures above show. 

Find some inexpensive magnets from dollar tree (or wherever you can find them in your area) and write student numbers on them. Each student places their magnet on the choice board in the spot that they choose to sit at. This way your students will know which seats are taken and which are available during the day and you won't have students fighting over 'who got there first'. 

I have my students switch seats at morning recess, after lunch and after afternoon recess, but you could decide when to switch based on what works for your classroom.

Student storage. This was another area that I really needed to consider. If you are eliminating desks from your room or don't have enough for everyone to use, you will really need to consider what you are going to do with all the work books, duo-tangs, pencil cases and everything else that students need to use at school. There are a few options that will work depending on your own personal preference.


If you are fortunate enough to have cubbies in your classroom, it is a wonderful option for student work storage. I used large binder clips with student names and numbers on it in order to make it easy to change from year to year.  

** Pro Tip - Write on these with a silver sharpie. When it is time to change your student names, take a black expo dry erase marker and color the silver until it all can be wiped away!**

Don't mind the flexible seating that was stored in the bottom of the cubbies... Ha! That's where we kept the extra mats that were not being used on the floor! 

Book Bins

Book bins are another option for your students to store their work in. The ones pictured here are from www.reallygoodstuff.com. This is nice because your students can take their bin right to their table or floor spot and get started right away.

book bins for student work when using flexible seating

Drawer Storage

There are so many different kinds of drawer storage and really no wrong way that you can do this. The picture below is what came in my classroom. I use each one for a different subject. I had out the duo-tang or interactive notebook to the students before they go and get started on their work. 

Other options for drawer storage include colorful carts that many teachers have in their classroom. Simply add labels with your student names to it and have your students put their paperwork inside. 
flexible seating in student work drawers

These are some of the ideas that have helped me to get started with flexible seating. I hope that you are able to take something away from this post. Let me know if you have any questions. You can send me an e-mail at holly@appleyeverafter.com OR comment on this post!

Good luck!

If you are interested in checking out this option for your classroom, click on the image below. :)

Flexible Seating - Assisting Student Success Part 1

Flexible seating was something that I kept going back and forth on. Did I want to get rid of the safety net of my simple chairs and tables that my students knew how to use? Should I replace that with a whole new idea that, lets face it, could end up with my students running around not knowing what to do as if they were chickens with their heads cut off?

Well, I bit the bullet. I decided to start flexible seating.

Is flexible seating an easy thing to start? Nope. It wasn't. But it totally could have been if I knew what to expect and set it up properly to begin with.  Just like with everything else, my students really needed a lot of modelling and needed to start very slow.

description of what flexible seating is

Flexible seating is a classroom seating arrangement that allows students or the teacher to choose a place in your classroom that will help them be successful in competing their classroom work or given tasks and activities.

Here is a picture of my classroom very early on in my flexible seating adventure...

flexible seating in my classroom

As you can see, I had hokki stools, yoga balls and rocking chairs. I had a standing table (way at the back though you can't really tell how tall it is in this picture. I had chairs and floor space for mats. I took the legs off of one of my tables and added tennis balls which created a floor table for my students. I bought rugs from ikea that my students could sit on at the floor table. I bought a clipboard rack from reallygoodstuff.com {which I LOVE} to keep me and my students organized and neat!

Flexible seating options

Oh, the choices. There are so many choices in flexible seating that I certainly won't be able to cover them all, but I hope that I can at least give you a good jumping off point.

When it comes to choosing your flexible seating options, the first thing that you need to consider is the space in your classroom. You could purchase the best of the best flexible seating that all the other teachers have, but realistically you may not have the space for all of those choices.

Here are some of the things that you can purchase to use as flexible seating options and accessories in your classroom:

Seating Options

-Yoga Ball Chairs
- Yoga Mats
- Placemats
- Hokki Stools
- Rocking Chairs
- Stools
- Small Carpets
- Scoop Seats
- Crate Seats
- Pillows
- Bean Bags
- Laundry Baskets
- Exercise Disks

Here is a list of accessories that may be helpful in your flexible seating

- Lap Tables to use on the floor
- Clipboards for floor use
- Community supplies or pencil cases
- Work bins (since you may not have desk space to store your student work)
- Work cubby - Instead of individual work bins.

These are just some of the choices that you can use for flexible seating in your classroom!  Stay tuned for Flexible seating along with some cautionary tales for you to keep in mind. We will talk about how to keep track of student work when you don't have desks, how to keep control in a flexible environment as well as tips for teachers toying with the idea of flexible seating!

See you soon! 

flexible seating pin image keep track of student work

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