Currently in December -- Already?

I can't believe it's already December. I can't believe how quickly this month is going by. That being said, who doesn't have a million things to do? So, this is a short and sweet post today.

1.) My son was watching Stewart Little HOURS ago. It loops when its done playing. I think i'm on round 3 of this movie, simply because I have not taken the 4 seconds to turn it off. Ever done that? I hope it's not just me... 

2.) I got myself a new elf sweater! It's super super comfy cute! Every year at school we have a Christmas Store. People from the community donate gently used items, then every student brings in 25 cents and chooses something for a friend or family member. After that, students go to the library where our school volunteer helpers assist them in wrapping, ribboning and labelling their gifts. It is a very exciting time... SO, that being said, I decided that wearing my elf shirt today was a great choice! 

3.)Thinking - Seriously, this month is flying by, but I'm so ready for holidays to start. What a long and crazy month we STILL HAVE AHEAD OF US!

4.)WANTING -my house to clean itself. I think this on is self explanatory. 

5.) Needing -  a nap, a large large large cup of coffee and a giant hunk of chocolate. Those are the things that fuel my soul. 

6.) I so wish I was able to still get a real christmas tree, however being a full time mom, teacher, maid.. (insert many other appropriate professions here), I just don't have the time to go on a tree hunt or to want to clean up all the needles that are associated with it!

Thanks for popping in!


I want to see your BEST writing!

Hello peeps.

Quick question. Does asking your students to make sure they use their best printing or handwriting every single day starting to make your head spin?!?!?!

I have found a solution! Unfortunately, this isn't my idea. But it is amazing and I love the woman who came up with it because it has already changed my 'bang my head into the wall' routine into more of a positive one (thanks so much to Ashley Zatt for sharing).

Here is what we did.

1.) Grab index cards.
2.) Tell your students that you have a challenge for them. "I want you to take this index card and write 'My name is _______ and this is my best handwriting'.
3.) Don't tell them what it is for until they have completed this task.
4.) I then collected my index cards and laminated them. I posted them on my door for parent teacher time so that parents could see what their children think is their neatest handwriting.
5.) When students complete other work during the school year, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO RUSH THROUGH IT, and it isn't quite what they are capable of, refer back to the index card. "Hmm.. Johnny, this doesn't look like your neatest handwriting.."

They will know that you know what they are capable of, and that they aren't reaching that potential when they rush through. Eventually, you will just have to point to the card, or tell them that you're looking for their neatest handwriting.


Better late than never?

I'm so behind the ball this month! Here is all of the things that are currently going on in my life - all sorted out on this little page thanks to Farley Farley Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

1. Listening to Ashley Schroeder on Periscope. She was just giving tips on organization. WHO DOESN'T NEED TIPS ON ORGANIZATION? I know I do. Can I hear an 'AMEN'?

2. LOVING that I have finally received my Math makes sense resource. Holy moly, what an incredible guide for teachers! If you have not seen this, I highly recommend it. My school purchased the teacher guide for my grade level. It's awesome. 

3. Holy moly, parent conferences are on Thursday/Friday. I have so much to prepare for them! Will I have enough time to get it done? I sure hope so. 

4. So, I'm not a very big fan of cold. Snow is fine, winter is fine, cold IS NOT FINE. I like sunshine, and beaches, water and heat. Not snow filled boots, heating up my car, slipping on hidden ice, bundle up weather. Give me desert heat any day!

5. I need a nap. Am I the only one?

6.  Caesar salad. I just can't seem to get enough of it. MMMM!!! 


Traffic Light Behaviour Management (WITH A FREEBIE!)

Well, we are well into the school year. That being said, have your behaviour problems dissolved? Mine haven't.

That brings me to my post - The Behaviour Management Traffic Light!

If you are a genius at making that happen, please tell me all your secrets! I'll pay you a dollar (what can I say, you know a teacher's salary, right?)

Well, thanks to one of my delightful friends in Grade 2 (Julie), I now have a great tool in my back pocket that helps to keep my students on task! Check out this bad boy!

This, my friends, is the 'Carson Dellosa Stoplight Pocket Chart!' If you are interested in checking out more information on this bad boy, you can check it out here.

I love this pocket chart. I don't love how this pocket chart didn't come with any labels though... Would you like to have mine?
Here is a freebie!

In my classroom, this is fine and dandy. But what next? How does it work? Is there any follow up to this? How do parents know what is happening at school? Well, here are some of the answers for you.

1.) How do you move from one colour to another?

The Rules:
As always we go over rules at the beginning of the year. We discuss appropriate and inappropriate behaviours. 
We talk about what they think could get them into a 'yellow zone' or 'think about it zone'. This is a good chance to figure things out together as a class so that everyone is aware of the expectations. 
  • not working
  • chatting at inappropriate times (during tests or writing time)
  • hurting other kids' feelings
  • basically anything I have to remind my students about more than 2 times goes into think about it. 
We also talk about 'teacher's choice' 
  • continuing above behaviour 
  • physical violence (zero tolerance)
  • any other activity that you deem inappropriate in your classroom

2.) Can you move from yellow or red back down to green?

In my class, ABSOLUTELY! I love when students choose to make a positive change. If they are in 'think about it' and they change the behaviour that moved them to yellow, I call them over to me, and then ask them to move their name back to green. They love moving that little guy back down. If they have landed in red, and they really try hard for the rest of the day, then it's your choice. 

3.) Do you have a tracking system?

I absolutely do in my classroom. I like to have a track record to show when a student has fallen into a category so that parents can see if there is growth at parent/teacher conferences, I can see if there are changes in the student, patterns between split family dynamics, among many other things. 

This is what it looks like.
{Editable version in my TpT shop}

4.) Do you notify parents if students move to yellow or red?

This is something I work out with the parent at the beginning of the year. If parents insist on being informed after each colour change, then I do send home a note that requires a parent signature. Here is what they look like. 

I tell parents that if their child manages to make it back into green by the end of the day, I usually will not send home a notice. I want my students to know that everyone has bad judgment sometimes, and as long as we try our best to change silly decisions, we don't need to dwell on the slip ups. 

5.) What about the kids who go above and beyond to work hard? Or the ones that have trouble but are working hard that day?

For this I use something called 'Golden Tickets'.
When I see exceptional behaviour, whether it is exceptional for any student, or if a student is trying particularly hard, I reward them with a 'Golden Ticket.' These bad boys are easy-peasy. Print and go. 
Print off the golden ticket (I usually print it on yellow paper), cut it up, and when you see great behaviour, hand out one of these bad boys. Have the student fill in their name. At the end of the week, I do a draw to see who gets to choose a prize. The more golden tickets you have, the better your odds. 

If you are interested in the package that I have created to go along with this chart, 
you can click here.

This package includes:
- Traffic Light labels for your chart
- Monthly Data Tracker (12 pages)
- Editable Monthly Data Tracker
- Letter to send home to parents at the beginning of the year (editable)
-Letter to send home to parents at the beginning of the year (non-editable)
- Golden Tickets
- Send Home Yellow zone Notes
- Send Home Red Zone Notes

I hope that this will help you on your journey to Behaviour Management in your classroom! 

Remembrance Day...

Hello folks,

So, I had such a great idea for remembrance day writing the other day. My Co-op teacher was away, so my plan was to discuss John McCrae and we were going to write a wonderful long and detailed story about why Remembrance Day is so important, and talk all about all the lives that were lost, the hardships that the soldiers and their families went through, and about the symbolism of the poppy among about a million other ideas that we came up with as a class.

Well, when the time came for my students to write, it was like I took the 'Men in Black' flasher and zapped their memory of any and all the great ideas we had just discussed 4 seconds prior.

Please tell me I'm not the only one that this happens to.

Oh boy. It was P-A-I-N-F-U-L! Painful!

So, I realized that was the moment to scrap the whole idea and start from scratch. I know many teachers like to use the time of Remembrance Day to teach poetry, and more specifically, acrostic poetry. I am no different, though I added a little twist.

First thing I did was take 20 deep breaths. Then I sat my class back down on the floor and we went trough this again. I gave my students 2 choices. They could use the word 'poppy' or 'remember'.

As a class, we sat down and really brainstormed ideas about what words we could use to fill in the poem 'REMEMBER'.

Here is our attempt.

Once we finished this part, I erased the board. I wanted them to use their brains to come up with proper wording and sentence structure rather than relying on my white board chicken scratch. Some students were brave enough to use the word poppy too. They told me that poppy would be a much easier word to use. I told them that I wouldn't help them with that word though, and that there were 3 Ps to figure out.

Let's just say it using the word 'poppy' proved to be more difficult than they initially anticipated (I didn't even say 'I told you so' to them).

Not bad for grade 3 students who were just MIB flashed right?  When it came down to time to work on their rough copy, I was pleasantly surprised. They had words on their page. Good words, not even over use of the word 'every' like we had originally came up with.

After we finished our rough copies, I let them choose their paper that matched their word (poppy or remember).

Here is what our page looked like.  I even let my students make their own 3D poppy to put on the page.

We aren't quite done this activity yet, so you'll have to come back to see what they turn out like! I hope they are as awesome as they are in my head.


CURRENTLY in October!

So, the awesome Farly over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade hosts a monthly link up about what you are currently doing... 
Here is mine! 

Listening: Sunday Night Football. Need I say more? My other half is currently watching the game, I'm blogging on the couch beside him listening to all the sounds of man glory.

Loving: We finally got some mother and son pictures done! They were quite pricy, but at least they turned out really nicely. 

Thinking: I want more blueberry tea. MMM... Have you tried the blueberry tea that Tim Horton's has? Canadian folks, I'm looking at you. It tastes like a blueberry pancake. So yummy! Highly recommend this!

Needing: To finish my house renovations. Holy Moly. If you are in the middle of a house renovation like I have been (for the past 7 years) you know what I mean about how it is frustrating, annoying and honestly creates a bunch of chaos in your life. I'm happy to say that my office is finally coming to a finish. Here it is. 
Hardwood, powdered iron paint colour (it's a purplish grey). I'm in love with this room.. It's not 100% done, but so beautiful already. 

 My living room has also gotten an update. Now has grey walls, and completed hardwood flooring.. (don't mind my vacuum - it was cores day).

Boo-tiful: My relationship with my boy. He honestly makes my heart happy, and my life complete!

I hope you make a currently for October too! I'd love to read it! Please leave your link in my comments section! :)


Math Monday Maddness

Hello friends!
Today for 'MATH MONDAY MADNESS' I want to share a tip about my favourite math games, tips and ideas.

As we all know, dice games can be loud. I have seen many teachers express interest in using small containers for dice so they don't go flying around. While I do think that is a good solution for some teachers, it is not a good a solution for teachers like me who hate the shake-shake-shaking of dice!

Allow me to introduce the Math Plate!

Making a math plate is very easy. 

1. Go to your local dollar store and purchase small plastic plates. I paid $1.00 for 12 plates.

2. Also purchase a drawer/shelf liner roll. I think this was $1.25. 

3. Make a circle template, and cut your shelf liner roll out so that it fits inside the plate.

4. VOILA! 

The liner makes the dice silent! Allow me to repeat that... SILENT! What teacher doesn't like silence during guided math games! 

BONUS TIP: I also have told my students that if their dice rolls off of the plate, that means that they miss a turn. Maybe that makes me a big meanie, but it keeps students on task and keeps them playing games for longer without using dice as toys.

I hope you find this useful and helpful!

As a thank you for stopping by!

Here is a math rules poster freebie just for you! 


Tricks & Treats Halloween Hop

Hello spooky friends!!

Velcomme to zee Triks and Treats Halloveen Blog Hop & Geevaway!! Did you read that like Dracula? 10 points if you did!

I'm so excited that you are here, and I can't wait to share with you some of the exciting things we do in my class to make Halloween a spook-tacular celebration!

In my school, we participate in many fun Halloween events! In my classroom, the festivities last all month long! In my classroom, the festivities are even more amplified! I LOVE HALLOWEEN and since I don't have any families who do not celebrate, I have a license to spook (don't worry, I'm not that scary). Here I am with my cuties during Halloween last year!

Me and my dwarves (see what I did there?)
The leader in our Halloween Parade! I really did feel famous with all that waving...
Halloween Fun!

In my classroom, I am all about games for students to learn with. I teach a very diverse class and as such am always looking for new ways to teach them new skills. One of the things we have been working on is number patterns and skip counting. For my class, tallies are still a skill that we are trying to foster into our day. We tally boys and girls who are present in class, we tally objects around the room. These things are easy, but the part that my students struggle with is counting by 5s when adding them up! 

Frankenstein to the rescue! I created this fun frankenstein matching game for my kiddos with the idea in mind that I really wanted to get them familiar with this concept. I wanted them to be independent in counting tallies by skip counting by 5's and I want them to have fun while doing it so that they remember it easier.

Here is what this fun activity looks like! Notice the scar tallies on these bad boys? My kiddos LOVE this. They count the scars and get to match the number of tallies.

I like to use these cards with my students in a number of ways.

1.) I use this during introductory guided math lessons with my students so that I can see that they are doing it correctly.
2.) I use them during whole class instruction so that we can learn together.
3.) I have a 'roam the room' activity where each student has one card, and the other one is hiding around the room. My students have a scavenger hunt to find the card that matches the tally or number that they have.
4.) Partner Match - Students get one card each, and they need to find their partner with the matching number/tally on it.


This pack is normally for sale in my store, but because I LOVE halloween I will be making this package FREE FOR 1 WEEK! Grab it now while you can! If you like it, I'd love to hear from you! Feedback always makes my day a little brighter! :)

Click the picture to grab this freebie! 

Don't forget to enter my secret word ~Pumpkin~  into the rafflecopter below for chances to win wonderful prizes!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to haunt on over to Najda's
post to continue on our spooktacular event! 

If you like this package, you may also want to check out my frankenstein craftivity pack!
This pack includes both writing and math pages that you can customize with your Frankenstein holder! :)

Happy Haunting! Good luck in the giveaway, and I hope you find this freebie useful! :)


Brag Tags, Bulletin Boards, & Unlocking Achievements!

Hello friends,

So, I have been in my classroom for a total of 3 days -  36+ hours already (and they say teachers spend regular work week hours doing their job... Phooey to them). I have been working on setting up my bulletin boards, unpacking all my boxes of crap stuff that had to be packed at the end of last year and making about a hundred lists of things to do.

One of my featured bulletin boards in my classroom is my 'Brag Tag' wall.

This. Thing. Is Awesome. It has exceeded my expectations. 

Allow me to show you this beauty!
This is my brag tag wall. Here is where my students will put the tags that they earn throughout our days at school. Each student has a necklace with their name above it. They will start out with one brag tag each (a back to school brag tag) and earn new ones for several accomplishments or achievements that they earn throughout the year.

In my case, at this point we will have 18 brag tags because I have 18 students in my class. After this, I have come up with a reward system that adds the fun of earning brag tags, with a whole class team work aspect. It's sort of like a classroom version of a video game. Earn rewards individually, add those to a running total, then reward the class as a whole when you reach those milestones.

How do I do this you ask?
Allow me to elaborate.

Here is my brag tag wall with my student names on it. Each student has a dog tag necklace. Like I stated earlier, this will start our year off with 18 tags. Above that are the 'locked levels' that I created as an incentive for my students to earn brag tags. My students are going nuts about what happens when we 'unlock a level!' I told my students that it was a surprise, and we would find out soon.

Behind each locked level is the unlocked version. These were printed separately, then glued back to back so that I could decide when I wanted to give my kids each award.  When my class earns 50 brag tags altogether, we unlock a level. It doesn't matter how many each student has earned. Tammy could have 40 and the rest of the class could have accumulated 10, however as long as they get to 50 Brag Tags, we all unlock a level and we all celebrate our hard work. 

The amount of Brag Tags that you set for a goal is up to you. 50 Brag Tags was a perfect fit for the pace that I handed them out, but you could change it up depending on what meets your needs. I also have this achievement chart that we use to keep track of. I keep this in my teacher binder and when I pass them out, I keep a tally of how many I handed out so I know when we unlock a level.
Fortunately for me, my students want to be much more involved in the tracking of these brag tags. In the images below you will see 3 stars. I use these to track how many we have earned. When a student earns a new one, I allow them to go and update the total. This is also great for mental math, folks! If I award 5 brag tags, I ask one student to update it. They ALWAYS check each other's work here because it's soooooo important!  

This classroom management strategy has been AHHH-MAZING so far! I can't wait to post updates on how my kiddos are doing!I have 2 bulletin board sets available in my TpT store. Find them below! 

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