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The Ultimate Back-to-School Teacher Checklist

The back-to-school season should be fun and exciting! Everyone is rested, rejuvenated, and ready for a new school year. There is a lot to do though. Between decorating bulletin boards, arranging your classroom, labeling desks and going to staff meetings - it's easy to get overwhelmed! I made this back-to-school checklist to make your life a little easier and to help you remember some of the little things that might slip your mind during all the craziness! 
6 Websites That Make Digital Integration Easy for Teachers

How did we ever teach without the internet? I can remember when I only had one desktop computer in my classroom. It was one of those iMac G3's that came in an array of beautiful colors. I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and so did my students. Sharing one desktop computer was challenging. Thankfully, technology integration in schools has come a long way since then. Now, most schools are 1:1 with either iPads or Google Chromebooks, and teachers have a plethora of technology tools at their fingertips.

5 Fail-Proof Ways to Teach Main Idea So That Students Understand (with free resources for your classroom)
Many students struggle to find the main idea of a passage. Students tend to confuse the main idea with the summary, while others just can't seem to grasp the concept. Here are a few tips, ideas, and activities to help you teach students how to identify the main idea and the supporting details of a passage, short story, or book.

This Teacher Report Card is one of my favorite things to do with students during the last week of school! Students love grading the teacher, and it's always fun to read their responses. It's the perfect end-of-year activity to use during those last few days of school before summer break.

The Ultimate {FREE} End of Year Teacher Checklist
Is the end of the year getting you down? I know...it's overwhelming. There's so much to do. From end of grade testing to finishing report cards to updating each individual student's permanent records - it leaves us drained every.single.day.

With over 16 years in the classroom, I've managed to come up with an end-of-year checklist to make life a little easier. This checklist includes a little bit of everything. If you're like me you're swamped with so much to do that you don't even want to think about next year. This checklist will help you keep your sanity and hopefully make the beginning of a new school year much easier!

The Ultimate {FREE} End of Year Teacher ChecklistOne thing I always liked to do before packing up my classroom is to take a few pictures. I took pictures of my room arrangement, bulletin boards I might want to recreate, and bookshelves that housed my math manipulative, centers, supplies, etc. I would refer to the pictures to help me recreate my classroom style when I put my classroom back together again. This always made setting up my room the following year so much easier!

Tip: Before packing up, consider taking a few pictures of how your classroom looks.  Did you like a particular bulletin board or your room arrangement? If so, you might want to duplicate or recreate your classrooms style at the beginning of the next school year. Your pictures will come in handy!

After that, I would start the checklist with things I could do before students leave. Even young students can help clean and pack up the classroom, so get those little helpers busy! I always had a stack of unused worksheets that I sent home with students for the summer. They may or may not have completed them, but I took the chance that maybe they would work on those extra math review sheets or reading passages instead of just throwing them in the recycling bin.

Tip: Instead of recycling those piles of extra worksheets and printables try sending them home with students to complete over the summer. 

Next - clean, organize and purge.  Yes, I said PURGE! Get rid of those dried up Expo Markers.  Have students test the markers on the whiteboard and throw away any that doesn't work anymore. Toss those glue sticks that no longer have lids.

What happens to the lids of glue sticks anyway?!? Do they eat them? I'll never understand that phenomenon.

Clean out and organize filing cabinets, bins, baskets, and tubs. You don't want to come back to that mess next year. One thing I always do before leaving for the summer is clean up my inbox. Yep, delete those old emails and respond to any emails that you might have overlooked. Who wants to think about cleaning up school email over the summer, huh?

Tip: Respond, delete, and clean out school email before leaving for the summer.

Paperwork. Ah...the dreaded paperwork. It's not going anywhere, so set aside time where you can sit down quietly in your classroom - or at home - to finish up final grades, gather and organize important student data and documents, and update student records.

Tip: Be intentional with your time.  Set aside a time to finish up report cards, organize student documents, and update student records.

FREE End of Year Teacher Checklist

Teacher Appreciation: A FREE LETTER to the Teacher

Celebrate teacher appreciation week and #thankateacher!

I made this printable for my daughter's teacher this week during Teacher Appreciation Week.

A Thanksgiving writing lesson on Tall Tales. The perfect addition to any November writing unit for teachers.
Tall Tales are so much fun to write! Student's creative writing skills come to life when they get the opportunity to stretch the truth because we all know children are full of humor and exaggeration! The best thing about tall tales is that they can be funny or silly. They are typically filled with hyperboles, similies, metaphors, and lots of descriptive vocabulary. Tall tales are always read or told as if they were true, even though the listener or reader knows that the story could never really happen - another reason children love writing and reading them!

Each year, during the month of November, I teach my 4th graders how to write Turkey Tall Tales.
This lesson is a lot of fun, and students love the end result! This mini-lesson is the perfect addition to any creative writing unit but is intended to be used as a Thanksgiving writing activity.

I start by introducing students to tall tales. I also read Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan. Students are usually familiar with these two books. You can also search YouTube to find animated tall tales for students. There are tons to choose from! After reading tall tales and watching a few animated YouTube stories, we discuss the characteristics of tall tales. To get started, I use Turkey Tall Tales - a writing mini-lesson on tall tales found here in my store.

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