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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.


Welcome back! If you haven't read Part 1 of my 16 Time-Saving PowerPoint Secrets for Creating Printables click here.

If you're back for more of my PPT tips and tricks get your pen and paper ready, because I have so much more to share with you! I also have a bonus secret at the end so be sure to read all the way through (even if you already know all these secrets). :)


Formatting the Background in PowerPoint








Do you use PowerPoint? This software is well known for creating professional slideshows. It has all the tools needed to create multimedia presentations as well as personal photo slideshows, but did you know it can be one of the most useful programs for creating printables for the classroom?

When I first started creating curriculum resources on Teachers Pay Teacher I used Microsoft Publisher. I didn't even bother attempting to create anything in Word. If you've ever tried to manipulate images or layer images in Word you know how frustrating it can be. Publisher seemed to allow for more flexibility when it came to inserting borders, clipart, and text boxes. I used Publisher for two years before trying PowerPoint, and I can honestly say that PowerPoint has Publisher beat when it comes to creating and designing digital content. Since switching to PowerPoint, I haven't even opened Publisher once and don't plan to. If only I had known this when I first started selling resources on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Over the years, I have learned a few tips and tricks to creating printables in PowerPoint. Some of these I figured out on my own, some I learned from other TpT sellers, and some I found by searching for a solution to the problem I had at the time. Below, I've listed 8 of my best time-saving PowerPoint secrets. This is only Part 1 - yes I have more! I have 8 more (plus a bonus tip) in Part 2 of this mini-series.

Are you are new to Powerpoint? Maybe you've been using it for years? Maybe you're here because you also create products for Teachers Pay Teachers. Or, maybe you simply want to make printables for your own classroom? Either way - these tips are for you!

Note: I'm using Windows 10 and Microsoft Powerpoint Office Pro 2016. Your version may vary slightly.


PPT Time-Saving Secret #1 - Creating Templates








The month of October is full of exciting fall and Halloween activities in the classroom. From pumpkins to witches - there's always so many fun things to choose from! You probably have that one lesson you teach every year at this time. For me, we always write book reviews on our favorite books and display them in the hall for others to see. It is our hope, as a classroom, that we inspire other students to read one (or more) of our favorite books.
This is a free download for students to use while writing book reviews.


I call this writing activity "Wrapped Up in a Good Book" and you can download it for free from my store. In this lesson, we discuss opinion writing - also referred to as argumentative writing for upper grades. I always teach the traits of opinion writing such as...

  • focusing on the reasons - why or why not
  • giving reasons and evidence to support your opinions
  • using opinion starters and phrases, etc...

Students choose their favorite book and either check it out from the school library, classroom library or bring it from home. Then, they fill out a brief book review sheet.

This is also a great time to review fiction vs. non-fiction and the many different genres of writing. I also show students how some of their chosen books fit into more than one genre category.

After that, students use the book review form to write a summary and review of their book. This form includes the same types of questions asked on the book review sheet, so students basically just fill in the blanks (using their *best* handwriting). I always print students a small book cover to glue on their book review. I print the book covers as wallet size - 2 x 3 images and they fit perfectly! I back their book review with colored construction paper and students give their book a star rating by coloring in 1 to 5 stars (with 5 being the best).

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