Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Make Your Own Game Board Activity {Enrichment, Concept Review, No Prep for Teachers}

I started something new with my kids the other day. 

Before I go any further I feel the need to stop and say, "Yes! We are still in school!" 

And we will be for 8.5 more days. I'm sure that seems crazy to many of you. I know this because I've been living vicariously through all your Instagram pics of summer vacation fun.

Anyhow, I've been putting together some resources for the kids to take home over the summer to keep their skills strong. I created packets using the extra pages from our math spiral review and language spiral review packets as well as a summer writing journal of creative, narrative, and persuasive prompts
We're revisiting our Mystery Genre Unit because that always gets them hooked on some series which makes great summer reading. Finally, I thought it would be fun to have them make their own games to practice the skills we worked on together.
{Click to Access & Download}

 Oh my I wished we started this earlier in the year. 

It has been so much fun to see them put on their creative hats and design games to play with their friends. They are having a blast while practicing math facts and more. It's been such a hit and I can't wait to make this a regular feature with my students.

You know those early finishers that constantly get their work done? These printables are perfect for offering an engaging enrichment activity with no prep on your part.

Do you like to send home a project as homework? There are lots of choices and you could have your students create a game to practice science or social studies concepts or even comprehension questions of a book. 
There is a task direction page and scoring rubric included (also available in editable form for you to customize).

Would you like to create games and centers so your students can enjoy hands-on activities instead of worksheets, but find it hard to do so? I've included editable files so you can quickly type in your own questions, equations, spelling/vocabulary words, content trivia and more.

{Click to Access & Download}

Monday, June 8, 2015

Field Trip Planning Guide & Printables to Use Before, During and After a Trip {Makeover Monday Product Updates}

I'm so appreciative to all the teachers who have supported Clutter-Free Classroom throughout the years and feel it is very important to consistently provide quality resources and materials. I'm pleased to announce that I've been spending time completely updating some of my earlier work to reflect the high standards one can expect when purchasing a product from the CFC Store. My plan is to showcase those updates each Monday.

If you have purchased this product in the past, you may redownload it and access all of the updates for FREE!  This week's featured "remodeled" product is. . .

Field trips can be so stressful, but they don't have to be. My first ever field trip was an absolute disaster! It began with me making over 20 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my kitchen the night before because I didn't know teachers were supposed to order bagged lunches for each student and ended with me frantically trying to find a missing group at Sea World in Orlando (not a location I recommend taking for your first ever field trip as a brand new teacher).

The good news is that over the years I have perfected the art of the field trip and have combined all of those tips for you into an easy to read guide. It includes lots of printables for you to use when planning and prepping for the trip as well as lots of great activities for the kids to do before and after the trip to make it a purposeful event. It also includes lots of fun printables to use on the bus to keep the kids engaged...the chaperones and bus driver will thank you.

Coming Soon: Zoo, Farm, Apple Orchard, Pumpkin Patch, Planetarium, and more (feel free to make a request).

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Black Pocket Charts {Create a Bold Look in Your Classroom}

A few years ago I wrote a post about why a clip chart behavior plan had been successful in my classroom (side note: I later wrote another post about the reasons why a clip chart is not the best option for some classrooms). Anyhow, the point of my story is that as soon as I clicked submit, I started getting tons of emails asking about the black pocket chart that could also be seen in the classroom photo. Everyone wanted to know where it came from. 

That specific one came from the Target Dollar Spot (back when the name was true and everything really did cost only $1.00). I hunted around online, but there were no black pocket charts to be found anywhere. I still get many emails asking about that chart, and I am happy to say that I recently discovered  companies are now making them. They seem to be extremely popular because they are always selling out.

I wanted to feature them on the blog today in case anyone was still looking for them. I love how the black matches so many classroom color schemes and can be used year after year even if you decide you want to change said color scheme. When consulting with teachers on classroom organization and/or classroom decor (be sure to download my free Guide to Decorating Your Classroom) I always recommend teachers buy black or white containers, caddies, etc so they will not need to repurchase all of those items if they decide to do a classroom makeover in the future.

Below are the black pocket chart items I was able to locate online. You can click on any of the affiliate links to go directly to that product and purchase it.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Connect with Other Teachers and/or Bloggers in Your Area {Teacher Tips}

This blog post is a bit different from my usual posts because today I am writing to give you a little pep talk, twist your arm a bit, give you an oh-so gentle push and encourage you to step out of your comfort zone.  Don't worry. It's nothing too scary. I'm just asking you to attend a meet-up for teachers / bloggers in your area.

If you are a blogger or a TPTer you will enjoy connecting with others who "get" what it is that you do and if you don't blog or sell on TPT you will still be welcomed with open arms and build relationships with teachers in different districts and grade levels. 

Here are a few common reasons why people might hesitate to attend a meet-up:
  • I don't know anyone. (Well good news....that's the whole point of going!)
  • I'm shy. (No worries. There will be plenty of friendly people to break the ice and make you feel welcome right away. I assure you there will be no awkward silence and at no point you will be quietly standing in a corner feeling lonely and wishing you stayed home.)
  • I don't have a blog. (Doesn't matter! You'll still have plenty of things in common with the folks. There will be no shortage of things to talk about. Plus if you've ever thought about starting a blog you'll have a panel of experienced people to get tips from.)
  • I'm not currently in the classroom. (Perfect! It's so interesting to learn about what others are doing. At our most recent gathering I met a mom who homeschools, someone who works from home, and more. Plus if you are not currently in the classroom, but are looking for a teaching position it is a great way to make local connections.)
If you have a different reason for not attending let me know and I'm sure I can turn it into a positive. ;)

{Photo snagged from Shut the Door and Teach}

My experiences have all been so wonderful. I've met lovely people who instantly became friends and have been a source of support and encouragement for all things teaching/blogging/TPTing ever since.

Of course there is a level of discomfort that comes with joining a group for the first time. It's easy to talk yourself out of it. You may second guess your decision, question what you are going to wear and find many excuses to stay home. But don't. You'll be so glad you did it.

If you feel like this may really be too far out of your comfort zone then start small. Try contacting one local blogger and suggest meeting up for coffee or lunch. Once you establish that initial connection you'll find it easier to attend a meet up with your new buddy by your side.

{Photo snagged from The Starr Spangled Planner and
taken with The Tutu Teacher's infamous selfie stick}
These types of gatherings are popping up all over the place now so it shouldn't be hard to find one.

And if you are in the New England area then I have good news for you. There are some super awesome ladies planning to get together this Saturday and it's not to late to join us. 
Many thanks to Vera, Jillian, Deirdre and Mary for planning A Teacher's Night OutJust click on the link to join the fun!! You won't regret it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Animal Research Projects, Guided Reports, and Enrichment Activities {Makeover Monday Product Updates}

I'm so appreciative to all the teachers who have supported Clutter-Free Classroom throughout the years and feel it is very important to consistently provide quality resources and materials. I'm pleased to announce that I've been spending time completely updating some of my earlier work to reflect the high standards one can expect when purchasing a product from the CFC Store

If you have purchased this product in the past, you may redownload it and access all of the updates for FREE!  This week's featured "remodeled" product is. . .

And I'm thrilled to tell you that I did not just "update" this one, but instead completely remade it AND tripled the size of the packet. It started as a guided research report that takes the students through the process of brainstorming, researching, note-taking, writing a draft and publishing a final copy. Not only do these pages have a fresh look, but there are now differentiated pages to meet the needs of all your learners and an easy-to-use scoring rubric, PLUS there is now a huge collection of additional activities and posters to choose from as well. You can use any or all with your students.

This packet is great because it can be used over and over again using absolutely any animal at all. The printables in this packet are ideal to use with your entire class in school, as an at-home learning extension project or as a purposeful, open-ended, independent choice for your students who often finish early and need an enrichment activity that is so much more than "busy work."


Sunday, May 31, 2015

How to Decorate a Classroom on a Budget FREE GUIDE & PRINTABLES {Teacher Tips: Decor, Organization}

I am excited to announce that 17 new themes have just been added to the
Clutter-Free Classroom Mix-and Match Color Scheme and Comprehensive Classroom Theme Bundles Collection! With summer coming now is a great time to grab your classroom decor set and get ready for the upcoming school year.

And to add to the giddiness I have a related resource to share with you...for FREE!!!
{Click to Download this FREE Resource}

It is a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide that is a compilation of ideas that I've shared on my blogs 
in one handy resource. It will teach you how to set up your learning space to be functional and inviting while sticking to a budget. 
{Click to Download this FREE Resource}

The guide includes FORTY-SEVEN pages of ideas, color photos, and useful printables you can implement in your own classroom without spending a lot of money. In addition to those 47 pages, the book also showcases many of the low-cost, Classroom Theme and Color Scheme Decor Bundles {each includes 34 products for less than $0.35 cents each!} that are available from The Clutter-Free Classroom.

Don't forget to download your free copy of the Clutter-Free Classroom Decor Guide and please feel free to pin it and/or share the link with your colleagues.

Have fun dreaming about and planning next year's classroom!

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