Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back to School Blog Hop: Ideas, Tips, Freebies, and Giveaway!

Start your Year Right! Back to School Tips!

8 Tips to Start Your School Year Off Right!
Tips for Teachers by Teacher Ms H

Blog Hop Hosted by the Owl Teacher.

8 Back to School Tips for Teachers

Call on and Select Students Randomly

This is an easy way to keep track of what students you have called on already. Draw them, then clip to the side. Just write their numbers and names on the clothespins. I prefer to put the numbers on with a thin fine point sharpie and just use pencil so I can erase old names and add new ones each year. I also like leave one or two in that say volunteer for students who just want share their knowledge without waiting their turn. I take any hands raised when a volunteer is selected.

Easy to Use and Set Up Classroom Calendar

Do you teach upper elementary students and find they still lack calendar skills? This idea works great for me and students get to take turns being Calendar Monitor. All they have to do is move a magnet on the day that it is! Also when it's a new month they get to help me put up the new calendar and decorative pieces I've had since I began teaching so long ago. They have magnets on the back and the number of the month. I keep the month headers organized with a binder clip and the little accents in a ziploc bag. 

Finally, I chose a bright marker color that seems to go with the month, so the calendar numbers can easily be seen from far away.  I always find these great desktop calendars at Big Lots each year during their back to school sale. I just tear off one month at a time and post it on my whiteboard using more magnets to hold it up! I love that I can write special occasions or student birthdays on this calendar too.

Student Name Plates
Goodbye cards or student nameplates.

Want to play a quick game? Comment below if you know what movie and/or book these characters are from! 

My school requires us to check out our kids at the end of each school day for added safety. I made these as I got tired of fumbling around with the daily check off clipboard while kids say goodbye and head to their parents or an after-school program, I can now just collect the cards put them back in number order then mark off my list of names when dismissal is complete. 

Luckily (as I update this post) our current principal no longer requires a checklist as long as we have a procedure in place like this one! Thank goodness, as I hated looking for each kids and the day's date on the teeny tiny list of columns and boxes to check off each day that the office gave us since these eyeballs aren't getting any younger! 

Now you could make your own by cutting up sentence cards and using a Sharpie to write on them or check out the editable version that is now included in my Back to School Bundle pictured at the end of if this post. Don't forget to laminate them. Also you might as well make two sets of them as even with lamination they only last half the year. Bonus is that these also work as name plates! 

Easy Classroom Library Check Out System: Just take a picture!

This is the easiest way to check out library books that I have found yet. I use extra large ziploc bags (2 1/2 gallons so big picture books can fit if necessary) and I write the student's name and number with a Sharpie. I ask them to have their book cover facing the front where their name is written. Next I snap a picture on my smartphone and when they return and put it away I delete it.  I use an old iPhone that has speakers that don't work due to water damage. But you could even use a classroom student iPad if you weren't worried about the photos accidentally being erased, or just create a library album on your iPhone. You could even train a responsible student to check everyone out!

Groovy Grader for iOS: Easy grade calculation

Grading made easy!!! No more old cardboard slidey grading thingies. This app Groovy Grader for iOS is ready to go. Just enter the number of questions in the white box, and it will calculate the percents in black, based on how many wrong in red. While this app is great, it doesn't grade my papers.  In an upcoming blog post, I will be sharing about another one of my new favorite grading apps from where you can make custom scantrons and scan them right into your phone with instant data at your fingertips! Don't forget to subscribe to my email list or my bloglovin' to receive updates about this and other blog topics.

End your glue problems for good

End your glue problems for good! End your glue problems for good!

Glue!! I hate sticky stuff especially on my hands. I've been known to become slightly panicked when there is not a napkin or sink in sight. This is why I go through several napkins for finger foods and messy meals. If I could I'd eat everything with a fork I would. I do try. Lol. 

Anyhow I also hate strong smells, so glue sponges are a no for me. The thought of them growing icky over time is just well... Yuck! Enter easy cleanup!  If you have a restaurant supply store near you, or you would like to wash and recycle takeout sauce containers this trick might work for you. Just pour a little glue in each container and have kids use these awesome glue wands or spreaders. I ordered mine on Amazon, but I think Lakeshore also carries them. 

When my kids are done with their projects, if there is a lot of glue left in the containers, I just put a matching lid on so the glue doesn't dry out and you can use it again later. If the glue is almost out, just leave the container with the glue wand inside to dry overnight. Then the next day just pull out the glue wands and off comes the dried glue. No more sticky mess at the sink and trying to wash it off! Your janitor will also thank you for not clogging up sinks. Finally, kids absolutely love pulling the dried glue off. So get them to help!

Mr. Clean erasers remove glue from students' desks easily.

Speaking of glue, magic erasers are amazing for getting it off students' desks and classroom table tops! Combined with natural lavender all-purpose cleaning spray from Target and you have the added bonus of lavender being a natural bug repellant for your classroom. For any classroom parties, I have regular sponges that I dampen and the students use them to wipe down their desks after I have sprayed with this magic stuff. It also smells awesome and calming instead of chemical like! I have noticed that while neighboring classrooms get ants and other yucky bugs I don't seem to have this issue anymore since using it over the past few years. 

Do allergies or asthma cause you to catch colds easily? Try this!

My final back to school tip is.... Take Care of YOU! Besides wiping down desks frequently and reminding kids to wash their hands or use hanitizer,  (That's a legit teacher word, sure to be added to Webster's one day) take your VITAMINS!! Also, if you can help it never pick up students pencils, crayons, markers etc. because they are full of germs. Always have a pencil or pen of your own in hand that is labeled with your name or teacher only that you tell your students they can never touch or borrow.  

I don't have the greatest immune system for fighting off kids germs with cough-variant asthma and terrible sinuses but since I started taking Vitamin D daily and eating yogurt with lots of healthy bacteria, it has helped me to ward off more colds. When I do get sick I take Ultimate Flora Advanced Immunity. You can find it on Amazon at the link, at Walgreens or at the Vitamin Shoppe. It has helped me to kick colds quickly before they turn into bronchitis or a sinus infection. Besides natural and powerful probiotics, it contains Echinacea which helps to clear up any viral or bacterial respiratory infections.

I just want to end by sharing some Back to School FREEBIES and resources of mine that you might find useful in your classroom to start the year off great.  I find it very important to start my year off with organizational systems in place, great parent communication, and first week of school activities ready to go. These tools help me do just that. I hope you take a look and see if there is anything that might be of help to you!

Have a neighbor student use this to help keep student work organized while they are gone!

Parent Survey About Their Child for Back to School    Back to School Activities

Now on to the big giveaway and blog hop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

A Rafflecopter Giveaway