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End of the Year Ideas for Virtual Teaching

Hello darlings!  Trying to end the year of virtual teaching definitely has be an emotional roller-coaster.  While I am glad to be finished with this computer based typed teaching, I am going to miss my students.  I hate not being able to give them a hug!

To end my year, I hosted a Virtual Class Party on Zoom.  You can do the same on Google Meets.  I created gift bags for my kiddos and then delivered them to their homes the day before our meeting.  I just set them on the front porch or by their door.   I told them not to open it until our meeting.

Party Bags

For each bag, I created a little tag with a poem.  I filled each bag with..
-party hat (Walmart)
-Caprisun (Amazon)
-Rice Krispy Treat (Target)
-mini notebook (Walmart)
-Invisible ink pen (Amazon)
-Photo of them and the class

Free Gift Tag Poem


I used Map Quest to put in way points to create the fastest route.  Google Maps will allow you put in way points, but you have to know the order yourself.  Please note, Map Quest only allows for 26 entries. 

Virtual Meeting

I emailed the parents and told them to make sure students did not open the bags until we were on the meeting together.  This built up a lot of anticipation and excitement for the gift bags. Here is what we did during the meeting.

1. Open Gift Bags and put on party hats
2. I played our Class Photos Slideshow by sharing my screen. (this took 15 minutes)
3. We then went around and each student shared their favorite memory of the year.
4. I told them how proud I was of them and how amazing they had been through all of distance learning.
5. We did a virtual air hug and said goodbye to each other.  Sob, sob.

I hope this gave you a few ideas of how to close out this crazy pandemic year!  Here is a virtual air hug for you!  I know this has been tough!

Flat Teacher Adventure Project

Ready to make yourself flat and go on an adventure with your students?

This activity is based on the Adventures of Flat Stanley where a flattened little kid goes on adventures around the world.

  1. First thing you need to do is make a Bitmoji of yourself by downloading the Bitmoji app from the App store.
  2. Next you need to get on your computer and get the Bitmoji Extension on Google Chrome.  
  3. Now you are ready to edit this document and create your own Flat Teacher!
  4. You can edit any text in this document except the title Flat Teacher Adventure that has been saved as a picture to protect font copyrights.
  5. You can delete all of my personal Bitmojis and add your own.
  6. To get a full body Bitmoji for your Flat Teacher, search Pose.
  7. When searching for Bitmojis in the search bar, I have learned to not be super specific and do not press the spacebar.
  8. Download the file as a PDF to print off a better quality. Go to File-Download-PDF. If you have a Mac, you will most likely get black squares printing around your Bitmojis as some computers do not like when pictures are cut and pasted. To fix this, save your file as a png and print that instead.
  9. Print off your Flat Teacher a few to a page, laminate (if possible),, and cut out.
  10. I am mailing these to my students with the Flat Teacher and the directions page.  If you need to save ink, you could always email everything to your parents or just print out and mail the Flat Teacher only and email the directions.
  11. I am having my students post their pictures on Flipgrid (which is amazing!) but you could always have your parents email you pictures.  

Click on the picture to get this free resource.

Free Virtual Vacation Field Trips

Hello darlings! With school closings, I wanted my students to do something fun on their Spring Break. I created these Virtual Vacation Field Trips! You can use them for Spring Break OR as Virtual Field Trips. I have included all the links if you click on the little airplanes. Students also have a journal to fill out as well. If you don't need the journal or the spring break picture, just delete those slides from your copy before you post it to Google Classroom. These slides are NOT editable, meaning you cannot change the days of the week or change out the places I have chosen. The student journal IS EDITABLE.

I created this to be shared in Google Classroom. I am not sure how to share it on any other platform. I am pretty sure you can open these in Google Slides and download them as PowerPoints.

How to Use

After you click on the links and open the forced copy, you can post this link in your Google Drive. Just make sure to..
1. Add assignment
2. Attach the Google Slide from your Drive
3. Click: Make a copy for each student

Here is a video tutorial.  Please watch if you have questions.

If it is asking you to request access, you must open with a Google account. Make sure that is your work account or it is going to make you to request access when you finally try to put it on Google Classroom. You can always share it with yourself. If your students are having to request access, then you didn't share it with them properly.

Free Resources:

To get the Google Slides, click on the PICTURES.  It will ask you if you want to Make a Copy.  Yes, you do.  This will make your own copy and be saved in your Google Drive.

Directions to my students that I typed in Google Classroom:
Today you are going to the Happiest Place on Earth! I want to hear all about your adventure and which rides you loved the most! Click on the airplane to get the link, then click on the link to travel!

Directions to my students that I typed in Google Classroom:
Where are we going today? I bet you can figure out my favorite location on this trip! Click on the airplanes to open the links to travel. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the journal! When you finish, click TURN IN so I can read it and write back to you!

Directions to my students that I typed in Google Classroom:
Today you are going on a Bear Hunt! You will be searching the live cams for all kinds of animals on your adventure today! Click on the airplanes to open the links to travel. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the journal! When you finish, click TURN IN so I can read it and write back to you!

Directions to my students that I typed in Google Classroom:
Today you are going to do a lot of "walking!" There are so many places to visit! Pick one or two to explore! I'd love to hear your thoughts in the journal! When you finish, click TURN IN so I can read it and write back to you!

Directions to my students that I typed in Google Classroom:
It's your last day of Spring Break! Have some fun on your vacation! Today you are headed to Universal Studios in Florida!!! Enjoy the rides and write all about them in your journal! When you finish, click TURN IN so I can read it and write back to you!

Happy Vacationing!

Meet the Teacher Open House Night Resources

Hello Darlings! Do you have a Meet the Teacher Night or Open House where students and their families come to drop off supplies?  We have one each year and families can come in anytime within a two hour window to meet the teacher, tour the room, and drop off their child's supplies.

It gets really hectic on this night because families are going in and out of the room, babies are crying, toddlers are running around drawing on the dry erase board with perminant markers....  LOL!  Those are just a few experiences I've had!  I want to be able to meet with each family, but I can't if they are asking me where everything goes. 

I certainly don't want to come in the first day of school and have to get the room organized before my new students show up.  The solution.... a Scavenger Hunt. 

I give each of my students a Scavenger Hunt that tells them step by step where to put their supplies.  This is such a great way to see family dynamics in action and to see how your new students do with following directions.

Grab the fully editable Scavenger Hunt AND parent sign ups here.  I am no longer using the sign ups because I am having them sign up electronically through Class Tag.  I'm excited to use Class Tag because I earn points for free stuff for my classroom every time I use it.  Go check it out! 

Happy Scavenger Hunting!

Plan Your Lessons in Google Slides

Hello darling!
Do you need to plan your lessons in Google Slides?  Do you have to share your plans with your admins or teammates?  This free template is perfect!! It can be edited to fit your needs. You can save it as a PDF and print it or you can open it in Google Drive and save it as a Google Slide file.
If you are looking for something more substantial, go check out my Teacher Planning Toolkit. It has over 65 different templates that you need for the school year!! I LOVE using the conferring notes and small group forms!  It makes planning so easy!

Here is what some teachers are saying....
On January 21, 2019, Marie R (TpT Seller) said:
This set is very comprehensive, easy to use, and cute. I love that it is already ready to go for Google drive- when I purchase resources that are not in this format it's just one extra step to get it converted to Drive and sometimes my computer at school doesn't want to cooperate. Thank you for the explicit directions and your thoroughness. I was able to figure out how to use the resource as soon as I purchased it.
On July 20, 2018, Madeline B (TpT Seller) said:
I love that this is already a Google doc and very easy to share lesson plans with my admin, team, and other teachers that pull students into small groups! I also really like the design and all of the documents included with it! This is one of the best purchases I've made recently. I'm actually excited to lesson plan!
Want to see a video of the resource?

Teacher Planner Toolkit

Happy Planning, you awesome teacher, you!

Adding Vocabulary to your ELA Block

Hello darlings! Do you teach vocabulary to your students?  I think this is one thing we are missing in the upper grades and we are doing a disservice to our students.  As they move up levels in reading, the thing that I notice that holds my students back the most is the challenging vocabulary they encounter.  This of course affects their comprehension.

I decided I had to squeeze vocabulary into my daily ELA Block.  I have Reading and Writing Workshop each for an hour and I have a half hour for Word Study.  I take that work study piece and break it up into three rotations- Spelling (word Study)- Vocabulary- Grammar.

My activities for each rotation are very repetitive for a reason.  It becomes a routine that students come to expect which allows them to get right to work and not waste any of the 10 minutes.  It is very structured so students could basically run the stations themselves.  This is how I am able to pull small groups during ELA Rotations to help kiddos who are struggling in other subjects. 

This is an example of my rotation board.  I currently only do three rotations.  You can grab an editable version here.

Here is a rundown of my weekly schedule...

Monday-No Rotations-Everything is Whole Group

Word Study:  Take pretest to determine differentiated spelling list.  Go over the word family for the week.  Students highlight in different colors the parts of the word family in each word.

Vocabulary: Introduce five new vocabulary words.  Discuss parts of speech and use hand gestures and chants to show if it is a noun, verb, or adjective.  Work together to put each word in a detailed sentence.

Grammar: none

Tuesday- Rotations- 10 Minutes each

Word Study: Usually this is just practicing the word families with our Word Study Choice Board.

Vocabulary: Create a picture dictionary for each word.  Students draw a picture to represent each word and create a sentence to describe it. They do this in their spiral notebooks.

Grammar: This usually consists of a worksheet, center, or online game involving the weekly objective.

Wednesday- Rotations- 10 Minutes each

Word Study: Choice Board

Vocabulary: Dice Game- 
students roll a die and complete the task for that number.

Grammar: Worksheet, Center, or Online Game

Thursday- Rotations- 10 Minutes each

Word Study: Choice Board or Quiz a partner

Vocabulary: Sentence Construction Competition

Grammar: Worksheet, Center, or Online Game

Friday- Assessment Day

Word Study: Test

Vocabulary: Test- students write each word in a detailed
sentence using context clues.

Grammar: none


The following are links to the resources I use for ELA.

I hope this gave you some helpful tips and ideas!

Getting Ready for Book Clubs

Hello Darlings!  I've had a lot of questions about how to start Book Club Groups.  Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Decide on your Book Club groups by reading level.  I group them by DRA level.  I also use Running Records from The Reading and Writing Project here. Ex.  All my 28 M’s might be reading Magic Tree House and all my 38 P’s might be reading Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing.

I would not recommend more than 6 groups.  You may need to combine some levels.  For example if you have 3 kids at a level 28 M and 3 at a level 30 N, put them all in the 28 level.  It is ok to take kiddos down a level to do the work,  just not up.

If you have not already had your students in Book Clubs, you need to spend a day or two explaining your expectations and explaining  how to participate in Book Clubs.  Use the following anchor charts to help you. 

Your main goal here is to get students to realize that each member has a responsibility to the group.  Each member will also have new or similar ideas to share.  How will they share those ideas with their group?  Will they be a hog and hog the conversation and be the only one who talks?  Will they be a log, and just sit there like a bump on a log and not participate?  How will they be respectful?

I spend usually two-three days just talking about what I expect in clubs.  This is not SHOW and TELL or a sharing circle.  Kiddos need to work on RESPONDING to each others’ comments or asking a clarifying question.  This is where the Conversation Starter Bookmarks come in handy.  Practice using these during a Read Aloud so that you can model your expectations. You can get the Conversation Starter Bookmarks free here. 

Show students how to fill out their Book Log to record the amount of pages read.  Students should be able to read about 15 pages in 20 minutes or 30 pages in 40 minutes.  This also depends on how much you are asking them to Stop and Jot their thinking.  Stop and Jots can be done in a journal or composition notebook or written on sticky notes and placed in the book. If you need something more formal, you can find response log sheets in this pack.   

Scheduling Clubs

Depending on the makeup of your class, you could have all of your clubs occuring at the same time or you could create a schedule of when students meet.  With classes who could handle it, I usually did my lesson and then students met right after for ten minutes.  They then had their conversations and I made my way around to listen in to each group.  I would choose one group a day to meet with for more formal observations.

For classes who had more difficulty staying on task or self monitoring, I created a schedule to where I would meet with two clubs a day at two different times.  Students would have the rest of the reading time to read for their club and the entire next day to read.  They would have between 10-20 minutes the day before their meeting to read as well.  

This free editable schedule in my free resource library sign up.

Teacher’s Role in Book Clubs

During Book Clubs each day, you will be actively monitoring your students.  This means you will listen in on their conversations and record your observations in your Conference Sheet.  You will then be able to keep track of how far along students are in their books.  You need to be prepared to have a new set of books on hand for their group when they are ready.  Your lower groups will obviously get through more books than your higher groups. 

Through your observations, you will notice which groups are successful and which groups, or certain students, need extra support.  Groups that need extra support may need small group teaching and modeling from you.  You will not need to read each book as in Guided Reading Groups because you will be able to talk to your students about the general reading strategies.

You may also need to confer with students individually. The following is a suggestion for conferring.

Research Phase: try to understand what a child is already doing, trying to do, and cannot quite do as a reader.  Ask yourself “What is the most important lesson for this child on this day?”

Decision Phase: make a choice on what you will focus on today.  What skill will the reader be able to use today that will help him in the future to become a stronger reader?  This is done in your head.  You haven’t said anything to the child yet.

Compliment: Ask yourself, “What can I gush over?”  Pick something to compliment the child on.  They are vulnerable to you right now and your words will stick with them and affect how they approach reading.   Ex. Sally, I love how you have recorded your thinking in your reading journal.  I can look through here and see tracks of your thinking.  I see you had a question here and you thought this part here was really funny.  Good readers track their thinking!”

Teaching Point: Explicitly teach what you want the child to do either through guided practice, demonstration, or giving an example.

Link/Goal: Link what was learned in this conference to students’ ongoing work.  You want them to understand that everything they just learned here can be used for the rest of their lives in different subjects.

To get the general conferring Sheets I use click here.  The ones below are for my Mystery Book Club Unit.  

I hope this was helpful!

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