Teachers that Give: A Simple Tip to Winter Success

' Tis the season to be thankful, to share, and to give! And that is exactly what I plan to do all holiday season long. I am linking up with two of my friends, Megan of Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris and Jessica of Notes from the Portable for Teachers That Give!

How do I survive the holiday season with a class full?

of excited children? Simple. I don’t have a fancy trick, and you have probably heard of or used this trick before yourself. But, it is one that I always use, and it keeps the crazies a little less… crazy.

An estimation jar! Yup, simple. It works for every grade! You can use an estimation jar in many ways. You can put a daily surprise inside or a weekly surprise. Either way, the closest estimation wins the contents of the jar. I like to do a daily estimation jar. It reinforces positive behaviors and gives that reminder each day that today could be your day.

I put the jar on my table or nearby. The estimation slips and a container sit next to it. I start strong, giving out estimation slips constantly for positive behavior. Kids learn to quickly make their estimation, fold it, put it in the container, and go back to work so they can earn another.  The closer we get to winter break and the more excited they get it get harder to earn a slip, or sometimes easier depending on your class.

Make it work for you….

*Give a range (between 100-200, or less that 350)

*Pick behaviors you want to promote that will earn an estimation slip

*Have the winner set it up for the next day/week

*Start with smaller amounts until they grasp estimating

To make life easy, you can get the estimation slips (color and black & white) I use for free. Click the picture below.

I am thankful for all of you that clicked, google, or however you discovered this post! So, to show my thanks I am giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon! Who doesn’t love Amazon? Enter below, good luck my friends.

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Adult Brags: Reward Yourself

This year I took the leap and started using brag tags with my kids and BOY did it change the game! No more treasure box! Quick, easy motivation! Even kids who don't love wearing their brag tags want to earn them. 

I have this beautiful bulletin board of our brag tags in my room that I just adore. 

My assistant principal walked in one day and asked about them, so of course I explained. She commented that she wish she had a brag tag for making dinner... and then it hit me. Why shouldn't we earn brag tags for adulting??

Adult brag tags were born that night. I love thinking up new brag tags. So far I have made....

 Currently, I am just handing them out to my friends at work, and they find it hilarious. Our staff is pretty big, and I don't want to hurt feelings, so I made one to put in everyone's mailbox: I made someone smile!

You can get this growing pack in my TPT store. Get it now, because as I add more the price will increase. Click HERE or the picture below to check them out! 

A Fresh, New Look All Around

Finally, a new look for Snazzy in Second! I have wanted to upgrade my design for a long time now, just never bit the bullet. I decided to commit to a new design right before the TPT conference this summer, and it is finally done. The wonderful Tenille from Designs by Tenille did a fabulous job (I think)! 
I sent her the business card I designed and then let her go from there. 

I think she nailed the 'snazzy' look perfectly. She was so easy to work with too!

She also created new images for Facebook too. Hope on over and check it out.

I have also spent the time since the TPT conference re-branding my store. I wanted a concise look, something that people would see and know it was Snazzy in Second. I still have a lot more work to do, but I am about halfway done.

I am really hoping this new design motivates me to blog more! Back to college football and lesson plans. 

Starting the Year Off Strong!

That first day of school can be nerve wrecking whether you are a veteran teacher with years of experience or a first-year teacher straight out of college.

You want the first day to be perfect. You want to have fun, but also set the tone for the year. You need to establish your schedule, expectations, routines, and procedures so the rest of the year will be flawless (ha! we wish).

I am taking some of my free time (between binging on Netflix) to reflect on some of these things. A new school year brings a chance to start new procedures or revamp old ones. I wanted to share some of the things on my mind with you.

Classroom Policies

*Supplies: Table supplies have always been a weakness for me. I use table caddies and they start off strong, but they always end up messy by the third week. This year I am going to follow through with maintaining organization of table supplies. I plan to implement a new class job that will monitor their table throughout the week. How do you want your students to get their supplies when needed? What if Johnny lost his scissors? What if table 4 is out of glue sticks… again? 

Moving About
*Bathroom: I have a good system in place for students needing to use the restroom, but it could be a bit better. Occasionally I forget when someone is out of the room, I have to quickly glance around and see if anyone is missing before I allow a student to go. Those few seconds are instructional time I do not like to waste. To solve this problem I am going to use hand sanitizer bottles like passes. Students will know not to signal for the bathroom if the bottle isn’t in it’s ‘home’. You can get my hand sanitizer labels for free HERE. Will your students ask or signal to go to the bathroom? Will they use a pass or sign out?

*Pack Up / Dismissal: Ugh! The most chaotic part of my day is pack-up and dismissal. I start out with a firm routine and then a crazy-hectic day comes in and throws us off. It is hard to recover. This year we have specials at the end of the day and will need to pack-up before. I am hoping this will help prevent the chaos. Will you call tables to pack-up? Do you need to sign agendas? When a student is done packing up, where will they sit? What will they do until they are called for dismissal?

*Homework: I have a designated spot in my room to turn in homework. When I check homework there are always papers with no name on it. It drives me CRAZY! I don’t have this problem with classwork, because students highlight their name before turning it in. Next year I will enforce highlighting your name on your homework too. Where do students turn in their homework? Will you check it or a student? When will it get checked? What if they didn’t put their name on it?

Lesson Procedures
*Early Finishers: Inevitably, no matter how well I thought out a lesson and included enrichment, Johnny is always done early. His work is correct, there is no sending him back to “check” it. A few years ago I invented the Brownie Points box for early finishers. Last year I had a different procedure in place. What will Johnny do when he is done? Will you have a system in place or will they read quietly?

*Answering Questions: I never considered this procedure a trouble spot, until I visited Ron Clark Academy. Wow! Every teacher MUST go, that school is inspirational. One of my biggest take-aways was how the kids answered questions and responded to each other. They don’t raise their hands, they just pop-up and speak. I started this towards the end of last school year, and plan to implement it from day one next year. Will you have your students raise their hand? What if they have a question while you are working with a small group?

You can sit and ponder these things in between Netflix shows or at the pool, but my friend Jessica over at Notes from the Portable and I did all the thinking for you. We answered these questions plus many, many more in our Teaching Tips and Time Savers ebook. Whether you are a super-organized teacher or a little more relaxed we have multiple strategies, tools, and forms for you. We also provided editable classroom forms to make your life easier.  

Jessica also has 29 Things You Need to Know Before the First Day of School! Hop on over and check out her list… she has FREEBIES! J

Making Life Easy with Symbaloo

Do you Symbaloo? Symb-what? Ok, behind everybody does by now… but if you don’t use Symbaloo you must!  Symbaloo is a website of your favorite websites!

I don’t recall when exactly I first started using Symbaloo… sometime after my work computer had to be reimaged 4 times my first year teaching and I lost all of my saved favorites over and over again. I can’t function without access to my favorite websites.

So, let me take you on a tour of my Symbaloo and how I use it.

This is my homepage when I open up Chrome. You can see I like it organized.

So, it is a great place to save your favorites because you will never lose them since it is on the web versus on your computer. But what else is it good for?

Raise your hand if you ever show a short video as a hook. Exactly! Everybody! Now, there are ways to get around the ads on You Tube, but Syabaloo not only does that, but it can also be a place to house all those clips year are after year.

At the top of your ‘homemix’ you can add tabs or ‘webmixes’. I added one for each subject.

Within each different tab I can save all my web resources for that content area. Simple! Genius!

Here is a peak at some of my tabs/webmixes.

I just cleaned this one up. I use math videos all the time, some better than others, and some needed to go.

What else is cool about Symbaloo… you can create a webmix to share and save Google Drive documents. Say what?! YES! You can save your google docs to a tile on Symbaloo, just make sure that you allow access to share.

I have complied some great webmixes that other people have put together, all in one great place…. where is this list? Pinterest of course! Check it out, and I hope you fall in love with Symbaloo just as I have!

If you have any other great ways you have used Symbaloo I would love to hear about it.

Using Infopics in the Classroom

Wait, what is an infopic? An informational picture, of course!
You’ve probably made one, just never thought of what it would be called. On my first day of summer vacation I attended a technology conference, where I got to hear Tony Vincent speak about how to create infopics.  When you see something you are more likely to remember it. That got me thinking… how can we use these in our classrooms.

First of all, Tony has an awesome list of apps you can use to create infopics (iOS and android). Here are a few that I love, that are also user friendly for the students.

Now that you have the apps to make them, let’s stick them in some lesson plans. But how?

1. Famous People: Describe those historical figures you have been teaching about.

2. Vocabulary: Find a picture and add the definition, synonym, antonym, or use it in a sentence.

3. Classroom Procedures & Rules: Have students take pictures of symbols for certain class procedures and describe it.

4. Math Problems: Have students write their own real world problem, then have a partner solve.

5. Book Reviews

6. Figurative Language: An idea for a culminating project could be to create an infopic for each type of figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, idiom, etc.)

Infopics are relevant to today’s culture. Kids have seen them floating around the internet… have you showed them a funny meme? Why not make learning fun by creating this connection, and helping them remember the content through use of visuals!

May Currently ..... That is a Wrap

It's May and this is my first post of 2016.... how sad is that?! Want to know something else that is sad... Farely at Oh Boy, It's Farley is hosting her final Currently. This was the first blog series I started linking up with, and although I haven't participated recently, it will be sad to delete my monthly calendar reminder to link up. So, although I have a billion things to do and a baby to cuddle, I had to take five minutes to link up for her very last Currently.

Want to see what else I have been up to? I am more active on Instagram: @snazzyinsecond so check me out. And, this is my promise to you... I will post more this summer!