Planning for the New School Year

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Hey, y'all. Are totally lost about planning for next school year? I feel your pain. But it doesn't have to be stressful! 

First, you need to know what you're going to teach. 
Starting off the year normally includes going over rules and procedures, getting to know each other, and creating a positive classroom community. Distance learning should be no different. Your rules and procedures will look very different, but your overall goal will be the same. 

Then, you need to know how you're going to teach these things. 
If you're starting out online, what platforms are you using? Seesaw? Google Classroom? Class Dojo? I'd suggest a whole class Zoom session on the first day (at a minimum) to meet and greet and explain online learning expectations. 

If you're starting in person, plans for keeping supplies separate and social distancing should be part of your back to school plan. For ideas on organizing student supplies, check out this blog post. Given the current situation with COVID, I would highly suggest teaching your students how to use the online tools you plan to utilize as soon as possible in the event your school has to begin online learning fulltime again. 

And if your school is doing a combination of the two (A/B days or morning/afternoon groups), then you'll need to make a plan for how you're going to implement that. Are you going to do the direct teach when your students are with you and use their at-home learning time for independent practice, or are you going to use a flipped model and have students learn the bulk of the material at home online and practice these skills when they are in class with you? Both models have merit, so you'll need to choose which one works best with your grade level of students. 

Personally, with k-2 students, I would use my class time with them to do the direct teach and guided practice, then send the independent work home with them. I'd use our district online programs to reinforce learning as well. 

Finally, relationships and mental health are going to need to be a bigger priority now than in years past.
If you're reading this, you probably already focus on building relationships and a classroom community each year. This year, these things will need to take precedence in order to make sure you and your students are able to stay in contact should we have to go completely online again. Daily check-ins with students, whether you're in person or online, will need to be a priority. You can use a Google form (which would be super easy to start in person and keep up if you end up going online), a set of flip cards with different emotions on them, a daily graph on flip chart, dry erase board, or pocket chart, a Flipgrid forum page, or any other brilliant idea that works for you. 


I don't think there's going to be any one right way to do this next school year. With all the things up in the air and all the different options for returning, we're going to have to be prepared for just about anything. When our school shut down in March, I immediately wished we had had at least one day to make sure my students knew how to get logged into every single platform before we closed. They had had practice with some of the platforms, but there were others that were much more challenging, and there were technical problems that I hadn't anticipated on the families' ends. Now that I know, I can prepare my students to be able to login no matter what device they are working on. 

For a calendar of resources to get you started, check out these planning guides. There's one for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade, full of ideas for the whole school year. 


I know this was a lot to think about, but I hope it helps to bring you some clarity to this weird time we're living in. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more  ideas coming soon. Have a wonderful week and stay sweet!

Math and Science Centers in the Socially Distanced Classroom

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Hey, y'all. Social distancing has put a damper on this whole teaching littles thing. But you don't have to give up your centers yet. There are some work arounds.

Math Manipulatives:
The first obstacle is student manipulatives. Normally, I'd just put them in tub and students would get what they need. Now that students are going to need their own, it's time to divvy them up. But how to store them? 

I've seen people use three hole pencil bags in a binder for their manipulatives. I priced them and I'm just too cheap to purchase that many pencil bags for my students in addition to the binders. I just don't see them holding up. BUT I did find these awesome storage containers from Amazon. 

There are six in a set. I'd use 3 per student: one for snap cubes, one for base ten blocks, and one for pattern blocks or mini erasers. Students wouldn't have to have them all in their desks at once. I'd store one or two sets to keep things low-clutter. You could even have one per student, you'd just have to change them out mid- year. 

Science Tools:
When my students visit science stations, I usually have supplies set up in the station and students take what they need. Since they can't share supplies this year, plastic baggies are going to be my friend. I prep items for whole class lessons in advance and put student supplies in baggies in advance anyway. (It saves on time spent passing things out.) Now, I'll be doing it for their science centers, too. 

There are a couple of options with this: you could use sandwich bags and toss the each time you use them, you could write their names on the baggies and reuse them as many times as you can (you'd just have to make sure they stay clean), or you could use the boxes above for math manipulatives. You could write student's names on the outside and spray them with Lysol (or have the kids wipe them with wipes) when you collect them to refill them. 

Papers: 
In the past, students would pick up their recording sheet for their centers when they went to each station. But in order to minimize students touching things and spreading viruses, I'll be passing out papers before we start "stations" and students can put them in their notebooks before they get down to work. 

Directions:
Directions can be done in a few ways. You could do one station at a time whole class so all students get the directions at the same time. You could go over the directions before students begin and leave the direction cards displayed with the document camera. You could make copies of the directions for each student and slide them into the baggie with their supplies or just pass them out. This last way makes it easier for students to work at their own pace and refer back to directions as often as needed. 


Classes this year will look different, but you don't have to give up on all the things that make your classroom fun and engaging. Students may not be able to physically go to different stations, but that doesn't mean the stations can't go to them. It's just going to take a little creative thinking. 

For more information about stations, you can check out my first grade math stations here, second grade math here, and science stations here. I'm always adding new resources, so check back often. 

What else would you add to this list? How else could you modify stations without making a million copies of everything? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom this year. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon. 

 Stay sweet, 

Math Resources for Google Classroom

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Hey, y'all. Teaching online, either through distance learning, blended learning, or digital classroom learning, has its own set of challenges. How do we both deliver content and keep students engaged?

I've been using digital math units with our Google Classroom to make sure my littles are getting the content and I can check their progress. In the classroom, these units can be used as independent practice after whole class lessons have been delivered, but there is also plenty of content included.


This first unit is on 2D and 3D shapes. Students identify the shapes, count faces, edges, and vertices, and find examples of these shapes in the real world.


This second unit covers measurement with standard units. It includes examples of how to measure correctly, activities for practicing measuring, and a Google Form for assessing student's understanding quickly and easily. 


The fractions unit has slides covering how to read and write fractions, equal and unequal fractions, sorting fractions, and a self-checking Google Form quiz. And the arrays unit is setup very similarly. Students learn how to write repeated addition sentences with some guided practice in Google Slides, then jump over to the Google Form for some independent practice.  



These units have been used with my own classes and my students love them. They are easy for students to follow and for you to assign and check their work. 

I am adding new resources all the time, so check back often for new ideas. Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic week.

Stay sweet,

Camping and Summer Digital Math Centers

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Hey, y'all! We're finishing up the school year and it's time for some fun math centers. We do a "camp learn-a-lot" at the end of the year each year and do a whole camping theme for the last few weeks of school. 

During distance learning, digital math centers were a life saver. In the classroom, these centers make it easy for students to review skills learned throughout the school year without making a ton of copies or keeping up with pieces. 


The kindergarten set reviews comparing numbers, number order, skip counting, and adding and subtracting within 20. The first grade set reviews number order, fact families, comparing numbers, and 1 more/1 less, 10 more/10 less.


The second grade set reviews 2-digit addition with regrouping, comparing numbers, word problems, and skip counting. Each camping Boom Learning deck includes 40 cards with 8-12 cards covering each skill.


And finally, these summer cards reviews number order and missing numbers. Each slide has three sand pails with a missing number on one of them. Students click and drag the number that goes in the blank. There are two sets, one for numbers to 20 and one for numbers to 100, making it easy to differentiate for your students' needs.


These digital decks are fun and so easy to set up. There is no prep work, only to assign them to students and have them log in. Boom decks are self-grading making them a perfect learning center for students since it gives instant feedback and a breeze for you to monitor their progress. I only wish I had found Boom Learning sooner!

I am always adding new resources so check back frequently for more great ideas and lessons. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Stay sweet,

Digital Task Cards for Fun Fall Learning

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Hey, y'all. Are you looking for some beginning of the year centers or activities that your students can do anywhere? Boom cards are by far one of the easiest ways to keep the learning going whether your students are with you in the classroom or are learning from home. 

There's no prep (other than getting them logged in and assigning decks) and students can work anywhere they have a device--even on a parent's phone!


Letter matching cards have students matching the upper case letter from the palm tree to the lower case letter on the coconuts. This deck pairs well with a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom beginning of the year unit and this scavenger hunt.


Another center we love at the beginning of the year is our number order task cards. The digital version has the same cards, but can be worked on anywhere and, like all our Boom cards, is self-grading!


Halloween comparing numbers cards are super fun! Students drag the math symbol to the bat to show which number is bigger and which is smaller.

And the fall articles digital task cards are free! After learning when to use "a" and "an," students read the word and choose the correct article. As you can see in the picture, if students get the answer wrong, it circles it in red. When they click the correct answer, it's circled in green.


I love how Boom cards are self checking, students can complete them several times if needed in order to build mastery, and there's no paper or laminating involved. 

I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom this fall. I'm always adding new resources so check back often for more great resources. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful week.

Stay sweet,

Geography Boom Cards

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Hey, y'all. Are we done with quarantine yet? Maybe it's my wanderlust, maybe it's the fact that I love this states bundle, but I felt the need to create some geography Boom cards. 

The first set is a simple identify-the-state set. All 50 states are included. Each set is multiple choice and self correcting. You can easily see how well your students did with the teacher page on Boom.


The second set reviews state capitals


And the third set reviews continents and oceans. All three sets are available on the Boom Learning website as well as on TPT.


The beauty of Boom cards is that these can be used:
  • whole group on a computer or Smart board
  • in a center
  • one-on-one with students who need a refresher
  • as printable task cards or discussion cards
  • as exit tickets, just print and copy
I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom. I'm always adding new resources so check back often for new ideas. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Stay sweet,

Mindful Classroom Boom Cards

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Hey, y'all. In thinking about next year, I'm wanting to be able to create a mindful classroom in a fun way. I read this book a couple of summers ago and it made me rethink how I approached some things in my classroom. We've done mindful breathing and yoga movement breaks, but I also want to be able to review behavior in a way that sticks with my kids.

So, I made some behavior task cards for Boom Learning. Students read the description of the behavior (and use the visual support as needed), then decide if the behavior is a good choice or a bad choice. There are 20 different behavior examples covering walking in the hallway, keeping the chair down, using inside voices, and being nice to others.


I also made some cards reviewing big problem vs. little problem. Some of my most...boisterous... students have a hard time understanding the difference, so repeated review of these cards will help with student perception of certain issues. This deck includes 20 different scenarios, half of them big problems and half little problems.


Of course, deciding if it's a big problem or a little problem is just the beginning. Students also need to know what to do about it. The next set of cards gives students a scenario and two response options. Students decide which reaction is the best option. 


One of my favorite sets is this yoga moves set. There are 28 different poses, but the program plays ten at a time randomly. That way the kids have a different sequence each time and it doesn't become mindless. This is great for a whole group break, for fast finishers, or for anyone needing time in the cool down corner. The cards can even be printed and put in a photo album if you don't want the kiddo in the cool down corner using a tech device, or if you'd like to post them around the room.  


The beauty of Boom cards is that these can be used:
  • whole group on a computer or Smart board
  • in a center
  • one-on-one with students who need a refresher
  • as printable task cards or discussion cards
  • as exit tickets, just print and copy
I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom. I'm always adding new resources so check back often for new ideas. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Stay sweet,
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