Teachers are heroes. Period, end of story in my book. Not only do teachers go into work each day with every intention to inspire our youth, but they do it with a passion that is unmatched. One of my favorite quotes about teachers is, “Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.” I see this quote come to life each and every day whether it’s in the eyes of the students I see at my own school or the photographs and stories I read about through this amazing online community.
It’s for these reasons and so many more that I’m honored to be able to celebrate my fellow teachers and the amazing work that you do with this fantastic giveaway and linky party! Lisa from Pawsitively Teaching and Marissa from Inspired Owl’s Corner put together this fantastic linky party for teachers to share some secrets from their classroom to help inspire others! That’s not all, after reading this post you have a chance to win NOT one prize bundle but TWO prize bundles! Wait for it…each bundle is valued over $475!!
I don’t know any other profession more deserving of these prizes! So I’ll keep you no longer, here are some of the tricks and trades of my classroom that make my days easier and run more smoothly.
I don’t know about you but I would not survive without my endless to-do lists. I am NOT by any means a person who has the organization fairy wand where everything that I touch turns to meticulous gold. I have tried many different ways to keep my school, personal, and business lives organized and have found that the most simplest things work the best. It goes along with that old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
I currently have three different to-do lists going right now. One that travels with me between home and school that has my to-do lists for around the house, personal things I hope to accomplish, and any blog or product ideas that come to mind on the run.
At school, I have two to-do lists going at a time. One is NOT picture worthy at all but at the sake of putting it all out on the line, I decided to show it! Every morning, besides my lesson plans I write out a simple list of our daily activities on a post-it note and stick it to my laptop. Whenever, we accomplish that activity during the day, I cross it off. I don’t know why but being able to look at the simple post-it at the end of the day and see everything crossed off gives me the greatest pleasure and sense of accomplishment! It’s the little things right?!
The next and my most favorite to-do list tool ever, is my C Jayne Teach desktop pad. It is the PERFECT teacher accessory and has been sitting atop my desk for a few years now. It has four sections: Things to Do, People to Email, Pages to Copy, and Students to See. If that doesn’t sum up a teacher’s daily necessities I don’t know what does! It has saved me time and time again for keeping all of my craziness in the classroom together. Need to email a parent after lunch? Write it on the list. Need to confer with a student during writing workshop? Write it on the list. Need to make math homework copies? Write it on the list. It is my very own personal assistant and I don’t want to think about the day when my pages run out!
My next teacher secret is one that is not really much of a secret! These Monday through Friday bins have been making their way around Pinterest for years. But, I’m here to tell you that if you only admired these bins from afar, now’s the time to convert and make a set of your own! They are my most helpful organizational tool in my classroom and keep me in check in so many ways.
Every Thursday I make my copies for the week ahead and fill these bins with ANY and ALL materials I might need for that day in the classroom. These bins are big enough that they fit picture books I’ll be using that day for read aloud, math manipulatives I need for a game that the class will be playing, copies for assignments that the students will be working on and any homework that will be going home that day. Leaving work on Thursday night knowing that I’m organized for the next week is a wonderful feeling!
There have been a few Monday mornings where I have been traveling and unable to make it into work or an unforeseen illness has kept me home and these bins provide the easiest way for substitutes to find all my materials. I even have an EXTRA bin on the bottom for catch-all materials. Any worksheets that have been copied that we didn’t have a chance to complete (ssshhh you all know it happens!) go into my extra bin.
If there’s ever an emergency and I’m not prepared, the substitute just has to reach into the extra bin and will find plenty of appropriate materials for my students to work through. This is on top of my emergency substitute plans that I put together at the beginning of the year.
Do you still use take home folders with your students? So did I, for a long time. But, I kept finding that my littles’ homework, notes, and spelling words were getting crumpled and mixed up with all of their other work. Tests weren’t getting home to families, permission slips weren’t coming back, and our book logs were getting lost and forgotten. I knew I needed to change my system up to make the take home system a student’s responsibility rather than the teachers or parents.
I have seen organizational binders before and had been introduced to them by my cooperating teacher during student teaching but took the plunge two years ago and never looked back! I created my B.I.R.D. binders to help my students stay organized, keep the lines of communication open between myself and the families, and have everything in one place! B.I.R.D is an acronym that I created that stands for Becoming Independent and Ready Daily. This B.I.R.D. binder goes back and forth between home and school every day with the students. Inside you will find a pocket for homework, a pocket for notes, a section in the binder for communication between family and teacher, a section for spelling lists, and a section for a book log.
Having all of these elements in one binder has helped keep my families, myself, and the students organized and up to date on everything we do in the classroom! I love that my students have all of their spelling lists for the year in one place, that way they can continue to review and practice words throughout the year. No more one and done with our spelling words! It has also been revolutionary for how I keep in touch with parents! I can write a quick note sharing that a student was a super student for the day! Or remind them about an upcoming activity that they need to be aware of. All I ask is for parents to initial that they read the message. My students are in charge of their B.I.R.D. binders and get so excited to go home and show their parents the positive notes from me!
I have recently updated my file in my store with all new fonts, clip art, and borders! Here are a few sneak peeks:
If you would like to see more of the B.I.R.D. binder visit my TpT store here! It would be great to get set up over the summer for your incoming students.
I hope these teacher secrets have given you some ideas and inspiration for your own classroom! They have been a huge time-saver for me over the years. Now for what you’ve all been waiting for! I don’t think a simple thank you is enough to show my appreciation for what teachers do and luckily neither do a lot of great educators. We’ve come together to create two AMAZING prize bundles for you to enter to win! Look at everything below and make sure to enter the rafflecopter for the chance to win! Remember, the more entries you do, the better chance you have to win! Good luck to everyone!
Just take a look at what you could win!!!!
Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS….$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
We aren’t finished yet!!! Look at everything a second lucky winner can win!!
Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS….$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!
Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here
Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here
You won’t want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers! Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.