Class Rotation Schedules (Reading, Math, & Spelling)

Monday, June 22, 2015

I am so excited today to share a wonderful idea for you that I have been using all year! I got this idea from my sweet friend Catherine who blogs over at The Brown Bag Teacher! She posted about how she organizes her math and reading rotations on Instagram earlier this year and I immediately knew I wanted to do something similar in my classroom. After talking about them with Catherine, I came up with class rotation schedules to use with my students.

I loved how clean and clear the layout was and I was ready to switch up my old system of keeping track of rotations.

We do rotations throughout the week during spelling, reading, and math. You can read more about our weekly reading and language arts schedule here. We usually do a version of the Daily 5 three days a week. Like Gale Boushey and Joan Moser (aka The 2 Sisters) note, Daily 5 is meant to be adapted to your classroom and schedule. So although I don't do everything the way they lay it out, I have found a method that works really well for my students and me! You may have to switch things around and find a way that works for you and your students!

One way that I have adapted the Daily 5 for my classroom is that we do four rotations a day instead of five. This ensures that students have enough time at each rotation to work on what they are doing.

Also, I use Words Their Way for spelling, so on Monday when students see me during "teacher time," I introduce their spelling words for the week and do the initial sort. We call these Spelling Rotations, which are different from our regular Daily 5 rotations because the students are in different groups for reading and spelling based on their reading/spelling levels. These change frequently throughout the year and I move students to different groups as the need arrises. 
Another change is that I usually schedule their rotations. My students have a lot of choice in our classroom in regards to where they work and whom they work with, but sometimes it just works better to have a pre-determined rotation schedule, especially during math, when I want two of my groups to wait to start their "at your seat" work until after they've done the lesson with me during teacher time. (Note: I almost always give my students a choice as to where they work... on the floor, standing up, at a friend's desk, etc. so even though this rotation is called "at your seat" they may not actually be at their seat.)

Also worth noting, when we do math rotations I have my highest group start at rotation 1: "at your seat." For us, this means that they start their math homework. We currently use Saxon math, which gives students 30 spiral review questions to do for homework every night. Since that would take way too much time for them to do it all at home, I give them time to work on it during class with a partner. My above grade level group starts on their homework before they meet with me for teacher time. Since the homework is spiral, many problems cover material that we have previously learned, so they are able to complete most of it prior to the lesson. If they come to a problem that is something we will be covering that day, they skip it until they have done the lesson with me. 

The thing that I love most about the Daily 5 is that you can structure it to fit your classroom. You can start by telling students which rotations to do when, and work up to giving them choices, or you can start with choices from the beginning. If you have a smart board or another way to display this rotation schedule electronically, it is nice because you can make changes as often as you would like to your rotation schedule. If you don't have access to that, you can always just print these off and display them under the document camera, or hang them up for the class to see. They not only keep students on track, but they also help me know which group of students I will be seeing at which rotation.

I've created an editable file for you to adapt to fit the needs of your classroom! You can change the font, colors, columns, and text to whatever you would like! You can access it by clicking on the picture below!

If you are interested in using these rotation schedules in your classroom, you can get them for free here. The fonts I used are:
KG Call Me Maybe
KG Camden Market Script
KG Second Chances Solid

For the fonts to show up correctly when you open the Powerpoint, please download and install these fonts on your computer prior to opening the presentation!

You can see how Catherine uses her version in the primary grades by visiting her blog post at The Brown Bag Teacher.

Hope your summer is off to a great start!

Fabulous Teacher Giveaway!

Monday, June 15, 2015

I am so excited to bring you a fabulous giveaway from some of your favorite teacher bloggers. We are giving away TWO prizes! A $260 Target Gift Card and a TPT bundle valued at almost $100! Please see the rafflecopter below for how to enter. Best of luck!

Teach. Inspire. Change.


Our TPT Bundle includes the following items (all valued at almost $100!)

When You Enter This Classroom... Door Decor

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Earlier this year I posted a picture of my classroom door and I've received a lot of questions from teachers who wanted to replicate it!
Well, I've finally put everything together in one nice little file for all of you, along with some details on how I created the design! I had several questions asking if my door is painted black, and the answer is no, I actually covered it with black paper!

The white writing is done in a white Chalk Ink marker.
The white marker comes either in a pack of four, or in a pack with other colors. I actually own both packs!

I wrote out the lettering on the top of the door first, and then taped on the banners that spell out CLASSROOM. I held the banners up first to try to figure out spacing and make sure they all fit! The next part of the door I wrote out "you are" in chalk ink and then I taped on the word where I wanted it.

I loved using the chalk ink when decorating my classroom door and definitely would do it again! It is a great alternative to cutting out lots of different letters to tape up!

The door was not my original idea, rather it was inspired by many images of posters and other teachers' classroom doors on Pinterest! 

Student Sunglass Gift Tag Freebie!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Is it really almost June? This year has absolutely flown by! I have the sweetest group of students and I can't believe our time together is almost over! I am cherishing every minute with them these last few weeks!

Today I am joining some fabulous SoCal bloggers to bring you some end-of-the-year freebies!

The weather is always perfect in June and I like to send my students off to start their summer with some fun sunglasses! In previous years I've found cheap sunglasses at the Target Dollar Spot, but last year I found these ones from Amazon! They probably didn't last long and the lenses had some scratches, but they were cheap and my students loved them!

Click the image below to grab the Sunglass Tags for free in my TPT store!
And enter the giveaway here!

End of the Year Gifts Updated!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

We still have 7 weeks of school left, but I know there are many schools that are in their last few weeks so I wanted to post about my end-of-the-year student gift for those of you who are almost done! For many years now I have given my students this special end-of-the-year Survival Kit for Life! Recently it got a little face lift as well as options without food and a shopping list! This gift is always such a special way to end the year and let my students know how much I care for them and leave them some reminders as they go on from our classroom!

I've always done this in the past using small sand pails from Michaels, but this year I saw a cute idea using these colorful water bottles from Michaels and decided to give it a try! (Thanks to The Bubbly Blond Teacher for the idea! The survival kit printable and items all fit nicely into the water bottles! Also, I tried out Alisha's idea of  writing my students' names on the bottles using a Sharpie Paint Pen. I practiced on paper first and then just wrote their names with a few swirls and accents at the end of the letters! I don't know if they names held up after a wash in the dishwasher, but they looked cute when I gave them to my students and they were beyond excited about their customized gifts!

One thing that I especially love about the Survival Kit for Life gift is that it is meaningful and fairly inexpensive. Some of the items you may need to buy, both others you may already have at home or in your classroom!

After opening up and laying out all the materials, I load the water bottles (or sand buckets, or whatever I decide to use as the "container" that year) assembly-style! It is pretty easy and quick!

When I use sand buckets, I sometimes punch a hole in the tag and tie it to the handle with a cute ribbon. I did this for the water bottles and it worked, but I later decided that it would probably be easier to just include the label inside the water bottle. That way I wouldn't have to worry about them falling off!

If you are looking for a fun and easy end-of-the-year gift for your students, you can download the tags for free here! There are three different versions to choose from (one sans PopRocks and one without any food)!

I don't know about you all but I am always sad to see my students leave on the last day of school after the whole year we spent learning and getting to know each other! I always read this tag to my students when I give them their gift and there are always tears... from both me and them! Just a word of warning if you get emotional on the last day too! 

To see the Survival Kits with sand buckets and another great end-of-the-year freebie gift you can see my post here!

5 Tips for Conquering Stressful Days in the Classroom

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Tuesday! I'm back again today with another great giveaway and some tips to help keep you and your students stress free during the end of the year! Today I'm sharing 5 Tips for Conquering Stressful Days!

1. Give Students Extra Reading Time
Reading time is very precious time in our classroom. My students are so appreciative of any time they have to squeeze in extra reading! During testing or super busy days, I make sure to give them time to relax and enjoy a good book! They love getting comfortable when they read (hey, don't we all?!) so I let them spread out around the classroom in their favorite spots. 

2. Listen to Music
Music is a great way to add to the mood of your classroom environment! We almost always play music when students are working. We have a variety of music, from upbeat songs to relaxing music that we play during writing. Putumayo has great CDs from many cultures around the world! These are two of our favorites that we play all the time!

African Playground
European Playground

3. Display Positive Quotes
Having positive quotes around the classroom helps bring joy to the classroom! I created posters and printed off some of my favorite quotes at the beginning of the year that are in frames and up at the front of our classroom!

4. Be inspired by Kid President
My students love Kid President! He is full of so many great words of wisdom and he is hilarious too! We watch his YouTube videos when we need a "Pep Talk" and I was super excited to see that he even came out with his own book! This book has a lot more content than I thought it would! It is too much to read everything to my students, but we have been reading a few of his tips on being awesome every day! It includes some serious advice, but also some fun advice too!

5. Dance to GoNoodle
If you haven't heard of GoNoodle yet, you should definitely go check it out! They have lots of great, fun songs that get students out of their seats and dancing! They also have relaxing stretch routines and longer "mega mixes" for indoor recess or P.E.! My students absolutely love GoNoodle!

(Their favorite song is Pop See Ko!)

Now for the giveaway! 

For this giveaway I've teamed up with some fabulous 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade bloggers! There are 4 prizes and 4 winners! You only have to enter using the Rafflecopter once! To see the other prizes you are in the running for, simply click on the right arrow underneath the prize!

$100 Gift Card and TPT Product Giveaway!

Monday, April 20, 2015

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Hi friends!

I've been teaming up with some amazing teachers and we have a couple great giveaways coming your way this week!

For the first giveaway we're so excited to be able to give away two great prizes to our wonderful followers. The first prize is a $100 gift card to Target! The second prize is an incredible bundle of TPT products valued at over $40! Please see the list below of the TPT products that are included in the bundle!



TPT Product Bundle Giveaway

The Colorful Genre Posters are one of my best sellers that can be used across many grade levels and I'm sure the winner will love these along with all the other amazing products in the TPT Bundle!

You can enter for both of these great prizes below! Good luck! 

Using Technology to Create Connections Beyond the Classroom

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Last weekend I attended the CUE annual conference in Palm Spring with some of my favorite teachers!
Kay from A Little Tech

We were only at the conference for two days, but we attended several fantastic sessions on technology integration in the classroom.

I always love going to conferences and learning many great ideas from other teachers! Several sessions addressed using technology to "break out of the classroom" and connect our students with classes and professionals around the world.

There are three ways we are doing this in my classroom:

We have had a class Twitter account since the beginning of the year, but usually I am the only one who uploads pictures to it. This week we started having a "tweeter of the day" to post what we are doing in class on our class Twitter account! This helps me make sure that we are keeping our account updated because sometimes I would forget about tweeting but my students will definitely remember when they are the "tweeter of the day!" Also, it creates more excitement about out Twitter account and my students are more likely now to go home and make sure their parents are checking out what we are posting!

A photo posted by Molly (@lessonswithlaughter) on

Kidblog is an amazing platform if you are interested in having your students blog. It is easy-to-use for both the teacher and students. I have been using Kidblog for the past 3 years with my students and they have blogged about everything from field trips to reading responses!

The first time I used Skype in the classroom was a couple years ago when we Skyped with a friend's class and took turns reading the Pourquoi Tales that we had written. It was a wonderful experience and my students loved it, however we hadn't Skyped with another class since then! After attending this conference I was determined to start connecting with other classes and with other professionals through "mystery skypes." We did a mystery number Skype with Sandy's class on Friday and our students had a blast! We have a "mystery career" Skype set up for Monday which they are really excited for as well!

I'm working on more blog posts that go into our class twitter account, Kidblog, and Mystery Skype sessions in more detail, but hopefully this gets you inspired to check out these amazing resources for creating connections beyond your classroom!


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