Sunday, August 17, 2014

Clock Partners

My students buddy with their clock partners on a daily basis for a variety of reasons.  I love, love, love Clock Buddies.  

Follow these steps to ensure your students correctly fill out the “Clock Partner” form.

1. Copy “Clock Partner” form on BRIGHT color paper.  (You don’t want them to lose it.)

2.  Pass out this paper (along with a clipboard) and tell students to ONLY write their name in the box that says “My Name”.  You think this would be obvious, but not so much.  I also tell them to write their name on the back of the paper.  

3.  Play a little music.  After 20 seconds, stop music and tell children to find the person closest to them and stand back to back.  (If you have an odd number, then you will be partners with someone.  If you get a new student later in the year, then that new student takes your place as a partner.)

3.  At this point, MODEL how to switch papers with their partner.  I write my name next to 1:00 slot on my partner’s paper and my partner writes his name on the 1:00 slot on my paper.  

4.  Tell them to switch papers with their partner (the one they are standing back to back with) and ONLY fill in the 1:00 time slot.  

5.  Walk around and make sure students have filled out the 1:00 box correctly.  (I know this sound silly, but I promise it’s worth it!)

6.  Play music again for 20 seconds.  Stop and tell them to find person closest to them and stand back to back.  Tell them they are NOT allowed to stand next to the same person as last time.  (They will get a new partner each and every time!!!!  They will have 12 different partners when they are finished.)

7.  Once again- MODEL how to CORRECTLY switch papers.  Remind students to ONLY write in the 2:00 box.

8.  Continue until all boxes are filled out. 

********* NOW, I won’t lie.  It does get a little “confusing” a the end.  If they stop and find themselves back to back with someone they have already been partners with, then I tell them to come to the front of the room and stand by the Smart Board.  They are my “Lost & Found” kids.  I painstakingly pair them up one at a time.  Meanwhile, NOBODY is allowed to switch clipboards (aka- papers) until they hear it from me.  It looks like this:  

Bob, Mary, and Joe are standing at the front of the room.  (They have all been partners with each other, so I look at everyone else already standing back to back with a classmate.)

I say, “Who hasn’t been partners with Bob?”  Agatha raises her hand and I say, “Great.  Bob- go stand next to Agatha.”  Meanwhile, Agatha’s partner walks to the front.  HOPEFULLY, I can partner Agatha’s partner with Mary or Joe.  If not, I continue, “Who hasn’t been partners with Mary?”  Theresa raises her hand.  “Great.  Mary- go stand next to Theresa.”  Meanwhile, Theresa’s partner walks to the front.  HOPEFULLY, I can partner Theresa’s partner with Mary, Joe, or Agatha’s partner.  When I finally have everyone partnered together, then I announce, “Okay- switch clipboards and write your names in the ____ (time slot).”

I  recommend it to anyone and everyone.  :-)

At the beginning of the third quarter, I usually do this again and let them choose new partners. 

Common Question:

Do you choose different times at random (get with 1:00 partner/get with 6:00 partner…) or do you go down the line 1:00, 2:00, etc? 

I always choose random times.   Or, sometimes I’ll call on one student and let them pick what time we do.  (They like that one the best.)  If Im leaving plans for a sub, then Ill say- tell them to meet with their 6:00 oclock partner, etc. 

If somebody is absent, then Im partners with that kid. If you’re already partner with a kid- then those two kids become partner.  

I'm partners with Theresa at 1:00.
Mary’s partner is absent.
Now, Theresa and Mary are partners for that day.

Monday, August 11, 2014

You Matter!

I use clear packing tape and adhere this sign to each student’s desk in the top left corner.  

If you don’t have access to a color printer, you can always take it to Staples.  They will print a color copy for $0.42/page.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back to School

Do you ever wonder what to do with all those classroom supplies on the first day of school?  A few years ago, my sweet friend Donna shared her secret to success and it’s been magic ever since!

          The students rotate to three different “centers” on the first day.  You guessed it… of those “centers” is the teacher table.  Let me explain.  I split the students into three groups and each group completes each center.  (about 15 minutes per center)  Read center descriptions below.

1.  Mrs. Lee Center- Students meet me at the kidney-shaped table with their backpacks.  The students take EVERYTHING out of their backpacks and place on the table.  From there, I hold up an example of the supply I want and instruct them where to place it.  There is no more “Where does this go?” or “What I am supposed to do with this?”  Or, my favorite, “I don’t have that.”  (which, in reality means they didn’t know it was actually in their backpack)  It’s such a small group that I’m able to help sort through everything and they actually like helping the person next to them sort through everything.  Plus, I can answer any questions they have about their “stuff.”

2.  All About Me Center- Students stay at their desk and create an “All About Me” banner.  


3.  First Day of Second Grade Center- Students color a simple sign about their first day.  Later, I take a picture of the student holding that sign and use that picture in a yearbook movie I create at the end of the year.  

I also send home a "mini" award at the end of their first day.  I use scotch tape to attach a Starburst to the middle of the star.  (Or, sometimes I’m just lazy and give them the Starburst with the award.)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Do you recycle?

I love to recycle!  I actually have three recycling bins in my classroom and three recycling bins at home.  I admit that I'm one of those nutty people that will actually bring home an item that needs to be recycled if there is not a recycling bin near me!

I post these cute recycling signs above each bin.  


Monday, July 28, 2014

Teacher Blogs

I GHEARTG Teacher Blogs!

I love reading blogs.

I ABSOLUTELY love it!  

I currently have 53 blogs bookmarked on my Mac and “Open in Tabs” each and every day!

Reading about all these neat ideas might cause a sudden overwhelming feeling of teacher envy.  (and a sudden desire to go a little PIN crazy on Pinterest)

Or, so I’ve been told…..

Here is list of my top favorite 20 blogs. 
(Random Order)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Parent Donations

I admit this ecard is a little bit of an exaggeration,
but thought it was a great introduction to my next topic.

Class Celebrations and Parent Donations

Gone are the days when I ask each and every child to bring in a treat for a class celebration.  For the last few years, I've sent an email to each family with a small request.  I never want parents to feel obligated to send in a treat.  This method allows each parent to pick and choose when it is a good time to volunteer (if ever) to send in a treat.

The letter below is an example of an email I have sent to the students' parents.  It's amazing how fast parents reply to this email.  Once I have enough donations, I send out another email thanking everyone for their generosity.   Super simple and non-confrontational.  (My favorite part)


We will have a small classroom Halloween celebration THIS Thursday. Please let me know if you would be willing to send in any of the items below.  I want to make sure we don't receive duplicates, so I will reply with a "confirmation email" to verify your donation.

** a bag of apple slices

** Halloween themed-Oreos (or other Halloween type cookies)

** a bag of popcorn (already popped)  (You can buy these at Publix in the Deli section.)

** 16 juice boxes

Once again, please know how much I appreciate any and all donations.  Your generosity will make our  Halloween Party a success!!!

My Best,

Friday, June 20, 2014

Today is Wonderful because.....

Looking for a new student job?  This past year, I incorporated the "Good News Author" as a weekly student job.  Their job was simple.  They had to update our sign on a daily basis.  Just print, laminate, and make sure your students know where the baby wipes and Vis-a-Vis marker is located.