Thursday, September 10, 2020

Judy Moody was in a Mood - Great Beginning of the School Year Book

Judy Moody was in a mood is my favorite chapter book to use for the beginning of the school year for back to school. 

Boys and girls enjoy it.  The students are engaged and excited to learn more about Judy’s antics.

I have a class set so that students can follow along as I read aloud.  They also have time to read individually and in small groups.  They are able to refer to the book to complete comprehension questions.

This book is great to use at the beginning of the year as it begins with Judy’s dread of going back to school.  

There are so many cool and interesting things that happen in the book. You can easily use this book for an entire month as there are so many things to expand on and learn.

This book lends itself to developing so many fun learning opportunities.  

Included in my TpT unit are:

If you are interested in purchasing this for your own class, click here to grab it for a super low price!

Keeping the learning fun and enjoyable.  That's just...


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Five Easy Ways to Keep Students Engaged in Learning

Keeping a balance of learning, working, skills practice, rigor, and ALL. THE. THINGS while also keeping students engaged for the entire day can seem overwhelming.  The good news is...
It DOESN'T HAVE TO BE!!  That's right!!

Do you ever ask yourself any of the following questions?

  • How do I ensure that my students are engaged and learning?
  • What are some easy, fun, and effective ways that I can engage my students?
  • How can I motivate my students to be engaged in their learning?
If you just answered yes to any of these questions and all of the other worries that keep you awake at night, keep reading!

During my many years of teaching, I found a few sure-fire ways to keep my students interested with these five easy and fun ideas.  You can spread them throughout your day to keep students engaged in learning for the entire day!


Honestly, I can't say enough about the importance of using games in the classroom.  Pause for just a half of a second and think back to your own childhood.

Maybe those games were board games, card games, digital games, or outdoor games.

(Be honest, I bet you just thought of a happy memory or two, didn't you?)

Games can be a powerful way to motivate students.

That sentence bears repeating.

In my classroom, we used games every chance we had.  

Try it.

You will see your engagement skyrocket! 


Centers can be used throughout the day.  Not only is this a meaningful way to engage students, but it's
also a way for you to focus on time management to cover more material in a small amount of time.

Centers are commonly used during ELA and math, but you can also cover a lot of material by having a
dedicated time for centers during social studies and science.

Hands-on Activities

Adding hands-on activities into your classroom is one of the most fun and simple ways to 
increase engagement in your classroom.  These morning tub activities will incorporate fun ways to 
engage in academic learning.


Scoot games are a favorite in many classrooms and are a great way to involve your students with some
movement in their learning.  Other ways to give students active learning opportunities is to use task 
or stand up and sit down.  Brain breaks where students pretend to climb a tree or move like an animal, 
complete a few exercises, or a 30-second dance-off are quick activities to keep your students engaged 
as well.


Students are proficient with technology.  They use it all the time.  Keeping students engaged using
technology is one of the easiest things you can do.  Especially, if it involves games AND academics.
(Win! Win!)  Assigning students digital task cards, writing prompts, interactive games, etc. will keep
your most reluctant learner in the classroom engaged.

Here's a great freebie for you to use to add to your own center time.

Click on this picture to pin to your favorite board about adding student engagement so that you can visit again and share with others.

I hope you found some inspiration and encouragement from this post.  Sharing my many years of 
experience is just...

My Kind of Teaching

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Fourth Grade Morning Tubs for August

Students and teachers alike are so excited to use morning tubs in 4th grade.

Morning tubs have been used successfully for many years in the lower grades as a way for students to practice necessary skills.

Teachers are discovering that morning tubs don't have to be exclusive to kindergarten.  They are a great addition to upper grades as well!

Even your most reluctant students will love using these activities to practice fourth grade skills in math, language arts, critical thinking, and fine motor skills.

These are so versatile and can find a place in your classroom for morning work upon arrival to school, centers, and as activities for early finishers.

If you are looking for a new way to add some fun and play to your day and an alternative to worksheet
practice, these morning tubs might just be right for you. 

See the pictures below for all activities included in the 4th Grade August Morning Tubs.

Skip-counting up to 100,000

Skip-counting puzzles to 100,000

True or False Number Comparison
True or False Comparisons

Multiplication FactsMultiplication Facts

Place Value
Place Value

Counting back change for money

Elapsed Time
Elapsed Time

Measurement Estimation



Sight Words Game
Sight Word Game



Narrative Writing

Alphabetical Order

Alphabetical Order

Noun Sort

Noun Sort

Sentences and Sentence Fragments

Sentences & Sentence Fragments

Long Vowel Puzzles

Long Vowels

Fix the Sentences

Fix the Sentences



Fine Motor Maze

Follow Directions Shapes
Fine Motor Shapes

Fine Motor Tracing

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

If you are interested in adding these engaging hands-on activities to

Keeping learning fun.  That's...

My Kind of Teaching

Monday, August 17, 2020

Time Management Tips for Teachers: Simple and Easy Monthly Menu Planning

You've worked hard All. Day. Long.

You arrive home and the first words out of your family's mouth is, "What's for dinner?"

No high-fives for an awesome day.  

No sympathy or concern about the rough day you experienced.

No talking it through.

No, you've come home to a hungry crowd and they are demanding to be fed.

Wouldn't you love to change all of the above?

The answer is so easy and so simple.  

Monthly Menu Planning will help with time management in your life.

You'll even find that you have time for some rest and relaxation each afternoon.

Best of all?  Your family will be invested and involved with this plan taking some of the responsibility off of your shoulders!

Steps for Easy Menu Planning

Step 1:  Make a List

What are your go-to meals?  What about elaborate meals?  Your all time favorite meals?

Brainstorm a list of these meals.  I like to use this FREE form to make a master list.  

Step 2:  Plan Meals Around the Ingredients You Have

By planning meals around the items that are in your pantry/refrigerator/freezer and the list of items you plan to purchase, you will save time during the month by not making multiple trips to the grocery store.

Step 3:  Include Your Family

Including your family once a month for menu planning is a great learning activity for the kids and keeps everyone involved and invested.  Have your family help fill out the Master List of Menus that you downloaded above.  Make sure that each family member has his/her favorite dishes/meals included each month.

Step 4:  Plan Out Your Month on a Calendar

I like to plan my month in PENCIL.  Inevitably, something happens to change at least one night during the month.  Think about these things before listing your meals:

  • Is there a set night of the week for church, sports, meetings, etc.
  • Is there an activity one or two afternoons a week that makes you arrive home later?  (conferences, PLC, faculty meeting, kids soccer practice, piano lessons, etc.)
  • Is there a day of the week that you are always super tired?  (Mine is always Monday and Thursday.)
  • Do you like cooking a big Sunday meal?
  • Do you have the same meal one night a week?  (ex:  taco Tuesday or pizza Friday)

Keep these answers in mind as you pencil in your monthly menus.  My personal plan always includes:
  • one or two "easy" nights
  • a night for someone else to cook (Remember, even younger children can put a loaf of bread, cold cuts, chips, and plates on the table.)
  • a leftover night (Keep younger children busy while you rest by letting them make menus of the foods available.)

Refer to #3 above and include your family.  Let each family member choose his/her favorite menu and pencil it in on a night that will work best.  

Complete the entire month and hang the calendar on the fridge so that all family members have access.

(Don't forget to save this pin to your favorite Pinterest board so you can refer to this post as needed.)

Step 5:  "What's for Dinner?"

Each night of the week, quickly check your menu for the next evening's planned menu.  Prep ingredients or remove items from the freezer that need to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  Set out the crockpot if you need to add items the next morning before heading to school.  

You will no longer have to start thinking about your "second job" of cooking dinner every.  You can now come home to rest and relax for a bit because you have a plan in place for the evening's meal.

Best of all, when your family asks, "What's for dinner?" Just point to the refrig while laying on the couch without opening your eyes or saying a word.  

Helping you with a plan and some rest time after a long day of work.  That's just...

My Kind of Teaching

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Classroom Management Tools: Using a Calendar to Maximize Time Management in Your Classroom

Using a calendar to help with time management can be elaborate or simple, expensive or frugal, and anywhere in between.   The important thing is to use one that works best for you.

RELATED:  Editable Calendars and Newsletters

The main purpose of using a calendar in your classroom is to make your life easier.  Planning out your week, month, and the year is one of the easiest ways to keep everything running like a well-oiled machine and help with time management in the classroom.

Simply put, a calendar is one of the most efficient classroom management tools at your disposal. 

Use these ideas to master your calendar and manage your time for maximum results throughout the year.

1- Map Out Your Year – Pencil in your units that you will be teaching this year using your district curriculum map so that you know what you will be teaching and when.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate but putting it down on the calendar will help you with dates.

RELATED:  No Prep Centers for August

2- Add important dates such as holidays, parent conference dates, early release days, etc.  During the year, you will be glad to have these details available to you in one central location.  

3-Write recurring events such as monthly faculty meetings, weekly PLC meetings, a change to your daily routine (ex: the library is every other Wed @ 10:00, etc.)

4-When you get your class list and student information, add your students birthdays to your calendar.

RELATED:  Morning Tubs Setting the Tone for Success This Year

Now that you have everything that is readily known to you at the beginning of the year in one central location, weekly and monthly planning will be so much easier.  You have a roadmap ready to go.  Knowing where you are going this school year is a huge stepping stone to maximize time management in your classroom.

Grab a freebie to help you with more time savers with these FREE No Prep Centers!

Helping you to work smarter, not harder this year is just...

My Kind of Teaching