Decorating Your Classroom on a TIGHT Budget!

Let’s get real. It is a fact that teachers spend a ton of their own money on their classrooms. It can especially get expensive at the beginning of a new school year when you want to make your classroom look like the beautiful Pinterest-ready classrooms you’ve been pinning and saving to your classroom d├ęcor board.

Decorate your elementary classroom using colors and more low budget ideas.

While having a theme in your classroom makes an otherwise plain room look cohesive and beautiful, it can easily take a large chunk of money, so I want to share with you how you can create a beautiful classroom on a budget.

If you have already chosen a theme for your classroom, select 2-3 colors that compliment your theme.

Select 2-3 colors to compliment your classroom theme.

The colors can be highlighted throughout your classroom.

An even better solution to a beautiful classroom is using mostly colors instead of a specific theme. It will be much friendlier to your budget!

Here are some ideas to find inexpensive items for your classroom.

Visit yard sales both in person and online during the summer. If you have a couple of colors you are focused on, you will easily find things both expected and unexpected that will match your classroom.

• Other places to visit might be Facebook Market Place and thrift stores.

• Make a post on social media asking if anyone has anything to donate to your classroom. You will be amazed at the people who have things to give away. Some of the things I have gotten for my classroom by simply asking are lamps, pillows, furniture, school supplies, baskets for storage, stuffed animals for reading buddies, board games, and so much more!

Visit yardsales to find things for the classroom.

When I moved to a flexible seating classroom, I changed my entire room with very little money. For more information,  to find out a few more ways how I saved money.

If you are feeling super brave and plan on using flexible seating, you might like to also read these two blog posts.

Doors and Bulletin Boards

One last area to consider for your classroom is how to decorate your bulletin boards and your classroom door.

Use fabric on bulletin boards and doors in the classroom.

• Using material to cover your bulletin boards will last all year and can be reused from year to year. In addition, you can find colors to compliment the rest of your room and add a plain border to enhance the board.

• Cut out shapes from bright copy paper and write your students' names on them. Unless you plan on using them longer than the first few weeks, save time and don’t laminate. Add this “” freebie, and your door will be bright and beautiful.

• These easy-to-make bulletin board dots will add function and color all around your classroom! 

Decorate your elementary classroom using colors and more low budget ideas.

 I hope you found some nuggets to help you as you plan out your classroom. That's my...

A New Take on Classroom Morning Work

Starting your day with a consistent routine is key to building a foundation of success for your students. Your students need to know what to expect from the moment they walk into your classroom each morning. When you implement meaningful activities and have a consistent routine, you are setting up your students for success. Classroom morning work is the perfect way to start each day. Morning work should be easy to manage and meaningful to your students.

These fun and engaging, no prep morning work slides will keep your kids excited to practice important social studies and science skills throughout the entire school year.

Why Morning Work is So Valuable

Morning work is the key to starting your student's day in a meaningful and calm way.

The first few minutes of class are crucial. What your students do in those few minutes sets the tone for the rest of the day. When you implement a consistent routine, students learn what is expected and can jump in independently. This frees you up to take care of those daily administrative tasks like attendance and lunch choice.

Since students have a consistent routine they can develop independence skills. Before you know it, your students will be arriving, unpacking, and getting started on meaningful work activities. This structured time allows students to work on their own helping them build independence and show responsibility.

Not Your Typical Morning Work

If you have struggled to find morning work that keeps students learning and engaged, you are not alone! I have been there. I knew the importance of developing a consistent morning routine, but I could never find that perfect lesson to help me with providing a consistent learning routine for starting our day. Most morning work options I found focused solely on math and/or language arts skills. While this is great I wanted something more.

Instead of worksheets, these engaging powerpoint slides keep your students excited to practice key social studies and science concepts.Because of those challenges, I created these paperless, no prep, science and social studies based morning work activities. While students will apply language arts and math skills they do so through the engagement of science and social studies topics. My students look forward to completing the different tasks each morning and are always excited to see what they will learn. 

The classroom morning work consists of a variety of activities for students to complete. Each day presents challenges along with fun and engaging mini-lessons. Some of these lessons have a video to help students dive deeper, as well as provide a visual for a better understanding.

This interactive resource is so easy to use. Simply project the calendar onto your screen, click on the day’s date, and let the fun begin! Your students will be eager to start their day.

Morning Work Activities Explained

Weird and Wacky Science Fact

Students will learn a science fact by viewing an image, reading text, and watching a video. It's a great way to add a little science fun to each and every day.

Today in History

In this section, students will read about something that happened on the same date in history. There are also likes to videos that give students more information. It's a great way for students to learn new things from history. With some serious and some silly - your students will eagerly anticipate what might have happened years before.

With so many morning work options to choose from in each PowerPoint slide, your students will be able to choose the activity they want to complete.

In Your Own Words

This is a great writing activity for getting your students thinking in the morning. Each day students will be asked to do a little writing. It might be reviewing what they learned from the daily science topic, or reviewing a previously taught language arts skill. By giving students an explicit writing activity, they won't be wasting time wondering what to write about.

Make a List

In this section, students will be making a list of items that meet the daily topic. It's a great way to work on vocabulary development and categorization.

Surprise Section!

This final section changes and is a great way to keep kids on their feet. This section will include activities like handwriting practice, drawing or riddles, figures of speech, and more!

Not Your Typical Morning Work

While this science and social studies based morning work is not your typical math or language arts spiral review - it is filled with so many skills that your students need.  Here are just a few of the important skills your students will work on with this Daily Science and Social Studies Morning Work
Your students will be engaged in learning and reviewing key skills with the science and social studies based morning work
  • daily science facts through photos, text, and videos
  • daily social studies and historical facts through photos, text, and videos
  • grammar practice
  • writing skills
  • critical thinking activities
  • fine motor skills
  • cursive writing practice

  • The list could go on and on!  What really sets this apart is the engaging factor that the science and social studies sections add.  We may get moans and groans when assigning reading, writing, and math practice, but through this morning work, the same skills are woven through topics that students love!

    This resource is easy to implement, engaging, and educational!  And . . . if you've never used morning work before it will transform your morning routine.

    Try Science & Social Studies Morning Work for Free!

    I love this resource so much because it made a huge difference in my classroom.  Not only were students engaged and working, but they were learning lots of new science and social studies topics, developing a larger vocabulary, and reviewing key skills without even realizing it!

    I'd love for you to try this in your classroom so I created a free monthly sampler pack.  In this free resource you can see and try a daily morning work activity from every month.  

    Grab this FREEBIE morning work monthly science and social studies PowerPoint slides to use in your classroom today!

    Pin it!

    Be sure to save these fun and engaging classroom morning work ideas to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back anytime during the year for no-prep morning work your students will love!

    These fun and engaging, no prep morning work slides will keep your kids excited to practice important social studies and science skills throughout the entire school year.

    Helping you teach fun and meaningful lessons is just...

    Fun Poetry Activities for Elementary Students

    When I first started teaching it was very common for students to start school with lots of background knowledge of nursery rhymes and tongue twisters. It was almost as if these were a rite of passage through the preschool years. However, times have changed along with "norms" that we may have come to expect. 

    Our students don't start school with the same knowledge and skills as in previous years. So, how do we make sure our students are getting exposure to poetry today? I'm going to share some of my favorite fun and engaging ways to teach poetry your students will love.

    Teaching poetry to elementary students can be fun and easy with these poetry ideas your students will love!

    Why Is Poetry Important?

    Teaching poetry has many different benefits which is why it is a language arts standard in grades 1 - 5. 

    Poetry is important for our students to be exposed to in elementary school and can be a fun and engaging way to get your students excited about reading and writing.
    Poetry helps children to build early literacy skills. It helps emerging readers as they develop rhyming skills and phonemic awareness.  It encourages students to play with words and their meanings. It exposes students to varying sentence structures and writing styles.  And . . . poetry sparks creativity and helps with memory.

    Aside from literature, poetry also teaches children about the world. It introduces them to the ideas and feelings of others. It teaches students how to look at the world from different perspectives.  

    This is so important in today's world. Poetry can help us to respect and understand each other and our viewpoints. It can essentially teach us how to be better people. 

    Teaching Poetry

    The idea of teaching poetry can seem like just another standard to check off your list, but with these ideas to teach poetry that your students will love I think your mindset will change.

    There are many different types of poems we can introduce to our students. The depth and content of the poems will, of course, depend on the age of your class. 

    Using mini anchor charts is a great way to help your students remember the format of each of the types of poetry they will be learning throughout the poetry unit.

    I like to teach poetry by providing tons of examples and allowing my students to create poems of their own. Because of this, I provide them each with a poetry book.

    As we work through our unit, we fill out the pages in their poetry book together. After they complete the poetry book, they end up having a definition and an example of each type of poem we study. The book serves as an awesome reference guide for them to use throughout our poetry unit and even afterward. 

    Once we've learned about one type of poem and explored some examples, then we always try our hand at writing that type of poetry.

    You may want to consider teaching poetry throughout the year. Choosing one poem type to focus on each month allows you to really explore each type of poem at a deeper level than doing one unit on poetry. It also ensures your students have a solid understanding of each type of poem.

    Acrostic Poems

    I like to begin with Acrostic poems. Using our school mascot, I like to work with my students as a class to complete an example on the board. We come up with words to describe the mascot based on each of the letters in the word. After they get the hang of it, students write their own acrostic poems using their names. This makes it so much fun and helps them make a personal connection to the poem. They write their final version of the acrostic poem in their poetry book.

    Your students will be excited to use the mini anchor chart and Acrostic poem worksheet to create their very own Acrostic poems as you work through your poetry unit.

    Teaching Poetry Just Got Easier

    What if I told you ideas to teach poetry that your students will love are in one place? 

    Yep! My Poetry Writing Unit contains everything you need to get your students excited about poetry. Using their own poetry books, students will learn about the elements of 12 different poetry types. The unit is available in both print and digital forms which makes the prep so easy! 

    Teaching poetry to elementary students can be fun and easy with these poetry ideas your students will love!The unit includes:
    • Anchor Charts for each poem
    • Student Poetry Book
    • Lesson Plans
    • YouTube poetry videos
    • Examples of Poems
    • Digital and Printable versions
    • Culminating Activity
    I know this Poetry Writing Unit will inspire you and your students to explore different types of poetry in your classroom. Your students will be pros at reading and writing poetry before you know it!

    Save these Poetry Ideas for Later

    Be sure to save these tips for teaching poetry to elementary students to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you have plenty of ideas for teaching poetry that your students will love.

    Teaching poetry to elementary students can be fun and easy with these poetry ideas your students will love!

    Helping students fall in love with poetry is just...

    Engaging St. Patrick’s Day Activities Your Students Will Love

    Holidays are always such a fun and exciting time in the classroom. Students are eager to celebrate with classroom parties, treats and games. That is all good and fun, but I also like to use holidays as a time to learn as well! Incorporating holidays into everyday lessons gets students excited to learn and helps them to stay focused and engaged. During the school year, we celebrate many fun holidays, which means tons of opportunities to turn the fun holiday season into an educational moment as well. March is here, Spring is in the air, and it is time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate the lucky Irish holiday into classroom learning your students will love!

    These digital engaging St. Patrick's Day activities are a great way to incorporate the history, culture, and fun of St. Patrick's Day traditions into your March lesson plans this year.

    We all know how much our students love using technology in the classroom. Digital resources can help keep students engaged during learning which is always a good thing in my book. Google apps are a fantastic digital option for teaching in the classroom, doing virtual e-learning, or for homeschooling students! They are simple and easy to use for both teachers and students. One of my favorite Google apps is Google Slides. Students can work through the slides one by one interacting with text, images and/or videos. They also get experience using the mouse, typing, and other technology skills. It's a great platform for digital learning activities.

    Let’s dive into some of these fun St. Patrick’s Day activities you can use on Google Slides! 

    All About Ireland

    You can’t talk about St. Patrick’s Day without talking about Ireland! This Ireland country study makes a great social studies lesson to use around the Irish holiday.

    Your students will love working through the google slides using clickable options to watch videos and learn more about the country of Ireland and it's rich history.
    I love using teaching my students all about Ireland by using these interactive research activities. Then students are provided with related writing activities to help them assimilate the information they learned.

    My students love learning in a variety of ways and this digital lesson has it all. With clickable buttons, they can watch videos, read information, and listen to songs all about the country of Ireland.

    They love learning facts about the country, history, and cultural activities like Gaelic football. Traditions like kissing the blarney stone and watching Irish dancing are also fun for students to learn about! It is a great way to teach about a different country and make comparisons with our own.

    Learning All About Ireland is the perfect way to kick off your St. Patrick's Day study or activities.

    Let’s Learn About Potatoes!

    Your students will have so much fun learning all about potatoes and why they are an important part of the Irish culture with these fun and engaging St. Patrick's Day activities interactive Google Slides.
    Typically when we think of St. Patrick’s Day we think of all things green, shamrocks, blarney stones, and leprechauns…not potatoes!! But truthfully it is a part of Irish culture that brings with it lots of great learning opportunities for students.

    I love to include it in my St. Patrick’s Day lessons and students enjoy learning about the starchy vegetables they love to eat mashed or covered in butter and sour cream!

    In this resource, students will learn the history of potatoes (yes, they have a history!), how they grow, how to cook them, and about the great potato famine in Ireland.

    After they learn all about potatoes there are some great writing activities for them to complete including facts and opinions and summaries using can, have, are.

    You could even expand on this fun lesson by showing students how to grow a potato in the classroom. They are really easy to sprout using just a potato, some toothpicks, and a cup of water. This article from will tell you everything you need to know!

    St. Patrick’s Day Fun

    St. Patrick's Day is a holiday that most of our students are aware of, even though they don't have Irish ancestry. And while most love to jump into the fun of wearing green, they often don't know a lot about the history of this holiday. That means it is the perfect topic for digging in! Take students on a deep dive into the holiday itself. St. Patricks Day is a holiday rich with history and fun traditions.

    Take your students on a deep dive with these interactive Google slides featuring all the fun of St. Patrick's Day. You might even learn something new and fun too!

    This activity is a fun way to explain to students the background of this holiday and why we celebrate like we do.

    My students love learning about why we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, the history behind the holiday, and all about those mischievous leprechaun creatures! There are also a variety of extension writing activities for students to complete based on what they learned.

    Pull out students’ creative side and see how much of the lesson they comprehended with writing prompts like “What I learned about St. Patrick’s Day. . .” and “What traditions take place on March 17th?”. These are engaging activities for students that are both educational and fun!

    Let’s Talk About Rainbows!

    St. Patrick's Day has a science connection too! Rainbows! When we think of traditions surrounding St. Patrick’s Day we think about leprechauns and a big pot of gold at the end of a colorful rainbow.

    Bring in some science fun to your engaging St. Patrick's Day activities with these fun rainbow activities including fun facts and a virtual field trip.
    This is the perfect timing to dive into all things about rainbows and what makes them so cool and magical including the science behind them! Students will learn cool facts about rainbows and how a rainbow is made.

    They also get to see fun experiments and even go on a virtual field trip!

    Like the other St. Patrick's Day activities, this one also includes some extension activities so students can apply what they learned.

    This is a fun and interactive way to learn all about rainbows and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the same time!

    The Magic of St. Patrick’s Day

    There is so much fun and learning that can happen around the St. Patrick's Day holiday. With these easy digital research and writing activities, you can cross off those social studies, science, and writing standards. So break out your best green outfits, set your leprechaun traps, and get your students excited to learn all about St. Patrick’s day.

    Be sure to grab all of these digital St. Patrick's Day activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

    This digital bundle includes four digital engaging St. Patrick's Day activities to help your students learn all about the history of St. Patrick's Day and the Irish culture and traditions that make it so much fun.

    Pin It!

    Save these engaging St. Patrick's Day activities to your favorite Pinterest teacher page so you can come back any time for fun and exciting digital St. Patrick's Day activities your students will love!

    These digital engaging St. Patrick's Day activities are a great way to incorporate the history, culture, and fun of St. Patrick's Day traditions into your March lesson plans this year.

    Fun Activities to Teach Telling Time

    Time is one of those lifelong skills that we have the honor of teaching. It's something that we use all day, every day, and is necessary to be successful in life. The art of telling time on an analog clock can easily become extinct with all of today's technology and digital options. So, it's up to us to continue teaching our students how to tell time on every clock available. Here are some fun activities to teach telling time in your classroom.

    These telling time activities are perfect for students in 2nd through 3rd grade who are ready to learn how to tell time beyond just identifying the hour. Packed full of fun activities, it's easy to differentiate and meet your students where they are in their telling time learning journey. Includes pre and post assessments to make your teacher life even easier!

    Telling Time

    Telling time is first introduced in Kindergarten and First Grade. 
    These telling time activities are perfect for students in 2nd through 3rd grade who are ready to learn how to tell time beyond just identifying the hour. Packed full of fun activities, it's easy to differentiate and meet your students where they are in their telling time learning journey. Includes pre and post assessments to make your teacher life even easier!
    These young students are taught about the hour hand and minute hand, so they should be familiar with a clock and its parts by the time they get to you. 

    It's our job to expand on this concept and teach them about telling time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour, and 5 minutes. 

    There are many different ways to teach this and tons of activities you can incorporate to make learning fun and engaging. 

    It's also important to remember to differentiate your activities and strategy. Students will be on all different levels with this skill, so you need to make sure you are reaching all of them. 

    Here are some fun activities to teach telling time that I use in my classroom. 

    Fun Activities to Teach Telling Time

    Activate Prior Knowledge

    Before introducing anything new, I review what students have been taught in previous years.  Not only does this help me identify any learning gaps, but it also makes sure that we have a common starting place.  

    Before you jump into your telling time activities, take a minute to review prior knowledge with your students using these fun telling time activities they will love.
    We start by discussing the hour hand and the minute hand and how they are similar and different.  This helps to make sure that students know and understand the vocabulary that we will be using in our telling time unit.  Then we jump right in with some review.  I run off pictures of analog and digital clocks on bright-colored card stock to help with this.  We then use these cards in many ways to review telling time skills that students should already be aware of.

    One of my favorite activities with these cards is a movement match-up game.  Each student gets either a clock card or a time card.  Then I set the timer and they have 1 minute to find their match.  At the end of each round, I do a quick check to make sure students are correctly matched.  Then I have them switch cards with someone in the room.  If they had a time card, they switch with a clock card and vice versa.  This makes sure that students practice both reading the time and reading the clock.  We play a few rounds of this game.  If the class is doing really well I might even challenge them to match up in less than one minute.  

    Another favorite activity with these cards is playing an old-fashioned game of Concentration.  This is the perfect game to add to small groups and centers.  Since the cards are already made, it is super easy to set up too!  It is a fantastic way to review. 

    Use these pre test activities to get an accurate assessment of what your students already know. This way you can meet them where they are and plan your activities and lessons accordingly.

    I love to give pre-tests before beginning any unit. It's a great way to assess where my students are, identify any holes and correct any misunderstandings.  I use this information to plan my lessons and guide my instruction. It allows me to see what areas I really need to focus on and which areas they have already mastered. 

    While I will always cover all the skills, some years we may move more quickly in a review style and other years the same concepts require more instruction.  

    Plus, it's always fun to see how much they've grown at the end of the unit.  Having a solid pre-assessment is such a great way to collect data on skills and truly see what skills they have learned and mastered.

    Let the Learning Begin

    I love to use anchor charts as visual representations of vocabulary words and concepts that we will be learning.  These anchor charts give students important language, definitions, and an image to refer to.  During any given unit, our anchor charts remain posted in the class.   

    Introducing new concepts for telling time is not only fun but also easy with these printable activities your students will absolutely love!
    The anchor charts serve as great reference tools for my students to use throughout the unit. Sometimes I run them off for the students to have a copy in their notebooks. By giving students this reference tool, we are setting them up for success.  Not only do they have a tool to refer back to when they need a reminder, but we are also teaching them to take ownership of their learning.  Learning to find the answer instead of asking for the answer is an important skill they will use for the rest of their lives.

    After introducing a skill we move right into practice.  I love to use the I do, we do, you do approach in my lessons.  I begin by modeling and talking through my thinking.  Then we do some practice together.  During this step, I transition from explaining what I'm doing to asking questions to allow students to explain their thinking.  Then we finish up with students working independently.  

    Practice, Practice, Practice

    Practice makes perfect! Use these super fun and engaging activities to get your students excited about practicing telling time in so many fun ways they will love.
    This is where the magic happens. Telling time is one of those skills that requires a ton of practice to master the skills. I like to start slow and work on one skill at a time.  By doing this students can build on their previous learning and success to help them with new skills.

    Practice activities take many different forms.  I like to keep our practice time feeling fresh so I mix it up by having my students work independently, with a partner, and in small groups.  We also do a variety of activities from hands-on sorting activities to games to practice worksheets.  It's this variety that really helps to reach the learning styles of all the students.

    Once we have practiced one skill, then we start the process again with the next skill.  It's a little like this: Introduce, I Do, We Do, You Do, Repeat!


    Our telling time unit is not complete without this fun and interactive craft. This is my favorite of the fun activities to teach telling time, and the students love it too!

    Using fun hands on activities like a telling time craftivity watch craft are great ways to cement learning and keep your students feeling engaged and excited about telling time.
    Each student gets to create their own watch!  This is something really special for them because most of my students don't have their own watch. The kids really get into it! 

    I just run the watch pieces off on construction paper or colored cardstock to make them a little more durable. The kids cut out the pieces and put together their own watch.  I also let them personalize their watch band so that each one takes on its own personality. 

    They love having their own watch to practice telling time on. I use the watch activity to review before we take our post-test.  During our telling time unit, students will keep their watches on their desks.  At random times throughout the day, I will say something like "it is 10:15.  Please show me that time on your watch."  Students will then manipulate their watch to show the time and hold it up.  

    They really love the randomness of when I call out these times.  And sometimes, just for some giggles, I might say something like "it is . . . {long pause} . . . writing time."  There are usually lots of giggles as students were so sure they would be grabbing their watch.  

    However, you use them, this hands-on, interactive craft is a great way to get students working with time.


    When we have finished all of our telling time concepts, it is time to wrap up the unit with an assessment.  I usually give them the same test again that I used for the pre-test. This way it is an apples-to-apples comparison. You can really see their growth when comparing the two. I take the time to give my students each of their tests and let them see how far they've come as well. They really get into this, and it does wonders for their self-confidence. 

    Save Time Teaching Telling Time

    I hope you'll try these fun activities to teach telling time.  I've pulled all my favorite teaching tools, activities, and more into this Telling Time unit. If you'd like to save time, then you'll want to check out my Telling Time resource. It includes everything you need to teach telling time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour, and 5 minutes. You'll love all of the math activities and games included in the resource. It's great for 1st-3rd grade because you can use it as an introduction, to teach the lesson, and as a spiral review. 

    These telling time activities are perfect for students in 2nd through 3rd grade who are ready to learn how to tell time beyond just identifying the hour. Packed full of fun activities, it's easy to differentiate and meet your students where they are in their telling time learning journey. Includes pre and post assessments to make your teacher life even easier!

    Save it for Later

    Be sure to save this pin to your favorite math Pinterest board. These fun activities to teach telling time are sure to be a class favorite.  Helping you save time with one unit to teach about time is just...

    These telling time activities are perfect for students in 2nd through 3rd grade who are ready to learn how to tell time beyond just identifying the hour. Packed full of fun activities, it's easy to differentiate and meet your students where they are in their telling time learning journey. Includes pre and post assessments to make your teacher life even easier!