Fall-themed Mystery Prize and Points Template

A huge trend among our young students right now is collecting mystery reveal prizes. These are sometimes referred to as “blind bags”. These are a series of toys or figurines that kids buy without being able to tell which one they are going to get. Some are labeled as “Common” and others are “Rare” or “Ultra Rare” – which are, of course, highly coveted. I brainstormed with my daughter (who loves these mystery reveal prizes, by the way) how I might create a template that mirrors the excitement and fun of revealing a prize while practicing school work. I also wanted the template to be useful as both a DIGITAL template for online learners AS WELL AS a PRINTABLE for use without a computer. Here’s what we came up with:

Continue reading

Easy ideas for keeping relationship building your top priority

Teaching during a pandemic has created A LOT of additional work for teachers. Many educators (including myself) have advised teachers to pick top priorities and choose to let other things go. One priority that teachers SHOULD NOT let go of is making time for building relationships with students. This is just so paramount! So how can educators keep building relationships a top priority when they are so incredibly pressed for time?? Here are some super fast and easy ideas that take ZERO prep time (cause I know you don’t have any to spare) for keeping what’s most important from getting pushed aside by other required tasks.

Continue reading

Ideas for making teaching in 2020 (a little) more sustainable

I happened to come across a blog post Matt Miller shared way back in 2014 today that totally applies to our current situation as educators in 2020. Basically, Matt says you can’t do it all. You have to pick priorities and set boundaries so you can still enjoy your family, live your faith, and take care of yourself. This is harder than EVER in our current situation in 2020 in hybrid classrooms – where teachers are teaching BOTH face-to-face students and online learners simultaneously. I’ve heard a lot of educators saying that what we are currently doing is not sustainable. They are right! We can’t continue to tip the scales of our lives toward work day after day and not even that out by tipping the other way toward family, faith, and self-care.

Continue reading

Create Textured Backgrounds using Procreate

I love sharing ideas on this blog that I think will either help teachers, save time, or engage students… but lately, as we are all working harder than ever before to teach through this pandemic, I am at a loss for what I can do to help other educators (or myself). So, this post veers slightly off course from what I normally share, but does answer a few requests I have received asking me to show how I make the backgrounds for my slide decks (like the backgrounds in my Student Planner and To-Do List Post and the backgrounds in my Rank & Justify Slides Template).

Continue reading

Student Spotlight online or printable

On my campus, all of our teachers are teaching both online (to remote students) and face-to-face (with students physically in the classroom) simultaneously. We are working hard to keep relationship building and a strong classroom culture a top priority – especially since about half of the students in each class will be learning from home. One common idea for helping students connect to each other is asking them to answer some get to know you questions and then spotlighting one student per week or per day until all students have shared. Traditionally, at schools across the world, this has been done by cutting and gluing pictures onto poster board. In an effort to keep passing of papers at a minimum and to level the playing field with an assignment that students can complete online or can be printed and completed with paper and pencil, I created a Student Spotlight template!

Continue reading

Hybrid Activities that can be completed Digitally or with Paper and Pencil

My district, like many others across the world, is offering families choice in how they receive instruction this fall. Families can choose face to face or distance instruction. At first thought, this task seems like teachers will have to create twice the activities – some for students to complete in person, and others for those students that will need to complete everything digitally. BUT on second thought, we can work smarter, not harder! Here are a few ideas (links to snag a copy of all templates below) for HYBRID activities using google slides that can be completed by students digitally or printed and completed with a pen or pencil.

Continue reading

Virtual Meet the Teacher

On my campus, we are making plans to have our first ever VIRTUAL Meet the Teacher. While we can’t safely invite all parents and students into the building at this time, we still want everyone to get to meet their teacher and have a quick get-to-know-you conversation, see the classroom, practice walking from their entrance to class, AND we still need to gather lots of information from families. We know that just like when homeroom letters went home in the past, when these Virtual Meet the Teacher’s go out, parents and students will talk to each other and compare who got who. We want this to be a GREAT first impression for ALL of our teachers – so myself and three teachers from my school (Kelsey French, Brittany Laurell, and Ina Nguyen) developed a template for all teachers on campus to use with easy to follow instructions so that we all make the same GREAT first impression.

Continue reading

Rank & Justify Slides Template

I have seen so many educators on twitter, facebook, and instagram working on and sharing bitmoji classrooms. I love this! Teachers know that at least some of their students and families will choose to learn online this year due to the pandemic and they are working to make their online learning spaces just as warm, welcoming, and easy to navigate as their real-life classrooms! This is such a great place to start – but we can’t stop there. We’ve got to plan for great, engaging, research-proven strategies for learning – and we’ve got to come up with new ways for our content to be delivered ONLINE.

Continue reading

Blended Learning ONLINE Checklist

On my campus (and I’m sure on many of yours) we are working on growing our blended learning practices. Many define blended learning differently. On our campus, when we say blended learning, we mean teaching our students in differentiated small groups based on data, while students work through a paper checklist that details what they need to complete in the areas of independent work, future ready (collaborative activities), and a digital component (this could be an additional mini-lesson from the teacher which has been recorded or adaptive software that meets students where they are to fill in gaps and take them farther).

Continue reading