Back to School ~ 10 Week Link-Up

Hey there!  I am participating in a great link-up with Mrs. D’s Corner and Miss V.’s Busy Bees for 10 weeks all about back to school!


The first topic is Behavior Management.  I have been teaching for 18 years and I feel like I have tried just about every behavior management system out there at least once!  I have never been able to keep up with the clip chart system (in any form) and I hate to obsess about rules.

We establish a set of class rules at the beginning of every year during the first week of school.  These are posted in the room.  I have the students get into groups and they create mini-posters for each of the rules.  Since I have 6 tables, there are usually 6 rules.

I have to say that I work really hard to form a relationship with each and every student.  Because of this, I have minimal behavior issues in my classroom.

My students earn paws (mini cut-outs I got at the teacher store) as a whole class when their behavior is excellent in the classroom or in the other areas of our school building.   I have used different themes throughout the years (cookies, shells, stars, popcorn, paw prints, owls, etc.) depending on my class theme at the beginning of the year.

You can find these on-line from Trend.  Here are the paw prints I will be using this year!


Once the students have earned a certain number of paws (we usually do 30), they earn a class reward.  This could be an extra recess, lunch with me, etc.

I also use Weekly Behavior Reports as a way to communicate with parents, about good behavior as well as behavior that may need to be corrected.  This form also contains a place to record how much homework was turned in for the week.  Parents just have to sign the form and students return them on Monday.  If they turn the form in on time, they get a ticket which is entered into a weekly drawing for a trip to the treasure chest.


Click here to download the FREE Weekly Behavior Report form!  It takes only about 10 minutes to fill in the form for my class of 30 students and the parents and students really like the communication every week!

My advice:  Try a lot of different things and find what works for you!  Click on the other participants in this linky and I am sure you will get loads of ideas!

Good luck!



The BEST Common Core Standards Resource for ELA!

This is the BEST Common Core Standards resource I have EVER found!  Kristen Bowers of Secondary Solutions has developed the easiest to use CCSS resource book for ELA that I have ever seen!  I just got my hands on this amazing resource and I know I will use it every day!  Secondary Solutions has one of these for each of these grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th-10th, and 11th-12th.



This resource will be in my teacher binder for sure!  It is a great resource to have for planning!  Not only does it have the standards, but it has TONS of question stems/prompts for each standard!   There are questions for peer-teaching and peer-assessment as well as for teaching and assessment.  We all know that some of the standards are pretty complicated, but this resource makes them easy to understand and to thoroughly teach to students!

You NEED this resource if you teach ELA in grades 3-12!

Click here to go to the Secondary Solutions site!  


Earthworm Dissection

We dissected earthworms and it was quite a memorable experience!  I ordered the preserved worms through a company called, BioCorp.  Click here for the link to their site.  They are really inexpensive and the kids get crazy excited about it!

This whole lab started with a few unexpected questions from my students:

Why do worms come out when it rains in the spring?  Why do so many of these worms dry out and die?  Can we do anything to help these worms?

We decided to write questions, research earthworms, and make observations.  We used live earthworms (from the bait store) for some of the labs.  Don’t worry, no live earthworms were harmed!  After the live worm labs we released them to the garden!  We observed the live earthworms so we could understand how they move, what they prefer (light or dark, dry or wet, etc.), and how they react to stimuli (like gently blowing on them).   Here is a link to the live worm packet in case you need or want it!

We wrote informational reports about worms and then we dissected them to learn about their internal anatomy.

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Why not ask your students to ask their own questions about ANYTHING?  It may lead you to some great class activities and projects based on the interests and questions of your students!