Sunday, July 31, 2016

Back-to-School Photo Backdrop... Quick, cheap, and easy {and a FREEBIE reminder!}!!!

Looking for a fun way to jazz up your Open House or just want to take pictures of your students the first week of school in your classroom?

I wanted to make something fun and interactive to make my Open House this year memorable.  If you follow my blog, you may have seen that I'm out of the classroom now and in the office... I'm the principal at a K-2 elementary school.

I am SO excited about this new journey.  The staff has been AMAZING and we've all been working this summer to plan and prepare for next year.

Last week, I decided that adding a photo backdrop for Open House would help make the night even more fun for our school families.

So... I printed these letters and went to the Dollar Tree.  I literally spent $3.00 there buying colored tablecloths to use as backdrops.  You could use large rolls of butcher paper too!

The next day, I hung the tablecloths up in the hallway and used packing tape to attach the letters.  I LOVE how they turned out!

 You can find this on TpT with printabes for PreK through Sixth grades!

While you're at it, check out this pack to get organized for your Open House event!

And... don't forget this FREEBIE to make your Open House Scavenger Hunt even MORE fun!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Most Amazing Prize Box Ever... Thanks to Oriental Trading!

I was so excited to get an e-mail from Oriental Trading a few weeks ago.

Katie asked if I had anything on my wishlist that I would like them to send me...

UMMMM... YES!!!!!!!

And, since I'm not in the classroom anymore, this was such a great opportunity for me to build up my prizes in my office!  Kids in my building receive SOAR tickets for good choices and, if their ticket is pulled, they'll be able to get a prize!  And, now, thanks to Oriental Trading, I have top-notch goodies for my kindergarten, first, and second grade friends!

So, I got home the other day and this little beauty was waiting for me...

I opened it up...


Here's what I got.  You can click each picture to learn more about the goodies!

FIFTY cars for about $20!

A huge assortment of pens!

And the coup de grace of the pen assortment was these lovelies that let you change ink colors!  Who isn't going to want that from the prize box???  Can you tell I'm super stoked?

Along with pens, we had to get an assortment of notebooks, of course!

Had to have stickers...

And tattoos!

 Last... bubbles!!!!!

Would you believe that the total cost for all of these items was under $75.00?!

Here's my wish list so you can see more about these goodies and some of the other things I'd like to get in the future.  YOU should definitely create your wishlist and share it out too.  What an EASY way for parents to help support you in the classroom!!!!!!!

I'm particularly psyched about the Back to School Photo Booth Props on my wishlist.  As a classroom teacher, I took pictures of my students at the start of each month and used lots of these types of props.  I would have LOVED adding those to my collection if I had stayed in the classroom this year!

I hope you enjoyed seeing this items and maybe got some ideas of your own!

Like I said... check out Oriental Trading and build up that wishlist.  I'm sure it would be a hit with classroom families who want to help support you with STUFF in your classroom this year!

F.Y.I.- I was provided with these materials from Oriental Trading.  This post contains my opinion based on my experience with the products.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Quick and Easy Assessments {Snapshots!}

I just got some amazing feedback on one of my best-selling products...


So... they are all on sale!

20% off through Friday!

Check out this old blog post.  I graded these in under 5 minutes and got an accurate assessment on how my students were doing on this one specific skill!

Grading.  It can be KILLER!

BUT... I use "Snapshots" each week to assess my students on a grammar concept and a comprehension skill... and I'm so happy to report that I can grade a class set of "Snapshots" in under 5 minutes... and, since each "Snapshot" is targeted to one Common Core standard, I can find out exactly who is successful and who needs more support so I can provide intervention right away!

So... here's the stack and the timer at zero...

And, here's the graded stack and the timer at 4 minutes and 21 seconds!

I teach ELA to two sections of third graders so, if it wasn't for these assessments, I think I'd spend every weekend grading!  I also love that students can complete these in about 4 minutes and 21 seconds too, so, even though we do two every week, they don't feel "assessed to death".

Click the banner below to check them out on TpT and snag them for 20% off... until Friday!  There are some sample packs available too- you can find them by clicking the link.  They're free and offer you a peek at one math, grammar, and comprehension snapshot for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Informal Observation Goal-Setting Form {Administrator FREEBIE!}

Maybe I'm weird.  But... as a classroom teacher I LOVED being observed by my administrators.


I never wanted to know when they were coming.  I never told my students about it.  I never did extra prep.

I liked my admin to see me in my natural habitat and I craved feedback like crazy.

Now that I'm on the other side of the table as a new administrator, I'm thinking about ways to make this process meaningful to the staff in my building.  I don't want observations to feel like a "gotcha!".  I want them to feel (and BE!) something that helps my staff develop their craft as educators.

We're using the Thoughtful Classroom Framework for the evaluations and one portion of that is a "Learning Walk".

I tweaked the information from my Thoughtful Classroom training to create this sheet that I can use for my informal Learning Walks.  I LOVE that it asks teachers to tell me what they want me to look for when I come in.

It's short and sweet on my end and provides good feedback for teachers.

During our initial PD next month, I plan to ask each teacher to write their name on the top of fill in the first box.  Then I can make a few copies and put them in a folder so that when I do my Learning Walk, I can just grab it and go!  It's not a lengthy checklist or too cumbersome to complete after just a few minutes in a classroom.  But it does connect what I'm doing to what teachers are doing and points my feedback in a direction that will be meaningful to each teacher.

You can snag it for free on TpT if you like it!

How does your administration empower you to develop your craft?  Or... if you're an administrator... what evaluation tips do you have for a newbie?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Decorating the Teachers' Lounge!

Even though I'm in a new role as an administrator, I'm still an elementary educator at heart.

So... my teachers' lounge is now fully decorated!

I posted info about the evaluation system we use... complete with a heading made from the sticky letters at Target!

Target Dollar Spot pocket chart (left over from the good old days when they were actually a dollar!).  This is where we'll display building and subject area goals that we will write at our back to school PD.

A Happy Birthday bulletin board and positive quotes downloaded for free at TpT!  Thanks Rebecca Anderton!

Found these sooooo cute decorations on clearance at... drumroll please... TARGET!

And then put up this interactive "Teacher Talk" display.  Each week I'll post up a new question.  Staff members can use the sticky notes to write an answer and stick it on the laminated Astro Brights!  I'm really excited about this and hope my staff will find it fun too.  I think it will be a great way for everyone to learn a little more about each other... especially for new staff members!  We have quite a few this year, including me!

I can do all things with Command Hooks and binder clips!

You can find "Teacher Talk" on TpT too if you want to spice up your lounge and build some community in your building!
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