Hey everyone! I have been using a new (to us) model in our classroom recently and I thought I would share it with you in case it will work in your classroom.
Students as teachers has always been a powerful idea in the classroom. I'm sure most of you have used a peer teaching model. 

This is similar.

Before we start a unit, I administer a preassessment to all students My students know I am simply looking for what they know about the topic. It is very low stress, but they always seem to want to do well.

When I check their preassessments I look for true understanding of the concept. Those that show mastery and understanding are selected to be the coaches for that topic. 

I spend a great deal of time helping my students understand that we all have things that we are great at doing and we will all have a chance to coach during the year. As we know, even our strugglers have amazing things to offer in our classroom. 

Once the coaches are selected, I meet with them as a group to discuss our vision...and I have found they have wonderful ideas. This is a quick little 5-10 minute meeting and takes places when we can squeeze it in...because isn't that how life in the classroom is? We make sure the goal is understood and what our game plan is for reaching that goal.

I have included our Tips for Coaches that has helped a ton in our classroom.  
There are several fabulous blog posts about leaders vs. bosses and we have referred to them often. We worked very hard to make sure that the coaches do not think of themselves as "know-it-alls" or that they are not going to work (because we know that coaches sometimes work harder!).

Here are our tips:

I have 16 students (Yes, it's amazing!) so I try to stick with 4 teams of 4. 
I was super unique and named the teams red, yellow, blue, and green.
Because we may have coaching sessions in 2 topics during a day, I bought color coded, inexpensive hats for the coaches, just so that those being coached (and I) can keep track.

Now, my job during this time is to make sure that the coaches are leading AND participating in the activities, as well as staying on track with our game plan. I also conference with teams during this time to monitor how much success is taking place and redirect if necessary.

I gather all of the materials needed ahead of time and put them in color coded large envelopes (but I am currently in search of color coded boxes with lids - hello Plastic Fusion paint).

So far, this has been a great model for our classroom. The coaches get to share their expertise and knowledge with others and the students receiving the coaching are getting help from students at their level backed by the coaching plan (and me).

I would love to hear about it if you try this in your classroom.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

So it's that time of year, good ol' cold and flu season. Bleh!
I just wanted to introduce my Emergency Sub Plans to you (not that I want you to ever be sick!)
and share a great giveaway for y-o-u!

These plans are print and go. 
Simply print them out and leave them for a sub, give them to a coworker to slide through the copier for you, place in a binder to have whenever you need, or download and email them to your sub!
YES! It's just that easy!

There are even editable info sheets!

Somewhere along the way of creating them, I was asked to make first grade AND second grade ones.
Here's a sneak peek inside my first grade plans...


and second grade ones.


In addition, I made non-holiday ones for this month, too!
They have basically the same lessons inside, the graphics have been changed. 
Just click on the covers of any of the products to take you to the product.



You can also grab these as part of a growing bundle.

Now for the giveaway part!
If you noticed, each product has a donation that will be given from the proceeds to two of my favorite organizations. I know you have heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation granting wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.

The Josh Stevens Foundation is an organization near and dear to my heart.
I never had the privilege of knowing Josh, but I know he was an amazingly kind and wonderful young man. Josh left this earth far too soon, but left behind a legacy of kindness...a challenge to children everywhere based on two simple words...


You can read more about this amazing young man and the foundation built in his memory by clicking here.

Every day at morning opening, our school honors students who were caught being kind. 
Every teacher and student are invited to wear their Be Kind shirts as a reminder of what we strive to be...
in fact, it happens all across our school district...and we have a HUGE district....and best of all, the BE KIND movement and Joshi's legacy are spreading across the nation and the world.
It's definitely time to put some more kindness back in the world. Wouldn't you agree?

Here's your chance!
Enter below to win your choice of a Be Kind t-shirt and be the beginning of a Kindness Revolution at your school!
 You can check out the shirt choices here.

Hey, everyone, if you've just hopped over here from Elementary Chalkboard, I'm so glad you're here. If you just stumbled on this post, you can read my alternative seating post by clicking here.

We have alternative seating in our classroom and this post is about an alternative seating post that is not only cheap and easy to make, it's also super functional.

Look how cute these are!

A few years ago, these buckets were donated to our classroom as part of an Eagle Scout project. They were the large, white paint buckets that can be purchased at your hardware store. They had green, vinyl cushions bolted on the top (but since we've just hot glued them).

This past summer, but wonderful son sprayed them with black chalk paint. Then I used leftover fabric from our crate seats to cover the padding on top.


These are also useful. They are full off supplies that you may need if you are ever in a (I hope it never ever happens to any of us) lock down situation.

Inside you will find toilet paper, a cheap shower curtain, a gallon of water, plastic cups, snacks, phone numbers and emergency contact information for my students, as well as  fun activities (to pass the time) all copied and ready to go.

All that needs to be done is remove the supplies and the buckets can be used for a toilet if you and your students are locked in your classroom for any amount of time. The shower curtain can be attached or held up for privacy. I think everything else is pretty self explanatory.

So, there you go...cute, cheap, easy to create, and useful!

Welcome to “The Chalkies” Turkey Trot! We hope you enjoy a jog through our blogs gobbling up freebies, ideas, and recipes for some holiday joy!

We have a new blog name!  We switched out the word "Primary" for "Elementary". We want to meet the needs of any teacher K-6. Our blog has been thoughtfully designed to help you find what YOU need for YOUR classroom level!

I love those grade level tabs {seen above} that help me grab what I need. This trot will also take you through the grade level blogs of your choice.

We hope you enjoy this little meal from appetizer to dessert!

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Today I am serving up a little sample of my Seasonal Sub Plans. You can check out a small taste of the November one by clicking on the picture below.



As for my bright idea, I have to laugh, because I always say "my" best ideas come from other teachers or bloggers.

One of my favorite things to do is record some of the cute and funny things that my kiddos say and turn them into "photos" when I have time. They make for great slides when I make our end of the year slide show.

Here's one of my faves from the day it was 75 degrees outside...you just have to know Vegas kids!

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Now, if you want a delicious taste sensation for your mouth, you've GOT to try this. It is honestly so yummy!
P.S. I make it without the coffee.
(Click on the pic to take you to the recipe.)


slide 6
(Click on the pic above or the products shown below to take you to my store.)


Now, hop on over to my friend Jess from Elementary Nest's blog for the next bit of goodness!

Well, it's hard to miss that the school year is starting up for most of us. You can see the commercials on TV, the signs in Target (of course, I think those started before last year was even done), the general excitement on parents' faces, and the sadness on teacher's faces as we bid another memory-filled summer farewell.

How about we brighten up the Back to School Blues with a great big giveaway?

Do you use any of my Explain-it-All series in your classroom? 

Have you tried out this free sampler?


Here is a little peek inside of what is included in just one unit. 
(Some of them vary depending on the topic, but they all basically follow the same format.)

Each unit includes a definition poster and example or word cards.
You will also find flip books for interactive notebooks.
There are Scoot cards, which I find make a great additional assessment.
Some of the newer units have stick cards for whole class or small group response activities.
(I am working on going back and adding these to the units that don't have them, because I think it's a great classroom activity.)

There are also "fortune tellers" or "cootie catchers" in a pre printed format and a black format.
There are cut and paste activities, which are great for word work activities.
You will also find a pretest and a post test in each unit, which are perfect for RTI or classroom tracking.
There are also several print and go activities, many of them breaking down the skill into more manageable pieces.

In each unit you will also find "Pair It" cards which are great for center activities.
My class loves the "I Have Who Has" game that is in each unit. 
Partner Face Off games are a huge hit with my class, too and a perfect partner activity.
Finally, each unit has a graphic organizer that can be used throughout the unit. 

There is definitely a huge selection of activities to fit your teaching style and completely cover your instruction for each unit.

Check out all of the topics that have been covered so far.

So....how would you like a chance to win one, some, or all of these units?

All you have to do is enter below for a chance to win!

To revamp or not to revamp, that is ALWAYS my question.
Good or bad, I have changed my classroom theme every year for the past 26 years (except for the year I had a frozen shoulder).

With so much going on this year I said I wasn't going to change it...walked in...had to change it.

So here is my....

Sticking with my blog name, I've nicknamed this year's classroom
Chalk One Up for a Bright Year.

It's filled with chalkboard decor and splashes of bright color.
(It's my mom's favorite classroom that I've done...but I think she says that every year. LOL!)

So let's take a peek.

This is the sign that hangs over the doorway to our classroom.


One of my favorite parts is this reading nook. On my FB page I had posted that I had this crazy idea and my sweet son and wonderful dad sprang into action to make it happen.

I think this kiddo of mine painted everything that wasn't nailed down.

We got the cardboard from a local frame shop, the fabric for the curtains and crate seats from Joanns (the curtains are blue and white chevron), and the flowers from Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree. 

(I have since removed the table and turned the crate seats against the wall so the kiddos won't lean against the walls of the house - thanks for that tip, Mom!)

I won't lie, I absolutely love how it turned out (minus the slight warping) and my kiddos love it, too!

Here are pictures of that whole back wall section.

This year we are using a flexible classroom environment. I haven't used assigned seats in a couple of years, but this year we were able to provide a larger variety of seating areas. 

These adorable chairs with the footstools were provided through a grant I wrote for DonorsChoose. 

The coffee table actually used to be in our home years ago...thanks to my son and a couple of cans of chalkboard paint it has a whole new look!  

We found perfectly matching pillows for a great price at Walmart.

Here are my bulletin boards. We left a lot of blank space for anchor charts.
Do you own Jen Jones' Text Based Vocabulary Cards? They are going to anchor a large part of our learning for the entire year.

You can find my Punctuation Pals and my Effort Rubric by clicking on the linked words.

I love my friend Carina, from The Teaching Tornado's workspace/reading table so I had to create one in my own classroom. 

If I can keep the clutter off, it will work out great!!

Here are a few other odds and ends from my classroom.
You can get the Compliment Jar FREEBIE from my friend Katie at Teacher to the Core by clicking on the link. 

So that's it! This is where I'll be hanging out with my new favorite people for the next 180 days!

Well, have you heard? It's time for the annual TPT Back to School Blast!

I am linking up with my amazing friends at Primary Chalkboard to highlight some of our latest products to help get you ready for a brand new school year!

So here are a few of mine. 

If you want one stop shopping, you may want to grab this bundle. It includes everything you see here, plus a bonus surprise!

Above all I want to wish you a wonderful school year. YOU are the one who makes a difference in your students' lives each and every day. 
Have a magnificent year!

For other fabulous products by some of my very favorite people, be sure to click below.

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