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One of my favorite organizational tools for the classroom is the B.E.E. Book!  B.E.E. stands for Bring Everything Everyday.  It's a fancy name for a take home folder. ;) 

But it's not just any take home folder.  It's the BEST take home folder.  Because it keeps kids organized.  And their parents.  And me.  I call that a win-win-win!

*I'm going to lose the dots and just refer to it as a BEE now, don't judge ;)*

I purchase and put together the BEE Books for my class.  I like the folders to be uniform and it gives me a chance to have them ready for the first day of school.  I always choose bright yellow folders for my BEE Books, because bees.  Black folders would also be a perfect fit!  I buy the poly portfolios with prongs as they have the best chance of lasting throughout the school year.

You can include as little or as much inside as you want.  I keep mine fairly simple.  On the outside I add a cute label with my kiddos' names (you can add student numbers, too).

On the inside I label the left and right pockets.  The left side is for papers that should be LEFT at home.  These might include completed papers, school flyers... anything that can be taken out and stay at home.  The right side is for papers that should come RIGHT back to school.  These might include notices or test papers that need signatures, homework to complete... anything that you want to see again.

I also include a 3-hole pencil pouch in the BEE that we use for money and notes.  Without it, money for lunch, field trips, and book orders was lost in pockets and desks, and notes to me were crumpled in the bottom of backpacks.  Now we all know where to put and look for these items!

As I mentioned above, I keep my BEEs simple.  Aside from the labeled pockets and zipper pouch, I add in two clear page protectors for our spelling menu and homework/skills assignment sheet.  I also 3-hole punch our behavior calendars and pop them in the BEE, too.  If you use a clip chart, you can even stick a mini version inside so parents are aware of the color code! 

BEE Books go home with students every afternoon, and come back to school every morning.  My firsties know that when they empty their backpacks in the morning, their BEEs go in a specific bin, and that they aren't supposed to take anything out (either myself or my aide will go through it).  If you teach older kids, you can assign more responsibility... or even as the year progresses with the young ones!

If you want to make your own BEE Books for your class, I provided the cover and inside labels in my *editable* Notebook & Folder Labels pack.  There are tons of other labels, too!  You just type your class list in ONCE and student names will autofill on EVERY page of labels.  So easy!  They are made to go on these Avery labels because they are nice and big.

Feel free to pin the image below to save this post for later or share it with your teacher friends! :)

Groundhog Day is fast approaching!  What do you have planned for your class?  In honor of my new craftivity pack, I put together a post full of Groundhog Day fun for your kiddos!

First up is my latest craftivity!!  Groundhog Day {Craftivity, Printables & Reader} includes the adorable craft pictured above and below.  There are four writing prompts, several printables (such as a word search and write & draw page), and a Groundhog Day reader included!

Check out the listing in my TpT shop for more information!  I hope you love it!!

Another fun activity that I just love is this huge predictions graph!  You can let your kiddos create their own little groundhogs or you can even shrink down the craftivity from my pack when printing the pieces!  The graph idea is from Welcome to Room 36.

What fun is a themed lesson without a themed snack?!  These pudding cups are not only cute, but would be fun to make with your class!  Who can resist a yummy chocolate cupcake??  Not me!  They look pretty easy to recreate.  Or how about a little "Shadow or Not" cookie treat for your kiddos to take home?

ABC's of Literacy put together a great list of books to help celebrate Groundhog Day...
...and Simply Kinder put together a collection of teacher approved videos!

However you decide to celebrate, your kiddos are sure to have a blast! :)


I am VERY excited to share my latest product with you!  My Year in School Memory Book is a WONDERFUL way for students to document the *entire* school year!

This memory book is special because students will add to these ALL YEAR!  There are monthly pages for kiddos to fill out at the end of each month, as well as pages for special days like the First Day of School or the 100th Day.  I even included a page so students can look forward to Next Year.

I also was sure to differentiate this pack.  There are THREE levels of memory book printables included to accommodate different grade levels and all types of learners!  I set it up for students in Pre-K/TK, 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th {covers also included for those grade levels}.

Last but not least, I included an editable PowerPoint document so you can add memory pages for ANY day you like {Halloween, Reading Day, Spirit Week, etc.}!

Now a quick look at how I put my books together!

The Astrobrights envelopes I used are neon and 9x12" (they don't seem to have neon in stock anymore, but more a primary set).  They come in a pack of 25 and have an adhesive seal, which is what you want in order to laminate {rather than a prong or string}.  The envelopes *just fit* inside a legal size laminating pouch, which is perfect for at home laminating!  If you have access to a large laminator, by all means, use that one instead!! ;)

Complete directions for putting it all together can be found inside My Year in School Memory Books!  If you don't want to go the envelope route, I also included a page of ideas for other ways to assemble your books!

For another look at this product, head to my TpT shop! Be sure to download the preview, too!  I hope you love it!! :)

Have you heard of Secret Star?  You've probably seen me talk about it before... and that's because I *love* this trick!  Secret Star is a classroom management tool that works WONDERS on hallway behavior, assembly behavior, teacher talking to the Principal by the door behavior… you get the idea!
Here's how it works:  By the door, I keep the above display, which includes a framed "Are you the Secret Star?" sign, a Secret Star Students jar, and a Secret Starbursts jar.  Whenever I need a quiet and well-behaved class, I tell my kiddos I'm looking for the Secret Star and I'll take a token from the Secret Star Students jar.  My tokens have student numbers on them, but you could use names, too.  
Once I have a student picked, I will nonchalantly observe him or her as we walk through the hall {or sit in an assembly, or…}  But SHHH!  It's a secret!  No one knows who I'm looking at… and so they ALL behave!  Why?  Because they want a Secret Starburst, of course!
If the Secret Star happens to misbehave, I don't ever tell anyone WHO it was… I simply say something like, "Sadly, my Secret Star ran all the way to lunch… better luck next time!"  And then *I* eat a Starburst and my kiddos go bananas.  Hehe

I'm telling you, this trick really works!  My firsties never let me forget to choose a Secret Star.  Ever.  They even ask if I'll pick one for nontypical Secret Star events… and sometimes I will, because I'm cool like that ;)

If you want to make your own Secret Star display, you'll need:
*a decorative 5x7" picture frame
*two plastic paint cans {or any type of jars/containers}
*enough 1.5" round wooden tokens for your class list
*a big bag of Starbursts
*and THIS FREEBIE, which includes the sign, labels, and tiny numbers

Putting it all together is simple!  I used a 1" circle punch to cut the little numbers, then Mod Podged them onto the tokens {or rather, I am going to because I can't find my Mod Podge anywhere!}.  You could also just use paint markers or Sharpies to writes names/numbers. Or, here is an alternative to the tokens:
Popsicle sticks!  Write names or numbers on the sticks, then decorate with two colors of  Washi Tape.  Leave them all facing one way {for example, all orange-side-up}.  Then after you pick a stick for Secret Star, flip it so the pink {or whatever color} side shows up.  This way, you'll know that you chose that student recently.

Well, I hope you LOOOVE this idea!  I'd love to read your thoughts and other management ideas in the comments below!

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.  STEM Education is a very hands on curriculum that encourages learning through problem solving, discovering, and exploring.  
CITGO Petroleum Corporation is dedicated to fueling education.  They have even launched a website and program with the goal of celebrating STEM Education, as well as celebrating imagination and innovation in classrooms across America.
CITGO is encouraging teachers to enter the CITGO Fueling Education Sweepstakes.  Entering is easy, but first, let's talk about the GREAT prizes that you could win!!!

For the GRAND PRIZE, renowned STEM educator, Steve Spangler, could you visit your school!  How cool would that be?!  Nine other classrooms will have the opportunity to attend one of Steve Spanglers' "Science in the Rockies" workshops.  And, 90 teachers (yes, 90!!!) could win a $1,000 National School Supply Voucher for their classrooms!  Now that's a lot of school supplies!! :)

To enter, simply tell CITGO how your students use STEM learning to boost their creative and critical thinking skills.  I told you it was easy! :)
BONUS: Be one of the first teachers to enter and you will win a *FREE* STEM toolkit (for grades K-2, 3-5 or 6-8) with loads of fun STEM "Imagination Lab" experiments, a free classroom poster and much more. (Available while supplies last.).

That's not all!  Teachers can also download individual STEM content for use in their classrooms!

So, what are you waiting for?!

Today I am dusting off the old blog and stopping in for a visit!  I am so excited to share my new summarizing unit with you.  My kids love summarizing with SWBST (somebody, wanted, but, so, then) and I hope your kids will, too!

Let's Summarize is jam PACKED with goodies to help your little ones master the art of summarizing.  I get giddy just looking at all the fun and colorful stuff on the cover!!

Speaking of colorful... I decided to completely color code SWBST.  I thought it would be helpful for my kiddos to recognize each part if they were also associated with a color.  So far, so good!  Throughout the pack, the posters, cards and examples use the same colors: pink (somebody), purple (wanted), blue (but), green (so), and orange (then).

I created an anchor chart story to help students understand the meaning behind SWBST:

I think most people have heard the story of the princess and her frog prince, so I used that as my example!  After I introduce the posters, I model how to put the information into a quick summary using complete sentences.

Next, I like to pull a favorite book out of my collection and read it to my class.  I used Click, Clack, Peep!  Then we use the color coded SWBST cards to write important information as a whole group.  I stress that at this point, it's okay not to use complete sentences:
Again, I show my firsties how to put the information together (they help make the sentences longer by adding in little bits of information that they remember from the story).  After the summary is complete, I underline the sentences- color coded, of course!- to show each part of SWBST: 
To give my littles more practice, I created printables with 8 original passages.  On each page, students can read the story, and then go back and "highlight" the important parts using... the color code, of course! :)
I also created two interactive notebook pages.  Students can color the flap appropriately and write the important questions under the flaps (somebody - who is the main character? etc.): 
The second page has the important questions already printed, so kiddos can use it to summarize a story on their own (not pictured).  There is also a generic summarizing sheet in the pack (not pictured)!

I also included a little craftivity in this pack... are you surprised?!  It's a flip book craft, and there is space for students to summarize a story in pictures or words underneath.  I just love it!!
If you like what you see here, you can grab Let's Summarize in my TpT shop!!  I hope you love it!! :)

Well hello there!  Happy New Year!  Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day, so I thought I'd share some ideas-- old and new-- with you!

First up, I created a new resource to use with my little ones.  It includes a simple craftivity with an opportunity for writing...
as well as a 10-page mini reader to help students learn about Dr. King's life!

You can find Martin Luther King, Jr. {Craftivity & Reader} in my TpT Shop!

A few years ago, I created another craft that is perfect for MLK Day!  This activity celebrates diversity, with two kids of different ethnicities holding hands...

The pack also includes various printables to help with your MLK lessons:

The I Have a Dream pack is also available in my TpT store!
One of my favorite activities for Martin Luther King Day is singing.  Yup, singing!!

And the kiddos love it, too!  I found the song/chart on Pinterest, from Welcome to Room 36.  Sing it to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"... it's catchy!!

After reading all about Dr. King, my kiddos and I create an anchor chart to post and refer to:

I also found some great, new ideas that I'd like to use with my kiddos this year!  I love how Michelle from Apples and ABC's uses skin color crayons as a visual for Dr. King's dream!  So much so, that I Amazon Primed myself a box of multicultural crayons!
And how cute is this directed drawing from First Grade Blue Skies?!

Last but not least, I love this activity using The Crayon Box That Talked from The Bubbly Blonde Teacher.  And it's a freebie!!

Hopefully you can find something to use in your classroom this week :)

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