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!

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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!

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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