I am always looking for new and fun ways to encourage participation and good behavior in my classroom.  I usually have a bunch of different incentives going at any given time (like our Compliment Jar or Secret Star).  But most of those are only relevant in the classroom, which might not be possible this year.  But guess what?  I have an idea that I never shared, that works virtually as well as in person!!
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Yes!  Just because you’re hybrid/virtual/homeschooling doesn’t mean you can’t offer your kiddos incentives!!   Say hello to SUPER STUDENT TICKETS, which can be used in a whole group setting or individually, depending on your situation.

For a whole group incentive, I use the Super Student Tickets as a raffle.  Kiddos can earn tickets throughout the day or week— the more the better!— and at the end of the week, draw a few names to win something.   It works wonders for class participation and behavior!!   Students are always eager to earn a ticket with their name on it (by raising their hands, following directions, neat handwriting, etc.).

I put the tickets in this cute ticket box.  It's easy to open and has space for a cute sign.  It comes in 10 colors so you can get one to match your room!  Tickets also come in a variety of colors!

Prizes might be a little different this year, but there are still SO MANY fun options, from choosing a fun Zoom background to wearing something silly or choosing a special book for story time.  Other favorites include bringing a stuffed animal to class, extra break time, and  teacher's helper.   

For an individual incentive, kiddos can earn tickets and use them to "buy" prizes.  This works great in the classroom (have students hold onto their tickets and at the end of the week, they can pick a prize based on how many they've earned) or even at home with your own little ones!  I won’t lie, I am not above bribing my own kid!  Summer is a virtual first grader and loses focus at times.  She can earn a certain number of tickets per day and turn them in for something at the end of the week.  She loves it!

If you'd like the little sign to put inside your raffle box, just sign-up below to join my email family!

Can you believe it?!  A new school year is upon us!  And to say it's not a normal year would be an understatement.  Some schools are heading back for face-to-face learning, others are working with a hybrid model (a mix of face-to-face and virtual), and others are going 100% remote.  So, if you find yourself teaching from home for some portion of the school year, it's important to carve out a comfy and organized space to work!

I've compiled a list of my Amazon favorites for teaching from home.  Many of these items would also be great for your children if you are a parent looking to create an at home learning space!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission (at NO cost to you!) if you click through and make a purchase.

1. Rolling Cart

I love fun and functional ways to organize all my teacher supplies.  A 3-tier rolling cart is awesome because it holds a ton of stuff and can be moved anywhere you need it!  When you're done, you can tuck it back into a corner.  Don't have enough space?  Try a skinny cart!  Same mobile organization in a smaller size.

2. Whiteboard Easel
A whiteboard is a great way to model work for students or work together just like you would in the classroom.  This one comes with an adjustable, foldable easel making it super convenient to move from place to place and hide away when done.  And it's magnetic!  Who doesn't love a good magnetic surface?!  This whiteboard has also come in handy for my daughter's home classroom area.  Check out my Instagram page to see how we use it!
Speaking of magnets... I love these magnet dots for making anything and everything magnetic.  They are perfect for creating moveable pieces and adding to manipulatives.

3. Easel Pads
Anchor charts are such a crucial part of teaching in the classroom.  You can still create anchor charts with your students from home!  These Post-It easel pads can be clipped on your whiteboard easel and then since they are essentially giant Post-It notes, you can stick them on your wall afterwards to refer back to.

4. Mini Bulletin Board

Having a small bulletin board is a great way to bring a little bit of the classroom home!  Decorate it and make a super cute backdrop for your virtual meetings.  I created a Door & Board Decor set with this in mind:

Seriously, how cute?! It's my experience that kiddos LOVE to see their names in print.  I think creating a display like this--even from home--would be a great way to bring the class together! :)

5. Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Staring at a screen all day can do a number on you--headaches, tired eyes--and the blue light can keep you awake at night (or so they say).  Wearing blue light blocking glasses can reduce the "digital eye strain" and might even help you fall asleep a little faster at night by reducing your exposure to blue light rays.  So, why not wear them?  My prescription lenses have blue light blockers and I can say it does make a difference.  Plus, these are super cute!

6. Ring Light/Phone Stand
A ring light is a magical addition to your home classroom!  It will drastically change the quality of video by creating some amazing lighting.  This one has an adjustable phone holder as well, making it double as a document camera.  Just angle the phone straight down and you're all set.

7. Lap Desk
If you're like me, you might do some (most of) your work from the couch.  I don't actually have a home office as it's currently a playroom, so... When you're not on camera and you want to get extra comfy, a lap desk on your couch our bed does the trick.  A perk of working from home! ;)

8. Standing Desk
A sit to stand desk might be more your speed.  This type of desk will adjust from a seated height to a standing height to give you a break from sitting all day.  It could potentially reduce some back pain that may come from sitting so that's a plus!  

9. Headphones

A good pair of headphones will make a big difference during video chats with your students.  They will help you hear your students better, and your students hear you better.  With their active noise cancellation, Airpods are a great choice.  

10. Surge Protector with Charging Ports

With all the devices you'll have to charge or plug in, it's handy to have an extension cord with multiple outlets and USB ports.  It's also important to protect your devices from a power surge.  This surge protector does all of the above!

I hope you've found something here that can make your distance learning experience a little easier!  I've added all of these items to my Amazon storefront, where you can check out my favorite books, mom life items, and more.

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

Teachers everywhere are figuring out how to bring learning into the homes of students, and we are rocking it!  Distance Teaching is currently the new normal, and technology is our biggest and best tool.

While researching ways that I can help, I stumbled upon the Boom Learning website, where you can play Boom Cards.  Boom Cards are interactive digital resources that kiddos can access on tablets, computers, and mobile devices that are connected to the internet.  They are self-checking, require zero prep, and provide instant feedback to teachers.  Sounds great, right? Especially as we navigate teaching virtually!  More on how to create a Boom account later! ;)

Since discovering Boom Cards, I got to work!  I am really proud of my new set, Read & Sequence.  I'd love to show you a little more about it!

On each Read & Sequence card, students will read a short story and look at the pictures, and then number the pictures in order of events.  On Boom, kiddos can simply click and drag each number over the correct picture!  Sequencing is an essential reading comprehension strategy, and these 3-step sequencing cards are awesome practice!  When kiddos are ready, they will hit the green "submit" button.  If the answers are correct, the next card will appear.  If answers are incorrect, they'll have a chance to correct any mistakes.

As noted in the picture, there are 24 short stories included.  So as not to overwhelm students, I separated the cards into four decks of six story cards each.  Kiddos can choose a deck to complete.  When they are done, they'll be directed back to the menu, where they can choose another deck or take a little break.

These digital task cards are PERFECT for Distance Learning, and they would be great in the classroom as well!  They are engaging and can be completed individually.  It would make an awesome learning center or small group activity!  

So how do you access my interactive Read & Sequence cards?  You can purchase them from my TpT shop, where you will download a PDF with a special link, or you can buy them right on Boom.  This set is also included in a money saving BUNDLE on TpT!

To PLAY your Boom cards, you'll need to sign-up for an account on Boom Learning.  To help teachers everywhere, they are offering FREE Ultimate memberships through June 2020.  And to be honest, the membership fee after that is very reasonably priced at just $15 to $35 per year (depending on how many students you'd need to add).

To get set with your free extended trial, just head to Boom Learning and follow the instructions on this fancy graphic:

I am not affiliated with Boom Learning at all, by the way!  I just think this platform is an awesome way to 1) utilize technology in your classroom and 2) assign work during this Learn at Home phase!

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

If you've been following me for awhile, then you already know that I LOVE to craft. So when I was given the opportunity to partner with Cricut, I jumped at the chance!  They asked me to create some fun DIY classroom projects using their Cricut Maker machine.  I'm so excited to share my first project with you! 
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
This post contains affiliate links.

Choosing what to make first was the hardest part of the whole process-- seriously! Cricut makes it extremely easy to learn how to use their machines.  You can find tutorials on their site, and each machine comes with an example project and instructions so you can get a feel for how it works.  There are also various tutorials around the web for all different kinds of crafts.

For my first project, I decided to make a classroom birthday board.  I am in LOVE with how it turned out!  If you want to make your own, keep reading for a supply list and step-by-step instructions.

You will need the following materials to complete this project:


1. Paint one cupcake for each month on the wood pallet.  I made myself a little stencil and painted all the bottoms first, then all the middles, and so on.  You could also choose another shape, like balloons, stars, etc.  Allow paint to dry.

2. In Cricut Design Space, choose your fonts and images. If you'd like your sign to look like mine, HERE is the link to my design. Be sure to size everything appropriately to fit the wood piece that you are working with.

*Tip: If using two different colors of vinyl, change the colors of your images in Design Space and Cricut will automatically place them on separate cutting mats.

3. Select "Make It" then set the material to "Shimmer Vinyl."  Load the blade into the machine if it's not already.

4. Place your vinyl on the machine mat, shimmer side up.  Load the mat into the machine using the flashing arrow button.  Then press the flashing Cricut symbol to start cutting!

5. Peel the finished vinyl from the mat and remove any negative pieces from your design with a weeding tool.  Your design images should remain on the liner.

6. After weeding, cut the elements of your design into separate parts (I separated each month so I had 12 pieces, and did the title in two parts).  Place transfer tape over the design elements and use the scraper tool to transfer the design from the liner to the tape.  Peel the transfer tape up carefully to remove the original vinyl liner.

7. Lay the design elements on top of the wood pallet where you want them to go.  Press down with your hand and then burnish really well with the scraper tool.  Lift off the transfer tape.

8. Measure and cut lengths of ribbon.  Hot glue to the back of the wood pallet so they hang beneath each month.

And that's it! From there you can add clothespins with student names and birthdays, and clip them to the ribbon.  Hang your birthday board in your classroom and ENJOY your hard work!

If you want to save this project for the future, feel free to pin the image below!

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