Monday, July 10, 2017

Classroom Management Links and Tips

Every Teacher needs a suggestion or two about where to find the best of the best on the web.  Here are a few that I simply can't live without.  Most are absolutely free!  I have noted those sites that charge as small annual fee.

Classroom Management
  • Grading - Jupiter Grades offers a free web-based grade book that is fully customizable to your needs.  My favorite feature is that I can instantly print off a progress report for any student on demand.  I use this feature regularly as a communication tool with families who request frequent updates about a student's progress.  There is also a fee based subscription which allows users to e-mail parents and gives parents and students access to their individual grades.
  • Teacher Website - TeacherWeb allows you to create a website for your classroom.  It is template based and fairly user friendly.  I like it because it allows me to save pages that I take down and re-post them at a later time (e.g: Next year's class).  Many of my colleges post daily homework and report this makes for happy parents who can now better manage their child's assignments.  I find the fees nominal for the gain in communication with families.
  • Common Core Standards - Yes.  It's true.  Common Core is finally here.  We all need a place to review the new standards and make sure we are covering everything.  Remember, Science and Social Studies are embedded in K-5.  So, you will need to check with your state or district to find out the specifics for your curriculum.
Lesson Planning
  • All Subjects Lessons, Worksheets, and More - Just about anything you are looking for can be found on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Some of what you need is even FREE!  This is where teachers go to buy, sell, and share their original ideas.  One of my very favorite finds on this website are grade specific emergency sub plans.  In my opinion there is little worse than waking up knowing you are at death's door and will not be able to drag yourself to class and now get to spend unpaid time to develop lessons for a sub.  I have already purchased a couple of these gems and have them waiting to go.  But, like I said, you can find just about ANYTHING you need here from single worksheets to full units.  I believe you will need a PayPal account to purchase.
  • All Subjects Worksheets (FREE) - If you haven't stumbled across WorksheetWorks yet, please bookmark it now.  This amazing site will generate free worksheets for you on just about any subject you need.  It creates a unique PDF file for you to save or print.  I use it often for grammar review. 
  • Math Worksheets (FREE!) - Oh My Goodness! This site is a gem.  This will carry your students from TK to Middle School (and beyond).  I use it almost daily as a warm up for a lesson or review for kids who need extra practice.  All worksheets are absolutely free.  I recommend this to parents who want to work with their students at home or over the summer.  Lots of facts drills available and you can print directly from your computer.  Total cost and time saver for all who teach math.
  • American History - If you teach American History at any level (especially 5th and 8th), visit  It is a totally free site and offers free lesson plans written by the teachers who attended the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute.  The lessons are hands on and incredibly engaging with a focus on using primary sources.
  • SmartBoard Lessons - If you are fortunate enough to have a SmartBoard (or equivalent) in your classroom, you can find presentations and lesson absolutely FREE for just about any subject and every level.  I love the Jeopardy and Millionaire games.
  • Puzzle Maker - Do your kids love puzzles but you don't have time to design them?  Discovery Education has made a FREE puzzle generator that is easy to use and will create crosswords, word searches, math squares and more!  You enter the words or set the parameters, the site does the rest.
  • Reading - Book Adventure - Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate students to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success. Teachers can create class profiles and track students reading and success. Books in this program are leveled similar to AR if you are familiar with that program. The best part is that it is FREE!
Sites for Students and Teachers
  • Webquests - If you need a free webquest on just about any subject or if you would like to create one, TeacherWeb has thousands of them - absolutely free.
  • Math Games - CoolMath offers some incredibly engaging math games for students to play on-line.  It's very visually stimulating and not for the faint of heart.
  • Phonics - Starfall offers some colorful and fun games for younger kids to play that teaches early reading and phonics skills.  I wouldn't recommend it for the bigger monsters, but the little monsters love it.
  • Need A Graph - For parents helping kids with science projects or teachers who want to make statistics come alive in the classroom, CreateAGraph is just the thing.  It's far easier than trying to teach the monsters in your room how to use Excel or Word Graphs and prints colorful graphs for free - everything from pie charts to histograms.
There are truly hundreds more sites that I could recommend.  I will add them in the future.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Back From Outter Space

Hi All,

It's been ages since I've posted here. The life of a teacher and mother gets crazy and all good intentions fall to the waist-side.  This year has been especially challenging - I broke my ankle in February and have been laid up since. But on the bright side, it has given me much needed time to update my store - which is growing in products and support.

My intent this year is provide some added value to those in the teaching community - most especially those who teach history in the middle grades. I get a lot of questions about how I present content to my classes while using an Interactive Notebooks, how I grade and manage the notebooks,  school-home communication, and how I keep my students engaged and begging for more. I'm quite happy to share tips and tricks from the crazy space we call Middle School.

I will also be adding my tips for working on National History Day. Last year was my first year working with students on this wonderful opportunity to conduct meaningful research and it was a very steep learning curve. To make it easier for you, I will be sharing my handouts and tips on how to manage the process on top of your already busy schedule.

I will be at the California TpT conference this year. So be on the look out. I will be the one wearing stupid history teacher t-shirts! One I'm considering is:

Have a great week!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Since You Asked...

Since you asked…

So, I recently release my Interactive Notebook Unit for Middle Ages West Africa

Middle Ages West Africa

A wonderful customer reached out to me to ask a question about how to fold an activity for the lesson on Early Societies in West Africa. In order to clarify, I thought it would be best to post a tip here complete with photos.

The trick for this foldable is in the printing of the double sided pages. You must print the pages with one page upside down. Once you’ve done the copying, the rest is a piece of cake.

Now fold the image in half like a taco. Be sure that the outside has the title of the foldable.

Finally, Fold in half again (double taco) so that the title is on the outside front & the “Glue This Side to Your Notebook” is on the back.

And there you have it. I hope this helps clarify any questions about how to fold the page. If you have any questions about other foldables or anything else Interactive Notebook related, let me know.