A Class Pet Without the Mess!

Hey guys! It's Chynna from Primary Fairy Tales. I am so excited to be blogging over at the Primary Punchbowl today. This is my first post on the Punchbowl since I launched my very own blog, Primary Fairy Tales. I'm currently wrapping up my first month back in school and let me tell you... 
I am absolutely EXHAUSTED! I don't know about you but I can barely stay awake past 6 or 7. Thankfully fall break is only 8 school days away! (but who's counting?) Anyone else get a fall break? When is yours? 


Print Your Own Posters!

Hello, friends!  It's Elisabeth from Literacy and Lattes here with a fun bulletin board tip!

Teacher Hack!

Hi all! This is Chris from A Scoop of Learning sharing a teacher hack with you. I know there are TONS of teacher hacks all over the internet. Just like you, I have probably tried them all. Some turn out to be the greatest thing on earth and some not so much. However, I was just introduced to this latest hack that will make my life just a little easier this year.

A little background first, I have taught second grade for most of my career but moved down to first grade this year. I love it! The problem starts with these little humans being quite a bit smaller than the second graders I have been accustomed to. The fact that I'm also short does not help my problem, lol!

 The problem is this, when we take whole class assessments, they like to look at their neighbor's paper! What?! No way. Yes, yes they do. I know what you're going to say, just go order some privacy shields from a popular educational catalog (ahem). Well, I have those. They are big. Really big for my new tiny firsties. They would do the job just fine but they are big, bulky for firsties to handle and more difficult for me to see a group of students working quickly. Remember, this is the first time most of them are taking any type of whole group assessments, such as a spelling test. Therefore, I need to be able to walk around quickly during the test and see that they are even writing anything down:)

Here are the only two must-haves. Three pieces of standard sized tagboard and some packing tape.

I just taped the three pieces together like so. I did tape on both sides just to be extra sturdy.

Now this next part is only if you're a 'little' Type A, like myself:) I used my paper cutter to trim each side of the end pieces just a little. By doing this, they seem to fold a little better.

Last, if you don't have any restrictions on your school's lamination, you may even want to laminate them to withstand quite a few years. Luckily, I was be able to feed two of them through at once:)

Now, let's compare these 'home-made' privacy shields against the popular name brand. Just so you know, there are the SAME number of privacy shields for both types shown below.

Clearly, they take up MUCH less space. They are light enough that even my firsties can pass them out {perk!}, and they are short enough that I can see over them to do quick checks on progress as I walk by. The store bought privacy shields can be cumbersome for these littles to maneuver on their desktop. Trust me, I tried. They were constantly getting pushed off during assessments. These are small enough that they will stand on top of their desks and still give the students plenty of room to work. Win, win!

Now, here's the bonus...my new teaching partner has had her privacy shields for over 10 years and they are still going strong! Isn't that amazing?!

I would love to hear about some of your teacher hacks! Tell me your favorites in the comments below. Have a great Back-to-School season, friends!



5 Easy Name Activities for Back to School

Hey!  It's Andrea from Always Kindergarten.  I hope your school year is off to an amazing start!  This time of year is always so much work and teachers are exhausted at the end of each day.  This makes finding the energy to plan and prep really hard.  I like to keep the activities simple and the prep to a minimum both for me and my students.  Since we tend to focus a lot on names at the beginning of Kindergarten, I've put together 5 ideas for working on names that are low prep and a lot of fun!

At the beginning of the year, I write students' names on sentence strips.  We use these for so many different activities.  A fun community building activity is to have students find a friend who has one, two, or even three of the same letters in their name as they do.  They love to look for similarities and differences in their names.  We also find a friend with more letters, less letters, or the same number of letters in their name.  It's great to get the kids talking and to learn each other's names in those first couple of weeks.

Some of our favorite tools to use for names (and word building) are letter tiles and magnetic letters.  Students practice building their own names as well as the names of their friends.  

Another great tool for strengthening fine motor and working on names are Wikki Stix!  I have a love/hate relationship with Playdoh and sometimes, I just need a break from the mess it makes.  Wikki Stix are a great alternative and the kiddos love bending and twisting them into the letters of their names.

Bean names, a classic activity!  I write students names on construction paper with a pencil and then they glue on pinto beans.  It's quick to prep and is fantastic for strengthening fine motor.  

This is definitely one of my favorite name activities for the beginning of the year!  We learn how to use watercolor paints to create name art!  I write the students' names with a black sharpie and students paint inside the letters.  It makes a beautiful bulletin board that you can keep up all year!

What are your favorite name activities?  Let me know in the comments below!

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