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Classroom Management Series Week 2

Classroom management is the key to any successful school year. There are so many different techniques and strategies that can be found online, on Pinterest, or YouTube that it seems no one should have a rambunctious class, however each teacher has to do what works best for them and figure out what works with their class. I’ve found that some things that worked one year may have to be tweaked or changed the next year because of the scholars I have, each class and year is different. I have been working with brand new teachers (student teachers and mentors) and I always advise them to not overlook the small procedures (i.e. pencils, turning in work, etc.). These are the procedures easily missed because we focus on lining up, hallway procedures, attention chants, etc. But we can’t miss these because they will quickly turn into a bigger issue.

Your goal is to make sure that students always know what to do if something happens. Here are some procedures you want to make sure you have in place:

  • What do they do if their pencil breaks while you are teaching? (although I have a signal I will still have students who try to sit and not work)
  • What do they do if they need tissue?
  • How do they pass in or pass out assignments
  • What is the procedure for entering the classroom?
  • Where do they put supplies?
  • How do they know what to get out for class?
  • How do they ask to go to the restroom? Can they go anytime example while you’re teaching?

These are just a few to think about when preparing for the school year and throughout the year adjusting as needed, but depending on your school you may have some that you didn’t know you would have to need a procedure for until school started. One school that I taught I had to have a restroom monitor because the bathroom was so far away and there were some students I couldn’t trust to go alone. Last year, I could have a pencil person but this year the students can’t handle it so I just give away pencils.

Also, be consistent! Nothing derails classroom management like inconsistencies. You wouldn’t believe it but scholars feel inconsistency is like lying so it is imperative to stay consistent. Even your scholars who are your biggest behavior issues look for your consistency and routine that gives them comfort, and act worse when things change. If you feel like something isn’t working include your scholars in on the changes, you would be surprised at how helpful they are (sometimes they are tougher than you are) it also helps with keeping them accountable because they were apart of the decision process. And, they start holding each other accountable, I love that part because sometimes you may not have to say much. They will remind each other of the expectations.

In my class I use hand signals to help with staying consistent and keep my class running smoothly. You can grab my classroom management packet here it has hand signals, a voice level poster, and other tools to make classroom management easy. Click here or photo below.

Sometimes there may be a little trial and error but having a plan for the small procedures and staying consistent is a great start to having great classroom management.

I would love to hear what are some the small procedures you use in your classroom?

Classroom Management Series Week 1

If you ask any seasoned teacher about the best classroom management technique most probably all will say to start with building relationships. And I wholeheartedly agree but if you are a new teacher you probably wonder why and how to build relationships with students.

First the why, although they are kids there is so much they deal with that we are unaware of and you (as the teacher) may be the only stable thing in their life. And if a student doesn’t feel that you care then they will not care about learning. I have a student who when we returned from break that told me that he felt I didn’t like him. After talking with him I realized there were deeper things happening. He felt like I didn’t like him because I was the only teacher that communicated with his mom about his behavior and that I didn’t give enough positive feedback. He did admit that he could improve his behavior but he wanted me to also recognize when he does well. And I know that if he didn’t feel he could talk to me that he would have continued acting out and feeling that I didn’t like him. I always tell my team that scholars are not going to behave well for people they don’t like and relationships are the key.

However, do not fall into these pitfalls. Building relationships doesn’t mean becoming more of a friend than an authority figure. I’ve seen teachers sink because they joke and play around so much that when it’s time to get serious they can’t control the class. That’s when you see the talking back, defiance, and disrespect, or teacher yelling and blowing up and the kids don’t understand why they are in trouble.

Another pitfall is being insincere. We think kids can’t tell but they really can. Be authentic in your interactions with your scholars the relationships will come naturally.

So what are some ways to build authentic relationships with your scholars.

  • Morning meetings are a great way to learn about your scholars and make sure you participate so they can get to know you.
  • Morning greetings I’ve seen some fun and creative ways to greet your scholars in the morning. At the beginning of school I gave the option of hug fist bump or handshake now I only give hugs because that’s what they want. Not only my home room but several from my other sections come by each morning for their hug and tell me stories. Best part of my day!
  • Our first week of school we ate lunch with our kiddos and got to know them.
  • Recess is also a good time to build relationships
  • Incorporating class discussions into your teaching

Building relationships is so important to classroom management that it’s quite impossible to teach without the relationships. So all my fellow teachers what are some things that you do to build relationships?

Five Things You Must Do When Coming Back From Break!

After not thinking about school for two weeks it can be difficult to jump back into teaching. But it can be even harder for the students with all night gaming, no set rule, hanging out with family members, or just doing nothing (as some of my kiddos put it). So there are some things that must be done before getting back into the old grind.

Here are five things that I felt I must do in order to ensure we can use our learning time efficiently. Some of these were to fix issues from last semester, however I think it could be beneficial to anyone.

Five things you must do when coming back from break

1. Review and reteach expectations

2. Practice speaking and listening activities

3. Talk about goals for the rest of the year

4. Share about your break

5. Review some things learned from last semester (concepts and/or behaviors)

You can make these activities fun and interesting for your kiddos by making games, centers, or challenges.

What are some fun activities you do when you return from break?

Sorry I have been gone!

It’s been a while since my last post, I started at a new school and it was quite a learning experience and challenge. I went from departmentalized reading 5th grade to 5th grade self contained I had to learn the new math and remember when I taught science. But I am back with more knowledge to share from my experiences and resources I have found helpful.

First, I wanted to share what I have been working on with some friends. The limited edition teaching resources teachers everywhere are talking about right now.

Poverty and Education

After working in a low income areas for years I think this is so relevant to Teachers who sometimes forget about the whole child

Upper Elementary Antics

poverty and education

How does poverty affect education?  For the past 10 years I have worked in low income schools that receive title I funds because of the socioeconomic demographics of the school.  And I started to realize and notice some misconceptions out there by others and sometimes even teachers that affect how we educate our students.  My blog is based on my experience with teaching students in low socioeconomic areas and it is always a struggle.  Oftentimes, they come to me below grade level and they are not where they need to be, and it is not small gaps that I have to bridge there are enormous gap that I have to bridge.   I mean 2 to 3 year gaps.  Once we had a discussion in a staff meeting on how can we bridge these gaps and found out there was so many myths and misconceptions out there about what was affecting…

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Helping your students dig deeper!


Getting my students to think critically when reading is a constant struggle, no matter what content I am teaching, getting my students to read critically is not easy.  I have taught science, social studies, math, writing and reading, and my kids hate to read, they like to skim, search and find versus actually taking the time to read.  In upper elementary where the students are tested heavily we want them to read to learn more than learn to read. That means reading for comprehension and thinking critically about what they read so that they can answer test questions.

I racked my brain trying to come up with strategies to help get my kids where they needed to be for test day (many hated to read because it was difficult) but in reality I ended up being just happy with growth and them gaining skills they could use in the future.  There are so many strategies out there that have been very helpful but I had to remember about my students and their life experiences.  They are not your average students! 😊

So last year my teammate (the bilingual Reading teacher) showed me literacy charts. It was something that was introduced as part of the national writing project in 2004 for ELL students. It was used to make a connection between reading and writing. I loved the concept but wanted something a little more in depth for my struggling readers.

With literacy charts, my students can make the connection between their reading and writing by establishing the elements in reading and how it connects to their writing.  So I made my own that helped my students dig deeper when reading a text.  The students had to fill out the literacy charts before, during, and after their reading.

Students can use their literacy charts as a rubric for writing by ensuring they have all elements of the story, for peer editing, and also for finding important information in science and social studies. Below are some examples of my scholars work.  Of course, there is always room for growth but this guides them in the right direction.


I did have to model a few times to ensure that students were picking out the important information as well as proving their answers with textual evidence.  With practice I was able to hold my students accountable for their reading a they began to think deeper. Eventually, they were able to complete the charts independently during independent reading time. I have the charts in my TPT store if you want to help your students dig deeper. (click here).

Respond to reading with any novel or text (literacy charts)

Why I changed How I do my Vocabulary Instruction in the Classroom

Upper Elementary Antics

Why I changed my vocabulary instruction

Well everyone the struggle is real! What struggle, you say the reading struggle.  I have taught every subject in upper elementary and when a student struggles, no matter what subject, it all comes down to reading comprehension. And after working with classes full of struggling readers, yes whole classes, I was able to understand a little bit better on what was some root causes of their struggle.  VOCABULARY!!!  I noticed the biggest obstacles was that in adequate vocabulary hindered my student’s comprehension.  I found that many students could say the words and may even read fluently (shockingly) however, they had no idea what a lot of the words meant.  That is when I realized that my vocabulary instruction was lacking.  So I made a point to change my instruction.

I still did not feel it was adequate and done in the proper order.  In my district they want us to…

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Figurative Language Freebie!

Updated link for the figurative language freebie

Upper Elementary Antics

B81904BF-482B-4A39-B052-176F667ADC3AFigurative language is a common theme in standardized testing in upper elementary.  Students have to determine what the author or poet is trying to convey through inferencing and interpretation. Getting students to not always think literally is a challenge and knowing the common figures of speech is a just a start.  So I have a freebie to offer from a guest post that is a fun way to interact with the language.

Learning about figurative language is not just for the birds!  Check out this word search, then head over to for more resources.



Also check out my TPT store for some of my resources including my poetry analysis lesson


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