Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teacher Tips Tuesday!

Hooray for Tuesday!  I am super excited to have Monica Talley from Treasures for Teaching guest blog today!  Make sure you stop by her totally cute and jam packed with ideas blog!!
Treasures for Teaching

Organization ~ Math
I got this tip when I went to a math workshop. We make our calendar pieces thematic (for fun) and use them to work on content skills that are in our curriculum. This is where you can differentiate by skill level. Some students can start the pattern, other students can continue the pattern, and other students can complete more than one calendar piece. One piece of advice, take pictures of your old calendars. That way, next year you can remember what went well, what didn’t work so well, and calendar patterns you do not want to try again J

Here a couple examples from this past school year:
For the January calendar, they created winter scenes (the fun part), and added “snow” as they skip counted by 2s (lucky for me I don’t clean out my 3-hole puncher every time I use it). According to their ability, the students either put 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 “snowballs” on their calendar piece, and then the pattern started over. 
For the April calendar, I found an umbrella pattern online. My students decorated their umbrellas (the fun part), and then they chose a background color according to our pattern: A, B, B, C (or 1, 2, 2, 3). If a student made a mistake, they simply cut out the umbrella again, and glued it on the correct colored background.
As the students complete their calendar piece, they place them on the calendar. I can quickly assess who still starts from day 1, who starts at the beginning of the pattern, who can continue the pattern, who can count on, and who still needs more time with me J.

Organization ~ Language Arts
We all want our books to be sorted and organized and put back where they belong by our students. But, that is something that needs to be modeled again and again for most of our students. I’ve tried generic labels (yes, those are recycled air filter boxes), and it worked for some students, but not for all. I use The Daily Five, and wanted my students to be able to “book shop” independently. So, I searched the local Goodwill and Thrift stores and bought a lot of plastic magazine holders to better sort the books. This is what I came up with:
The idea is not new, but for me it worked to sort part of my library by favorite author, genre, and by season. (Note the Dr. Seuss box is empty due to their popularity with my students.) This author sort worked great for me and (most of) my students this past year. They knew where to look for a particular book, and where to return it when done.

The only thing I want to add is a numbered dot to each book that will match the number on the holder. I can’t tell how you easy it was for my students to empty their book boxes at the end of the year and put the books back where they belonged! Seriously, it saved me a lot of time and stress at the end J

My last tip for organization is for your word wall. I got this idea online or at a workshop (before Pinterest existed), and it helps me keep my word wall words alphabetized, easily accessible for a lesson, and stored all at the same time.
I bought colored library pockets at the local teacher store and laminated them. I used an exacto knife to reopen the slit at the top and labeled each one with the letters of the alphabet. I attached magnetic strips to the back so that they would hang on the board. You can also buy the library pockets to match your theme. This gives you instant access and storage.

I hope these tips help you in your classroom. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send them to treasuresforteaching@gmail.com.

My name: Monica Talley from Treasures for Teaching
The years I have been teaching: starting 9th year…yikes!
The grade(s) I have taught: all in 1st (same school, even same room up until 3 years ago)
The state/area that I teach in: big ol’ Texas

Thanks so much Monica!  Don't you just love TUESDAYS?! :)

If you are interested in being featured... just email me!

Don't forget to link-up to the "Look where I was caught reading" linky party!  You can do so by clicking on the picture below:

Yeah, Emily and I just hangin' out doing a little Read to Someone....

Look for more fun picture examples from me this week!!
Link up people or I'm taking all the prizes!! :) heehee...

I'm also at SMART Board training all this week! I'm super excited and will hopefully learn some new tricks! :)


  1. These are awesome tips! I'll be a first year teacher in just a month so I really need all the tips and ideas I can get! Thank you!
    Come check out my new blog Teaching in Valley

    1. Hi, Liz...Congrats on your first year teaching!! I'm glad you found something useful for your classroom :)

      Treasures for Teaching

  2. Is that Emily from the Bachelorette? Too funny. (Thanks for the tips!)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. Yes it is!! She and I go way back! ;) ;)

  3. I love how you have everything organized, especially the library pockets with the word wall. Great ideas!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

    1. Thanks, Lisa...while it takes time to organize...it is SO worth it :) Thanks for coming by!

      Treasures for Teaching

  4. Tori, thank you SO much for having me as a guest in your house...'cause our blogs are like our homes :)

    Treasures for Teaching

  5. Your library looks awesome! I love magazine holders too. I'm always looking for more ways to stay organized. :)
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets