Tackling Tattling

Tattling is a constant issue at the elementary level.  With our school’s focus on anti-bullying, it’s sometimes difficult to know how much attention to give to students’ complaints about their peers.  It helps to make sure that the children understand the difference between tattling and telling, and to set clear expectations about how each will be handled.jpg_whisper201

Children tattle for many different reasons.  Some want to test limits and figure out whether or not the teacher will enforce rules.  Sometimes students point out misbehavior so that the teacher will recognize the their own efforts to follow the rules.  Other students may not know how to handle a situation, so they turn to an adult for guidance.  Of course, there are also times when the concern is legitimate and there’s good reason for reporting an inappropriate behavior.

The best way to eliminate tattling is through classroom discussion.  Students can work together to create a list of specific situations they encounter at school such as name calling, non-participation in group activities, incorrect completion of an assigned activity, taking another child’s belonging, using inappropriate language, cutting in front of someone in line, and so forth.  Once the list is made, students can decide which should be reported, which should be handled on their own, and which they should simple ignore.

Reporting Vs TattlingA good way to reinforce the whole-class lesson, is by displaying this FREE poster by edgalaxy.com.  Students who continue to tattle can be directed to this poster to review the difference between reporting and tattling.

This FREE 2:10 minute You Tube video, Tattling vs.Telling is a clear, straight-forward way to initiate another lesson followed by whole-class discussion.  It explains the difference between reporting a serious concern and trying to get a classmate in trouble.

For teachers who want to implement a more formal plan, this FREE 8:47 minute You Tube video, Tattle Ender by Charity Preston outlines a paper-and-pencil classroom management program.   Using this approach, students who bring any issue to the teacher that is not of immediate concern are directed to record the issue using a special procedure.  At week’s end these notes are reviewed by the teacher who determines which, if any, require additional attention.

Finally, this FREE 2:08 minute You Tube video, Tattle Questions, is a quick, fun song that can be used any time.  Its simple graphics will appeal to K-6 students.  The catchy song provides questions children can ask themselves to decide which situations are tattling and which are telling.

With these resources and little patience, there should be less tattling and more time for teaching!

Teaching with Cootie Catchers

Everyone loves cootie catchers!  Check out these free downloads for some easy ways to use them in the classroom.

cootie catcher super teacherSuper Teacher Worksheets offers this FREE Cootie Catcher for practicing 2X multiplication facts.  Download includes folding directions and activity suggestions.

cootiesCheck out the Learning Bug for 16 FREE, Sample Cootie Catchers that cover math, science, and language arts for grades 2-5.

irregular verbsHere’s one example from the Learning Bug website noted above, a 2nd Grade lesson on Irregular Plurals.  Sample includes folding and activity directions.

Screen-Shot-2012-05-08-at-10.42.29-AM-232x300This pirate-themed cootie catcher provides students with Mixed Integer Operations.  Check out the free download at For the Love of Teaching.

marzano wordUse this Marzano Vocabulary Cootie Catcher template to review vocabulary words. Students will say and spell words, as well as provide synonyms, part of speech, definitions, and sentences using the word.

foldingIf you or your students need a quick Cootie Catcher refresher course check out the folding directions at Babysitter Blab.  You can find even more resources here: Cootie Catcher Folding Instructions and Cootie Catchers Video.

blank templateCoolest of all is this FREE PowerPoint Cootie Catcher Template from Downloadable Cootie Catchers.  Download this easy-to-edit template using PowerPoint. Click on each section to drop in a graphic or edit the text. Then just print and go. Great for reviewing math, vocabulary, or grammar!cootie catcher template low tech

For a simpler, low-tech approach download this FREE Cootie Catcher Template from Tonya’s Treats for Teachers or a similar one from BillyBear4Kids.com.

Thinking about making your own cootie catchers?  First, do a quick search using the keywords “free cootie catcher” and any appropriate skill words such as “math facts” or “irregular verbs.”

Whether you download a cootie catcher or make your own, you’re students will love this fun, hands-on activity!

FLASH FREEBIE! First of four thru June 2013!

THIS OFFER IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!


Flash Freebie with Green BorderFLASH FREEBIE! Between now and 5:30 PM, today, June 6, 2013, this popular product is yours for FREE!

Missed it?  Keep watching for three more FLASH FREEBIES through the month of June!

Scrambled Paragraphs 4-in-1 BUNDLE Activity Packets~ Four of my most popular products for 20% off the total price. Students use a structured template, as well as transition and inference clues to practice creating logical, organized paragraphs. This bundle contains the following four Scrambled Paragraphs products in a single, compressed file: Introduction, Basic, Intermediate, and Challenging. Fun way for students to learn how to logically organize their writing!

Scrambled Paragraphs 4-in-1 BUNDLE Activity Packets~ Four of my most popular products for FREE!  Students use a structured template, as well as transition and inference clues to practice creating logical, organized paragraphs. This bundle contains the following four Scrambled Paragraphs products in a single, compressed file: Introduction, Basic, Intermediate, and Challenging. Fun way for students to learn how to logically organize their writing!

3 Fun Summer Projects

Kids restless?  Need a great idea– RIGHT NOW?  Here are three fun and easy activities that everyone will enjoy!

Popsicle Bookmarks~  Print, color, cut out, “take a bite,” glue to a craft stick, and you’re done.  Great reminder to keep reading during the summer!

Popsicle Bookmarks~ Print, color, cut out, “take a bite,” glue to a craft stick, and you’re done. Great reminder to keep reading during the summer!

This idea came from crafty blogger, Lisa Storms.  Want more bookmark ideas?  Check out this bookmark-themed Pinterest board.

Warm Weather “Snow Globe”~  Flowers, glitter, plastic  gems or butterflies make this project beautiful and fun!  Recycle creamer containers or any plastic bottle, add electrical tape grass and sky with a few paper clouds, and your kids have their own indoor garden.

Warm Weather “Snow Globe”~ Use flowers, glitter, and plastic gems or butterflies to create this fun, beautiful project!  Recycle creamer containers or any plastic bottle, add electrical tape grass and sky with a few paper clouds, and your kids have their own indoor garden!

Use all the treasures the kids collect at the beach, hiking, or in their own back yard!  This smart idea came from My Little 3… and Me.  Too rainy to get outdoors?  Grab some eggs, oranges, or potatoes and try out some fun, indoor, science experiments.  Find these, and a bunch of other great ideas at Science Kids!

NO DYE Tie Dye T-Shirts~  Kids use Sharpie markers to create their own colorful designs.  Stretch sections of a 100% cotton t-shirt over the tops of sturdy paper cups.  Secure with  rubber bands.  Color.  Add a bit of rubbing alcohol and let design dry.  Remove bands.   Wash separately on  hot and dry.  Children will enjoy wearing their  custom creations all summer long!

NO DYE Tie-Dye T-Shirts~ Kids use Sharpie markers to create their own colorful designs. Stretch sections of a 100% cotton t-shirt over the tops of sturdy paper cups. Secure with rubber bands. Color. Add a bit of rubbing alcohol and let design dry. Remove bands. Wash separately on hot and dry. Children will enjoy wearing their custom creations all summer long!

Love tie-dye, but don’t like all the mess and preparation?  This idea is great for you, and for the kids.  Using a few items you probably already have around the house, you can make these shirts in about an hour.  Get more details from Sun Scholars.  Learn more about the science behind the process and get a lot more great ideas at Steve Spangler Science.

Need more great ideas?  Check out these Pinterest boards, Teaching & Having Fun w/ Kids and Cures for Bored Kids.  For even more FREE activity ideas head to Lessons4Now FREE and Lessons4Now facebook page.

No-Prep Activity Ideas

Whether it’s the end of the year or just another Tuesday, all teachers have days when they need a little time to record grades from the last lesson, gather materials, or talk privately to a student.  Here are a few ways to keep students engaged.

jpg_103005-office-suppliesTo alleviate students’ fears about “getting things right,” tell them they’re only required to participate, work cooperatively, and complete the task without teacher support or intervention.

Even though the work is not graded, collecting papers at the end of an activity encourages appropriate behavior and participation.  The “reward” for students is interactive time with peers, a break from structured right/wrong responses, and/or a chance to share with the group at the end of the activity.

1.  Free Write:  Put three words on the board and have students write a story starter that logically includes all the words, or any form of the words.  Remind students not to worry about spelling or handwriting during this creative time.  Before starting the next lesson, allow one or two volunteers to read their story starters.jpg_hldn041  Collect all papers and keep for possible later use.

►Sample word combinations:toy-magic-snow/shark-treasure-hiccups/invisible-kitten-surprise/boy-recipe-boom.

2.  Brain Energizer:  Students silently walk X number of laps around the desks.  Have children enter the line by row and start walking in the same direction.  Define the “rules of the road.”  EX:  No speeding, no passing.  The line leader keeps track of the laps as they pass a certain “landmark.”  As they go past the landmark the final time, students file back into their rows and follow the written directions on the board.

►When they get good at this, you can add marching, walking in the other direction, or having a leader introduce a different arm motion at the beginning of each lap.

3.  Cooperative Puzzles:  Quickly assign pairs or small groups.  Give students X mjpg_0627IDEAinutes to identify as many ways as possible to solve a problem.  Ask one or two students to share the solutions they came up with at the end.  Collect any papers.

►Sample puzzles: list of ten items for a camping trip/three ways to raise $50 for a charity/create a new classroom seating chart/plan a menu for a week of healthy school lunches/use only hands to form all the vowels/make up at least 12 math problems that have 7 as the answer/create a rhyme that could help teach the importance of one of the classroom rules.

4.  Eye Spy:  Set the timer.  Students will have X number of minutes to silently list all the things they can see that begin with a specific letter of the alphabet.  They must remain seated.  Spelling and handwriting don’t count.  You can quickly glance at lists and reward 2-3 students for their work.

►If you have more time, students can read items from their lists aloud.  Students cross off each item they hear someone else say.  Have the winning student collect all papers.jpg_Education-037-color

5.  The Classic:  Students read silently.  They may choose a book from their desks to read for pleasure, or the teacher can assign a specific reading selection.

►Students can be given a task such as locating six examples of figurative language, identifying 12 words with the long a sound, finding twelve, three-syllable nouns, or whatever.  Require students to write out their answers and provide the appropriate page numbers.

6.  Art Activity:  Turn on some classical music and let students express themselves with drawing.

►Sample ideas: draw a machine with 10+ parts that turns on a light switch/draw a desert (or other) animal in its natural habitat/make an advertisement to sell your favorite book.

FREE Online Resource for Mandalas~ This site offers diverse and interesting mandalas for coloring. Download mandalas from 6 themes (animals, countries, dragons, etc.) and three levels (beginner, advanced, and expert). Designs may be printed in black and white for students to color, or they can be colored online and then printed out. Great for connecting activities to a wide variety of topics!

BONUS IDEA~  Color intricate mandalas with diverse and interesting patterns like this one from Australia.  Downloads include 6 themes (animals, countries, dragons, etc.) and three levels (beginner, advanced, and expert). Designs may be printed in black and white for students to color, or they can be colored online and then printed out.  Great for connecting activities to a wide variety of topics!

Check out another great mandala website, as well as many other great FREE resources on this site and Pinterest!

Shortcut for Creating a List of Your Pinterest Boards

Are you an avid Pinterest pinner?  If so, there may come a time you want a complete list of all your boards.  After typing out my list by hand, I accidentally discovered a terrific short cut.

1.  Click on any of your pins as though you are about to repin it.

2.  Click on the pull down menu that generates a list of your boards.

3.  Place the curser near the list, a little to the left of the actual words.

4.  Left click your mouse and hold it down as you move the mouse down the list of board names.  The selected words will be highlighted in blue.  Let go of your mouse, hit Control+C.

5.  Open a word processing program.  I use Word.  Place your cursor on a blank page and hit Control +V.

Voila!  You should be able to see the items on your Pinterest list of boards that you just highlighted.

Pinterest Board Copy PictureClick here to check out the board pictured above.

10 Tips for Finding Free Resources

Do you need to introduce or reinforce a skill?  Are you teaching American History for the first time?  Are your classroom materials outdated or incomplete?  Do your lessons just need a little pizzazz?   There’s a goldmine of ideas out there, once you learn a few tricks.jpg_internet031

1.  We all have “go to” resources.  I like Teachers Pay Teachers and Super Teacher Worksheets.  I often find free or low-cost materials that can be immediately printed out and put to use.  Start with your own tried-and-true resources.

2.  Successfully searching the Internet is part luck and part finesse.  Select your favorite search engine– I like Google— and type in key words.  Be specific.  Instead of typing American History, try War of 1812 worksheet fourth grade free.

3.  Before clicking on any links the search turns up, check the web address.  For example, if Amazon is in the address it’s probably a product for sale.  If it ends in .com you may be required to log in to the site before accessing the material.  And, if it’s part of a larger site there may be a lot of pop-up ads.  You can’t avoid these entirely, but you can save time by carefully choosing which links to explore.

4.  Narrow your search.  Use additional key words or use the search tools at the top of the screen.  You’ll be amazed what a search for War of 1812 PowerPoint will unearth.  Or, try War of 1812 word search or War of 1812 webquest.

5.  Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Check the favorites tab on your computer.  At some time in the past you probably found a great resource and bookmarked it.  You didn’t have time to explore it then, but you knew it might be helpful in the future.  The future is now!

Pinterest Image

6.  Check out Pinterest.  If you don’t have an account, it’s easy to get started.  This rapidly-growing resource provides quick access to most any topic you can imagine.  Searching War of 1812 lesson I found “pins” with pictures and short descriptions of each resource.  Each “pin” links to the resource described as well as the “board” it came from.  Sometimes the source board turns up additional time-saving links.  Follow “boards” that specialize in areas of interest to access all current and future “pins.”

7.  Don’t overlook blogs.  We’re all pressed for time.  When you find a blog that reflects your interests and needs, sign up to receive notification of new posts.  It’s a lot easier to unsubscribe later than it is to try to find the blog when you go searching the next time.

8.  Organize your favorites.  Take a few minutes to do it on your computer or, once you have a Pinterest account create boards to store your links.  You can get to Pinterest with any device that has online access.  For example, I have a board for graphics, TpT, and free teaching resources.  I also have a few private boards for links to resources I haven’t yet explored.  Honestly, I’m not getting any kickback from Pinterest, I just think it’s a great tool.  It helps me organize and access all kinds of information.

9.  Open your school closet.  Look on the shelves near your desk.  There’s a lot more in those teacher manuals and supplemental books provided by the publisher than you remember.  Crack one open and look for extension activities and online resources.  For example, Harcourt Trophies has online lessons that students can use in school and at home.

10.  Finally, don’t overlook the teacher next door.  Sometimes the easiest solution is the most obvious.  Ask your “neighbor” if he or she has any good ideas.  Send out an “all call” email to the other grade-level teachers in your district requesting ideas that have worked for them.  Reach out beyond the four walls of your classroom to the greater educational community.  Collaboration is the most valuable resource of all.

Click here to check out Super Teacher Worksheets, a FREE resource I use all the time.

SuperTeacherWorksheets-homepage-header                    Teachers Pay Teachers has over 80,000 FREE resources.                      Here’s the link to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

TpT logo