Bathroom Passes

Hi everyone,

With Back To School season already here, I thought I'd show you my bathroom pass system. I found this idea on Pinterest but I have NO idea who posted this on their blog because I never pinned it... Sorry! 
(I'll add the link when I find it, promise!)

I'm pretty strict with my bathroom rule and my rule is pretty simple... there is NO bathroom! Ha! I really don't like letting the kids leave the room for a "pretend" bathroom break. I give them plenty of opportunities to go to the bathroom at recess, lunch, and between classes, so there really is no reason for them to need a bathroom trip during class time. However, I do understand that they may really need to go between break times such as recess and lunch. SO, in order to allow them the opportunity to "break the rules", I have started this system.

Here is how I use my passes:

I give each child a bathroom pass every Monday morning. I put my students' names on the cards in order to avoid mix ups during the week. 

I made both 'bathroom' and 'washroom' passes after my students pointed out that some people call it differently. Those kids are so SMART! ;)

They are allowed to use their pass once a week. I should mention, though, that I started using this system in March so I may give them the opportunity to use their pass more often at the beginning of the year. 
When they need to go, they simply put their pass in the bucket and they can go. They only have one chance to go during class time so they are very careful about when to use their pass!
To make this even more interesting, I have a draw every Friday with the passes that have NOT been used and the winner gets to choose a prize from my treasure chest! If a child has remembered to go during breaks and has not used his/her pass during the week, it gets put in a box for our weekly draw. It's so nice to see them take this seriously! This system is really a great way to teach them responsibility! 

I had ONE big question from co-workers when I put this system into place in my classroom and I realize that you may have the same question so how about I answer it here?

What happens if a child really needs to go but wants to save his/her pass for the draw? Aren't you risking the chance of accidents?
The short answer is... I guess I am! Haha!
Actually, we teachers really have a gift for finding out if a child really needs to go. I used this system for 3 months last year and I never had an accident. My students used their pass if they really needed to and saved it if they could. So far so good ;)

This system has saved me so many headaches, you have NO idea! No more "Miss, can I go to the bathroom?" at very inappropriate times of the day. I just LOVE it!

I hope this classroom tip was helpful!

You can grab this freebie in my TPT store. Enjoy!

Later gators,

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Plenty Of Puzzles!

Hi everyone,

I'm here to show you my latest creation!
Do you like making puzzles? I sure do!!

The other day, I was updating my numbers pack and I started creating these number puzzles. I thought they would be a fantastic activity for my math centers. 

As I was finishing up, I started playing around with them and decided to create these same puzzles for sounds. I never imagined that 34 puzzles later, I'd have a super fun pack in my possession! Ha!

Anyway, let me show you what I'm chatting about...
I made puzzles for digraphs, ending digraphs, blends, and vowel sounds (I'm working on letter sounds next).
The following sounds are included:
Digraphs: ch, th, ph, wh, sh
Ending Digraphs: ck, ch, sh, th
Blends: bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, pl, pr, sc,
sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, tr
Vowels: a, e, i, o, u

I plan on putting these in my literacy centers, of course! I'll be adding a new puzzle every week. This way, my students will be reviewing sounds we learned AND practicing the new ones!

UPDATE: I also made some puzzles for beginning letters sounds!

In case you want all 3 sets, I bundled them so you can save a little $. 

Click on the pictures above, if you want to check them out in my store.
I hope you like them :)

Later gators,


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Bus Safety Craftivity & Literacy Activities!

Hi everyone, 

I'm here to show you my newly updated craftivity!
This was my VERY FIRST craftivity and I made it back on May 2012. I didn't really know what I was doing but I was proud of it anyway! Ha!

I decided now was the right time to give this LITTLE thing a BIG makeover. So... it has gone from 19 pages to 74!!! I know! Crazy, right??

Have you guessed what it is yet?

It's my school bus craft! Yay!! 

I just love teaching all about bus safety at the beginning of the year because I find it super important to get those kiddos home safely. I also really love teaching them all the different rules and getting them to practice them all! We literally make up our own scenarios and act them out! So much fun :)

Let me show you my pack and you might understand where all my excitement is coming  from!

I started by making an early reader because I found them SO effective last year. I made a full page version, which I will be using on my iPad. The kids LOVE when I read them a book on my iPad... I guess it's just sooo much 'cooler' than a regular book, right?? ;)

I also made a black and white version for the kids to use. We'll be using these little books for shared reading activities throughout the week. 

I made some bubble maps, a class survey, and a labeling activity. 

I also made some writing pages. I included them with both primary AND secondary lines. 

I added some bus tags to my pack too!

Finally, the craftivity part of this pack! I decided to make a little book out of the bus craft this time. I made pages to go with each safety rule from my easy reader. I made one with all the words from my story and one with blank spaces. I'll be using the blank spaces version and I will get my students to fill in the missing information. I can't wait to get my new bunch to work on this craft!

** I included 2 sizes for this template. Some of my students come to grade one with limited cutting skills. A larger template is usually best for them ;)

I hope you like what you see!
I'll post pictures of our bus safety adventures when I use this pack in my classroom :)

Later gators,


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Loving Wisdom For New Teachers

Hi everyone,

I'm linking up with Deb over at Fabulously First today to share some advice for new teachers!
I've only been teaching for 7 years now so I'm not even CLOSE to being a veteran teacher. However, I think I came up with some pretty good advice!

Keep your expectations high.
Never let someone tell you that your students will not be able to learn a new skill because, with you, they will! 

Smile and stay positive.
Don't let anyone's negativity get in the way. Keep your eye on your goal and make sure you do everything in your power to achieve it! In our profession, it can be very easy to move on over to the "dark side" (the negative side). Don't do it, it will only make you miserable!

Have fun!
If you're not having fun, it may be time for you to think about changing your strategies and trying out new ones. This way, you have better chances of finding your "groove" and discovering what works for you. 

I hope my advice will be helpful to some of you!

I've been working hard to update MANY of my products in my store so stay tuned for some new stuff ;)

Later gators,

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Throwback Thursday - Sight Words

Hi everyone,

I'm linking up again with the fantastic Cara from The First Grade Parade for this super fun linky party...Throwback Thursday.

I wrote this post back in March, right before going back to work!


I've been so busy this past week trying to get myself organized... I'm FINALLY going back to work after a year-long maternity leave and I can't wait! 
I've been scrambling to prepare my new classroom look, my literacy centers, and my new homework packet! Oh my! 

I have so many new things to share with you... Today I'll be showing you my sight words homework. 

This tic-tac-toe strategy is nothing new, of course, but I decided that I would make myself a new one for my weekly homework. The kids love it and, quite frankly, so do I! :)

I made a space at the top so that I can simply write our words every week. I'll be writing different words for those who need a challenge or those who are struggling and need easier words.  

I also included a section that says "week of" in order for me to be sure that students are using the correct sheet week after week!

I use 3 versions of this page in a rotation. You will notice the numbers 1,2 & 3 at the bottom right corner of the pages. I do this in order to make sure my students do not always choose the same 3 activities every week!

Each page in this pack comes with both titles "sight words" and "spelling words". You can choose which ones you want to use for your class!

The last pages are the recording sheets. I photocopy this page at the back of the tic-tac-toe sheet so that it doesn't get lost. 

I use this activity as part of my homework packet. However, this can also be used as a literacy center.

If you want to give this a try with your class, you can pick it up at my TPT store for FREE!


I hope you enjoyed this Throwback Thursday!

Later gators,


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Sight Words Fun!

Hi everyone, 

 Today's post is all about sight words!

I'm always looking for new ways to encourage my students to practice their sights words so I thought I'd share a few of my ideas and hopefully some of these will be new to you ;)

Summer is the best time to take out the chalk and get our kiddies writing outside! Putting the old 'paper and pencil' aside and using different ways to write is a great way to motivate our students to keep practicing those sight words!

Finger writing in a plate of salt can be so much fun! If you want a large surface, swap the plate with a cookie sheet and you have yourself a nice large area for finger writing. You can also use sand instead of salt ;)

My students LOVE playing with a beach ball! I get them at the dollar store and I write sight words all over them. Students pass the ball around and whatever word is touched by their right thumb is the word they need to read to the group. You just never know where your thumb will land when you catch the ball!

Legos and blocks are a favorite in my class! I use them for building letters and making words.

Stamps is a great way to replace the pencils for some fun sight words writing!

We also enjoy writing our words with letter stickers! The kids love taking them home to show mom and dad ;)

Magnets are also a favorite! I use different sizes on different days. It keeps them on their toes ;)

White boards are so much fun to write on! We use gloves to erase our work.

Play dough is not only a game, ya know! It can also be used for sight word practice ;)

Along with these fun activities above, I also use task cards for our sight words practice. I put all my ideas together a created this pack with 56 ideas. That's right! 56! I think I made enough to last me the entire school year :)

I included an editable version so you can add your own ideas to the mix!

This set also comes with word lists. I included BOTH Dolch and Fry because I know we all use different word lists ;)
If you want to read more about this pack, you can go visit my TPT store!

What fun activities to YOU use in your class to make sight words fun? I'd love to hear from you so please leave me a comment below if you want to share your ideas with me!

Later gators,


your photo name

Throwback Thursday - Brain Breaks

Hi everyone,

Today I'm linking up with the amazing Cara from The First Grade Parade for this super fun linky party...Throwback Thursday.

I wrote this post back in January and I got great feedback so I thought I'd share this one with you today!

Hi everyone,

Are you sometimes finding your students off task or simply "on cloud 9"? We often think this happens because a student is not interested in completing assigned work or "doesn't care about school". The day I realized that this was incorrect, I changed my way of thinking drastically!

Did you know that kids sometimes just need a break? Even as adults, we often find ourselves getting antsy after working on a specific task for a long period of time. We will get up and take break by doing simple things like making a cup of coffee or emptying the dishwasher. Well, just like adults, children need breaks too!

In my classroom, I use brain breaks. 
My students LOVE them!
Brain breaks are simply quick and easy activities that get us up out of our seat for just 2-3 minutes. I've been using brain breaks for years now and I adore them because they really help students refresh their attentions spans and move their bodies a little in order to find their better sitting positions (kids tend to 'slouch' after sitting too long). 

I usually do these breaks every 20-30 minutes, depending on what we are working on. I just announce to my students that we will be taking a brain break and they know exactly what this means. It does NOT mean that they can get up and start chatting with their neighbor. I have them 'trained' early in the year to get up and wait for instructions. I then tell them what activity we will do and we do it without causing commotion. The rule is simple. If the group of students in the classroom next door is aware that we are doing a brain break, it's because we were too loud! The reason I am so strict with these brain breaks is because I want my students to be in control of their actions. This will help them be more able to sit down and get right back to work once we are finished our break ;)

Over the years, I've come up with different activities that we can do during brain breaks. I decided to make myself some cards with every activity typed onto them. 
Look what I made!
There is a FREEBIE in the preview file!

This pack includes 52 brain break cards and an EDITABLE version too!

Now, I have a cute little deck of cards that I keep on my desk :)

When we are in need of a break, I turn my pack over, fan them out like a deck of cards, and ask a student to pick a card (just like a magic trick). My kiddies love having their turn to pick a card!


I hope you enjoyed this Throwback Thursday!

Later gators,

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