May 9, 2017

10 End of the School Year Suggestions for Keeping Teacher Sanity!

Teachers are tired...students are tired...administrators are tired...everybody is tired, and we can all agree there is NO tired like END OF THE YEAR TEACHER TIRED!

Is the end of the school year finally in sight for you?  Are your students about to drive you NUTS?  If this describes you to a tee, I hope this blog post will provide you some suggestions and activities that will help you stay sane until that last school bell rings for the year!  If your state's standardized tests are in the books, and you are ready to let your hair down to have some fun with your students, take a look at these effective ways and end of the year activities to successfully end the school year!

1.  Let your Students Teach the Class:  Divide your students into groups.  Assign each group a specific standard or topic you've taught during the school year.  Provide them some time to discuss and review the skill.  Allow them to "teach" their classmates about the skill and create a class game to play to review the skill.  So, what does the teacher do while his/her students are teaching?  That's easy...they simply kick up their heels and evaluate their knowledge on the skill!

2. Create a Class Scrapbook:  Allow each student to be responsible for contributing one page to the scrapbook.  Let them include their favorite school memory, field trip, book, etc.  Laminate the pages, bind them, and place it on your bookshelf for your next year's students to enjoy.

3.  Create an End of the Year Lapbook:  This is probably one of my students' favorite activities to create.  In fact, we have made SEVERAL lapbooks throughout the year for different holidays.  My End of the Year Lapbook Craftivity allows your students to reflect and record their favorite memories from the school year.  The only items teachers will need to supply are a file folder and the NO-PREP printables included in this download for their students.  Students will only need a pencil, markers, crayons, scissors, and a glue stick to create this treasured keepsake!  Take a look at the preview and see what other teachers who have purchased it have to say about it!

4.  Have Students Write a Reflection Letter to Themselves:  Allow your students to write a friendly letter to themselves describing their favorite memories of the school year.  Teachers may also want to provide some specific prompts for students to address in their letter.  These prompts might include:  What is something you did this year that you are proud of?  What is an achievement or award you received this year?  What is something you could improve on for next year?  What would you have done differently this year if you had a second chance?  Describe your study and homework habits from this year and evaluate yourself on your performance.

5.  Create a Brochure:  Let your students create a trifold brochure to "sell" your class to the students you will be teaching next year.  Have them illustrate their favorite field trip or class activities they did during the school year.  Explain to your kids they should include a title for each illustration and a few bulleted points about their memories.  

6.  Swim Safety Lessons:  It's so important that your students leave your classroom with some safety precautions to equip them for the summer break.  Of course, summer is a popular time for students to be around swimming pools, lakes, and beaches.  My swim safety packet is one of my most popular spring/summer resources and can honestly be used with any grade level.  Click on the link to take a close look at what is included as well as the feedback other teachers have shared. 

7.  Create a Family Emergency Flipbook:   Because many students have working parents, they are oftentimes left home during the summer vacation.  After experiencing a medical emergency of my own last year, I can only imagine if my accident had occurred with a child or teenager and an adult was not home.  My Family Medical Emergency Flip Book is similar to our emergency folder we keep in our classrooms.  It's the "go to" which contains all of our parents' important phone numbers, personal information on each student, allergies, etc.  With this Family Medical Emergency Flipbook, your students will be equipped to make a 9-1-1 call with ease and answer all of the questions the dispatcher might ask.  Take a look to see what you think!  Fire prevention month isn't the only time we should think about an emergency...from my own personal experience, they can happen anytime with or without an adult around.

8.  Game Day:  Very seldom do teachers have enough time to play board games, and children today think the only games that exist are found on an iPad or iPhone.  Allow students to bring in their favorite board game and have various stations set up for students to rotate through and play a game with a friend.  It's amazing the skills that can be taught through playing games.

9.  End of the Year Slideshow:  If your students are older and have had experience with PowerPoint, Prezi, or any other program, allow them to create an end of the year slideshow.  Create a folder with pictures from this school year for them to choose from on a flash drive or the desktop of your class computers.  Students could even be paired to create an end of the year slideshow together.  Challenge them to insert text on the images or embed music! 

10.  Buddy Read:  Partner your class with a younger group of students and let them go read with them.  It's amazing how successful even your students who may be below grade level in your class feel when reading with a younger child.

If you have never visited my Teachers Pay Teachers store, I invite you to come follow me!  I love teaming up with other teacher authors to provide our followers with HUGE giveaways!  Not to mention, my followers are the first to be notified when my *new resources are launched and new products are always 50% off for the first 24 hours!  
*Already discounted bundles are excluded from this promotion!  

I hope these end of the year suggestions will help keep your sanity as you wrap up the school year!  It's amazing how much teachers can learn from other teachers!  I'm curious to know... what are some of your favorite activities to do at the end of the school year?  Please leave a comment and share them so teachers who visit my blog will have a toolbox full of ideas to choose from!  :)

May 6, 2017

Mother's Day Activities for the Classroom Teacher and Homeschooler's hard to believe Mother's Day is just around the corner!  If you are looking for some activities to do in your classroom, check out some of these children's books and this fun NO-PREP Mother's Day craftivity.

Coupled with this fun Mother's Day Lapbook, your students will LOVE the writing activities and fun foldables for that special lady in their life!  This resource packet is complete with activities for moms as well as aunts and grandmothers for students who may want to create their treasured keepsake for another special lady!


I have a Mother's Day and Father's Day Bundle available for teachers seeking an activity for Father's Day, Donuts with Dad, a craft to invite dads to your school's Daddy Daughter Dance, or any other event involving dads!  This would also be perfect for Grandparent's Day!  This bundle also includes printables for uncles and grandfathers. 

Hang in there, Teachers, we almost have the year whipped!  :)

April 28, 2017

Teachers, Keep Calm and Finish Strong with these End of the Year Activities for Students is it even possible that the end of the school year is just around the corner?!  The month of May might or might not be the busiest month for teachers as many are administering standardized tests (Or...for the younger grades, like me, feeling like we are in prison because of having ZERO break without kids!), compiling data for our final student growth reports, finalizing grades, and still trying to squeeze in a Mother's Day craft or provide students with some "self-directed" end of the year activities to keep them engaged while we try to tie up all the loose ends before the summer break!  A friend shared this on Facebook and I couldn't resist sharing it with you... #preach

There's so much truth to the quote, "There's no tired like TEACHER TIRED!"  Pretty safe to say, I can relate, how 'bout you?   

I just wanted to take a moment to share my new End of the Year Activities Bundle with you!   The activities/projects included in this bundle are guaranteed to 1.  Keep your sanity!  and 2.  Keep your students BUSY with MEANINGFUL activities!

This bundle includes an end of the year memory book for students to record their memories from the school year in, a fun Field Day Booklet (THIS IS A FOLLOWER FREEBIE OF MINE, SO EVEN IF YOU AREN'T INTERESTED IN THE BUNDLE, FEEL FREE TO GRAB THIS FREEBIE!), May writing prompts, a Mother's Day craft, a Swim Safety packet, and fun Class Awards!

*Individual previews are available for the resources included in the bundle!  Click the links above to see what other teachers have to say about these fun, engaging activities, and discover the ease of incorporating these fun activities into your May lesson plans, May morning work, literacy centers, fast finisher activities, lessons for a substitute teacher, etc.

Hang in there, Teachers!  We can do this!

April 8, 2017

FLASH SALE: Year Long Writing and Word Work Bundle

WHO doesn't LOVE a SALE...and not just any sale, but a HUGE sale?!  Of course, TEACHERS DO!  "WRITE" now in my Teachers Pay Teachers store my All Year Long Writing and Word Work Bundle, valued at $67.50, is on sale for $20.00! That's right... a savings of nearly $50.00!  This writing resource has ranked in the top 100 Teachers Pay Teachers resources several times, and nearly 2,000 teachers currently have it saved on their TpT wishlist!  So... if you happen to be one of those teachers, now is the time to move it to your cart and SAVE some money!

Visit my TpT store and see what hundreds of other teachers have to say about this writing resource!

Also... if you would like to read some simple tips on teaching your students how to write personal narratives, click here to read one of my recent blog posts, How to Teach Kids to Write a Personal Narrative in a Few Simple Steps.

March 31, 2017

5 Simple Tips to Help Teach Students How to Count Money

Spring seems to be the time when math teachers are seeking creative ideas on how to teach their students to count money.  Children know what money is and that it is a basic need of survival, but it can sometimes be confusing for students to count money if they have not mastered the standard.  Today, I want to share 5 simple tips teachers can do to help their math students master the measurement standard of counting money.

Side Note:  Before I get started, I encourage you to create a money anchor chart with your students.  Anchor charts are SUPER helpful when introducing a new skill.  Your students should have an active role in creating the anchor chart with you too!  Research has proven that students are more likely to retain a mastered skill when they are an active participant in the creation of an anchor chart rather than just hanging a bought poster on the wall that becomes a part of the background. 


A couple of suggestions on how to create an anchor chart with your students:
  1. Provide your students with a sheet of copy paper.  As you are creating the money anchor chart, your kids can also create one.  When the class is finished with their anchor chart, they can add it to their Math Interactive Notebook or use it as a test-prep study guide.
  2. Another suggestion is to invite your students to the carpet.  The teacher will place a sheet of 8.5x11 copy paper under the document camera to display on the whiteboard.  The teacher will think out loud as he or she is creating the anchor chart.  The students are involved by participating in the think aloud conversation.  Once the teacher has completed the anchor chart, copies can be made for each student to have.
  3. Anchor charts should have a variety of colors used to be visually attractive, vary the "fonts", use different text features such as dots and dashes, underlines, bolder text, fun borders, bubbles around key concepts, etc. 
Now... back to the meat of this blog post... You know, the 5 Simple Tips to Help Teach Students How to Count Money?  Here we go:
  1. Skip Counting:  It is important that your students can fluently skip count before they are ready to count money.  American money is based on the number 100; therefore, I would provide daily opportunities for your kids to practice skip counting by 5s, 10s, and 25s to 100.  Whether it's during your Morning Meeting time at the carpet, a Math 4 Today worksheet, Drops in the Bucket, math centers, using a hundreds chart, place value straw bundles, cubes, etc., this is a vital math skill that must be mastered before they are ready to count money.  
  2. Money Songs/Chants:  There are so many cute money jingles I have come across in my 20+ years of teaching.  I PROMISE...THESE SUCKERS STICK IN MY STUDENTS' MEMORY TANK!  I have always said if my two daughters could remember the information being taught for a test in high school or college like they do the lyrics of the latest chartbuster on iTunes, they would be in good shape for academic scholarships!  On a serious note, I can't take credit for the following chants, and I have no idea where they originated from!  My favorite money chants that stuck with my students when I taught first grade are found below. We practiced these little chants EVERY DAY beginning on the first day of school!  The purpose for reciting them from the beginning of the year was so that when we hit our money unit, my students were already familiar with each coin's name and value.


3.  Coin Sorting/Classifying:  I recommend allowing your students to practice sorting coins based on their attributes.  Give your students manipulative or even real coins and to make sure they can distinguish between the nickels, dimes, and quarters.  The pennies are usually rather easy for kids to identify, but oftentimes, the "silver" coins can confuse some students.

4.  Introduce One Coin at a Time: Begin by introducing your students to the penny.  Allow them opportunities to analyze the penny carefully.  Discuss the features of the heads side and the tails side, the size, as well as, the color.  Practice counting on your whiteboard in a whole group lesson, in math centers with partners, during RTI, and then of course, independently on worksheets.  If you have students needing more practice, there are countless websites on the Internet which provide additional support.  After you feel like your students have mastered the penny, then introduce nickels, dimes, and quarters following these same recommendations.

5.  Counting Mixed Coins:  Once your students have mastered skip counting and can correctly identify the coins and their value, they are ready to count mixed coins.  It is important to teach your students to count mixed coins in order from the greatest valued coin to the least.  For example, if they have 4 pennies, 2 dimes, and 1 quarter... they must learn to count starting with the quarter, then the dimes, and then the pennies.  At first, start simple with just two coins....pennies and nickels.  Then add dimes, and later, add quarters.

 If you are interested in adding some engaging, hands-on resources to help your students master the measurement standard of counting money, click on the images below!  Your students will LOVE the activities which promote 100% student engagement and offer a variety of whole group, small group, math center activities, and independent practice as well! 
You can take that to the bank!

What are some proven strategies you have seen or like to use when teaching your students how to count money?  Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas by commenting on this post!  

February 26, 2017

March Madness TpT Gift Card Giveaway!

"Dribble, Dribble, Shoot, Shoot, Take that Ball to the Hoop, Hoop!"  Teachers, are you ready for March Madness?  Whether you are a fan of basketball or not, WE think YOU are a SLAM DUNK teacher!  We can't wait to give away $50 to SEVEN lucky teachers to spend on some exciting new Teachers Pay Teachers resources for their classroom!

How would you like a chance to win ONE of SEVEN $50 gift cards to Teachers Pay Teachers? Not to mention, you can enter 16, yes...SIXTEEN, times!  I am so excited to be partnering with some PREMIER Teachers Pay Teachers authors who have united to make this giveaway possible.  So.... What better time than now to win some FREE TpT money and stock your classroom with some new engaging spring resources?!  Don't the details below, and enter today!

Simply click the Rafflecopter link below!  Also, you will want to be sure you visit and LIKE Mrs. Avery's Island on Facebook, as well as, FOLLOW Mrs. Avery's Island on Instagram.  Winners will be announced on March 1st on these social media platforms, as well as, the other teacher authors' social media sites!  So after entering the Rafflecopter, remember to go LIKE and FOLLOW me on Facebook and Instagram so I can notify you if you are one of our lucky winning teachers!

Just for fun...leave me a comment below and give a shoutout to your favorite NCAA team!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 21, 2017


Every teacher I know (and I know a few after being in the classroom over 20 years), LOVES the word FREE...especially when it comes to fun, engaging resources for their classroom!

I wanted to invite you to take a walk down Memory Lane with me, and check out my brand new Cootie Catchers product line (or perhaps you may know them as Fortune Tellers)!  Remember back in elementary school when we would create these fun foldables and "play" with our besties?  Oh, how funny it was to learn who we would marry, how many kids we would have, the kind of car we would drive, what our career would be (thankfully, I didn't end up as a garbage collector), and whether we would live in a mansion or a shack?  Ahhhh...  can you even imagine where our lives would be if any of those "fortunes" would have come true?!  LOL!

So... I decided I would play around with these Cootie Catchers with my 2nd graders.  I designed an easy to fold template, programmed it with {USEFUL} information, AKA Grade Level Standards, set aside traditional (boring) worksheets, and allowed my students to "PLAY" with them!  For most of my students, this was the first time they had ever seen these little boogers, but can I just tell you, EVERY student was engaged...EVERY student was learning...EVERY student was mastering standards...and EVERY student was begging to make more!  After we were done "playing" with them in class, my students took them home!  The feedback I received from parents was phenomenal!  Parents were expressing to me how much their child LOVED playing with them with their family members!  Just think...the more they are playing, the more they are learning and retaining this information!

Here's a little bird's eye view of some of my students playing with them the first day I introduced them to Cootie Catchers!  I LOVED their faces when they discovered how to actually maneuver their fingers and make them work!


Just imagine how powerful Cootie Catchers could be for students to review for a test or simply practice a new skill.  Seriously...the repetition of "playing" with a partner, or the ability for students to self-check, if playing independently, is a perfect way for students to master grade level standards.  They are also a perfect fast finisher activity!

Since then, I have made SEVERAL Cootie Catchers to address a variety of skills/standards.  Some of the standards include:  Black History Month, Presidents Day, Fractions, Division, Figurative Language, Money, and more are being made to add to the collection!  (The next one will be Telling Time!)

With standardized testing just around the corner, I know teachers are all beginning to get in that "test prep" mode!  So... I wanted to give you a FREE SIMILES COOTIE CATCHER for you to experiment with your students!

Whether you are beginning to concentrate on different types of figurative language (alliteration, metaphors, onomatopoeia, Idioms, etc.) to help your students amp their skills when writing personal narratives, or perhaps gearing up for National Poetry Month, I wanted to offer you this FOLLOWER FREEBIE as a THANK YOU for supporting my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and always inspiring me to create engaging resources!  After you download this FREEBIE, I would love feedback from you to share your thoughts with me, as well as, other teachers who may be interested in this download!

I hope you enjoy this NO PREP (and when I say, "No prep!"...I really mean NO PREP...NO tape, NO glue, NO staples, and even better than that...NO color ink required!) FREEBIE!

Please leave a comment and let me know if there is a skill you would like made into a Cootie Catcher!  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Thank you for surfing over and visiting Mrs. Avery's Island today!