That time of year again!


Yes…It is that time of year again! The time where we all feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything on the ‘to do list’. Some things get pushed aside so other things can make their way through and get done. Between marking, report cards, finishing up lessons, final assignments, followed by more marking, we really do not have enough time to think ahead! BUT, although you may not think so, many people do and have already started preparing for the new school year (like our one and only, Loriana). Between getting new thinsg for the classroom, to throwing things out, organzing, thinking of new ideas, new plans, new everything!


Today I was browsing through our products to see which direction to take for the new school year – what we can add, change, improve on, etc. and I came across the ‘Essential Teacher Binder’ that has pretty much everything you need! So here I am to give you a brief overview of what it is these great binder’s include (just to get you thinking…possibly to get you started!):

What is “Your Essential Teacher Binder”?

kitsClick on the image to direct you to our store on tpt

We’ve all heard of the famous “teacher binder” that contains everything that you need to run your class and lessons successfully!  It is essential to your teaching, but not everything fits into the three rings of a binder, so we added in a few resources for your classroom too!  We like to think of “Your Essential Teacher Binder” as a collection of teacher resources to help you organize both your teaching and your classroom.

All teachers have various ways of organizing their lessons, plans, and classrooms; however, we have grouped together a great set of resources to assist you in this endeavor!

So what’s included in this classroom kit?
– Desk nameplates (2/sheet) for both upper and lower grades
– Student hook/cubby nameplates (6/sheet) that can also be used to label bins etc
– Hall pass, office pass, and washroom pass
– Bookmarks (4/sheet) with “During Reading” suggestions
– Monthly student behavior log (2/sheet)
– “While You Were Absent” sheet for students
– Classroom job labels (30 different jobs to choose from!)
– Student of the Month an d Week (upper and lower grades)
– Student Birthday Postcards (2/sheet)
– Lesson plan monthly cover pages
– Classroom calendar monthly labels for both upper and lower grades
– Subject area cover pages for lesson and unit plans
– Substitute teacher feedback form
– Professional development log and Staff meeting record sheet
– Parent contact log (individual student)
– Month at a glance, Monthly plan at a glance, Week at a glance
– Individual student and whole class information sheet (5 students/sheet)
– End of the year classroom inventory
– Lesson plan and mark book cover page

We have tried to include as many printables that we could think of, but if you have any suggestions, please let us know and we’ll add them in!

These kits come in a variety of themes, including outer space, aliens, polka dots, swirls, monsters, apples and ocean!  But we also have a customization option available to suit your themes, colors and designs in your classroom.  View our Customizable Teacher Binder for further information.

Check out for more ideas and resources!

These binders have been an absolute hit, with great feedback. People were getting them at the end of the school year last year, at the beginning of the school year and believe it or not, even through the school year (it never is too late to get organized).

Check it out!!!




Literacy Planning Sheet: An Organizational Tool

How many times do you read a piece of text, be it a poem, book, article, song lyrics, and think about how it can be utilized to teach concepts in literacy to your students?  I have found that I do this constantly, but sometimes have great ideas at that moment but then forget about all those thoughts.  I say to myself, I should have written it down, organized my thoughts.  With this planning sheet, you can organize your thoughts about that piece of text and keep a record of it for future use!  This way, you do not need to re-read it in its entirety, and can always build from your initial thoughts.  The planning sheet is a 2 page organizer where you can record the name, author and type of text you will use.  I have added some literacy concepts for headings and have left some blank for your discretion.  It’s a simple document that can easily be used as a point of reference for you or your team! Click on the image to get this effective tool.


Substitute Teachers ~ What you should leave for your substitute

What do you leave as plans when you are away? How about in your folder as information to the substitute teacher?

First, let me start by saying that substitute teachers are educated, knowledgeable and also teachers.  This post is not meant to say that substitute teachers are not capable teachers, rather they are part of our profession and deserve to be part of the collaborative process as well.

Let’s face it though, they are not the regular classroom teacher, they do not know the processes, procedures to our classroom or our school and they may not even know the structure/floor plan of the school we work at.    This is a time of transition and the more information we can give our substitute the better it is for us (when we return), for the substitute teacher and for our students.

At the beginning of the year, I prepare a package for general information that does not need to be prepared again unless changes have occurred.  I call it my “Go to Folder”.  This folder should help anyone understand how the school functions, how your classroom functions and how you want things accomplished while away.

The general items I include in my folder are the following:

  • A master schedule
  • A list of supervision duties (including exits and entrances)
  • A classroom seating chart
  • A floor plan of the school showing where the emergency exits are and the alternate exits
  • A fire drill list for roll call (I also include lists for times when I have other students (rotary) ; you may teach different periods therefore for each period you should have a list)
  • A list of students that take the school bus
  • A list of procedures for washroom breaks, drink breaks, lunch breaks
  • Procedures for lock down situations and location of spare key to lock the door
  • Procedures for fire situations and where to gather after exiting
  • A teacher name and room number located close by that my substitute can ask for help or clarification
  • A breakdown of classroom discipline procedures and the paperwork (reporting forms) connected with this
  • Important students information, for example Peanut Allergies, or a kidney infection requiring multiple washroom visits
  • A form for the substitute to report back to you the events of the day

I always prepare detailed lesson plans with all photocopies that are required. These are specific to that day and are not emergency plans or general plans.

There are some instances where there is an emergency and you do not have the time to leave detailed plans.  In this instance, the substitute can have access to my emergency plans.  At my school, these are held in the main office and 3 full days of emergency plans are prepared.   I tend to never use these plans but they are always good to have on hand.

What do you leave for your substitute?

Let us know what you include to ensure the safety and consistency we all strive to have in our classrooms.


Study Skills: It’s not about time, luck & favouritism

I found that in teaching middle grades, my students believe that they have excellent study skills because of how much time they spent in front of their book.  I recall, just before writing a test on a complete unit of study, a student exclaimed “Miss! I spent a whole 15 minutes studying for this!  I am totally ready!”  Her conviction was palpable but she could not be more incorrect.   On top of this type of belief, students often think that Lady Luck will help them through, and that us teachers will give them good grades because we like them.  This is obviously a recipe for failure, or just skimming by.  This also breaks their self esteem when students believe they have done all that they can to prepare and still do not do well.

The best way that I have tried to sway students from this is to suggest studying in different ways.   Furthermore, if they can utilize the methods that address their individual learning style then all the better!  At the beginning of the year, I prepare a chart for my students, which lists different ways of studying.  Throughout my lessons, I try to incorporate as many of these strategies to model the process. 

This is my initial list, I then allow students to think of different ways that they study.  You will be surprised at some of their methods. 

  •   Practice with flashcards
  •   Ask someone to quiz you
  •   Read
  • Reread
  • Highlight your notes in your book
  •   Summarize your notes on another paper
  •   Read your notes
  •   Read your notes aloud
  •   Organize your papers so you are working with everything you need                                                                
  •   Outline or make a graphic version of written work (lists, columns, Venn diagrams, etc.)
  •   Create a project/model  based
  •   Quiz yourself
  •   Write memory work over and over until you feel confident
  •   Use a worksheet as a quiz by covering over the answers and re-doing it
  •   Look over old quizzes and try to figure out why you’re making mistakes, redo the quiz
  •   Look over the returned assignments for the unit;
  •   Answer study guide questions;
  •   Tell someone else what the topic is about  create a crib sheet
  •   Translate the information into another language you know


I find this list helps students realize that there are different strategies to use.  Students tend to be more conscientious in how they study once you have discussed it and modelled it for them.

Do you use any of these?  What strategy do you use to help your students learn how to study?

Strategies for Teaching Multiplication

As a continuation of two previous posts, Addition Fact Strategies and Basic Subtraction Facts, now you will have a new resource for your binder!

There has been much development in how students learn their basic multiplication facts.  No longer should students memorize their facts but truly understand how there are number patterns in all they do.   Before you proceed with these strategies, students should be exposed to creating groups of things, they should practice skip counting, and learn to make arrays.

Multiplication Fact Strategies


Classroom and School Green Initiatives: A Planning Sheet

I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful summer weather and appreciating your well-deserved time off!  So, isn’t now the perfect time to begin planning for September?! Well, if you’re anything like me, after a few lazy days in the sun, my mind begins to wander back to my classroom and I begin to plan out the upcoming school year. As much as I enjoy the freedom of summer vacation, I love returning to a sparkling clean classroom, neatly arranged desks, and freshly sharpened pencils. One of the best things about a new school year is the ability to begin with a fresh start and now is the perfect time to explore some green initiatives for your classroom and school.

If you haven’t already, check out this week’s installment of The Tuesday 12: 12 Green Initiatives for Your Classroom and School.  The 12 green initiatives are subdivided into three groups:  simple steps, ones that require a bit more time, and finally a few that are much larger projects.  It’s up to you to decide how many and what type of green initiatives you would like to try out, but just remember that every step counts, so even simple steps towards being more eco-friendly  make a big impact!

Here’s a teacher planner to help you organize your green initiatives for the school year!