Everyone has the Right Answer!

    Each class period begins with the reading of the agenda and roll call question. Students have the opportunity to answer the roll call question as the roll is called instead of saying here students answer the questions. If the student does not want to share they say “pass”.  Many teachers have forgone roll call to save time. Although a roll call theme can be used to show your students you care about them, as well as find out new and interesting things about your students. My students look forward to the roll call question and suggestion new roll call themes each day. I have listed some below to get you started. I am always looking for new questions to ask my students, so please share any ideas you may have.

  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • If you could have any super power what would it be? 
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  • Do you want to move when you grow up or stay in ________?
  • If you could meet anyone who would that be? 
  • If you could go anywhere where would that be? 
  • What college do you want to go to? 
  • Where were you born? 
  • What is/was your favorite cartoon?
  • What color is your toothbrush?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • What is your favorite candy bar? 
  • How many states have you visited?
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
  • If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be?
  • What do you like most about yourself? 
  • Do you believe in aliens? 
  • What is your favorite book? 
  • Do you like to dance? 
  • Would you rather be inside or outside?

Choice Boards Freebies

      As a fifth and sixth grade teacher I am always looking for ways to get my student active in their learning. We have been using choice boards this year and they love it. A choice board offers students a way to make decisions about what they will do in order to meet class requirements.  A choice board could be for a single 
lesson, a week-long lesson, or even a month-long period of study. They also allow the teacher to work with small groups while students are practicing skills. 

      Free examples can be seen on my Reading Street Resources page. I will be creating more tic-tac-toe boards as the year goes on, so be sure to come by and borrow as much as you need. Below are some great sites with more examples and information:


Painting With Words Bulletin Board

I am addicted to pin-interest and spend too much time searching the site.  However, I found a great idea for a bulletin board.

We are working on using vivid words in our writing. To encourage the use of vivid words, we created a class bulletin board with suggested words to use in writing. The difficultly of the words increases as the color darkens. Students also practiced their thesaurus skills.

I could not find the pin for this idea. When I do I will update the post.



Class Pictures

Small group area
The back of the room & word wall. 
The class library! 
The view from the front door.

View from the back of the room.

Student supplies and menu folders
View of the front of the room.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the room! I will be posting about my bulletin boards in the next few days. 


A Pocket Chart Stand Alternative

          Teaching is an expensive love of mine, so I love finding cheap alternatives to tools. Pocket charts are a teacher’s best friend, but pocket chart stands can be costly. Instead of buying a pocket chart stand, I purchased a garment rack pictured below. The rail holds the pocket charts with book rings, and there is a bottom rack that can hold materials as well. It also breaks down to be stored when not needed. 


Beach Ball Fun in the Classroom

        Teachers are always looking for fun ways to review skills in the classroom. At the end of each summer many stores have a great sale on beach fun items. I stock up on cheap blow up beach balls; which I get for around .10¢ to .25¢ each. I then write on the beach ball with a permanent marker. For example I have a simile/metaphor practice ball . I wrote various similes and metaphors all over the ball. To play students stand in a circle. The rules are: 

  • You must call the person’s name before you throw the ball to them. 
  • The only person allowed to talk in the circle is the person holding the ball. (expect the teacher of course!)
  • When you catch the ball whatever statement your right hand lands on you read to the group. Then you explain whether it is a simile or metaphor. Then explain why it is a simile or metaphor. 
    The game can be played indoors or outdoors. My students love, love this review game. It is also cheap to create and easy to store when you let the air out. Below is a list of skills I have reviewed with this game, but the potential is limitless. 
  • metaphor/simile
  • fact/opinion
  • vocabulary 
  • reference sources
  • verbs/nouns
  • prefixes/suffixes 
  • point of view
  • types of conflict
  • persuasive techniques

Ideas for Teachers: Sticky Notes for Assessments and Classroom Management

    One item teachers should never live without in the classroom is sticky notes. Below are some great ways to use sticky notes in your classroom.

Classroom Management

  1. When students are working independently, and I am with a small group, if students have a need, they will write what they need on a sticky note and leave it in my sticky note bucket. This has helped in various ways: students do not interrupt the small groups, have the connection they need with me when I am not available, and some students who would not verbally tell you they need something will write it on a sticky note. 
  2. It is a great exit ticket for feedback with no making copies necessary. Post the question on the board, and students can leave the answer stuck to the door as they leave. 
  3. It is an excellent use for a parking lot. Students often have questions that do not have anything to do with what we are doing. Students know if they have a question, comment, or story, they can write a short note on a sticky note and put it in the parking lot (a bucket). At the end of the class, we check the parking lot. Let students know if it is a private matter to note that it will not be shared with the class. 

     Of course, the ideas above require discussion and practice. As a class, we discuss questions/comments that should be written down and questions they already know the answer to. 

    We also discuss when they can write their notes and turn them in. The students catch on quickly. A great site with lesson plans and tips on using sticky notes in your classroom is Post-it for teachers. Please share any sticky note ideas that you may have. 


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