Welcome to this month’s Pick 3 Party!  Thanks for stopping by!  If you are looking for some inspiration for your classroom this month, you have come to the right place!

August in one word….CRAZY!  How will I ever get it all done?  Here is a quick glance at some of the things I found to help get the year off to a great start.  

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My campus is focusing on developing readers this year.  I love this one page guide to help parents know how they can help at home.  I plan to make copies of these to have available at Meet the Teacher Night.

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 I was finally able to find this Kraft Alphabet Macaroni at the grocery story.  I bought several boxes and plan to use them as part of my word work stations.  

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This freebie is perfect for the Alphabet Macaroni.  

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One of the first things I want to do with my new class is work on building community.  I just love this freebie!  It would be so fun for the kids.

If you are searching for more great ideas…check out my Pinterest feed.

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This linky party will be hosted on the 3rd of each month and we would love for you to join in on the fun!

Here’s how to join in on the fun!!!

1.  Save the Pick 3 images to your desktop.

2.  Create a blog post using these images to share you 3 Pinterest Picks for the month.

3.  Share a link to your full Pinterest page if you would like.

4.  Link up by clicking the add your link button below.

5.  Be sure to check out the other Pinterest finds that have been shared and leave a comments on the ones you love!

An InLinkz Link-up

One key to creating a positive learning environment is making your room fun and motivating for students.  “Rewarding” students for positive behavior is sometimes a controversial topic.  However, at my school, the use of positive reinforcements is part of the school wide campus discipline plan…so I have to find a way that is effective and works in my classroom.  It didn’t take long to realize that the expense of keeping a treasure box full of “cool” prizes can easily become overwhelming.  Trying to find a more practical solution, I began using a system that includes rewards coupons and brag tags.  Personally, I use the dog themed set but I have created a few different sets for teachers that I work with.  

I use Class Dojo as my primary method of tracking, documenting, and rewarding student behavior.  I love Class Dojo because I am able to provide almost instantaneously feedback to both students and teachers.  I am also able to connect Class Dojo with my behavior management kit.  Each Friday, the students are able to see how many points they have earned through Class Dojo.  They receive on Doggie Dollar for each positive behavior point that they earn.  

To make storage for the Doggie Dollars easy, I reinforce ziplock bags with duct tape for the students to store their Doggie Dollars in.  The bags are hung on a bulletin board using a ring and a push pin.

I gave up on the traditional treasure box years ago because it was expensive to maintain.  I was going out once a month and spending around $40 on little “toys” only to have the kids ask, “When are we going to have something good in the treasure box?”  I replaced the meaningless toys with reward coupons.  The students can choose to spend their Doggie Dollars on any award that they choose.  The kids LOVE this…and I LOVE it because it works and it’s FREE!  

Each of my classroom management kits  include more than 35 Rewards Coupons.  There is a also a blank coupon where you can add your own rewards unique to your students.

I also use “Brag Tags” for my students.  The brag tags are printed on card stock and laminated.  I was able to purchase enough chains and connectors for my entire class from Hobby Lobby with their 40% off coupon for around $5. Each Friday, during morning meeting, I  pass out one or more brag tags to each student.  The kids got to wear their brag tag necklace during the day each Friday.  The kids absolutely loved collecting their brag tags and seeing how many they can earn.  Each of the classroom management kits include an assortment of brag tags.  A blank brag tag is also included so you can customize tags to meet your needs.

I currently have six different classroom management kits available and more are in the works.  Each of these sets is on sale this week for 50% off.  You can click on any of the images to get a closer preview of what is included with each classroom management kit.

Dog Classroom Management Kit

Super Hero Classroom Management Kit

Owl Classroom Management Kit

Bee Classroom Management Kit

Zoo Classroom Management Kit

Star Classroom Management Kit

For many of us, summer is starting to wind down.  If you have started planning for August, be sure to check out these great products designed by teachers to help you start the year off on a positive note!

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In recent years, I have found that the concept of interactive notebooks is a great way for kids to gain meaning and understanding from what they are learning.  The elements in the notebook are three dimensional which allows the students to interact visually and kinetically with their learning.  They also promote the long term retention of skills.  Young learners, especially ESL students benefit from the combination of written and visual elements in the notebook.  

Despite their benefits, anyone who has tried interactive notebooks with primary aged children as almost certainly run into challenges….somehow a student used a “little dot” of glue but the entire notebook is glued together……the student couldn’t find the “next blank page” so they skipped 25 pages between activities…..they glued everything in their book upside down….or pages were ripped from the journal even though it was placed carefully in their desk.  If you teach in the primary grades, I know you are smiling because you know exactly what I am talking about.  

Matty in Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre pretty much tells the story!

This past year, I tried a different approach that combined elements from interactive notebooking and lapbooks together and it was a success in my classroom.  

I taught my lil’ pups to make their own mini interactive notebook from file folders.  These mini books are only used for one unit so it eliminates the concern of having the entire notebook get glued together or pages falling out after only a few days or weeks.  The added durability of file folders made the notebooks easier to work with for my lil’ pups as well.  

During the first few weeks of school, I use colored file folders because it is easier to show my lil’ pups how to assemble the book if there are two different colors.  

After that, I just use regular file folders.  I ask each parent to send a box of file folders as part of their child’s school supplies.  They can be purchased fairly inexpensively during back to school time.  Large pieces of construction paper can also be used if you do not have file folders available.

To make a mini interactive notebook, each student will need two file folders or large pieces of construction paper.  Guide the students to make a pencil mark about 1 1/2″ in from each edge along the folded side.  I do not have my kids use a ruler.  I just simply give them a way to estimate the correct length….like the length of their finger….because the exact measurement isn’t important as long as they are they same on both folders or pieces of construction paper.  

On one folder or piece of construction paper, cut from the edge up to the mark on both sides.

On the other folder or piece of construction paper, have the student cut between the two mark while leaving the edge intact.

Direct students to roll one folder or piece of construction paper “like a hot dog bun” and stick it through the hole in the second folder.  Then, unroll the first folder or piece of construction paper until it lays flat.  

The result is a 8 page book that is sturdy enough to withstand little hands.  Larger books, with more pages, can be made by rolling more than one folder or piece of construction paper together at a time before assembling the book.  The first time you try and make this with your class, it will probably be a bit challenging.   However, the kids will learn to make them independently in no time at all.  Most kids have the concept after making only two or three.  

If you would like to try your hand at using interactive notebooks/lapbooks in your classroom this is the perfect unit to use at the beginning of the year because it covers many of the foundational principals of numbers and number sense.  Here is a glimpse at what is included:


Thank you for stopping by to read this week’s tips and tools for back to school!  I would love for you to follow my blog and TPT store so that you don’t miss out on other great ideas that will help make back to school go smoothly.

Be sure to stop back by next week as the Primary Peeps share more great tips and tricks for back to school.

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