The HappyEdugator

The HappyEdugator
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Click Here to Link to My TPT Store

Monday, August 1, 2016

Winners of the Gift Cards and TPT Sitewide Sale!

Announcing the lucky winners of the Rafflecopter contest for four $50 TPT gift cards!

Congratulations to these lucky ladies! I hope you enjoy shopping on the site today!


Just a reminder, the Teacherspayteachers site-wide sale is going on now, today and tomorrow, August 1 and 2. My store is 20% off, and you will save an additional 10% off your total by entering the promo code BESTYEAR at checkout.



Hope you are off to a great start to the best year ever. 
Don't forget to enter your promo code BESTYEAR when checking out!
 (That has happened to me before.)

Best wishes for success always,

Deborah 




Sunday, July 31, 2016

Resources on the Fly and a Chance to Win one of Four $50 TPT Gift Cards...ONE DAY ONLY!! Don't miss it!

 I am here today to tell you about a promotion I am participating in on Sunday July 31st.

As much as we all love preparing centers and engaging lessons for our students, there are times we need something 'fast' or 'ready to go.' When an unexpected event happens and you need something right away, these are the kind of go to resources you need to always have on hand.

So 30+ teacher authors and I have teamed up to bring you 'on the fly' resources that will be discounted for ONE DAY ONLY!



There are many different items to choose from for varying grade levels.  Maybe you need a morning work pack, a print 'n go, sub folder activity, printables pack or 'ready to go' center?  

The items in the list do not require a lot of teacher prep or materials!

You can find all the discounted deals by clicking HERE:


BUT that's not all!
We are also giving away Teachers Pay Teachers gift cards!
And not just one....FOUR $50 gift cards to TpT!!! The entry window is only open until 6 am EST 8/1, so don't delay entering!  
(Scroll to the end of this post for details on how to enter!)


They will be awarded in time to use for the TPT Site-Wide Back to School Sale that will run August 1st and 2nd!


My entire TPT store will be 20% off and then an additional 10% will be taken off at checkout if you enter promo code: BESTYEAR

(If you can't wait for the site-wide sale, you can still take advantage of a sale I am having in my store today...since I know some of you go back to school tomorrow! Click HERE to go directly to my store. )  

Are you ready to enter to win a $50 TpT Gift Card?
You have several chances to win if you enter all 4 of these rafflecopters!
Be sure to follow what the entry question asks you to do...if selected as a winner and you did not answer the question you will be disqualified!

So take a minute and enter the contest...you just may get lucky! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck and wishing you a wonderful start to your new school year!
Be sure to check your email on August 1st to see if you are one of the four lucky winners!
Best wishes for success always, 
Deborah

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Back to School Tips for Teachers

Yes, I know. It is the end of July, and you're enjoying your summer. At least, I hope you are. I have had an amazing summer, so I haven't been writing. I've been out there enjoying life, losing weight, and getting healthy. My garden has been growing, and I have made some great recipes. I also spent some time at the beach, collecting shells, and being crafty making seashell mirrors.

If you have been following me on Instagram (happyedugator), I have posted pictures there about some of my adventures. I especially enjoyed the TPT conference in Orlando. I loved getting together with old friends and new, learning new things that can help me make better materials for teachers, which will ultimately help children all over the world. Here is a picture of me with  Paul Edelman, our founder:


However, this post is not about summer... it's about going back to school. Now some of  you just got out of school, and you may be thinking, "What!? I don't want to hear that!" However, some counties in our state are actually starting school on August 1, and teachers are going back next week for preplanning and Open House! It seems so early, but that is a consequence of getting out of school in mid May, I guess.

So my post today is about getting ready for a new school year, and I have some tips for you. These are things that have made my life easier as a middle school Language Arts teacher, but they can be used across grade levels. 

1. Get some pre-sharpened pencils. These are great to have on hand. I used to buy them just for testing, but now that tests are taken on the computer, I found they work well for having around for daily classroom use, too. 

There is always that kid that doesn't have something to write with.  You can make little flags out of patterned duct tape which will identify which ones are yours.  

Speaking of pencils in the classroom, here is something that worked for me in Language Arts. I took the pencil sharpener off the wall. Nope, no pencil sharpener in my room. In middle school ELA, you can use pen. Just draw a line through your errors!  Other alternatives... students bring mechanical pencils, extra lead, and personal pencil sharpeners with a container for shavings.  I saved my sanity with this plan. Kids did not have to get up and use the pencil sharpener, and I never had to worry about emptying it out and dirty pencil shavings falling on the floor when they missed the trash. Yes, my custodians liked it, too. If you want to do this in math, just skip the pen, and require mechanical pencils. You can also buy little containers of lead at the dollar store for emergencies...I spent $2 on two, and they lasted me the whole year!

2. Get a large, highly visible timer. You can find all different types and styles on Amazon, but a timer is a necessity for smooth transitions from one activity to the next, especially if you are working in a long block of time. Here is mine, which is about 8 inches in diameter:



You can also use a PowerPoint timer to show on your Smart-board or whiteboard. Here is a link to one you can pick up for just $3:


PowerPoint Timer - Time Remaining PowerPoint for Classroom

3. Invest in some stamps. No, not postage stamps. Get a set of stamps and an ink pad, and save yourself writing notes to students about their work.  Need a homework pass? Stamp out a few! Editing checklist? Stamp it on their paper! Late work? Stamp it! Rough draft? Stamp it! Parent signature? Stamp it! Here is my collection that I loved using: 
You can find lots more online. There is a little investment, but really worth having, and ink pads can be purchased at the dollar store!

4. Get a pretty notepad. Sometimes it is necessary to write a quick note to another teacher, a parent, principal, or lead teacher. A pretty notepad will make you look so much more professional, and will bring a little beauty and joy into your day. If you can, get a personalized one. Then your name is already on it...here is mine that I purchased at a school fundraiser:
Another great one to have, is a pad with carbonless duplicate pages to send a note home. Then you have documented proof you sent a note home with a child when a parent says they never received anything. I used these from




5. Use wall space wisely.  Get a small whiteboard to put on the wall beside your door. It's a great place to put your daily agenda and kids will get used to looking there as soon as they come in the room. I told them to never ask me, "What are we doing today?" until they read the agenda. So much nicer than answering that question 50 times a day! Also, it leaves space on your whiteboard for instructional information. Even better, find one that is magnetic. You can hang magnetic hooks on it for passes, markers, etc.

6. Buy some cheap magnetic letters. Yes, even middle school kids like those little plastic refrigerator magnets, but they are great for teachers. Use as headers - spell out AGENDA, ESSENTIAL QUESTION, EQ, STANDARDS, etc. What is nice is they are so easy to change out. 



7. Use duct tape! It comes in many different patterns and will go with many different themes. Put some on the floor to mark where desks should go, decorate old cans for pencil holders, use to make little booklets by taping paper together  and securing with staples, color code groups, etc. 
There are lots of uses for duct tape. 

8. Make folders for each student. In middle school, I kept a three drawer plastic bin behind my desk for each class. I gave students manila folders the first week of school to write their name on and decorate to make their own, and stored them in the bin. Every week, I had assigned a student helper to pass out the folders at the beginning of class and collect them at the end.  Students put their work in the folders. A great benefit to this...if they forgot to put their name on their work, it was in a folder with their name on it! I just never had students access the bins unless they were assigned as student helpers that week. That way there was no possibility of cheating off someone else's work, telling me they turned it, etc. If it wasn't in their folder, it wasn't turned in. Period. Here is a full week of GOT folder activities from my TPT store - Click HERE to get them for FREE 

9. Have routines in place from the first day of school. Harry Wong is right about this. Establish routines. I was a pre-K teacher before I taught middle school, and routines are important for all children to feel comfortable and secure, and having routines in place helps keep them on track. Not everything has to be the same everyday, but basic classroom tasks should become routine. Especially have a routine for what to do upon entering the room.  I always have a folder passer, a paper passer, and a warm-up activity or bell-ringer ready up on the board. Students know that once they cross the threshold, they are to come in, sit down, and get started. I use a catchy name for my folders...I call them GOT folders...Get On Task. Haha...call them what you will. If you are a middle school Language Arts teacher, here is a great bundle of Bellringers that addresses all of the standards and will welcome your students into the room: Bell-Ringers Bundle Full Year Common Core ELA

Bell Ringers Bundle - Full Year - Common Core ELA

10. Have a calendar on your desk. Every year at this time of year, I would search out stores for a nice desktop calendar that I could write on. I know I could use my computer for scheduling and such, but I liked the old-fashioned way of having it in writing right where I could see it. However, I thought of a way I could save money on this...I made a blank desktop calendar on my computer and printed it out on card stock and laminated it, Then I could fill in the month, dates, and schedule events with a dry erase marker...or better yet, a wet erase. I liked using wet erase markers so things wouldn't get wiped off accidentally being on my busy desk. Then I just used wet wipes to wipe off what I wanted to.  

As I always try to do in every blog post, I give you a freebie for reading! So I am sharing my blank desktop planner calendar with you. Just click the link here and enjoy!


Free Teacher Desk Planner - Back to School Calendar

Wishing you success always!

Deborah Hayes
aka HappyEdugator



  














Back to School Tips for Teachers

Yes, I know. It is the end of July, and you're enjoying your summer. At least, I hope you are. I have had an amazing summer, so I haven't been writing. I've been out there enjoying life, losing weight, and getting healthy. My garden has been growing, and I have made some great recipes. I also spent some time at the beach, collecting shells, and being crafty making seashell mirrors.

If you have been following me on Instagram (happyedugator), I have posted pictures there about some of my adventures. I especially enjoyed the TPT conference in Orlando. I loved getting together with old friends and new, learning new things that can help me make better materials for teachers which will ultimately help children all over the world. Here is a picture of me with  Paul Edelman, our founder:


However, this post is not about summer... it's about going back to school. Now some of  you just got out of school, and you may be thinking, "What!? I don't want to hear that!" However, some counties in our state are actually starting school on August 1, and teachers are going back next week for preplanning and Open House! It seems so early, but that is a consequence of getting out of school in mid May, I guess.

So my post today is about getting ready for a new school year, and I have some tips for you. These are things that have made my life easier as a middle school Language Arts teacher, but they can be used across grade levels. 

1. Get some pre-sharpened pencils. These are great to have on hand. I used to buy them just for testing, but now that tests are taken on the computer, I found they work well for having around for daily classroom use, too. 

There is always that kid that doesn't have something to write with.  You can make little flags out of patterned duct tape which will identify which ones are yours.  

Speaking of pencils in the classroom, here is something that worked for me in Language Arts. I took the pencil sharpener off the wall. Nope, no pencil sharpener in my room. In middle school ELA, you can use pen. Just draw a line through your errors!  Other alternatives... students bring mechanical pencils, extra lead, and personal pencil sharpeners with a container for shavings.  I saved my sanity with this plan. Kids did not have to get up and use the pencil sharpener, and I never had to worry about emptying it out and dirty pencil shavings falling on the floor when they missed the trash. Yes, my custodians liked it, too. If you want to do this in math, just skip the pen, and require mechanical pencils. You can also buy little containers of lead at the dollar store for emergencies...I spent $2 on two, and they lasted me the whole year!

2. Get a large, highly visible timer. You can find all different types and styles on Amazon, but a timer is a necessity for smooth transitions from one activity to the next, especially if you are working in a long block of time. Here is mine, which is about 8 inches in diameter:



You can also use a PowerPoint timer to show on your Smart-board or whiteboard. Here is a link to one you can pick up for just $3:


PowerPoint Timer - Time Remaining PowerPoint for Classroom

3. Invest in some stamps. No, not postage stamps. Get a set of stamps and an ink pad, and save yourself writing notes to students about their work.  Need a homework pass? Stamp out a few! Editing checklist? Stamp it on their paper! Late work? Stamp it! Rough draft? Stamp it! Parent signature? Stamp it! Here is my collection that I loved using: 
You can find lots more online. There is a little investment, but really worth having, And ink pads can be purchased at the dollar store!

4. Get a pretty notepad. Sometimes it is necessary to write a quick note to another teacher, a parent, principal, or lead teacher. A pretty notepad will make you look so much more professional, and will bring a little beauty and joy into your day. If you can, get a personalized one. Then your name is already on it...here is mine that I purchased at a school fundraiser:
Another great one to have, is a pad with carbonless duplicate pages to send a note home. Then you have documented proof you sent a note home with a child when a parent says they never received anything. I used these from




5. Use wall space wisely.  Get a small whiteboard to put on the wall beside your door. It's a great place to put your daily agenda and kids will get used to looking there as soon as they come in the room. I told them to never ask me, "What are we doing today?" until they read the agenda. So much nicer than answering that questions 50 times a day! Also, it leaves space on your whiteboard for instructional information. Even better, find one that is magnetic. You can hang magnetic hooks on it for passes, markers, etc.

6. Buy some cheap magnetic letters. Yes, even middle school kids like those little plastic refrigerator magnets, but they are great for teachers. Use as headers - spell out AGENDA, ESSENTIAL QUESTION, EQ, STANDARDS, etc. What is nice is they are so easy to change out. 



7. Use duct tape! It comes in many different patterns and will go with many different themes. Put some on the floor to mark where desks should go, decorate old cans for pencil holders, use to make little booklets by taping paper together  and securing with staples, color code groups, etc. 
There are lots of uses for duct tape. 

8. Make folders for each student. In middle school, I kept a three drawer plastic bin behind my desk for each class. I gave students manila folders the first week of school to write their name on and decorate to make their own, and stored them in the bin. Every week, I had assigned a student helper to pass out the folders at the beginning of class and collect them at the end.  Students put their work in the folders. A great benefit to this...if they forgot to put their name on their work, it was in a folder with their name on it! I just never had students access the bins unless they were assigned as student helpers that week. That way there was no possibility of cheating off someone else's work, telling me they turned it, etc. If it wasn't in their folder, it wasn't turned in. Period. Here is a full week of GOT folder activities from my TPT store - Click HERE to get them for FREE 

9. Have routines in place from the first day of school. Harry Wong is right about this. Establish routines. I was a pre-K teacher before I taught middle school, and routines are important for all children to feel comfortable and secure, and having routines in place helps keep them on track. Not everything has to be the same everyday, but basic classroom tasks should become routine. Especially have a routine for what to do upon entering the room.  I always have a folder passer, a paper passer, and a warm-up activity or bell-ringer ready up on the board. Students know that once they cross the threshold, they are to come in, sit down, and get started. I use a catchy name for my folders...I call them GOT folders...Get On Task. Haha...call them what you will. If you are a middle school Language Arts teacher, here is a great bundle of Bellringers that addresses all of the standards and will welcome your students into the room: Bell-Ringers Bundle Full Year Common Core ELA

Bell Ringers Bundle - Full Year - Common Core ELA

10. Have a calendar on your desk. Every year at this time of year, I would search out stores for a nice desktop calendar that I could write on. I know I could use my computer for scheduling and such, but I liked the old-fashioned way of having it in writing right where I could see it. However, I thought of a way I could save money on this...I made a blank desktop calendar on my computer and printed it out on card stock and laminated it, Then I could fill in the month, dates, and schedule events with a dry erase marker...or better yet, a wet erase. I liked using wet erase markers so things wouldn't get wiped off accidentally being on my busy desk. Then I just used wet wipes to wipe off what I wanted to.  

As I always try to do in every blog post, I give you a freebie for reading! So I am sharing my blank desktop planner calendar with you. Just click the link here and enjoy!


Free Teacher Desk Planner - Back to School Calendar

Wishing you success always!

Deborah Hayes
aka HappyEdugator



  














Monday, May 30, 2016

$2 Deals on May 30 and 31

I joined together with some of my teacher friends and we have put together a great sale on Teacherspayteachers.com to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer.

If you are interested in checking it out,

Use this link: http://bit.ly/1U1BY0g



Hopefully, you are having a great holiday weekend! Let's not forget those who gave their all to give us the freedoms we have.

Best wishes,
Deborah Hayes
aka HappyEdugator

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I'm back! 10 End of the Year Ideas for Tired Teachers and Students

Hello again! I had my surgery in March. The recovery from this second neuroma surgery has gone well. I am finally starting to feel better and I am walking better every day. The horrible nerve pain is gone, thankfully. I have just not had it in me to write at all, especially since I was diagnosed with diabetes, too. I have been spending a load of time learning how to eat better and take care of myself. Proud to say I have lost 26 pounds since February! :)

I was thinking about what I could write about since the school year is almost over, and I thought about how the last weeks after testing can be draining. The students are no longer motivated, teachers are tired, and everyone wants to do something fun to relieve the stress. Everyone is counting down to summer vacation. Yet, we still have to stay on task and have creative lessons that will keep students learning and engaged (without spending hours of planning!)...so what can we do?

Although I left teaching a year ago, I still remember how difficult those last weeks can be. If you are a new teacher, or if you just need some fresh ideas, here are ten ideas to help get you through those last weeks!

1. The weather is getting nicer, so take your class outside if you can. At our school, we just had to notify the office if we were going to be outside. I liked to carry a walkie talkie with me so I could communicate with someone in the building, in case of an emergency. Of course, you can also use a cell phone, but the walkie talkies were very convenient and you could just call a team member quickly. We also had a covered area with picnic tables called the "outdoor classroom." Just make sure you have a planned activity, so the kids aren't just thinking this is a recess. There are lots of things you can do outside...read under a shady tree, write poems, do a nature scavenger hunt, use colored chalk to figure math problems on the sidewalk or draw maps of places being studied. For a great STEM activity, construct paper kites or airplanes, and then fly them and see which ones fly highest, furthest, longest, etc.

2. Have the student write a speech and present it to the class. My students always liked to complete a "How to..." assignment where they were the experts on something and could teach the class how to do it. This can be done in any grade level. Make sure they have specific requirements, a clear rubric, and keep students who are in the audience engaged with an evaluation form, so that they are participating, too. Here is a link you might like:

Middle School/High School

Speech Presentation - Teacher Evaluation Sheet

FREE Speech Presentation Teacher Evaluation Sheet

End of the Year Speech Assignment

End of the Year Speech Assignment

Public Speaking

Public Speaking PowerPoint

Expository Writing - How to Project Assignment

Expository Writing - How to Project Assignment

3. An ABC review is a good way to review a book, a unit, or even the whole year. Students can write about something that begins with each letter of the alphabet from their book, their lesson, animals they have studied, or what they remember from the year. If they do the latter, they can make it into a memory book and illustrate it, too! Here are links to some ABC review sheets for various grade levels if you need one...

Middle School/ High School

ABC Summary Sheet or Summarizer

FREE ABC Summary Sheet
ABC PowerPoint Project for Any Novel
ABC PowerPoint Project for Any Novel

Elementary

Free Animal ABC Book

Free Animal ABC Book


ABC Book

ABC Book

4. Make a memory book...if you don't use the ABC review above to make one, print out memory book pages for all your students and then have students complete one each day. After a couple weeks, they can be put together to make a nice memory book and then students can autograph them. Take a class photo to include in it.  Here is a link to a memory book if you don't have one...

End of Year Memory Book

End of Year Memory Book

5. Have your class do a service project for the school. Maybe the grounds need weeding, a wall needs painting, or a tree needs planting. Check with your administrator for ideas on what needs to be done to help spruce up the school.

6.  Write an end of the year poem. My students enjoyed making Poet - T's, and they can do this in any subject, not just ELA. We also wrote "I AM" poems like we did at the beginning of the year and then compared them.

"I Am" Poem

FREE I Am Poem

End of the Year I Am Poem: Make a Poet T - Shirt Craftivity

End of the Year I Am Poem-Make a Poet T-Shirt Craftivity

7. Play some interactive PowerPoint games  or do some gallery walks. Getting the students up and moving in an engaging activity will help them use up that pent up energy that can get them into trouble, and time will fly by before you know it! You can quickly and easily make your own games with these PowerPoint game templates:

PowerPoint Game Templates BUNDLE

PowerPoint Game Template BUNDLE

8. Do activities in connection with things students love. Perhaps have ice cream with some ice cream writing activities? Make a cell out of different kinds of candy? Take an imaginary vacation in math?


End of the Year Activities

End of the Year Activities


End of the Year Math Activity PowerPoint - Imaginary Vacation
End of the Year Math Activity PowerPoint-Imaginary Vacation-132603


9. Use menu choice boards to give students an opportunity to choose an activity to work on. Students who have a choice will be more likely to be engaged in their learning. They will feel empowered and put their best effort in their work.

End of the Year Assignment Menu

End-of-the-Year-Assignment-Menu

Multiple Intelligence Choice Board

Multiple Intelligence Choice Board

Students can also evaluate themselves or their classmates...

Multiple Intelligence Self-Analysis

Multiple Intelligence Self Analysis

End of the Year Superlatives: Most Likely To Succeed

End-of-the-Year Superlatives- Most Likely To Succeed

10. Finally, make sure you take time to enjoy your students and let them be creative. If you are reading a novel, or perhaps studying animals in science or a country in social studies, have them make clay models. My seventh grade class read The White Giraffe one year, and we fashioned animals out of modeling clay. It was so much fun!  And here's a tip...all those blank transparencies you no longer use that you may have tucked away in a closet or drawer gathering dust...use them as place mats on the student desks. They throw them away when they are done, and the desks stay much cleaner!



Another option is to have students create songs, raps, PowerPoints, art, games, etc. to review the year. One year, I provided lots of magazines and let them make collages about the book Where the Red Fern Grows, which we had read in class. The creativity was amazing! They enjoyed it, they were learning, and time flew by!




You can also discuss with your students what books they might enjoy over the summer. Here are some reading lists you can give them to help them make some choices. 

Summer Reading List Grade 4 - 6


Summer Reading List Grade 7 - 8



I hope I have helped you with ideas that will inspire you, so that you can enjoy these last few weeks of school with not stress! Don't forget, while your students are working on their engaging activities, pull out those early finishers to help you with end of the year organizing, decluttering, packing, etc. Then you will have a stress-free summer, too! 

Best wishes for success always, 
Deborah Hayes
aka HappyEdugator










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