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Class Dojo Debit Cards

Hello friends! I've had many questions over the last few months about how I use my "Class Dojo Debit Cards" in my classroom-- so here we go!

First, you will want THIS product (it's what I created/use in my room). You will need a list of your kiddos and the Class Dojo clipart (you can get it for free here). In order to abide by Class Dojo Terms of Use-- I cannot sell the items with the clipart included. Included in my TPT product are the directions for how to download/use the clipart.

Once you get your students names on the cards (along with the clipart) you can print them front/back. After printing, I cut my cards out and run them through the laminator. (This step is crucial if you want to be able to erase and edit points on the card) However, it is possible to just print on bright paper and use a pen to cross off points when you add/take away. 
Now your cards are ready! Here is how I use the cards every week:

1. I hand out points throughout the week based on behavior.
2. On Friday afternoons, I take the points each student has earned and use a Sharpie to put the amount on the back of his or her card. If students already have points on the back, I use an expo over the top of the Sharpie and wipe off (this erases the sharpie). Then I can combine their previously earned points with the new points and rewrite their total. 
3. I try to clear out points at the end of every week and update card totals-- that way students can all start fresh on Monday.
4. Students can use their cards to "shop" for fun/free rewards on my reward posters (which I post in my room)
Throughout the year I use the same process (Sharpie & Expo) to erase and add/subtract points from the cards. I keep the cards in a crayon holder or Ziplock so I don't have worry about students losing them. Students are usually allowed to shop at least once a week-- but some teachers do it less often (once a quarter). It's really up to you, how much time you have, how often you're willing to update points, etc. 

If you still need want more info about how I use Class Dojo, you can read another post HERE.

Thank you for reading! Have a blessed day! 

Easy Earth Day Craft & Freebie

Hello my lovely teacher friends! Today I wanted to share a quick Earth Day craft I make with my students every year! Here are the supplies I use:
*Washable markers (blue and green-- dark blue works best)
*Coffee filters
*Black construction paper
*Spray bottle or faucet
*Paper plates
*Glue sticks
1. Give each student a coffee filter and have them press it down until flat. Give them blue and green washable markers and let them color the filter.
2. Fold the colored filters into fourths before wetting (this helps the water spread faster)
3. Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the filter (you can hold it, or students can hold it). If I don't have a spray bottle I will hold it under a slowly dripping faucet and rotate as it drips. 

4. Once the filter is wet the marker should run. I turn the filter all directions and make sure every inch is wet. Then I open it carefully and put it on a paper plate (usually pre-labeled with the student's name) to dry.

5. Once dry, return to student and glue onto black paper. I have them use glue sticks because liquid glue will show through the filter. 

6. Add a writing prompt and hang!

You can snag this 1/2 sheet writing page in the preview of this Earth Day product. The actual product has other versions of the paper as well as some planning sheets. 
I hope you have a fantastic Earth Day! 

Creating Student Name Sticks

This quick DIY project will help you create student name sticks that last all year long! If you're like me and teach multiple classes-- you can use the various colors for different groups of kids! Here is the rundown! **Please note this post contains affiliate links for Amazon**

Supplies you will need:
*Jumbo Popsicle Sticks (find them here or in stores like Walmart)
*Mod Podge (here or in craft stores)

Step 1: Use the popsicle stick template to choose a style and type up student names. I love using a bold font like "AG Sorry Not Sorry" or "KG Summer Storm" to add student names.

Step 2: Print and cut

Step 3: Use the paintbrush to apply a layer of the Mod Podge to one craft stick-- then carefully line up the name template and press down. Then let them dry for an hour or so-- and they will be ready to go! 

Find the templates HERE or by clicking the picture below. I hope you are having a lovely school year! 

Easy Classroom Incentives

It's that time of year that leaves teachers scraping the bottom of the barrel for classroom incentive ideas! Personally, I love gleaning ideas from other teachers around me-- as well as places like Facebook and Instagram! Here are a few of my favorites that I've used in my room this year! **Please note this post contains some Amazon affiliate links**
I love it when we can focus on positive behavior ! In my room we have started using a compliment jar! The idea is simple-- every time we receive a compliment from ANOTHER teacher-- we get a star inside! After 12 stars we can vote on a class party idea. These ideas do not have to cost money or take a long time. For example,  my kids voted on a "gym time"-- and we played inside our gym for 15 minutes before lunch. They loved it! 
To make your own compliment jar is easy! Print off the FREE printables (found at the end of this post). I used the "poster" print option on the jar to make mine larger. Click here to read how to print as a poster! Then I cut mine and added magnets on the back (since my white board is magnetic). Quick and easy! 

I have a coworker who utilizes a compliment chain! Every time they get a compliment they add a link to a paper chain. Once the link reaches from floor to ceiling they earn a class party! 
Another great classroom incentive is to focus on classroom goals. For example, I used this Christmas tree goal chart last December. Each ornament had a specific goal we needed to work on (lining up, voice levels, specials behavior, etc.). Whenever we met one of our goals, I added the ornament to our tree. Once we had 7 ornaments we earned a small class party (hot cocoa). The kids loved pointing out when they had met a goal! It really kept them focused! 
You would easily set up a goal board using ANY classroom theme or monthly theme. Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be holiday themed! I saw this idea on Instagram and ran to my nearest Target to purchase this giant Kerplunk game! 
Teachers let students pull out sticks for a variety of reasons (it really depends on what your kiddos need)-- and once the balls fall-- they earn a reward! You can purchase this giant version on Amazon-- but it's pretty expensive compared to the one Target had on clearance! 
Basically any holiday time = crazy kids! Why not use it to your advantage? Around Valentine's Day I always give out a tiny mailbox full of small prizes! 
I pick one student every day who exhibited something I loved the day before (hard work, endurance, positive attitude, friendliness, etc.). I write that student a quick note and fill the mailbox with a prize or 2 (this year it was play-doh and fun dip). Students love coming into the room every day wondering who will receive the mailbox next! You can find these reward tags FREE in my store. 

You can use the holidays to your advantage! March? Give away green pencils or little containers of slime! Easter? Give out a golden egg (which I've found at Walmart in the Easter aisle) that has a small eraser or jellybeans inside! Use your imagination and the kids will love to work hard! 
Lastly, here are some links to some of my favorite reward ideas and lists!

As promised-- here is the link to the compliment jar FREEBIE in my TPT store. Be sure to click the green star by my store name to follow me and receive updates about new products and sales! 
Hopefully you got some new ideas from this post! Feel free to share your favorite incentives in the comments below! 

The BEST Pencil Sharpener (Plus a Giveaway!)

Hello teacher friends! Today I am sharing with you my ALL TIME favorite pencil sharpener! I know some people are all about the electric sharpeners-- but I was always so bummed when I purchased one and it burned out before the school year even ended! 

I present to you-- the Classroom Friendly Supplies pencil sharpener! Once I started using this sharpener-- I knew I would never go back to an electric! 
Here are the pros of these sharpeners:
1) They are QUIET! 
2) They are easy to use
3) You can set it up anywhere in your classroom 
4) They make the pencils sharper than anything I've ever seen (and the lead doesn't break easily after sharpening)
5) They are easy to maintain (cleanliness, lead sticking, etc.)
6) They come in an amazing variety of colors! I got blue to stick with my color scheme :) 
7) Buying in bulk saves you money (and you won't have to buy a sharpener for many years!)

Once I taught my students the proper way to handle the sharpener-- they LOVED it! Don't be intimidated by it's unique look (I promise-- it's super easy!) The website even has videos to show you how to use them! Check out my photos to see how sharp this CHEAP pencil gets (you know-- the ones you give out for holidays and always break in the regular sharpeners???)

Isn't that amazing??? Now to the best part-- the giveaway! If you'd like to win your very own sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies-- check out the Rafflecopter below! You even get your own color choice of green, blue, red, black, or pink! (Please note-- due to shipping costs-- entrants MUST have a US mailing address-- thank you!) 

I'm also going to add a $10 TPT gift card to the giveaway (because I know firsthand how much money we all spend on our own classrooms) Best of luck! 

Bulletin Board Tips & Tricks

I have a love/hate relationship with my bulletin boards! Some years they seem to come together nicely-- and other years they seem a disaster!
Last year was tough because I only had 2 boards-- so I had to make a lot of bulletin board type areas on the bare walls of my room. This year-- I have about 5 boards-- and it came together nicely! Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to getting a bulletin board you LOVE! Please note that this post contains some affiliate links for Amazon. 
One of my favorite trends going on right now is to add 3D elements to your board! This could be any range of items-- but most often I see:
  •  Banners and buntings. This editable pencil banner came from my writing bulletin board set-- found here.
These items do not have to be expensive-- and are usually homemade! I love the depth it gives a board! 
Sticking to a color scheme will add cohesion to your classroom decor! I usually try to do a uniform background paper on each board-- and then change up the trimmer. So even if you have a "rainbow" theme-- your eyes (and your students') aren't being overwhelmed by too many colors at once! 

My all time favorite bulletin board paper is the Pacon fadeless paper from Amazon! I bought this large roll and it went across 5 large bulletin boards (and I have more left). You can also find it at Michaels or  teacher stores-- but the rolls on Amazon are the biggest! They have a chalkboard colored paper that looks amazing! 

Here are some of my bulletin boards-- my color scheme is the wood paper, blues, and green. 
This is such a simple way to save $ on those letter cutouts from the teacher store! Here is the process:
  1. Open PowerPoint (I like landscape view)
  2. Click the "Insert" tab at the top and select "text box". Drag the text box across your page. 
  3. Type a letter you are needing and size it to about 500 (you can play with this sizing after changing the font)
  4. Choose a font you want-- remember that bolder fonts are easier to cut out by hand. Adjust text size again (if too large or small)
  5. Highlight the letter and click the "Format" tab at the top.
  6. Find "Text Fill" and make it white or "no fill"
  7. Find "Text Outline" and change it to black. While under the text outline option-- find "weight" and choose the heaviest option (I usually do 6 pt)
  8. Copy & Paste your letter-- then change it to the next letter you need. Right click the slide and select "duplicate" then change out more letters. 
  9. Print on any color you prefer!
Here is my math bulletin board with  homemade letters for a title: 
I always try to make a board for each topic I teach. This year I'm departmentalized. So I will have a board for math anchor charts and writing work (my 2 topics). One year I had a word wall, but I always forgot it was there-- so my students never used it. I have also put up center rotation boards and never used it. 

Think it over BEFORE you hang it up. If it can wait until after school begins-- wait. I ended up doing my math rotations via my smartboard (it was easier to switch the groups around). 

Here is an example of my writing board-- I also have class numbers on clothespins-- so the students and I can move their clips on the pencil chart to where they are in the writing process: 
Also, try to find things that are relevant to today's culture. A place to "tweet" about their favorite books or "Instagram" something cool they've done or learned today. They will love these boards! 
My last tip is perhaps the most important:Your bulletin boards DO NOT have to be full before the first day of school. In fact, it's best they aren't. 

Give them a place to showcase their work. If you're doing anchor charts-- leave places to hang them up! If you're all about that growth mindset or data growth boards-- wait until you've taught the students about it and THEN hang something up. 

They will be MUCH more likely to look at a board they helped create than a poster you printed and hung before school started. Trust me.

I hope you learned some new tricks today! Don't be afraid to leave it plain Jane for awhile :) 

DIY Tire Seats

This summer project has taken me awhile-- but I'm very happy with how it turned out! Here is the quick guide to how I made my tire seats (which I plan to use in my classroom as a form of seating). These would be AMAZING in a reading nook! Please note this post contains some affiliate links for Amazon. 

First, you must procure a tire (or tires). I found mine via Facebook marketplace-- I got both for $5. But I've also heard a lot of tire shops will give them to teachers for free-- so it doesn't hurt asking!

I rolled both my tires into the driveway and gave them a good wash with a hose and bucket filled with water/Dawn dish soap. You can also use a degreaser-- but I figured Dawn would do the job. 
Then you have to wait for your tires to dry-- including the water that got into the inside. 

After mine dried I decided to prime them using Kiltz (the best brand?) primer-- and a paintbrush. I quickly learned that if I wanted to get into every nook and cranny I should use spray paint. 

After priming (and more drying)-- I picked a color of spray paint and went to town. Make sure to do this on a drop cloth or in the grass-- I always stain my pavement on accident...
After 2 coats of spray paint my tires were ready to go! You could easily stop here and put some round pillows inside the tires (like bucket seats). I decided to go one more step and create cushion tops. 

To make the seats I had my lovely father (who has been so kind and helpful with all my classroom projects!) cut 2 circles out of a large piece of plywood. I already had this piece of wood in my garage because I am refinishing a table. The circles had 2 sizes-- one fit exactly into the middle of the tire-- and the other was about 2 inches wider around the outside. 
Next, we put wood glue between the 2 pieces, clamped them together, and used screws to attach them. Make sure your screws aren't long enough to go all the way through both pieces of wood and stick out. My wood was fairly thick-- so I used 1.25" screws-- and they worked perfectly. 

After a night of drying-- the fun par was left! Decorating! I picked out a 1 yard of thicker fabric (an outdoor fabric would do well) as well as some foam
I cut 2 pieces of foam to fit onto each wood top--
    Put the fabric over the top-- and stapled it to the underside. 
Now each seat fits perfectly into the tire tops-- and won't fall off or into it! I am so excited to use these this year! 
What is a summer project you've been excited about? Feel free to share or ask questions in the comments! Hope you're having a lovely break!

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