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February 15, 2018

Engaging Activities for the Olympics

Have you been watching the Olympics? My family has been enjoying watching all of the athletes. Are you wondering how you can incorporate the Olympics into your classroom? Getting your students involved in learning about the Olympics can be so much fun! Incorporating it into your lessons is the best way to not get off track. Here are some ideas to help you teach about the Olympics through reading, language arts, and math. 

Having a folder for the Olympic activities will get your students excited for the upcoming lessons. Take a piece of large construction paper and fold it over. Glue the cover sheet on and voila you have a Winter Olympic Folder. 

Start off with an introduction to the Olympics. Many students may not have the background knowledge. Start off using the can, have, are interactive notebook activity. Have a large one on your poster paper so they can see what their friends are saying. Use this as a large group activity. 

There are so many great ways to incorporate vocabulary and writing into your interactive notebooks. You are going to love using interactive pockets in  your book. They are easy to put in their notebooks and your kids are going to love putting their vocabulary into them! Create an easy bulletin board by using the vocabulary cards provided. 

You are not going to want to skip the interactive flip-book Olympic activity! Oh my goodness, your kids are going to go crazy when you show them this activity. My students go nuts for flip-books and I know yours will too. This is so easy to create and it walks you through the writing process. This takes about a week from prewriting to publishing. They can use the new words they know and write about an event they would like to try or use their imagination and write a story as if they were an athlete at the Olympics. There are endless possibilities of story starters!

Make sure to grab this freebie! It is just one of many awesome activities in the Winter Olympic Bundle. Your students are going to have so much fun learning about the Winter Olympics and be engaged through wonderful interactive activities. 

February 6, 2018

Best Tips to Improve IREAD Scores

My goal is to help you understand the skills and abilities required of our students on this assessment and to give you tips to help them become successful. Okay, let's get started!


I know, we are talking about the dreaded IREAD assessment! You are probably wondering why in the world do we have to give this to our third graders and what does it even mean!?!  First of all, the IREAD stands for Indiana Reading Evaluation And Determination. Yes, that is a mouth full. The purpose of the IREAD-3 assessment is to measure foundational reading standards through grade three. Based on the Indiana Academic Standards, IREAD-3 is a summative assessment that was created with the House Enrolled Act 1367 also known as Public Law 109 in 2010. 

1. Reading Foundations

There are four key areas found in the Reading Foundations section for grades K-5: Print Concepts, Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Fluency. The standard 3.RV.2.2, which is the relationships among words, has the highest percentage allocation on the test for this category. This standard includes synonyms, antonyms, homographs, homonyms, and multiple-meaning words. Practicing this every day in an assessment form as well as in a center is very beneficial.

2. Reading Nonfiction

There are three key areas found in the Reading Nonfiction section for grade three: Key Ideas and Textual Support, Structural Elements and Organization, and Synthesis and Connection of Ideas.  The standard 3.RN.2.1 which is, Questions based on Text, has the highest percentage allocation on the test for this category. We are always modeling how to ask questions before, during, and after reading. Our students need to understand text and be able to refer to the text as the basis for their answers. Using fun centers is a great way to help your students learn these skills. If you need more center ideas check here: Center Ideas 

3. Reading Literature

The standard 3.RN.2.1 has the highest allocation for this category as well. That just tells us we really need to make sure our students are comprehending what they are reading and are able to ask questions throughout the text. In this category the next highest percentage is characters and plots. We work on this all the time, right? Yes we do! Keep having your students explore in centers with a text. Have them find the characters in a fun way, have them draw the plot of the story. Make it a fun adventure for them. 

Making it easy and fun is my goal. Giving your students a quick assessment every day before the test will help them feel more confident in their ability to pass the test. Make it into a fun little booklet for them and have them keep track of their progress. Set goals in the beginning so they can see how far they have gone! Check this bundle out! 40 days of IREAD review that takes under 10 minutes! Uh...yes please! 

Are you looking for more activities/centers to prepare for IREAD-3? This bundle will be perfect for your classroom.

We all want our students to be successful. Giving them meaningful review is key to guiding them to be successful on the assessment. We are in this together. If there is anything I can help you with or questions, please let me know! 

If you have not printed the blueprint guide from the Indiana Department of Education, I highly recommend doing so. It is a nice guide to have as you go. IREAD Blueprint

October 11, 2017

Showing Grace in the Classroom

Being a mom has completely made me look back at my teaching career, before kids, and question my classroom management decisions. Homework policies, losing recess, reactions to kids forgetting materials, and so much more. I was a forgiving teacher and I know my students loved being in my class but I definitely had students forget homework and did what most of the teachers were doing in my grade, made them lose some of their recess and complete it. Some may still think that is the best way to teach responsibility; however, there are so many other ways. I think teaching and showing our students grace may be equally as important.

Some of you probably are saying right now that they need consequences...I totally get that but step back for a second and let me share with you a story about my first grade son. Well, my son came home today and said, "Mom, I forgot to do my math." Immediately my heart sank and I said, "Oh no, did you lose your recess?" He told me he didn't and that his teacher just said to do it tonight. His teacher wrote me a nice little reminder note in his daily notebook. What his teacher did not know is that my kids were out way past bedtime, at a football game until 9, watching their cousin play football. They also have their cousins over for the rest of the week while their mom is out of town. Our household is a bit hectic/full of love right now. I almost cried when I read the note (basically because I was exhausted) and quickly responded to her the situation and thanked her for showing Jaxon grace. What would you do in this situation?

What is grace and how do we use it in our classrooms? Grace is the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful. Isn't this what we want our students to show on a daily basis? Students are going to be able to show grace more so when we are leading by example. Does this mean let everything go in the classroom and just show grace to all, every day, all the time? Absolutely not, of course we have situations that need addressed with a stern consequence. However, in those moments we can show grace by our actions and how we handle each situation.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about showing grace through your consequences. Oh I really like the sound of that...grace through your consequences.

1. What is best for your students? This is by far the first question we always ask ourselves daily. Maybe we have had a student that has been bullying most of the year and we have shown grace until we are blue in the face and nothing is working. By all means the best for this student may be a more strict consequence. What is best for one student is not always going to be best for another. You may have a student that has forgotten their homework for weeks. Have you called home? Maybe doing homework at school is the best for that student. Do what is best for the students.

2. Does the student understand the rules? At the beginning of the year you are establishing the rules of the classroom. Of course you are showing grace while they are learning. We don't want our students to think they can get away with everything and run the classroom. There is a fine line of showing grace and enforcing the rules. We have our rules in our classroom to keep everyone safe and learning. If a rule is broken you are showing grace by choosing a consequence in the best interest of the student.

3. What is your goal or motivation? Are you choosing a consequence that is best for you or the student? What is your goal or motivation behind the consequence. Is it the end of the day and you have had one of those days where things just aren't falling into place? You see out of the corner of your eye a student pushes in line and you get angry and tell them to go to the back of the line. These are the moments I challenge you to step back and check your goal and motivation.

4. What do I want them to gain from this learning? We have all been there. A student is not understanding and we have taught the skill five times. Count to ten and show grace. It might just take one more time before the light bulb comes on and they get it. You are not only teaching your students about grace you are showing that making mistakes is okay.

This is hard and I am challenged with it daily. It is a work in progress. Showing grace can be hard in the midst of chaos.
I'll leave you with this question: How are you showing grace in your classroom?

August 1, 2017

Helpful Tips for Back-To-School

The summer is winding down and it is time to start thinking about classroom setup and the start to a new school year.  You walk into your classroom and often think "Where do I even start?" If you are like me, your entire room has to be packed up and put back together every year. I know...it is not fun! The great thing about it, is that every year you can pick a new theme for decoration! My favorite themes are camping, tropical, and superheros. What are yours? It was also a time to figure out how to arrange flexible seating.  Fast forward and your classroom is all set up and students are coming soon. What next? Here are some engaging, hands-on activities that will get your year started off just right!

Communication with parents is key to starting off the school year in a great way. You will love using newsletters and a back-to-school brochure. Sending a monthly newsletter home with parents to let them know what we are planning is very beneficial and parents love it. They are editable so you can easily get on your computer and change what you need to meet your needs.

Now let's talk about what we are going to do the first few days. It is important to start with an All About Me activity! They know the most about themselves so this is a great ice breaker activity. You will love seeing what your students write about themselves. You will always want to have one of these activities on their table when they come in the classroom. 

You will end up using all of these awesome BTS activities throughout the first week of school. It is important to show each student how important they are to the classroom community. The locker "Opening Up New Adventures" is an all time favorite! They make a great back to school or parent night display and most importantly the kids love creating their lockers.
You will want to have first day of school activities ready and available. The reading list activity is always a fun one and it is great to get an idea of what they enjoy reading.  As always the kids love talking about what they did over the summer. You may have a few that say they did nothing and for those kids you can have another prompt they are interested in. This is a great way to see their writing and start a fun journal entry. 

The first days of school would not be complete without having a pop-up book. I am warning you in advance your students are going to want to do these all the time. Luckily, I have created many of them for engaging writing activities. They can choose which back-to-school pop-up book and prompt they want to create and publish their first writing piece. 

Moving on to classroom rules. We all know that classroom rules are a must. Having your students create them can be such a great classroom community activity. 

This is an example of a slip I use for our classroom rules. After we discuss what a rule is and rules we think we should have in our classroom, they write down their own rule for our classroom. We develop our classroom rules as a classroom community. We write our rules on a large paper and display in our classroom. Having your students be a part of the rule making is an important part of your classroom management. 

There are so many awesome back to school activities you can do in the first few days. Here are a few more activities that will make your first days run smoothly: Pencils to decorate, Alphabetical Order Word Work, Math Color Sheet, Poem to Welcome Students, and Making Words. 

Make sure to head on over to Coffman's Creative Classroom facebook page to keep in touch! I love collaborating and hearing how you are doing throughout the school year!

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Now you are set and ready to get out there and change the world! Have an awesome first week of school! 

Here is the link to all of these engaging Back to School Activities Click here for Back to School Activity Pack

April 20, 2017

Interactive Poetry Ideas

It was such a pleasure to guest blog for Heather over at Hojo's Teaching Adventures. April is National Poetry month and I shared many ideas for a great Interactive Poetry Unit in your classroom. Make sure to check out the freebie! Head on over by clicking here:  Interactive Poetry Ideas

January 8, 2017

New Year New Goals

Do you have a hard time saying goodbye to Christmas and saying hello to the New Year? I do! My son was almost in tears as I took down the Christmas tree. We may have had a pity party for ourselves. It is hard to let go of what is familiar, fun, and cozy to an uncertainty of a New Year. So here you are treeless and ready to take this year by storm. Wait...maybe you aren't. Maybe you are scared to see what this year is going to bring, not ready to set new goals yet, not ready to wake up so early and teach, wishing your Winter Break could last forever. Okay, now we all know we can't just hibernate at home and watch Netflix and eat popcorn. (That sounds so nice though doesn't it.) Here is to a new year a new 2017 made of goal setting and marking our check-list off! 

Your students are coming back from Winter Break and we all know how that can go. You need to be on your game. You have made a resolution to stay more organized, make check-list... and actually check them off, keep up with homework, keep your desk clean, keep up with the newsletter, and the list goes on and on! Now, you are probably thinking how in the world am I going to do this and stay accountable? Here is where I come in to save the day! My goal is to make your life easier by creating resources that are low prep and engaging for your students. I want you to have more time do to the things you want and most importantly love to do! So here is to another New Year full of hopes and dreams and more time to spend on what we love to do! 

Just like you set goals for yourself, you want your students to set goals. Use this freebie to help them set their 2017 goals! 

 Click the Link Below to get your New Year Freebie! 

I would love to help you lighten your load this year and help start checking off your To-Do List! What do you say? Here's to a year full of time spent doing the things you love! 

Here are some more New Year's Activities that will engage your students and save you time!

Happy New Year!

November 21, 2016

Top 5 Books to Teach About Gratitude and Compassion

#1 Too Many Turkeys by Linda White

This is a fun book about a turkey wandering onto a farm and making the garden the most beautiful garden in the neighborhood. Another turkey shows up on the farm...and then another...and another...and another. It is a great story that just keeps building and building as the turkeys multiply. 

#2 Twas the Night before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey

My students always love this one! The children take a trip to the turkey farm. They are shocked to find out the farmer is going to have all the turkeys for dinner. They decide they are going to smuggle all of the turkeys to their homes. 

#3 A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
This is such a great book! Mr. and Mrs. Moose are having Thanksgiving dinner. They are missing turkey for their dinner. They set out to find turkey and find out he is scared they want to eat him for dinner. They want them to be at their table to celebrate, not on it. 

#4 Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland

This book is a great book for the younger students. It is all about the true meaning of Thanksgiving and giving thanks. This is a great way to teach about gratitude through a read aloud. 

#5 The Great Thanksgiving Race by Steve Metzger

This book will make your students smile. There are three turkeys and they all want to be the Thanksgiving Turkey. They have a contest to see which of them the farmer will pick. This is a fun book to read aloud! 

There are so many great ways you can use these books in your classroom! Here are a few interactive activities that will help you create a fun way to show gratitude. Here is a freebie that you can use with any book! Have a fabulous Thanksgiving! I appreciate you and all of the amazing work you do daily!