This is a fun idea/tip for working with felt pieces for story telling. This tip comes from my mom's cousin again (the preschool teacher). She made this felt board and displayed it on an easel. The top half of the board is blue for the sky and the bottom half is green for the grass. She stores all the felt pieces for each story in a zip-lock bag. She uses the felt board to tell Bible stories so you can see from the picture the bag is labeled, "Creation" and all the pieces she needs to tell the creation story are stored in that zip-lock. She keeps each zip-lock bag of felt pieces in a 3-ring binder so she can easily flip through and find the story she needs for that day.
Welcome to week 7 of tips for teachers! This week I have 3 tips from a preschool teacher friend of mine as well as a few of my own tips. I hope you enjoy!
This is a great way to quickly see who is absent each day (whose clothespins are left). She has two sets of clothespins (with black names and red names) one set for her morning students and one set for her afternoon students. Students find their clothespin (with their name on it) and answer the "Question of the Day" with a "Yes" or "No" response. The teacher writes each question on a sentence strip and attaches it to the top of the poster (where it says Graph of he Day!). Her questions are always related to the theme of the week. For example, if they are studying worms that week her question might be, "Can you wiggle like a worm?" She will read the question to her students and then they answer it.
Create PowerPoint templates for future projects. I have found that creating PPT templates can save you TONS of time! For example, you can create a slide that is 8 x 8 for a perfect square product cover (for TpT). All you need to do is set the slide to the size you want it and then click "File" and "Save As". Give your PPT a title (i.e. 8 x 8 Cover) and under Format select "PowerPoint Template" and hit "Save". Now when you want to create another 8 x 8 cover you can just go to "My Templates" in PPT and select the 8 x 8 cover and you're all set!
Teach using real-world examples. This preschool teacher has 5 animals/class pets in her classroom to teach about the different kinds of body coverings. She said she likes to have an animal for each type of body covering so students can see and touch each kind to learn the difference. The five animals are birds for feathers, fish for scales, hermit crabs or turtles for shells, Guinea pigs for fur, and frogs for skin. She sends each animal home with different students over the summer to take care of them (that is why they are not all in the picture below).
If the magnetic strip on the back of your credit card has worn out or has scratches on it, try putting it in a plastic grocery bag to swipe it. I have no idea why or how this works but my hubby taught me this trick. He said one time when he was getting groceries and his card wouldn't swipe the cashier did this trick and it worked so ever since then he's been doing it. Guess you could just order a new card but just in case I thought you might like this random tip! :)
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Welcome to week six of Tips for Teachers! I have been putting a lot of time into these posts so I REALLY hope you are enjoying them!!! I so appreciate your comments...they help motivate me to keep investing time into these posts. I am also always looking for more tips so I'm asking the experts, YOU! Please share your tips with me in the comments or on my Facebook page and if your tip is used in my weekly Tips for Teachers post I will send you $5 worth of products from my store ($10 if you include pics!) AND I'll give you a shout out on my blog :)
I've been busy trying to organize all of my teaching materials since "retiring" to stay home with my kiddos now that my oldest is three and I'm starting to think more about homeschooling! In my efforts to organize, I have found that plastic storage tubs and other storage systems are NOT cheap!!! So, in an effort to be frugal, I found that I can save and reuse plastic storage bags that bedding and other items come in. A cool thing about these bags is that some have a clear pocket inside the bag where you can label your classroom materials. I actually got this idea from my Bible Study Fellowship group where I was a children's leader. They organized all the children's toys in these bags which worked great! See my pictures below for step-by-step instructions.
Managing time is one of the most important things you can do as a teacher. I am finding this to be difficult lately with all the hats I wear (wife, mom, TpT seller, blogger, etc.).
My tip is to make a list of priorities and then schedule times for each priority. Then when it comes time to work on one area make sure to set aside all other distractions. For example, my husband watched the kids for me the other day while I went to a coffee shop to work on my Bible study and TpT stuff. I also found that when I want to work on TpT products I have to not allow myself to go on the internet otherwise I will be WAY too distracted responding to emails, checking Facebook or looking through Pinterest!
You could set aside time in your schedule for grading papers, making dinner, lesson planning and more. I find that when I am intentional about setting aside specific times for things I am more likely to accomplish them.
Two tips for the price of one! Use Power Point to create teaching resources or any type of document instead of Word. This tip is nothing new to the average TpT seller but when I was teaching I had no idea the benefits of this! I used to fuss with moving images around in Word and it was sooooo annoying trying to get them aligned like I wanted them. You had to play around with text wrapping and such. I remember when I was working on my Master's thesis and had a layered image in the middle of one of my pages. Every time I would add text the whole thing would shift and I have to re-align it. After being completely frustrated, I finally resorted to printing and scanning it back in (which made it blurry). This was before I knew about screenshots or grouping images together (or before that existed). I love that Power Point allows you to move images around with ease. It's also great for making answer keys because you can just duplicate a slide (or page) and fill in the answers. Below is an illustration of how to group images together into one image. Simply select each image (hold down the control or command key if using a MAC), right click and select "Grouping" and "Group". (Note: In the newer versions of Word you can also do "Grouping") Now when you move your images around they will all stay together! LOVE!
Motivate students to learn using games! Wheel of Fortune is one of my favorite shows. I made this giant wheel for a baby shower game but have since used it in the classroom. You can make learning fun when you make it into a game. I have used lots of games including Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and more to review concepts before a test. You could play Wheel of Fortune to introduce a new topic of study or list of spelling words. Just divide your class into two teams and keep track of points on the white board. Students can take turns spinning the wheel and guessing a letter. The whole team then has 10 seconds to guess the word (they can huddle and discuss). I usual gave out a little prize to the winning team such as a jolly rancher. My wheel has seen better days! It's starting to get old and falling apart but you get the idea :) You could laminate yours to make it keep longer. For mine, I used a piece of foam board that I cut into a circle and then pasted strips of different colored posters on top for the points. I attached a spinner to the middle (I'm sure you could come up with a bigger, better spinner) and wrote the words, "Wheel of Fortune" in the middle.
Be intentional about reading your Bible! I am someone who needs structure and accountability partners so my favorite way to stay in the Word is through Bible Study Fellowship International. It is an awesome world-wide Bible study where you get to dig into the Word and fellowship with other believers. Click on the link above to find one near you! My second favorite way to study the Bible is using a Bible reading schedule. The best one I have found is this one. I love it because you get to read 10 chapters a day from different parts of the Bible (Old and New Testament). You can print out these bookmarks so you can easily find the next chapter. I like to put tally marks on the back so I can keep track of how many days I've read and in case I don't finish I know where I left off.
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