Teacher Appreciation Deals 2015

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! To honor all of our fellow educators, we are having a 25% off sale off all of our digital downloads with coupon code 123teach. Get $10 off of a $50 purchase at Really Good Stuff, plus a summer coupon for back-to-school shopping with coupon code RW15T.

Check out these other fantastic deals to add a little sparkle to your week:

  • Clothes: 30% off at  New York & Company for all teachers and nurses! Show any school I.D or pay stub and you can receive 30% off in stores through Wednesday, May 7. Redeem online with promo code 9818.
  • Coffee: From 5 a.m.-8 p.m. on May 5, teachers can stop in at McDonald’s and show their school ID and buy a McCafe Beverage – in return, they will score a free small McCafe beverage keytag, valid for a free small McCafe Beverage daily through 12/31 – while supplies last. McCafe beverages include Iced or Hot Coffees, Premium Hot Chocolate, Iced Mocha drinks, Frappes, Latte’s, McCafe Shakes, and real Fruit Smoothies.
  • Chick-fil-A: During the week of May 4-8, select Chick-fil-A stores are offering a free chicken sandwich with a valid school ID.
  • Check out this complete list of 2015 freebies and deals from Capitally Frugal.

Thanks for OWL of your hard work and dedication! I hope you have a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week!


HOO-RAY for Administrative Professionals’ Day!
























As teachers, administrative professionals are our lifeline.  They schedule field trips, order supplies, take care of our sick and injured students (and us), and basically keep the school afloat. Show OWL of your appreciation with these easy, adorable owl cards.

Administrative Professionals' Day 2

Administrative Professionals' Day 3

Administrative Professionals' Day supplies Administrative Professionals' MaterialsAdministrative Professionals' Day Step 3

Administrative Professionals' Day Step 4

Administrative Professionals' Day Step 5

Administrative Professionals' Day Step 6

Administrative Professionals' Day Sayings

You can also glue all of the owls on a large piece of poster board to create one large card. My students created this one for our favorite administrative professional who just accepted a new position.

Administrative Professionals' Day Card



Whooo’s Hazel?

Hazel Hoot, an adorable green screech owl, is a struggling learner as she lacks the strategies needed to help her succeed. In our charming book, Hazel Meets the Reading Strategy Friends, Hazel stumbles upon a magical tree in the forest.

Magic Tree

Out of the tree appear 10 colorful woodland animals that each introduce a research-based, standards-aligned reading strategy. These animals guide Hazel to become a proficient reader.

Astute Hoot's Reading Strategy Animals

In the sequel, Hazel Meets the Math Strategy Friends, Hazel swoops down to catch her dinner at the local pond when she grabs Upton, an enchanted fish.

Hazel's Problem-Solving Pond

Upton oversees Problem-Solving Pond and promises to introduce Hazel to his animal friends, all who teach a special problem-solving strategy. Using these strategies and Upton’s guidance, Hazel blossoms into an accomplished mathematician who is able to tackle problems with ease.

Problem-Solving Pond

Astute Hoot’s unique cast of strategy animals make learning safe and fun while teaching critical strategies in a child-friendly way. Students make an immediate connection to the animals and relate to Hazel’s struggles. These delightful animals and rhymed text motivate the most reluctant readers and alleviate math anxiety.

Take a glimpse into the magical world of Astute Hoot by downloading See What The Hoot’s About, a comprehensive file with samples of our most popular resources and tools. Check out our store at www.astutehoot.com for complete units guaranteed to spark enthusiasm in your classroom.

See What The Hoot's About Preview

Olive the Other Reindeer to the Rescue!


There are still a few more weeks until winter vacation, but Santa, stockings and sugar are the focus of children’s minds! Olive the Other Reindeer is coming to the rescue! Our adorable  Olive the Other Reindeer Unit will capture students’ attention while engaging them in integrated reading and writing activities aligned to Common Core Standards.  Olive the Other Reindeer is one of my favorite holiday books and my students always come to love Olive each year too!

Activate background knowledge and build excitement: To begin the unit, make a foldable reindeer KWL. Discuss why it is important to think about what we know before starting a lesson, ask questions about what we want to learn and summarize our learning at the end of the unit.

Introduce key vocabulary terms: Teach key vocabulary terms using vocabulary anchor charts and accompanying graphic organizer.

Olive the other reindeer vocabulary

Make predictions with Peter Predicting Possum: Teach students how to make predictions using background knowledge and text features and use textual evidence to confirm or revise predictions.

Making predictions with Peter

Introduce Peter Predicting possum and read his poem to teach predicting strategy. Explain that good readers make predictions before and during reading. They stop to confirm or adjust predictions based on evidence from the text. This makes reading more enjoyable and helps build comprehension.

Peter Predicting Possum Poem

Model prediction strategy by using the cover of the book. Think aloud as you explain, “I’m reading the title, Olive the Other Reindeer and looking at this picture. I see a dog hanging from a sleigh, but I know that reindeer guide Santa’s sleigh. I think that Olive is a dog who will serve as a reindeer on Santa’s sleigh. I will have to read to see if my prediction is correct.As I read, I will look for clues and evidence that support my prediction or will help me change my prediction. Then read the first two pages of the text and discuss. “Based on what I’ve read, I am going to confirm my prediction. Olive thinks the song says, ‘Olive, the other reindeer’ and so she thinks she is a reindeer.

Make predictions on the following pages:

  • Read until Olive gets to the North Pole just in time. Make a prediction–will Olive join the sleigh? Ask students to support prediction using clue from the text. After confirming that Olive will join Santa’s sleigh, brainstorm a list of dog behavior and discuss how these behaviors might be helpful to Santa.
  • Read until the sleigh crashes into the tree. Have students read the first 3 paragraphs of the page and discuss. Refer back to dog’s behavior list and ask what behavior might be helpful in this situation Students will make a prediction and then pull Post-It to read, confirming or revising prediction.
  • Turn the page and show students only the picture of falling gumdrops. (You can cover the text on opposite page with a large Post-It.) Use background knowledge about dogs to help make a prediction about how Olive will keep the sleigh safe from falling gumdrops. Remove Post-It, confirming or revising prediction.
  • Turn the page and have students stop right before, “Olive had to howl louder than the wind instruments. Cover this sentence and rest of text on page. Repeat prediction process using background knowledge.
  • Read the first paragraph on the page with North Pole Fog (the rest of the text should be covered). Repeat prediction process. Lift Post-It, read and confirm or revise prediction.
  • Read the last page and have students stop right after, “There was just one present left. It was for Olive.” (The rest of the text should be covered). Repeat prediction process.

Cover text with Post-Its

Remove Post-It to reveal answer

Students’ reactions are priceless as they reveal the Post-It to confirm or revise prediction.

Prediction reactions

Prediction reactions 2

Integrate informational text: Each student uses his/her question from KWL reindeer and records it on the question and answer reindeer printable. I set up a reindeer research center with key vocabulary terms and leveled reindeer text where students can read and research to answer the question.

Reindeer research

Reindeer question and answer

Have fun: Students can read and follow directions to make Reindeer Munch while practicing key measurement skills.

Reindeer munch

Wear your hair in a bun and add googly eyes, pipe cleaner antlers, and a red pom-pom for a festive hairdo.

Reindeer hair

Download our complete Olive the Other Reindeer unit and Reindeer In The Room Holiday Behavior System to bring these ideas to life in your classroom.


Glitter 101: How to Survive Glitter in the Classroom

For most, glitter evokes the holiday season, but for elementary teachers, just the thought makes their toes curl and sends shivers down their spines. Glitter is messy, time-consuming and ever-lasting (hence those few pesky sprinkles lingering around at the end of the year). The messiness discourages many teachers from incorporating glitter into art projects, but it is something every child should experience. Here are 6 tips to help you survive glitter in your classroom:

1. Set up space: Determine a large, easy-to-clean space that allows children to spread out during the glitter process. Plan a drying space within steps of the glitter location. I use my large, rectangular table by my classroom library. I pull the table away from the books, stack the chairs and place needed materials on the table. I set up a large canvas drop cloth at the carpet area (right next to the glitter table) where children place their masterpieces. The drop cloth catches any loose glitter and prevents children from walking across the room to the counter space, which is a glitter disaster just waiting to happen.

Set up space

2. Use glitter grabbers: I provide children with the leaf trays (as shown in picture) or large plastic tubs to shake off extra glitter. Lunch trays, copy paper box lids, and dish pans (found at Dollar Store) are all perfect glitter grabbers. Plus they stack easily for storage.

Glitter grabbers

3. Make glitter dispensers: Avoid flying glitter by creating these inexpensive glitter dispensers. Simply purchase clear, squeezable condiment or paint bottles and fill with glitter. Cut the tip at the base to make a wider hole. Children squeeze glitter over desired area, providing more precise distribution of glitter.

Glitter dispenser

3. Organize by color: I have 4 different colors of glitter on my rectangular table and each color has its own glitter grabber.  This allows you to recycle extra glitter without creating a large container of ‘rainbow’ glitter at the end of each project.

Organize by color

4. Modeling is a must: This week when I mentioned the words, “add glitter” my second graders squealed with joy. One child shouted, “I’ve never used glitter!” Shocked, I asked the rest of my class if they’ve used glitter before and only half raised their hands.  While planning this project, I assumed that all had used glitter, thus assuming that they all knew how to use it as well. However, as teachers we must never assume that children have required background knowledge or previous experience. Glitter, like anything else, must be modeled explicitly. I first show how to use the Elmer’s glue by saying, “Dot, dot, not a lot.” I then show how to gently shake a SMALL amount of glitter over the glue and gently shake to cover all glue spots. Then I carefully tap excess over the glitter grabber. I talk aloud through each step so children thoroughly understand each step.

Dot Dot Not a Lot

5. Set a limit: I only allow 4 children to glitter at a time; this gives students plenty of space and access to all of the necessary materials. I also set a timer and give a reminder half-way through to ensure that every child has equal glitter time. If you don’t limit the time, you will have a few who will try to spend all day there.

Set a limit

6. Thank your custodians: Even with these tried-and-true tips, children can get a little zealous with the glitter, causing a little extra work for your custodians. Let’s face it, school vacuums aren’t the most powerful machines out there. I always give my custodians a small, special treat to express my gratitude. They love this gesture and it prevents them from cursing my name after glitter sessions.

Thank your custodians

Have a glitter tip? I’d love to hear from fellow glitter gurus.


The Classroom Party Everyone Will Talk About



Does the thought of a classroom party make you cringe? Recruiting parent volunteers, planning engaging activities, asking for donations, keeping students calm….it’s a lot to juggle. Here are 6 tips to create easy, stress-free parties that everyone will rave about:

1. Plan organized centers: Depending on your class size, pick 4 to 5 center activities for students to complete. Students will rotate through these activities just as they would for reading and math centers. These activities should be structured, (somewhat) academic, and take the same time to complete. For my Bat Bash, students read directions to complete a bat craft, conduct pumpkin science experiments, decorate a bat cookie, and sort and graph bone candy. I use center icons to label each center and students move in the same direction as they do during regular centers. This adds necessary structure and routine to an unstructured time.

Organized centers

Make sure necessary materials are provided at each center (i.e., glue sticks, scissors, napkins, etc.). Post center directions as well. Be sure to review and  practice center procedures and expectations before parents get there.

2.  Recruit parent volunteers and donations: For years, I sent home a letter to parents asking them to volunteer and/or donate for the classroom party and without fail, parents would all sign up for the same items, sprinkles and napkins. I had to send additional letters for items that I was missing and keep track of all of those pesky RSVP forms. What a headache! Now I use Sign-Up Genius, a FREE electronic sign-up system. You build a custom sign up, send email invites to your selected group and your group members sign up when convenient. Sign-Up Genius notifies you via email when someone signs up; you can customize reminders so that members receive them via email or text.

Sign-up Genius

I use Sign-Up Genius to coordinate weekly parent volunteers, request classroom donations and plan all of my school events.

3. Buy decorations: Inexpensive, cute holiday decorations can be found everywhere! I especially love Target’s dollar section and The Dollar Tree as they both have a wide selection. Be sure to get there early–many items sell out quickly (I’ve learned the hard way).

Dollar store decorations

4. Provide center bags: Provide center bags to hold student work as they rotate through centers or party activities. When students complete their work, they put right into bag which prevents ‘missing’ projects and materials. I label each bag and include pencils and extra activities for early finishers so students won’t feel the need to rove the room or get off-task after they are finished.

Bat bash bag

5. Organize Bingo prizes: Most teachers include Bingo as a party activity and include prizes at the end for all players. However, this can be a major headache as students usually take a long time to pick prizes. Select 4 or 5 prizes and organize them into individual, labeled containers so students can easily see the options, making selection a breeze. I include visuals on the labels as well.

Bingo prizes


 6. Provide treat bags: At the end of the party, I had out small theme-based treat bags with candy and a homework pass. I also hand out treat bags for the parent volunteers and they love this gesture. I found these bat bags at The Dollar Tree.

treat bags

Have any great party tips? Please share them below.


It’s Fall Y’all! 50% Off Sale on EVERYTHING on Website!!!



The holiday season is quickly coming upon us! To show our appreciation for your support we have marked every single product 50% off when you purchase directly from our website. Click here to check out our store! Hurry…sale lasts from October 12-18 only!

While you are at our website view our newest video here to see our prodcuts in action and download FREEBIES here. Our specialty is intervention and special education resources for grades K-2. We’d love to hear your comments and feedback!

See what the hoot’s about….

Halloween Black Lagoon Literature Study
“Absolutely LOVE it & thanks so much for including photos of the finished products. This makes things so much easier and eliminates the guess work. :)” ~Nicole S.

Ultimate Special Education Survival Kit
“This was amazing! I feel so organized and ready for the year thanks to this! Some of the things in here felt like fun and creative super tools. I am still a fairly new Sped teacher and after going through this I feel like a have a rock solid foundation for the year in several areas (behavior, back to school, and even reporting out intervention plans in a more effective, clear, and concise manner). Thank you, thank you, thank you!”~Meliss G.

Reading Intervention Essentials Bundle
“A phenomenal resource that will allow my students to improve their reading abilities. I am looking forward to using this. This will be one of my life savers for guided reading next year. Thank you so much for sharing!” ~Sonia R.

Math Problem Solving Unit
“We have just embarked on our journey into the Problem Solving Pond. The students are loving it and I am loving the results. Thanks so much!” ~Kim T.

Intervention tools for RTI and Special Education
“Amazing resource for intervention planning! It’s so nice to have it all in one place and ready to go at my fingertips. Thanks!” ~Lauren G.

Phonics Intervention Essentials Bundle for Multisyllabic Words
“Super cute! My kiddos enjoyed the chipmunk! It was easy to do as well because everything was made for me!” ~Shayna R.

RTI Resources: Secrets of Successful Teams
“I absolutely love all of the forms included in this packet. I think they are going to work great for our RTI committee next year!” ~Kelli F.


2014 Halloween Bash Blog Hop

Welcome to our 2014 Halloween Bash Blog Hop, hosted by Teaching 2 Step! To celebrate our first Blog Hop, we are having a HUGE 50% off sale on our products this week only until October 18 here!

Halloween in in the air and students become consumed with costumes and candy. Keep them engaged in learning with our Black Lagoon Halloween CCSS Unit, our 2014 Halloween Bash Blog Hop featured product!
Black Lagoon Halloween Blog Hop

hazel and the black lagoon_cover_NEW

In this 103 page unit, students learn critical comprehension strategies such as summarizing, determining cause and effect, comparing and contrasting characters and text and analyzing character traits. Students also create a new Black Lagoon character and make their own Black Lagoon story. Here are some of my favorite highlights:

Retell Bus:
Students love reading the Black Lagoon books so they are perfect for teaching key comprehension skills such as summarizing and retelling. Make a Black Lagoon Retell Bus and chart story elements after each read-aloud. I made this large retell bus using butcher block paper and enlarged Black Lagoon characters. I added some green tulle, dragon tails and other swamp plants to give it a lagoon effect.
Black Lagoon retell bus-- Halloween Blog HopBlack Lagoon Pocket Books:
Make these easy Black Lagoon pocket books to store and organize student work. I used 2 large pieces of black construction paper for each book and made a 5′ pocket on each piece by folding and stapling paper. I added these adorable covers and labels on each.
black lagoon books Halloween Blog Hopblack lagoon books 2Black Lagoon Books:
In this unit, students brainstorm new Black Lagoon characters, select a new character, and write a narrative based on typical Black Lagoon story structure.  Students then make a crayon resist cover as a finishing touch. Students draw a detailed picture of their monstrous character in the center of the cover and then paint character with black watercolor. The crayon will resist the watercolor, giving it a textured effect. Once dry, students can outline character in thin black Sharpie.

Black Lagoon covers Halloween Blog Hop

Laminate covers and bind to create published books. Place published books in a Book Browse center so students can read each others’ books. To increase accountability, include a graphic organizer for students to complete.

black lagoon published book Halloween Blog Hop

black lagoon book browse

Grammar from the Black Lagoon:
Print grammar monsters (included in unit) on color printer. Cut out and laminate. Glue small magnet strips on the back of each one. I put the grammar monsters in a small black cauldron (found at Target dollar section). Print out Black Lagoon grammar posters on color printer and laminate. Place near game for student reference. Purchase (or make) a fishing rod. I found my fishing rod at Walmart in the toys section, but it can be easily made. Set up a lagoon. I covered my horseshoe table with black paper and glued Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives labels on swamp-like ferns.

grammar fishing

Students take turns fishing from the black lagoon (cauldron). They read the grammar monster(s) and determine if they are nouns, verbs or adjectives. Require students to justify response.

grammar fishing 2

Black Lagoon Cups:
As a culmination to the unit, students will read and follow a recipe to make Black Lagoon cups. This functional text activity requires 3 ingredients (pudding cups, crushed Oreos and gummy candy) and minimal preparation, but one that students will remember.

black lagoon cups

Looking for more Halloween ideas? Download our FREE Going Batty unit here!

Thank you for joining the Teaching 2 Step Halloween Hop. We hope you enjoyed our post.  Be sure to follow like us on Facebook and Pinterest. Hop through more Bash Bloggers below.

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K – 2 Giveaway Pack
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Secondary Giveaway Pack
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Does Anyone Hear Me? The Art of Active Listening

Does anyone hear me? Am I speaking English? Why aren’t my students listening to me?

Do these questions run through your mind frequently? I found I was repeating myself over and over like a broken record and ready to bang my head against the wall. I finally realized that I was making a costly oversight that was hindering academic achievement and testing my sanity.

Listening is such a critical skill, yet I never took the time to truly teach it. I expected that my students would walk into my classroom with the understanding and ability required for active listening. When they didn’t listen, I would punish them for something that hasn’t been taught.

Listening, like any other concept or skill, must be explained, modeled, practiced and reinforced, especially the first few weeks of school.  Students must know what listening looks like, sounds like and feels like.

ALP example

Now I introduce active listening on the first day of school in 3 easy steps:

1. Create a common definition:  I give each student 3 colored Post-Its. On the first Post-It, I ask them to write down what active listening looks like. I call students up to the board and each student shares while I sort and label students’ responses. After all have shared, we come up with a consensus and repeat the process for the sounds like and feels like indicators. I record these on my Good Listening Poster.

ALP looks like

active listening behaviors collage

2. Practice active listening indicators: Next I share my Alert Listening Position (ALP) poem that teaches specific active listening behaviors and we practice these behaviors several times. Students are actively engaged in learning as they chant the second line of each stanza and model the listening behaviors with their bodies.  We also practice non-ALP behaviors such as slumping in seat, head on desk, no eye contact so students can understand non-examples.  While we are practicing, I rove the room and take pictures of excellent ALP examples and post to my ALP poem to use as visual reminders of expected behaviors. Students also get a copy of the ALP poem and add visual cues to help them remember active listening expectations.


ALP poem student example

ALP class page

3. Reinforce and provide regular feedback: During the first few weeks of school, we say the poem together before each lesson to ensure that all students are active listeners. As students become proficient, we recite poem in the morning only and I will give active listening reminders before each lesson by saying, “Let’s do an ALP check,” and provide feedback as necessary. I also share this with specials’ teachers as well as cafeteria aides so that students understand that I expect active listening throughout campus, not just in my classroom.

ALP poem class

Need suggestions for teaching other routines, procedures and transitions? Download our Back to School Teacher Toolbox: Routines, Procedures and Transitions that has engaging activities and lessons to teach 10 critical classroom routines.

PREVIEW Routines and Procdures_Page_1

Happy New Year!


Flash Friday FREEBIE

The first week of school is a time to focus on establishing procedures, explaining expectations and building classroom community. Infuse some fun into these lessons with our FLASH FRIDAY FREEBIEBack to School Character Education Classroom Cooking Unit.

First Day Jitter Jumble: Students often feel nervous and anxious on the first day of school and it is important to address to help them feel more comfortable in the classroom. Read First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and discuss Sarah’s feelings and compare to students’ initial feelings. Then follow recipe to make Jitter Jumble together, discussing and recording what each ingredient represents. Students can then complete First Day Jitters recording sheet as you serve Jitter Jumble snack to class.

Jitter Jumble

jitter jumble student page

Apple Mouth Snacks: Teach students the appropriate times to talk in class with this easy snack recipe. Discuss the importance of talking times and quiet times at school; reinforce that both are needed throughout the day. Complete Venn diagram together to compare appropriate and inappropriate talking times.  Students can then follow recipe to make the apple mouth snack.

apple mouths

Venn diagram

Friendship Salad: Help students define key qualities of friendship with Friendship Salad.

friendship salad

Read Horace, Morris but Mostly Delores by James Howe, stopping when Horace and Morris kick Delores out of the Mega Mice Club. Ask students if they’ve been in a similar situation and then brainstorm a list of strategies Delores could use to solve this problem. Read to the end, stopping to discuss as needed. Make Friendship Salad afterwards, discussing what each ingredient represents. Walk Friendship Salad around the room, allowing students to see and smell it (they will be very anxious to eat it). Then pull out the final ingredient…..a rotten banana. Start to peel the banana and move towards bowl; students will scream in disgust. Explain that the rotten banana ruins the salad, just like cruel behavior can ruin a friendship. Remind them to treat others with kindness and respect….don’t ever be the rotten banana. I post a picture of the rotten banana on our classroom door as a reminder.

rotten banana

Unit details: Detailed lesson plans are included with essential questions, materials list along with suggestions for teacher modeling, guided practice and independent practice. Each lesson includes accompanying worksheets and graphic organizers to help students understand and reflect on these important character traits and life skills.

Start your year off right with our comprehensive line of Back to School products! Be sure to check out our Best of Back to School Lesson Plans & Activities, Golden Keys to Success Behavior Management Planand Back to School Teacher Toolbox: Routines, Procedures & Transitions.

Happy New Year!


Blast Off Back to School Sale!

As veteran teachers, we know that the beginning of year often means countless meetings, endless hours of preparation and a great deal of stress. Let us alleviate some of your stress with our tried and true back to school resources guaranteed to help you work smarter, not harder. Plus, everything’s ON SALE!!!!





Best of Back to School Lesson Plans & Activities:  This unit focuses on establishing procedures, explaining expectations and building classroom community while creating an organized, efficient schedule with minimal preparation. Our comprehensive first week lesson plans  include 50+ interactive, engaging activities with objectives & detailed instructions, homework ideas,daily math lessons and art projects.

Best of Back To School Preview

Golden Keys to Success Classroom Management Plan: Golden Keys to Success is an efficient behavior management program that builds character, promotes self-monitoring and ensures high behavioral expectations. This program has made a huge difference in my students’ behavior because it teaches them to be responsible for daily choices. Golden Keys to Success focuses on 5 important life skills and qualities that students need to become successful citizens. This 90 page unit includes 21 detailed lessons with essential questions and quality literature, 34 engaging activities and projects, a Weekly Responsibility Chart (for students) and a parent brochure with overview of program, consequences and helpful parent tips.

Preview Keys to Success_Page_1

Common Core Math Problem-Solving Essentials Bundle: This ultimate bundle provides an entire year’s worth of differentiated Common Core problem-solving activities to give students the strategies they need to solve word problems. Perfect for general education, special education, RTI and math intervention! This 636 page file has all of the lessons, activities, worksheets and printables you need for comprehensive problem-solving instruction. It is the perfect supplement to any existing curriculum or can be used as a stand alone resource.

Problem solving bundle preview

We hope that these products reduce that dreaded back to school stress and make your life easier.

Happy New Year!


Owl Themed Classrooms are a Hoot!

Clearly I love owls and my students do too! Here is a peek into my second grade classroom, my home away from home. Each year, I refine my classroom with special finds from Target and Hobby Lobby (my favorite!) to make it comfortable and inviting. My goal is to make the room a safe, creative space that promotes engagement and exploration.

Welcome to my classroom!
Welcome to my classroom!

This area is my students’ favorite place. Each day students attend Hazel’s Reading Roost (my guided reading group) as one of their four reading rotations. During this time, we use a woodland strategy animal as we learn and practice specific reading concepts through the context of authentic literature. Students read text at their instructional level using our Hoo Can Read? Reading Fluency and Comprehension flashcards and complete graphic organizers that accompany the strategy animals.

Hazel’s Reading Roost revolves around Hazel Hoot, a struggling reader, who comes across a magical tree one day on the way home from school. She meets 10 strategy animals who help her learn the necessary skills and strategies needed to become a successful reader. To replicate the magical tree, I purchased an inexpensive faux tree from Goodwill and gave it a dusting of gold glitter spray paint. I glued glitter foam leaves to give it an enchanted gleam and used Velcro to attach the animals. This allows for easy removal during reading group time.

Hazel's Reading Roost: Guided Reading Center
Hazel’s Reading Roost: Guided Reading Center

Our Problem-Solving Pond features 10 strategy animals that help students solve story problems. In the pond story, Hazel Hoot swoops down to eat a fish and he begs her to let him go as he is Upton Understanding Fish, the ruler of Problem-Solving Pond. Hazel lets him go and Upton introduces her to the strategy animals, teaching her critical problem-solving skills in the process. Each week students learn and practice new strategies as they complete a differentiated template in their problem-solving journal.

In order to recreate the Problem-Solving Pond, I covered a bulletin board with fadeless blue water paper and added green tulle and pond stems to border the pond. I found this stuffed animal on Ebay that looks just like Upton Understanding Fish at the top along with his problem-solving steps. As I introduce each strategy animal, I put it in the pond for students to reference.

Hazel's Problem Solving Pond: Math Bulletin Board
Hazel’s Problem Solving Pond: Math Bulletin Board

Observe, Wonder, Learn are the key themes in my room and this bulletin board is the first thing you see when you walk into the room. I made the paper using turquoise water color paint, water and white butcher block paper. I love the watercolor effect. I purchased the owl rug from Target (in the bath section) and painted thin wooden letters purchased from Hobby Lobby. I added laminated orange cardstock squares as a backdrop for student work. I change this board frequently to display our learning.


OWL Bulletin Board
OWL Bulletin Board

This area serves as our whole-group space for activities such as morning read-alouds, writing lessons and center activities. In the beginning of the year, I create a carpet seating chart. The owl rugs are the start of each row; I put horizontal lines of masking tape on the carpet and write each student’s name in his/her spot. After students are trained, I remove the tape (I’ve learned that custodians hate masking tape). I place thematic, leveled books in the bookcase and hang student work from the owl clips made from clothespins and our owl templates.

The Learning Nest
The Learning Nest
Owl clips for displaying work
Owl clips for displaying work

I used owl-shaped labels to organize and clearly mark the contents of supply baskets, book bins, and other storage containers throughout my classroom. It not only pulls the classroom theme together, but also creates a literacy rich environment.

Storage bins
Storage bins
Books bins for classroom library
Books bins for classroom library

Sometimes it’s the small things that matter most. I regularly add new owl accents, picture frames, rugs, and other items to the classroom (I might have a problem….). Ebay and Target have a wide variety of owl accents and I love the fuchsia, turquoise and apple green frames and accents found at Hobby Lobby. Here is an example of how I used masking tape and an owl rug to teach students the correct pathway to pick up their mail from their cubbies for their dismissal routine.

Perfect pathways
Perfect pathways
Owl decor details
Owl decor details

Even my newsletters, parent communication forms and behavior charts coordinate with my owl themed classroom! Here are two FREEBIE behavior chart files for you!

Hootin’ for a Great Day:

Hootin' for a Great Day!
Hootin’ for a Great Day!

Look “Hoo’s” Behaving:

Look "Hoo's" Behaving!
Look “Hoo’s” Behaving!

It is fun to collaborate and share ideas with fellow owl lovers! I’ve started an Owl Themed collaborative Pinterest board to collect inspiration for my classroom and share ideas. If you’d like to be added to the board, please follow the board and comment with your Pinterest information below and I will add you.

Owl Themed Classroom Collaborative Board
Owl Themed Classroom Collaborative Board

Thanks for stopping by!


Master Meet the Teacher & Conquer Curriculum Night

Just the mention of Meet the Teacher or Curriculum Night makes most teachers break out into a cold sweat. Why is this? We speak in front of people all day, every day, but the difference is their age. Children will still love us if we make a mistake, get nervous or act silly (they especially love when this happens). Adults by nature are more judgmental and harder to win over. Stop the dread and take back control with these easy tips:

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare: Plan your handouts and student activities at least 2 days before the big event. Don’t wait until last minute–that’s when the copier breaks or the computer runs out of ink.  Not sure what to say at Meet the Teacher and Curriculum Night? Download our Welcome Back to School Parent Packet for several important customizable letters and forms.

meet teacher paperwork

2. Post directions & agenda for the night: Write specific directions for parents to read as they come into the classroom. Make sure they know they must fill out transportation form, room parent slip and student information card. Plus it gives them something to do (other than staring at you) while waiting for the presentation to start. Many parents must attend more than one Meet the Teacher on the same night. Help these parents by posting an agenda (with times) for the night so they can determine the best time to quietly exit and go to next session.


3. Serve refreshments: It is polite to serve refreshments for guests in your home and the same etiquette applies in the classroom. I purchase inexpensive cookies (from Target or Walmart) and place on serving trays. Add decorative napkins and flowers as a finishing touch.


4. Provide engaging activities for students: At the beginning of the night, I need to address just the parents and don’t want students talking or running around the room.  While parents are completing necessary paperwork, I gather students (and their siblings) and bring them to the carpet area where I give them a word search, pencil and white board. I explain directions and set expectations for their behavior. I also pass out lollipops to eat–this keeps their mouths busy while I am addressing parents. Be sure to put a garbage can there as well or you will have wrappers and sticks all over the room.

word search

word search meet teacher

After I speak to parents, I give the kids a scavenger hunt with 9 boxes of items to find in class. I glue small, round stickers to each scavenger sheet; students place a sticker on the box after the item is found. When students are finished, they get to help themselves to refreshments (I set a limit on number of cookies or you will have a couple that will try to take the whole tray–trust me, I’ve learned from experience)

5. Create suggested supplies visual: Each year students come in with random bags of supplies and rarely want to share them with the rest of the classroom. To alleviate this problem this year, I listed specific supplies I wanted to students to bring and then created a visual of what the supplies should look like. I simply purchased a medium-sized pencil case and glued the requested supplies inside and showed it during the presentation, reminding parents to unwrap items and place inside case as shown. This year all the students brought their prepared pencil cases just as I had shown and it was a HUGE time-saver! They simply put inside their desks and we were able to move on to other procedures.

suggested supplies

6. Make a Giving Tree: Parents love to donate supplies at the beginning of the year, so write down each item on an apple and post on a Giving Tree. Remind parents to pick an apple or two before they leave for the night. They return the apple with donations during the first week of school.


giving tree

giving tree 2

Most importantly, remember to smile, breathe and believe in yourself! You’ve got this!

jake at meet teacher

Back to School Organization 101

Does the sight of this classroom make you shudder?     Unfortunately for many teachers, this is reality during back to school season. As soon as we sign our contract, we become immediate hoarders, stock piling supplies purchased during those great back to school sales. But once we get in the classroom, we realize there’s simply not enough space for 100 boxes of crayons. What is one to do? Here are 4 easy storage solutions to get your year off on the right foot:

1. Book Boxes: These colorful cardboard book boxes are perfect for any type of paperwork. I purchased several to hold daily work as well as quarterly copies of behavior charts, writing paper and reflection forms. I also use them to store my centers; each box holds a specific concept (i.e. ABC order, antonyms). They can also be used as writing portfolios to organize students’ writing pieces.

Book boxes

2. Plastic Bowls: I purchased 4 bowls from Target clearance section to hold small items that I need throughout the day. These bowls are perfect for staples, rubber bands, paper clips and push pins. Simply label and place on desk.

Desk bowls

3. Silverware Caddy: A silverware caddy is the ideal desk storage solution because it has multiple spaces to hold a variety of items. I use the first 3 sections to store scissors, pens and . The back section is much larger, perfect for stickers and notepads. I label each section to help ensure continued organization (especially if students use).

Silverware caddy

4. Tupperware Storage: Inexpensive tupperware is a great solution for small items such as googly eyes, jewels, beads, cotton balls and clothespins. Plus they stack easily, making organization a snap. Add labels to find items easily.

Ziploc storage 2

Have an innovative organization or storage solution? I’d love to hear from you!


Vegas Baby!

We just wrapped up our first TeachersPayTeachers conference in Vegas and we had a blast! We learned so much, especially about Pinterest, data and marketing and we are so excited to apply it as soon as we get back.  All of the presenters were so inspiring and informative. The best part was meeting other teachers who share our passion and creativity.  We look forward to collaborating with them in the near future! Some other fabulous TPT sellers we met were:

S.T.E.M.agination Station
Diapers, Dollars, and Diplomas
Surfing to Success
Second Grade Sugar and Spice
Journey of a Substitute Teacher 

There were a lot of fun scavenger hunts going around; we loved the idea and created our own. We had the BEST people watching spot at Cabo Wabo at Planet Hollywood. Here are a few photos we took from our scavenger hunt:

People watching at Cabo Wabo
People watching at Cabo Wabo
A "celebrity" siting
A “celebrity” sighting
The first Elvis of the trip
The first Elvis of the trip
Our favorite crazy hair do
Our favorite crazy hair do

(And a few other unpostable items….)

After the conference ended, we were ready to dance and ended up The Bank at Bellagio. It was the perfect ending to an amazing weekend!

Celebrating a fantastic weekend
Celebrating a fantastic weekend

Check out our upcoming Back to School Bootcamp blog series that will cover such topics as Organization 101, Mastering Meet the Teacher & Curriculum Night, Dress for Success, Keep Calm and Teach On and many more!


Jennifer’s Summer Story


Wow!  This summer is flying by so fast.  My boys attend a school with a modified year-round school schedule so that means that their first day of school is right around the corner on July 21st! Although I worked managing Teacher Development Coaches at a summer Pre-Service Training for new teachers throughout the entire month on of June, I still had a chance to squeeze in some summer fun with my family.

We had an incredible time visiting the Grand Canyon for the very first time.  The boys were amazed at its grandeur…and I was freaked out each time they got close to the edge!  We went on an exciting jeep tour and learned a lot about the history of the Grand Canyon.

Alec and Jake
Alec and Jake

Before we left, the boys picked out some cool souvenirs; a bow and arrow for Jake and a dream catcher and pocket knife for Alec.  We also bought an awesome book called Whose Tail on the Trail at the Grand Canyon? .  The author, Midji Stephenson, signed a copy for us too! We had so much fun reading the book when we got home as we had to guess which tail was on the trail as we turned each page.  The book has beautiful illustrations and fun rhymes.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has visited the Grand Canyon.

Whose Tail on the Trail at Grand Canyon?
Whose Tail on the Trail at Grand Canyon?

Now that we are back from vacation and gearing up for school, I realized that I needed to start getting the boys back on a routine and provide some structure into their days because they have been acting like wild animals  Alec and Jake helped me put together the following visual schedule for our remaining two weeks of summer break.  We have it posted on the fridge and I see them referring to it throughout the day.   I wish I put this in place earlier in the summer!  Children crave structure and routines.  Using a visual schedule and daily routines are great ways to support this for all children.

Summer Visual Schedule
Summer Visual Schedule

A great resource for putting strong routines, procedures, and transitions in place for the beginning of the school year can be found here.


Back to School Teacher Toolbox:  Routines, Procedures and Transitions
Back to School Teacher Toolbox: Routines, Procedures and Transitions


Tina’s Summer Story

The Astute Hoot gals are always on the move in one way or another and this summer has been no different. I was lucky enough to take a trip of a lifetime with my husband Nick and dog Luna in a 24ft RV (named Loretta) for the last 2 months. We left on May 3rd and returned home on July 4th. We traveled around the perimeter of the USA looking for a new place to eventually live and to kick off our creative business together. All-in-all we visited 25 states and drove over 11,700 miles! We took about 10,000 vacation photos during the 2 months and have only scratched the surface of editing. One of my favorite things to take pictures of is critters. We kept a list of all the wild animals we saw and some of them stayed still enough for a photo op. Here’s a couple of my favorite pics from the first few places we visited. To see more of the pics and highlights you can visit the TNTbomb.com travel blog.

Our site-seeing began in South Dakota at Bear Country USA, then on to the Badlands, Mt Rushmore and many other Great Plains roadside attractions.

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Next we spent some time in the AMAZING Yellowstone National Park. I was in love with all the critters everywhere, including buffalo that walk right past your car.

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Once we passed the plains we enjoyed the beauty of the coast and spent some time with friends in Seattle.

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We also enjoyed more city time in Portland and went to the market for some food, crafts and people watching.

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It took us a long time to travel down the Oregon and California coast because every mile was as beautiful as the one before. The ocean was always calling us to dip our toes in and let Luna take a swim.

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Jessica’s Summer Story

The Astute Hoot girls are living some amazing summer stories! Tina is nearing the last leg of her 11,000-mile Creative RV Tour with her husband, Nick. Jen is venturing to Northern Arizona with her husband, Todd, and their boys, Alec and Jake, to witness the splendor the Grand Canyon for the first time. While both of these adventures sound incredible, I needed a little tropical infusion embedded into my summer story. The beach has always been my place of peace and solace, one where I can completely unwind. I usually travel to San Diego, but this year I needed a change of scenery and decided it was the perfect time to visit my brother, Jordan, in Miami. Boarding the plane, I was thinking only of the tedious 4.5-hour flight, completely underestimating the powerful impact this trip would have on me.
Upon the first few hours of arrival, I settled into my summer relaxation mode: lots of lounging accompanied by a little shopping and some delicious cuisine. After four peaceful, yet fairly non-descript days, Jordan and I packed up and headed to the Keys, the beginning of a truly perfect vacation. I don’t know if it was the salty, sweet ocean air, the friendship shared with Jordan or the magic of the islands, but I was finally able to relax, reconnect and enjoy the little things.

Here are a few of my favorite highlights:

1. Relaxing at the beach: There’s nothing better than laying on a beach on a hot summer day.


2. Touring Key West: We started at Duval Street, famous for cold drinks, loud music and long nights.  We walked all over the island and then took the trolley tour to experience all of the architecture and Key West culture.






The Gullah people of Africa believed that ocean water scared away evil spirits so they painted the roof overhangs a pale blue to represent water and prevent spirits from entering house. Many people in Key West carry on this tradition; I might try it on my classroom to prevent a few "evil spirits" as well.
The Gullah people of Africa believed that ocean water scared away evil spirits so they painted the eaves of their roofs a pale blue to represent water and prevent spirits from entering their houses. Many people in Key West carry on this tradition; I might try it on my classroom to scare away a few “evil spirits” as well.
Jordan and I experiencing the Key West trolley tour.
Jordan and I taking the Key West trolley tour.

3. Eating Key Lime muffins:  We stopped at Harriette’s Restaurant, a tiny greasy spoon in Key Largo. Jordan and I decided to try their famous Key Lime muffin and it was THE BEST thing I ate on the entire trip (I don’t even like muffins).key lime muffin

4. Visiting the Turtle Hospital: All 7 types of sea turtles are endangered due to extreme pollution, boating accidents and hunting. The Turtle Hospital treats a variety of ailments, rehabilitates and releases nearly 75% of  treated population. It was so moving to see these turtles up close and watch them receive treatment. Most were incredibly friendly; we were even able to feed them!IMG_6314

I had to fight the urge to pet them.
I had to fight the urge to pet them.
This one was very friendly.
This one was very friendly.IMG_6360


We hope that you are living an amazing summer story! Don’t forget to enjoy the little things!




Beating the Summer Boredom Blues


It is hard to believe that my boys are already halfway through their summer vacation here in Arizona.  We’ve had lots of fun so far, but I’m afraid to say that I’m already running out of steam!  It has been HOT here (105+ degrees) and the boys are getting antsy being stuck indoors. There’s only so many cartoons to watch and video games to play. So, the teacher in me decided to make a choice for my boys with a menu of fun things to do

Using this choice board has really helped the boys be more independent in finding fun things do.  I’ve haven’t heard “I’m boooorrrreed!” within the last few days! Yay!  Here are some of the things we have been up to:


A day at the beach with Alec and Jake.
A day at the beach with Alec and Jake.
Jake at the water park.
Jake at the water park.
Alec at Mud Mania!
Alec at Mud Mania!

Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to find some fresh ideas I’d like to try:


Shaving cream Twister
Shaving cream Twister
Science Experiments
Science Experiments
Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunt

At times, my boys’ constant high energy level, chatter, running, jumping, and bickering, has left me wanting to escape to beach…far away…ALONE.

At the beach...ALONE
At the beach…ALONE

But then at the end of night when Jake says “Mommy, can you cuddle with me on the couch?”, I know that there is nowhere else I’d rather be.  So for now, the dishes will remain in the sink, the laundry will have to wait, and maybe I’ll have more energy to get to it tomorrow.

My dirty dishes :(
My dirty dishes 🙁

Hopefully I’ll survive the rest of the summer trying to keep up with them.  Either way, I know that we have made some great memories together!  We’d love to hear your ideas for beating the summer boredom blues too!  Please comment below.


What’s Your Summer Story?




Summertime is quickly approaching…..what is planned for your 2014 summer story? The Astute Hoot girls have several plans.





Jen is planning a road-trip with her family to visit the Grand Canyon for the very first time.


Jessica is going to visit her brother in Miami and also hopes to spend some time in San Diego (the beach is her favorite escape).


Tina is in the middle of a creative RV tour across the country with her husband Nick.



As a thank-you for your support, we are running a summer giveaway for a Kindle Fire–a perfect addition to any summer story! Click on the link for more details: http://tinyurl.com/oehe7z4


The Astute Hoot Girls


5 Tips for Creating Easy End of Year Portfolios


Do these stacks look familiar? Like many teachers at this time of year, I find myself buried in piles of students work while desperately searching Pinterest for a cute solution. After several unsuccessful searches, I finally found my answer at my local  grocery store. Here are 5 tips to replicate these easy, yet impressive student portfolios while keeping students engaged and focused (a true feat at the end of the year):

1. Get a class set of brown grocery bags (handles are preferred). Sounds simple enough, right? These bags serve as the portfolios; they are the perfect size to hold a variety of projects and the handles help students transport them easily. Allow students to decorate bags with Sharpies or markers (they love this and it will take up some time, an added benefit).

Portfolio 1

Portfolio 3

2. Meet the authors. My students love to read biographical information about authors so we study back covers from a few of their favorite writers to determine what should be included in their own versions. I divide the class into groups of 4 and give them a few copies of books with biographical information included. Students discuss similarities and differences between each and brainstorm a list of what should be included in their biographical paragraphs. I model writing my own Meet the Author using sentence frames. As students write, I photograph them and put photos on top of their biographical paragraphs. I laminate them and then glue them to the front of the portfolios.

Author's notes 1


Meet the author 1


Meet the author 2

3. Record contents. I type up a list of the writing pieces we completed throughout the year and the students help me put them in chronological order. Students then decorate these content pages with Sharpie and I glue them on the back of the portfolios.

Meet the author 3

4. Plan a celebration. Each year I am always amazed at the quantity and quality of students’ writing and the tremendous progress they make through the year; they truly become published authors. Celebrate students’ hard work and success with an Author’s Tea. Pick a time and date (I always choose a Friday from 1:00-2:00) and have students make a personalized invitation to family members. I include an RSVP section so I know how many family members are coming. If family can’t come, I recruit other staff and my own family members. I also provide a variety of refreshments for the Author’s Tea (you can also ask for donations).


5. Practice and prepare. On the day of the Author’s Tea, we spend an hour practicing and preparing for the big event. First I select a student to be my parent and I model welcoming my parent, getting refreshments and explaining my portfolio. I give my “parent” a list of questions to ask (these are common questions parents will ask) as I explain and share my portfolio. I pre-select partners; one student is the child, one is the parent. They practice sharing and listening and then switch roles. Finally we prepare for our guests; we have a cleaning, set up refreshments and pack-up before families arrive. Students welcome their guests and share portfolios. While they share, I walk around and take photos. When students finish, they go home and take portfolios with them.

These amazingly easy portfolios keep students engaged and productive while creating lasting memories for all involved.


Standardized testing bag

A Sweet Treat for Test-Taking

Standardized testing is stressful for everyone! Prepare these Test Prep Bags to help motivate and encourage your test-takers. Sugar cures everything!

Simply purchase treat bags or paper lunch sacks and select the candy to be used. I choose the camo pattern because my class is the Test Prep Troops. During our practice sessions, students say a special test prep chant, wear dog tags and use camo pencils.

A week before testing, I send home a donation letter asking parents to provide healthy snacks and treats. I include the candy I need for the Test Prep Bags so I don’t have to purchase myself.

The day before testing, I gather kids at the carpet and we read, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.  We discuss the story’s message and I tell them how proud I am of their hard work and dedication. I remind them that they are prepared for the test and I believe in them whole-heartedly.  At dismissal, I pass out their Test Prep Bags and have them open at home.

Students absolutely love this inexpensive gift and you will love priceless encouragement and motivation it provides. Download our other standardized testing tips here.

Test prep bag exampleTest Prep RationsTest prep bag suppliesTest Prep Troops (2)

Standardized Testing Good Luck Hands

Standardized testing often causes anxiety and stress for students. I alleviate these worries and build students’ self-esteem with Standardized Testing Khamsas (Good Luck Hands), part of our Standardized Test Prep Unit.

Khamsa--OWL board

Good Luck Hands

The khamsa, which means five in Arabic, is a good luck symbol from Morocco, Africa. Often made with precious metal like silver and gold, these ornate and colorful hands are used to bring luck and blessings into people’s lives.  Students feel so special making these good luck hands; these are always a top keepsake for the year.

To make in the classroom, simply have students trace their hands on aluminum foil and glue onto brightly colored construction paper. Students can add detail with Sharpies and glue on jewels, buttons, eyes and sequins. Display these on bulletin board for a beautiful reminder for students to believe in themselves during testing time.


Khamsa--cutting 2





5 Secrets to Successful Test Prep

Just the mention of standardized testing causes major anxiety for both students and teachers.  These 5 secrets of successful test prep, along with our complete Standardized Test Prep Unit, will alleviate angst, strengthen skills, promote self-awareness and build confidence.

Create an engaging test prep theme. After spring break, my class is transformed into Test Prep Troops. I decorate the classroom with camouflage flair including a special sign on door and camouflage test prep bulletin board that displays learned test taking strategies.  We learn a Test Prep Chant (to the tune of traditional military cadence) that we perform before each practice session. Students also use special camo pencils and wear personalized dog tags during testing. These inexpensive camouflage items can be found at your local party store.

Test Prep Troops

Test prep door


Test prep camo

Dog tags

Teach specific test taking strategies. Before I start test prep, I select the strategies I want to teach and the order in which to teach them.  Since my second grade students are new test takers, I start with Bubbling Basics and have them practice making neat, bubbled answers on a bubble sheet.  Listen and Learn is the second strategy I introduce because students have to listen carefully as most of the Stanford 10 standardized test is read-aloud. We play Simon Says and other games that focus on following directions to practice this skill.  The rest of the strategies are taught while completing specific test prep practice. Be a Determined Detective and The Key is in the Question are perfect strategies to teach during reading comprehension practice passages. Show Your Solutions and Significant Signs are ideal for math computation practice. I post the strategies in a prominent place in the classroom and refer to them during test prep time.  Download our complete Standardized Test Prep Unit here.

Test Taking Tips

Encourage reluctant test takers.  Testing can cause major anxiety for students; relieve this pressure with Tina Turtle, Troubled Test Taker.  Introduce Tina with her rhyming poem; discuss her anxious feelings and help the class make connections to their own testing experiences.  Explain that students have one important job— to teach Tina the test-taking strategies and tools needed for success.  Each student gets a copy of Tina with blank scales; they are blank because she is lacking testing strategies. Students will teach Tina new strategies and record them on her scales; by the time Tina takes the test, her scales will be covered with strategies. Together Tina and the class will become confident, prepared test takers.


Store test prep in an important place. Create special test prep folders to house strategies and practice tests. Simply use 2 pocket folders with prongs; label one pocket “Reading” and one pocket “Math”.  Put Tina and her poem in a plastic sleeve inside the folder; students can refer to her poem and fill out her scales during each practice session. Glue the Test Prep Chant and Test Taking Tips on the front and back of each folder.

Inside folder

Inside folder 2

Include motivational rewards.  Since my class is the Test Prep Troops, I give a special ration at the end of each session. This can be a Smartie (for smart students), pencils, stickers, etc. Pick a reward that your students will enjoy; parents can help donate these items as well.


Celebrate Dr. Seuss & Read Across America

Use this easy, fun Cat in the Hat kabob recipe to wrap-up your Read Across America & Dr. Seuss celebration. You only need 3 ingredients—large marshmallows, red Swedish fish and kabob sticks to make this snack. (Use strawberries and bananas instead for a healthy kabob). This activity includes Common Core State Standards as students are reading functional text and answering text-dependent questions. Download kabob recipe here.

cat in hat ingredients

dr. seuss kabob 1


Here are some other easy, engaging Dr. Seuss activities:

1. Goldfish graphing: Read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Give each students a bag of colored goldfish and have them sort and graph colors. Students can also complete probability experiment by forming hypothesis (which color will be pulled most), pulling fish and recording results.

goldfish graphing1

2. Feet Measurement: Read The Foot Book and have students measure their feet. You can also print a variety of feet and have students measure and record. Discuss results.

Feet measurement1


3. Inexpensive incentives: These Dr. Seuss pencils, erasers, bookmarks and resuable bags are available in the Target dollar section. These are perfect behavior incentives, treasure box items or Read Across America gifts.

Cat in hat rewards


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