Saturday, August 31, 2013

Consistency in the Classroom

I've been in school for about 3 weeks now, and I am starting to see where other teachers are going back, too. I thought it'd be a good time to post about consistency!! It is so important, but how easily we forget with the every day hustle and bustle. There should be consistency in every area of your job; personal/classroom organization, classroom management, and student learning.

Personal and Classroom Organization

In my opinion, it is important to be personally organized before you can be organized in the classroom! Paperwork, planning, and grading can be overwhelming. If those areas are running smoothly, it is easier to focus on your classroom. 

My favorite thing that keeps me organized personally is my Teacher/Caseload Binder. The following things are included in my binder; Schedule, Calendar, Student Contact Info, School Contact List, Resources Contact List, Parent Communication Log, Communication Log, IEP's at a Glance (sorted by grade level), Goal Data Tracking, Sped Service Minutes Documentation, Meeting Notes, Emergency Procedures, and TpT & Blog Ideas (since they do hit at random times). I was planning on posting pictures of my binder, but I think I am going to wait. I still may change some things about it. 

Classroom organization and consistency go hand in hand. You need classroom organization to keep things running consistently, and you need to be consistent with routines and procedures to stay organized! The biggest thing I can say about classroom organization is to make a place for EVERYTHING! Everything else will kind of fall into place, but.... be consistent with it! 

Classroom Management

We all have rules and procedures to follow in the classroom. We all have posters and other fun ways to put these rules and procedures in to action. However, it is important that we all evaluate ourselves to make sure we stay consistent with our plan of action! The biggest thing, I think, for classroom management is to have a system that you know you will stick with. For example, if the school has a behavior management system as a whole, but you know it's not working for your classroom, add and change things to make it work for you! 

Student Learning

So many things can break our motivation to stay on top of student learning. By Wednesday, most of us are just exhausted! We may not feel good, but not feel bad enough to call in. We may have things going on at home that interfere with our functioning at school. I could go on and on about struggles that we all face that cause us to not be our best. I can't speak for everyone, but these are things that help me stay on top of student learning. First, I have to include God in my day. I need that morning prayer and Bible study time. Second, I love to walk/jog and do pilates! Everyone has their own activities they like, so if you want to exercise, pick things you know you will stick with! Third, I try to eat healthy. I try to include my fruits and veggies, and exclude a lot of processed stuff. The only thing I would consider unhealthy is my 3 or 4 cups of coffee!! I actually don't think a little caffeine is bad, and we can't deprive ourselves totally. These may seem like small things to some, but these 3 things make an enormous difference in each day of my life. 

What other tips do you have for being consistent in the classroom? I love hearing new ideas! 

Also, check out my Weather Themed Clip Chart Behavior Management System! I made it specifically for special needs children because a lot of times they need a visual to know how they are doing. 

~ Tasha 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Teaching Moment in Time

Want to be apart of something BIG? Take part in the Worldwide Teaching Experiment!

On September 12, 2013 at 11AM, teachers will share one moment in their teaching with the rest of the world! 

It's free to participate- you may even win a prize for doing so! 

Click here to learn more and to sign up for this awesome event!

Monday, August 19, 2013

I hope everybody is checking out the sales on TpT!  All contributing members of The Learning Highway are participating!

The past few days have been busy with setting up my classroom, attending professional development sessions, and settling in to my brand new state!

Classroom pictures will come soon, but until then, I thought I would post a few pictures from my summer school teaching job in Detroit.  Ancient Egypt was the theme for the kids in grades K-2.

My kindergarten and first grade students created models of the Nile River.  After learning about the Nile River, they came up with the hypothesis that the reeds would grow longer and thicker right by the Nile.  The students had a wonderful discussion about why most people in Egypt live close to the Nile River.

Each child made a sarcophagus.  I had some mobiles in the classroom that came from Oriental Trading Company.

My roommate helped me paint King Tut.  This is a bulletin board that shows that the First Grade students met this particular writing standard from the Common Core State Standards.

This is not specific to Ancient Egypt, but my classroom had a kindness tree where members of the class looked out for kind or helpful actions from their classmates.  I loved having this kindness tree in the classroom!  

Look out for pictures from my current classroom!  I am not quite there yet, but I have been working quite a bit on organizing and labeling my classroom library.  I used my own book basket labels to assist me in this endeavor!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful time creating enriching and welcoming spaces for your students!  Thank you all so much for reading our blog!
:-)  Kenzie

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Don't Miss the Sale of the Year!

Our contributors to The Learning Highway will participate in the Back to School sale hosted by the TpT community!  Check out each individual sale- links and information is listed below!

All Items on Sale! 
Store: Tabitha Savage

What you'll find:
- Math centers, games and activities for grades k-4
-Back to school games
- Exit and Entrance tickets ( any subject, any grade, EVERY lesson!)

What you'll find: 

What you'll find: 

Store: Kenzie's Treehouse

What you'll find:

*Hands-on Play-dough activities for letters, numbers, and sight words!  (These are sold both as individual sets and as a bundle.)
Word Family Games  (These are also sold both individually and as a bundle!)
Labels for Book Baskets

Store: Chris Cadalzo- Making Meaning
All items 28% off with the code BTS13

What you'll find:
Back to School Teacher Planners- Editable and Printable
Games, Centers, and Activities for the Common Core

Common Core Math Units

All items 28% off with the code BTS13

What you'll find: Common Core aligned materials in English and Spanish for the primary classroom.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Do's and Don'ts for Seizures

I feel like sharing some do's and don'ts for seizures. I know people are concerned and want to help, but sometimes they make the situation worse without even realizing it. Here are some general things to remember if you are faced with a situation where someone is seizing.


  • Stay Calm
  • Speak Softly
  • Check the time - Seizures that last for more than 5 minutes can be extremely dangerous. 
  • Keep them safe by clearing their space of sharp objects and other items. 
  • Turn their heads to the side in order to keep their airway clear. 
  • Turn off the lights. 

  • Restrain them.
  • Offer food or drink until they are alert
  • Put anything in their mouth (including fingers)
  • Crowd them - When someone is seizing, do not circle around them. They need their space.

What are some other do's and don'ts for situations where someone is seizing?  


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Setting up Your Word Work and a FREEBIE! By Laura G :)

Hey Guys!
 I don't know if I have mentioned before that I teach in a year round school. The schedule is awesome...we work 9 weeks, then we go on break for 3 is lovely! Just when you think you can't do it any longer...BAM!!! There comes the break! So anyways\, my schedule is a little different and because of that I have been with 24  amazing first graders since July 23.  In my district The Daily 5 is an expectation, and even though I am NOT the kind of professional that "buys" into something 100%, I do like a lot of the Daily 5 components. So I am here to show you how I set up my word work area in my lovely little classroom. I really don't have anything spiffy-color coded-chevron to show you. I do like cutesy stuff, I do, but I like intentional-meaningful-creative-practical stuff more.

So this is how I did it. Nothing fancy, just easy for my students to have access to.

I have a magnetic letters, and dry erase  boards shelf. 

If you see at the bottom, I have grouped a bunch of phonics games for my students to use as well. Each game will probably take some explaining, I might do it my self, or my wonderful assistant help me with them.

I also use these labeling packs by First Grade Blue Skies. You can find them HERE!

So many possibilities! I also incorporate Pat Cunningham's research found in "Phonics They Use" by having a vocabulary/science words area. 

BUT, this is what I have to say. If you are expected to do Daily 5 or any other program, and you know who you are,  you have certain beliefs, and you know what your students need... MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS USING YOUR KNOWLEDGE!  No matter what program or management system, always remember:  “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

To get my freebie click HERE!! 

Blessings to all of you!
Laura :)


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Major Giveaway Starts tomorrow!

There's a MAJOR giveaway getting ready to start!

Crayons,Cuties, and Common Core created a giveaway to celebrate 1,000 followers, and the prize packages are HUGE!

Starting August 14, 2013 at 12:00, you can go here to enter for a chance to win one of FIVE amazing prize packages!

Want more information about all of the amazing resources you can win?  Click this link and you'll find individual links to all the amazing products! ( You'll need to download the google doc before the links become active).

Enter to win until Aug. 18., 11:59 PM.

Best of luck to everyone!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Although it's summer break, some of us have already begun planning for our next group of sweet faces! If you're like me, you want the first week to run as smoothly as possible.
I learned early on that there's power in preparation. My natural instinct would be to jump right in to the curriculum and start teaching all the standards, after all 180 days will be gone before you know it! However this year, I'd like to challenge myself and you to plan your first week back to school a little differently.

Challenge #1: Spend adequate time getting to know your children

Getting to know your students seems like a very obvious thing to have listed, but in the rush of a new school year, this often become over looked. Getting know really know your students is arguably one of the most powerful things you can do as their teacher. Remember your students want to be loved by you. They need a strong relationship with you. Once that relationship is established, you will see your students rise to meet your expectations academically and behaviorally. If you take the time to build the relationship now, you will benefit from it the rest of the year.

Challenge #2: Spend time creating routines

Routines and consistency are essential. Think of it this way, you can either take extra time your first week establishing routines or you can spend the rest of the school year reminding students of your routines! Get the year started and organized from the start. Take the necessary time with your students to develop the routines and set the expectation. What do I do if I need an extra pencil? How do I let you know if I need extra assistance during a lesson? Teaching routines isn't a curriculum standard, but taking the time to build your classroom routines will allow you to spend more time teaching the standards with fewer disruptions.

Challenge #3: Make learning FUN this year

Let's face it, worksheets are not exactly fun. You don't enjoy grading them, and your students definitely don't enjoy independent repeated practice. Challenge yourself to incorporate fun, meaningful activities this year. Create some game-like activities that provide opportunities for your students to talk and think together. Remember, the one that does the talking does the learning. Plan activities that encourage small group and partner exploration!

Challenge #4: Focus on collaboration

Encourage collaboration with others, and do it often. A team can be more efficient and produce a higher quality of work than an individual. There is some truth to the old adage of two minds being better than one. Challenge yourself to make collaboration an important part of your week. Learn and share with other teachers at your school or catch up on collaborative blogs on line. Remember, Promethean Planet offers forums and groups on just about any topic, so join in to share your struggles and successes with others!
Whatever your goals happen to be for the upcoming school year, write them down and develop a plan for making them happen. Best of luck to each of you, and "Happy New Year!"

Blog Hop and Giveaway Information!
So as you may have guessed, there's a fantastic back to school blog hop and giveaway going on!
We'll have one grand prize winner who will win a pencil sharpener in their choice of color from Classroom Friendly Supplies,their choice of a blog design OR $25 worth from products from Tools for Teachers by Laurah J, and one copy of each donated unit listed below. We will have one second prize winner who will get one copy of each donated unit and their choice of $25 worth of items Tools for Teachers.
  • Elements of Fiction Posters
  • First Week Back to School Classroom Essentials Bundle
  • Write with Me Journal (Common Core Aligned)
  • Latin Greek Vocabulary Through the Year, Set 1
  • Getting to Know You- A Back to School Math Game for your Class
  • Place Value Safari
  • Back to School Icebreaker Pack
  • Ten Real Life Applicable Area and Perimeter Cards 
  • Back to school and end of year foldables
  • Common Core Writing and Editing Checklists

In celebration of the new school year, I'm donating my favorite  Back to School activity for your math class! Check it out by clicking here! 
Available in grades 2-4!

Ready for some freebies?
Once you've followed The Learning Highway on Fb and  on TPT,  take a peek at our previous blog posts and grab yourself a few freebies- six to be exact! 

Ready to enter the giveaway?

Laura Santos
 Right Down the Middle” style=

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Congratulations to The Learning Highway's Givaway winner!

Congratulations to Cassie H!

Thank you to all of those who entered our give away. 
 Please stay tuned for other contests and freebies!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Best Note Taking App on sale NOW!

I've been searching high and low for a note taking app I can use on my ipad to store all of my important teacher notes- lesson ideas, websites I like, documentation on student progression, faculty meeting notes... you get the idea!

My favorite note taking app just went on SALE for .99- its regularly 5.99! 

This great little app does everything! I can take audio recordings, make hand written notes, include and resize pictures, add text, and even export my notes to a printer or email! 
Best of all- I can keep all of my ideas in a separate notebook- organized any way I like! 

This deal is only good through today, so grab this steal of a deal NOW!

- Tabitha

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kenzie's Introduction and AWESOME back-to-school freebie

Hello to all of our wonderful readers,

My name is Kenzie, and I am moving from Michigan to Texas next week to teach 2nd grade!  While I love Michigan with all my heart and absolutely love my kiddos in Detroit,  I am excited to move on to my next big adventure.  

I am finishing up my master's degree in Educational Policy at the University of Michigan.  In the past, I student-taught in a 5th grade classroom in a Spanish/English Dual Language Immersion program.  I spent some time working at a school as an elementary and middle school Spanish teacher, and also spent a few months as a volunteer teacher in Nicaragua.  That was an incredible experience, as I love connecting with others, improving my conversational Spanish language skills, and immersing myself in other cultures.  I am still very interested in the effectiveness of dual language programs, language acquisition in youth, and the education of the children of migrant workers.

There is nothing I love more than watching as the personalities in my classroom mingle.  I love watching students work out their problems, work hard to learn new skills, and use their creativity as they work on projects.  I believe that kids are naturally creative and compassionate, and that children should continue to work on these important traits.  This is why I love infusing community service activities into my instruction.  Some of my other most enjoyed activities include camping, world exploration, kayaking, swimming, and cooking.  

I look forward to connecting with each and every one of you!

Wishing you all the best this school year,

:-)  Kenzie from Kenzie's Treehouse on TpT

P.S. --- There is still time to enter our giveaway!  Scroll down on this blog post, enter, and share with your teacher friends!

My free product is a "get to know you" activity for your students.  This activities encourages students to talk to each other, and it also helps them build writing skills.  After you've "liked" The Learning Highway on Facebook and followed me on Teachers Pay Teachers please help yourself to a get-to-know you product!
Also, please feel free to check out my store's facebook page.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Laura's Introduction and Giveaway!

Hello sweet readers!
My name is Laura and I am a first grade teacher on the beautiful coast of North Carolina. I have been teaching for 13 years, during which I have also taught ESL {English as a Second Language}, received National Board Certification, and completed my master's degree in Reading education.
 Like my gal-pal Juliana I am Colombian...and therefore bilingual! I strive to be creative, meaningful, nurturing, and fun in my classroom. But my main goal is to provide an unforgettable experience for my students and their families. 
I have been married for 9 years to Mr. Bearcat and we have two boys who are 8 and 3 and they keep me buuuuusy!!! I am sure you teacher-moms out there  can relate. I love to cook {and eat} healthy stuff, no matter how tired I am, I always feed my three boys real food. So I am sure that besides blogging about teaching and learning, I will also be blogging about the challenge of being a teacher mom. Divide and conquer I say.
 I love to run, garden, shop, and more importantly,  I treasure time with my boys.
If you visit my little TpT store you will see that I create products that are Common Core aligned in English and Spanish. So if you teach bilingual education, Spanish, or English, reading, Math...go and check out my little shop.
Don't forget to take the time to participate in our awesome giveaway!  We have some awesome products here!!! Scroll down, enter, and share with your teacher friends!
I Hope you have a blessed day!

Follow my TpT Store

My free product is a "Recipe for Success" treat to do at the beginning of the year or at any point time in which you can see your students needing some motivation. State testing maybe? I have provided the recipe, tag to pack your students snacks, and labels to display! It is only six pages long and I hope you enjoy this activity as much as we do. After you've "liked" The Learning Highway on Facebook and followed me on Teachers Pay Teachers , please help yourself to a this "Recipe for Success" FREEBIE! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Juliana's introduction and giveaway!

Hello everybody!
            My name is Juliana. I am starting my second year as a kindergarten bilingual teacher for gifted and talented students.  My heart is in bilingual and gifted education. I was a bilingual assistant for kinder-fifth grade teachers for about five years before teaching 2nd grade.

            I am very excited to bring you quality products in Spanish and English that you can use in your classroom. I love to hear your ideas and create the bilingual version. My goal is to create resources for students that already know Spanish and for those who want to learn a new language!  

 I am from Bogotá, Colombia. I am married and have two wonderful stepchildren and two dogs. I am very excited that you are taking the time be part of our blog. I am looking forward to meet and interact with all of you.

P.S.- There's still time to participate in our awesome giveaway! Scroll down, enter, and share with your teacher friends!


Ready for a free back to school activity?

My product is a "Lesson plan template" for kindergarten; you can modify this template to fit your needs and use for any grade! It is only two pages long and all subjects are included plus all the special classes, recess, lunch and computer lab. After you've "liked" The Learning Highway on Facebook follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 2, 2013

Meet Tabitha and get a FREE Back to School Resource!

Hi all! 
My name is Tabitha and I'm an elementary math instructional coach in Tennessee. Since 2005, I've taught first and second grade and grades 3-5 summer camps for children with autism. Within my school district, I've also had the privilege to work as a Title I coordinator, Family Engagement Coordinator,  and Teacher Evaluator. In the evenings, I teach an occasional college course at the local university and write blog articles for Promethean Planet. 

My absolute favorite educational topic to talk about is math, of course! Its fascinating to see students manipulating numbers and gaining a deep understanding of number sense.  I spend my days working with teachers and students on creative, "out of the box" ways to think about elementary number concepts. 

I also enjoy reading and learning about classroom management and organization. Students and adults alike function and learn better in an environment that is well structured for learning. I'm always looking for a new idea to assist teachers in maintaining a structured environment for their students!

I spend my evenings with my husband of almost 6 years and my two cats, Jellybean and Bubs.  We enjoy any activity that is relaxing and full of laughter! 

I look forward to "meeting" everyone though our discussions on The Learning Highway's website and other social medias!

P.S.- There's still time to participate in our awesome giveaway! Scroll down on this blog page, enter, and share with your teacher friends!

Best wishes,

Ready for a free back to school activity?

My free product is a "get to know you" activity for your math class, where your students will learn something new about one another while doing a little math along the way! I love this activity as it allows teachers an opportunity to get to know something special about each student as well as assessing their current math skills. After you've "liked" The Learning Highway on Facebook and followed me on Teachers Pay Teachers , please help yourself to a Get to know you activity for Grade 2. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tasha's Introduction and an Awesome Giveaway!!

Hey everyone!

My name is Tasha and I live in Tennessee. I graduated from Western Governors University (online school) in December of 2012. I have a B.A. in Special Education K-12 and Elementary Education K-6. 

During student teaching, I worked 8 weeks in a 2nd grade setting and 8 weeks in a resource setting for grades 7-12. Even though I am certified in both areas, my heart is with children that have special needs. 

Upon graduating, I became a full time substitute in an extended resource room for grades K-1. This is where I gained most of my experience. I worked with children that had varying disabilities. I have experience with the needs of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dandy Walker Syndrome, Shaken Baby Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, seizures, sensory disorders, and severe learning disabilities. My heart bleeds for these children.

I will begin my first position as an “actual” teacher this fall. I will be the resource teacher for grades 2-6, so I will be working with students that are capable of being in the regular classroom setting. In December, I will hopefully be transferred to extended resource for grades 4-6.

I spend my free time singing, learning the piano, walking, and enjoying life with my sweet husband and black pug. I am truly one blessed gal!

I am the author of the blog, A Tender Teacher for Special Needs. I am so excited to now be a contributor to this blog! I know I will learn a lot from these fabulous teachers, and I can’t wait to connect with other wonderful teachers and bloggers!

We have added a priced TpT item on our blog, as a freebie, to show our appreciation to our followers. My free product is an “All About Me” coloring booklet. It’s a fun back-to-school activity that young students will enjoy working on. After you've “liked” The Learning Highway on Facebook and followed me on Teachers Pay Teachers, please help yourself to the “All About Me” coloring booklet.

We are also having a giveaway to kickoff our blog! Each of us has donated from our TpT store. Please enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway