5 Ways to End the Day

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If your classroom is anything like mine, the end of the day before pick-up, can be quite a hectic time as everyone’s packing bags, collecting belongings, tidying the classroom, etc. There seems to be an endless list of things that needs to be attended to.

That said, I try to make sure the last 5-10 minutes of each day is dedicated to something positive to end the day for the students and myself – no matter what kind of day we’ve had!

To that end, I’m sharing 5 of my favourite ways to end the day. Most of these activities are designed to give the students a few minutes of down-time before they go home to their parents, too, which creates a calm send-off!

1. Read a story together

This is one I know many teachers already do, but it’s such a lovely way to end the day with students. It can sometimes be the only time we read for enjoyment during the day without feeling the need to push a learning outcome on to students. You could even have your Helper of the Day, or Star Student (or whatever system you have in place) pick the book for the afternoon which gives students some ownership over the additional stories they hear.

Note: Depending on how long the day has been (or how active) I’ve even been known to let students lie down, close their eyes and just listen to the story.

2. Reflection time

I love having students reflect on their day at school. We have a very structured time to share the things we have enjoyed throughout the day using sentence starters and students who are willing to share things. As the year progresses, we move from just using sentence starters to expanding on our reasons why we enjoyed particular activities.

Some of the sentence starters we use include:
– I liked
– I really enjoyed
– Today I learnt
– Tomorrow I would like to

3. Reflection books/blog posts

Once we get in to Term 2 and Term 3 I like to take Reflection Time one step further and record student ideas in either a class book or a blog post. All classes at my school have their own class blog and it’s a great way to share learning with families who might not otherwise be able to make it in to school to see what’s happening.

This could be as simple as typing up student responses as they share them (being sure to put the student’s name at the end for credit) – this could then be made into a class book or shared on a blog post. Imagine having a series of class books that reflect the learning that’s taken place throughout the year – these are great to have out during Parent/Teacher Interviews and Open Days/Nights.

When I do Reflection Blog Posts I tend to do them on a Friday as a reflection of the whole week. This gives us a really lovely snapshot of the highlights of our week!

4. Play a game

Games are a great way to end the day on a positive note. Yes, they’re fun, but they’re also educational (but the students don’t always realise this!). Make a list as a class of everyone’s favourite games and post them up in the room. If you have time at the end of the day, have a student pick a game from the list to play with everyone. This is a great way to have fun, friendly energy right before they go home.

Some great games (or activities) include:
– Around the World
– Buzz
– Hangman (I love this for practising high frequency words with younger students)
– Whisper Train
– Body Patterns
– Doggy, doggy, who’s got the bone?

5. GoNoodle

I almost got through a post without mentioning GoNoodle, but honestly, I use this all the time in my classroom, even at the end of the day. A few weeks ago I shared some of the calming down activities I love on this website, but at the end of the day, I really love their positive thinking activities.

Activities from the Flow category:

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and from Think About It really help students to reflect on the day, or issues that may have arisen.

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I’d really love to hear about your favourite ways to end the day with your students? Do you have special routines or activities? Share them in the comments so that we can all grow a wonderful bank of end of day resources.

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to the week and I’ll be back again soon with more tips and tricks for the classroom!

Happy teaching, friends!

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Stopping Pen Bleed-Through

TeacherTipTuesday

Every day, in classrooms all over the place, teachers are writing on chart paper.

Am I right?!

If you’re anything like me, I like to use Sharpie pens. I like the way they write, and I like the bright, bold colours that stand out and are clear to read.

But I hate the bleed-through on the back because there’s nothing more annoying than scrubbing Sharpie off your whiteboard because you had the paper leaning on it.

Thus, I bring you this week’s tip:

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I’m the teacher who likes to work in a Spiral paper pad. Mostly because there’s a whole ton of paper in a pad and it keeps it nice and safe and when we’re ready to put a chart up, I can pull it out and hang it up. Plus, the paper is nice to write on, too!TTT_penbleedthrough001

Here’s my big tip. If you use a paper pad, TURN IT TO THE BACK.TTT_penbleedthrough002When you want to write on the pad, open the pad backwards from the back and word on the last page – that way the paper you’re working on is the one leaning against the back cover of the book. If you have any bleed-through, it gets on the back of the pad (and since I’m only going to throw it out when the pad is empty, it doesn’t make a difference)!

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Next time you write, you don’t have to worry about pens leaving marks on the surfaces beneath!TTT_penbleedthrough004 TTT_penbleedthrough005

Alternatively: if you don’t have a paper pad like this, find a piece of a cardboard box that you can store flat in your classroom and clip your chart paper to it. Then you can write anywhere and everywhere without worrying about getting marker pen everywhere!

As always, if you have any other tips, leave them in the comments below and until next time, happy teaching, friends!

Handwriting Bags

TeacherTipTuesday

Hello teacher friends!

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful start to the week.

This week has been absolutely full-on, and it’s only Tuesday! Since my last Teacher Tip Tuesday I’ve started the new teaching year with my lovely Foundation class. We’re three days in to learning new rules, routines and what school’s all about.

(And I’m one tired teacher!)

This week I’m going to throw-back to one of my most popular blog posts from 20145 and 2015 because I have quite a few new readers and it’s great to highlight tips that work year after year!

Handwriting Bags

I love to set up handwriting bags each year for students. These are handy, go-to bags that the kids keep in their chair-bags (you could also keep them in tubs) and work great for practising letter formation – both in formal handwriting lessons and as early finishers practise.

Each child has 1 A4 laminated page with Vic Modern Cursive alphabets in upper and lowercase letters, a small whiteboard, a whiteboard marker, a cut-up piece of Magic Eraser and a small tub of play dough. It all goes in a Snaplock bag and you’re ready to go.

It’s also great when you need the whole class to have their own whiteboards and pens because you can just say ‘Everyone get their whiteboard and marker and come to the floor.’

If you’d like more detail about these bags, click this link to visit a more detailed post.

I also have a version of my placemat available for Victorian teachers in my TpT store, and you can find it by clicking the image below:

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Thanks for stopping by – don’t forget to leave your handwriting tips in the comments below.

Stay tuned next week for a brand new tip! Have an amazing week in your classrooms!

Organising Your Coloured Paper

TeacherTipTuesday

Hello friends!

School starts back this week here in Australia and teachers have been frantically (tell me I’m not the only one, please!) setting up their classrooms in preparation for the new year and new students.

One of my roles in my school is to work with Graduate Teachers, supporting them, sharing tips and tricks (and connecting them with other teachers who can do the same), and ensuring they have a great start to their teaching career. I absolutely love this role!

What I thought I would do each week (hopefully!) is share one teaching tip that I have with all of you. They’re not all necessarily new ideas, and they may not work for all teachers, but by sharing I hope that I can inspire you, my lovely readers, to find a system that works best for you.

This week’s tip is about organising and storying your coloured A4 paper.

Typically, in my school, this is the paper I hoard because it comes out of the area budget when I run out! (I have a separate collection of construction paper that I’m happy for my students to use whenever the like.) This is the paper for projects and gifts and arts and crafts activities.

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I purchased this file storage box from Aldi a few years ago. It’s plastic and super sturdy. Plus, it sits beautifully under my computer table.

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Inside, I’ve adding hanging files and simply place the paper in by colour.

(Those people wondering about the multicolour file – that’s a collection of printing paper, not cardstock, that was donated a while back. I keep it separate so I know the difference in the gsm quality!)

This system is portable and very easy to pull out and find the colours I need at any given time.

Bonus tip: If you find you have excess A3 coloured paper that you’re not using, slice it in half with a paper trimmer and you’ve got yourself extra A4 coloured paper!

If you have a paper storage and organisation tip, I’d love for you leave me a comment below! Links are more than welcome, too. I love seeing the different ways people have for organising paper.