Top Secret Mission: Do Not Open Until A Snow Day!

Snow days!  

Students.  Teachers.  We all love them!  I signed up for school cancelation text messages years ago but will still wake up and check the news every half hour starting at 3am.  Who sleeps the night before a predicted snow day, anyway?  

Sometimes, I need to check multiple sources just to make sure it isn't too good to be true.  And there is no better feeling than being able to snuggle back into your warm bed without having to write sub plans.  Am I right?

Now, imagine that excitement...MULTIPLIED!  Oh, yes!

A Top Secret Mission can make anything more exciting!  

When you notice that the weather is starting to turn, it is a great time to introduce your Snow Day Top Secret Mission envelopes!  I've used half-sheet manilla envelopes and regular business envelopes. 

Once you have a class set of sealed Secret Mission envelopes, let your students in on the secret! 

Tell them to keep their envelope in a safe place, like on the refrigerator or kept in their take-home folder.  Make sure they know not to open their Secret Mission until their first snow day!

One cold and snowy day, they'll wake up to a SNOW DAY and rush to see what their secret mission is!

Inside their envelopes, your students will find a Top Secret Snow Day Mission!  How cool is that?  Each mission has a task they will need to complete and share with their class when they return to school.  

What happens when the fun is over?  Well, you start again!  I have created 5 different Snow Day Top Secret Missions and have left some blank missions for you to create your own!

Want to get your students away from their video games and out truly enjoying their snow day?  They'll be just as excited to show you their completed mission as they were when they found out they had a snow day!

Now, I need to come up with secret snow day missions for teachers.  I think they'll include sleeping in, eating a hot lunch, and catching up on all of your favorite TV shows.  What do you do on your snow days?

You can find this Snow Day Secret Mission pack along with hundreds of other amazing resources in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  

Here's to an amazing snow day!

No More Messy Student Desks!

We're about 6 weeks into school and the newness of the year is starting to wear off.  Our desks are getting messy with papers to grade, parent letters to answer, and post-it reminders to complete.  

A Simple Way to Keep Behavior Charts Organized

I have a love-hate relationship with behavior charts.  I LOVE them because I have seen them make a huge difference in the behavior of some kids.  I hate them because I hate clutter.

Communicating on the Fly

It's Wednesday afternoon and your team has all gone home for the night.  You have a pile of papers on your desk to be filed.  There is another pile of student work to be posted on the bulletin board.  Homework still needs to be graded.  You opened 3 parent emails during lunch and need to adjust some things for tomorrow's homework.  There are two tests tomorrow and you need to make some more copies of graph paper.  One of your TAs had a few questions about a test that you didn't have time to answer.  Oh, and there have been some changes to the related service schedule.  And it's picture day tomorrow.  

Sound familiar?  Um, this was my Wednesday!  It wouldn't be so bad but it seems like every day is just as crazy.  Every. Single. Day. 

Got Paraprofessionals?

So, a couple weeks ago a friend of mine called me to ask some advice about handling some issues with a TA working in her classroom.  At the time, there was only a few days left of summer school but she would be working with the same TA in the fall.  

Portable Behavior Management System

A lot of my students have issues with organization (most kids do!) and a few of my kids need a visual behavior monitoring system.  The system that has worked for my students since Kindergarten has been the Red, Yellow, Green Light System.  We have used it as a class-wide system in the past, but by last year we didn't NEED it for most of the kiddos.

However, a few kids still need that visual and I have been racking my brain about how I will give them what they need.   Finally, I came up with an idea to make the behavior management system that they are used to using portable!  

So Many Testing Accommodations!

How many of you struggle with remembering which kid has which testing accommodations?  This year, I have 12 students with IEPs and 1 student with a 504 plan.  They all have testing accommodations, but they are all DIFFERENT!  

Did I mention that I have 4 paraprofessionals to help me administer the tests?  I am so thankful for that! I don't know what I would do given the variety and high needs for testing sessions.  With so many kids and so many adults, I needed to find a way to streamline our processes for our testing days.  

Getting to Know Your Students from Their Parents

One of the things that I find to be helpful is getting to know each student from the parent's perspective.  Each little person in your room is somebody's greatest love.  Parents have a wealth of information about their children that can be helpful when you're developing relationships.  

During the first days of school, I give parents a homework assignment.  I ask them to tell me all about their child in a million words or less.
Click on the picture to download the FREEBIE file.  

Why a million?  That give parents the opportunity to write as much as the need or want!  You'll really enjoy reading the letters that make their way in.

Best wishes for a great school year and I hope to see you here at Learning Lab again soon!  

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Engage Your Students with Independent Centers

A few months ago, I was thinking about going back to work and wondering how I am going to manage doing so many things at once.  Right now, I am parenting, exercising, cleaning, and TpTing and feel like I can hardly handle everything.  Starting in September I will be doing all of that PLUS teaching full time!  I don't know how some of you do it, but I guess I will find out in a few months.