With the upcoming TeachersPayTeachers one day sale on Wednesday 8/20 (my birthday!), I have been thinking and adding to my TPT wishlist. I bought a few items at the last sale, but I know this will be the last big sale for a while so I want to grab everything now!
Last year was my first year back in the classroom after teaching middle school online for 6 years. I gave all of my elementary items away during that time period, so I basically have started over from scratch. I reflected on what went well last year, as well as, well, let’s just say what could have gone better….
After a lot of research, I found a few products that I think will really help me be very structured this year. The group we have coming in needs the structure, and honestly, with 8th and 4th graders of my own, I need the structure!
1. Spiral Math Homework – Our grade level has a lot – A LOT – of below grade level students in math. One thing I noticed last year was that kids were very weak in number sense, and just didn’t retain the skills they learned. This product, Spiral Math Homework, will really help with that problem. It is editable, so you can change the problems to fit your students. Students are given 10 math problems each night in different skill areas, so they are constantly reviewing all math skills. I also like that kids get Monday – Thursday’s homework on one page. That helps the busy kids plan out their homework in advance. This is available for different grade levels.
2. Picture Thesaurus Bundle – Honestly, these are awesome. Truly awesome. I would have a picture of how they look in my classroom, but I was told I have to wait before I can laminate more itemsL These are going to really help liven up the writing area. The words are available separately, but I feel they are most effective when you have multiple cards. The author took synonyms for “overused” words and grouped them with an illustration that fits their meaning. No more randomly selecting a synonym that doesn’t make sense! Very eye appealing product.
3. Interactive Writing Notebook - I am also very excited to use this year-long writing curriculum. Our school has not had a very strong writing program, and that is our school goal this year. I know the teacher that developed this curriculum, and almost every one of her students scored in the top writing level last year. She has organized and created these for multiple grade levels.
4. 9 Fiction & Nonfiction Craftivity Book Report Projects & Interactive Notebook Bundle – I have to say, of all the things I created for my classroom this summer, I am most excited about this. Last year I attempted to teach the reading application skills using another teacher’s method, and it bombed. My kids scored terribly – not because it was a bad strategy, but rather it just wasn’t my style. I like “crafty.” I know many upper grade teachers don’t, but honestly give me an art project and I will do just about anything you want with it!
I was inspired to make craftivity projects, which you see more frequently for primary grades. These craftivities involve higher content though. For example, the banana split teaches and reinforces the elements of fiction, while the popcorn box teaches theme and conflict. There are 9 total fiction and nonfiction projects that can be used as a spiral curriculum throughout the year or as separate items. I created an interactive notebook that coordinates with these lessons, and that is also included in the bundle.
I am feeling very positive about these projects, because my upcoming 4th grader actually asked me to do the projects over the summer. Now I love my son, but he would normally rather pull his eyeteeth out than read a book. I warned him he had to read a book to make the project, and his response was “okay.” Success!
What is your must have product for your classroom?