Monday, August 7, 2017

Fun and creative ways to partner students

I use cooperative learning every single day in my classroom. Sometimes in every subject.

I always set up my classroom so that each student always had a partner. However, sometimes I liked to change things up and pair them up differently. I mean wouldn't you get tired of working with the same person day in and day out?

Here is a list of some fun and creative ways to partner students in your classroom and get them up and moving! They will love you for it!

What I LOVE about these ways to partner students is that it gets them all up out of their seats and moving around the classroom. Anything that gets students up and moving is a win in my book.

Basically if you have 20 students, then you would need 10 pairs. 24 students, then 12 pairs. Pass out one card to each student. When you say "GO", students stand up and walk around the room trying to find their partner. When they find their partner, you can have them stand together, high five each other, or sit down.

If you have an odd number of students, then you get to play too. And when it's time for them to sit down and get to work with their partner, then either they can pick which partner pair to work with or you can pick for them.

I've included several different ways that you can do this.

You can use index cards....

Math Facts
Here is a list of some fun and creative ways to partner students in your classroom and get them up and moving! They will love you for it!

Antonyms
Here is a list of some fun and creative ways to partner students in your classroom and get them up and moving! They will love you for it!

States and Capitals
Here is a list of some fun and creative ways to partner students in your classroom and get them up and moving! They will love you for it!

Alphabet Letters and Words
Here is a list of some fun and creative ways to partner students in your classroom and get them up and moving! They will love you for it!

You can use playing cards and have students find their matching number. If you wanted a group, then find four Kings, Aces, etc.

Here is a list of some fun and creative ways to partner students in your classroom and get them up and moving! They will love you for it!

I created these Pick a Partner Cards for my classroom since my students were so visual. They absolutely LOVED them and requested that I use them all the time. I included 108 card pairs so I could easily rotate them and they wouldn't get bored. I also included holiday ones to use during the holidays. One of my favorite things about them is that I included places from around the world, and they often had to ask about it and where it was. For this teacher who has traveled to many places around the world, it made me heart smile.

Here is a list of some fun and creative ways to partner students in your classroom and get them up and moving! They will love you for it!

What are your favorite ways to pair up students?



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Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Listable...Alternatives to Reading Logs

We as teachers know that reading at home is crucial to becoming a better reader.

If you're like me, you have used one of these.
Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!

I used a reading log like this for years and didn't think twice about it. However, I did think it was interesting that most of my students read exactly 30 minutes every night. Who reads exactly 30 minutes?

Instead of using the tired, boring reading log, here are some alternatives you can use.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!



Have you ever heard of Choice Boards? What's the big deal with them? Why should you use them in the classroom? Click HERE to read my post on the top ten reasons for using Choice Boards.

Basically each choice board has 9 activities or projects to choose from. You can have the students do as little or as many as you want, and you enforce that students do one or two activities in particular if you choose. You can have the Choice Boards be independent projects or partner projects.

Included are Choice Boards for fiction, nonfiction, and mixed.

Students LOVE them because they get to CHOOSE which project to do. When students get to choose something in their learning, then they get excited about their learning.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!

Here are a couple of choice board activities that my students have done.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!

Choice Boards are great alternatives to reading logs because they are so versatile. They provide choice and differentiation for students, and you can diversify them for your classroom's needs. You can also assign a certain number of projects to students to complete in a certain amount of time, and you can also cut down the number of options for students with special needs, maybe giving them three options for them to choose from.

I also have monthly choice Choice Boards with reading stems where students can choose a stem to respond to.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!



Weekly Reading Homework Charts are a simple way to have students do reading homework!

Each weekly reading homework chart has 5 days for homework, including:
~ Space for recording minutes read
~ Higher level open-ended question
~ Space for recording answer to the question

There are 4 weekly reading homework charts for each month:
~ Two charts for fiction
~ Two charts for nonfiction

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!



Mrs. Whalen's Classroom has a great anchor chart for students to use when writing about reading. This would be great to hang in the classroom for students to use during independent reading or reading stations. It could also be great to reproduce this chart for students to glue into their notebooks so they could use it at home as well.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!


My third graders loved Stop and Jot. I think it was because they got to use post-it notes! You can give students post-it notes...if you want them to stop and jot four times, then give each student four sticky notes. Each time they come to a spot where they have a thought, question, feeling, etc they STOP and JOT down their thought. I had my students put their post-it notes in the spot where they stopped. They loved to share them with their partner, which was great because it often encouraged the partner to read the book.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!



I LOVE Say Something! It's one of my favorites.

As you're reading the book, stop every now and then and "say something". You can write down thoughts, feelings, questions, predictions, connections, etc. One box = one say something.

Click HERE if you would like to download a FREEBIE Say Something bookmark I created for my students.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!



This one is very simple. All you have to do is have the students divide each page in half (you can have them do the whole journal in the beginning...put some fun music on and let them jam out). Each day students write the date and write about what they read. You can have them write a summary or have them write their thoughts on what they read. Easy peasy!

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!



Reading Response Choices are great for student choice, creativity, and differentiation. You can use them with ANY book, even the textbook. They are great for whole class, small groups, literacy stations, and especially homework. There are 14 different responses, all of which require critical thinking and students to explain their thinking.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!

A choice board is included, which includes all 14 reading responses to choose from and a "free choice" one as well. You can have the students do as little or as many as you want, and you enforce that students do one or two activities in particular if you choose. You can have the choice board be independent projects or partner projects.

You can have your students work on their reading responses during Daily 5, small group reading instruction, or assign them for homework.


This is a super simple reading response strategy that can be used during reading or after reading. It can be used in any subject and with any book. I've used it in reading, science, and social studies and with picture books, chapter books, articles, and textbooks.

It makes for a great homework activity because it's simple, and students have to think about what they read and connect with the book.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!

Click HERE to download the freebie. I included two different options for students to glue in their notebooks.


I wish I was one of those awesome teachers who used Google Docs on a regular basis. I would be the hip teacher. But alas....I am not. I am hip in other ways. Incorporating Google Docs is one of my teaching goals, and I found a fabulous post shared on The Elementary Entourage from Hannah at The Friendly Teacher on using Google Docs for reading responses. She shares exactly how to get started and set them all up. Hannah, you rock! I totally want to implement this!

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!


Kids love index cards, and they are cheap...that's a win-win in my book! I have the students get one index card (you can do two index cards if you want them to hang them up for display). After reading a part of the book or the whole book, they write about what they read on one side and draw a picture on the other side. These are great for using them for book talks or having students share about their book with their partners or groups.

Looking a list of alternatives to reading logs? Here is a list of 10 fun and creative activities for your reading classroom instead of the old, boring reading log. Teacher tested...student approved!


How do you hold your students accountable in their reading?



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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How problem solving posters can help your students in math

There are so many things to hang up in your math classroom. So WHY do you need to hang up problem solving posters too?

How can problem solving posters help your students succeed in math? These posters are great for showing your students different ways to solve a math problem.

Teaching math today is not what it used to be when I started teaching 20 years ago. How I miss those days. Math today involves so much more critical thinking and problem solving than the simple one-step problems when I was in school. We have to teach our students how to problem solve. We have to teach our students how to rethink a problem when they first don't get the solution.

I have found in solving problems in math, many students don't know where to even start.

That's when problem solving posters can really come in handy.

Included are 16 problem solving posters which can hung around the room or even printed out 4 to a page for students to glue in their math notebooks.

I am big on modeling how to do things, so I would model each of these strategies for my students with a sample problem. Students have seen some of these strategies before, but they honestly don't know how to use them themselves.

How can problem solving posters help your students succeed in math? These posters are great for showing your students different ways to solve a math problem.

How can problem solving posters help your students succeed in math? These posters are great for showing your students different ways to solve a math problem.

I also really like poster on mistakes. I think kids need to know that mistakes aren't bad. Not bad at all. Mistakes are ok and not something to be ashamed for...after all that's why God invented erasers!

This idea is from Math Equals Love and she has a lot of good problem solving ideas.


What are your favorite strategies to improve your students' problem solving skills in math?



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Saturday, July 22, 2017

State Research Projects

Does the word "RESEARCH" invoke fear? Anxiety? Uneasiness? Panic? Terror?

Especially when it comes to having your students research?

I have something that will take the fear and anxiety away!

Do you have your students research about different states? Looking for a unique way for students to display their research? These student-friendly posters are perfect for students to display their state research! And they look fabulous on a classroom bulletin board or hallway display!

Do you have your students research different states?

This will make research fun and enjoyable for your students. REALLY!

Here's what some students had to say about my Country Research Project Posters.

"Perfect! Really helped my kids stay organized and asking the right questions."

"Love this resource. My kids truly enjoyed researching their country of choice"

"I used this for a school-wide Heritage Day event. This was a great supplemental resource for my students' projects. I loved the layout and it helped guide them in their research. Thank you!"

Do you have your students research about different states? Looking for a unique way for students to display their research? These student-friendly posters are perfect for students to display their state research! And they look fabulous on a classroom bulletin board or hallway display!

I wanted to create something that was student-friendly, making it super easy for students to figure out what to specifically research. Many times if you have students research something they have NO idea where to start. This resource gives them a really good place to start.

Do you have your students research about different states? Looking for a unique way for students to display their research? These student-friendly posters are perfect for students to display their state research! And they look fabulous on a classroom bulletin board or hallway display!

Do you have your students research about different states? Looking for a unique way for students to display their research? These student-friendly posters are perfect for students to display their state research! And they look fabulous on a classroom bulletin board or hallway display!

All 50 states are included.

I also included a student-friendly bibliography page so students can cite all their sources.

Do you have your students research about different states? Looking for a unique way for students to display their research? These student-friendly posters are perfect for students to display their state research! And they look fabulous on a classroom bulletin board or hallway display!

They fit in a lot of information within these two papers! And what's great is that they look perfect on a big 12x18 piece of construction paper and displayed on a bulletin board or in the hallway!

I also have the same kind of research projects for countries. Check them out HERE.





Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why use choice boards?

Have you ever used choice boards in your classroom?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE using choice boards with my students.

Here are my TOP 10 reasons why I love using choice boards in my classroom.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

I use choice boards in every subject, with several different grade levels.

Here's an example of some of my choice boards in math, reading, and science.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

A big reason I love using them is that they work with students of different abilities. For students that are struggling somewhat, I might pair them up with a partner and narrow down the choices to 2 or 3 instead of 9. For my higher students, they love the freedom in being able to do more creative projects. Some of the stuff they have come up with is amazing. I just love seeing their creativity shine through.

Here are some of the choice board projects that my third grade students have created. They absolutely loved working on them and creating them.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

These students created little books on the rain forest.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

She created a foldable and designed it all herself.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

She wrote about the different connections she made while reading.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

This student created a poster on multiplication and explained it in her own words and used pictures.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

She created a math quiz on multiplication. The answer key was included as well.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

I also use them for spelling homework and vocabulary practice. My students and parents loved them! I use many of the same activities and rotate them throughout the year so that they could feel confident in the activities but still have choice.

Are you using Choice Boards in your classroom? If not, here are the TOP 10 Reasons for Using Choice Boards! Students will LOVE you for it!

Have you ever used choice boards? If so, what do you like about them?



Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Introduce the world to your students

Yes, I know it's been a LONNNNNNNG time since you've seen me on here.

A LOT has happened.

I got married.


Hubby got mobilized for active duty.

I resigned from my teaching job.

We moved from the big Dallas/Fort Worth area to a small town two hours away.

This city girl life is not used to the country life, but I am loving it. Our little town has no chain restaurants and only two main places to shop, but I do not miss the big city. Or the traffic. Or the construction.

The one bad things about moving here is that my allergies have gone NuTS. Just haywire. I've never gone through so much Zyrtec and Kleenex.

I pray it gets better. Hopefully I won't have to wait until winter when everything dies.

I wanted to share what I've been working on.

As you know, I LOVE to travel and love photography. I love incorporating my travel and photography into the classroom. Teaching in Texas many of my students have not traveled outside of their small bubble. They think that Six Flags over Texas is a big place to go into and haven't even thought about traveling to a place like China or Peru. I want to show them that there is a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. The photographs included are all ones taken by me on my travels around the world.


Here's one week looks like. This photo was taken in Thailand when my friend and I got a Thai pedicure. I was pretty excited about it, but my friend was terrified. She literally closed her eyes and screamed a little for the first five minutes. The fish literally eat the dead skin off your feet. Talk about tickling!


The photographs were taken in countries all over the world.


I also included large color photos for each week so you won't have to worry about wasting your color ink on the student pages. These would be great under the document camera or in a station. I would definitely laminate them beforehand because we all know how dirty little hands can be.
Are you traveling somewhere this summer? Let me know where! I am a little addicted to traveling (as if you couldn't tell), and I won't be going anywhere big this summer.



Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I'm getting married!!!!

That's right! I'm getting married!


I have waited a LONG LONG time to meet the man of my dreams. When I say a long time, I'm not exaggerating.

But he was SO worth it! I feel so incredibly blessed.

We got engaged about a month ago in San Francisco and am getting married a little less than a month away. Yes, I know. I'm a little nuts. But when you know you know, and we're both older. So why wait?



So that's why I haven't blogged much lately. Planning a wedding in two months and having a BUSY stressful year teaching has taken all my time.

Trying to keep things simple and not stressing out about the little things. Because it's not about the wedding. That's only one day. It's about the marriage.

Those of you who are married, do you have any marriage advice to share?



Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.