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Archive for the ‘Teacher Tools’ Category

postheadericon Goodbye First Grade….Hello Third Grade!


Educator Station has moved to third grade!  I am so excited to begin a new school year in a new grade level. 

It has been fun picking out my classroom rules posters, my behavior clip chart, and organizing my classroom has been a lot of work, but I have enjoyed every minute of it! Seeing everything nice and clean and organized is a great feeling. 

I thought I would share some of the things I have been working on to get the new year going. 

First, I want to implement character traits into my daily routine. Each month, I would like to choose a trait to model and read about throughout the month. When I see students exhibiting the trait, they will get a "Caught Being Good" ticket. At the end of each week, I will pick from my "Caught Being Good" container and those students will get to go to the prize box. Each child, that is chosen for the prizebox, will be complimented and celebrated each Friday. This is just a little way to acknowledge and celebrate each child in the classroom. 

Below are the Caught Being Good Tickets. Click on the image below to download them. 


caught being good ticket


Mrs. Castro posted about teaching monthly character traits with a literature list to use along with each character trait. Click HERE to see that post. 


I also ordered these red stools from IKEA. I have them around my teacher table and my students love sitting on them. 


The stools are working out so well, I decided to order more of them for my computer center. 


So, I would say we are off to a great start! I have a great classroom filled with wonderful students. Thrid grade is off to a great start! 

Do you start your day off with a morning message each day? I find this is a great way to start the day. 



Educator Station will be posting new things throughout the school year. Hope you are all off to a great start in this new school year! 


postheadericon Teaching Character Traits- Responsibility

I am starting a monthly character education unit with my students this year.  Social skills are such an important part of first grade that it's only fitting to begin right away. Use the beginning of the year to set classroom climate and start to build students' character.  I don't have a curriculum that I'm working off of.  I will be teaching each trait using read-alouds and interactive activities.  At the end of the month 1 student will be selected as a student model.  That student will have proven that he/she has demonstrated the trait qualities all month.  There may be times that more than one student is worthy of the acknowledgement and will also be recognized.  I made a list of 10 character traits and placed one trait into each month September-June.  These can really go in any order this is just my way of setting them up.

September- Responsibility


November- Kindness

December- Respect


February- Fairness

March- Courage

April- Determination

May – Cooperation

June- Sportsmanship

This month I will give you an overview of September- Responsibility.  I've compiled a list of books to use throughout the month.  I will also give you some ideas for activities that can be done to reinforce the trait. 


This is the time to assign classroom jobs/duties.  Students should be taught how to do each job through modeling.  Use circle time to teach each of your classroom responsibilities.  Explain through role play, showing what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.  Pinterest has many different options for setting up your classroom jobs and there are many FREE downloads available at TPT


Books that teach responsibility

The Signmaker's Assistant by Tedd Arnold 
The Messy Room by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The Emperor’s Egg: Read and Wonder by Martin Jenkins

The Pigsty by Mark Teague

I Just Forgot by Mercer Mayer

The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

Arthur’s Pet Business by Marc Brown

Know and Follow the Rules by Cheri J. Meiners M.Ed

The Way I Act by Steve Metzger


Anchor Chart

How To Be Responsible Person 

Be reliable and dependable

Demonstrate Self Control

Take care of your own business

Finish what you start

Take responsibility for your actions

Make smart choices


Praise worthy Focus Traits

Ready to Learn

Rule Follower

Model of Good Behavior

Radical Hand Raiser

Spot on Participation

Hard Worker



Here a prettier sample of a responsibility anchor chart.


Writing Journal:

  • Make a list of your responsibilities at home.
  • Make a list of your responsibilities at school.
  • Write about how it makes you feel when somebody doesn't do what they said they would do.
  • Describe someone you think is very responsible. How does that person act? What do you like about that person?


postheadericon Organizing Your Classroom Library (Part 2)


Hope you enjoyed my post on Organizing Your Classroom Library (Part 1). If you missed it, click on this link. I recently visited another school, which happens to be my sister-in-law's classroom.  She asked me to please help her organize her classroom library. She too teaches first grade and loves books, so this was a great project for the both of us to work on together.  

When I arrived, this is what her classroom library looked like. Her space was designated and the shelving and books were easily accessible to her first grade students. There was a nice spacious rug, where kids can sit to read. The problem was, the books were in bins of various sorts, which you could not easily see in or reach in. We had our work cut out for us. 




 Before we started to even begin to make sense of the library, we had to first go through lots and lots of books. She also had books from Scholastic in boxes that were never opened and a big box of books that were donated to her.  Mrs. E and I quickly got to work opening boxes, sorting books, and writing her name in all the new books. 


Once this was done, we took the books that were in bins and put them in clear plastic (shoe size) boxes. This process went quickly. We took the books out of one box and put them in their forever home (plastic shoe boxes). 

The back shelf, in this picture, was starting to make sense. It's starting to look like a library! 


Look at all the bins on the shelf to the right. They were now empty and ready to be used else where in the classroom. 

See those boxes on the floor filled with books, those books were all labeled with the teacher's name and then sorted into a category. 


When we were done, the library looked like this! 


Here is a close up of some of the categories we decided to use in the library. 



Some books, we couldn't categorize, so we decided to put them on a shelf without a bin. 



Before and After: An Amazing Transformation









Some of the categories we chose to use in the library were:

There was an Old Lady….


Dr. Seuss

David Shannon

Chester (The Kissing Hand)

Pete the Cat 

Black Lagoon

Magic School Bus

Junie B. Jones

Chapter Books (Various titles)

Charlie the Ranch Dog

I Can Read

Animals (2 Bins) 

Award Winners

Eric Carle

Berenstein Bears 

Fly Guy


Amelia Bedelia






Thank You Mrs. E for having me in your classroom! You have a beautiful classroom library! Enjoy! 



postheadericon Organizing Your Classroom Library (Part 1)


It's back to school time and time to get the classroom organized! One of the most important parts of the classroom is it's library, rich with literature with lively characters and stories that can take our student's imaginations anywhere. 

How is your library organized? Where do I get books to put into the library? Let's explore how to create a great classroom library. 

I attended a FREE webinar hosted by Really Good Stuff, on how to organize a classroom library. It was a great webinar!  If you decide to attend this FREE webinar, you may want to take notes. She shares some great apps and websites for books and leveling the classroom library books.  She also shares some great resources for the classroom library, as well as how and where to get books for your classroom library. 




Let's Get Started! 

1.Decide on a space

Where will the library be? Where will the shelving and books fit? Where can students sit and read independantly or with a partner? 


2. Make it accessible and welcoming to all students

When you set your classroom library, make sure the library is easily accessible to all students. With the little ones, you don't want to use shelving that they can't reach (or can climb). 

We also want this space to be welcoming to all our students. Perhaps, put a rug there, bean bag chairs, or just simple mats for them to sit on while they read.

Perhaps, decorate the space, so that it is a warm and welcoming place in the classroom. 

Provide book displays that are themed around a topic. 



3. Books, books, and more books! 

Now, that you have the space thought out and you have the shelving for your books, it's time to put the books in the library. You want to keep in mind, the students in your class read at different levels. Some may be reading picture books, while others are reading chapter books. They are all at different independant reading levels. So, make sure there are books accessible for all the different reading levels you may have in your classroom.




Where can I get books?

 As teachers, we are always on the hunt for the perfect book. Books to use with your seasonal theme,books to promote character, books to use as part of your science/math/history units. Let's face it, classrooms NEED lots and lots of books. 



There are some great resources for books: 


1. Scholastic Book Clubs and Warehouse Sales


If you aren't already a member of the Scholastic Book Clubs, sign up!  As your students purchase books, the teacher accrues points to purchase free books for the classroom. Throughout the year, they have some great offerers on free books. 


2. Check your local library

Libraries often have book sales. You can get great books for just cents at the library. 


3. Goodwill, Dollar Store, consignment sales and thrift stores

You can get some great deals at thrift and consignment stores. You can get books for 50 cents. Last year, at the Dollar Store, I bought Olivia books for a dollar. So, as you are out and about, stop at a thrift store or a second hand store and see what treasures you can find. 


4. How do I sort the books in my library?

Most libraries use bins. Bins help keep books sorted and organized. 



There are so many different ways to sort books. It's really whatever works for you and your students. 

In younger grades, some may sort books by season, some may sort books by author. Some may sort by topic, while others simply sort by reading level. 

In our school, we sort by reading level. We have Accelerated Reader in our building. Each book has a small colored circle sticker on it. The color designates the reading level of the book. In this library, there are 5 different levels of books. The students know what color the are reading and go to that bin to take books to read, which are at the reading level. 

(Click on image to make bigger)



This library is sorted by authors, topics, and titles. 




There are many ways to sort books:




Caldecott and Newbery

by author




by reading level

And…Don't forget a bin for Class Made Books! 



5. Labeling

There are so many ways to label bins and books. A colleague had these labels in her library. I loved her labels! She used binder rings to attach the labels to the bins. This is great because she can easily take the labels on and off and re-use the bins if needed. 

(Click on image to make bigger)




This teacher, used index cards to label her bins. 



Five easy steps to organize a clasroom libary! How do you organize your library? Educator Station would love to hear from you! Share your ideas and comments by clicking on the red  "Contact Us" tab on the top of the page. 









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