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Non-Standard Measurement in First Grade

I may not have 20 years of experience in first grade [yet], but in my year and a half, I have found a few things to be true:

1.  First graders love construction paper.
2.  First graders love to trace.
3.  First graders love manipulatives.

Knowing these three things, I put together a super-simple and engaging lesson to introduce my students to the concept of measuring things using non-standard units.

First, I showed them a quick video by Teaching Without Frills to introduce this concept:

[Side Note: Check out that link above - it is a great YouTube channel with a ton of quick videos!]

Once we finished chatting about this video, I introduced them to our activity!  For this activity, you will need:

[Construction paper, centimeter cubes, unifix cubes, or other non-standard measurement units]

Your students will also need access to pencils and scissors.

First, my students traced one of their feet on the construction paper.  Some of them needed to buddy up because they had trouble, but they all made it work!  

Then, they cut out their "feet." :)

Then, they used what they learned in the  video to measure their foot in either base ten cubes or unifix cubes.  

Looking for ways to extend this simple activity?

  • Have your students take the construction paper foot home, and find other units to measure it with.
  • Have students measure the foot with both types of cubes and then compare.
  • Have your students line their feet up from shortest to longest.  
  • Show your students how to use "shorter, shortest, longer, longest" vocab to compare the lengths of their feet.

This lesson took about 3 minutes to prep, yet they had so much fun and were truly engaged - aren't those the BEST type of lessons?!  

I'd love to hear about the ways you teach your firsties this concept - what else would you do to extend this activity?

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The Behavior Management Tool That Saved my School Year

I hope everyone is having an awesome start to your school year!  I am super lucky to have a bunch of the sweetest firsties ever - they make me smile all day long!  With that being said, they are also a a bunch of the chattiest sweeties I have ever had!

Despite all my best efforts of teaching routines and expectations, modeling, practicing, Dojo points - yadda yadda - they STILL managed to act like circus animals in the hallway, at the bathroom during our class breaks, and at their specials.  I was getting emails from the specials' teachers letting me know how "talkitive" and "energetic" and "off task" my class had been... ugh.  I didn't want this sweet group of kids to get a bad rap, so I had to come up with something.

Super Student Bingo is a behavior management system that involves a little competition, a little mystery, and a whole-class reward.

Here's how it works:

I have our BINGO board displayed at the front of the room.

[This is printed poster sized across four pages!]

I have our BINGO picture cards in a little bucket, and I have all of my student numbers in a bucket.

[I have 23 students, so I just kept numbers 1-23 in the bucket.]

Each time we leave the room, I pick a student number out of the bucket and keep it a secret.  I tell my kiddos that I will be watching my super student while we are out of the room, and if they follow ALL expectations the WHOLE time, our super student will earn us a BINGO picture.

Simple BINGO rules - five in a row WINS!

My class took a vote before we started the BINGO game, and they wanted a classroom lunch party when they earned their BINGO;  I play some music and we have a picnic-style lunch in our classroom all together.

I love the camaraderie this system promotes - they never know if they are the secret student, and I find that instead of ME having to redirect kids who are talking in line, now their peers are giving them our quiet signal to remind them that we can earn a BINGO picture.

Want my BINGO setup?  Head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and grab this dollar deal to help manage your circus!

What other systems have you found to tame YOUR circus?! ;)  Leave your suggestions in the comments - I'd love to hear what works for you!

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Managing Your Teacher Email Account

(You can also find this post on!)

Does anyone else feel like their email inbox gets out of control during the school year?

I feel like no matter what I do, I can't keep my inbox organized.  What if I miss an important email from a parent, or my administration... all because I had a bunch of other "stuff" flooding my inbox?

I am happy to have found a way to keep myself a little more organized, and I am hoping that you will find it useful as well!

If you are a gmail user, you can apply "filters" to your emails so you can direct them to a specific folder, archive them, mark them as read, star them, or delete them all together.

For example... I am a huge Scholastic fan.  I love that they send me emails regarding sales and fun free seasonal activities.  I love Scholastic emails even more now that I have filtered them to go into a specific folder - I check out my Scholastic emails when I need to instead of having those emails clutter my inbox on an almost daily basis.

You might find filters useful for situations like my example above - do you subscribe to educational websites? Do you use educational programs?  Chances are, they like to send you emails updating you about their latest features and news.  Wouldn't it be nice to have all of those emails land directly in a folder that you will only check when you need to?

What about when your principal emails you... maybe you want to filter any email from your admin so that they are starred or always marked as important - this could prevent you ever missing an email from them again!

Maybe you have someone you frequently get emails from, but for some reason, their emails always seem to end up in your spam folder - there is a filter to make sure that those never end up in your spam folder again.

What if you have your students send you emails that show things they are doing on your classroom technology devices and those constantly end up in your inbox, distracting you from other important emails?!  You can have emails from specified addresses get automatically FORWARDED to another email address - ie: make yourself a separate email account for all of those student emails!

The best part about filters?  They are SO easy to apply!  Follow this step-by-step guide to filtering your email inbox:

1.  Click the settings icon and then click on the Settings choice in the menu.

2.  Click the  'Filters and Blocked Addresses' tab.

3.  Click 'Create New Filter.'

4. Specify the details of your filtered email - do you want emails from a certain sender to be filtered? Emails with a certain subject line to be filtered? You do not need to fill out all fields - just the ones that will specify the emails you are trying to target!  Once you fill that out, click 'Create filter with this search.'


5.  What kind of filter do you want? If you want to make sure you don't miss an email from someone important... check Mark as read or Always mark it as important.  If you want all emails from a certain sender to go directly into a folder, check 'Categorize as:' and then 'Skip the Inbox.'  You can check as many options as needed to get your desired filter.


That's it!  How could you use email filters to help your inbox organization this school year?  I'd love to hear how you plan to use filters, so leave a comment!

Now.. get to makin' some filters :)

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Teacher Planner Stickers on Etsy

I am so excited to announce my newest creative venture - I have opened an Etsy shop... and it is chock full of fun stuff for teachers! 

This post gives you the insider view of what is stocked in my shop and ready to help you plan and feed your obsessiveness with coordination.  This post also gives you the opportunity to score over $75 worth of goodies from and my new shop.

Over twenty different icons with space to write additional info - categorize and organize events in your calendar with these colorful stickers.  They match the monthly colors in the Erin Condren Teacher Planner, but would be awesome for any planner or calendar that you use!

Look how FUN they are in your calendar!!

These are great for you teacherpreneurs out there - I am going to use these to remind myself to check stats and make posts on different social media outlets!  You pick any three icons to make your sticker page.

These monthly teacher kits are probably my absolute favorite - they coordinate perfectly with the Erin Condren Teacher planner, but you could use them in any planner!

Each monthly kit has the same stickers, just a different color combination.

 Check out how they look in my planner...

All stickers in my shop are printed on matte Avery paper and kiss-cut for easy peeling - AND did I mention that shipping is only $3... no matter how many sheets of stickers you buy?!  YUP.

I have so many more ideas for fun stickers to make for my fellow teachers and teacherpreneurs, but I would love to hear what YOU would like to see in my shop!  Comment on this post with some ideas :)

Now for the good stuff - Win a $50 Erin Condren Gift Card to go towards the purchase of your Erin Condren Teacher Planner AND all twelve of the monthly sticker kits.  There are lots of opportunities to enter and the Giveaway will be open until Thursday, June 30!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PINNABLE IMAGE for Pinterest -->  (use for your giveaway entry!)

Happy planning!!

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