Digital Resources to Help your Students

Are you looking for new ways to integrate technology in your classroom? Well, you must know and use task cards already!  How about trying out digital math task cards?! They are for use with Google Drive and Google Classroom, a cinch for you to share with students and engaging for students! My second graders love these and they make fun math centers, fast finisher activities, morning work/bell ringers and more!

Let's talk more about specific digital math task cards sets. They come in two options (well three actually):
  • Bundles of digital task cards, with accompanying printable task cards in color and black and white versions
  • Digital Task Cards Only
  • Printable Task Cards Only (in color and black and white)

What topics are available?
  • Coins
  • Skip Counting
  • Hundreds Grids/Number Grids
  • Part Part Whole (broken into three separate resources with sums of 1-10, 11-14, and 15-18)
  • Addition Equations
  • Subtraction Equations
  • Place Value
  • Geometry
Let's check out some video walk throughs of these digital task cards so you can get a better idea of what to expect,  how your students will practice, and how engaging it will be for them!




If you want to learn more, Teachers Pay Teachers listings have previews where you can get a very look look at individual digital task cards (and printable task cards). Here are the links so you can check them out! 

Digital Only
Digital and Printable Task Card Bundles
What's your favorite way to integrate digital learning into the classroom? Let me know by commenting!

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    Flexible Seating Q&A

    So many students are struggling to pay attention and develop solid work habits in the traditional classroom. There must be a better way to help them! Do you want to try flexible seating to help your students focus and get more engaged but have questions? Or are you trying to  answer parent questions or questions from your colleagues? Hopefully this Q&A can help you! Also, if you want my free Flexible Seating Ebook, click here to grab it!

    Q: Don't students just get sleepy and tired in the more comfortable seats?
    A: Actually research has shown that students are focused, pay better attention and get more done with flexible seating options!

    Q: Will it help all students?
    A: Nothing is right for all students, so there are probably always going to be a few students who need a traditional chair and desk or table. I keep 3-4 in my classroom for this reason.

    Q: What about standardized testing?
    A: My principal was fine with students using flexible seating during standardized tests. They were very focused. However; if not, you could arrange for students to use the computer lab, another teacher's room, or have the custodian bring desks and chairs in for the test.

    Q: If they don't have a desk, where do they keep their stuff?
    A: Cubbies, bins, storage containers on bookshelves, chair pockets... there are many options!! My students keep quite a few things in a central locations, like their large 300 page reading books.

    Q: Will students compete to get the favorite spots?
    A: There probably will be some popular spots. I'd recommend that you let students pick seats the day before. I use a lottery system and draw numbers randomly and they place their magnet on the seating chart before they go home the day before.

    Q: Is it expensive?
    A: Not necessarily. Some things can be procured for cheap, such as the stools I ordered from IKEA and the other stools I got with my Scholastic bonus points. Some items can be found for free or cheap, like at yard sales or Craig's List!

    Q: Why not?
    A: Remember, "We miss 100% of the shots you don't take" (Wayne Gretzsky), so why not?! Take a shot!

    If you want more details, grab my free EBOOK on flexible seating! It goes into more specifics and will really help you get going!
    CLICK HERE or on the image below!

    5 New Teacher Tips

      Find a Mentor or a Pal
          Hopefully your school has a mentor teacher program, but if not, and maybe even in addition too, find a pal! Find a teacher who has ideas and is willing to share and help! Sure, it's great if they are at your grade level, but my first mentor teacher taught a different grade - she was still very supportive and helpful. I also still remember two young second grade teachers helping me a ton that first year. Don't be shy about asking for help and information!

        Go Home
         No, we are not trying to get rid of you! But you will burn out quickly and get yourself tired and sick if you don't go home at a reasonable hour. Sure -  come in early and stay late, but it is not good for your health if you're in school from 7am -7pm! Take care of yourself!

         Pace Yourself and Be Realistic
         The year before this, I was a mentor teacher for  a new second grade teacher. She worked very hard, but she was also realistic. She didn't think she would be able to learn and implement every single app/website/piece of technology we had available, which was right! She focused on a few and the second year, learned and implemented the rest of them. Also, be sure to pace yourself. Give yourself a reasonable timeline for things!

    Don't spend all your Money 
         DO not, I repeat, DO not spend all your money on classroom supplies or run up your credit card to buy classroom books. There are other options today! Ask for parent donations, go to the library, yard sales, Donor's Choose, find out where teachers put stuff they are getting rid of. Repurpose and recycle things for storage and supplies!

        Get Basic Supplies
         Ask your principal for basic supplies or money to put towards them and get the essentials. Again, don't spend tons on these. What should you grab? Check out my blog post (link here) for details!

    And new teachers, just be kind to yourself! It's a really tough job and you are doing great!

    Do you have a tip for new teachers? Tell us in the comment section please!

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      How to Edit Google Forms

      Have you grabbed one of my Self Grading Assessments from Teachers Pay Teachers? Did you know they are editable - so are most Google Forms that you get from someone else!

      You can add questions, delete questions, change the types of questions, point values, and so much more so it perfectly meets the needs of you and your students! Here is my quick 5 minute video  in which I show you what you can do with Google Forms!

      What is your favorite Google Forms edit? Let me know in the comments!

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        Back to School Tips for Teachers

        Back to school is such a crazy, hectic time! It's like trying to ride a bike, but the bike is on fire, you're on fire, and everything is on fire (have you seen that going around the internet)? I have a few tips to help you get back to school while keeping your sanity, and some tips that will help you get off of the right foot with classroom management.

        TIP 1: Transition from your summer to your school year bedtime and wake up time about a week before school starts 
        This is a great thing to do if you have your own children too! It's not good for our system to suddenly start waking up two or three hours early on the first day of school (or to suddenly stop napping - just cut out naps before that). 

        TIP 2: Use the first few weeks to develop classroom routines and expectations
        Be firm about these expectations. My mom taught third and fourth grade before I was born and she told me she made a big mistake by being too "nice" and not being firm. By December the first year, her students were badly behaved and she had to crack down. One kiddo said, "Mrs. Mawn, why are you so mean now?" But besides being firm, students really need time and practice to absorb everything. For example, with classroom jobs, I introduce one or two a day and then the next day, one or two more, and have students start taking over the jobs I introduced the day before. The same for reading centers. First day, we try one rotation only. Then the next day we might do only one again, or try two... ease them in! Reinforce the success and give that feedback. 

        TIP 3: Reach out to Parents
        Yes, I know you're groaning internally here. It's so busy during the first week or two, but sending a short (2-3 sentences) e-mail or call (or send handwritten note) to all parents within first two weeks with something positive! It reassures many parents and sets things off on a positive note. This is especially helpful if you have to contact them later about something less positive. Plus, you might get a positive e-mail back! 

        TIP 4: Plan Ahead BUT be Flexible
        Plan ahead  - I always have the first five days of plans set and copies made, math books labeled, etc., but be ready to change things up as needed, Your students may need more time than you thought they would to complete activities, or move through things faster. They may also need more scaffolding and support, or you may find students need enrichment. 

        TIP 5 : Start Talking "Growth Mindset" Early On!
        I am a huge believer and proponent of growth mindset, I have many activities I have purchased but I do starting talking the talk right away. For example, you know all those beginning of the year assessments you have to administer? This is a great time to say things like "This is to help you show me what you can do  now, so I can help you learn a lot this year"  or "Do what you can now. You might not be able to do all of it YET, but you will soon!"
        I have more tips specifically for organizing your personal life before you go back to school! Check  out that blog post here.  
        Also, you can see what back to school books I recommend for teachers at this post!

        Finally if you are looking for an easy peasy way to start the year with your students in grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3, the Back to School Starter Kits are your key! They are chock full of fun activities to fill the first week of school. Each kit has:
        • math assessments/printables
        •  handwriting check ins
        •  writing prompts
        • classroom scavenger hunts
        • get to know you activities
        • morning work
        • and more!
        You will barely have to plan with these!
        Check out my video walk through of the second grade kit here!

        Here are some in action photos of the Second Grade Starter Kit. Clicking on any will bring  you to the resource on TpT!


        Check out these images from the Third Grade Starter Kit!

         This is a good photo of just some of the activities from the First Grade Starter Kit!

        Do you have any back to school tips? Be sure to let me know by commenting below!

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        Become an insider and get a pdf with back to school tips for your personal life!
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          12 New Flexible Seating Ideas

          Ready to revamp your flexible seating for this school year? I have looked back at what I have shared with you in the past, my classroom experience with flexible seating for my second graders, and done some research on some new flexible seating options that you may not have considered! Here are twelve new ideas for you! Also, if you want my free Flexible Seating Ebook, click here to grab it!

          Tall tables have been super helpful for my class! They are great and a wide variety of students enjoy them. If you don't have one, you can elevate a regular table with bed risers. I bought some at Wal-Mart in case I needed them, but you can also grab some at Amazon for less than $15.

          Several teachers at my school got desks like these for their students, including a rocker bar to keep those feet busy. I am a big fan of this model by Stand Up Dad. Click here or on the image to check out what he is doing! 

          I have seen tire seats in a few places, but my favorite are those from Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey. She even has a great tutorial for you on her blog so you can DIY!  Get inspired!

          Camp chairs are my favorite, personally. You can get them on discount at many places now so go for it. They also make a great conference seating area!

          Lap Desks are an easy and inexpensive addition to any classroom. I have found them for less than $5 and you might even be able to get parents to donate some. They don't have a long shelf life though. I have seen them at toy stores, Hobby Lobby, Target, and craft stores like Michael's and AC Moore.
          These are on my personal wish list! I already have scoop rockers but these seem like they would work for taller and older students, and even adults. These can be found at Lakeshore

          Oh I am in love with the Nugget. It's not just a couch - it's totally flexible and you can arrange it in tons of ways! I would LOVE to add one to my classroom. Also could be great for a playroom!

          Kick balance boards from Wittfitt would be a terrific addition if you have a tall table or stand up desk. They allow kids to work their core and get the wiggles out, while standing. Also, I reached out and they were kind enough to offer my blog readers free shipping until the end of September! Just mention this offer to Wittfitt!

          I love stability balls, but I had to take mine away this year because my class didn't want to sit on their bottoms. Ball chairs with feet and wheels such as the example below might be the trick. This one is from Amazon but I'm  sure you could find it at online educational suppliers.


          These Core ErgoErgo stools for active sitting look fascinating. They are a little pricey (check them out here at Amazon) but could be amazing!

          Can do donut inflatable balls are at the top of my wish list and seem to be about $20 at Amazon right now, so they are doable. This model is 33" wide. I think this could provide the core resistance and wiggle "support" without kids rolling all over their place on the more tradition stability ball chairs.

          Haven't tried these yet, but I know some teachers have! Have you? My only concern would  be scissors and pencils nearby! These are about $27 from Amazon.

          These active seat cushions would provide support for both younger and older students. I haven't used them yet, but some colleagues have and been pleased. Have you tried them out? These are from Moving Minds and called Ever Ready Active Seat Cushions.

          That's your update! What was new to you or what option did I miss that I should add for my next flexible seating options?? Be sure to comment and let me know!

          Grab your free ebook here!