Stay Organized with Our BTS Basics

Every year teachers everywhere work to clean, organize, and decorate their classrooms to make an inviting space for students to return to.  We spend hours planning curriculum to engage our students and share our own passion for reading, writing, math, and all that our state standards mandate as need-to-know basics for our own grade level or department.

If you are at all like me, you also vow to keep student and parent info organized and at your fingertips.  In particular, I need help tracking student data, identifying important allergy information, managing expectations for students when there is a sub, and matching student names with parent names and emails.  This last one is critical with so many of our students coming from blended families or having a different last name than the parent.  And then there is the parent email that begins with something like "rockstardad," "fuzzywuzzy," "ophidiophobia," or "hooterchic04" (seriously, I do not need to know that you worked at Hooters when you were younger), or worse!  When I need to send a quick email to a particular parent, sometimes it's hard to identify which student matches with which {inventive} email name.

With our BTS Basics Bundle, we've created a bundle of BTS resources to help you START and STAY organized this year....always my own personal vow, so I imagine others are in the same organizationally-challenged boat.

Included, you'll find more than TWENTY different forms and BTS resources:

student information
parent/guardian contact information (2 versions)
student log-in information
student reading and math data forms (2 versions for each subject)
student allergy information
parent volunteer information
field trip permission slip check-off form
generic class check-off form (2 versions-use for everything!)
book order info (Scholastic – multiple options for paying)
parent-teacher conference info
student dismissal form (3 versions – one with blank headings for you to fill in)
parent donation labels for Meet-the-Teacher or Open House
good-calls-home log
absent student work form
substitute teacher information form
substitute teacher report back to teacher
student behavior forms (3 versions—lower/middle/upper elem.)
glow/grow student letter and form
glow/grow parent letter and form
classroom job checklist
BONUS – perfect attendance poster for your door (2 versions)
BONUS – Learning from Podcasts form

Not necessary, but fun—grab a pack of Astro-bright paper and print the student info forms on one bright color, print parent info forms on another, and {my favorite tip} print data sheets on your own or each student's favorite color just to make data collection and reporting a bit more fun and enticing.

This resource is offered at half off through the month of August to celebrate the BTS season.  Some of the included resources were freebies at first right here on our blog, or they were included in the newsletter we send our email subscribers, so please consider signing up for this if you like what you see here.

If you have any questions about how I use any of these resources, please reach out and ask via the "questions" tab on TPT or via email.  Be sure to leave feedback so you can earn TPT credits toward any future purchases on TPT, and please tag #itallstartedwithflubber if you post any pictures on social media showing this resource in use—you might win a $10 TPT gift card!

Thanks—and Happy BTS!

When Life Gives You Lemons, Squeeze in a Little Learning

Summer break equates to downtime and rest and relaxation for many of us.  Pool time, taking time for coffee, slushes, or lemonade, taking a class, running kids to activities or playdates, visiting your local library with a bunch of books in your arms - ahhh, sweet summer - when our time is (mostly) our own!!

Summer also means more time to explore professional learning.  These might be things we don't take the time to do during the year.  Let's face it, often the school year doesn't afford us the luxury of reading professional books or exploring new blogs or podcasts.  This is one of the things I love best about summer!

In June, I actually scheduled time to "meet" with an online book group to discuss a book we were all reading.  I was so excited to have this learning time set aside—and then life got in the way.  My daughter wrecked her car, our flights for vacation were delayed, a contractor we'd scheduled for some home repair work was available a month earlier than we'd planned, and I had a bout of pink eye (in the summer—who gets pink eye in the summer??).  All of these events prevented me from participating in my book study for two weeks in a row.  Life was giving me lemons, for sure!

Just how did I turn these lemons into lemonade?  By adjusting my attitude a bit to see the many unplanned episodes of waiting as chances to read, listen, and to learn!

Whether you read a professional book at the pool, listen to podcasts in the car while running errands, or catch up on your favorite blogs while waiting for a flight—there are lots of opportunities to use small snippets of time to expand your knowledge on a topic near and dear to your heart.

Author Donalyn Miller calls it edge time reading in her book Reading in the Wild, where readers learn to use even the smallest of spurts of time to get in a few pages with their current book of choice.

I think we can apply this same principle to LEARNING.  Here are a few ways I used small chunks of time found "around the edges" of bigger commitments to squeeze in a little summer learning just in the last week alone:
  • read a blogpost while waiting for the spin cycle on washer to end
  • read another blogpost while on hold with car insurance company
  • caught up on new blogposts while waiting for a prescription
  • read PD book reviews while waiting for paint to be mixed at hardware store
  • listened to podcasts while painting a room
  • read a professional book while traveling to airport an hour away
  • listened to podcasts while waiting for flight
  • read blogpost while waiting for Uber ride
  • followed up on Instagram post book referral while in hospital waiting room 
Most of these examples involved waiting or trying to finish a project.  Instead of seeing these as frustrations keeping me from moving on to the next thing, I chose to see them as OPPORTUNITIES to learn - the old LEMONS vs LEMONADE debate.  I took these opportunities to squeeze in a little learning!  

Here are some of what I've been reading and listening to this summer:
  • Relentless by Hamish Brewer
  • The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Seravallo
  • The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp
  • Our Story Begins edited by Elissa Brent Weissman
  • Cult of Pedagogy podcast 
  • Not So Wimpy Teacher podcast
  • House of #EdTech podcast
  • Mind/Shift podcast
  • Edverything podcast
What are some of your favorite ways to squeeeeeeeeeze in a little learning (or reading) in the summer?

Grab this free resource to help you record you thoughts and learning as you listen to podcasts during your own "edge time" learning!  Happy listening and reading!

Lions and Shamrocks and Lambs - Oh, My!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy March to you!  Finally, March is here and that means spring can't be far off - we hope!!

If you've been here before, you know that we feel pretty strongly about {at least} two things:  regular writing for our students, and making resources to make life easier for our fellow teachers!   If one or both of those are also near-and-dear to your own heart, keep reading!

    ✅  Regular writing - 7 ready-to-print templates for March

    ✅  A FREE seasonal resource for your classroom

Our March Follower Free resource has four different shamrock writing options and three different in-like-a-and out-like-a lamb or lion templates.  Samples are shown here:


Your students can write about a lucky day, unusual or different lucky charms, and the March weather in your area - print the lamb and lion today and you have an easy writing prompt for this week.  Use the shamrocks now or in the coming weeks to make a cute bulletin board for St. Patrick's Day.

Different teachers use our monthly writing papers in different ways:

  •   for a morning quick write,
  •   or plan a lesson specifically around the themes for that month
  •   use for early-finishers 
  •   use as a writing station during literacy centers
  •   differentiate by customizing your writing task specifically for your learners' needs

You can find writing papers for each month in our Teacher Pay Teachers store under the monthly custom categories.

If you download these and use them, be sure to tag us if you post a picture on social media!  We'd love for you to win a TpT gift card!

We'd also love to hear about other ways you build in opportunities for regular writing for your students.  Comment below and you might also win a TpT gift card!