When it comes to classroom resources, every teacher has a few items they couldn’t possibly ever go without! It might be that favorite stapler, that electric pencil sharpener that works, or an amazing resource! We have gotten together with the amazing bloggers from Upper Elementary Snapshots to tell you about our upper elementary classroom favorites. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom for your chance to pick up a bunch of freebies and to enter in a chance to win some great prizes that you can use for your classroom!
My Upper Elementary Classroom Favorites!
If you have struggled with desk name tags throughout your teaching career, you are not alone. I hated cutting out the name tags, writing students’ names on them, cutting out the contact paper, and then trying to get the sticky contact paper to hold the name tag on the desk. Then within a week or two, some students have already peeled off part or most of their name tags. Ugh! I was ready to give up. But then I stumbled upon oil-based Sharpie paint pens. These things are amazing! You can write students’ names right on the desks!
It is scary at first, because you wonder if it will ever come off, but it does. I simply use a magic eraser and water at the end of the year and the name disappears. The names are almost impossible to tamper with by students so no redoing them half-way through the year! I highly suggest trying them out this year.
I love starting the year off with the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. If you have not read this book yet, you need to! This story is about a boy named August, or “Auggie” as his parents and friends call him. Auggie has a facial deformity and is heading to public school for the first time. This book documents how Auggie goes through numerous struggles both in and out of school. You will experience many emotions as you read this story: anger, frustration, empathy, but also joy and happiness. This book has become my favorite read aloud of all time and I know your students will love it too! You can find the book Wonder on Amazon by clicking here.
As an upper elementary classroom teacher, I have always struggled with those students that finish an assignment early, or who just don’t seem motivated to learn. I have tried everything from “early finisher choices” to having lunch with students who struggle with behavior. But then last year I implemented something that changed the attitude and work ethic of my students. It was Genius Hour! Genius Hour is designed for students to work on a project that they are passionate about. It is their choice as to what they want to learn more about. My students couldn’t believe that I was actually going to let them take control of their learning.
You are probably asking yourself, how do I fit this into our already jam-packed schedule. There are a couple of solutions. First, you do not need to take an hour a day or even a half an hour a day for the class to work on these projects. My schedule only allowed for a 1/2 hour period once a week. But the beauty of Genius Hour is that once you introduce the project, and approve the students’ choices, they can work on it when they finish an assignment early in class, or even take it home which many of my students did. I wrote a blog post about Genius Hour that you can find here and you can find the bundled resource by clicking here.
The number one thing I see my students struggling with in math is their multiplication facts. And it always seems to be those 6s, 7s, and 8s. No matter how many times students would do speed drills or practice flash cards, those still remained the toughest for students to master. I decided to make those three numbers more fun by writing math raps for the 6s, 7s, and 8s. It was amazing how these struggling students started to rap with me, and then practice on their own. It really helped them to master their facts. To download the Multiplication Raps you can click here.
Please check out the other amazing upper elementary teachers’ blogs for more FREE resources and their classroom favorites too!
After you’ve downloaded my freebie be sure to visit each of the blogs below to add 12 more FREE RESOURCES to your own collection of things you can’t picture yourself teaching without. Afterwards swing by our collaborative blog, Upper Elementary Snapshots for lots of great content and ideas you can put into practice in your own classrooms as well as a chance to win gift cards to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Teachers Pay Teachers so you can stock up on your own Classroom Must Haves.