February Bright Ideas For the Classroom

It's hard to believe February is on the horizon! Mid year testing has begun, report cards are a few weeks away and it just seems as though there are a lot of distractions that are filling up our calendars and making it hard to stay focused.

I hope you can take some ideas away from this post to make your planning easier and smoother for the month ahead. Pin the ideas you love most so you don't forget them.

bulletin boards, freebies, valentine's day
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Believe it or not, not everything in the month of February is all hearts and butterflies. We spend a few lessons learning about Washington and Lincoln. I either read them a picture book (see below) or I use independent reading passages, like these, to engage their attention. 


We also create a craft and write an opinion piece about whether on not Lincoln should have a beard. We write a compare/contrast story about the two presidents also. 


During small group time, we review grammar and phonics skills with different activities such as these.


All these activities and much more, can be found in my Patriotic Presidents' Day resource. 






I love teaching my students about different cultures and countries around the world. It becomes even more meaningful when there are students in our class from the countries we are learning about.

For Chinese New Year, we read a book about the holiday as a whole class. Then we create a chart about all the new things we have learned. Students also read these independent passages and answer comprehension questions.


Each student makes a red envelope that we display in class. Then throughout the month they write kind words to one another about something positive they wish for the other person. 


My students' favorite activity during our unit of study is when we make our paper bag books. The kids love all the new information they learn and the interactive pieces they can manipulate. There seems to be a great sense of ownership and love of the information they get to share with their friends and family.


We also practice our fact and opinion skills with these Chinese New Year fact and opinion cards. I post them around the room and the students answer them on their paper when they have free time.

These activities and much more are all part of my Chinese New Year packet you can find HERE!







I just added this little gem of a book, Little Leaders, to my collection to share with my students this next month. It features 40 inspiring and heroic women who took action in a time when they weren't always accepted. Knowingly or not they each helped to make the world a better place for young women of future generations. 


The Youngest Marcher is a very special story about the civil rights movement from the perspective of a young nine year old girl. It's a great story that gives kids the inspiration to speak up for what they believe in, no matter their age.


Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers is my favorite book to use to introduce Abraham Lincoln to my students. It's told from the perspective of a young eleven year old girl who wanted to know why President Lincoln decided to grow a beard. So, she wrote him a letter to ask for his answer. It's a true story that captures the sweet innocence of a child and her relationship with the President of the United States. 



My students and I LOVE task cards! What better way to integrate Valentine's Day but with math? We just finished learning about adding and subtracting three digit numbers. And word problems always seem to be a challenge for my kiddos. Now they can be engaged in their learning with these word problem task cards! I use these cards at an early finisher activity, whole class game of Scoot or as partner work. The best part... they will be reviewing their math skills all while getting extra word problem practice with some Valentine's Day flair! Grab your set HERE


I love integrating language arts and math skills with some holiday fun whenever possible. This is a follow up activity to the book There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Rose. After we read the story, the students work on their comprehension and sequencing skills by choosing there favorite part of the story to write about and illustrate.


I also follow up the story with word problems  and measuring activities to practice math skills we have learned through the year. Take a closer look HERE.


I just love these adorable bookmarks to give to each of my students for Valentine's Day. I printed and laminated them. Then I hole punched each one and tied a ribbon to the top. These are from Primarily Speaking and are part of her Love Bot Writing Prompt Packet. This packet is full of great ideas!




I love to challenge my students to review their math skills. They love these Valentine task cards! I love them because it force my students to show their work before choosing their answers. This allows me to see their thinking and help them to correct their errors when regrouping. Grab your free set HERE


This is by far my FAVORITE Valentine gift to give to kids! What kid (or adult for that matter) doesn't love emojis? Well, I know I do and so do my own children. I fell in love with this idea as soon as I saw it! I ordered plush emoji key chains at Amazon and had them shipped to me the next day (gotta love Amazon Prime). Then I printed out these adorable tags from Molly at Lucky To Be In First and had my son signed his name. Ready to make your own set? You can grab these tags for FREE by clicking HERE.

I hope you were able to grab a few ideas to use. Thanks for stopping by.

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January Bright Ideas for the Classroom

Hello sweet blog readers! Welcome and Happy New Year! I have decided to try something new this year and share monthly ideas with you in hopes of making your planning each month a bit easier. I hope you can take a few ideas, use them, and feel relieved that some of your planning is complete.


Let's get started! Don't forget: When you see ideas you love, pin them so you don't forget them!


I am all about integrating the curriculum across different subject areas whenever possible. This is why I love this snowman glyph project so much. This super simple project integrates art, data collection, writing AND makes an awesome bulletin board! 


Each student creates their snowman based on how they answer certain questions about winter. Then they can write a poem or story to go with their art project. BAM! Your bulletin board for January is complete!

You can grab this versatile winter resource HERE.

snowman glyph writing ideas and bulletin board for January

I also love to start the new year off with goals. My students make personal goals throughout the year, but I love this craft as a bulletin board in January. Each student makes a boy or girl on New Year's Eve and writes about their resolution or goals for the coming year.

You can take a closer look at this goal writing resource HERE.



January is a time to reflect, set goals, and make a fresh start. When school starts I am going to have my students make these New Year resolution books. It's a great way to get students focused and ready to learn after a few weeks off.

New Year Resolution book

You can grab this freebie HERE.

New Year Resolution


Teaching my students about Martin Luther King Jr. is something I look forward to each January. I also love it because I can carry the activities into February for Black History Month if I don't get to all the activities I have planned. Hehe.

I love sharing facts and info with a Getting To Know Martin Luther King Jr book. Then we create an interactive paper bag book with fun facts about his life. The kids LOVE making these books.


True and false questions are a great way for kids to test their knowledge of all the new learning they are doing. This is a fun center to put out or use as a whole group review.


Integrating writing and crafts is always and fun and easy way to assess student learning. These I Have A Dream kids make a great bulletin board too.


You can find all these activities and MUCH more in my Martin Luther King Jr. pack. Click here to see it on TpT.


Click the picture or HERE to grab this freebie.


I hope you found a few ideas you can use. Stay tuned for next month's February Bright Ideas. 

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How To Use Student Numbers In The Classroom

How many times have I called on Monica today?

Did Tyler participate in language arts? 

Did everyone get a chance to share their ideas?

Who are my helpers?

How am I going to group my students for this activity?

Do any of these questions ever run through your head? As a classroom teacher, we are always trying to be fair to our students. However, sometimes without realizing it, we end up calling on the same students ALL. THE. TIME. Or we group students together the same way without realizing it. The answer to all these questions is just around the corner....

classroom student number sticks
This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

Since the first day I stepped into my very own classroom, I have used a stick system of some sort. My first year teaching started with writing each student's name on a Popsicle stick with a black Sharpie marker.

Then, it evolved into writing names on tongue depressors because I could write the names larger! HA!

However, now I think I have mastered the number sticks so I don't have to a make a new set every year. I finally decided to make number sticks I could use over and over. This is when I came up with the idea to use some cute clip art and label them with numbers to reuse each year.

One of the most important keys to using the number system in your classroom is BALANCE.  On the first day of school, each of my students is assigned a number. This is their number for the entire year! It's printed on their supply box so they are able to refer to it often.

Now, before you throw rocks at me for assigning kids a number....hear me out. I use the number system purely as an organization tool. My students DO NOT write their numbers on their papers or on any assignment that is turned in to me. All my students are individuals who need to be validated. They are not numbers. However, because I value my students as individuals SO much, the number system helps me to make sure I am checking in on them regularly. It also helps me to mix up groups for collaborative learning time.

There are so many ways to use the number system in your classroom. Here are a few ways I have used the numbers:


  • student cubbies
  • backpack hooks
  • supply bins
  • folders
  • class sets of books


Want to give the number system a try in your classroom?

Here is what you need to get started:

classroom student number sticks


Cordless Glue Gun (Yes, it's cordless and you will LOVE it! Another game changer.)



Directions:
1. Print out the version on numbers you prefer. I have included boys and girls together (as seen above), as well as boys and girls separate. 

2. Laminate the numbers and cut them out.

3. Using a glue gun, adhere each number to a tongue depressor. 

TA-DAH! You are all set and ready to go! Enjoy!


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