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The Quiet Game

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Now I’m aware this might be a teacher trick you already know…but if you don’t – you’re going to love it! Way back when I was a brand new baby teacher one of my colleagues had her class playing the quiet game while they were waiting in the hall for PE to start. I asked her what this game was about – and it was so easy – it was amazing!

So, I use the quiet game when we are waiting in line typically for a special.  To play the quiet game, the students need to be quiet, facing forward, and have their hands to themselves. I then walk up and down the line and find the student who is being the best example of a student standing in line. I tap them on the shoulder and then they get to pick the next student who is standing perfectly in line.  This continues on and on until the special’s teacher is ready for them.

Now, I know you’re thinking…that’s it?? It is. And they love it! Every group – first, second, and third grade has loved it.  They actually ask me to play it.  I sometimes think to myself they’ll get sick of it because there is really no prize or set winner, but they don’t!

And the best part of all is it helps with transitions to other classes and hallway behavior.

Have you played it before?? Let me know in the comments below!



5 Tips for Standardized Testing

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Oh testing time, oh testing time. What a magical time of year…NOT. Testing time is a stressful time of year for students and teachers alike.  Today I’m sharing 5 tips to help make standardized testing a little easier.

  1. Prepare your room early so the kids have time to adjust – Most of the time we have to cover up anchor charts, move desks so students are far apart, etc.  Do this ahead of time. Any time you make changes in your room, the kids notice and it can cause a commotion. If you do this a few days before testing, they will be used to it by the time testing begins.
  2. Decorate the room with positive messages – Since all of your beautiful anchor charts and posters are covered up, the room can look a little sad.  Put posters up with motivational positive messages.  It’s a way to decorate while also reminding the kids that they can do this!
  3. Make sure the kids have a healthy snack – At past schools, PTA has provided snacks for testing.  I highly recommend asking your PTA if they provide snacks or seeing if your school can do that.  Some kids come to school with no breakfast and no food. Students can’t perform well on a test if they are hungry.  I used to also provide granola bars or fresh fruit as a snack before testing or on testing breaks.
  4. Provide movement opportunities before and after testing – These tests tend to be long and it’s a lot of sitting. Prior to testing, have students do a brain break and get up and moving. They will do better if they are alert.  Use GoNoodle and do a brain break to pump them up. If you are testing after lunch/recess and they are crazy, use GoNoodle yoga or one of the mindfulness brain breaks to help calm them down for resting.
  5. Provide motivational messages on either a special treat or pencils – There are so many ideas out there for little motivational treats for students.  I’ve seen many food treats that are a little gift before or after testing. My personal favorite is the motivational message written on the child’s testing pencil.

If you missed my blog post about test prep review ideas, click here….

Be sure to sign up for my email list below! This Tuesday (April 10) I will be sending out a FREEBIE to all of my email subscribers with some cute testing signs you can use during testing season!



3 Ways Teachers Can Find Work-Life Balance – Guest Post

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I’m so excited to have a guest blogger blog for me today! The below post is by Sarah who runs Teach and Be Well, a fitness and wellness blog designed to help busy teachers take better care of themselves. She believes that a healthy lifestyle is essential preventing teacher burn out. You can find more about her, as well as self-care ideas, recipes, and more at www.teachandbewell.com

There are very few jobs that take as much work outside of the “workday” as teaching. We grade, we lesson plan, and heaven help you if you coach an extra-curricular activity. Sometimes it can feel like a struggle to find balance, and then we just shrug and say “that’s why we get breaks”. But the truth of the matter is we can burn ourselves out very quickly this way. We need to be more intentional with balancing our day-to-day lives. Below I’ve outlined 3 tips that will help you as you seek to find that balance in your own life.

  1.  Reverse schedule your time- Working at home is sort of an inevitability for most teachers. If we didn’t, things just wouldn’t get done. But that doesn’t mean that it has to take over your life. Try reverse scheduling your at home “work time”. Start with your set schedule, i.e. what time you usually get home from school, any after school commitments, etc. Then add in things you’d like to make more of a priority in your life, like getting more sleep, having time to workout, etc. Finally, schedule your work into the remaining time. You may need to have some flexibility here. Maybe you really wanted to workout 3 days a week, but you know you’ll get behind on grading, so you only schedule 2 days. Or maybe your ideal bedtime is 9 pm, but that doesn’t give you enough time in the day, so you go with 9:30. The idea is to divide up your time and predetermine how you’re going to spend it so that one thing doesn’t take over (ahem.. grading!)
  2.   Have a regularly scheduled “thing”- Try to schedule in an activity that is consistent week to week. Maybe you join a book club or a crafting class. Or maybe you make every Tuesday night “date night”. Over time it will become a regular part of your schedule and you’ll avoid scheduling other things in that time slot, “Oh, I can’t. Wednesday nights are my salsa dancing nights.” Bonus points if you can schedule 2 nights a week for yourself, one fitness related and one hobby or relationship related.
  3.  Learn to say no- I completely understand why people have a hard time with this one. I often have trouble saying no to things my friends ask me to do, especially if I don’t have a good excuse. We all need to stop this. It’s time to realize that needing a night at home is a perfectly valid excuse. Another mindset change I had to make was recognizing that teaching is an act of service, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about saying no to extra service projects, mentor-ships, etc. I’ve found that as a teacher I’m pouring into kids all day, and I need activities in my life that fill me back up. I still, of course, do meaningful projects outside of school, I’m just more selective about what they are.

Work-life balance isn’t something that just happens because we want it to. You have to be intentional in creating that space. I’d love to know how you find balance in your life, let me know in the comments!

Teacher Tip – Wireless Doorbell

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The Best Teacher Invention…

I know I’m not the only person to discuss and recommend the wireless doorbell, but this thing is amazing! I highly recommend it – and no this is not an affiliate link nor do I work for Amazon or the doorbell company.

In the past I’ve always used the clapping patterns or 1-2-3 eyes on me as a way to get student’s attention. And, while yes that will work it sometimes has to be repeated many times. This past summer I purchased a wireless doorbell to use in my classroom after seeing some teachers on Instagram recommending it. My doorbell has multiple songs and chimes and I chose a simple chime that sounded like the end of intermission at a play. This thing works like a charm! My students hadn’t seen it before so it was a novelty item at first, but it gets their attention! The nice thing is that I can change the sound or song so that it’s always fresh and always a bit of a novelty. (Our classroom Elf even changed the tune to Jingle Bells during the holiday season.)

I use the doorbell as a way to get them to freeze and give me their attention. I sound the doorbell when they need to rotate during math rotations. I use the doorbell as a sign to clean up. This thing works and it’s saved my voice and frustration level. Now there are times when they are a little crazy and I have to ring it a second time, but I do not have to raise my voice! The doorbell does it for me!

Anyways – random little post today, but I’ve been meaning to share my love for this doorbell with you. If you are interested in the one I purchased it was around $15 and I’ll post the link below. Again I do not have an affiliate link, but I do love this product.

SadoTech Doorbell on Amazon



Winter Break Update

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Hello everyone and Happy Almost New Year!

I’m entering week 2 of Winter Break and wanted to check in on here real quick. I know I’ve been MIA on the blog the last 2-3 weeks, but with the craziness of the holiday season (and getting really sick the last week before break) some time away was needed.

I will be back to blogging within the next week so stay tuned!

To keep up with me in the meantime…check out…

Facebook – Team J’s 2nd Grade Fun

Instagram – Team J’s 2nd Grade Fun

TPT Store – Jordan Johnson

Pinterest – Team J’s 2nd Grade Fun

Have a lovely New Year’s and I’ll be checking back in the next few days!

Last Day of the TPT Cyber Sale

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Today is the last day of the TPT Cyber Sale. My entire store – Jordan Johnson – will be up to 25% off with the code CYBER17. Check out some of my book studies that are also for sale below…

Check out my newest book study series – Jake Drake….

Jake Drake – Know-It-All

Jake Drake Know-It-All - Book Study        Jake Drake Teacher's Pet - Book Study

Check out my other book studies below. Click on the picture for more information…

Nate the Great Goes Undercover - Book Study       Cam Jansen - The Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones - Book Study     Flat Stanley - Framed In France - Book Study

Ivy and Bean - Book Study       Ivy + Bean and The Ghost That Had to Go - Book Study      Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record - Book Study

Nate the Great and the Lost List - Book Study       Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Book Study      Surprises According to Humphrey - Book Study

I Survived - The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 - Book Study

Happy Shopping!

TPT Cyber Sale Begins Today

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The TPT Cyber Sale begins today!! My entire store – Jordan Johnson – will be on sale up to 25% off using the code CYBER17 today and tomorrow! Check out some of my story problem products below… I even have a new Christmas Story Problems product that was just added to my store.

Christmas Story Problems – This one of my newest additions to my TPT Store. Christmas Story Problems are great for advanced first graders and second graders.  Includes 16 different addition and subtraction story problems perfect for the holiday season.
Christmas Story Problems
Elapsed Time Story Problems Differentiated – 3 different versions of elapsed time story problems. Includes a set for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students. 
Elapsed Time Story Problems - Differentiated Task Cards
Multiplication Differentiated Story Problems – Includes a factors to 12 version and a challenge version.  Great for a math station or independent practice!
Multiplication Story Problems - Differentiated
Division Story Problems – This product includes story problems with division situations within 100.
Division Story Problems
Happy Shopping!

TPT Cyber Sale – Starts Tomorrow!

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The TPT Cyber Sale begins tomorrow, November 27! My entire store – Jordan Johnson – will be on sale for up to 25% with the code CYBER17.  Check out some of my grammar products below…
Check out my Grammar Fix It Products – On Sale using the code CYBER17
Grammar Fix It provides grammar practice perfect for literacy stations, small groups, whole group, assessments, and more.  All Grammar Fix Its are printer friendly and offer 2 printing options.  Each packet offers at least three different versions for skill practice.  Recording sheets and answer keys are included.  For more info, click on the pictures below to see the product in my store.
Grammar Fix It - Capitalization & End Marks        Grammar Fix It - Apostrophes - Possessives and Contractions
 Grammar Fix It - Verb Tense Agreement       Grammar Fix It - Commas        
Grammar Fix It - Spelling High Frequency Words        Grammar Fix It - Quotation Marks

All of the Grammar Fix It’s above can be found in my Grammar Fix It Bundle – also on sale!
Grammar Fix It -  BUNDLE

Happy Shopping!

Class Dojo Videos

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I absolutely love the Class Dojo videos.  I use Class Dojo as a way to grade/track our non-academic standards (conduct, effort, and personal habits).  But, my favorite part of Class Dojo is the videos tab under Big Ideas. You can find it….here
Class Dojo started this a few years ago and started out with their videos on Growth Mindset. They also have videos on perseverance, empathy, gratitude, and mindfulness. All important life skills for students to learn!
My favorite one and the series we always start with is the series about Growth Mindset.  As we know Growth Mindset is a big talking point in education and so important for kids to learn about at a young age. However, it can be quite tricky to explain it in kid friendly terms! But, Class Dojo has done it! They use friendly characters – Katie and Mojo and have them encounter typical kid type issues – making mistakes, not knowing how to do something, wanting to give up, etc. Through these videos it teaches kids that your brain is a muscle that can get stronger, that just because you don’t know how to do something means you don’t know it yet, and more…
I’ve been showing these once a week for Growth Mindset Monday – Morning Meeting. Students greet each other and share growth mindset type questions. For example, what is something you’re good at, what is something that is hard for you, and more.
Students also focus on the videos for their Morning Message. I like to have students respond explaining what they learned in past videos. It’s a great way to jog their memory and lead in to the next video since they build on one another.
Then, for the activity we watch the episode and discuss.  The kids love these videos and I find them applying what we learned in class.  For example, we were working on rounding which was hard for some of my students. We focused on the fact that we just don’t know it “yet,” but the more we practice the better we’ll get at it!
I’m excited to finish up the Growth Mindset series next week and then we’ll be moving on to Empathy.  How do you use Class Dojo videos in your room?  Comment below and let me know!

Why I Love Sit Spots

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I got Sit Spots in my classroom last year and have absolutely loved them! I highly recommend them and don’t know what I’d do without them.  
Here are a few reasons why I love them…
  • They are bright and colorful. They come in many different shapes and options to fit your class decor or needs.
  • They last! I used these last year and then washed them over the summer. I was a little nervous, but they look great! I love that you can wash the to disinfect!
  • They really do stick.  The velcro on the back of these is legit! These things stick.  My room gets vacuumed and the Sit Spots are all where they should be.  
  • It’s not a rug! Don’t get me wrong, I have had a classroom rug for 8 out of my 11 years teaching.  And, I do love a rug, but these are better. Students still each have their own spot and you don’t have the issues with tripping over the rug. I can’t tell you how many times the rug got caught under something and then there was a bump. I was often the victim tripping over the bump or the edge of the rug. But, that is not an issue with Sit Spots.
  • They are inexpensive. When I bought Sit Spots last year, they were $2 per Sit Spot. Not a bad price and like I said they last!

If you are interested in buying them, check out the Sit Spots website…here.