Sunday, August 10, 2014

PA Blog Hop - Tips and Tools for Back to School!

It's hard to believe that lots of my buddies have already gone back to school! I still have a couple of weeks until the kids return, but I'll be heading in this week (unpaid of course!) to set up my classroom. Some of my fellow PA bloggers and I have made this blog hop just in time for our back to school...hopefully it will benefit all of you too!

We're each sharing a tip and a tool for you to use as the new year begins!

Collaborate with Google Presentation!

It was really hard to pick just one thing to talk about here! I've had all of the back to school stuff swimming in my head for a couple weeks now...and honing in on one seemed impossible!

But in the end I figured I'd share about something I do that I think really helps me work better with my colleagues. It's all about Google Docs!  

I used to e-mail a copy of my lesson plans to a couple of my colleagues and all of the special educators, specialists, and paras that I work with. It just makes it easier this way. I don't have to worry about a para not knowing what is going on...and I don't have to worry about remembering to tell the special ed teacher that we've got a special project on a certain day.

One day this past year I was planning with my intern and we wondered if it'd be easier to do it as a google doc. Since then I've created my same weekly schedule in Google Presentation, and then shared all of my peeps on that file. 

Now each week I make a copy of my template slide, (pictured here on the left) then adjust it for any changes in the schedule for the week, then I fill it in with my plans (the basic version). I usually print the slide for myself and my intern as well to clip to a clipboard on my desk. 

Here's a plan in progress!
It's really handy to change the colors of the cells to represent different things. Like one color means "my intern is leading this lesson" and another means "Special Event/Field Trip." I also add notes about meetings I have before and after school. I usually have a few weeks in advance at various stages of being mapped out. And when things don't go as planned? It sure is easy to cut and paste the stuff inside one of the cells and move it down the line.

Why Google Presentation and not Docs? Well, in Presentation each week can be on it's own slide! AND you can merge cells in a table in Presentation, but not Docs! And did you know that you can change the size of the slide to be the same size as a piece of paper? You can! It's under "File" and then "Page Setup"

I've had a LOT of positive feedback from the paras and teachers that I share my plans with. I know a lot of people might be nervous about the idea of sharing your plans...but I think we should be proud of our plans, there's nothing to hide anyway, and it makes communication so easy! Think about trying it out!

EEKK Poster for Read to Someone

This is a handy poster for when you introduce the concept of "Read to Someone" to your kids. You take a picture of some of your kids (I would pick the ones that are LEAST likely to be well behaved during Read to Someone, so you can remind them later that they are the models for the class!) The rhyme on the poster is a great way for kids to remember how they should be sitting. This poster matches a lot of the other decor and Daily 5/CAFE items in my TpT store (most of which are free)!

If you're new around here, thanks for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you enjoy the freebie I shared today. Be sure to stop by my Freebies tab at the top of my blog to check out about 20 more cool freebies! Like what you see? Become a follower!

 Don't stop reading here!  
We have more tips and tools for you.  

Next up is my bud Wendy over at Read with Me ABC!
Have fun hopping!

Graphics and fonts used in this post were courtesy of I'm Lovin' Lit, Melonheadz, and KG Fonts.  Check them out!


  1. Nick-I read your wonderful news! Congratulations!!!! I hope I get to you see and your wife at our next meet-up. I LOVE the EEKK poem/poster. I will have to read more into Google presentation.
    That First Grade Blog

  2. Congrats on all of your wonderful news! I love the idea to snap a picture of those kiddos who are least likely to be doing the "right" thing. Using real pictures of students in the classroom is so meaningful!

    The Sassy Sub

  3. What a good idea!! Emailing lesson plans is so time consuming, and I never seem to save them correctly. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I will have to give Google Docs a try! Thanks for sharing!


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