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Clear Your Wish List With a $60 TpT Gift Card!

It's hard to believe but it is time to start thinking about Back to School.

Six Teacher Authors are collaborating together to give you a chance to win one $60 TpT gift card. We hope to help you clear out some things off your wish list!

This giveaway starts on August 19th at 4:00 p.m. EST and finishes August 21st at midnight! In the following rafflecopter, there are links to all 6 of our TpT stores.

Hidden on the first page of our store is a secret word all in * CAPS LOCK * for you to find and enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Books for the First Week of Kindergarten

I love picture books!

They are an engaging way for kids to connect their world to the world around them.

It makes it easier for them to adapt to new situations when they know others have felt the same way that they do.

I hope you find this list to be helpful in your planning of your first week of Kindergarten!
Here are some tried and true books that I have found to be amazing in my classroom.

I personally love having my own collection.

If you're interested in picking one of these up I am including my affiliate links to Amazon simply for your convenience to check them out. No pressure!

First Day Jitters

By: Julie Danneberg
Sarah does not want to go to school. She is nervous about it and has many struggles the first day of school!

The Kissing Hand

By: Audrey Penn
It is hard to do new things. Doing it when you know someone loves you makes it much easier to do!

Countdown to Kindergarten

By: Alison McGhee
This book explores fun topics of what we can and cannot do in Kindergarten. It helps reassure kids to know what to expect so that it isn't all new and scary for them. 

Tiptoe Into Kindergarten

By: Jacqueline Rogers
The adventure of a shy little girl who explores her classroom carefully by tiptoeing around her class as she learns what happens in a Kindergarten class. It is a quick easy read for students with a short attention span!

How Do Dinosaurs Go To School

By: Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
Dinosaurs are not delicate and they don't always have their manners! Learn along with this dinosaur about how we go to school and what we do!

The Twelve Days of Kindergarten

By: Deborah Lee Rose
This book can be read or even sung by an adventurous educator! It is identical in tune to the 12 Days of Christmas and introduces counting and life in kindergarten in a fun way!

Froggy Goes to School

By: Jonathan London
Froggy anxiously awaits his first day of school and has a silly adventure throughout his day making his first day of school memorable.

A Bad Case of the Stripes

By: David Shannon
Whatever will Camilla Cream do? She is so worried about what others think! This is a great targeted at anxious students.

If you Take a Mouse to School

By: Laura Numeroff
Be very careful if you ever want to bring a mouse to school! They are full of mischief!

The Way to School

By: Rosemary McCarney with Plan International
I love this book for teaching about inclusion and about our global community. 

Everyone comes to school in a different way. Knowing how others do it in other places around the world helps make our journey to school a little bit easier!

Toilet Tag: A Never Ending Tag Game

Toilet tag is a hilarious game for children to play during outside learning or during gym class.

It is a never ending game of tag.

Never ending games are always my favorite to quickly burn a lot of energy and have fun at the same time!

What you need:

2 noodles and 2 plungers for 20-3- students. Add more of each item to keep a similar ratio.

How to play:

Pre teach how to tag with a noodle. Gently, below the shoulder and higher than the waist.

Students with the noodle tag. Students with the plunger untag.

If a child is tagged they must freeze and pretend to be a toilet.

They bend their legs, with their hands in a circle in front of their body, pretending that their arms are the toilet bowl.

The bent leg action helps build core muscles as students are in an unusual position compared to normal. When their arms are in front of them it helps students to develop their balance skills.

In order to be unfrozen the student with the plunger needs to gently plunge the students toilet bowl! The kids think this is hilarious and it keeps the game fun!

Change up the players frequently to keep interest as the taggers and plungers will be busy!

Alternate Version:

Have students put their hand up and students come pull their hand down to "flush" the toilet instead of needing a noodle. Anyone can "flush" the toilet!

Have fun playing!

Exploring the Landfill: A Field Trip to Remember

I had always heard that the landfill was most of my colleague's favorite field trip of all time.

This year I had the pleasure of trying it out and I was not disappointed!

We were shocked by how easy it is to save trees!

This small stack of paper (compared to an SK student) when recycled will save one tree from being cut down!

One bail contains 40 000 compressed cans! Our local landfill can sell each one for $1800! 

I personally knew that packaging is expensive but did not totally realize that for every $10.00 we spend at our grocery story that $1.00 of it pays for packaging! 

I did know, and was glad to see, that the landfill was a true supporter of litterless lunches!

Did you know that juice boxes are recycled and turned into toilet paper? I didn't know that!

A am sorry for the poor quality of the following image. But, the message is important. 

It is always a good reminder to keep in mind how long it takes for items to decompose before we just throw things into the garbage.

It is amazing how easily all of these items are collected. 

Small decisions truly do make a big impact in our world! 

Have you been to the landfill for a field trip or a tour? What did you learn there?

Teachers of Instagram & Hashtags Worth Following!

Have you started to share your teaching journey on Instagram?

At first I really didn't know what to expect and then I discovered that the Instagram community is extremely diverse, dynamic and FULL of amazing ideas and resources for teachers to take advantage of! 

If you're not yet on Instagram I highly suggest that you take the leap today!


What I love about Instagram is that it is real.

It is not exclusive to education.

When you scroll through your feed you will see that people share about their everyday lives as well as their teaching journey. It honestly is a great way to connect with the greater teaching community! 

If you want to follow me you can follow me at @teachingelementaryandbeyond!

Instagram is now my "go to" source for inquiries, provocations and all things educational. Plus, I feel normal human (not just an educator all the time) as I learn about those who are sharing instead of on a platform like Pinterest. I find that on many other networks there is a depersonalization where there is no real live person who is connecting to those who are reading the content.
One cool thing about Instagram is that many, if not all, of your favourite bloggers have an account which you can follow and get to know them on a more personal level.

Many bloggers host fun giveaways and even participate in IG blog hops! 
Here is a list of some great Instagram bloggers that I love to follow. 

They are worth checking out!

Kindergarten to Grade 2

You can find me at @teachingelementaryandbeyond

Grades 3 to 6







@aspecialkindofclass SPED
@adventuresintheatc ASD
@primary.french.immersion French
@plaisirsduprimaire French
@michelledupuiseducation French

Now that you are on Instagram what can you search to find ideas? 

I've collected a wide variety of hashtags for you to check out as a starting point. 

It's a great place to start searching for educational content relevant to your grade and classroom needs. Have fun exploring other hashtags on your own!

Hashtags to check out!

#bts2017 (or other years)

Grade Specific


Sales or Marketing Tags Worth Following


I hope you have found this useful and I look forward to seeing you on Instagram!

Exploring Inquiry in the Classroom

If you are anything like me, adapting to an inquiry approach is often a journey that many of us educators dapple with timidity at first.

This blog post isn't going to explore what inquiry is but how to support providing it in the classroom.

I quite remember my first few weeks and months exploring inquiry which is now three years ago.

I didn't know what to expect from myself or from my students.

I remember wondering...

Will this work?
How will I facilitate students learning?
How do you manage a full class of students while keeping them engaged?
What inquiries do you investigate and which ones get left behind?
How can I justify exploring some topics and not others?
How can we "go deep" when there are so many questions in the classroom?
How do I know what to ask them, probe their interests without overtaking their learning?

Sometimes I felt that I had more questions than answers but I've learned to become comfortable with that.

It took a little while for me to be comfortable with the children leading the learning in the classroom.

When I first started teaching there were certain "themes" that were great for exploring our curriculum at different parts of the school year. My first ECE teaching partner had taught in an inquiry environment for a couple years and she was amazing at reminding me to relax and let the learning just happen - and it does!

One thing that helped me during this process was to post a variety of question prompts in my classroom to help guide my thinking. When my planning time teacher, supply teacher or parent volunteers come in they often reference these questions while engaging with the students in the classroom.

Simple question prompts that guided my thinking included:

I wonder...
How can we...
What are you wondering about that?
Why did you say that?
How do you know?
Why do you think that?

If you want to see the questions I actually posted in my classroom click on the image below.

One of the nice things I have learned about inquiry is that there really is no right or wrong answers. 

I have found that the students really love to guide the learning in the classroom when they are given the freedom to do so!

How do I Include All Students?

This year I plan on being more purposeful for ensuring I capture each student's ideas. 

One way I'm going to be ensuring this is that we will be creating an "I wonder" class book that the students can read throughout the school year. 

I Wonder Book

There will be one or two class books at a time based on the number of students in the classroom. 

The book will go home on the weekend with a student and they can draw a picture and write (or parents scribe) what they want to learn about. 

When they return the book on the following Monday we will have a week to do research about their topic and share the learning with the class!

I am really excited about this opportunity to honor each child's curiosity and am excited to see where our learning will go! If you want to see the booklet we will be using feel free to check it out by clicking on the image below!

Are You Considering SeeSaw for Documentation?

Are you considering SeeSaw for documentation in your classroom? 

I there are many great options about it as well as a few items to think about! 

I recently decided to use the program SeeSaw in my classroom to help with documentation of the learning.

I LOVED parent communication with it as you can send out notes and reminders through it. It is easy and efficient to use. 

My student’s parents absolutely loved looking up their student’s photos, work, and assessments which were shared with them. A few parents checked it regularly and raved about it. Other than that, to be honest, I didn't get any other feedback from the families in my classroom.


There is a lot of AMAZING collaboration which can happen with this program! 

So many people have already created many assessment tools to share with others. These can easily be found in collaborative grade Facebook groups or with friends who you know who have created them. 

It helps teachers keep assessment simple and not having to worry about reinventing great assessments which have already been created.

Limited or slow internet?

Consider using a computer to search for assessment or add an assessment to SeeSaw. 

At first I was using my iPad but I eventually found that this was the most effective way to access all my stored information as my iPad ended up slowing down too much.

With having two educators in the classroom I didn't always know what had been uploaded and the computer provided the fastest "check" for me to see so I wasn't making duplicates!

iPad problems

Our school had purchased a large allotment of iPads for teacher and student use which we have been very fortunate to be able to use. 

The unfortunate part of this is that in order to purchase many iPads, the purchasers sacrificed on storage space and our iPads came with the smallest amount of storage space available. 

Once our Board installed apps were added to them we had next to no storage space left! I found that SeeSaw is a memory hog as it is always trying to access what has been downloaded. As a result, the app crashed all the time

Not CASL approved

Our school board is very diligent in making sure that all our communication abides by the CASL designation and SeeSaw is not CASL approved.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, this upcoming year I will not be using SeeSaw because of the CASL. 

This decision is totally out of my control. 

If I could, and I had access to better storage on an iPad I would LOVE to continue to use it!

What have your experiences been with SeeSaw? Please comment below to let me know!

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