Posted in First Day, New School Year, Stations

First Day of School Stations

First Day Edited

I may be a little late to post this, with many schools already back in session, however I still wanted to take the time to share my plans for the first day of school. My first day with students will be next Wednesday, so I still have some time to finalize my room and my plans.

I teach three, blocked, 7th grade math classes and have changed how I approach the first day each year. The past two years I’ve chosen to opt out of any ice breaker activities. Middle school students are just as nervous as the teachers. The students are nervous about their first-day outfit, finding their new locker, and meeting their new teachers. I believe that by starting the year with an ice breaker – that forces them to speak or do something out of their comfort zone, in front of their new classmates – could be embarrassing and may hinder the classroom moral.

As my students enter my room, they may be feeling nervous, however I want them to leave  the first day feeling comfortable and confident. With that being said, I also want to set the tone that our room is a place that we learn and get our work accomplished. Upon entering the classroom, there will be directions on the board that they can choose their own seat and will need to begin working on the daily warm up for that day. Once I go over the warm-up, and some light introductions, I will begin discussing procedures for group stations.

My first day stations consist of:

  • Syllabus Scavenger Hunt
  • Setting up a Data Folder
  • Four Content Review Stations

Although this is my first year doing stations on the first day of school, I cannot take full credit for this idea. After purchasing this resource from The Literary Maven, I really wanted to come up with some great stations, for myself. For my first station, I adapted my Syllabus Scavenger Hunt from this resource. It gets students reading the syllabus before I even highlight some key parts. Instead, students are actively engaged in the syllabus, within their group.

The second station is primarily for students to organize their data folders. Given an example, students will set up their data folders and begin their quarterly goal setting. Since I do not think this will take the entire station time, when students finish their data folder, there will be student surveys for them to complete. The student survey will be homework, if they do not finish during that station rotation.

For the final portion of these stations I wanted to include some content review. This serves not only as a chance to review a skill, but to also set the tone of the school routine and expectations. After taking the summer off, it is important to help transition the students back into “school mode”. For my general math classes, I will be doing some of these stations: Fractions, Decimals, and Percents Conversions. For my accelerated class they will be doing Decimal Operations. Both sets of these stations are from Lindsay Perro.

I wish everyone a great start to their school year and can’t wait to hear any feedback you may have.




Posted in Erin Condren, Planner

Erin Condren Planner in Middle School

OldPlanner3 - edited

As a prepare for the next school year, I am able to reflect back on how I started last year and any changes to those plans. Last year I relied heavily upon my teacher planner. I must preface this with: Yes I know an expensive planner is NOT necessary to be an organized planner, however it sure does add joy to my planning when I can see all the great design and color. Last year, teacher-friend of mine told me that she bought an Erin Condren Planner. Now I had heard of the grand “Erin Condren” planners, however never took the dive. She convinced me to go for it, so last year I purchased my first Erin Condren Teacher Planner; and boy I fell in love. Here is my planner from last year:

Old Planner 1

The “meat and potatoes” of this planner consisted of the monthly spreads and lesson planning pages. I loved the monthly spreads to organize any meeting or important dates.Here you can see what my May 2016 looked like, as far as meetings go, as the end of the year was approaching. Our last day with students, last year, was May 25. Another great thing about these planners is that all of the stickers you see, came with the planner. So it is just another way to add my own touch of color.

Old Planner 2

My main hesitation for buying this planner in the first place, was that I was afraid that it was designed for more elementary style of teaching and I would not be able to utilize it to fit my needs. After reading some blogs on how other teachers use this spread I was able to come up with a spread that worked for me. The first column is the same on each page where it lists the days of the week and I had to fill in the exact date. From there, the second column is where I would transfer any meetings from the monthly spread.

The third and fourth columns consisted of my two classes that I taught in the Resource Room. I was working as an intervention specialist half the time so this is where I would plan out those days and lessons to work on particular skills. Now the whole right-hand side of the spread was devoted to my two accelerated math classes.

Old Planner 3

The right-hand side is where I lesson plan for my math classes. As you can see, there is plenty of room for me to add additional reminders or post-its. Since my position is slightly changing this year, I have already been brainstorming how I may change the way I use the lesson plan spread.

I of course have already bought a new planner for this school year and here I will give you a sneak peek of the planner and the goodies I got to go along with it. I plan of having a whole new post on the new planner once have fully established the layout.

New Planner

Remember: Be Creative & Think Outside the Box!


If you are purchasing your first order through Erin Condren, feel free to use this code to receive $10 off your first purchase.

Other blogs that inspired me in my planner layout:

180 Days to Happy

Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher

Posted in About Me

About Me

blog pic

Hello, my name is Jessica. I have been married since 2010 and we have three fur baby cats. In my spare time I enjoy some light reading, decorating my planner, geocaching, and browsing on Teacher Pay Teachers for fun and creative activities.

I am beginning my fourth year of teaching and I have changed my teaching position in one way or another each year. My first year I taught 8th grade mathematics at a charter school in Columbus, Ohio. When a position was offered at my dream school, I was willing to take a small break from the math world. I moved into a 6th grade position as an intervention specialist, working with students with learning disabilities. Then last year I continued working as an intervention specialist, half the time. The other half was spent as a 7th grade accelerated math teacher. That leads me into this coming school year. I will be working as a 7th grade math teacher.

Cat 2   Cat 3   Cat 1

Posted in New School Year

New School Year: New Blog

With the start of a new school year, I figured there was no better time to start a blog. To be honest, I have been an active follower of many teacher and educator blogs, however I have never considered creating a blog for myself. After some reflecting, I decided to take the leap. My goal for this blog is to share out anything relating to education and classroom activities. I ask that you be patient with me as I figure out the exact content that I will be sharing.

Thank You!