Halloween-Themed Character Traits Bulletin Board

It is such a perfect time to teach CHARACTER TRAITS in October because I wanted my bulletin board to have a Halloween theme while displaying the awesome work of my ELL students on character traits.

Of course, I did not have to spend a lot of time thinking about what design to use because Pinterest has it all.  From skeletons to witches, bats, owls, monsters, skeletons, ghosts, zombies, and haunted houses – search it and you’ll have it.

I narrowed my search to haunted houses, and found inspiration in these designs found at afaithfulattempt.blogspot.com and bulletin board ideas.org.


Halloween Bulletin Board from http://afaithfulattempt.blogspot.com


Halloween Design courtesy of http://bulletinboardideas.org


Although my students completed various tasks on character traits, which I am going to share in another blog, I thought the CHARACTER SEFIES activity was perfect match with the haunted house design of our bulletin board.  Again, I searched for character selfies template on Pinterest and to my amazement, there were several really awesome templates that I found.  Most of them are for Back To School activities with “All About Me” writing prompt, but I still found what I was looking for, which was on CHARACTER TRAITS.  Click on the links below and they will take you to Teacherspayteachers.com.  Thank you, The Pinspired Teacher for an awesome freebie!   Please follow her on TPT.  I used the phone template by Stephanie McConnell of thenewprincipalprinciples.blogspot.com to illustrate their character selfies.  Check out her TPT products here.

Character Selfies template 1

Character Selfies template 2

The results:


OUr Character Selfies

OUr Character Selfies


And here is our bulletin board:

photo 3-2

Happy Halloween!

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Add Color to your Desk With These 8 Cute Organizers and Accessories for $10 or Less

Hello, educator friends!


October is almost over but the clutter in our desks has just begun.  A former boss used to tell me that a teacher’s desk reflects both the quantity of work one has to do and the attitude a teacher has towards that bulk of work.  The truth is, the million things that are on our desk are the ones that are considered “extremely important.”  And they are the ones that are usually part of the “clutter.”  

I just think that the way I arrange my desk is perfectly typical.  To my left side  is a binder of my lesson plans, curriculum frameworks and class schedule. and beside it are piles of books that I currently use as sources or references.  To my right side are a rack with folders, 3 pencil/pen containers, two tiny boxes of other stuff such as staple wires, push pins, paper clips, etc., a tape dispenser, a big stapler, a note pad, my phone and tablet, and a hand sanitizer.  The center space is of course for my laptop.  In other words, my desk  can barely breathe at all.  And wait, papers that need to be graded are also in front of me in full view.  This is a teacher’s space.  My private space.  And here, I breathe and live my work,  Sure, we can find inspiration in clutter.  My daughter tells me that every time I nag about her room.  But in order to keep our sanity intact until the end of the school year, we do need to organize some of that clutter on our desk.  The solution:  Organize it and accessorize it with little things that add color and fun to our desk.  So here is a list of my top eight cute organizers that can keep the clutter away for $10 or less:


s0466769_sc7  1.  Post-it Pop-Up Green Apple Dispenser – available at Staples for only $5.67, it holds 3″ x 3″ Pop-Up Notes and already includes one pad (50 sheets) of Post-it® Pop-Up Notes.  Having this on our desk makes writing notes or reminders to ourselves (which I often have to do), our colleagues, or students so convenient.  This dispenser just looks perfect on a teacher’s desk!

Smart Stand-2T2.  SmartStand – currently on sale at Staples for $5.00, it is also available at Amazon for $9.99 in several fun colors and at Officemax for $7.00.  I can use it either as a phone stand or a mobile stand, which I find very useful especially at times when I need to let a student use my school-issued iPad at my iPad Center.  I do not have to worry about it being dropped or mishandled because the stand, with its silicone body provides just the right support.  The design is stylish without being too girly, which means that it can appeal to just about anyone.

0136469_PE293897_S33.  DOKUMENT Letter Tray – available exclusively at Ikea for $8.99, this letter tray has removable compartments and protective pads underneath and come in two colors, pink or silver.  I love the fact that Ikea just seems to have everything I need even when it comes to school and office supplies.  This trendy-looking letter tray would look really nice on anybody’s desk.


0136470_PE293898_S34.  DOKUMENT Magazine File – another Ikea-exclusive that comes in set of 2 for $6.99, this magazine file is available in pink or silver color.  As teachers, we have stacks of folders that we keep to organize our various documents.  Having them on a magazine file placed on the side of our desk just makes it handy and keep these folders within our reach.

UrbanGirl-SemiKolon-Pink_Desktop_Pencil_Box-SK35700065.  Semikolon Desktop Pencil Box– This four-compartment pencil box that comes in several colors is available at urbangirl.com for $8.99.  The dividers let you organize your writing utensils in one compartment for each kind.

10235561786.  Scotch Magic Tape Shoe Dispenser – If you want a desk that reflects your personal, sassy style, then this two-tone stiletto shoe tape dispenser is for you.  Available for $8.99 at urban girl.com, this elegant-looking dispenser already includes a 3/4″ x 350″ Scotch Magic Tape.

132444457.  up&up Paperclip Organizer – Target offers this paperclip organizer in clear color with 266 clips for $10.00.  With different compartments, you can place all your small stuff here within reach, like small binder clips and push pins.

k2-_c43bcfe2-c998-48be-9ef5-8b901089e836.v18.  deflect-o DEsk Cube – available at Walmart for $9.99, this desk cube has X dividers to place your highlighters or your markers in one place.


How you want your personal space in the classroom to look like is up to you.  So go ahead, check out these organizers and accessories and decide which ones will be useful and perfect for your own teacher’s desk.

Happy long weekend, dear teachers!

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Yes, Kids Can Blog, Too!

Hello, fellow educators!

I have been working on fully integrating technology in my ESOL classes this year.  I must admit it isn’t easy as it looks like because it entails a lot of careful planning of lessons and activities.  I want to make sure that students  also achieve a comfort level in using the technology.  After a few weeks though, of talking about digital citizenship, the features of the tablet and some basic keyboarding practice, I finally am able to launch our class blog.  You bet,  my 3rd and 5th grade ESOL students are on the roll to being kid bloggers!  And if anybody asks how kids can blog, my kids will beg to differ.   They will tell you:  Yes, we kids can blog, too!

After narrowing down my top sites to Edmodo and kidblog.org, I decided to use kidblog.org for our class blogs.  All my students have to do is to go to our class website, and click “Our Class Blog” on the navigation bar.

 A Screen Shot of my Class Website

 Then, it will take them to our class blog page.  All they have to do is click on their grade level to access the blog site, select their name from the list, and log in with their password, which I have provided to them.

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 Their dashboard on kidblog.org looks like this:

A Screen Shot of my 5th Grade ESOL Class Blog Site

Last week in 5th grade ESOL class, we focused on character study.  I posted a question on character study that they are required to answer.  They are also required to at least post one response or comment to a classmate’s post.  Of course, as a teacher, I deemed it necessary to comment on each of my students’ posts.  I want my students to know that I am reading their posts.

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Blogging can be a very  fun and engaging way to let students write.  They are able to read their classmates’ posts and comment on them.  At the same time, they are able to correct their own spelling mistakes through the computer’s or tablet’s spell check feature.  So go ahead and try www.kidblog.org with your students!

By the way, a big thank you to Blogaholic Designs for the free Blogger template!

Happy blogging!

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Five Must-Have Educational Resources for Teachers

Hello, educator friends!

Finding the right teaching resources in the internet can be very challenging and time-consuming just because there are usually hundreds of them to choose from.  The time spent searching for the most reliable websites is now added to the time we already spend planning our lessons, grading papers and entering grades online.  But when we do find the right ones, we go back to them over and over again.  They become like our trusted friends who are there when we need them.  This is what I feel about my most favorite educational resources.  They are my go-to sites whenever I need something – say an activity, a video, a worksheet, a Powerpoint lesson, or an interactive game for a particular lesson. So, if you have found your favorite sites, bookmark them.  It can make your teaching life much easier.

Here is a list of what I consider as must-have educational resources for teachers:

readwritethink.org1.  Readwritethink.org – provides a great resource which you can filter by grade level, lesson, or resource type (student interactives or lesson plans).  What I like most are the interactive games which you can use for your computer center or as a fun activity in a whole group setting.

readworks.org2.  Readworks.org – has a plethora of lesson plans arranged by skills and strategy units, comprehension units, novel study units, and reading passages. All you have to do is register and you will be able to access these materials for free!  I like that they have short, leveled passages with question set, and suggested texts for specific reading skills.  It saves me a lot of time thinking about what text to use for a reading skill or strategy I need to focus on my lesson.

havefunteaching.com3.  Havefunteaching.com– provides an interesting set of worksheets, flashcards, games, songs, and videos that you can add to your list of teaching materials.  They offer materials that you can purchase, but they also have a lot of really useful ones that you can download for free.  Most of the phonics and vocabulary games that I use in my classroom are from this site.  

weareteachers.com4.  Weareteachers.com– is a site for almost everything a teacher needs:  classroom resources in different formats (printables, infographics, posters, etc.) classroom management tips,  blogs and articles about education and technology.  They have interesting posts that are worth your time, and they even include discounts and deals for teachers!

learnzillion.com5.  LearnZillion.com – offers a free collection of Math and Language Arts resources that are standards-aligned.  Resources are carefully organized by core lessons, task, assessment, practice exercises, and video lesson.  It has a Common Core navigator that is arranged by grade level.

Go ahead, update your resources with these really useful educational websites!

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