January 22, 2019

Groundhog Day: Activities and Resources for Your Classroom

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

I love Groundhog Day! There's no particular reason why. It's just a fun day, unless that awful groundhog sees his shadow and I am stuck with six more weeks of winter! 😀 Below are some of my favorite activities for Groundhog Day.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links throughout this post. Using them will not cost you anything extra, but they will earn me a small commission.


If you have read any of my blog posts, you would probably realize that books are my number one priority when organizing any lesson! My favorite Groundhog Day books include:


Groundhog Gets a Say technically takes place the day after Groundhog Day. It cracks me up each time I read it. There are tons of great facts in the book! As for Groundhog Day!, it's a Gail Gibbons book. I love her books. They are also full of great information for kids.

Websites to Visit:

Punxsutawny Phil - There is a teacher feature on here that lets you find lesson plans by grade level. You can also look up all past predictions. While there are some activities on here for students, I would recommend that teachers only use this when planning their lessons.

Groundhog Website for Kids - There are links for printable worksheets and online games for your students. This is great for your students to go on, but teachers may want to check it out before the kids do.

Activities with Your Students:

Groundhog Day is a great time to make predictions about whether or not the groundhog will see his shadow. After making predictions, I find the YouTube clip of Punxsutawny Phil to see if our predictions were correct. (You have to look it up the day of in order to get the newest one.)

Exploring hibernation with students is a fun science topic. For younger students, creating a groundhog and checking shadows is always a winner. Even with my older students, I will sometimes set up a box (Wal-mart packing boxes are great for this) and let students take turns re-enacting Phil's prediction or burrowing in a groundhog's home.

If you are looking for a cute math task card activity, check out my Groundhog Day Addition Task Card Bundle by clicking the picture below.

Groundhog Day 2 and 3 Digit Addition Task Card Bundle

For those that like my Fact and Opinion Task Cards, I do have ones about groundhogs coming soon!

What do you like to do for Groundhog Day?

One last thing...Have you signed up to receive my emails? When you do, you will get a 20 page Differentiated Math Freebie (and that's just to start)! Sign-up below, but make sure you confirm your subscription!

January 18, 2019

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

How is it only the second week in January? While my students have been better behaved, it feels like we haven't had a day off in months.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Student Moved - I had a student unexpectedly move. She came in one day and said it was her last day...and it was. I heard nothing from the parents at all, and this is the third child I have of theirs! I hate when their is no real closure with students and their families.

Gassy Mess - We had to have multiple talks this week about students letting me know if they need to go to the bathroom or don't feel well. It's been like a wall of stink in my room. My students and I are so grossed out!

Half-Day PD - I am not going to lie. Our PD this year is worse than usual. It's like they are just throwing things together just to keep us busy. This week was the worst of the bunch. Not only did we get conflicting information from those in charge, but the materials we were given were wrong! I wish they would actually revamp these days and make them useful to us.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Contraction Surgery - Wednesday was a half-day for us. I have a group that doesn't show up on half-days. This week I only had 13 students. I didn't want to go through anything new. Since we are reviewing contractions during phonics, I thought it was a good time to whip out Contraction Surgery. I had everything already copied and the masks ready to go (thank you dollar store). I love this activity but knew not to even bother trying with the entire class, as they could not handle it.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Email - While this is technically not related to my classroom, I still finished it this week and am super excited about it! Interested in freebies not available in my TPT store? Then sign-up today and get 20 no prep math pages, over 100 pages in a long vowel spelling unit, and more. Make sure you follow all the steps when signing up!

How was your week?
What was good and bad for you?

January 15, 2019

Why I Should Join Another Email List

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

One of my personal goals was to finally start an email list for this blog. Right now you are probably thinking, "What does that have to do with me?" Stay tuned...it has everything to do with you!

Just by signing up, I have some special freebies headed your way! In order to actually explain what they are and how to use them, I spaced them over a couple of emails. Here's a sneak peek...

Freebie #1:

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

20 print and go math pages! Did I mention that they were differentiated? Show off your ability to meet the needs of all of your students with this no prep download!


Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Teaching long vowels to your students? Get a whole one week spelling unit. That's over 100 pages! This is differentiated too!

Hopefully, I've enticed you enough to join my new email list. Stay tuned, because I have lots of fun ideas (and freebies of course) coming up. Don't forget to sign up below! Feel free to unsubscribe at anytime. 

What would you like to see as an email freebie?

January 11, 2019

Weekly Recap: The Good and the Bad

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

This week marked my first back this year. I definitely am in need of sleep! It's so easy to get off of a schedule. Before I get into the recap, have you checked out the blog post Getting Students to Follow Directions? I share some of my favorite tips...and I definitely made use of them this week!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

School Mini Disaster - Yesterday, or sister school (on the same campus) had a carbon monoxide leak to start the day. I walked into school only to find out that my students were coming to my classroom for breakfast since the students from the other building were going to use our gym/lunchroom. There went my 35 minutes of settling in for the day! Luckily the all clear from the gas company and fire department came early enough for them to return to school and not double our class sizes for the day. It still made for an exhausting, crazy start to the day.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Empathy - This week, I was amazed at my students empathy towards each other. My high achieving students were going out of their way to help those that definitely needed the help (without being asked)! They were not like this before break. It was such a nice change of pace!

All Caught Up - I feel like I am missing something but lesson plans are done, papers are graded, and grades were put in the computer. I also got some nagging projects done. I even stayed less time at school than I normally do. I wish I knew how I did this.  I will enjoy it though because I know it may not last!

How was your week?
What was good and bad for you?

January 8, 2019

Getting Students to Follow Directions

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

Today was my first day with students after Winter Break. I am exhausted! It got me to thinking that we really need to get back to a routine and following directions is a HUGE component of this. With this in mind, here are some of my favorite activities to use to teach students the skill of following directions.

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

1. Have students highlight the directions on their papers. If nothing else, they do have to see the directions when they highlight them! 
      Related Tip: If the directions say to circle something, we will actually circle (I would circle the word circle if I could actually figure it out in this program!) that word. If they say to underline something, we will underline that word. It's a visual reminder for students.

2. Play a version of Simon Says. I personally play Miss Barker says... We start of slowly and move faster as the game goes on. The kids love playing, but I do remind them of the purpose of the game...following directions!

3. Create a Code Word to get your students to listen to verbal directions. For example, if studying about penguins, I might make the Code Word - Emperor. When I give directions, students are not allowed to move until the Code Word is said. This prevents students from starting their work before directions are finished and missing something important. 
       Helpful Hint: Change the word on a regular basis (like once a week), so students have something new on which to focus.

4. Write out your directions on the board. Honestly, it's difficult to remember a bunch of directions. I write out the directions in a numbered list for my students to read.
        Extension: For students having an extra difficult time, it's helpful to have a set of directions to keep on their desks. If this is not feasible, put a post-it note with the numbers from the board. Let students cross off the numbers as they complete the tasks from the board.

5. My personal favorite is Directed Drawings. Directed Drawings are step-by-step directions that you complete with your students to create pictures. Last year, I scoured the internet and Teachers Pay Teachers for one to do with my students each Wednesday. This year, I just don't feel the creative juices and don't want to actually draw the pictures. I found an amazing alternative, a YouTube channel completely filled with hundreds of directed drawings all done step-by-step. Check out Art Hub for Kids for these videos. Now, I get a few minutes (or more) of peace and quiet while students work on their drawings all while following directions!

How do you get your students to follow directions?