Hey there! I’m Becky from The Class Couple. (Well half of The Class Couple that is!) I just wrapped up my eleventh year teaching 1st grade. I absolutely love how much first graders grow in their learning, and one year is never the same as another. I am honored to be a part of Mrs. 3rd Grade’s 30 Amazing Teachers. She is truly one of the most genuinely sweet individuals I know, and I’m so blessed to call her a friend! 

Becky, from the Class Couple, shares some great ways to read during the summer!

 In addition to teaching first grade, I am also a mom to two little boys. Our oldest will be a first grader next school year, and our youngest is entering his last year of daycare. Since they are home with us all summer, I wanted to make sure we were still practicing their literacy skills with some fun activities. So, I thought I would share a few fun summer reading activities with you! 

Finding fun ways to read during the summer is a great way to keep your students and children reading all summer long so they don't have the summer slope!

 Letter/High Frequency Word  Parking Lot 

Letter parking lot is a fun way to help students practice their letters

Incorporating cars and letters/high frequency words has been the hook I needed to keep my boys practicing their letter knowledge. This parking lot has been a favorite for Grayson, my oldest, and now he loves teaching the letters to Urban. My kids love driving their cars from letter to letter. I also have them make the letter sound as they drive their car to the next letter to add a little more fun to the game! You can find this letter recognition parking lot here. You can also use the street tape that is sometimes found at the Target dollar spot and write words on them. 

Word/Letter Memory

Kids love playing games, and memory is a great way to help them practice their sight words!

For this game, all you need are some index cards or paper cut into small rectangles. Write the words or letters your little one is practicing on the index cards two times, and then play a game of memory! Each time a card is turned over, have them read they words, practicing that word/letter recognition. 

Word/Letter Hop 

Getting outside and moving is a fun way to practice!  Being outside is a great way to get boys moving and practicing at the same time!

Using sidewalk chalk, write the letters on the driveway/sidewalk and have your kiddos jump/hop to the letter you shout out. It gets them moving around, reading words and letter, and having fun all at the same time! You could also have them throw a bean bag on the word, or even have them throw water balloons on the words for some water fun on a hot day! 

Finding books that students like to read is a great way to help keep them interested!  To do this you will want to make sure that you allow your child to read many different books!

Have fun reading!! Another key to getting kids to practice reading is having them read books they like. Don’t forget to ask your kiddos what kind of books they like to read before going to your local library. Right now, our oldest LOVES reading Mo Willem’s Elephant & Piggie books! He loves how funny they are, and although they may be a level higher than where he’s at right now, he is interested in it and will put more effort to reading them on his own! 

Also, don’t forget to read in fun places and in fun ways! So far, one of our favorites this summer is reading in a costume! You can check out some other fun ways to read with our Summer Reading Challenge Freebie

I hope you have the chance to try out some of these fun summer reading activities! Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see even more ways we will be incorporating reading into our summer fun!

Move Your Bus book study is taking place in July 2016!  This book is AMAZING and will get you ready for the new school year!

I am so excited for this book and book study!!  This book was AMAZING!!  I am teaming up with Ashley from Adventures in a First Grade Jungle!  If you haven't read it yet then you are in for a treat!!  Move Your Bus by Ron Clark was nothing short of revolutionary!  I listened to it on Audible, and if you can listen to it then you for sure should!  Amazon is a great resource to find anything that you need.  This post does have affiliate links!  If you want it to mark it up, then feel free to check it out on Amazon here!!

Enter for your chance to win one of two copies of Move Your Bus by Ron Clark in time for a July book study!

You can also enter to win a copy of the book!!   We are giving away TWO copies of the book!  Make sure to enter the rafflecopter below, and you will have until Wednesday to enter.  We will mail out the books as soon as we get your information so you can be ready to join us on Sunday!!  We will be breaking the book apart and talking about how great it is all month and we hope that you can join us!!

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Hey, everyone! I'm Kristin from School and the City. I'm a 2nd grade teacher in Atlanta that blogs and creates TPT products as a hobby. 

One of my favorite parts about this online hobby is that I've been able to connect with amazing educators all over the country, like Cassandra! I am so honored to have been asked to participate in the celebration of her 30th year. Thanks for having me! 

I'd love to share with you some information that I have previously shared on my own blog, but that I think is important and makes my classroom unique. Maybe you can take this information back to your own classroom! 

By the end of my first year teaching 2nd grade, all of my students knew the American sign language alphabet and were using it daily. I'm not going to act like this was part of my master plan to enrich my students' learning; It was a TOTAL accident! In retrospect, teaching my students sign language was one of the best things that I accidentally-on-purpose did as a first-year teacher. I loved it so much, that I started doing it with my students every year. 

It all started during word study. It was one of those days that all teachers have. I was tired, I had a headache... and I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. I pulled up and projected the sign language alphabet. We talked a little about how ASL (American Sign Language) is a different language, just like Spanish and French are different languages from English. I paired up the students, pointed out the week's spelling and sight words, and said "go." My second graders spent 20 minutes signing words to their partners, who in turn had to figure out which spelling or sight word it was. 

Just like that, my class was HOOKED! They begged me to do sign language every day. I printed each of them a copy of the alphabet and sometimes we practiced sign language as a brain break. My kids could not get enough. It was amazing to me how quickly they all picked up on it. It wasn't long before I could start incorporating sign language into our daily routines. 


When students raised their hands, they made a Q for a question, C for a comment, or an R for restroom. This was a major help to me, as I could avoid the storytellers when needed. I realize that sometimes there is some controversy with this. I made sure that my students knew that they were signing first letters, not the actual signs for those words.


You know that awkward time when kids are done using the restroom and they have to stand in line silently and patiently? I would sign the name of someone standing the correct way in the hallway, and that student would raise his or her hand. It was amazing to have all 26 students standing perfectly in line, silent, and watching me intently. We started with first names, then last, then middle. After they got the hang of it, I let the kids be in charge. (Once, I used this method to keep my class under control while waiting to be dismissed from an assembly. My administration was impressed!) 


As you know, it's important to use choral response as much as possible so all students stay actively engaged. When we practiced multiple choice questions, I had students show me their answers by using sign language for A, B, C, and D.  We also used T and F for true and false, as well as Y and N for yes and no. 


Occasionally I would use sign language to grab my students' attention at the start of a lesson. I would stand silently at the front of the room and use the ASL alphabet to slowly spell out words to form a sentence. The kids would sit still and quiet, trying to figure out what I was spelling. 

Bonus: LUNCH

When the cafeteria monitors decided to put the students on silent lunch due to noise level, my class got creative and began communicating to each other in sign language. My colleagues and I thought it was hilarious and couldn't decide if we should put a stop to it or not, because although the kids were communicating, they were technically being silent! 

Why teach ASL in your classroom?

I have seen some complaints from some angry people in the past about how ASL is a language that is a tool for people with disabilities to use out of necessity. I've read comments saying that it shouldn't be used for "fun" or for "convenience" in a classroom setting. Maybe the ways I use sign language in my classroom are for fun and for convenience, but isn't sign language also an important life skill?

I have to admit, I got this idea from my mom. My mom taught me the ASL alphabet when I was a kid, but I never felt the need or desire to learn it. It wasn't until a trip to a random museum during the summer that I learned of its importance. 

My mom and I entered a restroom where a custodian was cleaning. We knew that she was deaf by her response when my mom said, "hello." As my mom realized this, she began signing to the deaf woman. Given, my mom is not fluent in ASL, but she does know the alphabet, so she communicated by spelling words. 

You should have seen this woman's face. I, for one, will never forget it. She lit up, smiled the biggest smile I've ever seen, and immediately began communicating with my mom. By the end of the short conversation, she was crying tears of joy and hugged us goodbye.

All that being said, YES, sign language is a form of communication usually used out of necessity. But why not teach the basics to the next generation so that they might make someone's day sometime down the road? 

As long as it's done correctly, it's worth doing. 

- - - -

Thank you, Cassandra, so much for having me me! Here's to an amazing 30th year!

Check out these awesome two products for 20% off on Tuesday June 14!

I love preparing for the new school year!  There is so much to get ready for, and so many great things that can be set up!  One of my favorite things to set up is my thankful board!  My thankful board is one of my favorite areas of my classroom!  This gave the students an opportunity to reflect on something that they were thankful for that week!

A thankful board is a great way to have students reflect weekly on things that they are thankful for.  Then the students can have a collection of things to reflect on!

Today I am marking it down to 20% off just for you!!  I would LOVE to see how you display your students reflections, and what they are thankful for.  I am also marking down my multiplication foldables because my students LOVED them!!  They had so much fun, and really enjoyed practicing their facts!!

You can check out some other amazing products that are marked down for you today too!!

Whoever said that teachers have summer off must not really know any teachers.  Here I am, just one week into summer, and I am already looking at things that I know I am going to have to do for my new group of students!!  I don't know exactly what I'm doing as I am moving to middle school math, but I thought that this would be a great place to start!  I'm excited to be linking up for June Pick 3!

Finding new ideas to use in my classroom is something i love!  I LOVE summer for being able to do this!

Figuring out the question when you know the answer is a great way to get students using problem solving skills and thinking outside the box

I love this idea from Elementary AMC!  I can't wait to come up with so many different answers and see what my students can come up with next year.  I need to figure out how I am going to do this, since I will have six classes of students instead of just one.  Maybe I could have six different boards instead?  Give the kids a few days to figure out the question instead of just one day?  Then I could have six different questions up at once and rotate them through?  Or I could have the same answers up and see if we can come up with that many different questions!

I love this number problem!  What a fun way to have students use multiple numbers and different ways to reach the same solution!  I can't wait to create these different number cards this summer to match my room decor!!  Thanks for the great idea Fun Games 4 Learning!

I LOVE this idea from Marcy!! I can't wait to make some Kaboom sticks for multiplication facts for my students!!  This will be a great game for them to play in small groups and to continue to practice their facts!
How do you say goodbye to a place that you have worked at since 2008?!  For me, this was the problem that I faced this school year.  I found out in November that my contract was not going to be renewed for the next school year.  That is a LONG time to work through knowing that you are not going to have your job the following year.

Saying goodbye to your second home could be one of the hardest things that you have to do during your career.  I held my head high, left with grace and God holding me up!

Now, don't get me wrong, I had my moments where I wanted to throw in the towel and not do everything.  BUT, what kind of person would that make ME?  Even if I didn't understand why things were happening I knew that I had to do the right thing.  No matter how others made me feel while I was there I knew that I was there for a reason, and that I was leaving for a reason.  Do I exactly understand why this has happened, not at all, but I know that one day I will.

Toby Mac has some of the best quotes EVER, and I am so thankful for this inspirational messages to uplift me!

I have some amazing friends who helped me get through the end.  My coteacher and I both agreed that we would be ready to check out on our last day of school.  We were both determined to put this year behind us, and were eager to have it done as soon as possible.  We worked hard to make sure our checklists were done, our rooms were clean, and we were packed and ready to go.  We did a majority of the work the last weekend of school because we didn't want our students to think we were abandoning them!

With one week left I still had some big things left around the room, the rugs, furniture and things on the wall.  The final weekend of school I removed all of the big things to make packing the last few days easier!

While I was going through all of this, packing my room, figuring out what was next, one thing kept me going.  God was with me every step of the way and I knew that He was holding me up.  That last week of school was so hard, but so rewarding.  I was reminded from multiple parents, students and coworkers of the great things I had done.  I received cards, and emails letting me know that I was going to be missed.  The handwritten notes I received from students were amazing.  The countless email addresses that were exchanged, and promises to keep in touch.  These smiling faces were my WHY!

These two girls are going to be 8th graders next year, and despite that every morning on their way in to school I got a good morning and a hug!  Who doesn't love to start their day that way!?!  They are my WHY!  Their relationship is something that I will miss!

The relationships that I developed over my eight years at my school are something that I am going to treasure for the rest of my life.  Not only did I teach some AMAZING students, I was BLESSED with amazing relationships.  These students not only entered my classroom, but they also entered my heart!  One of my current students was amazed that I could name ALL of the students from my 3rd grade class that was graduating this year, even though only 4 of them were graduating from our school.  These kids are something that I will never forget.

Working in a place where your students become your family is truly a blessing!  Have those kinds of connections are irreplaceable!!

These two girls!!  I have known my middle student since she was a 5th grader.  I have tutored her for the last few years in math.  She was valedictorian of her class and is AMAZING!!  She is moving across the country next year and is entering a very impressive program!  I know that she is going to do so many GREAT things, but it breaks my heart that she is leaving!  Luckily her little sister was in my FIRST 3rd grade class, and is only going to be a junior next year!  Their family took me into their family, and I had dinner at their house ONCE A WEEK until my son was born!  That wasn't until August of 2011, and I started teaching in August of 2008!!  Yes my friends, you read that right, I ate dinner at their house ONCE A WEEK for THREE YEARS!!  They are AMAZING!!

Keeping track of your students and watching them reach their life milestones is one of the most rewarding parts of teaching! I love knowing where my students are now, and the amazing things they are doing!

I can't quite possibly say enough about this amazing girl!  I am so proud of all that she accomplished, and I can't wait to see how much further she goes!!  Luckily her graduation was after my last day of school so I could attend her graduation!  I wouldn't have missed it for the world!!

Having traditions with students is a great way to keep in touch, and have lasting memories! I LOVE taking last day of school pictures with students, and then looking back at them years later!

Every year I took a last day of school picture with this girl!!  She was in my FIRST third grade class, and we have years worth of last day of school pictures!  She was at graduation this year for her little sister so we made sure to grab a last day of school picture this year to add to our collection.  These relationships are never going to be forgotten, and are part of the reason I was able to make it through the end!

Having coworkers that you can talk to, depend on, bounce ideas off of, and go to are amazing!  Find one, somewhere, even if it isn't in your building!  Having this kind of relationship will keep you going for years!

Really, the only reason I was able to make it through was because of this girl!  She is a ROCKSTAR!!  You can read all about my amazing co teacher here, and how much I love and appreciate her!! She was so smart to think that we needed this final selfie in our empty classrooms while we were waiting for our principal to come and check us out!  We have endured so much, and she was my rock!!  Without her I know I wouldn't have made it!!

You are strong enough for this, don't let anyone ever tell you anything different!

I still don't know why I had to live through this year.  I don't know why I had to go through doubting myself, doubting my skills, and doubting my relationships.  I do know that I am strong, and that I was able to get through this year.  I know that in time I will be healed, and my heart won't hurt when I think about this year.  I know that God has a bigger plan than I can see right now.  Despite that, I am so excited for what is coming next.  I am very thankful for this year.  I am thankful for the opportunities to see who my true friends are. I am thankful for the opportunity to grow and depend on God.  I am thankful for the affirmation that I am a GREAT teacher!  Most of all I am thankful for my friends and FAMILY who were there for me every step of the way.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but knowing that your relationships are going to continue to grow help make the end of the year not as hard!
My bloggy bestie Ashlyn did sum it up perfectly on IG though!!  The worst part of the school year was saying goodbye.  I am going to miss being across the hall from my best friend! I am going to miss holding the door open and getting my hugs from students ranging from 8th grade down to 3rd grade.  I am going to miss running talent shows, taking pictures at chapel, and hearing those sweet voices praising God.  So for now, goodbye, but don't worry, I'll be back!  I have too many relationships that I am going to continue to build!!  See you soon my friends!  <3
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