Mini Light Box in the Classroom

light box

light box

What is a Light Box you ask?

It’s a flat box with a side of  plastic and an electric light that provides an evenly lighted flat surface or even illumination.

It took me a year but I finally bought a Light Box to use in my classroom! I found mine at Big Lots. It was only $8! It’s a mini that measures 8″x 6″ and has two inserts and runs on 4 AA batteries.  I’m going to hang it in my classroom library with  a couple of 3M hooks.

light box
LED Letter Sign from Big Lots

I’ve read a lot of different blog posts about others creating their own Light Box inserts using transparencies. So I got to thinking…hmmm…I wonder if I could just print them on multipurpose copy paper?

light box
Light Box inserts printed on copy paper

Guess what? You can! So now you know if you don’t have any transparencies handy you can just use computer copy paper. I think it looks great too!

How will I use it?

I plan on putting cute inspirational messages, growth mindset posters, and insert fun holiday posters into it.  Emily from The Literacy Nest had an awesome idea to make phonogram templates to place in her Heidi Swapp Light Box.  You can read her post about it here.

I can even use the light during my Guided Math, Guided Reading, and Writing Conference times too. It will be a great visual tool for my students. If the light is on it will indicate that I’m busy working with a group; if the light is off then I’m free to help answer questions.

Is is your mind racing with ideas like mine is now? Then you should run out and buy your own at Big Lots and download my mini insert freebies below and let your light shine.

light box

light box

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Back to School Classroom Forms

I’ve been doing some thinking and I believe that teachers fall into one of two categories.

Category 1

Teachers that have been shopping, printing, laminating, and cutting all summer. Mentally decorating their classroom and chomping at the bit to get into the school doors to start getting their classrooms student ready.

classroom forms

Category 2

Teachers that just need a summer do-over. A do-over to continue on the path of peacefulness that only a summer break can provide.

classroom forms

We all know the new school year is coming. Therefore, I have put together some links to a few of my classroom created forms. The best news of all is that they are FREE!  If there is one thing teachers can all agree on it is that FREE resources make us happy!

Free Classroom Management Links and Forms

Nurse Pass

When students need to go to the nurse teachers fill out this pass. 6 passes per page.

Bathroom/ Hall Passes-restroom pass freebie pdf

A boys, girls, and pass are included in this download. 

Student Homework & Behavior Log

Fully editable homework and behavior log. 

Late Homework Notice

Have students with missing assignments and need to send home a reminder to parents? Use this form for parents to be made aware of missing assignments. You can customize your signature.

Homework Absent Sheet

Have several of these copied and ready for when a student is absent. Can be filled out by the teacher or another student. 

Student Work Pass

Useful for when students need to come in and work. The file lets you customize your name.

Teacher Daily Planner

Color or black line planner available. Print out a new one each day or laminate it and use sticky notes in each area.

I hope you all find these forms useful.

classroom organization



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How to Implement Flexible Seating in the Classroom

flexible seating
flexible seating
Flexible seating is where students are given a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them.

We have been hearing the term ‘flexible seating’ a lot lately. I’ve read where some call it a new fad and say they are not jumping on the alternative seating bandwagon. I am not really sure if flexible seating is a new idea though. I have some pretty fond and vivid memories of my kindergarten days back in 1980. We sat on a huge rug and listened to our teacher read stories and instruct, we could work in different areas of the room, and we had a large cardboard house we would go in and read our books to each other. See…sounds a lot like flexible seating doesn’t it? No wonder I loved my kindergarten experience!

Whether it is a new fad or not, classrooms that have implemented flexible seating have reported some pretty remarkable things. Improved grades,  happier and more engaged students, as well as students having more stimulating conversations are just a few things that have been reported.  ({Fist pump} Sign me up!)

Now you may be asking yourself, “Is flexible seating right for me?”  What we really have to ask ourselves is, “Is it right for my students?”  You have to take a long hard look at your group of kiddos and decide what would be the best type of learning environment for them. Whatever your decision is, be sure it allows your students to work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking.

If you are ready to transition to flexible seating then read on to get some tips on how to implement it in your classroom.

How to implement Flexible Seating in your classroom

Before you begin

Make sure you have a discussion with your administrator about implementing flexible seating in your classroom. You will want their support and thumbs-up before you begin.

Classroom Arrangement 

Start by taking a look at your classroom size. Decide on how you will arrange your classroom. Look at Pinterest to get some inspiration. (You can always count on Pinterest for wonderful ideas!) Here are a few things to keep in mind…

  1. Desks- It is good to keep some in the room. Some children have different body styles and are not comfortable working on the floor.  Some students just prefer to work at a desk.
  2. You will want an area or space for whole group instruction.
  3. Where will you store student’s books and materials?
  4. Will your classroom supplies be community supplies?

Flexible Seating Options

What types of options will you offer in your room? Check out the list below to get some ideas. Don’t be limited to only these ideas. Be creative! When it comes to flexible seating ideas the sky’s the limit.

  • other items to add are rugs, lighting, and music


There are many funding options for flexible seating items.

1.Garage sales or resale shops are great places to find some gently used items at a bargain of a price.

2.Dollar Tree, Five Below, and the Target Dollar Spot will often have flexible seating items for only $5.00 or less.

3.If your school has a Parent Teacher Organization you can submit a request for items. PTO organizations are more than happy to support classroom activities and ideas. My PTO purchased my scoop rockers, futon, wiggle cushions, and stability balls.

flexible seatingflexible seatingflexible seating

4. You can ask for donations from your classroom parents. You can do this by sending home a letter or by writing a Donorschoose grant. Get your students excited about the idea and their parents will be more likely to make a donation to your project.


In order for flexible seating to be successful, you will need a strong classroom management plan.

Start with developing an anchor chart with flexible seating expectations and rules with the students. Ask them what they think would be good rules and expectations. Use these ideas, as well as your own, to develop your set of rules. Check out Megan Snable’s free Flexible Teaching Resource here.

A flexible seating student contract is another way to make your students accountable. Teach2Love has a free resource available here that also includes a parent letter as well.

As you roll out your flexible seating you will want to model what it will look like. Revisit your anchor chart every day in the beginning of implementation to give your students the reminder they will need. Make sure you are giving lots of praise for properly used resources. There is a fun brag tag freebie from Talkin Pinata here to reward your students for a job well done.

Enforce your rules. Don’t forget to be firm, be consistent, and be fair. You will have to give your students a chance to prove themselves. Don’t be surprised when they amaze you!

Flexible Seating and Whole Brain Teaching

I use Whole Brain Teaching in my 2nd-grade classroom for my overall classroom management plan. This year I wanted editable posters to be able to have the option to diversify the 5 rules to make them more suitable for flexible seating. I made these posters below that can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.

Click on the image below to view.

flexible seating

I hope this post gives you some ideas on how to implement flexible seating in your classroom!

flexible seating

Disclaimer: this site contains affaliate links.

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Digital Restroom Pass Using Google Forms

digital restroom pass

Do you have that one student who always has to go to the restroom? Do you often catch yourself wondering if they eat a diet high in fiber or if they are just practicing good old task avoidance? You are often thinking, “How can I log all of my students’ restroom trips efficiently?”

There is a way by making a…

digital restroom pass

1. Begin by signing into your Gmail account. If you don’t have Gmail you can sign up here.

2. Once you are signed in, look at the top right corner of your screen. You will see a box that looks like a grid. digital restroom pass Click the grid for a drop down menu.

3. Click the Forms icon. If you don’t see it you may have to click More at the bottom to give you access to more icons.

4. Now you will have a choice of what type of form to create. You will want to click Blank for this project.

digital restroom pass

5. Give your form a name, in my case Restroom Pass, and a form description if you would like. I added Mrs. Mayville’s 2nd grade for my form description.

digital restroom pass

6. Now decide on what type of question or response information you want gathered from your students. I wanted my students to begin by adding their name. For the Untitled question I typed Type your name. In the drop down box on the right I chose “short answer”. Now my students will have their name and a time-stamp logged into an Excel spreadsheet (more on that in a bit) each time they use the digital restroom pass.

7. I decided I also wanted a log of what particular subject the student was in so that I could look for trends in the data and have valid evidence to support my concerns. I clicked the plus sign and added a “new question” and added my multiple choice answers below it. Make sure and toggle on the button that says Required at the bottom.

digital restroom pass

8. If you would like to change the background color of the form click the paint palate at the top right corner of your screen. You have the option of changing colors or using any of the images available.

digital restroom pass

Click the gear icon to personalize a message on the confirmation page. Hit save at the bottom when you are done with your personalized message.

digital restroom pass

7. Click the eye icon at the top right corner for a preview of your newly created Form.

Now about that Excel spreadsheet and accessing all this useful data…

Click the Responses tab and then the green Excel icon. It will then want you to select a response destination. It sets it up for you so all you have to do is hit create. Yes, it is that easy! When you need to generate and print a new spreadsheet all you have to do is click the icon with three descending dots.

digital restroom pass

digital restroom pass

Now I can have all my data in one place and have all the information I need with the click of a button. It can be done on any device that has access to your Gmail account.  I plan to use our classroom iPad and an easy to scan QR code for manageable student access. Make sure you tune back in to my next blog post on QR codes.

Thanks for dropping by!

Digital restroom pass





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