The Complete 2012-2013 Archive

The complete collection of articles, lesson ideas,
print-ready resources, and more.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8


Featured for Fall


Tech-Savvy Teaching

25 teacher-tested lesson ideas to engage your digital natives.



Fall 2013

Banish Bullying

There are things you can do to help stop and prevent bullying. Here's where to start.


10 Tips for Fun Field Trips

A little troubleshooting makes out-of-classroom excursions a breeze.


Teaching with Complex Texts

Laura Robb shares six secrets for unlocking literacy instruction.




1 Step Back, 3 Steps Forward

Fall is the perfect time to pause and perfect your routines and systems. Here are 5 great goals and solutions to help you get organized!





PD: Special Needs

Your kids have special abilities and needs, and as a special needs teacher, your classroom needs are very specific too. Here are a few top tips and tools for special needs teachers.




PreK-K: Word Play

Make reading class feel like recess with hands-on activities for early learners.




Grades 1-2: The Story of Math

Take a step across subjects by using much-loved children's books for real-world math activities.




Grades 3-5: Brain Breaks

4 simple go-to activities to keep students calm, focused, and motivated in your classroom.




Grades 6-8: Take Note

Underline the importance of taking great notes with thoughtful activities for reading class.


Colorful Fall Leaves

Put away the waxed paper and Vaseline and bring out the coffee filters and markers to create a twist on autumn leaf projects. Kids can use their imagination to fashion leaves of pink and purple and mint green.



Mosaic Pumpkins

1 handy template + a handful of multi-colored beans = a fun and easy pumpkin project kids will love!

Fall Craft Templates (Pumpkin, Turkey, & Leaf)



Halloween Party

Whether they’re dangling from the ceiling, waving from pencils, or taking a bite out of trick-or-treat bags, kids will love these cartoonishly creepy creatures.

Classroom Banner for Halloween
Pencil Decoratives for Halloween
Trick-or-Treat Bags for Halloween



Sandra Boynton: Shoe-Print Pony Craft

Author and songwriter Sandra Boynton shares this original craft project designed for her newest project, Frog Trouble.




Rafe Esquith Gets Real: Project-Based


Rafe Esquith, long-time teacher and author of Real Tallk for Real Teachers, on how long-term projects teach resilience.


Ask Dr. Fernandez.


Suzanne Tingley on returning to the classroom with a masters degree and effective instructional coaches.

Clever ways to get parents involved at your school.


Back to School 2013


How To: Organize Your Classroom

Love seeing how other teachers set up their rooms? We've got some absolutely fabulous spaces to share with you!


Survive (and Thrive!) Your First Year

Veteran elementary teacher and author Otis Kriegel shares 10 tips to help you survive (and thrive!) your first year as a teacher.


Math Class with Marilyn Burns

Math expert Marilyn Burns on embracing the Common Core practice standards to teach math more effectively.


How To: Create Common Core-Ready ELA Lessons

Teacher-tested ideas to help you meet the new ELA anchor standards.


How To: Get the Grant

Score cash to fill your classroom needs—without spending a dime.
Plus, check out our handy grant calendar for tips on upcoming deadlines for a few great funding opportunities.



PreK-K: The Rules of School

6 meaningful activities to teach manners and feelings to young learners. Plus, 4 great reads for a storybook approach to manners.






Grades 1-2: Tricks of the Text

4 great activities to help students crack the code of nonfiction and introduce kids to informational texts and key text features.



Grades 3-5: Getting to Know You

Use blogging, writing activities, and games to get acquainted.


Grades 6-8: Writers on Writing

Some of our favorite authors share their best advice for your middle school writers.


"All About Me" Hats

Gather a variety of hats as well as scraps of fabric and ribbon, stickers, small trinkets and toys, and  clippings. Have students choose a hat and then decorate it in a way that reflects them then wear them at a getting-to-know-you class hat party!

Memory Mailbox

Welcome the new school-year by creating a “memory mailbox” to document all of the fun times ahead.  Each Friday, students write notes and drop them in the box. Open at year’s end for a back-to-school activity that comes full circle.

Nameplates for Kids

Kids can get to know new ­tablemates while practicing penmanship skills with colorful ruled nameplates.

Nameplates for Kids


Labels for Classroom Supplies

Struggling to keep classroom supplies organized? Print our free colorful labels and your problems are solved! Simple, fun illustrations will click with even your youngest students, making cleanup time a breeze.

Labels for Classroom Supplies


Ask Dr. Fernandez.


Suzanne Tingley on communicating with your mentor and using team-building excercises to adjust to leadership changes.



Rafe Esquith Gets Real

Rafe Esquith, long-time teacher and author of Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, on risking failure to help kids succeed.




How I Do It: Learn Students' Names

Creative ideas for memorizing new names.


Summer 2013


Instructor's Ultimate Summer Book List

20 new titles to satisfy every interest and keep students reading all summer long. Download an easy-to-print PDF version to share with your students.


Pam Allyn's 5 Tips for Summer Reading

Key strategies to prevent the summer slide and help kids discover the power of a good book.



Key Data on Kid Reading

Surprising new findings from Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report.



Common Core: Assessments

The inside scoop on the PARCC and Smarter Balance assessments. Plus, key strategies for preparing students for the next tests.




10 Tips for Packing Up Your Classroom

Expert advice for a stress-free classroom cleanup this summer.


Activities to get kids ready for (safe) summer fun from Instructor Magazine.


Reflect on lessons learned and friendships made with activies that wrap up the year.


Common Core-ready lesson plans to develop public speaking skills and get even your most camera-shy kids up on the podium.


Celebrate the school year and keep students engaged with hands-on group projects.


Mini-Garden Keepsake

Celebrate the end of the year with a gift that will keep on growing. Help kids craft mini-gardens out of recycled plastic bags, fabric scraps, and ribbons.



Quilt of Knowledge

Have students share advice with next year’s class by decorating templates with sketches, poems, and stories recounting favorite classroom memories.

Download the Wisdom Quilt Template from Instructor Magazine



Good-bye Cards for Students

Strike the right note with playful and encouraging cards that say a fond farewell to each student.

Good-bye Cards for Students


Summery Bookmarks

Colorful, iconic bookmarks build kids’ vocabulary while marking the spot in summer reading choices.

Summery Bookmarks

Ask Dr. Fernandez.


Suzanne Tingley on taking on leadership positions and running for the local school board.


Thoughtful ways to celebrate the year from fellow teachers: Host a classroom campout, feed their love of literature, and give them a Suessian sendoff.


Spring 2013


50 Fabulous Apps for Teachers

Must-have apps for your smartphones and tablets.
From handwriting to virtual frog dissection these apps will invigorate your teaching.



STEM: K-8 Engineering

As more K-8 programs focus on science, technology, engineering, and math, teachers are finding that chaos creates learning opportunities.



Common Core: Reading in Science Class

Bring literacy lessons into the science lab with CCSS-ready activities.
Activities support ELA Anchor standards.



Be a Leader

Become a school leader—without leaving the classroom.
11 tips from our experts on taking on leadership roles at your school.



PreK-K: Weather Wizards

Turn your students into junior meteorologists with science lessons about spring weather.



Grades 1-2: Poetry Lessons

Activities to celebrate National Poetry Month. Teach these poetic forms while encouraging collaborative learning.


Make science lessons fun with these hands-on experiments. What do fish, Alka-Seltzer, and chicken bones have in common? They're all part of science fun!



Grades 6-8: Poetry Workshop

Give students the tools and inspiration to find their inner poets with lesson plans for National Poetry Month.


Celebrate Earth Day

Encourage eco-awareness with these green miniposters. Just print (on recycled paper!) and display.

Mini-Posters for Earth Day PDF

Ask Dr. Fernandez.


Suzanne Tingley on taking over a class midyear and putting together your portfolio.


Classroom management strategies from your fellow teacers. Play together, create some drama, and marry one!


Winter 2013

Monet in Science Class?

Whether you're teaching science, social studies, or writing, integrating the arts will strengthen your curriculum and deepen students' understanding.

True Grit

We spoke with Paul Tough, Angela Duckworth, and Carol Dweck about the importance of teaching grit. Check out their tips for promoting strength, resilience, and perseverance among your students.

Your Core Concerns

You asked, we answered. Our experts weigh in on your biggest questions about ELA Common Core from informational texts to English Language Learners.



10 to Achieve in the New Year

Resolve to eat well, plot your next move, and give back in 2013.
Popular New Year's resolutions for teachers and how to achieve them.



PreK-K: Celebrate Our Presidents

Make math, phonics, and music come alive with activities to commemorate Presidents' Day.



Add some pizazz to your phonics instruction with these games.


Pair fiction with nonfiction—and watch comprehension soar.


From Gabby Douglas to Mae Jemison Black History is alive with inspiring trailblazers! Pair rich activities with key "firsts" in black America.


Celebrate Black History

These colorful miniposters feature inspiring quotes from notable African Americans. Just print and display in your classroom!

Mini-Posters for Black History Month PDF

Teacher Valentines

These thoughtful notes are sure to brighten up any student's day!

Teacher Valentines PDF


Ask Dr. Fernandez.



Suzanne Tingley on asking for honest mentor feedback and setting boundaries with parents.


How do you keep order in your classroom? Get kids involved, use humor, and always follow through.


Holiday 2012


Essential Questions

The secret to teaching may be as simple as asking students goodquestions--and then giving them the opportunity to find the answers. Dr. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm talks inquiry-based learning.



Professional Development 2.0

Social Media for Teachers: learn tips, tricks, and teaching strategies with the next generation of PD resources. Plus, download an easy-to-print mini-poster to hang in your office.

How to Ask Your Principal for Anything

All it takes is the right time, the right place, and a little forethought.
What principals want to hear in a successful pitch for project funding and more.

Common Core: Solve Math Problems

Help your students figure out why they aren't getting key math concepts.
John Tapper, author of Solving for Why, on making the most of CRA Assessments.

Pair books and activities to get kids thinking about habitat, hibernation, and migration.



Grades 1-2: Presenting Opinions

Kids have strong opinions about everything from school rules to the clothes they wear. Put their ideas to work writing persuasive pieces.



Grades 3-5: Count for a Cause

Math skills become that much more meaningful when students use them to do good.



Grades 6-8: 8 Great Ways to Get Kids Reading

Turn book-shy kids into some of your most avid readers.


Classy Cards

Thank-You Card 1 PDF
Thank-You Card 2 PDF
Thank-You Card 3 PDF

Sticker Season

Give your kids a festive stamp of approval with our sampler of winter-themed stickers. Just print on sticker paper and enjoy!

Seasonal Stickers PDF

Ask Dr. Fernandez.


Suzanne Tingley on coming back from maternity leave and teaching in Urban vs. Suburban schools.

Creative ways to discourage classroom cheating. Sit them next to each other, randomize questions, and threaten "File 13," among other strategies.


Fall 2012


Election Fever

Your students may not be able to vote (this time around!), but these activities will show them what it means to be a good citizen.



Common Core: Fact Vs. Fiction

Think informational text = boring? Reinvent your reading lessons with dinosaurs, artists, and geologists! Commonly asked questions about informational texts and the Common Core, plus a few lesson plans for inspiration.


10 Questions About Independent Reading

Reading expert Jennifer Serravallo answers your tough questions on how to make the most of independent time and helping students find just-right books for their reading level and interests.

Lessons from the Teacher of the Year: Rebecca Mieliwocki

Rebecca Mieliwock, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, on teaching as a team sport, making sense of middle schoolers, and the art of subversive teaching. Plus, 5 tips for teaching middle school.


Plan for Plants

If one of your goals this year is to start a class garden, it's already time to start planning! Check out our step-by-step guide to starting a school garden to find activities for each season.


PreK-K: Pumpkin Power!

Teach counting, sorting, and more with these pumpkin-themed activities.




Grades 1-2: Raise a Hand for Reading

Get ready, get set, get reading—with these nifty activities.



Grades 3-5: Nose for News

The election season offers a fresh reason to incorporate current events into your lesson plans.



Grades 6-8: Become a Math Superhero!

There’s a just-right activity for every kid’s learning superpower.



Monster Bookmarks

Art and geometry come together with these merry monster bookmarks. All you need is some sturdy paper, scissors, glue, and your students’ imaginations.



Free Printable Classroom Rules

Order in the Classroom: Bold, clear class rules will get kids’ attention, and are a stylish alternative to handwritten ones. Swap out as needed! Download the templates today.

Classroom Rules 1 PDF
Classroom Rules 2 PDF



Suzanne Tingley on resolving principal conflicts and working in the same school you once attended.

Teachers share tips for successful parent meetings. Start positive, prepare like mad, and never get defensive.



Back to School 2012


Common Core: Victory is Yours

Stop worrying and love the Common Core with our tool kit of activities.
Lesson plans from fellow teachers help break down important CCSS benchmarks.


Turn Stress Into Success

10 tips from master educators that summarize new ways of thinking about frustrating situations. These surefire attitude adjusters will give you (and your students) a fresh start to the school year.


No Gym Required

We spoke with organizers of some the best school walking and running programs in the United States—including a group of former Olympic athletes—and asked how they did it.

Month-by-Month Career Planner

Use the ideas in our handy monthly planner to help you get organized for a successful school year.



PreK-K: Teaching Community

Teach community with truck rallies, pen pals, and more.




Grades 1-2: Improv to Write

Are your young writers stumped when faced with a blank page? Spark their creativity with these improv exercises.



Grades 3-5: Dice Games that Build Math Skills

Your kids can become high rollers in math with these snappy dice games.




Grades 6-8: Pop Culture in the Classroom

Engage middle schoolers by bringing pop culture into your lesson plans.



“I Feel . . .” Origami Boxes

What makes students feel brave, or curious, or wise? Give them prompts like “I feel curious when . . .” and prepare to be amazed at what they write—and later share with their classmates.

Use these templates in your classroom. Click here.

School Calendar & Seating Activity

Inspiration Calendar: You and your students will get a boost from these bright and uplifting calendar pages—just print and display! 

Icebreaker Seating Chart: Shy and outgoing kids alike will love getting to know their table partners when they have a joke in hand.

Suzanne Tingley on getting along with a coteacher and balancing work and grad school.

Teachers share wise and creative ways to get to know new students. Eat lunch together, share journals, and, above all, listen.



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  • Subjects:
    Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Early Learning, Action and Adventure Heroes, Animals, Arts and Creativity, Character and Values, Child Development and Behavior, Feelings and Emotions, Health and Safety, Hobbies, Play, Recreation, Holidays and Seasonal Themes, Life Experiences, Professional Development, School Life, Educational Standards, Technology
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Instructor Magazine

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