An Exciting Digital Escape Room For High School Students!

I know it is not normal for this elementary teacher to produce a high school product, but I have high school children who were bored because of the pandemic!

 My daughter and her friends all asked me to make a fun digital escape room for them like I do for kindergarten. So, I thought no problem!

 Well, let me tell you, since I have no clue about high school curriculum, this took me a lot of painful research and time to create for these high school students to enjoy for about 30 minutes. 

But, it is one of my favorite resources because of the research and seeing the joy on the kids faces while they solved the clues together.  

This one is an extension activity to the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.  I can’t believe I never read this story before or that it is something they read regularly in high school, but it is a great piece of literature! 

The escape room I created is great for high school students because it is digital.

digital escape

 So students can do it in the classroom or from home while distance learning or as homework. 

To get started, students will read the short story. When they start the escape, they will be tasked with helping Mrs. Hutchinson to escape The Lottery to change her fate. 

There is a pdf included in this download with directions, the link to the site, an answer key and an optional note taking worksheet for students. This extension activity takes about 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

digital escape

To complete this escape room, students will: 

  • Read about Shirley Jackson and answer questions
  • Solve a Jigsaw Puzzle
  • Watch a YouTube video and answer questions about The Lottery
  • Complete a slide puzzle
  • Solve clues to unlock 4 locks

digital escape

You can easily share the link in Google Classroom. Students can complete this activity on Chromebooks, laptops, on an iPad or in a computer lab. They can work individually or together for a fun group activity! 

Check it out here!

digital escape

For more escape room ideas, check out my post here! 


Free Fall Printables To Try This Season!

Fall is officially here and it is one of my favorite times of the year! Pulling out the pumpkins, fall leaves, and other fall classroom decor is so fun.

Another thing I love about it is that students are just like little sponges this time of year! They are so ready to learn all we have to teach. Maybe it is the beginning of the year, maybe it is the excitement of the season, but either way, I love it!

In honor of this magical time of year, I wanted to share a couple of FREE fall printables you can do with your students!

Each of these printables is perfectly paired with some colorful bingo daubers for some hands-on fall-themed fun!

fall printables

The first activity is this Pumpkin Dot Art printable resource. Students can let their creativity flow by decorating their pumpkins in whatever colors they like. This makes a great brain break during the fall months!

You’ll also get the Apple Dot Numbers Math activity. Students will practice their numbers and math skills while creating some gorgeous artwork!

I love these activities because they can be used alone to practice math skills or to add more engagement and variety to your math centers.

My favorite type of classroom decor is the kind that showcases students’ talents and hard work. This resource is great for that! You can use students’ completed fall art to make a beautiful fall wall display!

Get these fall printables completely FREE here. 

If you are looking for more printables like these, they also come in a huge fall math and literacy centers bundle. Included you’ll get over 50 pages of no-prep printable fall activities and worksheets for pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade students. Check it out here! 

fall printables

For more fall fun, check out these fall crafts that tie in with books! 

Desk Pets for the Classroom: a Behavior Management Tool

I’m obsessed with how Desk Pets improve classroom behavior!

Desk Pets for the Classroom

All over the internet, in the teacher’s lounge, on TikTok, and on educational blogs, the latest buzz is about Desk Pets! The original idea came from Marissa Begay. Buying cute erasers is nothing new for teachers regarding classroom rewards, but Desk Pets take it to a new level!  I can’t stop creating new ideas for these mini erasers! Just like students, teachers love to be part of the fun! This is why I suggest teachers have their own Desk Pet Pal! Also, students see that even adults have rules to follow.  Clearly, the principal would give you your Desk Pet Dollars. lol

What are Desk Pets?

Desk pets are adorable small erasers students can adopt in the classroom. Undoubtedly, I found mine on Amazon. Students keep their pets at their desks.  If you don’t want them at their desks all day, you can have a designated time for them to be at their desk.  Not only can they write with them, but they can also read to their Desk Pet.  Students fill out classroom adoption papers.  It reminds me of Build-a-Bear workshops.  To turn these amazing pets into a reward system, students earn Desk Pet Dollars to purchase accessories or habitats for their pets.  They can even adopt pet friends if they earn enough points.  You decide on the points students have to earn to get a Desk Pet Dollar.  Teachers track points with Class Dojo or a simple, portable tally chart.

Desk Pet Adoption

How do Desk Pets work?

First, the rules need to be made clear. To make sure these Desk Pets don’t drive you crazy, set the ground rules, or better yet, have the students create the rules to help them take ownership.  Honestly, I don’t think it’s a great idea to begin the year by introducing this classroom management system.  I would wait until the classroom rules are being followed, and students have developed a respect for your classroom. Additionally, I  begin with using them as math manipulatives rarely, so students get a little familiar with the erasers before teaching the expectations. Before the holidays is a perfect time to introduce this system.

Desk Pets for Math

After students fill out the adoption application and adopt their pet, send home information to families to get them to reinforce the excitement and responsibility of having a Desk Pet Pal. Definitely, encourage parents to ask about the pets, earning points, and dollars.

There’s more…

Set up a way that students can achieve a Permanent Home Adoption Certificate later in the year if they acquire a large number of points. Every time students earn maybe 10 points, they get a dollar. Furthermore, create a pet store where they can buy food, treats, toys, beds, bowls, or habitats.  These can be felt pieces, simple construction paper, cotton balls for a bed, and bottle caps as bowls. Additionally, allow students each week to buy their pet something.

Desk Pet Habitat

Every day you should set time aside, even if it’s 5 minutes of quiet reading time with their pet.  This is “free time” that they don’t have to earn with points. Furthermore, have an Adoption Center where you display the pets in a safe area.

Desk Pets make great writing prompts! Students enjoy writing about their pets. If having them all day at their desk is a problem, decide on a place to store them until the appropriate designated Pet Playtime.  Teachers have pet daycares, hotels, or simple plastic bins for this purpose.  Another idea is to use the hotel to store the animals daily. It prevents lost pets. Even more, teachers create a class goal to have a pet party.

What are students most excited about?

Students get excited by spending dollars at the pet store and building new habitats for their pets.  Furthermore, students are learning about science, math skills with counting dollars, responsibility, writing, and rules. My own kids who are past elementary age loved these little erasers, so use them at any age. Without a doubt, students will remember you for the fun, engaging way you helped them to stay on task. I know as a parent, I love the idea of Desk Pet Pals!

Desk Pet Pals for Kids

I teach virtual school. Can Desk Pets work for me?

YES! Google slides make it easy to use digital desk pets. Also, digital clipart can be sent to the students. And, have students use writing prompts with their pets. It should be noted that you can offer clipart of accessories, food, or toys in exchange for Virtual Pet Points.

What happens if they get lost or stolen?

Great question! Without a doubt, you will experience cute erasers going missing. I have a Pet Detective form students can fill out and reward posters for students to create for missing pets.  Then, I tell the student their adoption contract is voided and they can adopt a new pet until the other one is found. Certainly, if someone gets caught stealing, remove points from their data log.  I like to track behavior points for difficult behaviors and use the data charts in meetings.

Desk Pets Data

I love that the mini erasers can be used for other educational purposes too! Here are some ideas:

  • Math Manipulatives
  • Creative Writing Prompts
  • Opinion Writing
  • Design Posters or Write a Book About the Pet
  • Hide them in the room to play I Spy or Write the Room
  • Sort by Colors
  • Create a Report on the Animal
  • Learn How to Care for a Pet
  • Design a Pet Habitat

Desk Pet Ideas

Check out these pre-made PowerPoints and Digital Google Slides that will save you time coming up with Desk Pet ideas and activities.

Try this FREE Sample to get started on your Desk Pet Journey!

How to Practice Alphabet Writing and Identification

One of the most important things for preschool and kindergarten students to do is work on their letters and eventually learn to read. Recognizing letters and their sounds is a fundamental part of their education. A skill that they will use every day for the rest of their lives. So naturally, we need to work on them daily and get lots of practice! 

It is important to practice the alphabet naturally and in a developmentally appropriate way. With that in mind, it’s beneficial to shake up the methods we use to keep students engaged and prevent burnout. This will give your lessons more variety and make them more engaging for the students! 

Here are some unique and effective ways to practice with letters in your classroom

  • Listen to alphabet songs. There’s nothing like a catchy song that will get stuck in their head! Turn on a song and encourage students to sing along and dance. You could even make letters with your arms! Not only will this help students get their energy out, but it will also help commit the letters to memory. Jack Hartmann has some awesome songs for this. Check it out here! 
  • Sand Writing. This is an exciting and hands-on way for students to practice. Layout a cookie sheet with some sand on top. Students will love getting their hands dirty while writing the letters in the sand. 
  • Finger Painting. This is another great hands-on way to practice. Just make sure to layout plenty of supplies for cleaning up any messes they might make. 
  • Stamp Pads. What kid doesn’t love stamps? Get some letter stamp pads and let students stamp letters onto worksheets. 
  • Pudding Paint. This is a great option if you have younger students who are prone to tasting their paint. All you need is vanilla pudding and food coloring. Make the pudding according to box instructions, separate it into different cups or tins, and add different colors of food coloring. Students can use it to paint their letters on a hard surface like their desk or cookie sheets. 
  • Playdough. Use playdough smash mats and have students create the letter out of playdough. 
  • Sidewalk Chalk. Get outside and practice writing letters with sidewalk chalk! This activity is a great change of scene and students are sure to love it. 
  • Paint Daubers. This is another student favorite! Use paint daubers to create letters. 
  • Shaving Cream. Similar to sand writing, let them write their letters in the shaving cream. Add some food coloring to make it more colorful! 
  •  Tracing Printables. Worksheets like these are always helpful for recognizing letters and writing them. 
  • Back Drawings. Pair your students up and let them draw a letter on their partners back. The partner then has to guess the letter! 
  • I Spy The Letter. The classic game of I Spy, but with letters! 

Want even more alphabet activities? Check out my Alphabet Practice A-Z Bundle!

This resource is a growing bundle that includes crafts and printables for each letter. These provide hands-on options as well as worksheets to help with busy mornings. Students will learn how to work independently after the first couple of letter sets are used because every unit follows the same pattern.

Each letter comes with 16 printables which includes 3 crafts, a spinning game, letter identification, forming letters, playdough letters, BINGO daubing, tracing letters, letter sounds, and beginning sounds of words. 

Use these printables and crafts in centers, whole group, small group, or for homework. Check it out here! 

Looking for some more teaching resources or early elementary? Check out my post on teaching about community helpers here!