Why is Classroom Management Important?

Get the Ultimate Guide to Classroom Management

If you’re in teacher training, or perhaps already up to your knees in the business of your career, perhaps you’ve been asking yourself: why is classroom important anyway? Let’s jump right into the reasons that classroom management matters, and afterward I’ll share more about my own rocky journey towards classroom management success.

  1. Students deserve to learn without excessive distractions.
    Our students deserve the opportunity to work without distractions. In fact, they need to learn how to sustain their attention to a task for more than 3 minutes. No sugar coating here: it’s your job to create this environment.

    I’ll admit, a distracted class can sometimes be more fun for me as the teacher. I get a tiny bit bored and/or lonely when everyone is working silently and I’m standing off to the side just awkwardly staring. That being said, I’m not the person who matters in this situation! Fun is fun, but play must always be balanced with work.

    By leveraging classroom management to your benefit, you can create a classroom environment where your more academically inclined students are not constantly pulling their hair out over the lower, more likely-to-avoid-work-via-any-method-possible students who constantly seek to disrupt and derail things. Additionally, those disruptive students will learn important skills in the areas of perseverance and stillness which will benefit them throughout their lives.

    Get 17 Classroom Management Strategies to put you on the road to success.
  2. Students, especially those with learning difficulties, thrive on structure.
    Not only students, but all of us depend on routines to provide structure in our lives. The difference between a child and adult, though, is that we are the only ones who are mature enough to recognize our need for structure and then to also have the discipline necessary to develop and maintain a healthy routine.

    Fun is fun! Candy is delicious! Children aren’t yet developed enough to manage the balance between work and play. They need you to do it for them. And when you do, expect some push back. Naturally, children are inclined to push boundaries. They want to learn the limits of the world in which they live. This is a beautiful quality that enables children to build a better future for us all.

    Let them push, but don’t let up when it comes to structure in your classroom. As the students test the limits and receive their consequence from you, they will eventually settle into a pleasant routine in which they can learn and grow. Providing this environment is part of what you get paid to do as an educator, and as the healthy pattern of routine begins to solidify with your students, you’ll get to see them develop right before your eyes.
  3. It gives students a way to “win” with you.
    All students want gain the attention, admiration, and respect of the adults that they admire. If this isn’t possible, though, there’s always the second best option: settle for just attention. Classroom management is an important tool you can use to steer kids on the path towards receiving that coveted positive attention.

    It begins when you set your expectations. You clearly define what good behavior in your classroom looks like, every day, if necessary. Then, you use positive narration to identify and point out which students are on task and performing within your guidelines. You make sure to call out only students who are on task, not off. You make it clear that in your room, only people who have good behavior get attention.

    When bad behavior is impossible to ignore, you handle it quietly, out of sight or hearing of other students. You review expectations again, and you show kindness to the offending student.

    Through a firm but loving approach to classroom management, students have no choice but to see you as a fair and even tempered teacher. Their respect for you grows, making them all the more likely to work hard to gain your favor. Gradually, your experience in the classroom becomes more and more positive.
  4. It makes life easier on YOU, as the teacher.
    Children are simply not mature enough to define boundaries in a relationship. They rely on you, the adult, to do that for them. This is great news because the sky is the limit! Whatever you want as a norm in your classroom, you can have it through repetition and positive reinforcement.

    By working a little bit harder on the front end, you can create a classroom environment in which students eventually begin to manage themselves. The first time you hear a class shush a disruptive student for you will be the day you know you’ve made it.

    If you’re really in the pits of a bad class, though, it’s not going to be easy at first. I promise that it will be worth it, though. I also promise that it’s definitely easier than floundering through a mess of a class day by day, praying in anxiety stricken desperation that nothing too crazy will happen today.

A Little About Me

For me, classroom management was touch and go for at least the first four years of my career. I received absolutely no university training on how to control my students. (To this day, I still wonder why they didn’t think that was a necessary part of our coursework, but I think there’s always been an underlying belief that classroom management is somewhat of a “gift” you’re born with if you are a Good Teacher.) I used to wake up every morning and feel sick to my stomach in anticipation of the day I was going to have.

I tried to hide the things that were going in my classroom from other teachers because I was so ashamed to be failing at what I thought was my “life’s purpose.” If I’m not good at teaching, then what will I do? To put it simply, I was humiliated and exhausted. If this is you now, you’re not alone.

Eventually, I decided that anything would be better than this. I left my job at that school, moved into international teaching, and began to read every book I could get my hands on about classroom management. Emboldened, I began to discuss classroom behaviors with my colleagues.

Today, I’m still far from perfect, but I am here to talk if you want to discuss! Join my newsletter to get more updates along my journey:

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Force and Motion Worksheet

If you’re looking for a supplemental worksheet for your force and motion unit, look no further! If you’re working with NGSS, the resources here are ideal for the following standards:

MS-PS2-1. Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.

MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.


Force & Motion Worksheet

Force Guided Reading

Review or teach the the basics of force with this easy to use and check activity including a 1 page guided reading and 2 student pages. This product is great for either in person teaching with the printable version or for distance learning, as it includes a digital Google Slides version for your convenience.

This product covers:

  • What is force?
  • Net Force
  • Balanced/Unbalanced forces

Virtual Motion Lab

This lab is a fan favorite! Using an online simulation from Phet, students will explore balanced and unbalanced forcesfrictionspeedacceleration, and Newton’s Laws in an inquiry based fashion.

5 extension questions require students to apply their understanding of forces and Newton’s Laws.

Visit the Phet Sim here: https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/density-and-buoyancy/density_en.html

Student Led Investigation

Guide your students through a 4 day NGSS, student led investigation of how different sized forces affect the motion of objects and how different masses respond to the same force. Students will plan an investigation using 2 sports balls of different masses, write claims based on their observations, prepare video evidence in the form of demonstrations, explain their reasoning, and submit a final video with their work. This resource walks students through each step of this process.

Again, this resource is designed to be either printable or digital, with both versions included for your convenience.

Friction & Inertia Guided Reading

Review or teach the the basics of friction & inertia with this easy to use and check activity including a 2 pages of guided reading and 2 student pages.

As before, this resource comes with both a digital and print version to support whatever kind of teaching you’re currently doing.

This product covers:

  • What is friction?
  • Newton’s First Law
  • What is inertia?
  • Inertia & Mass

Color by Number

10 multiple choice questions in which students classify various real life scenarios as Newton’s First, Second, or Third Law.

A great activity for early finishers, homework, differentiation, or as an easy to check assessment.

I’ve yet to find a way to support color by number resources in distance learning scenarios, sadly.

Task Cards

Product includes:

  • 30 practice problems in the form of task cards
  • Answer Key
  • Student Answer sheet

I designed this activity to be a chance for students to practice with speed, distance, and time formulas.

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force and motion worksheet

Invasive Species

***Get a ready to use invasive species worksheet & project by scrolling to the bottom of this post***

Invasive Species Definition

Invasive species are defined as any species that has been transported, either on purpose or accidentally, from one place to another. Generally, these immigrant species are only defined as “invasive” if they cause damage to the ecosystem to which they’ve been introduced.

Invasive Species List

I use this list of invasive species because the species included here are easy to research with plenty of info available on each.

  1. Brown Tree Snake
  2. Hydrilla
  3. Asian Long Horned Beetle
  4. Cane toad
  5. Kudzu
  6. Lionfish
  7. Emerald Ash Borer
  8. Northern Snakehead
  9. Asian Carp
  10. Zebra Mussel
  11. European Starling
  12. Small Indian Mongoose
  13. Northern Pacific Seastar
  14. Water Hyacinth
  15. Burmese Python
  16. Nutria
  17. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
  18. Feral Hogs
  19. Norway Rt
  20. Tegu
  21. Asian Citrus Phyllis
  22. Asian Tiger Mosquito
  23. Japanese Beetle
  24. Red Imported Fire Ant

View this list of invasive species for more.

Invasive Species Worksheet

invasive species worksheet

With this easy to use worksheet, students read about 6 different invasive species and answer questions using the information they have learned. This worksheet comes with a printable PDF version and a digital Google Slides version for use with Google Classroom.

Get it directly from me or through TPT.

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Invasive Species Project

invasive species project

This assessment ties together several ecology topics such as resource availability, interactions of organisms, cycling of matter and energy, competition, and the idea that populations are affected by various physical and biological components of ecosystems. Students will investigate how their species has impacted its non-native ecosystem as well as describing planned solutions for maintaining biodiversity.

After students have completed their research, they will film a segment of an imaginary television show called Ecology’s Most Wanted. In their video they will act as a news anchor and cover all the major information about their species and its impact on the ecosystem.

Your purchase secures both a fully inclusive PDF file for in class projects as well as a comprehensive Google Slides file which can be copied and edited. This digital version will transform your classroom into a completely paperless zone!

Get it on TPT.


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invasive species worksheet

Mutations Definition, Worksheet & Examples

** If you’re here for a mutations worksheet, scroll to the bottom of this page. **

Mutations Definition

Humans have up to 100 trillion cells, but we all began as one. As we grow, that original cell is copied and copied and copied. Each time the cell is copied, so is it’s DNA.

mutations definition
DNA within a cell

Within each of your trillions of cells, you have a full set of your DNA or your entire genetic code. That DNA is about 2 meters long, and 3 billion nucleotides (the coding letters) long. The DNA is split into 46 different pieces known as chromosomes.

It’s not difficult to believe that mistakes can, and often do occur in this replication process. Those mistakes are known as mutations, and they can be harmful, helpful, or create no change at all.


Mutations in Genes

The smallest mutations are gene mutations. These occur when only one or a few nucleotides are copied incorrectly. Take a look at the 3 kinds of gene mutations below

mutations in genes
mutations in genes
mutations in genes

Additionally, the affects these mutations have on the gene they affect varies. Gene mutations can be categorized again based on the outcome they cause.

  • Missense: Only one amino acid is affected
  • Nonsense: Creates a stop codon early, ending the protein prematurely
  • Silent: The amino acid does not change at all
  • Frameshift: The sequence of nucleotides are altered in such a way that all the subsequent amino acids are affected. Frameshifts primarily occur in the case of insertions and deletions

Chromosomal Mutations

Sometimes, mistakes can occur in an entire chromosome. These mutations are obviously more likely to have dramatic affects on the individual due to the fact that many genes are affected.

Chromosomal Mutations

An inversion results when a segment of a chromosome is reversed end to end.

Chromosomal Mutations

A deletion results when a segment of a chromosome is lost.

Chromosomal Mutations

A duplication results when a segment of a chromosome is copied.

Chromosomal Mutations

A translocation results when a segment of a chromosome breaks off and attaches to another chromosome.


Mutations Examples

It’s important to remember that mutations can be harmful, helpful, or cause no change at all. All living things have DNA, so therefore all living things can have mutations. Below are a few examples to get you started.

mutations examples

Sickle Cell Anemia

First, gene mutations. A change in one single nucleotide results in a disorder known as sickle cell anemia. This disorder is characterized by sickle shaped red blood cells, which do not hold oxygen as well as normal blood cells. This can lead to pain for the affected individual.

Downs Syndrome

Second, chromosome mutations. A duplication of chromosome 21 results in a disorder known as Downs syndrome. It can result in mental difficulties and some telltale physical symptoms.

Get my full list of genetic disorders here.

mutations examples
mutations examples

Lactose Tolerance

You may have thought that lactose INtolerance was the mutation, but in fact, it’s the other way around! The ability to digest cow’s milk is a helpful mutation that originated in Europe and has been passed down from parents to children.

Red Hair

Red hair is a mutation that originated in Scotland or Ireland. This mutation does not hurt or help those who inherit it. Remember that not all mutations create problems!

See more mutations here.

mutations examples


Mutations Worksheets

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mutations worksheets

Mutations Guided Practice Worksheet

This is my most comprehensive mutations resource with over 6 pages. Perfect for distance learning or creation of independent work packets, this resource comes with a digital version and answer key.

Get it directly from me or through TPT.

mutations worksheets

Mutations Worksheet

Get this basic practice worksheet to review mutations.

Get it here.

mutations worksheets

Mutations Quiz

This quiz includes multiple choice and fill in the blank options for assessing student knowledge.

Get it here.

mutations worksheets

Genetic Disorders Project

This best selling, classic project is a fan favorite! Students will research and present about a genetic disorder of their choice.

Get it here.

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mutations worksheets

Symbiosis Worksheet & Examples

If you’re looking for a symbiosis worksheet for your science classroom, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Symbiosis Definition

Symbiosis is defined as any natural relationship in which two species live closely together, often depending on one another for survival.

The 3 kinds of symbiotic relationships are as follows:

  • Mutualism: A relationship in which both species benefit.
  • Commensalism: A relationship in which one species benefits and the other is unaffected.
  • Parasitism: A relationship in which one species benefits and the other is harmed.

Symbiosis Examples

Mutualism Examples

Clown Fish & Sea Anemone
The sea anemone is poisonous to most fish, but clown fish are immune. This makes the anemone a perfect home for the clown fish. In exchange, the fish cleans the anemone of algae and chases off any fish who may eat it.

mutualism examples

Bees & Flowering Plants
Bees provide a service for the flowers by pollinating them, and in exchange the flower produces a sugary nectar for the bees.

mutualism examples

Ants & Aphids
Ants are essentially farmers are they protect the aphids and provide them nutrients in exchange for the sugary food that the aphids produce.

mutualism examples
Commensalism Examples
commensalism examples

Spiders & Trees
Spiders depend on trees to provide a location for their webs, but the tree is completely unaffected by this interaction.

commensalism examples

Hermit Crabs & Dead Mollusks
Species with shells decompose after they die, but their shell lives on. A hermit crab may find the shell and make it their home, but obviously the mollusk is unaffected.

commensalism examples

Cattle & Egrets
Egrets eat the bugs that come up as they are disturbed by the grazing of the cattle. The cattle do not benefit from this relationship, nor are they harmed.

Parasitism Examples

Dogs & Fleas
Fleas bite dogs and feed on their blood, this irritates and causes harm to the dog.

parasitism examples

Mosquitoes & Humans
Mosquitoes bite and feed on the blood of humans, causing itching and irritation.

parasitism examples

Aphids & Plants
Aphids feed on plants, damaging them as they do so.

parasitism examples

Symbiosis Worksheets

symbiosis worksheets

Symbiosis Guided Reading Worksheet

This resource is great for introducing, reteaching, or reviewing the different kinds of symbiotic relationships. Students are given examples and will determine if each is mutualism, commensalism, or parasitism.

Get it directly from me or through TPT.

symbiosis worksheets

Symbiosis Color by Number Worksheet

Classify examples of symbiosis and color based on your answer with this fun resource!

Get it here.

symbiosis worksheets

Symbiosis Cut & Glue Activity

With this resource, students will cut apart 25 squares and use logic and problem solving skills to reassemble them in such a way that only matching answers touch.

Get it here.

symbiosis worksheets

Symbiosis One Pager

This resource is great for review! Students can freely fill in their own notes and summaries of each kind of symbiotic relationship as well as doodle in the images provided.

Get it here.

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Easy to Use Distance Learning Resources for Science

We all thought that with a little bit of diligence, the pandemic would be finished by now. But here we are, and school is starting again amid a massive aura of uncertainty and fear. Should we prepare to teach online or in person? Or are we preparing for a blended model? Whatever your district decides, I’m here to share some easy to use distance learning resources for your middle or high school science class to ease the burden.

Lessons

distance learning resources science
We used Nearpod with the Water Cycle, and the kids had a blast with the draw feature.

When it comes to whole group teaching during distance learning in my science class, Nearpod was the ticket. With this free platform, you can upload any presentation you already have in PowerPoint format. Then, you can edit it to make it a lot more interactive than it was before.

To give you an idea of the kinds of interactive features you can add to your old presentations, Nearpod includes:

  • Free draw with prompt (great for vocabulary and internal summaries)
  • Polls
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Matching
  • Long form free writes

In the spring, I tried to add an interactive element every couple of slides to make sure that my students were still engaged and to give them an opportunity to ask questions, check for understanding, or to simply give them a chance to express themselves (one of the biggest things I miss after transitioning to distance learning).

Homework

For homework, because focusing during a virtual lesson is really tough, I liked to reiterate the days learning with a guided reading. That way they have all the information they need at their fingertips to review and refresh.

I have created a catalog of over 50 of these resources, all coming in both printable PDF format and in a Google Slide version. If you decide to use PDFs for assignments with your students, you can have them download Kami, a Google Chrome extension that allows students to fill in PDFs. Personally, I prefer the Google Apps because they are easier to check when students submit them back to Google Classroom.

Here’s an example of one guided reading on the scientific method:

distance learning resources science
distance learning resources science
distance learning resources science

Get it directly from me or through TPT. You can also shop my entire collection of these Google Classroom friendly resources to find more great topics like the water cycle, antibiotic resistance, friction, chemical reactions, and much more.

Try my States of Matter resource for free, and get more free resources by subscribing:

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Games

If you’re like me, the saddest part of distance learning is definitely the lack of authentic interactions with students. Skribblio quickly became a favorite of ours when we needed to spend some time relaxing and enjoying one another’s company.

distance learning games

To play, you as the teacher can easily set up a room and get a sharable link that you can send to your students through whatever platform your school uses. The students will join in, and from there it’s basically Scrabble. Everyone gets a turn to draw from a selection of 3 secret words, and the rest of the group guesses. To sweeten the deal, you can even choose your own words to make this into a fun vocabulary review game!


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distance learning resources science

Carbon Cycle Worksheet & Presentation

Look no further! Your carbon cycle worksheet and teaching presentation are here! These easy to use and check activities cover all the major vocabulary your students will need to master the carbon cycle.

Topics include:

  • Carbon in Living Things
    Did you know that you’re made of carbon? Carbon is an essential element for biology because of its ability to bond in four directions. This fact makes all kinds of three dimensional organisms possible.
  • Greenhouse Effect
    The greenhouse effect is more important than ever as our planet begins to experience the adverse affects of global warming. There is more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than ever as we continue to burn through fossil fuel reserves.
  • Respiration/Photosynthesis
    These processes are perfectly balanced to exchange carbon and oxygen between organisms. Plants play an essential role in absorbing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but can they keep up with our demands?
  • Fossils Fuels
    Fossil fuels contain the energy of long lost organic matter. They release massive amounts of energy when burned, and for that reason our society has become dependent. We use fossil fuels for everything from electricity to powering our aircraft. But with every gallon of oil we burn, we release more carbon into the air. This contributes to the greenhouse effect.
  • Industrial Emissions/Combustion
    Industries relying on fossil fuels continue to emit carbon dioxide into the air, warming our planet. Can trees and other plants absorb it fast enough to save us from major climate change?
  • Diffusion
    Carbon can also be removed from the air when it diffuses into the ocean. There it can be absorbed by photosynthetic algae.
carbon cycle worksheet

Carbon Cycle Worksheet

Teach the Carbon Cycle with this easy to use and check activity covering all the major introductory vocabulary. This resource has 2 pages of information and 2 pages of activities for students. A reading introduces important vocabulary. Students are then able to answer comprehension questions.

Get it here.

carbon cycle presentation free

FREE Carbon Cycle Google Slides Presentation

The best things in life are free! Grab the presentation that corresponds to the carbon cycle worksheet above by clicking the link below. All you have to do after you access the file is make a copy and then it’s yours to keep and edit as you please.

Get it here.

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carbon cycle worksheet presentation free

States of Matter Worksheet

MS-PS1-4 Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.

Get it free here.

Introduce States of Matter with this easy to use and check worksheet. Students will do a quick 2 page reading and complete 3 activity pages using the information they have learned.

Vocabulary covered includes:

  • matter
  • solid
  • liquid
  • gas
  • heat
  • melting
  • freezing
  • condensation
  • evaporation

Approximate Reading Level: 4-8th Grade

Uses for this resource:

  • Ready to print Sub Plans
  • Flipped Classroom pre-reading
  • Whole or small group opportunity to model and teach Close Reading strategies and annotation
  • Differentiation – assign this reading only to students who have been identified as requiring reteaching
  • Differentiation – assign graphing extension only to students who are identified as above grade level
  • Interactive Notebooks: Print 2 pages in one and cut apart. Glue mini pages into notebooks with room for annotations on the side
  • Interactive Notebooks: Print entire PDF as a mini booklet and add to notebooks using these simple instructions.
  • Creation of Independent Work Packet for students who are not able to be present for direct instruction.

Download includes a printable PDF file in black and white (doodle friendly!) and color with answer key. On page 2 of this resource you will find a link to a student friendly Google Slide version of this file. You will be able to copy this file and use it with Google Classroom or any other paperless initiative.

If you enjoy this resource, consider checking out some of my other guided readings! Or submit a request for a topic you’d like to see in a future product.

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states of matter worksheet PDF

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Weather Worksheets for Middle School

If you’re looking for printable or Google Classroom weather worksheets for your middle school lessons, scroll to the bottom of this page.


For middle school, the NGSS weather standards are as follows:

MS- ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions.

MS- ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.

MS- ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.


Weather Worksheets

weather worksheets water cycle

The Water Cycle

This guided reading covers everything your students need to know about the water cycle. I find that a lot of the available resources on the water cycle are too simple for middle school, so I created this one to be a bit more advanced. As a bonus, this resource is also completely Google Classroom friendly as it comes with a Google Slides version of the PDF file.

Get it here.

weather worksheets density

Density Virtual Lab

When it comes to teaching weather, there’s no way around density. This PhET sim gives students a great intro to the topic as they explore the idea that objects of similar size can have very different weights.

Get it here.

weather worksheets fronts

Fronts Foldable

Great for interactive notebooks or as a simple review, this foldable will allow students to summarize their learning on the 4 major weather fronts.

Get it here.

weather worksheets weather prediction

Weather Prediction Task Cards

Challenge your students to combine their knowledge about air masses and weather in order to make predictions. These task cards come with a student sheet and answer key.

Get it here.

weather worksheets wind

Wind – Color by Number

Use this color by number as a sub plan, chill day, or even as an assessment.

Get it here.

 weather worksheets weather fronts

Fronts Clipart

If you’re planning to create your own weather worksheets, grab this set of front clipart in both color and print or doodle friendly black and white.

Check it out here.

Additional Weather Resources:

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One Pager Science

I love to use one pager science activities to help my students review key takeaways from lots of different topics! In this activity, students are tasked with the problem of fitting all the essential information related to a topic onto the front of one page, ideally in an aesthetically pleasing way. It’s a great way to incorporate design, creativity, and color into your classroom.

Tips for Incorporating One Pager Science into Your Next Lesson

Although it would be fun to eventually build students up to the point that they can design and create their own one pager from scratch, I’d recommend beginning with some templates available on TPT. This way, students can begin to catch on to the main idea behind the activity: creating a well organized summary sheet within the confined space.

Shop my complete collection of one pager science. Each resource is only $1.

After your students have caught on to the purpose behind the one pager, challenge your most artistically inclined students to design their own for topics you’ve discussed as a form of differentiation. This is also a great assignment for early finishers.

Students who work more slowly or need more scaffolding can still be given templates.

For a fun infusion of technology, consider allowing students to use online design programs like Canva. I’m not at this level in my own class yet, but I think it would be amazing to play around with iPads and apple pens to create one pagers in Adobe Illustrator or other great drawing apps.

Take a look at a couple examples to get inspired!

Sample One Pagers

science tools one pager science

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symbiosis one pager science

Get this symbiosis template here.

energy one pager science

Get this energy template here.

mitosis one pager science

Get this mitosis template here.

meiosis one pager science

Get this meiosis template here.

inheritance one pager

Get this FREE Inheritance One pager template here.

CER one pager template

Get this FREE CER One pager template here.


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science one pager

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