Sunday, January 22, 2017

Steps to Long Division Bookmarks

Long division:  It's so important to so many other math concepts.  It's also a tough concept to master and memorize.  So what do we do?

Long Division Bookmarks with mnemonics for the family and the McDonald's.



Is your hand up?  I know mine is!  It was with these goals in mind that I created my Steps to Long Division Bookmarks.  


These are dual-sided bookmarks that present the steps for long division in two ways:
The first uses the mnemonic of the family (daddy, mommy, sister, brother, Cali, Rover) 
The second uses a cheeseburger (does McDonald's serve cheese burgers). 

The bookmark format allows students to keep this visual reminder in their textbook, or even in their nightly reading books for a handy study guide. 


Long Division Bookmarks with mnemonics for the family and the McDonald's.



Long Division Bookmarks with mnemonics for the family and the McDonald's.



Just print, glue the two sides together, and laminate.  Then students can choose which mnemonic makes the most sense to them.

You can pick up a copy by clicking here.

What tips and tricks do you have for helping students learn and study the steps for long division?  I'd love to hear from you!



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Teacher Self-Care Practice: Essential oils

I've recently come to love my essential oils for pulling double-duty in my home AND in the classroom.  Read this post to see how I use them for calming, health, and clarity.


Here are the ways I use oils in the classroom:

1. Diffusing


Teacher Self-Care Practice: Essential Oils in the classroom.

I love this little portable diffuser.  It has a USB cord and is small enough to fit in a cup holder in your car.  That means you can easily take it from your car to classroom.  Just a drop or two of oil, and this bad boy will diffuse for a few hours.  I love that it will not make the whole classroom smell of essential oil, just my desk area.


2.  In my water

A drop or two of lemon oil encourages me to drink more water and detoxes my system.


3.  In my tea

A drop of On Guard in my tea gives it a nice clove, cinnamon, spicy taste and protects me against sickness.  Bonus:  If it's Magnesium Tea, it promotes calm, clarity, and energy.


Teacher Self-Care Practice: Essential Oils in the classroom.



4.  Cleaning 

My desk, the tables, the counters.  Middle-schoolers still get sick... a lot. and their germs are all over the place.  At the very least, I need to wipe my desk down before eating/snacking.  If I see/hear evidence of a kid being sick, I start wiping chairs and tables.


Teacher Self-Care Practice: Essential Oils in the classroom.



Do you use oils in your classroom?  I'm looking for more ways to use them, so I'd love to hear how you use them!





Sunday, January 8, 2017

Winter Poetry and a FREEBIE

Want some ideas on how to keep the writing curriculum fresh, even on those long Winter days?  Then check out my Winter Poetry Unit and Winter Poetry Freebie: Haikus!  Poetry + Figurative Language = FUN during your writing block that will keep the creative juices flowing. 


Winter poetry and figurative language lesson: Cinquains, limericks, haikus, freestyle poetry



It doesn't matter if you're in elementary school or middle school when it comes to poetry.  Everyone loves poetry!  You can dig pretty deep into figurative language and writing structure with something so simple as a poem.


This unit is designed to have writers use the following strategies to vary their writing and use descriptive terms:
~"Show, Don't Tell"
~Figurative Language: Onomatopoeia, Metaphors
~Creating rhythm in poetry: Alliteration, Rhyming
~Types of poems: Cinquains, Limericks, Haikus



Winter poetry and figurative language lesson: Cinquains, limericks, haikus, freestyle poetry





Winter poetry and figurative language lesson: Cinquains, limericks, haikus, freestyle poetry



What's poetry without some really cool forms of figurative language?  My Winter Poetry packet includes:
Onomatopoeia
Metaphors
Personification


Winter poetry and figurative language lesson: Cinquains, limericks, haikus, freestyle poetry



And NOW.... a FREEBIE!


Winter poetry and figurative language lesson: Cinquains, limericks, haikus, freestyle poetry




Haikus are a wonderful way to dig deep into word choice and the writing process without a lot of pain.  This FREEBIE includes:
~Description and rules for writing a Haiku
~An example Winter Haiku
~Instructions for writing and editing a Winter Haiku 

What are your favorite ways to get the students to buy into figurative language and the writing process?  I'd love to hear how!






Sunday, January 1, 2017

Teacher Self-Care: Magnesium Tea

Welcome to the new year!  Do you want to start a healthy habit that will reduce stress, help keep your body running at peak performance, increase your energy, and takes less than 10 minutes?  Then it's time to learn how to make Magnesium Tea!


Teacher Self-Care: Magnesium Tea



We have something to celebrate: We made it through some of the most stressful times of the year already.  Congrats, teachers!  Moving forward, we need to remember to take time out for self-care that will keep out soul rested and our love for our profession evident.

So, carve out a 10-minute slice of your day for one of the easiest and fulfilling things your can do for yourself: Make Magnesium Tea!  Magnesium has many benefits, including stress reduction and energy boosts.


Here's what you'll need:

A mug of hot water (preferably filtered water instead of tap)
***1/2-1 Tablespoon of honey or sweetener of choice
1 tea bag (I am loving the blueberry Celestial tea at the moment)
1/2-1 teaspoon of a magnesium citrate (I LOVE Natural Vitality's raspberry-lemon, but it comes in many flavors and there's an unflavored version)

***You want to start small with the magnesium.  Start with 1/2 teaspoon twice a day and work up to 2 teaspoons a day.  


Directions:
1. Warm the water for a minute in the microwave
2. Put the Tablespoon of honey in the water and let the honey melt off the spoon
3. Add the Magnesium.  It will fizz a little bit while it's reacting with the water.
4. Add the teabag and let it steep for a few minutes.
5. Remove the teabag, stir, and enjoy!


That's it!


What do you do for your self-care that takes ten minutes or less?  I need some new ideas for the new year!







Sunday, December 25, 2016

New Year, New Practice: Teacher Vision Boards Instead of Resolutions

Do you want to live your life with the same growth mindset you teach to your students?  Then it's time to start thinking about what you want for yourself in the new year!  Join me as I begin my vision board journey!

Even though it's not the new year yet, it is actually the best time to be thinking about what you want for yourself next year.


1.  Think about the areas of your life and career that mean the most to you.  
Don't just think about work.  Be sure to add areas for personal growth and health, too.

Here are some of my top areas I will focus on next year:

Health
Teacher Self-Care
Income
Career


2.  Choose whether you would like a tangible vision board or a digital one.
I chose digital for the ease of changing and adding to the pictures.  I simply used PowerPoint, but many people prefer the tangibility of scrabooking their vision board.


3.  Collect pictures from magazines or online that will help you visualize your areas of focus.



Beg, Borrow, and Teach!: Creating a Teacher Vision Board





Beg, Borrow, and Teach!: Creating a Teacher Vision Board




4.  Look at your vision board several times a day.
I plan to look at it when I get up and before bed, at the very least.


That's it!  So simple, but so effective.  This will guide your thinking and actions each day.


How do you create goals for yourself for the next year?  I'd love to hear about it!


Beg, Borrow, and Teach!: Creating a Teacher Vision Board




Sunday, December 18, 2016

5 Things to Do Before Winter Break to Reduce Stress Next Year

Would you like to be able to enjoy your winter break more?  Would you like to return with less stress and a better sense of preparedness for those inevitable meetings that first week?  If so, then read this post about my must-do list before I leave for winter break!



5 Things to Do Before Winter Break to Reduce Stress Next Year



1. Make a to-do list for the week before you leave, but keep it short.
Sounds trite, I know, but having something tangible to remind me of what I have to get done before I leave motivates me and gives me a sense of satisfaction when I cross things off.  The reason I say "keep it short" is because I can always add to it later if I get everything done.  A long list makes me more nervous.

Here's my current list:
~Grade papers
~Put 2nd Quarter grades in computer
~Hang posters for next unit

2.  Have at least a general idea of what you'll be teaching the week you return.
I know you are just trying to get through to winter break, but trust me, planning a little bit ahead will give you peace of mind during the break and lower your stress when you get back.  Even if you can plan the first couple of days, that will help tremendously.

3.  Check out an online planbook to streamline the planning process.
If you already have your plans written, awesome.  If you don't, may I suggest an online planbook?  I've been using planbook.com for about 4 years now, and I love it.  It's so easy to change and add to from any device.  If snow hits, I just bump my lessons forward.  No more erasing and re-writing.  No more lost sticky notes.  Fun fact, I am NOT being paid to promote their website.

4.  Get that copying done NOW.
Once you have a general plan of what you'll be teaching when you return, start making copies.  You know the line will be long when you return.  You know the copy machine will jam and waste time when 80 people are trying to use it at once.  Why not get a little bit ahead of that stress?  Even if you just copy a few key assignments, it will save you some headaches.  I promise.

5.  Practice some self-care EVERY day.
If you lower your stress before break, you will most likely return with a a better sense of calm after the break.

Here are some of my favorite self-care routines for teachers:
~Do stretches at your desk throughout the day

~Rub your favorite lotion or essential oil on your hands and inhale

~Listen to an audiobook on your way to school and home

~Write down at least one thing that went well each day and keep it to read when you need a reminder of how you are doing a great job and YOU MATTER!

~If you can, do a couple of laps around the hallways of your school at a brisk pace to get your blood flowing.  FEEL-GOOD BONUS:  Do this with a favorite teacher friend.

For days when all else fails, during your planning period:
~Shut the door, turn the overhead lights down, draw the shades, turn on soft lighting, play your favorite music or put an uplifting/funny YouTube video on in the background while you work.  I swear this one works!


What do you do to make the beginning of the year start off smoothly?  I'd love to hear about it!







Sunday, December 11, 2016

Seasonal Sensory Writing: Winter Bakery

Now that the weather is a bit chillier and coffee shops everywhere are offering flavors only available this time of year, it's time to use those sensory experiences in your writing with my Winter Bakery: Sensory Writing for the Season!


Seasonal Sensory Writing: Winter Bakery.  5-Senses writing.


The first thing I like to do with students is to read some sensory-filled mentor texts with the students.  We collect words that match each of the senses in our writing journals and I keep them on anchor charts as we go.


Seasonal Sensory Writing: Winter Bakery.  5-Senses writing.



My Sensory Writing Packet includes several more mentor text suggestions, but these are two of my favorites.
Seasonal Sensory Writing: Winter Bakery.  5-Senses writing.



Seasonal Sensory Writing: Winter Bakery.  5-Senses writing.

Before reading, I hand out the a double-sided graphic organizer.  The first side has my filled-in version of the "5 Senses Organizer" and the other side is blank.  The filled-in version is below.


Seasonal Sensory Writing: Winter Bakery.  5-Senses writing.


We talk about why I chose the words I did to fill in the organizer (descriptive and sensory).  They then try to find words like these in the mentor texts as we read them aloud together and fill in their side of the organizer.

We also discuss their favorite place to eat. It can be everything from their own kitchen to Panera. I do try to steer them towards a place that offers an atmosphere unique to the season. For example, if their favorite place to eat is Burger King, they are not going to have as much to write about pertaining to the holidays. However, we work with what we get. Even Burger King offers some sensory experiences.


If you'd like to pick up a copy of my Winter Bakery: Sensory Writing for the Season, click here.


How do you bring the season's sensory experiences into your writing?  I'd love to hear about it!