Sunday, August 20, 2017

Get-to-Know-You Name Tags

This get-to-know-you activity is quick and allows the teacher to quickly find out students' names and interests. They also share teacher interests with students.

I have supplies and name tag examples on each table. The examples share my information with my students, as well as show students what the finished product will look like.


Get-to-Know-You Nametags:  First day of school activity



This is the front (first and last name). We used construction paper and I asked them to make little "feet" to make it stand upright.

Get-to-Know-You Nametags:  First day of school activity



These are the the general categories on the back.  Students used markers to write their own answers. I write different things on each example so I can talk about different things with each table. For example, I might write "kickboxing" beside sports or "90s" beside music on a different name tag because I also like those things.

Some other categories I used:
Favorite band
Favorite author/book series

Feel free to change any of categories to meet your interests or needs of your students. 

What categories would you include?  



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep

Would you like to get to sleep faster?  Do you wish the sleep you do get was more restful?  Then this post is for you!


Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep



Teachers!  This time of year can do a number on our sleep if we let it. Confession: I have to really work on my sleep.

The following are the time-tested things that help me. 


1. Dim the Lights an Hour Before Bedtime
That includes all electronics, especially your phone. Change your phone's setting to "night shift mode". This is what it looks like on an iPhone.


Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep





2. Take a Warm Bath or Shower
There's just something soothing about washing away the day's cares. Plus, I like knowing I won't have to rush to shower in the morning. 


3. Essential Oils

Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep


I use a roller bottle of cedarwood, wild orange, frankincense, and serenity blend (DōTERRA).  I put it on the bottoms of my feet and big toe before bed. It gives me such amazingly restful sleep!  On nights I forget to use it I toss and turn a lot more. 


4.  Get in Bed 1/2 Hour Before You Need to Go to Sleep
This one is pretty simple. Put the papers that need grading and the to-do list down. Get yourself in bed with a good book or a meditation podcast. You know, things that make you feel relaxed. 


5.  Use White Noise or a Fan

Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep



For white noise, I use the White Noise Baby app. It does cost money but it's got a bunch of different noise options, such as air conditioner, hair dryer, and vacuum. Oddly enough, I always opt for the fan noise. I also like the real thing. So don't be afraid to get an actual fan if that appeals more to you. 



6.  Use a Sleep Mask

Teacher Savior: How to Get to Sleep Fast and Stay Asleep




This might be too much for some people, but I swear it's increased my quality of sleep.  I like the Drift to Sleep mask


Those are my must-haves for a restful night. What are yours?  I can never have too many tricks up my sleeve for sleep!  





Sunday, August 6, 2017

Setting Up a Middle School Student Binder and FREEBIE

Would you like a quick and simple binder set up for your students?  How about a set up that encourages self-reflections and easy organization?  Then this post is for you!

Even though they are older, the more simplified we can make organization for school subjects, the easier it will be for middle-schoolers to perform, study, and find what they need.  It is with that in mind that I design my binder setup each year.


Tips for easy set-up:

Start with a Composition Book OR a 3-Ring Binder:
I personally prefer a 3-ring binder with loose-leaf paper because papers can easily be added or taken out without disrupting the whole notebook.

Include a Table of Contents:
I find a table of contents to be absolutely necessary for students to easily look up information or tell what's missing from their binder.  This one is from my ISN setup pack, but you can easily have the students copy the headings on notebook paper and keep that in the front of their binder.

Setting Up a Middle School Student Binder: Table of Contents


Use dividers to organize the other papers from your class.
I include the following:
  • Table of Contents:  Put about 10 pages of blank notebook paper under this tab.
  • Vocabulary:  Put about 15 pages of blank notebook paper under this tab.
  • Notes: Put the rest of the pack of blank notebook paper in this section AFTER you place the required pages under the “Table of Contents” and “Vocabulary” tab.
  • Labs
  • Study Tools 


The following is the ENTIRE list of setup materials from my Interactive Science Notebook pack.




Setting Up a Middle School Student Binder: Materials






After the general set up, you'll want to give students a way to demonstrate their understanding of what you've been teaching.


In my Interactive Science Notebook ISN Setup Freebie, you'll find ways for your students to demonstrate their knowledge such as:

Note-taking strategies

Setting Up a Middle School Student Binder: Notetaking Plan




Creating Flowcharts

Setting Up a Middle School Student Binder: Concept Map

Other output methods included in my complete ISN pack:
Cornell Note-taking
Textmapping
Thinking Stems
Question Starters
Acrostics
3-2-1
T-Chart (compare and contrast)
Venn Diagram
RAFT writing
Vocabulary

Setting Up a Middle School Student Binder: Acrostic

Setting Up a Middle School Student Binder: Venn Diagram



How do you set up your binders?  What else is important to you that's not part of this post?  I'm always looking to make my set-up better each school year!





Monday, July 31, 2017

Make It Your Best School Year Ever with a Sale!


TpT is hosting a 2-Day Back to School Sale to help teachers head into the 2017-2018 school year feeling inspired, confident, and prepared. 

I will be offering a discount of 20% AND TpT will provide an additional 5% promo code to be used during checkout.  That means you will get a total of 25% off EVERYTHING in my store

The sale starts Tuesday, August 1st at 12:01 a.m. ET and runs through Wednesday, August 2nd at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale


Happy shopping!




Sunday, July 30, 2017

Something Big is Coming....

Shhhh!  It's a secret!  Something big is coming and it involves.....


Back to School


Check back tomorrow to see what the big surprise is.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches

Would you like to have quicker and healthier lunch choices this school year?  I'm sharing my favorite mix-and-match menu options in this post. 



Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




Tuna Salad

1 pouch/can tuna or wild caught salmon
1/4 avocado, mashed
1 cup diced veggies: pickles, bell peppers, zucchini, etc. 

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a lid and take it in your lunch box. 



Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




Hard-Boiled Eggs in a Rice Cooker:
Add 2 cups water to the rice maker. 
Put 6 to 12 eggs in the steamer basket. 
Set it to 15 minutes.  
Remove the eggs and put them in ice water for 5 minutes. 
Peel them and take a couple with you for lunch each day. 


Mason Jar Veggies and Dip
Make this portable treat in minutes by putting your favorite, healthy dip on the bottom and adding sliced veggies.


Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




Click the link to get the full description of how I make this. 

Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




This seriously takes 5 minutes to make and tastes like pumpkin pie. I add 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder to give it a week-rounded meal. 

I make it in a Pyrex dish, let it cool, and store it in the fridge with the lid on it. 

Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




No cooking, portable with mason jars, and added health benefits with the fruit and chia seeds. 


Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




They're packed full of veggies, but you'll never be able to tell!  Make a big batch of these on the weekend and store them in the fridge for packing your lunch. 
Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches



What's on your quick and healthy lunch menu?  I'm ready for some new ideas!





Sunday, July 16, 2017

Debate and Opinion/Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy

Would you like to teach debate and/or persuasive/opinion writing in your science class?  Are you looking for a mentor text that provides evidence for both sides of the debate?  Then Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy by Vic Parker is your go-to book!  


Debate writing, Opinion writing, Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy


Part of the “Let’s Think About” series, this title continues to challenge readers to consider alternatives to the status quo. This time, the controversial topic is sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. Pros and cons for environmental impact, cost, and sustainability for each form of energy: Geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind, biofuel, tidal, and nuclear. 


“Did You Know?” boxes break up the main text with facts from other reports and opinions that support both sides. 


Debate writing, Opinion writing, Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy




After reading all the facts and opinions, the book prompts the reader to take their learning to the next level by researching and debating the issue with friends in the “What Do You Think?” boxes. 


Debate writing, Opinion writing, Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy




Multiple pictures with captions and graphics help make this content-rich book easier to read, so it would be appropriate for upper-elementary and middle school.  Additional print and electronic resources on the topic, as well as suggestions for further research are included in the back of the book. 


The five steps to follow when preparing for a debate are included at the end of the book.


Debate writing, Opinion writing, Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy



Do you have mentor texts for teaching debate/opinion/persuasive writing?  I'd love to hear what you use!




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Using Classroom Organizational Strategies on Vacation

Teachers work so hard all year long to organize their classroom in a way that is both functional for the teacher and creates independence in students.  It got me thinking: Why not use that system when it comes to our summer vacations?

The following are organizational rules I live by in my classroom that also serve me well when I'm vacation.


Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags



Rule #1: Keep the most important supplies visible
For this, I use Sterilite drawers.  I prefer the 2-drawer cart for vacations because its drawers are large enough to carry bulky items and they come out of the cart for easy transport to various rooms.  The carts go right in the back of the car.

NOTE:  I do NOT use the wheels because I don't want them rolling around in the back of the car.  If I was using them in the classroom, I would definitely put the wheels on.


Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags


Rule #2: Label EVERYTHING 
Since the contents of the drawers are likely to change during the vacation, I use packing tape and a Sharpie to label the drawers.


Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags




Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags



NOTE:  I use a more permanent labeling system in my classroom.  I print, laminate, and cut out the labels and hot glue them to different baskets and drawers throughout the room.  That way, I can easily change the label if I change or move the contents.

You can read more about how I use these items in my post about Hanging Posters so They Don't Damage Walls.




Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags




Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags





LIFE HACK: Fold a corner of the tape before cutting and/or putting the tape down permanently.  This helps the tape come off the drawers easily AND you'll never lose your place on the tape roll again!

Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags


Rule #3:  Keep lesser-used materials in storage until needed.
The materials we won't be using during the trip go in vacuum bags and stored in our car top case.  We bring our vacuum so we are able to re-seal the bags when we leave.

Pillows and bedding go in the XL space saver bags.

Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags

Extra clothes go in the Large space saver bags.

Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags


LIFE HACK:  If you can't bring a vacuum, just seal the bag until there's only a little space open and lie down on top of it to get the rest of the air out.  Quickly seal it up and it will lie ALMOST as flat as it would if you had vacuumed the bag.  NOTE:  This won't work with fluffy items, like pillows.


Have you ever found yourself using the organizational strategies from your classroom in your home or on vacation?  I'd love to hear how!






Sunday, July 2, 2017

B-O-Y: Class Schedule Cards and Clocks

Would you like to give your students more independence by providing them with a classroom schedule they can read on their own?  Check out my Class Schedule Cards!


 


Analog clocks are included to help students practice their clock-reading skills, or you can simply write the digital time above the activity. 


 

The clocks and activity cards can be printed and laminated to use for showing your daily schedule. There are 15 different subject cards, ranging from "Arrival" to "Social Studies", and 20 blank analog clocks so you can draw the times in for each subject.

 


You can pick up a copy by clicking here

What do you use for scheduling?  Do you think it's important to have something like this in the upper grades?  What about Middle School?  I'd love to hear your ideas!


 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Food and Learning Activities for July 4th

Do you love the crafts, food, and reading that goes with July 4th?  Here's some great suggestions for getting your holiday started early!


Patriotic Books
These book suggestions by No Time for Flash Cards are perfect for:
  • Teaching the meaning of Independence Day
  • Teaching the meaning of 9/11
  • Learning about the 50 states
  • The National Anthem
  • Several of the book selections are A-Z, so it's a great opportunity to learn or review the alphabet
 



Patriotic Crafts
Art is a great way to sneak in education:
  • Talk about mixing primary colors to make secondary colors
  • If children are old enough, have them practice their scissor/cutting skills to prepare the toilet paper tubes
  • Talk about recycling the toilet paper tubes by first using them as a brush and then recycling the paper after the craft is finished

This Fireworks Painting activity by Happiness is Homemade is fun for all ages. 

 




Patriotic Food
There are several benefits to making food together:
  • It helps children become more interested in trying different foods when they are part of the preparation. 
  • It teaches counting when you read the recipe and count out the ingredients 
  • Children practice colors when they identify the different colors in the ingredients 

These Watermelon Blueberry Sparklers by Tastes Better From Scratch are super easy to make. 

 


Do you have any other favorites to add to the festivities?  I'd love to hear about them!