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Sunday, February 2, 2020

100th Day of School Activity

Do you want to celebrate the 100th Day of School in a meaningful way?  Would you like to incorporate some math into the celebration? Then this post is for you!

100th Day of School Activity

My son’s teacher recently sent a notice home that his class would be celebrating the 100th Day of School. Being a Middle School teacher, I had completely forgotten this, but I was totally game to get back into my elementary school vibes!

100th Day of School Activity

So I got to thinking:  What can we make instead of buy?  I had two reasons for this.  First, I would like him to count to 100 as he decorated it and secondly, I'm not sure he will use it again so I don't want to spend money on it!

I decided after some discussion with my son to go with either a paper bag best or crown.  We could easily decorate either one of these with 100 stickers of his choice.

I searched around for how to make these two things and found a couple of cool DIY videos. The links for each of them are below.

We settled on making a crown. This seemed like the quickest solution for us because we don’t typically have brown paper bags big enough to cut a vest out of lying around the house.

To be honest, I’ve got a lot going on at my school right now so I went to my favorite place or finding educational resources. Of course I searched Teachers pay Teachers!  This is the crown I found that we like the most. Bonus points for it being cheap!

I had some bulletin board border that I used to attach the crown to.  It made the overall crown less flimsy and gave more area to attach the stickers. 

100th Day of School Activity

100th Day of School Activity

After printing, cutting, and decorating it with stickers this was the end result.  Not my best picture, but I was under a time crunch to get it before my little guy could put it on his head.

Do you have any other fun and inexpensive ways to celebrate the one hundredth day of school? Comment with some ideas below!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Winter Self-Care in Ten Minutes or Less

It's that time of year when we find ourselves in need of a new self-care routine.  In this post, I’m going to share my favorite items and techniques that take 10 minutes or less.  Most of them can even be done at your desk!

First, I’m going to share the relatively cheap or free self-care items and techniques that I love.

Wash your hands!

We all know how important hand-washing is to our overall hygiene and health. However, we are all also under strict time crunches with our schedule. Please do not skip washing your hands. It’s not worth it the risk of getting the flu!

Hydrate your skin after washing your hands

We all know how important it is to hydrate our bodies, but we often neglect hydrating our skin. Every time you wash your hands, you should be applying lotion during this incredibly dry season. Cracks and dry skin on your hands let bacteria and viruses in. My favorite lotion is by Doterra but any lotion will work.

Hydrate your body with more than just water

Bone broth powder
I buy packets of these bone broth packets at Walmart. Bone broth has amazing anti-inflammatory and healing qualities. It also adds extra protein to your diet without adding a ton of extra calories. I just pour one of the powder packets in a mug and add boiling water and within minutes, I have a wonderfully nourishing cup of broth to sip on.

Magnesium tea

I have an entire post on how to make Magnesium Tea. In that post, I talk about the amazing qualities that magnesium have for healing your body and calming your mind.

Now I’m going to share some of my self-care items that will require a small investment but pay off big time in the mental health department.

My favorite wireless earbuds last a long time before needing to be recharged.  On rough days I like to put on either an uplifting music playlist or a positive video on YouTube. On long days, I love listening to energizing music. Wireless earbuds allow me to move around the classroom and complete tasks without being tied to my phone.  The same thing applies at home. Doing dishes is a lot more fun when I’m jamming to my favorite songs. 

Get some sunlight… Or get the next best thing

My room is on the ground floor of our building. That means I do not get any natural sunlight in my classroom. Especially in the winter, I get the blues when I can’t get enough fresh air and natural light. So, that’s when I reach for the next best thing: A Portable Light Therapy Energy LampJust spending 10 or 15 minutes in front of it while sitting at my desk grading papers makes a huge difference in my mood.  

Combat dry air

Studies have shown that dry air carries viruses more readily. At home, I have humidifiers running constantly but in the classroom it is a little more difficult. So the answer is a portable humidifier with a USB cable.  I can plug it into my laptop and move it around the classroom on my portable podium.   The optimum humidity is between 40 to 60%. If you are curious what the humidity of your classroom is, you can use this hygrometer that I use at home.

Try some aromatherapy

I use a portable diffuser that also has a USB cord that I plug into my laptop and travel around my classroom with. I turn it off when students are in the room. Several studies have indicated that the benefits of diffusing essential oil last 2 to 3 hours so it doesn’t need to be on all of the time.

Here is my favorite January-inspired diffuser blend if you need some extra inspiration.

Nurture your body

I saved one of my favorite new things for last. I bought myself this portable body massager for Christmas. It is amazing because it has a car charger converter so I can use it when I am waiting to pick my son up at school in the car line. Then I can use the AC adapter at school for a quick neck and shoulder massage while I’m sitting in my desk chair.  It has a heat option that feels amazing on those cold winter days. 

What are your favorite self-care routine‘s and items? I am always searching for new things to nourish my soul.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Cyber Monday Sale

Are you ready to keep the discounts rolling with a Cyber Monday Teachers Pay Teachers sale?  If you said yes, then this two-day site-wide sale is for you! 

Read about it below and click HERE to get started shopping.

During the site-wide sale, you can save up to 25% off TpT resources.
Happy shopping!

The sale will start on Monday, December 2nd at 12:01am ETand will run through Tuesday, December 3rd at 11:59pm ET

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

Monday, February 25, 2019

It's Time for a TpT Sale!

What's on your TpT wishlist?  TpT is hosting a 2-Day sale, starting tomorrow!  So whether you need lesson plans, classroom reward ideas, or just some pretty new labels for all those supplies, TpT has you covered!

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

The sale starts TOMORROW, February 26th at 12:01 a.m. ET and runs through February 27th at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

Happy shopping!

Monday, January 28, 2019

How to Teach When You Have Limited Time

Are you having a difficult time covering all the material you need or want to each day?  Do you have shortened class periods that present a challenge for your teaching style?  This post gives some of my best solutions to these problems!

How to Teach When You Have Limited Time

Think About What You Absolutely Need to Teach First

Choose Quality Over Quantity

Pick a few things to cover, go deep with those few things, and make connections to as much as you can. Quality over quantity will give you the most bang for your buck. Plus, if you have fun "independent" study projects for them to design and complete, they'll be begging to get to the subject you teach.

Carefully Consider the Learning Activity

Sometimes things like waiting for students to write down notes can take an enormous amount of time.   I'm not saying that note-taking is not important, but think about what they’re writing and why. Can some of it be replaced with videos or printouts?

Teach Students Vocabulary During Activities Instead of in Isolation 

Instead of teaching vocabulary words in seclusion, include/ teach them while you’re doing a hands on activity. This can save a lot of time and you can always take the final moments of class to review vocabulary words each day to reinforce their meaning.

Try Stations

Just keep in mind that you don’t have to complete the rotations in a day. It can carry on for tomorrow or the next day.

Alternate Activities Throughout the Week

This is especially helpful if you teach multiple subjects and some subjects are allotted less time than others.  For example, if you have 90 minutes for math and only 30 for science. 

Try a Weekly Schedule

Once you have chosen the activities that are the most important, come up with a weekly schedule for when you will use them.

A sample weekly schedule might look like this:
Notes/Instructional videos on Monday/Tuesday to prepare students for in-depth things like labs or projects
Labs/Projects/Stations on Wednesdays/Thursdays
Quizzes on Fridays

How to Teach When You Have Limited Time: How to Start Teaching as Soon as Students Enter the Room

I did another blog post about this recently.  Click here to learn more.

What else do you do to maximize your limited time in class?  This is a subject I always need extra advice in!

Monday, January 21, 2019

How to Help Absent Students Catch Up

How do you help students who are absent to catch up?  Here are some of my best tips for helping students help themselves and how you can assist them when they struggle with catching up on their own.

How to Help Absent Students Catch Up

Have Things Set Up in the Classroom So They Can Help Themselves

"Were You Absent?" crate

I have a crate with a hanging file for each period I teach. I fill out a sheet for what we did that day or maybe even two or three days depending on if my plans are set in stone. Than I make copies. When someone is absent I just put their name on it and put it in the correct hanging file.  Student responsibility to check crate when they return.

How to Help Absent Students Catch Up

Table of contents poster

I keep a binder with all of the items students should have completed.  It's basically the same as the one each of the students keeps for my class.  The first page is the Table of contents.

This is just a laminated piece of chart paper.  I write on it with dry-erase markers to keep it updated.  It helps students see what they missed as soon as they walk in.  Students know to ask for help from either teachers or accountability students (see my explanation below) to find these assignments.  Most often, I keep them in the Absent Crate I mentioned above.

How to Help Absent Students Catch Up

Make up work poster

This is another laminated piece of chart paper.  I write the graded assignments on this one.  Most often, these will not be kept in the Absent Crate because I want to make sure:
1.  Students are given the proper testing environment, if necessary
2.  Students are given the proper assistance or information in order for it to be a proper assessment

How to Help Absent Students Catch Up

Online homework/assignments calendar

My county uses an online repository called Blackboard, but you could just as easily have a classroom website with a Google Calendar that lists the daily homework and assignments.  I will often take pictures of the notes written on the board and attach them to the calendar so students know what needs to be done regarding those assignments.

Use Accountability Students 

These are the students who are organized, usually finish before other students, and are looking for a way to help in the classroom.  A good way to let them help is to have one of them fill out a "While you were out sheet" for the missing student.  It has a short description of what they did in class and the homework assigned.

A word of caution for this technique:  If you have a student fill out a form I suggest that you sign off on it that it is accurate. 

Making Up Stations and Labs

Divide the learning/lab into several stations

That way if a student is absent for a day or two, they can still make it up while working with the other students in the days following their return to school.

What About Students Who Are Absent for Several Days?

First, decide what assignments you must have for assessment purposes.
These are the assignments you want to help students tackle first.

Next, decide if you can modify any assignments.
Sometimes we give assignments for enrichment.  Sometimes we give assignments to help students dig deeper and think critically.  I'm not saying you shouldn't give these type of assignments to students who are chronically absent, but you may want to cut out any extra work that doesn't directly relate to what you will be assessing on the final test.

Be flexible with due dates.
My policy is that I give two days for every day the student is absent for them to turn things in.  That being said, I remain as flexible as possible.  If a student is working diligently to complete an assignment but it's taking a little longer, I tend to support that whenever possible.  To me, the learning is more important than following a strict deadline when a student is trying to catch up.

Decide what needs to be done at school and what can be sent home.
Things like labs and assessments obviously need to be done at school.  Things like vocabulary and study guides can be sent home for most students who don't have special needs.  If you send assignments home, you may want to communicate with the parents what you will be sending home and when it is due, along with any special instructions.  

Decide if you can exempt any assignments.
Sometimes, for one reason or another, students just can't make up the same amount of work that their classmates completed while they were absent.  In those cases, I look at everything I assigned a grade for during the period of time the student was absent and I decide which of those things to exempt (leave blank in my gradebook).  

How do you help your students catch up?  Which of the things I mentioned will you be using in the future?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Let It Snow! Essential Oil Diffuser Blend

Let It Snow is the perfect blend for January  because as a teacher and parent, I am all for snow days. I love getting to spend the extra time with my son and it's a good excuse to stay in my comfy clothes drinking hot chocolate. When I taught 4th Grade, the students did the “snow dance” at home by turning their PJs inside out and flushing ice cubes down the toilet to increase the probability of snow. I consider this Diffuser Blend to be my version of bribing the snow clouds to bring on the snow.

Let It Snow! Essential Oil Diffuser Blend

Check out my video for the full details: Let It Snow! Essential Oil Diffuser Blend.