Valentine’s Teacher Giveaway

It’s time to show teachers a #LOTTALOVE with a giveaway!  We are giving away TWO $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Cards, and ONE $100 Amazon gift card to THREE lucky teachers.  I’ve have joined with a few other fantastic teacher authors to bring this giveaway to you.  You just have to be a teacher and enter the raffle for a chance to win!

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Winners will be announced on the 15th.

Click the image or the link below to enter! Good LUCK!
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100th Day of School Ideas

Here are some of my favorite ideas for the 100th Day of School that I use with K-1 students.  Let me know what fun activities you do for this day too!

1.Have student’s send in 100 items from home in zip lock bags to hang in your classroom.

2.Send a parent letter home encouraging students to wear t-shirts with 100 items glued, painted or pinned on the shirt.

3. Wear a t-shirt. Have students put 100 band aids on it, and have it say, “I survived 100th Day, and so did Mrs. ________.

4.Have students dress like they are 100 Years Old.

5. Use an app or web site to make the students look old.  Then let them do a self portrait from the app on drawing paper.

6. Use doughnut shaped cereal to make edible necklaces with yarn.  Have students group them by to using the included work mat.

7.Use Bulletin Board paper to have students design a 100th Day banner or mural to hang in the classroom.

8.Put 100 plastic cups out and let students  build  a building.

9.Put 100 Legos out and let students build a structure.  Then have them write about what they build.

10.Put out 5 different snacks (pretzels, cereal, mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, M&Ms) Have students count out 20 and make a trail mix using the included work mat and a zip lock to take home.

11.Using the printable, have student write 100 words in groups of 10.

12.Students can write about what they would do with 100 dollars.

13.Use the 100 chart to have students count out 100 sweet treats.

14.Use paint daubers to color 10 groups of gumballs using the printable.

15.Make 100th Day Glasses using the printable.

16.Have student count out 100 drops of water, make predictions and complete the printable.

17.Have students use the printable to make tally marks of 100 licks of a Tootsie Pop.  They can predict if they will get to the tootsie or not.

18.Incorporate fitness by having students do 100 exercises.


Create an Escape Room for the Classroom

We all dread seeing our students falling asleep or wanting to escape the classroom out of boredom while we pour our hearts out teaching. Why not spice up your lessons with creating an educational escape room for your little ones?  I’ve seen my own children coming home so excited about the escape rooms or break out boxes that their teachers have created in middle school.  So, I had to figure out how to create this excitement about learning and teamwork in the elementary classroom setting.  It took me some time to wrap my head around how to make it easy enough for a 6 year old, but rigorous enough to meet the benchmarks.  Once I figured it out, it was like magic!

Here is an example of how to set one up in your room.  First, think of the topic you want to cover.  Let’s just say this escape room will focus on sight words.  Then come up with two fun tasks you would like the kids to work on together in order to get a clue.  For example, plastic bags full of letters that will create sight words that are hidden around the room, or a mystery picture to color using sight words to code the color of the picture.  My daughter says that the best part of her escape room experiences (besides opening the box full of treats), was the video they watched as a “hook” that explained a crazy situation of someone capturing them or stealing an item.  (Click HERE for an example of a video hook.)  So, keeping that in mind you can create a little video, or just make up a story.  I like to separate my students into two groups. Each time the students complete a task, they get the next clue inside of an envelope that I read to the class.  In this case, the class would use the plastic bags letters to solve sight words.  The next clue would lead them to maybe a mystery picture to solve.  Then, they get the last clue which leads them to find a key (either paper or a real one to a box) by reading a riddle for them to solve.  This riddle could have a code to open a lock that you placed on the box.  They will each need their key or code to open the box, which also opens their classroom. They will have to use their imaginations a little.  We don’t want to actually lock them in the classroom.  Then, once they open the box, I let the students “free” to go to recess or to get a book from the library.  Students are encouraged to work together to help each other solve the problems.  You could even add QR Codes, black lights, and magnifying glasses to your escape room to change it around for different lessons.  Students go home talking about how they found sight words to escape their room.  Designing an escape room yourself takes some time, but the benefit is well-worth it!

Be that teacher every student remembers because their lesson plans were so engaging with this Escape Room for K-1 focusing on Sight Words.

Primary Teacher Challenge

Do you like free resources?  Do you love to see what other teachers are doing in their classroom, but can’t because you are busy teaching?  Well, I have something fun for you! Go check out my Facebook Page.  Pinned at the top is the video (same video as below) of me explaining how to win free resources by simply sharing one of your fantastic lessons with the rest of us by snapping a quick picture and adding it to comment section with a sentence.  Go check it out to discover the criteria I’m looking for, and hopefully see some other teacher’s lessons for inspiration.  I can’t wait to see what you all are doing with the kiddos!

Winter Olympics 2018 in the Classroom

Are you ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics in your classroom?  It is such an exciting time to be in the classroom and to connect with your students with what they are most likely watching at home.  It is full of history, inspirational stories, and competition.  What’s not to love?  I’m so excited about the Winter Games this year!  Living in Florida, we don’t get to see a lot of snow here, but we love to watch it on television.  I made some Winter Sports Resources designed with your classroom in mind to help them make connections, learn the history of Olympic symbols and traditions, and to create classroom discussions. (Click the photo to LEARN MORE)

Winter Olympics new cover

winter sports interactive notebook cover

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Prevent Bullying in School #StandWithKeaton

So, I’m sipping my coffee watching GMA, when a story comes on called “Celebrities ‘Stand with Keaton’ to Support Bullied Boy with words of Encouragement.”  It is about a young boy’s emotional viral video with him telling his mom about being bullied at school.  His mother had to pick him up early due to him being bullied.  His emotional outpouring on camera just made me feel so heartbroken, but not helpless.  He said kids pour milk on him and put ham down his clothes.  They call him names and make fun of his nose.  This is so disappointing. I know as teachers, we are in the forefront of preventing children from bullying.  We can make a difference and protect these children while teaching others about kindness.  Keaton is amazing!  The end of the video, where he tells people to “stay strong” and thinks it will get better is absolutely inspiring! I stand with Keaton, and I hope you will too. Yesterday, I posted about bully principals.  Today we are talking about strategies you can use to prevent bully behavior in school.

  1. Practice What You Preach Some of the same bully principals I wrote about yesterday, preach about how teachers should have a zero tolerance for bullying. Stopping bullying begins at the top! Principals should have a zero tolerance and lead by example.  Some teachers are guilty of this also.  I know of children who were bullied by a teacher.  The teacher humiliated them in front of their peers, held their work up and called it “ugly” to the rest of the class. They even made fun of a student who stuttered while encouraging others to join in on the bullying. The students,  along with a group of other children who felt bad for the students being bullied by the teacher, did the right thing by telling a teacher who told an administrator.  That administrator did nothing to protect the children.  The School Board was informed.  They did NOTHING to prevent this situation from happening again.  So, don’t just define your beliefs.  Live them!
  2. Increase Adult Supervision  Most of the time bullying happens when kids are alone and without supervision.  If bullying is happening at lunch, as a teacher, make a point to walk around a couple times or actually eat lunch with some of the students.  If you are aware of issues in the hallways, ask teachers to volunteer to monitor the hallways.  Most teachers, when aware of a bully issue, are happy to assist. If it is on a bus, talk to the bus driver.
  3. Have School Wide Bully Prevention Workshops A lot of schools just put up an Anti-Bullying poster and never really talk about it with the students.  Teachers, you should role-play bullying scenes with students.  Give them strategies like when they SEE something, SAY something.  Make sure as a teacher, you follow through with telling the proper people about any bully situations you discover.  We want every child to feel safe at school.  Even if you have a poor administration or district, you can talk to your staff and have them supervise areas.
  4. Teach KINDNESS  Teach acts of kindness as part of your social studies curriculum.  Reward students for kindness with hugs, stickers, a shout out on the announcements, etc.
  5. Work with parents who have children who are being bullied.  Some teachers don’t want to get involved because sometimes it is a fine line between bullying and innocent teasing.  The bottom line is if a child is feeling like they are not safe in school, there is a problem.  Talk to the parents to come up with how students can know the difference. Tell the student you are there to keep them safe.  Work with the students who are bullying or “teasing” to know the difference.  Some kids don’t even know they are bullying until you bring it to their attention.  This is why it is important to role-play.
  6. Talk About It Have regular conversations with a purpose.  The goal can be each week to take 5 min. to discuss with your class about if they feel safe at school or on the bus.  These discussions can lead to your ability to gain knowledge about bully situations before they get out of hand.
  7. Share Keaton’s story with your students.  Show support by sharing his story with the hashtag #StandWithKeaton!

I hope some of these tips will help you help your students.  Our number one priority is to provide a safe learning environment for our children. Watch the video here.

Celebrities stand in support of bullied boy after heartbreaking video

When Your Principal is a Bully…

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about power greedy principals.  The complaints range from humiliating teachers in front of peers to threatening a grade level change because a teacher has refused to participate in a particular professional activity outside of contract hours.  Part of the problem may be because the districts are putting too much demand on principals, but I don’t accept that as an excuse for ignoring ethics. Neither should you!  Teachers have a high pressure profession and when their principal is unsupportive, it adds to the stress of the job.  I know many teachers who have sought professional help to deal with the stress of their principal/teacher relationship.  Many are on anti-depressants to help them deal with the stress this relationship places on them.  Medication dependency is not what we want for the people guiding our students. There are many decent and professional minded principals.  I’ve worked for administrators who were fair and have inspired me to be a better teacher, made it easy to wake up each work day, and who embodied workplace integrity.  So, what can you do if you aren’t that lucky?

Business, Businessman, Male, Work, Success, Job, ManHere are some strategies for dealing with a BULLY principal:

 

 

  1. Collect data just like you do for your students.  If a principal tells you that you have to work the valentine’s dance or they will make you do cafeteria duty all year, write it down.  If they are telling your peers that they should take you shopping because they don’t like the way you dress, write it down.  Make sure you put the date and time on the data.  If you get an email saying you have to stay late (past your contract time) to attend a meeting, save and print that email.  Keep copies of everything in a collected file.
  2. Join your union, if you haven’t already.  They can answer all of your questions about your contract.  I’ve never been one for following the contract precisely when I choose to use after hours time for work. I work long hours and take work home with me regularly.  What teacher doesn’t?  But there is a big difference between you choosing to stay late and a dictatorial principal telling you that you have to do it.
  3. Talk to your principal.  Give them a chance.  Ask for a meeting, tell them what you disagree with and give them the opportunity to correct it.  Maybe they are under their own pressure from above and are not aware of the effects of their actions.
  4. EMAIL is your best friend when facing major administrator/teacher issues.  This will preserve everything in writing, preventing denial as a defense.
  5. If you have major problems, for example your principal has placed multiple behavior problems in your class with the intent of making your work more difficult, then you have to get direction from your union, school board, or superintendent.  You are a professional.  You know when unfair practices are taking place.  It is unfair to you and stakeholders that a principal would encourage a classroom environment that is disruptive. I’m aware of many teachers getting physically harmed or threatened on a daily basis with no support from administration.  This is unacceptable!
  6. Take your personal time when you know you need it.  Yes, for teachers it is not easy to take time off because of the planning necessary for a substitute. Invest time and materials in a “Sub Tub” at the beginning of the year.  There are plenty of premade sub plans on-line to help you with this if you can’t make it yourself.  If you find that you are on edge because of your oppressive administration, take a mini vacation to collect you thoughts.
  7. Your health is number 1!  If you are so stressed out over a bully principal that it is damaging your health, seek a new position or find a different profession. It is not worth losing your health when there is another position somewhere with a happy well-adjusted administrator who would love to have you on their team.

 

CHECKLIST for 12 Day Giveaway

Hi everyone!  This is an exciting time of year.  To say thank you for all the hard work you do, I’ve teamed up with the BEST Teacher Pay Teacher Authors to bring you a MEGA Giveaway! Checkout and LIKE my Facebook Page for details.  You can check this blog daily too for information on daily special REASONS to visit each day!  Here is the directions for the $20 CASH part of the Giveaway.  One person will get $20 CASH! (see below the image also to enter the raffle for $500 and MORE prizes for TEACHERS)

  • Download and print the checklist
  • Follow the directions
  • Take a photo of this checklist after it’s completed
  • Upload it to my Facebook Page or one of the participating store’s pages with the Hashtag #TisTheREASON
  • Download the PDF HERE: 12 Days Giveaway PDF Checklist 12 Days Giveaway CHECKLIST Updated
  • Winners will be announced on December 17th.  The only requirement is for you to be a teacher to win. Good LUCK!

Enter the $500 #TisTheReason Rafflecopter Giveaway

Thanksgiving Activities Including Tortilla Tepees

Where has all the time gone this school year?  It is already time for the turkey which also means Christmas is here now.  I must admit I LOVE this time of year, but it is so busy.  This blog is all about saving you time and money as a teacher.  So, here are a few ideas for Thanksgiving Crafts.  Follow this post to the end to see the huge giveaway ending November 15th at 12:00 EST so you can get some holiday CASH.

One of my favorite crafts to do each year no matter what grade I teach is Tortilla Tepees! They are super easy to make and the kids love decorating them!

Materials: 1/2 of a round Tortilla for each student, pretzel sticks, markers, toothpicks

Directions: 1. Cut the tortilla in half. 2. Fold it into a cone shape. 3. Cut the pointed end off. 4. Unfold the tortilla. 5. Let the kids use markers to draw a picture on the tortilla. (I like to go review Native American symbols prior to this activity, so they can use some on the tepee.) 6.   Place a small amount of blue on the edge of the fold using a toothpick to hold it together. 7. Use 3 or 4 pretzel sticks with glue in the top of the tepee and lay sideways, so it will dry overnight.

Placemats are always nice to send home as a keepsake.  Here is a FREE download to make prep easy.  Just have kids cut, color and glue!

Thanksgiving Placemat

MORE Thanksgiving Resources:

Native American Headbands, Disguised Turkey Home Project, A Plump and Perky Turkey, The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey, Turkey Trouble Writing, November Writing PromptsTurkey Opinion Writing, Thanksgiving Play

As promised, I said if you stick around to the end of this I would tell you how you can win some holiday MONEY!  Here is a raffle that you can join easily.  I joined up with lots of other authors to bring some lucky teachers some holiday joy! PRIZES include $200 in gift cards to Amazon, TpT, and a Rose Gold Heart Locket.  Good Luck!

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Writing Prompts for the YEAR

Why is writing important?  It is important because we can communicate easier in creative ways with others.  Writing is necessary for life.  This skill helps express feelings and thoughts.  Writing builds a connection with reading skills.  It is different from oral communication.  Writing helps organize thoughts.   Studies show that teachers should spend more time teaching writing both explicit and naturally.  This is where it is helpful for a teacher to provide a daily writing journal.  If students finish work early, give them the option to write in a journal.  It is unclear through research just how much time is needed to teach writing because every student learns differently.  Also, many teachers integrate writing in other subject areas.    Share different types of writing with your students.  Let them have opportunities for a real audience and a chance to hear feedback not just with the teacher.  I used monthly journals.  Every Friday I allowed a few students to be the featured author, and share their writing with the class.  Each author could choose 3 people to give feedback or a positive comment.  I had to model this the first couple weeks, but students are quick to pick it up.  No matter what, make sure you teach writing in elementary everyday.  It will build a great foundation for your students.

YEARLONG Writing Prompts Monthly Journals BUNDLE

YEARLONG Writing Prompts Monthly Journals BUNDLE