Elementary Educational Resources, Ideas, and Lesson Plans
Author: Cindy Martin
Mrs. Martin is an elementary teacher, National Board Certified in 2003 in early childhood. She loves creating fun rigorous educational materials for teachers. Mrs. Martin believes that it is necessary to acknowledge visual, auditory and tactile learning styles when teaching students. She uses a balanced approach to teaching students. Her main goal is to inspire students to love learning by creating fun educational experiences. She said, “I want students to wake up excited wanting to come to school and learn!” She loves incorporating new technology in her classroom, sharing ideas, mentoring teachers and is a child advocate.
If you have been following any of my social media, now is the time for me to tell you all about the inspiration I got from my dream vacation to Hawaii this summer! I really wanted to take the Hawaiian feeling home with me, so I used a lot of my own vacation photos and water colored images to create a classroom decor pack so ALL teachers can have that calm tropical feeling in their room all year. We visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, so you will see a lot of pineapples in the resource. I spent a lot of my relaxing days under a palm tree by the ocean in Maui. It was my favorite spot! Check it out! The bundle has color word posters, name tags, a words wall, a calendar set, an alphabet line, banners, labels, binder covers and more! You can even edit a lot of the product to make it personalized for your needs! I’m very happy with how it turned out!
If you want to know what it is like to be lucky enough to work for Teachers Pay Teachers and attend the conference in Anaheim, you are in the right place! The BEST part of this conference is making connections in person with all the other teacher-authors you only knew on-line. Here is a picture of the Fabulous Five (well, that is the name I gave us after meeting at the 2016 conference in Florida), posing with our Peace, Love, TpT shirts. Meet Tori from Teach with Tori, Kelly from Mrs. Avery’s Island, Lisa from Lisa Taylor Teaching the Stars, and Shelly from Appletastic!
Attending the 9 Step Process workshop with Shelly Rees, is a MUST! She offers an awesome course for teacher-authors who need to focus on how to plan a product from start to finish! PRICELESS! There is a great Facebook group you can join if you are in the course. This is how the five of us became close friends. The group is a positive place to gain valuable information to help you grow and connect with others. This year I had the honor to sit with educational expert, Deanna Jump! She is such an inspirational person who is down-to-earth and easy to talk to about the business.
Erin Cobb and Catherine Reed were the inspirational teacher-author speakers who told their personal stories. They both inspired the rest of us that hard work and dedication can produce great success.
If you never met our “Director of Happiness”, Amy Borrell Berner, you HAVE to take the initiative to meet her. She is exactly what her title conveys.
After a long day of doing what teachers love… LEARNING, TpT hosted a happy hour to help us all decompress and meet other teacher-authors. This is where a few of us were able to talk to the BEST CEO, Adam Freed. I totally felt like I was one of the girls in The Bachelor, willing to interrupt other teacher-authors to steal him away for a chance to talk to him. (Sorry, to whoever I booted out of the way.) It was happy hour though, so I can blame it on the wine. ? I don’t regret it!
Another super nice, intelligent and fun teacher-author is Chris Kesler. He is the best for learning how to build an email list and engage a TpT audience! We attended his session and discovered a lot of tips and tricks to grow our businesses. You can see him below with me and fellow teacher-author Sarah Barnett, who is my new TpT BFF. ? We hit it off as if we have been friends forever. We danced at the Happy Hour with awesome Shem, leading us as DJ/Motivator. She lead a great session about how to Put Some STEAM in your STEP. This is what the conference is all about, meeting people who share your interests, inspire you and help you along your journey.
Should you bring your family? YES! My family went to enjoy the tourist attractions while I was busy learning at the conference. I loved seeing them at the end of the day!
I learned so much! My head feels like it is going to explode with new information, but I’m excited, motivated and (a little) exhausted at the same time. This Dr. Seuss quote sums it up. I’m looking forward to next year in NASHVILLE! So, plan now, if you need some inspiration, tips and tricks.
There is no denying that the easiest way to keep students engaged is to have themed days in your classroom. Typical days I participate in through the school year are Polar Express Days, Snowed-In Days, May the 4th Be With You, The Ocean Festivals,The Thankful Festivals, and a Fall Festivals. The Fall Festival is where our team teaches the same fall lesson with a craftivity to the entire kindergarten as they rotate to each room. There is always 100% engagement when themed days are utilized in the academic setting.
Escape rooms for elementary students are the latest educational themed day craze. It is amazing to see kids working together to problem solve, find clues and the excitement it brings when they actually “escape the room.” Most escape rooms use a video as a hook. Here are the escape room themes I use in the primary classroom:
Another great day which involves math, science, reading, writing and critical thinking skills is a SPY Day. This themed day motivates and rewards your students while sneaking in learning. Students dress up like secret agents, are given a mission to find a stolen object, walk through lasers, learn how to lift fingerprints, memorize a new alias and work as a team to discover clues to solve the mystery. Allowing the kids to dress like secret agents, really gets them engaged.
I keep the lights off and have them do their work with flashlights. I also invite parents to participate in the fun. When students see their parents having fun, they can’t help but be more positive about learning. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have extra help these days too! I’ve never had one themed day where there was a child not participating. It’s a lot of prep work for the teacher, but well worth the work. So, if you want your students engaged in learning, try to make learning fun by introducing a themed day. Click the picture below to find the printables for this themed day.