May 2, 2017

6 Teacher-Friendly Ways to ROCK the Last Few Weeks of School!

YOU’VE GOT THIS! Yep, you’ve almost made it through to the END of another awesome school year! In fact, I won’t use the words made it through, let’s change that to you’ve nearly finished ROCKING another school year - right?!
Beach Chair Teacher Blog
So, now you’re into those last few weeks after the dreaded 'testing season' is over, but before the end of school--and you’re looking for some engaging yet low-stress (= LOW-PREP!) ways to cruise through the next few weeks. Don’t feel guilty, you’ve likely done the work of THREE teachers this year and now it’s time to take it down a notch…here are a few activities to help you ROCK the end of the year….just think of it as AutoPilot for your classroom. :-) And away we gooooooooooo!

Creative & FUN Centers - Think of activities that the kids enjoyed this year that are EASY for you to set up. Set up some fun Math Puzzle Center, STEM/Science Centers, A Reader’s Theater Center, and of course most kids can always use more writing practice, so here’s a freebie, a sample set of writing task cards for a Writing center. There are plenty of great center ideas on TPT, so be sure to use the upcoming Teacher Appreciation Sale that they have each May to stock up!

Hit the Target Dollar Spot - They often have blank books that your kids can make a masterpiece with! Have them write poems or create stories – all complete with their own illustrations too! You’re bound to find other great ideas in the dollar spot area at the entrance – why not enjoy shopping---grab some of that Target popcorn, a fountain drink, grab a cart and go a little crazy at good ole TARGET!?

Craft Days – Check out Pinterest for some creative and simple crafts that the kids can create without you having to spend a lot or do a lot of prep…Here are some cool boards that I’ve used in the past!

Have a Class Award Ceremony – There are TONS of free award certificate templates to be found on the interwebs, start looking NOW and make sure you find a way to give some kind of award to each and every child!

Theme Days - My students have always loved theme days…Combine some fun theme day ideas with read aloud books like these, for example, on your various theme topics. (Maybe even throw in some yummy theme-friendly snacks too!?) You can decide on theme weeks or theme days and select ideas that will be SIMPLE for you to throw together and EASY for kids to bring in supplies for… (it’s always good to plan these with your team & share supplies/props, etc., on opposite days so everyone gets to use the supplies)….here are a few ideas that our grade level teaching teams have done in the past: Zoo Day, Pajama Day, Camping Day, Beach Day…

Make a Memory Gift for Parents, Students & for you! – Take the best pictures from this past school year (make sure you have at LEAST one good one of each student) and throw them together in a Movie Maker app, add some sweet music – drop it into an online box (like dropbox or google drive) share the link and you’ve got a gift that they can access forever! BONUS: Parents will LOVE you for it AND you can always use it to showcase your awesomeness at the next Parent Open House next fall!

What are some of YOUR favorite ideas for cruising through the last few weeks of school?? I’d love for you to add them in the comments section below! PS. Even if these ideas don't precisely match up with your grades, perhaps you can adapt some to make your teaching life easier for the last few weeks of school!

December 15, 2016

10 AWESOME Items to have in Your Classroom this WINTER!

10 AWESOME Items to have in
Your Classroom this WINTER!

WINTER IS HERE! Uh oh! Well, if you love skiing and sledding then you’re in heaven, right? But chances are, most of your winter days will be spent inside a warm, stale-aired classroom, with several antsy, runny-nosed, chapped-lipped students…how will you survive? Don’t just SURVIVE. You need to THRIVE in your classroom this winter! Here are just a few of the teacher-recommended items that might just help with that! These suggestions have been so helpful to my colleagues and I during the winter months—-I know you will find them useful as well!

Hit up the Dollar store or the Target ‘Dollar Spot’ for these supplies that you KNOW your kiddos will EVENTUALLY need this winter:
1.    Lip Balm & hand lotion
2.  Tissues
3.  Mittens
4.  Fabric Softener sheets (they take STATIC CLING out of anything (including the hapless hair on your head!—-so handy and your kids will think you’re some sort of a magician!)

5.  Cheap stocking caps (for those cold recess days when there’s always someone who needs a hat {you know, it’s the same one who always has those bad ear infections}L!)

6.  Snow boots for you! (Think about those times when it starts snowing during the day and you have to slosh your way to the car with those cute shoes you wore to work this morning, don’t even think about it!) Just pull out those winter boots that you stashed away under your desk in early January, you know, the ones that your mother and I reminded you about? Don’t want to spend a lot? Ebay, Target, or ask for a DSW gift card for a Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus gift!

7.  Buy an old crockpot at a thrift store. ‘WHY?’ You ask?…because one cold winter day will surely come, it’s the day you don’t really feel like covering those math standards ONE MORE TIME. The day will come when the kids will be too antsy to learn because the snow is falling. That’s the day to put some chocolate milk into that crockpot and heat that baby up! Glorious hot chocolate for you, for the kids, for your friend down the hall! If the snow comes and the kids go home early, take the hot chocolate home with you and add some Bailey’s to it! Relax and enjoy…you’ve earned it!

8.  Feeling sickly this morning? Maybe it was too much Baileys? Maybe you’re coming down with a cold, or worse, the flu!! I know it may be totally psychosomatic, or the placebo effect, but this stuff ALWAYS seems to give me a lift and it seems to keep me from catching whatever ‘classroom crud’ goes around in the winter! They have several flavors but you will find that “very berry" will rock your taste buds! 

9.  Pick up a used copy of this adorable (and hilarious) book that kids love and relate to VERY well! For a used copy, it’s only 1 cent! It’s called Mrs. Toggle’s Zipper. If you’ve ever struggled with a winter coat zipper, this one’s a hit! Got a bigger book budget than 1 cent? Of course not, you’re a teacher! J But in case you do want to splurge for about 10$, here’s another fun winter read-aloud for those days when you need a bit of laughter with your adorable kids! Go ahead, live LARGE and get the hardback version, it will last longer and the pages won’t rip!

10.  Keep a set of cheapie (thrift stores/Dollar store) puzzles in your class – again for the days when kids can’t go outside for recess. The puzzles will keeps those little hands and minds busy & maybe even save your sanity too! 

Thanks for checking out this list! I would DEARLY love to hear your ideas too! Please be a BFFE & share them in the comments area below! I know you’re a BUSY teacher, so taking the time to share your thoughts means A LOT to me!  I hope you have an awesome winter this year—in school and out!

(This post contains affiliate links, but the opinions are my own and I'd never recommend anything I don't truly love!)

July 19, 2016

10 Book & Snack Pairings that will have Kids BEGGING to READ more!

10 Book & Snack Pairings
that will have Kids BEGGING
to READ more!

Nowadays it seems like every restaurant has come up with great food & wine pairings on their menu, right?  Many even offer the latest lager & ale pairings with their menu choices, too! Sooooo, why should grown-ups have all the fun??  Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book and a yummy snack? Whether it’s with your own kids or your students in the classroom, snacking & reading GO TOGETHER like, well, cheese & crackers! They’re always a hit! (And can we PLEASE suspend reality for a moment & pretend that food issues don’t exist? Yep, no food allergies, gluten problems, GMO fears, organic-only, or nut allergies in our imaginary book/snack world)As for me I always order EXTRA gluten! So, with no restrictions on snacking choices, here are my nominations for 10 yummy children’s Book and Snack pairings! I have a feeling this will be the first of many sets that I can come up with! If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments below! I will even mention you and/or your TPT store name in the next post! J Thanks for stopping by, now head off to the library & the grocery store!

1.                Many of you already saw my first pairing idea on my INSTAGRAM feed, from 7/17!  I love the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boomand this week in Costco I saw a new snack called Boom Chicka Pop!  For those of you who are kettle corn fans, this is sure to be a winning combo!

2.               The Snowy Day would be perfect with Hostess Snowballs (or even macaroons topped with coconut!) that we could pretend was fluffy snow! Remember these?

3.               The BFG served with cucumbers, and don’t forget about the ranch dip! Any vegetable goes better with ranch dip, just ask the kids. (or me!)

4.               How ‘bout One Fish Two Fish coupled with goldfish crackers? You may have your choice of pretzel OR cheddar!

5.               Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, well this one will almost too easy!  Obviously any chocolate you may have on hand will do!

6.               The Goosebumps Series:  With this set, I’m thinking RED Jell-O & gummy worms! And for their book ‘Horror at Camp Jellyjam’ why not PB&J sandwichescut into squares! Goosebumps even has a title that’s almost too easy to pair: “Say Cheese and Die!”...Need I say more? BTW, what great titles for books, eh?  Cheese for the kidswine for mom and dad!

7.               Okay this next one might be a bit of a stretch but bear with me.  How about the Kevin Henkes book Chester’s Way?  First, you’ve got Chester, and that automatically goes with “Chester the Cheetah” who represents the Cheetos brand, so there you go! Cheetos is the perfect pairing!  (& it’s your call on Puffy or Crunchy,  if you want to live dangerously--- get Flamin’ Hot!

8.               Judy Blume’s Fudge Series/Box SetThe dilemma here is what KIND of fudgeso many choices, so little time!

9.               The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel (The Descendants) Evil tree. Bad Apple?  Your choices here are any kind of apple, (It’s autumn I like Honeycrisp!), or even pre-cut apple slices with peanut butter will work, OR my favorite--caramel dip!  Remember, any fruit or vegetable is made better with a dip! J

10.            The Harry Potter Series! The obvious choice for me with
this series is those AWESOMELY AWFUL JELLY BEANS that Harry & the kids ate! And rememberone of them might not taste quite right! (If you haven’t seen Jelly Belly’s Game, just know that ANY kid that I’ve ever given these jelly beans to has LOVED THEM and the game!! You’ve been warned, you’ll be re-ordering

Thanks for checking out this blog! Please feel free to leave any book/snack pairing suggestions in the comments below! I’d LOVE to hear your ideas for the next set! J

(This post contains affiliate links, but the opinions are my own and I'd never recommend anything I don't truly love!)