The best tool for art projects I have ever seen

I love crafts and incorporating them into my lessons with students. But, I’ll be honest - I hate the mess. So working with paint was almost never an option for me – ever.

Then came Kwik Stix. Have you heard of them? They’re an ingenious invention from some friends I’m sure you already know well, The Pencil Grip, Inc.  

Read More
The Most Efficient Way to Organize Your Business

Organizing and planning are my jam. I can’t count the number of times friends or family members have said to me, “You should be an event planner” or “You should be a professional organizer.” Part of me would love to do nothing but organize messes and plan shindigs all day long.

As a teacher, I was always organized and planned ahead. Well, almost always. I’ll be honest – every teacher has those days (or weeks) where the plans hit the trash or you’re so overwhelmed with work that things just get placed here or stacked there. It’s a mess. But for the most part, I knew where everything was (in it’s proper place, thank you very much) and knew what I was teaching days (or weeks) in advance.

Read More
Top Six Reasons Why You Should Attend This Teacher Event

Several months ago I decided to attend at least two meet-ups before the big TPT conference. My thought was these would be great opportunities not only to meet new people but also become a little more comfortable networking in a smaller setting before the massive conference in Orlando. The first of my events this year was the 2016 Teacher Blogger Meet-up held in French Lick, Indiana.

Perhaps you've been on the fence about attending. You've seen pictures on social media and it sounds like a good time, but you're just not sure if you should attend. Well, here are my top six reasons why you should. 

Read More
One Simple Way to Boost Positivity During the Holidays

A few years ago, I started teaching a Winter Holidays unit. I was looking for something different than the traditional "Christmas Around the World" and wanted to broaden my students’ awareness of other holidays that occur during the fall and winter months. At the time, my students were struggling with theme. So although the unit mainly focused on nonfiction topics, I decided to incorporate thematic elements as well.

This also was the year that I had a difficult class. Not overly unmanageable, but the type that seemed to enjoy bickering with each other. I was overwhelmed with tattling and selfish behaviors. I needed a tool that would be easy to implement and bring much needed change.

Read More
Five Little Resources that will Save You in December

My blogging friends over at Focused on Fifth are hosting a 12 Days of Christmas linky party full of great ideas to help you manage teaching during the holidays. I'm partnering with them three days this week and hope you find our posts helpful. 

Today's focus is on holiday resources designed to get you through the month of December. I have five resources for you that will keep you organized, help spread positivity, and keep students engaged.

Read More
5 Important Reasons to Ditch Timers

For years I assigned nightly reading as homework for my students. The intention was good - research proves that the more a child reads, the more successful he will be in school and in other areas of life. However, my methods behind the assignment were poor. Like many teachers, my reading log required students to read "x" number of minutes each night and needed to be signed by an adult before returning to school at the end of the week.

After a couple of years of doing it this way, I became discouraged. Students weren't completing the assignment correctly, notes had to go home when logs were returned unsigned, students "fudged" their work over and over again, etc. It became painfully clear that my well intended assignment wasn't getting its intended results.

Read More
Free Tools and Tips for a Successful School Year

It's back to school time. Many teachers are well into their new school year, while others are still prepping for those littles ones still to come. No matter where you are in the back to school hustle and bustle, the bloggers from The Primary Pack would like to help get your school year off to a positive start.

With the 3-2-1 Back to School Bash, each Pack member is providing three tips for back to school, two giveaways, and one freebie. Click through the hop to gather each tip, download freebies, and collect letters to enter the grand prize! So, let's get started!

Read More
Six Simple, Proven Ways to Reach Your Most Difficult Student

Over the years, I've had my share of difficult students. (Haven't we all?) And each time, I try new ways to be proactive in avoiding meltdowns before they happen, work harder at creating a positive and support environment for her, as well as finding support for us both. 

Today I'm sharing six steps that have been consistently effective in managing a difficult student. My hope is that these will bring some help to you as well. 

Read More
Three Resources for Help You Need to Know

Do you function like an island at work? Trying to master it all on your own? I'll admit, that was my journey through much of my teaching career. While I wouldn't consider myself a control freak, I took my responsibilities as an educator seriously and wanted to make sure everything was... you guessed it... just so. 

While that approach worked well in filtering distractions and getting my work done, it also resulted in severe fatigue and isolation. Not so great when trying to go the distance in a 35 year career. This week, I share with you three simple tips for simplifying your work load - organizing help.

Read More
What Happens When You Create and Stick to Routines

What does your typical daily or weekly schedule look like? Do you have set routines or does this week look dramatically different than last? I truly believe that one step in simplifying your life as an educator is to have routines and stick to them. Developing routines will help cultivate a positive classroom environment while decreasing your work load.

Read More
Two Resources that Will Build Community at the Beginning of the Year

Like most teachers, I used part of my summer to prepare activities for Back to School. I spent weeks scouring Pinterest, revamping old resources, and creating new ones to fill those first few weeks back. I tried to have a good mix of new activities and beloved old faithfuls.

To help save you the hassle of searching high and low for resources, I'm participating in a Summer Stock Up with several other teacher bloggers who are doing the work for you.  Each blogger is featuring at least one resource that will ensure your Back to School goes smoothly. Plus, we're giving away a portion of each resource for free. There are fifteen categories guaranteeing something for everyone!

Read More
Three Solutions That Will Make Sub Prep Simple

It's inevitable. You wake up and feel like death warmed over. Or your child has been up all night sicker than a dog. Or perhaps your car dies before school while waiting in the Starbucks drive through (this actually happened, friends). Whatever the reason, you have to be out of the classroom and need a sub unexpectedly. Planning to be out is never easy, but scrambling to throw together lesson plans for a sub you weren't expecting is far worse. 

There are three things you can do to make planning for a sub easier. Even better, each of these steps can be completed over the summer so that you are well prepared from day one of the school year. 

Read More
The One Approach That Will Revolutionize Your Teaching

Today I have the great privilege of guest posting for The Cornerstone about the ultimate lesson planning approach. In my post, I'll give you a complete overview of the "Understanding by Design" method and explain how it transformed not only my lesson planning process, but also the quality of my instruction as a whole. 

Read More