Sunday, July 23, 2017

Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches

Would you like to have quicker and healthier lunch choices this school year?  I'm sharing my favorite mix-and-match menu options in this post. 



Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




Tuna Salad

1 pouch/can tuna or wild caught salmon
1/4 avocado, mashed
1 cup diced veggies: pickles, bell peppers, zucchini, etc. 

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a lid and take it in your lunch box. 



Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




Hard-Boiled Eggs in a Rice Cooker:
Add 2 cups water to the rice maker. 
Put 6 to 12 eggs in the steamer basket. 
Set it to 15 minutes.  
Remove the eggs and put them in ice water for 5 minutes. 
Peel them and take a couple with you for lunch each day. 


Mason Jar Veggies and Dip
Make this portable treat in minutes by putting your favorite, healthy dip on the bottom and adding sliced veggies.


Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




Click the link to get the full description of how I make this. 

Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




This seriously takes 5 minutes to make and tastes like pumpkin pie. I add 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder to give it a week-rounded meal. 

I make it in a Pyrex dish, let it cool, and store it in the fridge with the lid on it. 

Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




No cooking, portable with mason jars, and added health benefits with the fruit and chia seeds. 


Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches




They're packed full of veggies, but you'll never be able to tell!  Make a big batch of these on the weekend and store them in the fridge for packing your lunch. 
Healthy and Quick Teacher Lunches



What's on your quick and healthy lunch menu?  I'm ready for some new ideas!





Sunday, July 16, 2017

Debate and Opinion/Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy

Would you like to teach debate and/or persuasive/opinion writing in your science class?  Are you looking for a mentor text that provides evidence for both sides of the debate?  Then Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy by Vic Parker is your go-to book!  


Debate writing, Opinion writing, Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy


Part of the “Let’s Think About” series, this title continues to challenge readers to consider alternatives to the status quo. This time, the controversial topic is sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. Pros and cons for environmental impact, cost, and sustainability for each form of energy: Geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind, biofuel, tidal, and nuclear. 


“Did You Know?” boxes break up the main text with facts from other reports and opinions that support both sides. 


Debate writing, Opinion writing, Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy




After reading all the facts and opinions, the book prompts the reader to take their learning to the next level by researching and debating the issue with friends in the “What Do You Think?” boxes. 


Debate writing, Opinion writing, Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy




Multiple pictures with captions and graphics help make this content-rich book easier to read, so it would be appropriate for upper-elementary and middle school.  Additional print and electronic resources on the topic, as well as suggestions for further research are included in the back of the book. 


The five steps to follow when preparing for a debate are included at the end of the book.


Debate writing, Opinion writing, Persuasive Writing Mentor Text: Let’s Think About Sustainable Energy



Do you have mentor texts for teaching debate/opinion/persuasive writing?  I'd love to hear what you use!




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Using Classroom Organizational Strategies on Vacation

Teachers work so hard all year long to organize their classroom in a way that is both functional for the teacher and creates independence in students.  It got me thinking: Why not use that system when it comes to our summer vacations?

The following are organizational rules I live by in my classroom that also serve me well when I'm vacation.


Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags



Rule #1: Keep the most important supplies visible
For this, I use Sterilite drawers.  I prefer the 2-drawer cart for vacations because its drawers are large enough to carry bulky items and they come out of the cart for easy transport to various rooms.  The carts go right in the back of the car.

NOTE:  I do NOT use the wheels because I don't want them rolling around in the back of the car.  If I was using them in the classroom, I would definitely put the wheels on.


Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags


Rule #2: Label EVERYTHING 
Since the contents of the drawers are likely to change during the vacation, I use packing tape and a Sharpie to label the drawers.


Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags




Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags



NOTE:  I use a more permanent labeling system in my classroom.  I print, laminate, and cut out the labels and hot glue them to different baskets and drawers throughout the room.  That way, I can easily change the label if I change or move the contents.

You can read more about how I use these items in my post about Hanging Posters so They Don't Damage Walls.




Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags




Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags





LIFE HACK: Fold a corner of the tape before cutting and/or putting the tape down permanently.  This helps the tape come off the drawers easily AND you'll never lose your place on the tape roll again!

Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags


Rule #3:  Keep lesser-used materials in storage until needed.
The materials we won't be using during the trip go in vacuum bags and stored in our car top case.  We bring our vacuum so we are able to re-seal the bags when we leave.

Pillows and bedding go in the XL space saver bags.

Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags

Extra clothes go in the Large space saver bags.

Using Classroom Organization Strategies on a Family Vacation: Sterilite drawers, labels, space saver bags


LIFE HACK:  If you can't bring a vacuum, just seal the bag until there's only a little space open and lie down on top of it to get the rest of the air out.  Quickly seal it up and it will lie ALMOST as flat as it would if you had vacuumed the bag.  NOTE:  This won't work with fluffy items, like pillows.


Have you ever found yourself using the organizational strategies from your classroom in your home or on vacation?  I'd love to hear how!






Sunday, July 2, 2017

B-O-Y: Class Schedule Cards and Clocks

Would you like to give your students more independence by providing them with a classroom schedule they can read on their own?  Check out my Class Schedule Cards!


 


Analog clocks are included to help students practice their clock-reading skills, or you can simply write the digital time above the activity. 


 

The clocks and activity cards can be printed and laminated to use for showing your daily schedule. There are 15 different subject cards, ranging from "Arrival" to "Social Studies", and 20 blank analog clocks so you can draw the times in for each subject.

 


You can pick up a copy by clicking here

What do you use for scheduling?  Do you think it's important to have something like this in the upper grades?  What about Middle School?  I'd love to hear your ideas!


 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Food and Learning Activities for July 4th

Do you love the crafts, food, and reading that goes with July 4th?  Here's some great suggestions for getting your holiday started early!


Patriotic Books
These book suggestions by No Time for Flash Cards are perfect for:
  • Teaching the meaning of Independence Day
  • Teaching the meaning of 9/11
  • Learning about the 50 states
  • The National Anthem
  • Several of the book selections are A-Z, so it's a great opportunity to learn or review the alphabet
 



Patriotic Crafts
Art is a great way to sneak in education:
  • Talk about mixing primary colors to make secondary colors
  • If children are old enough, have them practice their scissor/cutting skills to prepare the toilet paper tubes
  • Talk about recycling the toilet paper tubes by first using them as a brush and then recycling the paper after the craft is finished

This Fireworks Painting activity by Happiness is Homemade is fun for all ages. 

 




Patriotic Food
There are several benefits to making food together:
  • It helps children become more interested in trying different foods when they are part of the preparation. 
  • It teaches counting when you read the recipe and count out the ingredients 
  • Children practice colors when they identify the different colors in the ingredients 

These Watermelon Blueberry Sparklers by Tastes Better From Scratch are super easy to make. 

 


Do you have any other favorites to add to the festivities?  I'd love to hear about them!


 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ways to Decrease Your Lesson Planning Time and a FREEBIE

Even seasoned teachers are constantly looking for ways to decrease their lesson planning time. Here are some ways you can do just that, regardless of how long you've been teaching.


How to decrease your lesson planning time.


1.  Start with the end in mind. 
Look at the state standards you'll be assessing.  See if you can find key words that repeat throughout the standards. Write these down. 


2.  Create your assessments based off of your key words and main concepts in your state standards. 
These assessments should include daily (formative) and final (summative) assessments.

3.  Use key words within the standards to see what chapters or pages in your textbook cover that information. 
Once you have your textbook pages selected, here are some general comprehension activities you can do with the information: BONUS: Many can be done during your Language Arts block:



How to decrease your lesson planning time.



How to decrease your lesson planning time. 



How to decrease your lesson planning time. 



3.  Use key words within the standards to do searches on the internet, Teachers pay Teachers, or Pinterest to find lessons or activities that teach those keyword concepts. 
One word of caution concerning internet browsing:  Don't start window shopping or you'll waste more time than if you created the lesson or activity from scratch. My advice is to set a timer. If you haven't found exactly what you're looking for in 15 minutes, you probably need to create the lesson or activities yourself. 

4.  Plan review activities to do before the final assessment for those students needing extra practice. 
Here are some of my favorites:

How to decrease your lesson planning time.






How to decrease your lesson planning time.



5.  Plan remediation activities for students who do not pass assessments. 

I often have students do test corrections using their textbook and notes. Sometimes I have them work in pairs or in a small group with me to make the corrections, depending on their level of independence. 


And that's it!  Once you have a your units put together with this basic format, you can easily add items each year to customize your lessons for individual students. 

Do you have any tips for making lesson planning quicker?  I'm always trying to streamline this part of my day. I'd love to hear your ideas!


 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Teacher Self-Care Routines That Take Five Minutes or Less

We NEED to take care of ourselves, perhaps this time of year more than ever.  Here are some self-care practices that you can do almost anywhere with 5 minutes or less.


1. Diffuse a Calming/Motivating Blend of Essential Oils: Peppermint and Wild Orange




I love this little portable diffuser.  It has a USB cord and is small enough to fit in a cup holder in your car.  That means you can easily take it from your car to classroom.  Just a drop or two of oil, and this bad boy will diffuse for a few hours.  I love that it will not make the whole classroom smell of essential oil, just my desk area.

If you can't diffuse at work, put a couple of drops of essential oils in the palms of your hands, rub together, and inhale. 


2.  Drink more water!

A drop or two of lemon oil encourages me to drink more water and detoxes my system.





3.  Make yourself a cup of tea.

Magnesium tea is AMAZING, and super-easy to make.  The magnesium is the ingredient that makes it extra calming. Plus, it presents more ways to hydrate!




4.  Stretch at your desk. 

Even though most of us don't sit at our desk much st all, it is handy to help you stretch out those tired muscles. Bonus:  This routine can be done during state testing!


 

5. Listen to an audiobook on your way to school and home

6.  Write down at least one thing that went well each day and keep it to read when you need a reminder of how you are doing a great job and YOU MATTER!

7.  If you can, do a couple of laps around the hallways of your school at a brisk pace to get your blood flowing.  FEEL-GOOD BONUS:  Do this with a favorite teacher friend.

8. For days when all else fails, during your planning period:
~Shut the door, turn the overhead lights down, draw the shades, turn on soft lighting, play your favorite music or put an uplifting/funny YouTube video on in the background while you work.  I swear this one works!


Please help me add to my list of ways to stay happy and healthy. I'd love to hear how you de-stress!