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5 Self Care Ideas for Teachers





As a retired teacher I am well aware of the burn out that all teachers feel. Whether at the beginning of the school year, during conferences, the week before Winter or even Spring break as well as the end of the year aaaannnnnnddddd let's not forget SUMMER...Summer you question??? YES Summer! Do Teacher really relax or are the spending their summer thinking about a new class of kiddos...YOU DECIDE...I know the answer...been there...done that and every vacation seems to disappear like magic...POOF and it is time to teach!!! 


This year is a completely different journey...the Covid-19 journey. Add this to the mix and ummmm do you think teachers are stressed?  You know the answer! I have 4 teachers in my immediate family and they have been stressed out since March 15th. who wouldn't be?  It is easy to say everything will be back to "normal" and I know it will...we all know it will, BUT when their stress ripples into my territory, they look to me for solutions and positivity because I have always tried to be positive every day of my life...turned difficult situations into doable and always lived by this mantra:

Do the best you can do in every situation and your best changes depending many factors that happen in your life or how you feel...you know headaches, exhaustion, not enough caffeine, no sleep and many other circumstances of life.


This affirms the way I live my life to be my best self. if you were in my head, you would hear, "Do the best you can or you are doing the best you can and that is all you can do!"



Well...I am a firm believer that YOU need to take care of yourself every chance you get or you will burn out before you even start...especially now more than ever!

Who's with me...think of this...Do you feel like September is here and you never had a BREAK not even a teeny tiny break?

So Here are 5 tried and true Ideas that I have used, when I taught...WELL actually still use, to make sure my engine is running in top notch condition:



🌻Surround Yourself with Positivities or Be Positive:

That means:  Read positive quotes: 
Post a positive or inspirational quote in your classroom, office or anywhere you can see it everyday...Remember there will be days that are harder than others.

Make a list of everything you love about everyone and everything around you. I have kept a small journal and take a few minutes every so often to count my blessings and think about what I love about each member of my family. Can I just tell you how touching it is to read what I wrote down about each child and my spouse...sometimes I think...did I really write that? A family Blessing Jar can also be self care for the entire family and is worth the time because everyone will love adding a blessing to the jar as family self care!



Take a minute and jot down a positive moment or an accomplishment...Little or Big that made you feel blessed to be present with your family.  I love the idea of a gratitude or blessing jar. It is quick and simple to create...add a little of your personality and personal notes, then on New Year's Eve or a designated day, sit and read the notes in the jar. If you don't have time to create a pinteresty jar, just throw the notes in a basket!

It may bring some tears, but happy tears are always good for the soul!                                                            

I also have a blessing bracelet that was given to me many years ago from a 
friend.  

The idea is to wear the bracelet every day and each morning when you put it on, you count 4 blessings in your life. The blessing can be as simple as I have a roof over my head or my coffee is hot or I have the opportunity to support children during this time to make their education the best it can be right now!  I think I need to get a new one, this is looking a bit worn.  
 


Don't forget those Positive Affirmations!  I can do this, I am strong, I am capable, I am healthy...


🌻Take Time for Yourself and I MEAN ALONE TIME:

MOMs.. Eat lunch or take a coffee break or even an afternoon snack by yourself once a week or once a month or ummm every single day...you may need to hide in your car or closet!

I used to take these breaks in my classroom during a prep time or even during my lunch break just to regroup and have a bit of thinking time. Virtual and teaching from your classroom, you can still do these suggestions. 

If you are home teaching and have kids home, simply walk around the house and take deep breaths to stay calm and focussed.  When your kids have a break, take a brisk walk outside or maybe a family yoga break...simple positions like baby's pose or tree pose or simply stretch together.

I had a friend who used to ride the school elevator to gain a minute or 2 of quiet time and destress!! Not a bad idea if you have an elevator in your building!



🌻Get Rid of that STRESS! 

The list of Ideas to destress and relax is infinite...BUT...you have to try one to get started. Find what works best for you and your schedule and JUST DO IT!!!

Here are some Ideas that I have tried and they might also work for YOU!
  • Yoga:  Every Morning rise a bit earlier and simply do about 7 minutes of yoga poses. Check the internet or have a book handy.  You can always sign up for a class, but 7 minutes a day will make a world of difference!! 
  • Walk at lunch time with a friend, colleague or alone. It is even better when it is cool out! When I taught full-time, (I'm retired now!) we used to walk around the school neighborhood about 2-3 days a week. It was one of the best activities I did and made a world of difference for how I faced the rest of the day.  
  • I also used to walk with a friend to school everyday...sometimes even in the snow...my friend and I would solve all the school issues as we walked and felt great even if the problems did not go away, we still chatted about it and got it off our minds. We lived about a mile and half away from school and would meet on the corner.  We were assigned the title:"The Walking teachers" and I would even see someone in a supermarket who would say, "Don't I see you walking everyday to work?"
  • Play with the kiddos. play hide and seek, catch outside, a board game, anything you know will take your mind of off school and bring you back to where you are...in the present!
  • Read a non educational book. 
  • That's right PAMPER yourself do something...anything that you love doing...don't wait for someone else to do it!!! UMMM...it might not happen. You are in charge of YOU!!
Now, I know right now many things are different.  I have not really pampered myself the way I used to do before Covid, but I have figured out ways to keep the positivity going and pamper in a different way. For example, give yourself a home DIY facial, foot massage, stretch using an exercise ball ( I saw these for $5 at 5 Below!), muscle rollers to get rid of tension or simply stretching out each muscle in your body especially the neck.

Now...please note...I am not saying to do all of these...I mean....you would add more stress to your life than you had before you started!!!

Simply pick one or two to try for a while and see if it makes a difference in your daily life!

🌻Prioritize or Set Priorities:

  • Make a list of Have To's or Must Do's, Can DO's or Can Say No To's and start to listen to your list and cross off and prioritize that list. 
  • Make a list each week perhaps Sunday night or a night that works for you and write everything that you have that week.  Then evaluate each item on your list.  Add a key something like this:  Green is MUST Do or Have To; Yellow is Can Do and Red is I can say no to or can postpone to another time.   Remember, your job can bounce back from a hiccup, but your family and you should be treated like a glass ball because when it breaks, it is harder to mend.
Download this list and Print.

🌻 Eat as Healthy as you Can:

I say as healthy as you can because I know how crazy hectic life can be.

For example; make one change. Something like I am going to switch to "breadless" sandwiches this week and stick to it. Plan that type of lunch for the week and make it each night or ahead of time. Add all the ingredients except for the heavy bread. Add a light dressing and that change will come naturally the more you do it.

Sometimes you just need to be mindful of what you eat...stop the fog eating, where you are eating without thinking about what you are eating and add a few healthier choices each day.  


Another idea might be to start your morning off with a healthy fruit or vegetable smoothie each morning or even bring it to school for break or lunch.  Here are my Go-to's....easy and nutritional!

I simply use frozen smoothie mixes and mix and match to my current mood each morning. Sometimes I add fresh fruit that I have on hand like bananas, blueberries or even an apple.  

I have one daily smoothie, but I only add fruit, veggies and water with stevia and I am good...less calories and great tasting.  The one above, looks yucky, but tastes yummy!  It is Matcha tea, banana, strawberry, mango, coconut and stevia...I drink it a feel like I am on a tropical island until my phone rings and brings me back to reality! 
Just simply make small changes and you will see a difference!


The last one that you NEED to absolutely add to your diet is water!


Just remember every day is a new beginning with new possibilities. If at first you don't succeed, just simply start again and again...Remember: you might not be there YET...but you will!!

 

Try your best to focus on the Blessings you have not what your neighbor has...Positivity is a choice...a choice you have to make every single DAY!  If you feed your brain positive thoughts, you brain will be reconditioned to think that way, which will lead to a less stressful life.

Allow yourself to make a few mistakes because we learn life long lessons from our mistakes and PLEASE, PLEASE, don't be hard on yourself...NO ONE IS PERFECT!

They say if you can do something for 30 days straight, then it will become a habit or second nature!! 

Let me know how you do...I'll be waiting!!







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Let's Get INTERACTIVE: 3 Great Tips for Interactive Shared Reading Virtually or in your Classroom



I have been thinking a lot about virtual learning, remote learning, distance learning or whatever you want to call it. Whatever term you decide to use, it is online learning. 

As I watched my grandkids learning online...ballet...second grade skills, and myself tutoring online as well as  and my daughter teaching viola virtually, a television show came to mind that I remember watching as a young child. That show was Romper Room. The teacher on the show would use a magnify glass and say, "I see bobby and Joanie and Teddy!"  She would wave to each child and say, "Hi, you look happy today or or let me see that smile."   

Each child felt so special as they watched her perform and enact all her lessons or activities for the morning.  



Let's imagine that you are teaching online or in your classroom and you are ready to share a book...you gather all your students online or on the rug...they are all sitting "crisscross applesauce" or their eyes peeled to the computer screen ready to begin the story...just waiting for you to start...all eyes on you, smiles gleaming.   They are so excited they can hardly contain their emotions. All directions have been announced and modeled.  Well... it may not be this perfect but you get the idea!


They know that they will have such a "fun"tastic time interacting and taking part in Shared Reading! They are ready!!!


Let's Get Interactive: 3 Great Tips for Interactive Shared Reading...a great ideas to involve your students in your shared reading! You will love all 3 tips!!                                        I remember those days...great memories and now that I am retired...I want all of you to have this same experience! YES...YOU! You can use these ideas teaching on your computer or in your classroom (socially distancing of course with masks on) You can do this with these tried and true tips in school or online!


I have had a few principals, get so involved when they observed, that THEY even began to participate...and said,

I wish my elementary reading experiences were like this!


So...drumroll please....Here you go:



3 Great Tips for Interactive Shared Reading online or in your classroom!!!



1.  Get your students thinking about the books you use for shared reading:  


Plan ahead and see which parts of the story you want to share that can be integrated with participation in the story.  If you feel that the story will work, then definitely assign your students predetermined "Thinking Partners" for shared reading that can change every so often.  

If you are teaching virtually, then you will give your students a thinking minute to think about the different parts of the story as you read.

Sticky note parts of the story that your students  can make predictions and inferences, think metacognitively and parts where your students can think about questions they might have at the beginning, middle and ending of the text.  If you have done the work beforehand, your experience will run so much more smoothly!

So...now...when you gather children onto the carpet make sure you have spots around the room or on the carpet that are 6 feet apart, ask them to sit near their "Thinking Partner" and to be ready to Think, Pair, Share, (from a distance) which of course you have already modeled several times...I hope!! (Simply have children face their partner and chat about the parts of the text as directed by YOU!) 

OR Virtually explain that you are going to stop every so often and give them time to think about the story. I usually "Give a thinking minute, which is really a bit more than one minute!)

Now...these partners are ready to go...masks on, 6 feet a part...Don't they look happy?



2.  Use visual props to support reading Comprehension:  



This tip piggybacks to #1.

In a small basket next to your reading chair or your computer, have visuals to support Reading Comprehension Strategies; such as, Visualizing, Cause and Effect, Questioning or what you might be wondering about right now and Making Predictions.  

Then as you ask the question or want your students to share with their "Thinking Partners" or when you give them a "Thinking Minute"you simply hold up the sign that matches the strategy you want them to use.  

While reading, you can also give each child a different part to play: The prediction Maker and they have the wand, The visualizer with the fake glasses or a pair of dollar store glasses, the Thinker, etc. 
Even better, sent a copy of these props home, through an e-mail, and have your students make them to be ready for shred reading online. (optional)

Later you will see students using the clouds and props on their own while partner reading or even reading to self!!! 


Here are some samples of some of the props I used with my kiddos.  You can find them HERE along with some other related Reading Comprehension resources.

              Making Predictions:                                                  Visualizing:


                                              

                                                                                                     

                                                                             
                        Cause and Effect:                                  Explain your Thinking or Metacognitive
                                                                                                               Thinking:




Questioning or I Wonder: 

These props can be used with ANY Book!




3.  Using actual props from the text: Say What?  




I LOVE dong this and so do children.  It can even be fun to do at home with a story when reading with your own children or in a homeschool setting or virtually.  So let me explain:  

Take a book like If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff or actually any book in her series of similar texts.  

Look through the story to what items you can collect around the house or purchase them at the dollar store.  Then give students or partners and item you have pre-purchased. As you read the story to your class, have those students rise every time you read their item.  Imagine the fun of listening until their part comes!  If you are teaching virtually, simply assign your students parts and have them create or make them at home or even find the object around the house.  You can assign more than one student for various props. 
After the story is read, see if your students can retell the story as a group using their props. 

One of my all time favorite books to encourage participation is: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

The kiddos LOVE this story and in fact one day, a few years back, I invited my principal in for our Halloween Party and shared this book on the rug. At the end she screamed out in unison with the class, when I asked them to scream out what they thought the little old lady would do with all the items that followed her home!  PS...I always ask the students to scream, whisper, speak like a robot, a mouse, a baby or other ways when I want a whole class answer and it is the BEST!
They can't wait to hear what voice I will ask for to answer the question!!!
So to in order to use props for this story, you will need, shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, a pair of gloves, a hat and a Jack-o-Lantern...                                                                         If you separate the shoes and gloves, there are 8 different props to give out to your class or for the students to create etc.  You can also add doubles of each item so everyone has a props or assign partners to each item.                                                                                    As you read the story to the class, they have to act out the parts with their props.  For example:  when the part is read,"the shoes went CLOMP, CLOMP."  the students who have the shoes make them walk...CLOMP, CLOMP! Just imagine the listening and participation that will magically happen when you share a book in this manner!  Can you read every single book this way? Probably not, but pick and choose those books that you can use this way and make it a "FUN Friday" activity...learning and fun. What more can a teacher ask for?  



It has always been my philosophy to make learning educational and fun, so that each child will love learning, want to come to school, reach their potential and be their best self! 



There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bat  With this story, you can have each child stand every single time their item is read in the story or YOU can be the OLD LADY! At the end everyone can YELL TRICK or TREAT!!!




Remember teaching online or in your classroom can be motivating and entertaining, which will encourage students to want to be online with you or come to school.  Whatever way you are teaching this year, make the best of it and make it one of your best years yet! You can do this!




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3 Quick Tips to Start School Virtually or in your Classroom


Home and School communication is so important. Getting parents on your side and working together as a team can enhance all aspects of a child's education. One thing to remember is parents know their child better than we do in that they have been their child's teacher from the day their child was born. 
I always tell parents that they are the most important person in their child's life.  

So, with that being said, use parent's input about their child and work together!


Although this year may look a bit different. These 3 tips are ways that you can include parents in their child's education from day one and build positive relationships with students and their parents. 


Whether you are teaching virtually or in person this year, the following tips to work side by side with parents, will definitely promote and enhance student progress.


Start the Year off with a Positive Phone Call 

Try to make a positive phone call home
within the first 2 weeks of school. I know that this can be a difficult task with all that needs to be done, but this WILL make a difference! 

Think of yourself as a parent: you are nervous about your child going to first grade and just think how "little Jimmy or Doris" feels. 

Receiving a positive phone call and I emphasize phone call NOT e-mail can set the tone for the rest of the year and it will make it much easier when you have to call for other reasons. 

I also call to EACH child the night before the first day of school to say "hi" and welcome them to my classroom. I tell each child how excited I am to have him or her in my classroom and to make sure they bring their smile to school tomorrow! 

Say hello and express your excitement about having him or her in your classroom.  My video that I have posted below is an example of a phone call you might make if you are teaching in person, but it can easily be changed to represent a virtually classroom. Making each student in your class feel excited to come to your classroom, no matter where you are teaching, begins to build important connections with each child.  

 

Invite Parents into your Classroom or Virtual Classroom



If it is permitted in your district, invite parents to come into your classroom and share a favorite book or chat about their job or occupation. Our School always had a Guest Reader on Friday afternoons. I changed the day and time for working parents if necessary. Teaching Virtually? Invite a parent to read to your class through Zoom or any other platforms you may be using. Maybe ask parents to sit in on your lesson to see what his or her child is learning that week. 



Keep Parents in the Loop


Send a Monthly or Weekly Newsletter home sharing with parents special news and announcements that are special to your classroom. You can send these notes and announcements on your class homework sheet through your website or through google with a link to read these important messages. Attaching these to an e-mail works too! 
                          



I hope these quick and easy ideas bring a bit of sunshine to start your year! Enjoy! 

Try your best to be your best this year even with the struggles we are all facing this school year!



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17+ Activities to Try this Summer When your Kids Say, "I'm Bored"


After spending many months and hours of distance learning due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, I am sure you are wondering "how I can continue at this pace?" I am sure it still is and was a difficult situation especially since many of us are working from home as well.


After months of making sure our kids are social distancing, trying to explain why our children weren't able to play with their friends, visit grandparents, keeping kids focused before, during and after learning sessions at home, were challenging for us all.

Our dedicated teachers, who would much rather be in their classrooms with our children, found themselves teaching through video, send home packets as well as using distance learning resources.

One silver lining among many others in “Slow the Spread” and schools closed, is that many parents, who are not teachers, have a new reality of what teaching is really like…now mind you, parents are not teaching entire classes of students, but I bet they would pay teachers much more now that first-hand experience comes into play! 

So looks like we are in this together for a bit longer with camps, sports and even some pools not opening until July or even later!

At least that's the prediction in my state!  So let’s be proactive and just maybe you might be able to use some of these ideas to turn a "boring" day into a happier day and save your sanity! Whether working from home, needing a break or just wanting your  kiddos to do something productive. If this sounds like YOU, then this post is for YOU!

So Here are 17+ Activities to Try this Summer When your Kids Say,"I'm Bored!

Get your online shopping on

Mary Poppins' Bag or Basket:

I know many of us can’t browse around aisles of local stores, but...WE CAN shop 
online and find some puzzles, workbooks, design coloring books or just plain old coloring books, crafts, craft supplies to bring out those inner crafters. 

Children need to occupy themselves on days that you need to get to work. 
If you can’t go out and if you are like me, you already have many items at home you can use:  pennies, books, games, tic-tac-toe sheets or boards, paper or plastic cups, etc. 

Scoop up these items and grab an old purse, beach bag or basket to transform into your “Super Stash Bag/Basket.” 

Hide or leave this in your special secret spot and when you need it, simply whip it out and, voila; you have something new and easy for your kids to do. 

I always had a tote like this ready to go when I cared for my grandchildren. It was always stashed away in my car and if I heard the phrase “I’m bored,” it appeared like magic! 


Play Hide and Go Seek: 

I know you are probably wondering what planet I came from just thinking about this idea, but playing hide and seek with favorite puzzles, Legos, learning worksheets, sight words, fluency sentences, math flashcards or whatever you can think of that
will encourage your kiddos to explore or want to find is perfect!  this "game" might just keep your child occupied for a fairly long time. 

How to Play this Hide and Seek Game:


Hide parts of a puzzle in places that might be a little difficult to find but not so challenging that you hear, “Mom, I can only find 3 pieces of the puzzle or I need your help!” This should to be fun and engaging...hiding places should be hard enough so it takes time for your child to find all the pieces, but easy so he or she does not reach a frustration level looking for them. After all the pieces are found, your child can reassemble the puzzle, construct with Legos or play the game. If you work from home, you might take this time to add a break into your schedule and give a little TLC and do the puzzle together. 

You can also do this with math facts, sight words, vocabulary words or letters or any types or learning activities your child may need to reinforce through the summer.  This can also be done outside especially if you are not working from home or you can do it outside just to be outside.

Remember to keep it simple and fun! 

The Mini Office: 


This idea is one of my all time favorites. I have used this many times with my own children and grandchildren when I had work to finish and it is a super activity for parents who work from home. (this little guy is just pretending to "work" but the older ones are who I am referring to with this idea.
Set up an area in your office or near your workspace with supplies a child might need to “work” alongside you. 
Perhaps a telephone, computer, adding machine, stickers, paper, crayons, pencils, sale slips, appointment slips, sticky notes, pens, erasers...whatever you can think of that your child might love to “work” with while you are focusing on your work and all these activities listed below integrate learning!

You can even assign “work” by asking your child questions; such as:

  • “Can you make a list of all the places I can take my client for dinner next week?” or “ Mr. Jones is coming for lunch on Thursday. What should we serve? Write ideas for me.” Your child can draw a picture of all the places to go or make a list of all the food you might serve
  • Make a list of all the words you can spell or all the math facts you can solve.
  • Make a menu of what we can have for dinner tomorrow. 
My little ones love this and the last time I saw my granddaughter, she asked, “Mimi, can we work together again?” We had so much fun whistling and singing while we worked! (Ummm you don't want me to add an audio of our singing, but just trust me that we did sing,"Whistle While You Work"...

Did I mention there is one drawback? You might have a mess, but if you can get something done, the clean up is worth it! 

Kinetic Sand: 

Kinetic Sand can create hours of fun for any age. I have to confess...I get fascinated playing with it myself! Give your kids a bin or 9X13 cake pan, plastic cutting board or cookie sheet, cookie cutters, puzzle pieces, plastic utensils, buttons or anything you have around the house and let them create. I am sure they will come up with zillions of creative sculptures and ideas that will occupy them for hours. 

You can find some great activities for sculpting with Kinetic Sand in Dyan Robson’s book Awesome Kinetic Sand Activities for Kids. 

Dyan also mentions on her blog, “Next Comes L,” that “all the activities are low preparation, which means you can set them up within seconds” and contain “three full color photos per activity.” The set up of this book encourages working independently, which is great for work at home parents. 



Scavenger Hunt:  

This idea is the old-fashioned scavenger hunt game with a twist. You can have pre-made cards or simply make them up as you go. 

Visualize this scenario: You are sitting in your office. You can hear footsteps coming and that little rascal calling out that infamous phrase, “I’m bored.” You’re in the middle of a report that was due “yesterday.” Panic sets in. Then you remember the game from this post...you quickly give your child 3-4 clues about an object to find in your house.  if this is not you...maybe you are trying to get something important completed...dinner...an idea for next year's class...whatever your "MUST DO" is.

You might say, “ I am thinking of an object that is pink stripped and I wear it at night. Can you guess what I am thinking and find it?” Your child scurries out the door to find the object you described. 

When the object is found, your child receives a point. You continue giving clues until you have exhausted all the non-breakable items in your house. 

Award a prize after a certain number of points are scored and your kiddos will want to play over and over again. Who doesn’t work for an incentive or a reward over time? Oh and the end result...your "Must do" gets completed by the deadline or at least close to it! 

Here are Some Fun Activities Online

I was so excited when I found these. I was thinking of how much my own grandchildren would love to have these options this summer!  All of our summer camps are closed where we live so these would definitely be something to put in your summer toolbox!

Virtual Summer Camp: 


Be sure to check out this fantastic Virtual Summer Camp for Grades PreK-Grade 5
They give you a weekly program to follow that includes Virtual field Trips, Reading, Writing and Science Ideas. Weekly tips for Families and a "Stay Sharp" area, which takes you to other sites for more learning ideas.  I am thinking it is a great idea for summer especially if you are working from home or NOT!

"Madlibs" Online:

I have a 7 year old granddaughter that LOVES "Madlibs", but these have a twist in that you fill in the parts of speech by typing them into a frame provided online. You know the topic or theme or the story but have no idea of any of the sentences so as you add you nouns, verbs, adjective, colors etc.  you only know the words you added! After you submit the creators add them into the writing piece and then you can read the silly story you created!  Squigly's Playhouse: I even had fun doing this.
Here is one we wrote:

Today I went to beach with my teacher. While we were there, we came across the cutest teal balloon animal monkey. His name was Flubber and we instantly became best friends because we both love slippery chairs and jumping. While talking about computers, we both even said 'I just wanna dance' at the same time. Jinx!


I am thinking this could be a family affair!

Readers' Theater:  

As a child, I remember putting on plays with the kids in my neighborhood! We would dress up and present our plays on a handmade stage and invite the neighborhood, which were maybe 10 people, but we though the theater was packed full.  We even make tickets and refreshments (AHHH! the good ole' days) 

Just think of how much learning takes place when doing a Readers' Theater, Readers' Theater ideas. I bet you will find more than a few that will interest your child/ren
remember with a Reader's Theater, you done have to memorize the parts, but rather, read your part with inflection, clarity and fluency! Performing these "plays" is supporting learning to read with expression, accuray and rate...i always tell my students it is like reading on TV or making a video, which would be another great idea...videotape it!!  Click here for a ton of 


Looking for Free Crafts and Activities?


Okay I can't even contain myself. I am so excited that I came across this site. It is jammed packed with tons of free ideas for you, as a parent or teacher can use with your Kids!  I called my daughter, who is a Kindergarten teacher and my oldest daughter who has 2 children and teaches music to check out this site for summer ideas and if needed, ideas for the fall.  This the "BOMB" you can find tons of ideas on Free Crafts and Activities for Parents and Teachers. There is a paid portion, you can opt into, but there is so much free, I doubt you will need it!


If all else fails: Maybe your child may be too unmotivated to try these ideas or you may be too tired or exhausted to set these up...just use some of these good old standbys: 


  •  Sit outside with your computer and simply watch your little guys or gals play with their favorite safe outdoor activities.

  • Is it a rainy day? Put a favorite movie or video on the TV...this is a win-win situation...you get a few hours of work completed and your Child/ren are loving their favorite movie. 

  • Give your kids your phone to look through all the videos and pictures you have yet to download or if you have photo albums or scrapbooks, let them “read” through them. 
 My grandkids will do this for hours at a time every time they come to visit. 
  • If you are really courageous, print the pictures and put them in your "Mary Poppins' " bag or basket and let the older ones categorize and put into a scrapbook or photo album.
  • Provide some recorded books. These can be purchased or you can create your own. Kids love to listen to favorite books over and over again! You can even have your older children record books for your littles.   One you might want to try is: Storyline Online This site has some famous people reading all time favorites and their favorites. Here is another site that provides FREE books to download and read or the book on video for your child to read.  There are a variety of ideas on how you can use these books with your kids and if you are teacher, it is a win-win site!
  • If you work from home, make a schedule for you and your child to follow including some independent activities with scheduled breaks so you can give your child some undivided attention. 

Sidewalk Chalk is always a great stand by.

Give you kids words, numbers or sentences to write.  Have your kiddos make a bicycle path on the driveway. Create a game with words or numbers and when you land on those you can read the words or add the numbers. You can even ask,"What number comes before that number or after that number or give me a math fact for that number.  Bring out those budding artists and let them create.





Following Directions Game

My co-teacher and I came up with a fun idea that our class enjoyed so much...if my memory is correct, the kids begged to play the game. Here is how it works. You create a 1,2,3 or maybe 4 step direction to follow (depending on the age of the players). Then they have to follow the direction correctly. Now the fun part is if they are incorrect when they follow the direction, any other player can be selected to try it.  Some kiddos would ask before they started, "Can you repeat the directions?" We would only repeat it one time. This supported following directions, attention and focus as well as asking questions, if you did not hear it the first time the directions were given.

Charades:

Charades is always a good idea and a great stand-by.  This game is so much fun and kids LOVE to play it...my students even asked to play it during indoor recess!  here are some Charades Games I have created with pictures and words so your kiddos might not need support when playing them.













Hopscotch

There are so many ways to connect learning and fun when playing hopscotch.
  • Hopscotch Addition: Toss 2 markers, jump to the numbers and add them together.
  • Hopscotch Multiplication: This is the same as above except multiply the numbers.
  • Skip Count Hopscotch: Create a hopscotch board that has counts by 5, 10, 2,3,4,5,6, etc. Draw them on the boards in random order, then jump on the board is the correct order of the counts: 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18, 20.
  • Sight Word Hopscotch:  Create a board to reinforce those words your child needs to read with more accuracy and speed. 
  • Write those words on the board, toss a marker and read the words as you hope along. 
  • You can do this with letter recognition, letter sounds,vocabulary words, multisyllabic words (maybe hopping from one syllable to the next to spell the the word parts), long and short vowel pattern words, CVC words or any words or phonics skill that might need to be reinforced. 
  • You can even use images of words and when they hop to that image, clap out the syllables or give a rhyming word for the picture or word. 


Let’s face it, you don’t need a crystal ball to determine that one of your kiddos will be home saying, "I'm BORED!" You may not have all your children home at the same time like the situation we have had, but you WILL have a child or two home, with "nothing to do" at some point in the future even after we get back to a normalcy, (think child home sick or day off from school) or virtual learning for next year! (OH NO!) I am thinking you will still have to work; so be proactive and set up some of these suggestions before you even need to use them.  Then they will be ready to go on a minute’s notice.

Well…okay…we are here right now in this situation so let’s say it this way…if you are
not too exhausted after a day of working or maybe you are still teaching or teaching summer school, perhaps tuck a few of these ideas in your tool box so they are ready to go! How about tonight? Let’s hope these activities keep you calm, cool and collected now and in the future!

These activities are definitely worth a try...what have you got to lose?  if you have tried these and they are still using the "B" word, you can always purchase a small blow-up pool, grab bubbles, take a hike, ride bikes, play "I spy", have a picnic on the lawn, throw a ball, dance to your favorite tune, see how long it takes to run around the block or simply relax and read a book! 

I hope you can use some of these ideas during this "Summer to Remember!"


I would love to hear your tried and true ideas in the comment section!





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    3 Ideas to Encourage Kids to Write at Home and at School Part 2 of a 7 Part Series


    SInce my last post, things have changed quite a bit.  If I posted a picture of myself today, you would notice that my roots are showing gray without my salon open, my nails are growing and desperately need a refill and my eyebrows are flowing...so...we are all in this together and as such, we need to work to find some positives in everything we do!  

    That being said, here are some ideas that you can use to encourage writing at home especially since many of you are using distance learning or if you are a parent, conducting home learning as most schools are closed without an opening date scheduled!

    So with all that in mind...


    Here are 3 more ideas to use at home or at school to encourage writing!
      This is the perfect time to encourage Journal Writing.  This is an idea that was mentioned in my first post, but NOW is definitely the time to encourage children to keep a journal especially if your state has mandated a "Stay at Home Policy."

    You can grab a notebook or some paper that can staple together in a booklet, decorate the front and go from there.

    In my opinion, if kids decorate their journal, they will take ownership of their writing, build confidence and feel encouragement to write in it...OR NOT! 😃

    The purpose of keeping a journal, especially during this pandemic journey, is to write about each day and how they feel...BUT...not just that!  Have your kiddos write about whatever they want and encourage creativity!

    Take a look below to see some other journal ideas you can provide with distance learning or at home.

    • Have kids draw a picture right in their journals adding as many details as possible.  Then have them write about the picture. It can be anything they want to draw as long as they write a few sentences about it.  You can assign a certain number of sentences according to age or goals.  I usually assign 3 sentences in Kindergarten, 5 for first grade and so on. However, you know your kids better than I do so assign accordingly or you can simply say write as much as you need to give all the information about your picture or topic! 
    • Take pictures of family activities you are doing during this time.  Have your children write about the picture.  If possible print the pictures and glue them right into their journals. Maybe placing one on each page and then have them write about one picture each day.   Then one day you can look back on this time and reminisce about times gone by.  
    You can also give your children pictures that you have in your phone to write entries. I would choose ones that they remember perhaps sports, family vacations or simply fond memories!








     Give your child a Blank Heart and have them write, draw pictures or even cut out ideas from magazines that are dear to their hearts and keep this heart in their writing folder or glue it into the front of their journals...they will always have an idea handy! 

    Last but not least...drumroll please number 3:


    ✐ Prized Possession Writing: This can be done in 2 ways. First have students bring in  an object of choice or if you at home, grab an object of choice about which to write.  Most kids have a prized possession or a stuffed animal that has been their "go to" forever.   Second whether you are at school or home have a basket of beanie babies, plush toys and fun objects from which to choose and the kids can describe the object, create a story about it or simply tell how they got it or why they like it!        

    I hope these ideas support your distance learning, at home learning or, if you are still in school, support your writing curriculum and/or give you some ideas for writing in general! 

    Maybe you want to support writing at home by using some of these writing ideas  to use for YOU to write and then have a family sharing time...I think I would LOVE doing THAT!









    Look for more writing ideas soon!

    Be safe and stay healthy...we are all in this together!! 







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