5 + Fun Ways to Make St. Patrick's Day Fun for Kids at Home or at School


For some reason...and I am not really sure why...I always LOVED to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with my kiddos at home and my kiddos at school. Whether it was making Irish Potatoes or leaving notes from a Leprechaun, the magic of this day added a well deserved break to the everyday ho-hum that sometimes sets in around this time of year.

I mean winters can be long and we are waiting for SPRING to SPRING!!
So to spice up your life a bit and bring a little MAGIC right through your door...

Here are 5 + Ways to Make St. Patrick's Day Fun for Kids at Home or at School...

 Let the Leprechauns Make Some Mischief:

Turn your classroom or one of your rooms in your house upside down.

1. Grab some shamrock confetti and sprinkle it everywhere.
2.  Add a few pieces of curled green ribbon on top of shelves or even around lamps.
3.  Turn a few chairs upside down.
4.  Add some footprints around the room, which you can purchase online or make yourself.




5. Don't forget to hide a letter from your mischievous leprechaun so your kiddos see it or find it in the morning!!!

Here is a Letter I used a few Years back: 

Top of the Mornin” to ya boys and girls- 
Me thinks it is Fun Friday and yer celebratin’ St. Patrick’s Day taday! Me peeked through the window yesterday n’ I saw ya in Cougar Crossing and stations. I peeked in 4 or 5 times durin’ the day. I decided that most of ya deserved to have an extra treat today even tho’ some of ya did not get all yer stations finished. So, I called Mrs. Simpson and told her to buy ya something special. Now, I noticed that ya were all always listen’, I figured we’re celebratin’ St. Patrick’s Day taday and you ALL are deservin’ of gettin’ a special treat! Happy Day! Oh did ya notice anything different in ya room today!! I visited last night!

 Add a Few Fun Crafts to Get Those Minds Churning:

Here are a few crafts and writing ideas that I have created and used over the years.  that I am sure your kids would LOVE to create. It would make a great Bulletin Board or even look awesome hanging on your refrigerator!!! 

                                           

 
You can find direction for these Right HERE: It even has letters for a Bulletin Board!!!

Now here is my absolute fave to celebrate this Magical Holiday:

Are you read?  Drum Roll Please....tat, tat, tat, boom, boom, boom...I know you can hear it!!! TAH DAH!!!!!!!

So You Want to be a Leprechaun will bring out the inner leprechaun in everyone...teachers, parents, student, kids, aunts, uncles...EVERYONE!  You can find the craft and application for the job right here:












 Adding a St. Patrick's Day Theme to Any Kind of Worksheet Always Adds a Bit of Fun to Learning!

For some reason when you simply add a theme to a worksheet, it is a game changer and your kiddos think there is something magical and different from just a plain 'ole worksheet. So...Ramp up your celebrations with this St. Patrick's Day subtraction worksheet.                                                     
For more engaging Math activities Click HERE:
You will absolutely LOVE all the resources you can find on Education.com











 Add Some Cooking to the Day:

I remember a few years back when I was braver and younger, I actually had cooperative groups make Irish Potatoes!  Yes you read that correctly....can you imagine a bunch or first graders making these? MESSY? YOU BET!  FUN? ABSOLUTELY!!

I am thinking you might need to add this idea and bring a little Irish Treat into your classroom or kitchen! This exactly the recipe i used. NO COOK and EASY PEASY! I typed up the recipe on paper and then glued to shamrocks, had a few adult volunteers in to help and there you have it!!!






 I am Thinking you NEED to Add Some Science into your Day:


Okay...we have some mischievous fun, some leprechaun writing and application along with magical crafts and some great math ideas from education.com . Now we need some science or STEM activities to complete our day!




These ideas will keep your kiddos looking for leprechauns for at least 10 years if not more!! I mean I have been trying to find them for years and years and years! Oh and don't forget to make a pair of rainbow binoculars to stake out the trap!!

Well there you have it 5 + Ways to Make St. Patrick's Day Fun at Home or at School

How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? be sure to let me know in the Comments! Thank for stopping by and I hope this brings a little sunshine to your day!!
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5 MORE Fun Ways to Encourage Reading in School or at Home


   

I thought it might be time to share a few more ways to encourage reading in school or at home.

When you have taught as long as I have, you always have a few tricks up your sleeve to motivate kids to read!

So, without further ado, here are 5  MORE tried and true ideas for encouraging your child or students to read and to make reading more fun and engaging!

1.  Magnifying Glass Reading:

Have you ever given your kiddos magnifying glasses to read books?
This can be done with partner reading or independent reading. Big sister reading to little brother or kids reading to their pets. 

It really doesn't matter who they are reading to as long as they are reading and the detective approach using a magnifying glass just adds to the fun of reading!

The more you read, the better you read!


2.  Reading Buddies: 

When I taught first grade, we had "Reading Buddies" hanging out in our reading area and also one very large pet dog who has since gone to my daughter's kindergarten class for a permanent home. The first graders loved cuddling up with a reading buddy and loved when we had bring your "Reading Buddy to School" days.       
 The kiddos always loved when their classroom job was "Station Janitor" because they loved straightening up our reading area and LOVED to line up all our "Reading Buddies' on the bench.  Five Below for the score on these cute "pet pillows" AKA "Reading Buddies".






AND..."BOOMER" our "class pet" always sat patiently waiting for a "Reading Buddy". In my classroom, he sat by the door, which led to the "bump out" reading area.  In my daughter's classroom, he sits right in the reading area.








3.  Volunteer Reading or, in my room...Miss Mary Reading: 

Miss Mary was almost like having a classroom grandmother!  

She was a retired librarian from a local university and she came every Tuesday and sometimes Tuesday and Thursday to read with my kiddos.  She even shared some history with the class when we learned about school long ago. She was a dream come true.  She did not have any children and was never married so these little cherubs were hers for a few hours every week! 

I would give her a list of students to with whom to work and she would even take notes on sticky notes jotting down little things she noticed about each student's reading.  The kids LOVED reading with her so I would rotate the students to make sure she read with every student within a certain timeframe.  SHE WAS THE BEST! She stayed with us for about 10+ years reading with children. 

The takeaway is...if you can find a retired teacher, librarian, or any retired person to volunteer with reading to your students...EVERYONE benefits!  If you are at home bring in the neighbors and relatives for a reading party!! 

In my Teaching career, we had Miss Mary, Mrs. Mauze ( a retired Comedian, who was on Vaudeville and wrote jokes for Joan Rivers) and  Dr.  Winters, a retired Superintendent, who was so understanding and fabulous with the kids and they all took notes that were so helpful!

Yes...this was a fun way to support reading with my students, but they also learned many life lessons that only this experience encourages.  When Miss Mary had knee surgery, she came in with a walker and it filled my heart to see these little children ask if she needed help and telling her to just sit and they would come to her!!!

4.  Read the Pictures, Then the Words:  BUDDY READING with a TWIST! 

Have you ever used this chart in your classroom: 3 Ways to Read a Book:  Read the Pictures, Read the Words and Retell the story?  I had a poster like this set up in my reading area. (This is introduced in Daily 5™, by Gail Boushley) 

So my idea is to have partners read or buddy read with a friend and JUST look at the pictures and "read the pictures" using words that the student can determine from the the pictures as if the book were wordless.( they can cover the words with a piece of paper if necessary) The partners can take turns reading each picture on a page or simply each take a turn "reading" with a different book.  

There are some really fabulous books out there that are only pictures that would work as well.  Here is my favorite one:





After they read the pictures, they can then read the words and compare and contrast their ideas about the book.  This works best with picture books that have less words per page.

They can determine if the book tells the whole story through the pictures or if the words are important to gain meaning from the text. Were their ideas on target or not?  
If you ask your kiddos to read a wordless book, they can add words on sticky notes.
Actually a great idea would be to have multiple wordless books available and have partners write words to go along with the pictures and then have partner groups share their ideas.  What was the same or different and why do you think that happen or why did you write different words to explain the pictures?(meaning different individuals can read or look at the same book and come up with different ideas...Schema!)
I am willing to bet that you can come up with so many creative ways to make this work during your reading block.  Oh...don't forget that you can have them retell the story to each other after they read together or after an independent read and then partner to retell (Beginning, Middle and the End of the story) and chat about it!

5.  Student Guest Readers: 

This idea evolved one day when 4 children wanted to read a book for our "Student Guest Reader" time. So, as was always our practice, we had a class meeting or discussion about this dilemma.  The outcome was that each week, up to 4 students could read a book to the class..."now that would take a really long time" they all decided so what we did was divide the class into to small groups around the room and each reader read to a small group of students. They all decided that they could choose a helper to sit with them that would not tell them the words but rather give them strategies to figure out the "tricky" words.  This worked beautifully.

So each week different children would sign up to read through the week and on Friday afternoon toward the end of the day, we would use our "picking sticks" to choose groups for each reader.  After the reader completed the book, if there was more time, they could ask the students questions or simply discuss the story.
On a beautiful warm, sunny day, you might even want to take them outside to read!

The benefits of these reading groups were priceless. It built confidence, supported decoding not to mention fluency and also built classroom community in that everyone worked together to support each other. Even my early readers would volunteer to read to a small group. Sometimes i recommended a Guided reading book that was more on their level. The class recognized each individual for who they were...it was truly a family of learners.  As a side note, one of my most difficult students was a great reader. When he took a turn reading to a group of peers, they were amazed and began to go to him for help during stations or simply to help read a word. Talk about building confidence...well that was evident!!!

FYI: before our Student Guest Readers came to fruition, we had parent guest readers, who would sign up to read on Friday afternoons before the end of the day.  So...that's another idea to tuck away.

I would love to here some ideas that you have used at home or in school to encourage reading in a fun way!  

Please leave your ideas in the comments below! AND....Happy Reading!


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5 Ideas for Teacher Self Care to Start NOW!


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!!!

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...
Who's with me...think of this...Have you ever felt like September comes and you never had a 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:

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 of member of my family.


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 this 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.


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




🌻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.

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. 

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?"
  • Go to the gym (exercise) and bring the kids. I know our YMCA allows kids to walk the track with an adult or they have a Kids Room with Kids Activities.
  • 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. 
  • Get a massage, facial, nails done or a pedicure once a month or so!
  • That's right PAMPER yourself...don't wait for someone else to do it!!! UMMM...it might not happen. You are in charge of YOU!!

Now...please note...I am not saying to do all of these...I mean....you would have more stress to 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. 
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 bressing and that change will come naturally the more you do it.

Here is an idea to get you started on your healthy journey:





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.

Check these out to get you started:


I am sure there are many small changes you can make in your diet that will make a difference in your life.
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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