United States Coast Guard Coloring Book!

I’ve seen a lot in the news recently about the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Most people think the Coast Guard is basically a search and rescue group for stranded boats. But it’s way more than that. Often forgotten as one of our nation’s five military branches, the Coast Guard does a TON for our country! Here’s how the USCG describes itself:

Semper Paratus – Always Ready.
That is your Coast Guard motto.

The Coast Guard is one of our nation’s five military services. We exist to defend and preserve the United States. We protect the personal safety and security of our people; the marine transportation system and infrastructure; our natural and economic resources; and the territorial integrity of our nation–from both internal and external threats, natural and man-made. We protect these interests in U.S. ports and inland waterways, along the coasts, on international waters.

We are a military, multi-mission, maritime force offering a unique blend of military, law enforcement, humanitarian, regulatory, and diplomatic capabilities. These capabilities underpin our three broad roles: maritime safety, maritime security, and maritime stewardship. There are 11 missions that are interwoven within these roles.

I think it’s just as important for our children to know about the different military branches as it is to know about other community contributors (firefighters, police, etc.).

Here’s a super cute (and informative) FREE coloring book the USCG makes available for everyone: coast guard coloring book  (source)

Click here to learn more about the United States Coast Guard.

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New Resource! Character Building and Classroom Culture Materials

I recently discovered a new resource I want to share with you! It’s a blog called Come Follow Me FHE (FHE stands for “family home evening,” where your family spends time together at home). Each week, kindergarten teacher, Angie, shares a short lesson about a character-building type topic and includes printables and activity ideas aimed at children.

The lessons are based off of a manual called Come Follow Me, which focuses on the New Testament. If sharing ideas from a religious topic is inappropriate in your school, use the basic ideas of good character to strengthen your students. For example, her second week lesson focuses on the Beatitude. Rather than calling them the Beatitudes, call them “character bees” or say “we should be humble”. I firmly believe these Christian values are critical to good character development in children and will strengthen us as a society.

Here’s a freebie she sent me from week 2: bee coloring page

I also liked week one, with the theme “we are responsible for our own learning.” This. Yes! A thousand times yes!! I went to the manual (available here) and found this lesson idea (I’ve modified it to fit a classroom setting):

Matthew 13:1–23  One great way to help [your classroom] prepare to learn this year is to review the parable of the sower. Your [class] might enjoy looking at different kinds of ground near your home to visualize the types of ground described in the parable. What can we do to cultivate “good ground” in our [classroom]? (Matthew 13:8).

This analogy lends itself to all kinds of discussions. “Our mind is like a garden” or “plant good ideas in our heads” and the list goes on…

Here’s his you get the freebies: Subscribe to the Come Follow Me FHE weekly email. I don’t like to give out my email or subscribe to things (I already get so much email!), But this one is a simple once a week email sent on Tuesdays. I’ve tried it and I don’t get a bunch of useless junk emails. If you missed the previous week’s worth of lessons and activities, you can get them at Angie’s Etsy shop. She’s got cute display printables for each lesson if you like pretty things!

Using Essential Oils in the Classroom (Guest Post #2)

I’m sure you’ve heard about essential oils. I’ve wanted to learning about how they can be used in the classroom, so I reached out to a friend of mine who is very involved in the “oils community.” (If you’re familiar with Young Living Essential Oils, you’ll know my friend by the name, Lucy Libido. She’s written essential oils books for women and babies/kids) She connected me with a few teachers who use oils in the classroom. They have agreed to share their experiences with oils in a few guest posts. So here’s the second post about oils, written by preschool teacher, Nanette. Please note that she discussed the use of oils with the parents of her students. Click here to get started with your own oils kit!

As a preschool teacher of 19 years, I have always taken pride in looking for the best materials and items I can provide for my kids in the classroom.  When I discovered Young Living Essential Oils in 2016, I decided it was time to incorporate these oils in my classroom. Our director had already begun using Thieves Household Cleaner for our everyday cleaning needs throughout the preschool.  I communicated with the families in our classroom that we would like to introduce essential oils and asked if any of them had any questions or concerns.  Many of them had questions and concerns regarding the use of essential oils around their kids.  I was able to put their mine at ease that this would benefit their child’s preschool experience.  I began to introduce the oils that they were probably more familiar with, such as Peppermint, Lavender, Orange, and Lemon.  Once we had been diffusing oils for a while in the classroom, I introduced additional oils, such as Thieves, Cedarwood, Sleepyizes, Purification, and Lemongrass.  I may eventually add more oils, but these ones seem to be meeting our needs.

Daily, we use Thieves Household Cleaner to clean our tables, floors, bathrooms, windows, cots, and any other surface that needs cleaning.  We also diffuse oils on days that we feel it is needed.  This may be during moments when unique smells occur (which can be quite often in a preschool), when the class seems to need an energy boost (which usually occurs without help from oils), when nap time comes around, and the class needs to slow down, or just to add a nice smell to the classroom.

Our preschool will continue diffusing oils and cleaning with Thieves Household Cleaner.  We know that these oils are the best, and that using non-toxic products is the only way to ensure that our children grow up in a healthy environment.

 

Want to try essential oils? Click here to get started.

About the Guest Blogger

Nanette Arnold I have been a preschool teacher for 19 years, a mentor teacher for 5 years, and am currently acting as a director for my center while my director is on maternity leave.  I have worked with children ages 6 months – 5 years old.  I have been using Young Living Essential Oils since December of 2016.  In my spare time, I can be found reading, playing pool, trying new foods, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with my boyfriend, friends, and family.

 

Note: Content on this blog is not intended as medical advice.

Using Essential Oils in the Classroom (Guest Post #1)

I’ve heard a lot about essential oils lately. I’ve been interested in learning about their application in the classroom, so I reached out to a friend of mine who is very knowledgeable and experienced in using oils. (If you’re familiar with Young Living Essential Oils, you’ll know my friend by the name Lucy Libido. She’s written essential oils books for women and babies/kids) She connected me with a few teachers who use oils in the classroom. They have agreed to share their experiences with oils in a few guest posts. So here’s the first post about oils, written by high school teacher, Tamera. Click here to get started with your own oils kit!

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard the buzz about essential oils. What are they? How can I use them? Do they really work to support my health? For educators like me, I wanted to know how I could use oils to support my students’ learning and possibly alleviate toxic stress. This began my research into how essential oils support students who have experienced trauma. I spent a lot of time researching just a few single oils to use daily.

Morning: Lemon and Peppermint combined is a great “pick-me-up.” Many students reported that they felt more alert and they loved how good my classroom smelled. It wasn’t uncommon for my students come back to my classroom throughout the day just to sit and breathe, enjoying whatever was in the diffuser.

Afternoon: My students and I engaged in frequent guided meditation. During the 13 minute meditation, I used lavender in the diffuser and their mood and focus changed dramatically. There were weeks where sometimes I’d forget, but my students were quick to remind me, “Miyasato! Where’s our meditation?” They’d even remind me if I forgot to fill the diffuser.

Studying/Test-Taking: Another oil that I found useful in my classroom was rosemary. We diffused it when we were preparing for tests and because scent is tied to memory, I was sure to diffuse it on testing days, as well. While I didn’t collect data on whether it helped improve scores, it definitely supported my students’ focus and concentration.

Disinfecting: Finally, I was never without my bottle of Thieves Cleaner to clean desks and chalk boards. The day janitor used a popular brand of disinfectant down the halls, but we kept our door closed when she came around. Yuck! My students loved the smell of the Thieves and I felt confident letting them help me clean because I knew that it was safe for them to handle.

Administrative Support: I was grateful that I was able to integrate essential oils into my classroom routines to support my students. However, not all schools will allow teachers to use them. So I have to stress the importance of administration approval. I was lucky that my administration was already supportive and open to new ways to support our high-needs school. In fact, after observing the positive changes in my classroom, I provided our principal with information about using the right oils and how they are used to support many body functions. He was so intrigued that he hired an aromatherapist to come in and provide professional learning for our whole staff!

If you are interested in trying them, I strongly encourage you to look into existing policy to make sure that your school does not prohibit the use of essential oils. If no such policy exists, request a meeting and be armed with research! The important thing to note is the quality of the oils, because not all essential oils are created equal.

Happy oiling!

About the Guest Blogger

Tamera Miyasato is a Learning Specialist with Technology & Innovation in Education in South Dakota where her work is focused on cultural proficiency, Oceti Sakowin language and culture, and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). She was formerly a secondary ELA teacher at Pine Ridge High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where she grew up. She currently lives in Rapid City, SD with her husband, son and two cats.

Note: Content on this blog is not intended as medical advice.

Getting the Most Out of Ticket Jar

I received free products from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for sharing my thoughts on this blog.

As a teacher, I have found that the more positive praise I do, the less negative I have to deal with. One of the best systems I have used is my ticket jar system. Most people have probably heard of a form of this. I do ticket jar every Friday. It’s a good system for me because it can be individual incentive and group incentive. Here are 3 tips we’ve come up with:

All Roads Lead to Rome: At first it seems like I have tons of different positive incentives, table points, house points, class rock party points, class activity time points, individual tickets. It is true, but the beauty is that these “different” systems all come back to tickets. (That will make things so much easier on you as a teacher., I promise)

Here is an example: My students sit in tables. They earn points for their table by transitioning quickly, working well together during a project, all turning in certain assignments. At the end of the day, whichever table has the most points, each person gets 2 tickets.  (Table points convert to tickets!)

Another example: If I have an important paper that I need signed and brought back, I use tickets to bribe students to take it home, get it signed, and brought back. Works every time!

Let Ticket Jar Feed Itself: I encourage students to make donations of toys they don’t want or random items that their parents are willing to buy at the dollar store. When they make a donation, I give them a ticket just for donating. Also, I promise them that I will put their ticket back if I pull it on that item. Mindy didn’t do this her first year and ran out of cool prizes really fast. Then she had no budget (of course!) for replenishing it, so it didn’t have near the power to motivate her students.

Be Cheap: It can be expensive handing out things each week. Here are a few tips on that too:

  1. Get students to donate (as mentioned above).
  2. Collect “cool rocks” on all your vacations, hikings, adventures, whatever. I teach 6th grade and they are really into a neat rock!
  3. Oriental Trading Company: They have cheap bundles of items. You can buy big mixed packets or a specific item that you know will be a winner. I recently bought a huge bag of sticky hands for less than ten bucks and I am pretty sure it will last the whole year!
  4. Dollar Stores and Thrift Stores: Dollar stores often have packs of pencils or candy. Just figure out the unit price to decide if it’s a good deal! If you get something from a thrift store, make sure it is clean or better yet, still packaged!

And Then There Were Two!

I’m super excited to announce that my sister, Lauralee, will be joining Squarehead Teachers! She’s got lots of teaching experience, including dual immersion in Spanish. She’s written curriculum for various groups and will be a fabulous addition to this blog!

Sight Words Graphing

There’s nothing like killing 2 birds with one stone! I feel like this printable does that, so I’m pretty jazzed. First, kids read the sight words (clearly a win!), then they use the quantity of each word to make a simple graph (win-win!). Might be a good whole class activity or a page to send home and do as a “parent-student” practice. It’s very similar to the page I made for St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy!

Let’s connect! Catch me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter! 🙂

Current Homework & Important Papers (CHIP) Folder (Guest Post)

Graphic3CHIP stands for “current homework and important papers.”

One pocket is for current homework that students have been assigned. The other pocket is for important papers (reference sheets that we use frequently, reading  passages that we are working on, group work info, etc.). Nothing else goes in this folder so that it doesn’t get cluttered. I use the boomerang folder for assignments that have been graded and papers for their parents and pretty much anything that is in their take home mailbox. This system has been helpful in keeping my students organized.

Click here to see the full-size PDF: chip-folder-cover-pdf.

About the author:
Lauralee specializes in dual immersion (English/Spanish) and math education. She currently teaches sixth grade. She enjoys travelling and spending time with family.