I Have A Dream (Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activity)

I love Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of peace. It is a huge overwhelming goal, but when each of us makes an effort to be kinder, we will see results. Use this page as a springboard to start a class discussion about making the world a better place in the areas we each have influence.

This one is a half sheet for younger grades. Click here to download: I Have a Dream – Half Sheet

This one is a full sheet for upper grades and middle school. We don’t often get to discuss behavior on social media (and many youth don’t get this discussion at home), so take this opportunity! Click here to download: I Have a Dream – Full Sheet

 

I’ve also done some anti-bullying activities! Click here to see my post about an awesome one!

 

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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!

New Year Reflections Spinner

I found this in my files and thought I’d share. This would be a great activity for a family or staff party and there’s little prep needed. I’m not sure where this is from, so if it’s yours, please let me know so I can credit you. Thanks and happy new year!

Click here to download: New Year Reflections Spinner

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.

Halloween Stresses Teachers Out!

Accurate.

I couldn’t find who this picture belongs to, so if it’s yours, please email me so I can credit you! (square head teachers at gmail dot com)

“Snapshot of Fall Break” Graphic Organizer

Thank heavens for fall break! It can’t come soon enough and it never lasts long enough! At least you can have an easy way for everyone to share their fall break adventures with this easy printable! Have your students write or draw something to answer each prompt.

Click here to download the PDF: Snapshots of Fall Break

 

Tech Tuesday: Free Resource for English Learners in Your Classroom

Lauralee is now a technology coach in her district. Here is a helpful resource for English Learners (and every student!) in your classroom!

If you have students who are struggling with your tier one (whole class) instruction because they don’t understand the challenging English vocabulary, then Quizlet is a great FREE website for you. It is a wonderful resources that will help your student learn some of the important vocabulary words before you use them in class. By front-loading your EL students with the vocabulary prior to a lesson, they will better be able to follow along during the lesson and understand the content discussed. It’s so easy to access, requires VERY little prep, and the students don’t even need accounts!

 Just follow these simple steps:
2. In Upper left corner, use search bar to type in content area. (For example: I typed in Space Spanish terms. See image below.)

3. Look through the results to find a set that fits your student’s vocabulary needs
4. Copy the link for future access
(You can get a free teacher account and create your own vocab sets also. Don’t have students get accounts until you look into your district’s student privacy policy to see if Quizlet follows the proper privacy!)

 

Here is an example of how I use Quizlet in my classroom: Let’s pretend that I am about to start my space unit in science. I have a student who doesn’t speak much English. Naturally, I am thinking about how to help this student get something out of my lesson. So, I go to Quizlet, and find a vocab set that has the words that she will be hearing. Then, I have her do the activities that go with that set of words before I start actually teaching the unit. When I do start the space unit with the whole class, that student has heard the words and is WAY more familiar with their meanings.
#ELhelp #EveryKidCounts #SetUpForSuccess #TechTuesday
P.S. I know it isn’t Tuesday yet, but I wanted to share this resource with you because there are so many helpful things on Quizlet!!

Teacher Chat! (Rachel, 6th Grade Teacher)

Note: I was blessed to be able to teach 6th grade with Rachel. She always had great ideas and such a fun energy that made her a successful teacher!

What grade(s) do you teach/have you taught?

10 years of teaching 6th grade!

What’s one thing you do to prepare for/get through parent-teacher conferences?

I make sure I am prepared and organized. I have a folder for each student with their report card, a progress report that shows all of the assignments, test scores, and often a note with upcoming important dates. It’s good to have water close by since I do a lot of talking. Mentally, I remind myself that both I and the parents want what is best for the student, so we need to work to be a team.

What’s one of your favorite end-of-the-year activities to do with your class?

Kindergarten Day. We have one day where we do a lot of kindergarten-type activities (play doh, coloring, calendar, story time, centers, etc). Anything that involves writing or coloring is to be done with their non-dominant hand. I teach small groups how to use a combination lock in one of the centers so they will be able to (hopefully) open their lockers once they hit middle school in a few months.

What’s one thing you do to encourage good behavior in your class?

I have my students help create a list of desired rewards, then print them in a series of boxes, and cover them with scratch-off stickers (found on Amazon). If there is a certain behavior I’m trying to encourage (working quietly, turning in assignments, etc.), each time they do what is desired I give my students a letter to spell a word, or an initial in a set of boxes on the board that they have to complete to earn a reward. When they finish the word or fill the boxes, then I draw a name for who gets to scratch off one of the stickers to see what reward they get.

Tell us about one thing you wish you’d known when you first started teaching.

Do not grade every single little thing that is turned in. So much of it is practice, and it doesn’t need more than a glance and a mark that it was completed. I made myself crazy spending countless hours grading stuff that wasn’t necessary.

 

What gets you through a hard day?

A chat with someone who gets it, and sometimes a good hug. Teaching is hard, and it often seems to be getting harder with each younger group of kids. I just try to remember that I am doing my very best, I’m human, and if there is one kid (or parent) that is really hard to handle, I only have to deal with them for one school year.