The “paper plate wreath” as an art project has been around for decades. I found these directions in my mom’s teaching files from when she taught second grade thirty years ago (even before the internet and Pinterest!) These easy to follow directions can be posted at a center when kids are done with work as incentive. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Click here to download the PDF: Paper Plate Heart Wreath – written directions for centers
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!
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!
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
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.
I was recently approached by a friend (who’s got lots of kids in school and her husband is currently deployed, so she’s flying solo right now) who asked me what teachers really want from their students for Christmas. As we talked, we identified what resources people might or might not have (time, energy, money, creativity) that would factor into what gift they would give a teacher for Christmas. Our discussion seemed to end on the idea that teachers are people too so they don’t necessarily need a huge “Teachers Are the Best” T-shirt or a giant package of stickers.
I then asked my Facebook readership (mostly teachers) about this and they confirmed what I had discussed with my friend. This main theme emerged from teachers: Treat us like regular people rather than teachers! (So, skip the “world’s best teacher” mug. She’s probably got a few of them already.)
I’ve combined those two ideas (varying resources from gift-givers and teachers being treated like regular people) and I’ve come up with some gift-giving advice for you:
If the resource you have is MONEY…
Give gift cards! Teachers love going out to eat, seeing a movie, adding to their personal music/media collection or splurging on something fun at the store. If you still want to give something teaching-related, my readers suggested a gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers. Unfortunately, gift cards don’t come on sale very often, so you probably won’t get a deal on them. But you will probably check it off your list the fastest by grabbing a gift card while you’re at the grocery store.
If the resource you have is TIME…
Spend time in your teacher’s classroom! I think I would die of joy if parents in my class had “gifted” me 2 hours of help in my classroom. Before, during, after school, it wouldn’t matter. I would ask them to help me grade/record papers, redo a bulletin board, sort supplies or books, or about a million other things. I think this could also apply to school things the teacher would otherwise have to bring home. For example, you could volunteer to take home some laminated things, cut them out for the teacher and then send them back to school with your student. Heck, one teacher friend of mine had a parent take home her electric pencil sharpener and the parent sharpened a hundred pencils for her at home! Unconventional gift, I know, but it saved my teacher friend so much time and sanity! This kind of gift might not cost much (maybe the cost of a babysitter?), but it will speak volumes about your appreciation!
If you want to save your teacher some time…
Give the teacher a prepaid car wash. You probably know how good it feels to have a clean car. And you probably also know the nagging feeling that you should just wash and vacuum out your dang car yourself, but you don’t have time (or energy)! Well, be the teacher’s hero and grab him a certificate for a car wash. It’s probably something they’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Practical, simple and something they can actually use!!
If you’ve got a bunch of teachers on your list…
Give baked goods! Do I really need to say more? I mean, come on. Who doesn’t like a delicious goodie! Homemade or store-bought, it’ll be delicious. Just make sure you know if the teacher has any food allergies! (And don’t worry about making your presentation “Pinterest-worthy”. Most teachers don’t have time to make everything super fancy, so they don’t expect others to either.)
If you’re low on time and money…
Write a heartfelt note. Yes, you the parent. Kids give teacher notes all the time, but parents rarely do. Write down a note of appreciation telling them what you admire and appreciate about them as an individual and as a teacher. Consider telling them how your child has grown since they’ve been in the teacher’s classroom. Have your child draw a picture or make their own card to go with it.
Merry Christmas and happy gifting!!
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.
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.