Saturday, September 28, 2019

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Favorite Things

Hey y'all! The last few months have been full of serious posts and down-to-business ideas. While that's all fine and dandy, it's time for a little breather. Today, I'm sharing a few of my favorite things. I hope you find a few new favorites or some you can agree with as totally awesome. :)
This post does NOT contain affiliate links. I just love these things and thought you might, too.

Ella + Mila nail polish
I don't pay to go get my nails done. I'm just too cheap. And as soon as they chip, I must fix them immediately. So I paint my toenails myself. If they chip, they're so far away from my face that it doesn't send me into OCD overdrive. Anyhoo, Ella + Mila nail polish is as all natural as nail polish is going to get. It's free from a bunch of chemicals that are hard to pronounce and I like that. The nail strengthener works great, too. My current favorite color is Time for a Bond Fire, but they're bringing out new colors all the time.

Natural Life Boho Bandeaus 
I have a ton of hair. It's super think and heavy, and I break ponytail holders All. The. Time. If I put my hair up in a bun, I need at least a couple of basic ponytail holders and then sometimes my hair still won't stay. It's just too heavy. BUT, with these boho bandeaus, I JUST NEED THIS ONE THING! This one little thing keeps my hair up and out of the way of glue sticks and sticky fingers without any stress. They come in solid colors or pretty, fun prints, two different sizes, and can be worn in several different ways. (If you look closely at the picture, it shows all the different ways to wear it.) I have half-size ones and full size ones. I love them both, but the full sized one is the one that works best for all my hair. They look like scrunchies, but they're so much more than that. You should totally check them out.

Teacher Tees
Can we just take a moment to appreciate teacher tees? I mean if we can put on a t-shirt and a colorful pair of jeans and still look professional at work, it has to be a God-send right? I have several shirts from several different places, but TBE and The Wright Stuff Chics are my favorites. The Write Stuff Chics are trendy and fun, and their sales are awesome (I totally stocked up this summer!). TBE has more than just teacher tees. Their brand (To Be Enough) focuses on kindness and sending positive messages. I love the grade level and subject specific tees, but I also love the messages of caring for others and yourself, and their latest mission project of helping moms who are dealing with miscarriage. Their shirts are incredibly soft and comfortable, and last forever.

Aerie Sweatshirt Dress
So Aerie is part of American Eagle. They're their softer line of clothes and intimates. They don't photoshop their models and they celebrate all body types in their images, which I love! Anyway, they have these sweatshirt dresses that are super soft and comfortable and have pockets! I bought two last year and wore them all winter with leggings and boots. If you wore t-shirts and leggings all summer, try out their sweatshirt dresses. It'll make getting dressed in the morning so much easier. (At the writing of this, their fall inventory isn't all posted. I will update with pictures and links when available.)

Now all through the 90's and early 2000's, I wore basic hoops. I don't know if it was because I was young and naive (or broke!), or what. But recently I've branched out to more interesting options. My two favorite companies are Kendra Scott and Nickel and Suede. Now, I am an Austin girl, which is where Kendra Scott originated from. I will always love these styles and continue to shop there. These earrings make me feel put together, even when I'm not feeling it on the inside. But, they can get heavy (I shop the smaller ones). I can't wear them everyday (although they have enough colors and styles to get you through an entire year without wearing the same pair twice!).

Nickel and Suede I came across while on Instagram (#instagrammademedoit). They are super lightweight and about half the price (or less) of Kendra Scott. I wear these on casual days. And because they're made of leather or suede, people always compliment them and want to touch them.

But life isn't always about the stuff. While the stuff is fun, it's about what you choose to DO, not have, that makes life exciting. I also love cozy nights, singing along with the radio, early morning yoga, crisp mornings, changing seasons, comfy shoes, cozy blankets, comfy clothes, bonfires, books of all kinds, falling leaves, county fairs, good food, craft ciders, friends, family, warm coffee, traveling, puppy kisses, kid hugs, laughing, time at the lake, sunsets, mood lighting, scented candles, and more. 

What are some of your favorites? I challenge you to make your own list and refer to it when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed. These teachery things will make your days at school brighter, but the experiences on your list will be what keeps you going. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week. Stay tuned for more great resources coming soon.

Stay sweet,

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Winter Math and Reading Ideas for the Classroom

Winter Math and Reading Centers for the Primary Classroom

Hey, y'all! It's time to start thinking cozy! The weather is getting cooler here and we're starting to prepare for the winter months. With that comes new centers. Here are a few of my favorites, all of which are free or almost free!

My littles love playing scoot. This addition and subtraction scoot game can also be used as a write the room or put in a sensory bin. However you play, your students will love this cozy little game. 


We also love playing "Find the ____." In this game, students find the Christmas gift. I put the word cards in a pocket chart and slide the present behind one of the words. Students take turns calling out sight words in order to guess which word the present is hiding behind. Oh! And it's free.


In the twelve school days before winter break, we countdown in the classroom with our kindness challenge. Each day, students have a prompt that encourages them to do something for someone else, making the holiday season more about giving than receiving. I've had several students say that they didn't realize how easy it was to give to others until we did this.


This little snowman craft is also a favorite and pretty open ended. Student draw buttons on the snowmen and add them up. There's a fact family version I use with first grade and a simple addition version for kinder or pre-k. 



Remember that gift game above? When we come back to school in January, we play the same game but with a hidden hot chocolate. This version has both a sight word option and an alphabet option (capitals and lower case are included). 



Oh deer! These number order task cards are too cute! While the reindeer has lights on it, I've used it in both December and January. The kids are happy to put the numbers in order regardless of which month it is with these fun little task cards. (For more ways to jazz up your task cards, check out this blog post.)


This game is for a little older kiddos (3rd grade or high 2nd graders), but it's a fun winter review nonetheless. I've used it with my 2nd graders in small groups when I know they are ready for a bigger challenge and my 3rd graders loved playing this review game when we came back from winter break.


Other fun things we do in December and January are our monthly math centers, bulletin board writing prompts, and winter science centers. To check out more fabulous winter resources, head to my TpT store here.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom. Have a wonderful week and stay tuned for more great resources coming soon. 

Stay sweet,

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Fall Centers for the Classroom

Fall Math and Reading Centers for the Classroom

Hey, y'all! We're in back to school mode and the fall excitement is in the air! One way I like to increase engagement in my classroom is by adding seasonal centers to our routine. The kids are great with the day to day curriculum, but there's something about a seasonal center or mini eraser manipulatives to get the kids excited about what we're doing. 

Number order task cards are always a favorite addition to math time. And with four different levels, it's easy to differentiate, or use them again if you change grade levels. 

My first and second graders love practicing comparing numbers during October with Halloween comparing numbers task cards. For ways to spice up task cards, check out this blog post here.

My students didn't know when to use "a" or "an" so I whipped up a little (FREE) fall articles write the room activity. Doing this activity early in the year made a HUGE difference in their writing throughout the year.

Other fun things we do in the fall are our monthly math centers, bulletin board writing prompts, and fall science centers. To check out more fabulous fall resources, head to my TpT store here.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom. Have a wonderful week and stay tuned for more great resources coming soon. 

Stay sweet,

Saturday, September 7, 2019

How to Prepare Your Students for Diversity or Multicultural Night

How to Prepare Your Students for Diversity or Multicultural Night

Hey, y'all! Does your school celebrate students' families or their heritage? One of my favorite ways to do this is with our school's multicultural or diversity night. I've seen it done a couple of ways.

At one school, parents signed up and ran a booth themselves. Some brought food from their home country. Others brought games or trinkets. There were cultural decorations everywhere and the diversity committee arranged for dancers and musicians to come to represent different cultures from our school.  

At another school, each class was assigned a country to research and represent on the big night. We had music and dancers. Students' families were asked to donate food from the class's country. Each classroom put together a presentation about their country and it's culture.

Whichever way it's done, multicultural or diversity night is a FANTASTIC way to get your families involved in the school and make them feel welcome. (Sorry, I don't have pictures of these events. Media releases for all the people are challenging for events of that size.)

The year we were assigned a country, my first graders needed support in what to look for as we did our research. 

We were assigned Panama and I knew very little about it beforehand. But we learned together all kinds of information about the little Central American country and the kids were full of even more questions than I could keep up with. (The Panama Canal is engineering genius!)

I made this little research notebook for them to keep track of all the things we were learning about. It was so much fun to watch them put it all together.

Of course, students can also do their own research on different countries and present them in your classroom. You don't have to have a school-wide event to celebrate diversity. You can do the same thing in your classroom or with your grade level.

If you'd also like to research Panama with your class, check out the book Conejito from Amazon. It's a Panamanian folktale and will spark all kinds of discussion from your students.

When you finish, these free worksheets will help your students organize their thinking about the story and will keep the learning and excitement going!

For more information or to grab a copy of the research writing click here. And don't forget your free Conejito resources here

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful diversity celebration, whether it's school-wide or simply in your classroom. Stay tuned for more great resources coming soon and have a fabulous week!

Stay sweet,