Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Tummy Time Tantrum

Madison HATES tummy time. She can go from zero to raging lunatic in milliseconds if she is turned on her tummy. However, it's one of those non negotiable things that has to be done every day. 

We have tried propping her on the Boppy and a smaller pillow to help give her a little more lift, dressed her in just a diaper, laid her on our chests, laid on the floor with her and sang, and jiggled toys (like "Birdie" seen above) in front of her. 

Sometimes, she will wear herself out and just go to sleep instead. 

What are your tips for managing tummy time? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Remove Permanent Marker from a Dry Erase Board in Seconds

As an elementary school teacher, I use my dry erase board all the time. I allow my students to draw and write on the board independently. Writing on the vertical surface really helps with large muscle strengthening and coordination and they love it.

I remember the first time a student had somehow stumbled upon a permanent marker and written on the board. It was time to clean up and despite their scrubbing, it was not coming off. Scrubbing didn't help, that dry erase cleaning spray didn't help. It was mayhem!

Thankfully, I learned a quick and easy trick that has been used countless times for the accidental incidents by students or substitute teachers.

Using a dry erase marker, scribble over it until you see the tip of your marker starting to remove the permanent markings.

Erase it. Repeat as necessary.

I now use this trick to utilize permanent marker in the classroom. Most recently, on a behavior chart. The students would earn points for great behavior, which were then recorded on a chart. Now, I can use permanent marker instead of a dry erase marker. The marks no longer get erased by accident if it is brushed into but it is easy to remove and reuse over and over again. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

DIY Personalized Beach Pails

Personalized Beach Pails How to
how to beach pail personalized
At a relatively cheap price, you can create these personalized pails. They make great end of the year gifts for students or favors for birthday parties. The personalization is an easy and quick way to kick them up a notch. 
  • Pails : The one used below came from the 99 cents store for $1.49. There is no reason to spend more. A plastic pail is a plastic pail. 
  • Elmer's Painters: I purchased these on Ebay in assorted colors. All craft stores sell them. 
* Keep wet and dry paper towels around to clean up mistakes. If you make a mistake (like I did) you can wipe off the paint right away and start over. 
Personalized Beach Pails
Personalized Beach Pails
Personalized Beach Pails
How to write names on beach pail

I gave these out to my second graders right before summer vacation. On each pail, I wrote the 
student's name and drew a picture. My co-teacher and I also filled the pails with books, and candy. The kids were so excited.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My TPT Store: Math In Focus

Does your school use Math In Focus? I have taught the program for the last 3 years (kindergarten, first and second grade) and have a love/hate relationship with it.

The program is great in that it teaches concepts really in depth. It also challenges students (beginning in kindergarten) to think about why math works and what it's real life implications are.

However, I feel it sometimes expects students to jump into difficult problem solving before they're ready. The assessments often present the problem in a different way than the students were taught and expects them to be able to make the connections without guidance.

For some students, it works. For other students, they're left feeling unprepared and discouraged that despite their best efforts- the test in front of them might as well be written in another language.

That's where small group work comes in. I use these resources with the students that need help making these connections and walk them through the steps. Click on the link to download from my TPT store.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oh Baby

About two short months ago we welcomed our little angel into the world, Madison Grace. Being a new parent can be tough and we are still in the process of figuring everything out.

Below are my picks for must have baby products. They are real problem solvers and have made everything so much easier.

1. Nosefrida Snot Sucker + Little Remedies Saline Drops I put off buying this for a long time. I thought it was gross, but I use these two powerhouses every single day. It is winter and with the heat inside and the cold outside, she can get very stuffy. Those bulb suckers are useless but this works like a charm. I put the saline drops in first, then use the Nosefrida to suck out those baby boogers. It's really not as gross as it sounds and no you don't get anything in your mouth.

2. SKUBB box drawer organizers. We picked up 8 sets of these bad boys before she was born and used them to organize her drawers. Baby clothes are tiny and I needed to be able to reach for something with one hand and find it quickly. These help me separate and organize baby mitts, headbands, bows, hats, socks, tethers, medicine, diapers, swaddles, pjs, onesies, etc. We opted for black but they come in 4 colors: white, black, turquoise, and pink.

3. Soothies Pacifier We didn't use a pacifier until she was about a month old but now I can't imagine not having it. Baby girl can get cranky when she's tired, and this instantly calms her and helps her fall asleep.

4. Baby Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit This right here is a game changer. I want to stop every pregnant person on the street and tell them about this. This fluffy ensemble resembles a snow suit and has changed my life. For the first 6 weeks after our girl was born, she kept us up all night long sleeping for stretches as long as 2 hours and as short as 15 minutes!

Then this came in the mail. That night, desperate for change, we gave her a bath and her "final" feeding. Then we zipped her into this and held her until she fell asleep. When I woke up it was almost 7am! She had slept through the night! The next night she woke up ONE time to feed and has either slept through the night entirely or woken up only once ever since.

5. Dr. Brown's Bottle Warmer This works so quickly & I love the beep feature that alerts you when it's done.

6. MamaRoo Infant Seat & Insert The MamaRoo seat is great when the baby needs to be held and you need to do something crazy like eat or brush your teeth. It offers different motions like "tree-swing" and "car ride" with adjustable speed settings and various white noise selections.

7. UPPA Baby Vista This is a practical stroller for getting around with your baby. It has a huge basket underneath for storage, it folds up easily, fits a carseat, and has built in UV filters to protect from the sun. However, this stroller has been used more indoors than outdoors. Before baby girl was born, we purchased a crib and a bassinet. However wanting the baby as physically close to us as possible, the baby spent the first month sleeping in the bassinet on this beautiful stroller. Now that baby girl sleeps in her crib, we use the bassinet feature on the stroller to keep our sleeping baby close when we're cooking in the kitchen. The wheels are huge and it glides so smoothly. It comes with 2 seating options and can fit up to 3 children when you add other accessories to it.

Teachers Pay Teachers FREEBIE

As a teacher, I constantly find myself needing things that don't exist or needing to tweak resources that don't quite fit my needs.  I'm always thinking, " this would be so much better if"..the lines were bigger/ the page was more spaced out,  if there were more visuals, etc.

One resource that has been life saving is Teachers Pay Teachers. If you don't know, it is a giant marketplace where teachers from all over the world offer their resources for free or a small charge. You can find the most creative visual aids, behavior management systems, worksheets, homework, etc. on this site.

However, there has been plenty of times when what I am picturing in my head- does not yet exist- even on TPT. After years of making my own resources to fit the needs of my students, I opened up my own Teachers Pay Teachers store so that I can share my creations with others.

Below is my most popular product. Writing Paper.

It has already been downloaded over 400 times!

By clicking this link, you can download my most popular product for free. This product is ideal for students in kindergarten or first grade and features a student self assessment checklist on the bottom to help students build independence while working on perfecting their writing conventions. There are also different versions (smaller/no picture area) available at my store.

What are your favorite teaching websites?