Teacher Tips, Behavior Management Tip, Stress Management, Chevy Educator Discount and FREEBIE

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chevrolet. All opinions are 100% mine.
   I love the old advertisement campaign for the milk industry with the simple slogan "Got Milk?" I grew up on a dairy farm so those ads caught my eye when they first came out. Two simple words and everyone knew exactly what you were saying.
Got stress? These two words speak volumes. While stress can mean different things to different people, we all experience stress, especially teachers. If you belong to a teacher forum, a Facebook group of teachers, or listen to conversations in the teachers' lounge you may have noticed that this year the stress level seems to be higher than normal. Districts have adopted a new curriculum because of Common Core, which means training and extra time planning. New types of tests are being implemented, leading to more meetings about the tests, the data collected, training, testing your students; and at some point you are supposed to squeeze in high quality lessons so your students will be ready for the high-stakes test in the spring.
   Teachers today have a tough job, and finding a balance between work and home is a challenge. I have a few tips that you might like to try.

   How many times have you heard people lament about the good ol' days? If you are a teacher, you have probably heard veteran teachers say that it used to be easier to teach children because they listened and followed directions better. Did you ever watch Oprah when Dr. Phil was on her show? I loved the episodes when he would listen to someone's troubles and then say, "How's that working for ya'?" This is what I would ask myself after I had properly vented. Keep in mind I needed to properly vent first, which means my husband got to hear play-by-play details of my day. Which is why when he came home he usually asked, "How was your day? I just need the headlines, not the fine print." But, the fine print is where the venting occurs. So, after a proper venting, I would ask myself the Dr. Phil question. Obviously, it was not working very well if I had so much "fine print" to vent about.
   One day I had an epiphany. I would do the exact opposite. That particular class was an exceptionally challenging class. The students individually were good kids, but, the chemistry of the class was the problem. I had too many leaders and not enough followers. The students in my class that year were the oldest children in their families, and they were used to being the boss. Unfortunately, too many of my students were used to being the boss.
   Instead of trying one more behavior management system, I would implement a focus-on-the-positive system. Did you hear about the golden rule when you were a kid? That was my basis for this. I told my students that manners matter and good manners are worth their weight in gold. I spray painted popsicle sticks with gold paint. You could color them with a yellow marker, as well, but paint is quicker so I did it that way. Students had a library pocket with their number on it. We talked about what exceptionally good manners looked like. I would give students a gold popsicle stick when I saw exceptionally good behavior. Examples included:
  • Helping a classmate when he/she dropped his/her supply box.
  • Letting a classmate take a turn at the water fountain when both arrived at the water fountain at the same time.
  • Helping a classmate open her/his milk at lunch.
  • Noticing that a classmate doesn't have anyone to play with at recess, and asking him/her to play with you.
  • But, these weren't just behaviors that were normal expectations. These were "going for the gold" (great tie in with Olympics) or whatever else you want to call it. At the time, I was teaching in Texas so my students said that remembering to call me ma'am was showing golden manners.
I told them that I would be watching for golden manners. Students couldn't point out their own exceptionally good manners but they could tell me about a classmate. Teacher Tip #1: This made a big difference! Suddenly they were looking for the positive in their classmates. They wanted to help each other so a classmate might give a positive report about them. You can organize the system however you want. For every 5 popsicle sticks that my students earned I put a stamp in their take home folder. It was a happy report for their parents. This system took very little time to make, was easy to implement, and motivated my students. Teacher Tip #2: Suddenly, my students were saying please and thank you for everything, including when I handed out their assignments. This looks very good when your principal is observing you. You might want to consider implementing this system if this is your year to be observed.
Here's an example of how you can do it. I like to use gold tinsel. It is inexpensive and adds a nice 3-D touch.
   This next tip was shared at an inservice given by a former principal and counselor. At the time of the inservice, the staff at my school was stressed and feeling unappreciated as our school was going through changes. I have shared this tip with student teachers and many stressed out colleagues.
   Everyone needs a "You Make a Difference" file. My principal and counselor provided file folders, markers, stickers and other fun stuff that we used to decorate our file. They gave us time to go back to our classroom to find happy notes from parents and coworkers, evaluations, great test results, pictures, and other things that made us proud that we were teachers. We put those in our file.



I made some signs that you can use to decorate your own "You made a Difference" file. Plus, there are notes you can send coworkers to let them know they are making a difference. Click HERE for this FREEBIE.
   They told us that there would be days when a parent would be upset with us, bad days with a student or co-worker, or a day when we found out disappointing test results. We needed to open this file and read these happy notes so we would remember that we do make a difference in many people's lives!
   My non-teacher friends often ask me for gift ideas or ways to show appreciation for their children's teachers. If you are a parent, you have seen the huge impact a talented teacher has made on your child. Teachers can spark an interest, build a child's confidence, and create a love of learning. Here are a few suggestions:
  • One of my moms sold Tupperware. From time-to-time, she would send in muffins or other home baked goodies in a Tupperware container. Not only did I get a yummy treat, but also I got a great collection of Tupperware that year. . I loved that it was unexpected, it wasn't a holiday, it was a just-for-the-fun-of-it treat and a great way to brighten a teacher's day! If you don't sell Tupperware, you could send goodies in one of the Ziploc containers in the picture below because teachers love those too. In this picture, is one of the bowls that Andrew gave me over 10 years ago. It is used every week and every time I use it, I think of Andrew and his mom.
  • I love to get notes or emails telling me specific things that they like or appreciate. My favorite stories are the ones about my students being excited about learning and how they are applying it at home. Those stories make it all worthwhile!
  • You've heard the saying, "it's the thought that counts", that is so true when it comes to showing thanks and appreciation. I've had students bring me a bottle of perfume and jewelry that belonged to their mothers that was half full. They said that they wanted to give me something for Christmas and they noticed I liked to smell good and wear pretty stuff. Isn't that sweet and thoughtful? Of course, I called the mom later and explained what happened. I'm sure that's a story that will be told for years to come.
   When I served on the social committee, I spent quite a bit of time on the phone calling businesses asking if they would be willing to donate or give teachers some type of discount. Our committee used these donations for moral boosters. Businesses supporting schools is following the village raises the child philosophy which I fully support.
   This week, Chevrolet asked me if I would tell my followers about their new Educator Discount program. How great is that! For once I was sought out to share a teacher discount, instead of me having to reach out them. This is Chevrolet's way of thanking teachers and helping them save money at the same time. Since I have a daughter who will soon be driving, I was more than happy to pop into my local Chevrolet dealership and check out their vehicles.
I took a picture of my favorite one to show my husband and thought you might like to see it too. It is a snazzy black Equinox. Look at all of that cargo space! I took a picture of that to share as well! I don't know about you, but I haul around a lot of stuff and cargo space is very important to me. Plus, it gets good gas mileage which is an added bonus since gas prices are so high.
   We all know that it takes everyone in the school to run a school efficiently. Chevrolet understands that too and their program is for all school employees, not just the teachers. Employees of public schools, private schools, colleges, and universities are eligible for Chevrolet’s Educator Discount so be sure to visit the site and find out more about this great deal.



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Multiple Intelligence: Music in the Classroom


Thanks to the internet, incorporating music throughout your day is easy. There are many free and inexpensive sources available with just a few clicks.  


Music can be used to set the atmosphere of your class. Play music when your students arrive in the morning. Songs you might want to try:


  • Play before your lesson begins to set the theme.  Ask your students to guess the topic of the lesson based on the music. 

Music can enrich your holiday lessons, too.

Veterans Day themed music includes:



Tribute to All Veterans and Service Members
3:46 minutes
Click HERE to view to this.

Thanksgiving music videos:




Nakai: Earth Spirit - Native American music
Less than 1 minute
Click HERE to view to this.






Native American Indians Spiritual Vocal Shamanic Music
4 hours
Click HERE to view to this.




Sacred Spirit - Chants and Dances
44 minutes
Click HERE to view to this.

Do you study Christmas Around the World?


On Spotify, you can listen to a free version of the instrumental music by West Edge String Quartet from the Christmas Around the World album.  Use the following songs when you study these countries:
  • Carol of the Bells: Ukraine
  • Wexford Carol: Ireland
  • The First Nowell: England
  • A La Nanita Nana: Spain
  • Riu, Riu, Chiu "El Lobo Rabioso": Spain
  • Coventry Carol: England
  • In the bleak midwinter: France
  • Silent Night: Austria
Would you rather listen to an advertisement-free version of this album? Click HERE to purchase a copy.


Do your students study other countries in social studies? Do they write research reports or make a powerpoint presentation about their findings?  Why not include the national anthem of the country that they are studying?  Here are a few examples:


Are you starting a weather unit?  Play one of these songs:


The videos with music below are versatile.  Set these up as a computer center, show during inside recess, play the music during circle time or cleanup time.


How do you incorporate music?











Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

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Service Projects at School


The holidays are upon us and you know what that means, right?  Get ready for the  "gimmes" and "wannas" .  I want this for Christmas and I hope Santa gives me that for Christmas.  This is the perfect time to do a service project with your class.  It is a reminder that there are people who need our help.



I like to do service projects in which my students are helping other children.  My favorite service project is to collect gently used or new books, toys, or art supplies for the local children's shelter.  Contact the shelter about their rules.  Some shelters have you drop off supplies at another place because of security concerns.  



It is never fun to be sick.  Being sick at the holidays is especially hard because you are missing out on so many fun holiday activities.  Collecting books, toys, and art supplies for a Children's Hospital is good way to let these children know that your students are thinking about them during the holidays. Don't forget about your local Ronald McDonald's House, too.  Kids helping kids is the best service project to me.

Looking for more tips?  Check out my November Pinterest board.  Click on the picture below.


Fern has a few tips to share with you, too.  Be sure to hop over to her blog!




Each week, Fern and I will share a teacher tip. We love to read teacher blogs and the latest teacher idea books and hope you do, too!  Stop by Fern's blog and my blog each week for our latest tips.  We hope you will share your ideas, too.  

Each week we will choose one person who shared a tip on our blog who will get a $10 shopping trip.  We will announce the winner on the following Tuesday's post.  

Do you have a Service Project tip to share?  Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you're the winner of the $10 shopping trip. You must leave your email address in order to win.

Looking for more ideas?  Click on the pictures below.







  


Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

We Give Thanks Giveaway


 The holiday season is upon us.  Can you relate to any of the following?

  • You have had one too many inside recess days.
  • You have noticed that some of your parents are stressed and quicker to send a less-than-pleasant email before fully investigating an issue.
  • Your students are off schedule because there are special practices for this program, that assembly, and a holiday function which means your students have reverted to the first week of school behavior.
  • You go home and find your own household is suffering from the same holiday craziness.
On top of all of that, you are probably trying to do a little holiday shopping, right? 


My friend, Fern and I wanted to do something special during this holiday season.  We realize that this time of year can be a little crazy for you.  So, we thought we'd give a $50 Toys R Us gift certificate to one of our followers.  This site has stuff that would be great for your class or your kids. Here are a few things you might want to check out!

Brain teaser 

Building Sets & Blocks

Arts & Crafts

Books, Movies, & Music

Do you want to enter?  All you have to do is follow our TPT stores.  

Click on the sign below to follow my TPP store.


Click on the sign below to follow Fern's store.








Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

Top 3 Teacher Tips


Teaching has always been a profession that shares and collaborates.  Blogs have enabled teachers to do this on a global scale.  This past year, some of my friends and I thought it would be fun if we organized a monthly linky party in which we share teaching tips.  The posts from the monthly Bright Ideas linky party has been some of my most popular.  I thought it would be fun to highlight the top 3 most popular posts.


Easily distracted was my most popular Bright Ideas post.  I think we all get at least one or two students that is easily distracted, right?  No matter how big our bag of tricks is, we are always willing to add something new to it!


Discipline was another favorite post.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  A teacher can never have too many tips when it comes to behavior management.


Missing work is always a topic you hear in the teachers lounge.  This post has some tips for you to try with your students.


I hope you have enjoyed our Bright Ideas posts!  Follow me on Bloglovin and Facebook so you don't miss out on my other ideas that I share!

Don't forget to visit the other bloggers who are sharing their Bright Ideas, too.  Come back and visit us!



Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

Improve Handwriting with Technology


Do you cringe when you look at some of your students' work because their handwriting is so messy?  Does it take twice as long to grade some of your students' assignments because you spend so much time deciphering their writing?  If this sounds familiar, then it is time to take a tech approach to solve this problem.


If you have a document camera, you can easily incorporate mini-handwriting lessons when you are teaching other subjects.  


In the picture above, I am using the Hue Document Camera with a Morning Message lesson, which is a great way to review important reading skills.  

I have taught Morning Message lessons using chart tablet paper and a large dry erase board.  These are fun approaches, but using a fat marker didn't lend itself to a handwriting lesson.  

When you use a document camera, your students get an up close and personal view of your hand, how you hold your pencil, and the way you write your letters.  Plus, there is something magical about when you turn the lights off in the classroom.  Suddenly, students pay attention better and there is less discipline problems for me, which is an added bonus. 

Integrate a mini-handwriting lesson while teaching Morning Message is simple with this handy little tool. Click on the picture above to get a free Morning Message lesson.


When I was contacted by the company that makes the Hue USB camera, I did some investigating to see if this would be something my readers would be interested in using.  I checked out their site and then visited Amazon to see what it would cost.  As we all know, schools are cutting back on their expenditures and teachers will never make the Forbes' Rich List .  I was pleasantly surprised to find that you can purchase one of these on Amazon for $49.95.  That a reasonable price for something that could be used every day.  Your PTA might be willing to purchase some for your school once you tell them about all of the benefits.

Click on the links below to find out more information and to find out other benefits of using this.

Hue Document Camera

RSA Animate style of video


Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

4 Uses for Shells in the Classroom


Shells have many uses in the classroom.  If you are lucky enough to live near a beach, you have a cheap supply of manipulatives that you can use with your students.  I live in California, but I don't have a trip to the beach planned anytime soon so I took a trip to Hobby Lobby.  I not only found bags of shells and I found strands of beads that looked like shells or rocks in the jewelry making aisle.  The wheels began spinning in my head because these looked like something that could be used with a lesson.


Use for shells - #1: Place Value
Look at all of the uses I found for a couple of bags of shells and a few strands of beads.  Perfect non-traditional manipulative for your place value center.  Shells and strands of beads can take the place of base ten blocks.


Use for shells - #2: Ocean
Shells are the perfect addition for your ocean unit.  Can be used as a math manipulative or science observation station.


Use for shells - #3: Thanksgiving
While we often think of using shells with our ocean units, these are also a great addition to your Thanksgiving lesson, too.  Have you heard of wampum?  Native American and later the early settlers made wampum from shells.  Click HERE to download a FREE packet about wampum that can be used as a close reading lesson or Thanksgiving lesson.


Use for shells - #4: Money unit
Wampum had many uses including a substitute for money. Use it with your money unit and Thanksgiving - double duty! You will need a variety of shells, beads, and strands of beads.  Let your students act out trading furs for wampum.  I found this fur at Hobby Lobby, too.  









Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

Thanksgiving: Wampum FREEBIE


It will soon be Thanksgiving!  I made a new freebie to show a little thanks to my followers.  You can use this for homework, as a close reading lesson, or Social Studies lesson.  It is an easy way to integrate.  Click on the picture below to download this freebie.



I also found a site that would be a fun extension to this assignment.  Your students can weave a virtual wampum belt.  Click on the picture below.




Looking for more tips?  Check out my November Pinterest board.  Click on the picture below.


Fern has a few tips to share with you, too.  Be sure to hop over to her blog!




Each week, Fern and I will share a teacher tip. We love to read teacher blogs and the latest teacher idea books and hope you do, too!  Stop by Fern's blog and my blog each week for our latest tips.  We hope you will share your ideas, too.  

Each week we will choose one person who shared a tip on our blog who will get a $10 shopping trip.  We will announce the winner on the following Tuesday's post.  

Do you have a Thanksgiving tip to share?  Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you're the winner of the $10 shopping trip. You must leave your email address in order to win.

Looking for more ideas?  Click on the pictures below.




Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

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