Tips to re engage your students after a holiday break

Sunday, December 31, 2017
Christmas break, Spring name it and well ~ let's all be honest here - Teachers LOVE it!  Don't get us wrong we love our students to pieces and pour our heart and soul into them, but we be tired peeps!  Can I hear an amen!?!?!

tips to get kids back on track before or after a holiday break

We love our break and sometimes staying in our PJ's all day...ok that doesn't really happen that often if you are a busy mom but even if for a few hours we can pee when we want, drink coffee in peace and not be on a schedule...yes please!

With that being said, we kinda sorta dread don't eagerly await heading back to school.  Again, it's not because of the kids - we miss them and adore them.  BUT, getting back into a routine, not wearing our pj's till noon, ( ok, I never do that but I've seen pics on Instagram of teachers that do ) LOL and more importantly getting our students back in the groove can be a bit let's say ...rough.
I mean how many times do we say to our students," You couldn't do that back in August and you know you can't do that now."  "We've been in school 5 months you know where to turn that in. "    
" Johnny, we don't eat glue!" 
 This part is not our favorite, it seems like we spend much of January re training our students
Believe me I'm not putting down our precious friends, but again in all honesty this is reality right teacher friends!?!?  So what to do, what to do???
My biggest tip for getting their behavior back on track is to...

behavior management tips for after holiday breaks

I know that sounds kinda counter intuitive right!?!?!  I mean we are all about consistency and a stable environment, etc. etc.  So why in the world would we switch things up?  Well I view it kinda like when you have hit a plateau in a weight loss journey.  I mean wasn't it Albert Einstein that had the quote, " The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same result. "  If you have hit a plateau in your weight loss - you change things up, hit the gym or the running trails, hop in the pool, start weight training if you haven't.  It's kinda the same with behavior management sometimes.  
Don't bang your head against a wall - repeating yourself to your students and using the plan you have always used.  

Try something new, and watch the magic happen my friends.  Your students will be more attentive and strive to do better if they are trying to achieve something they haven't 'seen' before.  It will be new and exciting to them and they will strive to hit the mark.

behavior management tips

Every single time I switch things up I get a great return for my investment if that makes sense.  Whether I think of this new 'thing' myself or find another teacher sista from another mista or brother from another motha that has a brilliant idea that I can use I always try something new.  I love watching their sweet faces and seeing their eyes light up and their ears perk up.  They want to hear what they can earn and how... the how is important folks.  The how is very important.  Yes, they can earn table points, yes you can pick a mystery walker...blah, blah, blah.  I'm not putting these things down because they work.  BUT what about buying a puzzle at the dollar store and they earn a piece every time you get a compliment or see the class engaging and working together to solve problems.  Instead of working quietly maybe they earn it by having academic maybe it's a little louder in your room but they are engaged and having great discussions!!! 
 When the puzzle is complete they can earn SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE NEVER OFFERED BEFORE.  Have you had a forts and flashlights day?  ( flashlights can be purchased for a dollar in the camping section of Walmart btw )...pssh - they LOVE this day!  Have you had a bubble blowing day on the playground?  Buy some bubbles and give your students wands and let them...wait for it - PLAY!!!! Yes, I said it - play!  Be creative there are lots of rewards you can give them that don't cost you much.  I recently had a flashlights and fort day in my classroom and asked the kids to bring in flashlights, I had a handful for kids that forgot and others shared.  I heard my students saying, " This is the best day ever!"
Keep your rules and expectations the same, I'm not suggesting you do something crazy.  But, switch up an incentive to get them back on track.  Have you ever spelled out a mystery phrase and they earn letters?  They love trying to solve it Wheel of Fortune style...and it cracks me up.  As they earn more letters it gets easier for them to figure out and if they figure it out before they earn all the letters that's okay because they are still just as excited.  Here's a list of some ideas you can add to your repertoire or re use if you forgot about it or haven't used it in years...

behavior management tips

What are some things you do to switch things up in your classroom when you think your students could use a 'jumpstart'?  As always my friends, happy teaching!


Parent Gift bags made easy

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Happy Wednesday this ( short ) edition of 

I wanted to talk to you about parents gifts and the presentation 
( i.e. gift bag/ wrapping etc. )
So, years ago I would have the kids sponge paint the lunch bags with cute holiday themed stamps that I had....

homemade christmas gift bag
Now let's just take a minute and be honest....I've taught first grade for 14 years and 2nd for 5 and now I'm in 3rd again after teaching it 10 years ago for a couple years.  The first graders would, God bless them, somehow make the angels or stars look like I right?!?!  I know... I have kids - I get's cute and adorable and everyone can get a nice laugh out of it but I still think the 2nd picture is cute too.  So, take your pic or switch it off each year but the way to create the bag with the hole punches and the fabric bow always stays the same.  I've been making these bags like this for 20 years now.

Now, I know some of you are all about 'team let the kids' do it...that's fine.  I'm just saying I like the 2nd way better.  I've done my fair share of the messy kid done bags and now I have the kids make them this way.  They still have the homemade gift inside it so I don't feel bad about it.  
Also just fold the bag over and hole punch, then add the bow.  I use fabric and just rip it against the grain to make these thinner strips.  Then I weave them through the hole punches and create the's super easy and always looks nice.  You can use any fabric you have on hand or purchase a holiday themed fabric too.
It's also cute to use the sponges on brown packing paper and then you can help the kids wrap the gift but honestly I've never done it that way.  I've had other teacher friends do it, it just to me would take to long.  The drop and go gift bag is just so easy!  #aintnobodygottimeforhardstuffindecember

Anywho... if you've never made the parent gift bags like this before you need to give it a try!
See you next week!


Keeping it real with Elf on the Shelf

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hello, hello, hello welcome to another edition of ...

I'm here to talk to you about December and things that go along with it.  If you go to my search bar ( to the right ) and type elf on the shelf I think I have at least 6 posts on that to give you ideas.  What is going down in my room this year however is saving my sanity!!

This year our elf - Snowflake - who I may or may not have a love/hate relationship with...well we have shall you say come to an agreement....
She arrived in my classroom on Dec. 1st this year.  By Monday the 4th she had a very large note for us to read that stated this:

elf on the shelf ideas

So, my students learned quickly that Snowflake's magic 'kicks' in only on Wednesdays.  It's kinda like a caffeine high. LOL  They fell for it hook, line and sinker.  They didn't even question it.  Seriously!?!? #teacherwin 
So, she used her magic and moved Tuesday night ( tonight ) so Wednesday she will be in her new spot.  I can't wait to see what they think and am so thankful she doesn't have to 'use' her magic until next Wednesday.  I can now go about my business ~ like get them ready for the district writing assessment, talk to my friends in the morning without panicking about her moving, get to am duty without stressing, etc.
Ahh, the elf on the shelf isn't so bad guys really.  You need to give it a try. LOL

OR use this excuse...

Happy December sweet teacher friends!!