We Like to Move It, Move It with Bouncy Bands!

When you have a classroom full of 6 and 7 year olds and need to keep them engaged and motivated to learn you have to get them MOVING!! We move and groove all day long with gestures, songs, and brain breaks. We're on the carpet, we're at the small group table, we're in centers, we're at our desks, we're back on the carpet, we're back at our desks--we are constantly moving.

Yet it is hard to move while you are sitting at your desks and even though I try to limit the length of time my students are in their seats (since we only get 1 minute of attention span per the child's year of age) it is still a pretty stationary part of our day. Basically desk time can be an all aboard the struggle bus for many students--especially our precious kiddos who have ADD/ADHD tendencies. My job as the teacher is to make sure that every child can be successful in my classroom. I knew there had to be a way to help my kiddos move and learn while at their desks so I began looking for some solutions! During my search I came across Bouncy Bands!

Have you heard about Bouncy Bands?

Boy, was I excited to find out about them! "Wiggle while you work"--what kid wouldn't want to do that!

Take a look at this video about them:

Once I found out about these I knew I had to give them a try! When my Bouncy Bands arrived I was SO excited to have the opportunity to try out and review these Bouncy Bands in my classroom! If you follow me on Instagram you saw my excitement about their arrival:

I was able to try 2 Bouncy Bands made to go on chairs and 1 Bouncy Band made to go on the desk:

One of the first things I noticed about the Bouncy Bands was how durable they are! I even had a couple of my coworkers comment on how well these were made. They are also super easy to put on your student's desks or chairs--you literally just slip them on and off.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy! No one has time for something that is labor intensive, so the easy installation factor was a win in my book!

If the quality and ease of installation wasn't good enough, my student's reaction to them was the icing on the cake! For the past month I have switched them around the room so that different students can try them out. I asked my students what their opinion is about the Bouncy Bands and the common theme was that they LOVE them!

I can talk all day about them, but the important thing is what do the kids think! Here is what my first graders are saying about them:

"It is so fun! I want to keep it at home! I love it!"

"When I bounce on it, it helps me with my math."

"It is fun to bounce on while I work."

"It helps me be able to think and get answers faster."

Basically, my students like to Move it, Move it with Bouncy Bands!

Want to give them a try?
Bouncy Bands are a cost-effective way to help your students exert that precious energy in positive ways! They are available for purchase on the Bouncy Bands website or on Amazon.com. And I have GREAT NEWS!! You know how much I love a good sale! Well, you can get 15% off on your Bouncy Band purchase until November 30 by using the code 15off on the Bouncy Band website!

Want a class set of Bouncy Bands?
If you are interested in a class set of Bouncy Bands here are some helpful tips on how to write a Donors Choose request for them.

If you try them let me know what you think about them! I'd love to hear how your class liked to "Move it, move it" with Bouncy Bands!


The Power of Appreciation

Words have power. We talk a lot about this in first grade as we learn to be respectful--treating others the way that you want to be treated. Being respectful also just so happens to be the 2nd rule in our classroom: 

Words can build up or they can tear others down. When we talked about words that show respect and build others up, my students decided that "Thank you" is a very powerful word and is one that is important to use!
Thanking someone is a powerful way to show appreciation! A simple act of kindness can not only make a day, but can also change a life.

But life can be busy and if you're like me you can struggle to find the balance between the urgent versus the important. It is so important to show appreciation to others yet the urgent emails, unending to-do list, and family that needs to eat and have clean clothes (ok, so family is important too, but sometimes I wish Cinderella's animal friends could come and do my dishes and laundry!) seem to take precedence. So that note I wanted to write or the little gift I wanted to leave to brighten someone's day gets pushed to the back burner.

I was tired of the urgent always taking priority and I wanted to be more intentional of putting appreciation into words for my amazing family, friends, co-workers, and volunteers around me! I am seriously blessed!! So last February (yes I said February) I started making Appreciation Gift Tags that would be cute (you've gotta have the cute!) and easy to use! The project started off as only planning to make 20 or so tags and than once I got started I just couldn't stop! 80+ tags later along with a car accident, a move, and work for being a PA Teacher of the Year finalist I am so excited to have all the tags in one package! 
This bundle includes over 80 gift tags at a deeply discounted price! Or you can get the four sets individually! Just click on the covers to check them out!

The Miscellaneous Themed Gift Tags are the perfect go-to tags for any occassion!
The Beverage Themed Gift Tags are a cool and refreshing way to show your appreciation!
 The Food & Sweet Themed Gift Tags will not only satisfy someone's sweet tooth, but also brighten their day!
 And what teacher won't be excited to receive an Office and Stationary themed gift!?

I love using these for my family, friends, co-workers, and volunteers and find them so easy to use! I just print, cut, and attach them to a gift! To help out during those times in life when the urgent fights the important I even made a bunch up ahead of time and have a gift drawer so I can just grab and go! :)

I even like to use the tags to surprise my hubby-I put this in his lunch!
All of these tags along with my entire store are on sale right now! 

I appreciate you!! Thanks for hanging in there with me!! I know this blog has had crickets lately, but I have lots in the works and hope to bring them to you soon!


Appreciation Gift Tags! {Set 1-Miscellaneous Gift Tags}

Who doesn't love receiving a thoughtful gift?! A little gift can truly make someone's whole day! 

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you heard about my latest product (and hopefully entered into winning a copy before you could buy it)!

I love giving gifts and showing people how much I appreciate them! And a cute tag attached to a gift is like a warm hug from Olaf--it just leaves you feeling all fuzzy inside! 

I created these tags to be very versatile! You can use them to give to:
*parent volunteers
*family members

They can also be used all year round! You can use them for:
*just because gifts
*back to school gifts
*teacher appreciation week
*secret pal gifts

All you need to do is print, cut, and attach the tag to your gift! 

There are 20 gift tags for you to choose from and I include suggested gift ideas both on the table of contents and at the top of each gift tag page:
There are 2 printing options available in the packet. Each tag comes 6 to a page:

AND individually on the Singles tag pages.

A little gift can make a big impact on someone's day and these tags will do just that in a fun and creative way! Click HERE or on any picture to purchase this Appreciation Gift Tags {Miscellaneous Themed Gift Tags}

I have more exciting news too! They are ON SALE along with everything else in my store:

Also be on the lookout for 3 more Gift Tag themed packets coming soon--a Beverage Gift Tag packet, a Food & Sweets Gift Tag packet, and a Office & Stationary Gift Tag packet!


TPT Appreciation Sale!!

I'm joining in on the BIG TPT Appreciation Sale from May 5-6!!

You can stock up on resources for the end of the year:

These animal themed End of the Year awards were a BIG hit in my classroom last year and I can't wait to use them again this year!! Comes in both color and black and white! Plus there is a planning sheet for you to use to make sure that everyone in your class gets just the right award and it helps you with printing too!

Thank you volunteers with this "Helping Hands" thank you gift! Who doesn't love Bath and Body Works? It's always a good way to go!

You can grab it in my Helping Hands Take-Home volunteer packet which will help you get organized and ready for next year's volunteers (this is my favorite organization system and I always get lots of parents involved each year by sending things for them to work on at home--like tracing and cutting, assembling books, cutting and sorting lamination for centers, etc):

Or you can grab the thank you gift in by itself here:

To help your students from the dread summer slide you can grab this FUN, easy to assemble, and minimal copies Summer Break Challenge pack:

I included it in my end of the year gift last year--each gift cost me less than $1.50!

Or if you're like me my brain is already thinking about next year too:

Grab my Classroom Helpers Job Cards for your classroom decor and management:

Or this multiple options, easy to implement dismissal clip chart:

You can get your your students Word Wall Books all copied and ready for next year! This is a great way to get your students using sight words in their writing!

And there is LOTS more--everything is on sale in my TPT shop!!

Either way don't forget to use the promo code THANK YOU at the checkout!!

Thank you for all that you do!!


Using Table Leaders to Build Leadership Skills {Tricks & Tips for Teachers Weekly Linky}

{Collaboration and sharing is a great way to learn and grow as a teacher! Tricks and Tips for Teachers is a weekly linky party held every Thursday as a place for you to join in and share a post about a teaching tip or trick on your blog. Just grab the button above and link it back to this post. Then come back to this post and link up your blog post by using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to read your great tricks and tips and learn and grow together!}

Students need to be equipped with skills to succeed and one of the areas that I love helping students grow in is in leadership skills. One of the ways that I build leadership skills in my classroom is by utilizing table leaders. If you haven't used this idea before, I hope that today's post will help! I'm doing a little Thursday Throwback to a post on how to use table leaders to build leadership skills in the classroom!

Managing papers and materials can be a hassle and oh so time consuming. I remember during my first year of teaching feeling like so much of that precious instructional time was wasted in passing out papers and materials, so I thought I'd give four papers to one person at the table to pass out. Brilliant, right? I thought so...until I couldn't keep track of who I gave the papers to the last time and you all know that when that happens-it's just going to go downhill! I don't do whining very well in my classroom, so after hearing "When will I get a turn to pass out the papers? It's not fair that he always gets the papers..." I decided a solution needed to happen and happen quickly!

One of the values at our school is creating leaders, so as I thought about this value and thought about my little big problem of passing out papers and materials. This was my solution:
Here's how it works: Each group of tables has their own "Who's the Leader?" owl. (You could do any animal or sign that works with your classroom theme, just put a magnet on the back of it!)

The owl starts on the first desk and on that day the student gets to be the table leader. The table leader is the one that passes out all of the papers and materials for the day. For example, when I pass out papers, I hand four papers to the table leader and they pass them out to their table. Or if we need math manipulatives, the table leader gets the manipulatives for the whole table, passes them out, and puts them back when they are finished. 
At the end of the day the table leader then "flies" the owl over to the next student's table (we go in a counter clock wise motion):
I have the rule that students can't play with the owl on their desk or fly it until the end of the day. If they do play with it or move it before the end of the day, they lose the owl and don't get to be the table leader the rest of the day. Trust me, you only have to take the owl away once and you don't have any more problems with students playing with it!

Also if a student is absent the person who would be the table leader next, gets to be the table leader for the day!

Here's why I love table leaders:
-the students manage all of the papers and materials
-it maximizes our time as teachers and allows for smoother transitions
-the daily rotations allows for frequent leadership opportunities and rotation is student managed, which means its an easy system to maintain
-kids LOVE being leaders and can't wait to get to be table leader!
-it helps eliminate the whining and "life isn't fair" syndrome when it comes to passing out papers and supplies :)

If you'd like to implement table leaders into your classroom this year I have made you a "Who's the Leader" FREEBIE!! 

All you will need to do is just print these, cut them, add a magnet to the back of them, and WA-LA you're ready to begin implementing table leaders!

How do you build leaders in our classroom? I'd love to hear or have you share any other tips or tricks in this week's linky party!


Embracing Spring Fever {Tricks & Tips for Teachers Weekly Linky}

{Collaboration and sharing is a great way to learn and grow as a teacher! Tricks and Tips for Teachers is a weekly linky party held every Thursday as a place for you to join in and share a post about a teaching tip or trick on your blog. Just grab the button above and link it back to this post. Then come back to this post and link up your blog post by using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to read your great tricks and tips and learn and grow together!}

It was almost 80 degrees on Monday! 80 degrees felt so heavenly compared to the bitter cold winter we are still recovering from. My hubby and I went to visit family over the Easter weekend and we got inches of snow on Easter! Inches people!!
Yes this would have been wonderful in December, but it's April! Not cool winter! Not cool! Ever feel the need to want to have the whole sharing talk with the seasons: "Now winter. You have had your turn. You need to share and let Spring have a turn now." 

Anyways, so after our much needed four day Easter break (we don't get a Spring break in PA...no need for sympathy--shipments of chocolate and caffeine will do, thanks! ;) it seemed that when we went back to school on Tuesday my kids had a new ailment. And no it wasn't the awful stomach flu that was taking tables out at time in my class over the past month! I seriously considered taking stock in the Lysol company when a fourth of my class was out with it at one time! Yet this ailment was not causing any Lysol cans to make appearances nor causing any absences--all of my students were present and accounted for on Tuesday. Yet they strangely seemed to be experiencing the same symptoms and the diagnosis was pretty clear:
Clipart used in image from KPM Doodles

Now let's all just take a teacher moment and throw our hands up in the air and scream NOOOO!! I know, I feel you! It's too soon, right? We still have so much work to do and we need them focused and engaged! And by this time of the year we are exhausted and ready to jump in with Olaf as we dream about summer! Truth be told teachers get Spring Fever too! Can I get an Amen?

On Tuesday afternoon (let's just add the after lunch slump to the symptoms, right?) when my kids were showing their Spring Fever symptoms, I was about ready to work on our spelling words for Houghton Mifflin which happen to be plural -s words. Why we jump from vowel team spelling words to plural -s words is always a mystery to me. However, I knew that I was losing my students and needed them ENGAGED! So I looked out the window and decided that it was best to embrace the Spring Fever instead of fighting it!
Clipart used in image from Creative Clips

So what did we do? I grabbed my bin of sidewalk chalk, told them we were doing spelling outside, and gave them the "teacher talk" with strict guidelines on why we were going outside and how to use and not use the chalk with promises to quickly abort the privilege of learning outside if students were not making good choices. I believe in hands-on, fun learning, and I also believe that we need to hold our students to high standards and set realistic expectations because our students are capable of success!
Clipart used in image from Creative Clips

Each student found a spot in a large circle on the playground blacktop. I called out a word and then they had to write the word in chalk and add plural -s to the word. My students were SO engaged and motivated to participate! What could have been a disaster of a lesson inside turned into a great lesson outside! Sidewalk chalk for the win! We will definitely be doing this again!

As I was reflecting on my day and realizing that Spring Fever, as it always does, had hit and hit hard I realized that this is our time to shine!! Teachers are some of the most talented and gifted people I know! Spring Fever is a great opportunity for us to pull out our best and be unconventional! Instead of dreading the energy and excitement of Spring Fever we can capitalize on it and use it for our benefit!!
Clipart used in image from Creative Clips

Here are four tricks & tips for Embracing Spring Fever:
Clipart used in image from Creative Clips

When it's gorgeous out, use it to your advantage! After a long winter in the classroom and countless indoor recesses both you and your students need to get out!! Any time I take my classroom outside my students are on target with our learning! They are focused, engaged, and motivated! Don't do the same thing each time--switch it up! Do sidewalk chalk words one day.
Grab clipboards and have your students classify living and nonliving things outside. 

 Breathe new life into writing by having your next writers workshop outside! Have students make paper airplanes and estimate how far they will travel and then measure their flight path. Truly, the possibilities are endless!

The other day we pushed all of our desks and chairs to the sides of the room, sat in a big circle, and turned out classroom into a human size hundreds chart! The objective: to learn how to use the hundreds chart to add 2 digit numbers! 

This helped bring a challenging concept to life and actively engaged all of my learners! I also made up a little hundreds chart addition hop song that I am hoping to share next week along with more about this classroom size hundreds chart! So stay tuned! :)

Get your students up and moving! Turn worksheets into room hunts! Instead of having my students do 2 digit addition at their desk--I made it into an Easter egg room hunt. I forgot to snap pictures of the recording sheet, but how easy peasy to get them up and moving! They were on task, they were learning, they were having fun! Win, win, win!

Also, if you haven't snagged this song and freebie yet for the Hundreds Chart this is also a great movement activity to teach or review 1 less, 1 more, 10 less, and 10 more!
Students love new things!! Even the same center can get new life by just switching manipulatives or introducing new ones!

Things like utilizing googly eye readers for read to self:
Click HERE or on the picture to get some Googly Eyes for your classroom.

Or send home a new literature bag--a great reading, writing, and listening and speaking activity:

My students LOVE these and this is a perfect time of year to start one! We are just about to start a new bag this week in our classroom! Click HERE or on any of the pictures to check them out!

There are so many ways to embrace Spring Fever! What do you do to keep your students motivated and engaged at this time of year? I'd love to hear any of your tips or tricks! I'm always looking for new ideas!