It’s Summer, Take A Break Teachers!

Whew. 

Who is ready for a good, long summer break after that school year? Is anyone else filled with worries about your students after such a rough spring? Maybe miss them because you weren’t able to say your goodbye’s before you left? Scenarios of next year play out in your head about your past students and how they will do advancing to the next grade, as well as your future students and how you will handle the lapse in the curriculum. 

*deep breath* 

I know it’s worrisome, but we did it. We all made it through. Now, it’s time to relax. I know, it can be hard, but here’s some ideas of how you can (somewhat) take your mind off of school for a time and enjoy your summer break. 

Read a book! No, not your math curriculum book. A book of your choosing that is fun. If you want an easy, fast read with some juicy drama, try The Selection Series by Kiera Cass. It’ll give you a few days of distraction because you’ll be so sucked in it’ll be all you can think about! 

Visit the beach, the lake, the pool, and get in the water! Swim with your kids, your nieces, and nephews, your grandkids, whomever it may be! 

Go hiking, or go for walks around your neighborhood. 

Check-in on other teacher friends. Laugh about the fun times you had with your students, both in the classroom and on Zoom! 

Pick up some new (or old) hobbies like sewing, crafting, biking, sailing, or building. 

Start or work on your Twitter or Instagram, or any other social media! 

Read teacher memes to keep you laughing. 

Take a stroll on a local scooter or bike share, but bring the Clorox wipes!! 

Summer can make or break teachers. We can think and plan, never giving ourselves a break, hoping to make next year less stressful, but it can also do the opposite by not giving us the time we need to check out. This summer especially, given the current circumstances. 

Take a breather. Take some time. Enjoy your summer! Stay safe and wash your hands! 

The Power of Asking: Creating Classroom Resources

Being a teacher means one absolute- paying for your own supplies. It is no secret that there are teachers across the nation paying out of pocket for staplers, books, and more. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if there was a way we as teachers could find our own resources, but not pay out of pocket? What if I told you there is ONE simple way you could have access to copious amounts of supplies without spending a dime? Because there is a way, and it really can be simple. Here it is.

Ask. 

Asking for donations and supplies can be scary, scary enough that many don’t go this route. The way I like to look at it is, what is the worst that could happen? They tell you no? But let’s break it down- who do you ask, and how do you ask? 

Who- This comes with endless possibilities. Ask your principal, see what the school can offer you. Maybe they have staples and sticky notes and really cool classroom sets of books lying around that never get used because no one ever asked! 

Parents- Some parents may not want to contribute their time, money, or resources to your classroom, and that is fine! Others may not have the means do to so. That’s okay too. But there are also parents out there who can and will support you how you need, you may just need to ask. 

Friends and family- It might surprise you how willing people are to chip in a few dollars here or there to your classroom. Amazon Wishlists and DonorsChoose.org are great resources for sharing what your wants and needs are in a classroom, giving others the option to help fund and support those wants and needs. My dear friend Danielle Macias has been a great example of asking friends and family for support of her classrooms by sharing a donors choose platform when she has a need. She said,
   

“I’ve learned that social media, especially Twitter, can be a great platform to share any projects I may need help with. There are also many donors who are willing to help if you know whom to ask. I would advise teachers to familiarize themselves with Twitter hashtags like #clearthelist and join Donors Choose FB group. (Teachers need to make sure that it’s okay with their district.) I would also advise that teachers promote their donors to choose projects when there’s a promotion to increase their chances of getting funded.” 

Danielle was able to raise money to fund a classroom set of books and headphones. The options and possibilities can be endless if we do one simple thing- ask. 

How have you obtained classroom resources on a budget? 

COVID-19 Time Capsule For Kids

A mom somewhere out there with kids at home during this global pandemic recognized an opportunity for keeping a record of the history that is being made right now as we speak. She created a FREE printable of a time capsule for kids to fill out. It’s all information that someday they can look back on and serve as a memory for this time in our lives.

Here’s what the time capsule looks like, and how I’m doing it with my 2.5 year old daughter.

This is only four of the 11 included pages full of great information for your child to fill out. And it’s doable with tiny kids that can’t write too! Our time capsule looks a lot of scribbling and random marks with me filling in information that my daughter reiterates to me. I ask her all of the questions and try to fill in exactly what she says.

I pulled out the crayons for her to add some color, but having a pen to use was much more exciting to her, so we went with it! I love that this time capsule is so her right now and that years down the road we can look back and remember her obsession with pens and Doc McStuffins. It’s also easy to do one page, then come back when you’re ready to continue with the rest of the pages. No rush in getting it done fast- the pandemic seems to be taking its sweet time!

The mom who made this has taken over the internet quickly with how popular it became, if you Google “kids COVID time capsule” you can see news article after news article about her and how generous she was in sharing this with the world!

Go ahead and share this fun activity with your kids, your friends, neighbors, and students! They are going to love it just as much as we are. You can find the link to download the time capsule printable here.

Just Checking In With The Teachers, How Are You Doing?

We made it through *roughly* a month of shutdowns across the world due to COVID-19. You out there as teachers, parents, and educators in any way, how are you holding up? How are you doing?

This isn’t easy for majority of us. Us as the teachers, our students, or the faithful parents trying to step in while we can’t be there.

I know we are all worried about our students with fewer resources at home such as WiFi or lack of usable devices for school work. We’re wondering what impact this is going to have on our classrooms next year. We’re knee-deep in the unknown right now, how have you been doing through all of this?

We all need grace right now. Give yourself grace, give your students grace, and give your own children grace.

Stay safe and wash your hands.

No but really, how are you doing?

Teacher Resources During COVID-19 School Shutdowns

Dear teachers, 

I know you’re stressed, we’re all walking in uncharted territory right now. Schools shutting down left and right, or if your school is still open, very few students showing up each day. How do we help our kids? How do we help them not regress during this stressful time? How do we calm their nerves as well as our own? 

It’s hard to be in the situation we are all in. It’s hard not to see your student’s faces every day, and have to worry about if they have enough food or if their behavior will regress (again) once they are back. So many variables for so many different situations. 

Luckily, we’re all going through this together and there are resources out there for us! Our community is banding together and helping where we can. Here is a quick list of the fun things you can send home to your parents for your students to do during their time away from school. 

Mo Willems is doing lunch doodles every day with kids. His first episode was 22 minutes long, his most recent episode was 27 minutes long. They are at 1 pm Eastern Time every day on YouTube, or they can watch them whenever they like later. 

On Instagram, @macbarnett is doing a live read-aloud of his books every day at noon PST. 

Cincinnati Zoo is doing a live video on their Facebook page each weekday at 3 pm Eastern Time. They will be highlighting their favorite animals and sending kids off to do an activity from home. 

Welcome back for our second Home Safari! Today we will be learning more about Rico the Brazilian porcupine! After the video check out this page on our website for a fun activity to work on at home – http://cincinnatizoo.org/home-safari-resources/ Join us each day at 3pm EDT as we highlight different animals that call the Cincinnati Zoo home.

Posted by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

At nps.gov kids can download special interest books. 

Our local library here in Utah is live-streaming their storytime on Instagram live every weekday at 11 am MST and a boredom buster for kids at 4 pm. You can follow them at @provolibrary 

Utah’s Hogle Zoo is doing a Facebook and Instagram live every day at 11:30 am MST featuring their fun animals and educating them on each one. 

Search around on every social media platform and you are certain to find a variety of posts and live videos geared towards educating kids because everyone can see the need right now. Also, a simple post to help parents make it through as well.

Other resources you most likely know as a teacher, but maybe haven’t mentioned to parents yet: 

GoNoodle, Khan Academy, Newsela, National Geographic Kids, PBS kids, Starfall ABC app and Starfall.com, VOOKS, Virtual Field Trips,  and Lucid Charts. Also, remind students they can still collaborate with peers via Google Drive. 


Guys, we can do this. It’s going to be hard and uncomfortable for most, but we can band together amidst the chaos and confusion. 

What other tips and resources do you have for parents and teachers? Let’s start a list together, we can go further with collaboration! 

Parent Resources For School Closures

With schools across the nation shutting down for COVID-19 social distancing purposes, parents are left at home, many overwhelmed by keeping up with student’s needs for learning. 

First, take a deep breath. There are resources and help out there for you, and I want to share my best tips with you as well. 

Whether you have a newborn or a college student moving home, these basic principals apply. 

TALK

Talk to your kids. Ask them their thoughts and feelings, tell them about your day and your thoughts and feelings. Comment on colors of objects or numbers around you. Have open, fun conversations. 

SING

Sing lullabies and I’m A Little Teapot, sing made up songs about washing hands, and throw a little Queen in there. Sing them songs. 

READ

Read picture books and chapter books. Read their favorite book and your favorite book. Read them magazines and online articles. It doesn’t matter what you’re reading, it just matters that you READ. 

WRITE

Write small journal entries about their day, write a book, write a sentence. Have them notice everyday life and write about it. Let them see the scientific method be put to use every day in the simple things like getting dressed or choosing a breakfast food, and write it down. Use a pencil, use a pen, use a computer, but all they need to do is put words together to make sentences. Or if they are younger, put pictures together to create a story! 

PLAY

Engage in real, genuine, play. Make pillow forts and cuddle on the couch. Just enjoy your time together and use your imagination. 


No need to overcomplicate an already stressful situation. Just take it day by day, do your best, and wash your hands. You’ve got this! 

Let’s Play Outdoors This Winter!

It’s 30 degrees outside and there is snow up to your kids’ knees. The recess bell rings and you glance towards the pile of coats hanging on the coat rack; you can already picture the line of students standing next to you to do up zippers, tie snowboots, or pull on a mitten. Do you: 

A. Declare today an inside recess day and pull out all of the fun board games in your closet? 

B. Take a deep breath and start zipping up coats. 

Obviously keeping inside during the winter is easiest, whether you’re a mom of three kids or a teacher of 32 students, winter clothes will always be a chore. But rest assured, your hard work is not going to waste, the benefit these kids have by playing outside is well worth the work in the end. 

Many schools are moving to a stance where recess is not an option, it just happens, given outside circumstances are not extreme. Teachers are no longer permitted to use less recess and outdoor time as a consequence in many schools across the nation, so choosing to stay indoors during the winter months is less common. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t teachers out there wishing they could choose option A and stay in sometimes. 

Sending kids outside to play in the cold can boost their immune systems. Yes, really! Winter gets a bad rap on sickness because many think the cold weather brings the sniffles. But in reality, it’s us hiding from the cold that creates sick kids by cooping everyone up indoors and sharing more germs. Giving them a chance to be outdoors and in fresh air is just what we need to fight off sickness. 

Kids that play outside are resilient kids that will continue to have outdoor winter hobbies throughout their lives. When they have experienced being outside often and how to deal with cold weather, wind, and snow, they have those tools for life and are more likely to continue to use them into adulthood. Providing opportunities for authentic outdoor play as a child pays off well into the adult years. 

With warmer weather, it’s common to see teachers out with their students for various lessons, whether they are doing an activity for P.E. or switching it up with a math lesson on the basketball courts, being outside is a great change of pace for restless students. How often are we as teachers bringing our class outdoors in cold weather for lessons? It does take more time and effort to bring kids out in the winter, but again, the rewards are worth it. 

Something that often holds us back from outdoor play is the lack of proper snow and cold gear. It can be difficult to spend too much time outside with cold toes and fingers, so making sure our mittens, boots, and coats are weather appropriate can have a great impact on the duration we and our students are willing to stay outside. 

In this video, a school in Canada talks about how important outdoor play is. They even give multiple examples of things kids can do outside, such as paint in the snow or observe nature. Trees and ponds and even animals are not the same year-round and observing these changes can be very insightful to watch. 

In what ways are you facilitating outdoor play and learning with your students?