St. Patrick’s Day Word Search- Free Printable

Okay, I know Valentine’s Day hasn’t even happened yet. But I also know that teacher planning doesn’t happen in a day, and most teachers are looking forward at least a month in advance, if not longer!

So to all those teachers out there who are already thinking ahead to St. Patrick’s Day even though Valentine’s Day is still our main focus, here is a free printable resource for you! A fun, St. Patrick’s Day themed word search, with an answer key.

This word search is geared a little more towards 3rd grade and up, but younger grades can still be successful with help.

If you download it and use it in your classroom, let us know how it goes! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

And if you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day resource, check out our FREE word search printable.

Photo by RDNE Stock project:

A Free Valentine’s Day Printable

Valentine’s Day is coming up, which means class parties for all ages are coming up, too!

Does anyone else dread trying to plan an activity to do with your class on a sugar-high day? Or is it just me? Whether you’re a teacher, para, or class parent, here’s a fun, cute, FREE printable that you can use in your classroom or send home with students! It’s also a great addition to libraries and school offices for handouts.

The word search is on the easier side, so ideal for those younger to mid-grades. There is also a color version and black & white version for ease of printing.

Feel free to print out what you need and share this free resource with friends as well. Tell us below in the comments how it went with your students!

Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah:

Differentiated Spelling Lists: There’s a Reason for Them

My daughter brought home her first spelling list to practice this school year, you can read about how hard she worked for her spelling test in my post here. 

Recently, we had quite the opposite experience with her. After a few weeks of great scores on spelling tests, she started becoming incredibly confident in her work, which really was great! Until that translated to being too confident. I think you already know where this is going, don’t you? 

We had a week where homework was a fight. I tried to find a good balance of prompting and encouraging, but not pushing too hard either and causing more pushback from the constant nagging. It’s a delicate balance! By the time the spelling test came around, she hadn’t practiced the words at all. They also do a reading test, where they read a passage and answer questions about the passage… This also was never practiced during the week prior to the test. I figured there were probably going to be some great natural consequences for her when she realized how much harder the tests would be when she didn’t spend the time practicing. 

We had dealt with some academic-related anxiety with her earlier in the school year, so knowing this, I had a conversation with her before the school day to prep her for the pending spelling test that I was anticipating ending in tears. We talked about trying our best and how sometimes when we don’t practice, the test can be a lot harder for us. When we do practice, it’s much easier because we know what to expect. She took it all in and seemed like she understood what I was saying. 

That afternoon she came home with a spelling test in her hand. Her final score? 100%. She completely aced it! I couldn’t believe it. Everything I was trying to do had backfired completely. What she had just learned was “I can get a good score even when I don’t put in the time and effort.” 

This is why differentiated spelling lists are so important. Because odds are, there was also a child in that class who despite the work, time, and effort put in, still did poorly. This doesn’t mean one child is better or worse than another,  it means that the needs and levels are different and therefore should be differentiated. 

Reading groups are differentiated for the most part in our school, why can’t we include spelling words and tests in that as well? 

What are our students actually learning if they are either trying too hard or not trying hard enough on their spelling tests each week? 

Many of us have specific guidelines and curriculums we must follow as a teacher, but how can we still use these, but work around them in creating and using differentiated spelling lists? 

Other posts on spelling words that may be helpful: 

Ways to Practice Spelling Words

We’ve been getting creative at our house working on spelling words each week and developing new ways to practice. Here are a few of our favorites: 

Type out the spelling words on the computer using fun fonts and different sizing.

Write out spelling words on sticky notes and hide them around the room. Have your child find the sticky notes, read the word, then spell the word. 

Use the sticky note method above, but this time create different sentences with the spelling words. The sillier the better! 

Play freeze dance, and when it’s time to freeze, choose a word to spell out loud. We love The Kiboomers Party Freeze Dance song, you can find it on most music streaming services. 

Write the spelling words on personal whiteboards (or a big whiteboard if you have one accessible!) Changing the medium that the words are being written can be helpful. 

Another change of medium is writing the spelling words on a mirror or window with a dry-erase marker. After the words are written, spell out loud a word for your child and have them erase the word you spelled out loud. 

Sit down together with the spelling word list and find repeating patterns within the words. Give words in different categories and organize them. Pulling apart and analyzing the words can help with spelling them later on. 

Another helpful post:

Tips For Planting Seeds With Students of All Ages

It’s that time of the year when springtime hits and teachers everywhere decide to take on the endeavor of planting seeds with their students of all ages. In theory, it sounds educational and fun, but when applied, it can be… maybe not as fun as you initially thought. 

Don’t let that deter you! Here are some tips for planting seeds with your students so they can grow flowers and vegetables! 

  • Make a list of the supplies you need and get as much donated as possible. If you walk into a local greenhouse and tell the owner about your plans to let your students grow seeds in the classroom, there is a great chance you’ll walk out of the store with free or discounted items to get you started. You can also reach out to parents and other community members to find donations of seeds, soil, and containers for planting. Cardboard egg cartons make great plant starters! 
  • Prep the students ahead of time as much as possible. This could last for a full week if you need it to! Give them bits of information about planting seeds during class time before you even step foot in front of the planting material. Smaller bits of information is easier for them to take in, plus splitting up the days between instruction and actual planting can be helpful for them in retaining information as well. If you wait to give instruction until right before the planting begins, excitement will take over and they may not be as good of listeners. 
  • On planting day, take the kids outside if possible. Planting is messy! If weather and other constraints allow, take them outside to plant. If this is not a possibility for you, laying down a plastic sheet for protection over your carpet can also be helpful. Plastic tablecloths from the dollar store work great, or plastic painting drop cloths from a hardware store can be a little more heavy-duty. 
  • Split into small groups if possible.  
  • Have a cleanup plan, and communicate this to your class. All ages of students are capable of helping clean up in some capacity. If you divide up the responsibilities before planting even begins and everyone knows how they’ll contribute, cleanup can go much faster and smoother. 
  • Know beforehand where the seeds will stay in your classroom. If you have a classroom of 25-30 students, their plants are going to take up a lot of real estate! Have a game plan before you even plant on where they will go if you’re not sending them home immediately. 
  • Set a watering schedule if students will be helping out so that it’s never in question whose turn it is for the day. If the responsibility falls on you, set reminders and alarms in your phone to help remind you to water. The last thing you want are plants that cannot thrive! 
  • Don’t expect perfection. It’ll be time-consuming and dirty and not everything will go as planned. But roll with the punches and it’ll pay off when those little seedlings start poking through the soil! 

Teachers that have gone through this endeavor of planting seeds with their students- what other tips would you add to this list? 

Brain Breaks for Students That Actually Rest the Brain

Brain breaks are so important in school! It’s hard to sit down and cram your brain with so much information for several hours a day. So teachers, listen up! Here’s a list of (actual) brain breaks for you to use in your classrooms. This list applies to all ages of students, too.

Let me start off with this tidbit first. When choosing brain breaks, remember that the goal is to rest the brain, not make it work differently. What I’m trying to say is, Kahoot! is a great resource, but its time and place aren’t during brain breaks. 

Take a walk. Walk around the hallways of the school together or if it’s nice enough outside, take a walk around the school outside. A change of scenery can do wonders for the mind! 

Color a picture. There are a lot of free and paid printables online or ask parents to donate coloring books. Coloring and drawing can be so therapeutic! 

GoNoodle. I *think* that most teachers are aware of this resource, but just in case you’re not, GoNoodle on YouTube is great for movement brain breaks! They are videos designed to get students up and moving. 

Dance party or freeze dance. Turn the music up and play freeze dance or just have a dance party! I don’t think they’ve done any official studies on it yet, but I’m pretty certain the more dance parties that happen in a classroom, the happier the teacher and students are! 

Read a picture book. Kids are zoning out during a math lesson? Why not switch it up a bit and grab a fun picture book for them to enjoy before you get back to dividing fractions? 

Turn on relaxing music and play Sleeping Lions. The goal of sleeping lions is to be the lion that sleeps the longest. Everyone chooses a safe spot to lie down on the floor and rest while relaxing music plays. Go until the students start getting restless. 

Yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube is a great resource, or there are other yoga videos for kids you can look up as well. 

What brain breaks do you use in your classroom? 

Let the Definitions Come Later

A teacher was doing an experiment with his students where he held a cup of water up high with a string trailing down to the second cup lower and to the side of the first cup. As seen in the video: 

The teacher asked his students to describe what was happening with the water and why it was able to go from one cup to the other without spilling onto the table. 


“Surface tension!”


“Newton’s third law!” 

He just kept shaking his head saying, “Nope. Nope. Don’t think so complex. Just tell me what’s happening.” 

And then a quiet student in the back chimes in, 

“The water is sticking to the string as it travels from one cup to the next.” 


She described what was happening. The teacher wasn’t looking for the scientific terms for what the water was doing or how it was happening, he was looking for an explanation. The water was simply sticking to the string. 

They observed, they took it in, they learned, and the lesson moved forward. 

Later in their readings when they came upon the definitions of adhesion and cohesion, each student made the instant connection to the water “sticking” to the string in the earlier experiment. 

Science can quickly become a list of definitions to memorize, there is a whole new language out there of scientific jargon that can easily turn into a class of “learn new vocabulary” instead of “learn about science.” 

But if you want kids to know science, to really internalize it and get excited about what science has to offer, let the definitions come later. 

Introduce them to the world of plants and animals, chemical and physical changes, rocks and clouds, and stars and chemicals. And then when they’re excited and see the world change and create in front of their eyes, taking in everything going on, then give them the word to describe it. 

Toddlers don’t learn what grass is by looking at a picture in a book and saying, “That’s grass!” repeatedly. They learn what grass is by sitting in it. Feeling it. Probably taste-testing it. And then hearing their caregiver say to them, “The grass is so soft! Don’t eat the grass, yucky! Do you like the grass?” 

Let’s change science classes from memorizing definitions and writing out vocabulary sheets into watching, seeing, observing, and getting excited about what science can offer. And then once they’re ready for the definitions, let those come with time. And they will come if you give them that time.