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December 1, 2023

7 Easy Ways For Teachers To Save Money - Maximize Your Resources

As the cost of living increases, it can be challenging to find ways to save money. You may find a few ideas here you haven't tried yet!

1. Save on Groceries.

Look in your fridge and cabinets for items before shopping. There's less to buy (and put away!) when you use what you already have.

Make meals that result in leftovers such as spaghetti and meatballs, beef stew, and casseroles.

Buy generic. Nearly everything I buy is generic. That is, except the cereal that tasted like cardboard. 

Take advantage of sales and digital coupons. Check your grocery apps for coupons regularly. 

Order online. My local store provides a free shopping service for orders over $35. I find that I spend less if I order online because I know exactly how much to spend, and I'm less likely to throw a family-size bag of Hershey Kisses in my cart!

Use cash-back apps such as Ibotta. (Referal link which means I'll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!) I earn about $100 each year from this app without much effort. Right now you can get an extra $5 just for signing up and giving it a try! 

Ibotta Sign Up

2. Play at Home.

Instead of buying tickets to the next event, dust off those toys and games. It's a great way to save on entertainment.

3. Get Cash Back When You Shop.

Buy nothing weeks are great, but eventually you will need to buy something. Use a cash-back app such as Rakuten (formerly Ebates) when you shop. This link is an affiliate link as well. I average about $100 back each year on this site.

Try stacking discounts when you need to shop. For example, if I'm purchasing a gift from Pandora, I will use Rakuten (for cash back), the Southwest shopping portal (for travel points), and a credit card that offers cash back or travel points. My favorite travel points credit card is Chase Saphire Preferred. The points transfer to Southwest and before you know it, you can fly free! Referral links:

Chase Saphire Preferred

Rakuten Sign Up

4. Ask for Discounts.

Ask for Teacher Discounts, AAA Card Members Discounts, Senior Discounts, Military Discounts, or whatever may apply to you discount! Ask even if you don't think a discount is offered. While eating at Planet Hollywood recently, I asked about a AAA discount. Our server asked and said, "We don't offer a AAA discount, but the manager is giving you a 20% discount anyway." It doesn't hurt to ask! Try restaurants, craft stores, clothing stores, entertainment venues, etc. 

Ask for a discount if an item you purchase goes on sale shortly after you purchase it. My daughter bought a jacket on Stitch Fix. It went on sale for 25% off. She sent an email politely asking for a price adjustment, and they gave to her right away.

Speaking of Stich Fix...I've got a referral link for that one too! At this time we will both get a $25 credit if you sign up! Sign Up for Stitch Fix I love Stitch Fix for the convenience of home shopping, quick shipping, easy returns, customer service, and styling! I've opened up my mind to different styles and color combinations. Freestyle is my favorite way to shop, but I've tried a couple of style boxes as well. It's so much fun to see what your stylist picks out for you and returns are a snap. Try Stich Fix

5. Be Strategic with Take-Out. 

Take-out can get expensive, but it sure is a nice treat once in a while! Try taking advantage of special promotions from local restaurants, making your order last for 2 days, and even ordering from the children's menu. 

6. Cut Cable.

Save money by streaming if you aren't already! 

7. Ask for Free Parts.

This is a new discovery for me. We have a leaky faucet and Delta is sending out free replacement parts. Although this repair will require a plumber, we will save money by providing the parts from the company. The faucet is over 10 years old btw! 

These ideas can help you stretch your dollars! Challenge yourself to save money right now!

November 5, 2023

Following Directions Fun

 Following directions takes practice!

Here are a few ideas to consider...

1. Blindfolded Buddies

Hide sets of objects around the room (such as a stack of plastic cups, a container of dice, etc.) Students get paired up. One wears a blindfold while the other gives directions to find the objects. Once found, the pair waits at a designated spot in the room for classmates to finish. Students return the objects and switch places.

2. Coloring Craziness

Purchase identical dollar store coloring books for students or use free coloring pages. Give students directions to color certain parts of a picture with a specific color such as, "Color 3 of the dogs green. Color 2 of the dogs blue." Once students get going, give silly directions such as, "Draw wings on 1 of the blue dogs."

3. Fun With Food

Use snack foods such as goldfish crackers and pretzel sticks. Have students follow your directions to arrange the snacks on a paper plate. You can add math concepts such as patterns, even/odd numbers, fractions, etc. to your directions.

4. Scavenger Hunt

Use small treats and party favor prizes. Break students into small groups and give them written clues and directions to find the prizes. Sometimes the clues lead to more clues and sometimes they lead to a prize.

5. Play Games

Vintage games such as Simon Says and Red Light Green Light are good for following directions and require no prep.

For an easy printable game, try this student favorite: 

Following directions just may improve with plenty of practice!

October 3, 2023

13 Group Halloween Costumes for Teachers

Halloween is a fun time of year when people of all ages can dress up and get into the spirit of the holiday. For teachers, Halloween can be a great opportunity to bond with colleagues and create a fun atmosphere in the classroom. If you're looking for group costume ideas for you and your teacher friends, here are 13 ideas to get you started...

1.  The Wizard of Oz: 

Dorothy, The Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda the Good Witch, Toto

2. Superheroes: 

Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Captain America

3. Harry Potter: 

Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Draco, Moaning Myrtle, Snape, Bellatrix

4. Alice in Wonderland: 

Alice, Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit

5. Flintstones: 

Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty, Pebbles, Bam Bam

6. Addams Family: 

Morticia, Gomez, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley

7. Scooby-Doo Gang: 

Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne, Fred, Velma

8. Muppets: 

Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Gonzo

9. Dominoes: 

Black Sweats with Dots

10. Dunkin' Donuts: 

Basketball jerseys, shorts, socks, headbands + donut innertubes

11. Bucket Fillers: 

Round bins, shirts with shapes, sparkly headbands

12. Emojis: 

Yellow shirts with different expressions

13. Play-Doh Containers: 

Yellow shirts, lids for hats

No matter which group costume you choose, you're sure to have a great time with your fellow teachers.

Happy Halloween!

Click: October Lesson Plan Ideas

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September 17, 2023

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy Matey! Let's add some pirate themed fun to your lesson plans on Talk Like a Pirate Day!

1.  Have small groups write skits using kid-friendly pirate phrases.

Take the opportunity to compare and contrast formal and informal language. Sort your crew into small groups and let the writing begin. Be sure to allow time for performances!

2. Read a pirate themed book.

So many choices! Students love the Magic Treehouse series so try Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne or choose a pirate book from your local library.

3. Make a pirate themed craft.

Talk Like a Pirate Day is the perfect opportunity to meet up with a younger buddy class for some crafting fun!

4. Play Sink or Swim with spelling words.

Divide students into 2 teams and have them line up on opposite sides of the room. Starting with the first student on one team, give a spelling word. If the student spells it correctly, they get to sink a classmate of their choice on the opposite team. That student sits down. If the student spells the word incorrectly, then they are sunk! Next, play goes to the first student on the opposite team. Now if this student spells the word correctly, they can either sink a person on the opposite team or save someone on their own team. If they save, that student resumes play with their team at the end of the line. Continue until all members of one team are sunk!

5. Create an X Marks the Spot Math Activity.

Hide math problems around the school. Provide a map for students to find the problems. Pay out chocolate coins for correct answers!

6.  Write letters in a Bottle.

Students pretend to be shipwrecked and write a letter in a bottle. Have students switch bottles and write back.

Save time with 5 and 6:

Have fun Me Hearties!

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September 6, 2023

Math Motivation with Food

If you find your students (and you!) getting a little bored with the math curriculum, try adding food to your lessons.

1. Appetizing Assignments

Grab some snacks and lots of math problems. The problems could come from students' math books, task cards, or worksheets.  Assign a $ value to each math problem. Then assign a $ amount to the snacks, and put them on display. Students solve problems correctly in order to get enough $ to buy the desired snack. 

Possibilities for distributing the problems:

  • Use premade worksheets and write the value on each problem before copying the pages for the class.
  • Label bins or bags with $ values.Write problems and their values on 3X5 index cards. Add the completed index cards to the appropriate bins. Students select one problem at a time to solve.
  • Use task cards you already have on hand. A wipe-off marker or removable sticker can be used to assign values to the problems.

2. (X, Y) Marks the Spot

*This game is for classrooms with square tile floors that can be used as coordinates.

While students are at recess or special, hide several snacks at various coordinates throughout the room. Mark the coordinate (0, 0) with tape, chalk, or an erasable marker.

Write various coordinates on 3 X 5 index cards and place them in a bin. When students return, they each select a card. One at a time, they stand on (0, 0) and proceed to the coordinates on their card. If a snack is found, the student takes it and goes to the end of the line. If there is no snack, the student just returns to the end of the line to try again. Continue as time allows or until cards run out. 

3. Cheese Cracker Math

This area and perimeter activity can quickly and easily be added to your lessons: 

★★★★★ Extremely Satisfied
Jenneane says, "I can't say enough about this resource! My students love any opportunity to work with food!

More Math!
Students are sure to be motivated for math! 

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July 19, 2023

The First Few Days of School

As a brand new teacher, I asked about the school's procedure regarding lesson plans. My principal, Mr. Smith, answered, "Just create a checklist for the first few days of school." This was great practical advice that I followed year after year.  

Here's a sample list of what I put on my back-to-school Day 1 Lesson Plan:

1. Greet students at the door, and ask them to find their seats.

2. Briefly introduce yourself and any other adults such as aides and student teachers working with you.

3. Collect any papers or forms.

4. Confirm and list am and pm bus 🚌 numbers and other transportation methods with students. Collecting this information gives you plenty of time to check records or consult with the office before pm dismissal if necessary. 

5. Take lunch count and attendance (at least remember on the first day of school!)

6. Have students unpack all those shiny back-to-school supplies and put them away inside their desks.

7. Show students where to keep their backpacks, lunch boxes, and jackets. 

8. Briefly explain bathroom rules and take a class bathroom break. By this time, they will have to go!

9. Now they're probably hungry. Eating schedules are most likely out of sync. Consider a quick class snack to help curb those hunger pains until lunch.

10. Explain the class rules or develop them as a class.

11. Time for an icebreaker. Grab a FREE one here: Back to School Ice Breaker

12. Go over emergency procedures such as a fire 🔥 drill. 

13. Explain the lunch and recess procedures. It's probably close to lunch by now. Show students where to line up and meet you after lunch.

14. Story Time - Start with a chapter book such as The Worst Best School Year Ever.

15. Tour the school! One year, on the last day of school, we were discussing our favorite moments of the year. One student commented that the tour on the first day of school was his favorite. He further explained that being new to the school, the tour made him feel more at ease. Other students liked that they got to see their "old" teachers and changes in the building.

16. Go over first-day homework. Consider a fun assignment such as a Me Bag. You can get a FREE one here: Me Bag

17. If you have an early dismissal 🕜, start dismissal procedures.

18. If you have a full day, make a time capsule! This printable time capsule is easy to use and easy to store until the last day of school: Back to School Time Capsule

Need fresh ideas for Back to School? Try...

Back to School Games

Just for fun...

The Last Week of Summer

Wishing you a smooth back-to-school transition! 

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July 3, 2023

Fun Back to School Games

Back to School games can be a fun way to help students get to know each other and build community.  Try mixing up some printable activities with some interactive games for back-to-school fun!

1. Duck and Cover

Students form a circle. One student stands in the middle, spins around, stops, and points to a classmate saying, "Duck and cover!" The student that was pointed at ducks and covers their head. The students on either side of the student ducking try to say the other classmate's name first. The slowest to respond loses the round and goes to the middle. The student who was just in the middle takes that student's place in the circle. Begin the next round and continue as time permits. What a fun and fast-paced way to learn classmates' names!

2. FREE Printable Icebreaker

This is the one where students try to find classmates who share the same interests or experiences. Grab a FREE Back-to-School Icebreaker HERE!

3. Following Directions Game

Students love this game! You can even time students, and have them try to beat their best score throughout the school year! 

4. Fishing Game

This game helps students who are shy or introverted participate. Students fish for questions with straightforward answers.

Mix these games into your first-day (or second-day) plans and watch your class family connections form!

Make sure to have some fun yourself before you go back to school...

The Last Week of Summer

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