November 29, 2019

Christmas Gifts For Students

Black Friday is over, but you still may be looking for a quick and easy holiday gift to give to your students. Here are 6 Christmas gift ideas that are sure to bring smiles to your students' faces.


1. Book and Booklight

Book club points can be used to purchase books for students, and booklights can be picked up from the dollar store. Some companies may even offer bulk discounts, so it doesn't hurt to ask. The booklights are a big hit with students, and they just may be encouraged to read over holiday break!

2. Pencils With Students' Names

There are a few companies out there that print students' names on pencils. I still remember the little red plastic pouch that my pencils came in back in first grade! The pencils didn't have our names on them back in the day...Rather they said, "Season's Greetings From Your Teacher." We still were amazed that our teacher was able to do this! Did your teacher ever give you pencils with your name on them?

3. Giftbag of Fun and Useful Items

Add pencils, erasers, a new box of crayons, a shuttle pen, and mini playdoh to a small gift bag. For this holiday gift, head out to the dollar store or order from Oriental Trading. I also try to remember to stock up on the school supply items in August when they are on sale. Then I just need to remember where I put them!

4. Watercolor Set

Kids love these and painting is a great way to practice those fine motor skills while being creative. I have purchased watercolor sets at craft stores (remember your coupon and to ask for a teacher discount!) or at Oriental Trading. If possible, send students home with a few sheets of white paper to paint on over the holidays!

5. Reusable Waterbottle

Perhaps water bottles with your school name or grade on them would be fun! Ask around for recommendations...one year the family of one of my students was in the printing business. The parents were always happy to help with friends and family discounts!

6. Coupons

My kiddos have loved these printable coupons year after year! The coupons sheets can be tied up with curly ribbon and distributed before winter break. Students write their names on all of the coupons and store the sheets in their desks for safekeeping. After break, students cut out one coupon per day to use. This holiday gift lasts throughout the month of January and makes returning to school after winter break a bit more bearable! Click below to get these inexpensive coupons that kids love!

 christmas-gift-for-students


Do you have any ideas for student holiday gifts? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below!

November 7, 2019

3 Veterans Day Ideas For Middle Grades

Veterans Day activities help your students to recognize and honor our Veterans past and present. If you are teaching about Veterans Day, as the daughter of a Navy Veteran, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart!




1. Connect With Local Veterans

One of my favorite Veterans Day lessons was when I invited a few members from our local VFW to our classroom.


I ran the idea past my principal, she aproved, and I called the VFW to see if any Veterans would like to visit. I was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Morris said that he would gather up a few guys to visit and details were planned! In preparation, my students wrote thank you letters to the Veterans for their service and prepared a question on an index card. Visiting day arrived and 4 Veterans showed up and took their seats at the front of the room in chairs much too small for them. The students read their letters out loud as these 4 humble men looked on with eyes that brightened with each letter read. After the readings, the students asked their prepared questions as the gentlemen took turns answering. We concluded our morning with students serving our guests cookies and juice and mingling a bit.  Connections that spanned generations were made that day, and we continued to interact with the VFW regularly.

2. Decorate The Halls

I find that the best selections of patriotic decorations at the dollar store are around Memorial Day and The Fourth of July. However, a bit of red, white, and blue crepe paper is an inexpensive way to add accents to a display of students' work. Flag and poppy craftivities are just right to replace those Halloween projects out in the hall!

For this project, students use graphic organizers to plan their writing and make a fun, patriotic flag craft.

Veterans Day Craft



3. Learn About The Branches Of The Military



I like to find video clips to explain the 5 branches of the military. Here is one that is kid-friendly:

Of course, preview the video to make sure that it is appropriate for your class.

Follow with small groups creating posters about each branch of the military (I always remind the kids that images of violence, even against "bad guys" aren't appropriate for school.)

Or...check understanding with this sorting activity:

 Branches of the Military



How will you celebrate Veterans Day? Feel free to drop a line in the comments below to add your own ideas!