I am going to share a little secret with you about something I have been using for myself and plan on using this year at school. I have started using essential oils in a diffuser when I am working at my home computer. I have found that using two drops of peppermint, two drops of lavender, and two drops of lemon in my ultra sonic bamboo diffuser with these oils helps me focus, helps me stay alert if I’m working late at night, and helps lift my spirits. In other words when I diffuse these three, I just feel happier :D. See my happy face!
I am planning on taking it to school this year to diffuse in my room. I have even been thinking of buying another one so I can have one at work and at home. Not only that, but I have a close friend who took hers to school last year and diffused lemon on a daily basis to help her students focus during instruction. Another great benefit of using a diffuser at school….if you use the Thieves blend of essential oils, it promotes cleaner air, which is especially needed during those winter months. As if, ALL teachers haven’t already spent a small fortune on using hand-sani! This would be another way to support the prevention of germy surfaces!
Here is my diffuser in action with my favorite three oils. As you can see it sits in my office in front of my gargantuan printer. This model is my favorite that Young Living sells because it has a one or four hour timer so you can choose how long to diffuse.
If you want to order an ultra sonic diffuser and oils like mine, the best value is to buy a starter kit here. If you decide to buy some be sure to use my enroller and sponsor number 2600343. I would really appreciate it! Happy calm school year!
I mean just LOOK at these new adorable planners, I have found! These are called “bloom” planners. I know at the beginning of a year, I look and look for planners that are cute and functional, and at times, have problems finding one. I normally settle for one at Target and decorate the plain cover with stickers. With these fabulous planners, there is no need to buy stickers because they come decorated with a pattern that you can choose to suit your personality!
They have planners suitable for students in middle school, planners for teachers, or even planners that would suit moms.
Bloom even has some accessories that you can use to match your planner cover, like this “to do” list matches it’s planner.
What’s even better is that they aren’t even very expensive! Many of them are between $10 and $13 at the time of this post writing. I know Office Depot sells planners many times that are around $20, and they aren’t even cute! I put them back immediately! The teacher planner, though, is priced around $26, but it is well worth it for the bulk of planning capabilities available. Just look at the teacher planner features…
Brightly colored tabs…
Monthly and Weekly Planning Options…
…a place for student information and right next to the student information, a parent communication log!
And one of my favorites is the pretty design on the inside front and back cover. Also, there is a handy pocket in the back!
There are also other nice goal setting feature pages embedded within each month. I personally don’t know if I would use these. However, this is a nice option. I would probably do better writing my goals on the monthly calendar, so that it would always be in front of me. Also, there are inspirational quotes sprinkled throughout the planner.
Some other nice features are a section of graph paper for possible seating charts, and a page for substitute teacher information (I wouldn’t want to leave my planner behind for the sub ;)). This teacher planner could potentially be your go-to book where almost all of your important and often used information is stored–an organizational lifesaver!
Now, the moment you have all been waiting for, I teamed up with bloom to offer this free planner and mousepad to you.
All you have to do is sign up below to win this ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE mousepad and planner set!
The contest ends on July 19th at 11:59 p.m Eastern Time. I will announce a winner on the evening of Monday, July 20th! a Rafflecopter giveaway
I have had several people exploring teacher sales on my blog lately and wondering when the back to school teacher events were going to be held this year. Here is the information that I have found so far.
Mardel Educational Supply let me know on the phone that originally they had planned their date for July 16th, but their corporate office had recently changed this to a whole week. Now their sale is from July 13th-18th for 20% off of educational supplies for teachers!
Wal-Mart is offering 10% off all school supply items to teachers until school starts if you show your teacher badge! Wow! Who knew?! (See below for edited information about Wal-Mart.)
Office Depot is not having their normal back to school teacher breakfast and sale date. However, they will be having sales up until the time of school starting back with $10 off of $50 coupons being mailed out to everyone who has a teacher rewards card. Don’t worry if you don’t have a teacher rewards card, or if you didn’t receive any coupons. You can simply show your teacher rewards card in store or you can sign up for one with your teacher badge.
A-plus will be having a sale of 20% off in store merchandise July 15th, 16th & 17th 9-6 pm.
Tax free holidays for you to save money on school supplies. Here is the link to find your state and the dates.
Target is not hosting any special back to school discounts for teachers.
Also, I wasn’t able to reach anyone who knew anything about back to school discounts for teachers at Staples.
And this blog Passion For Savings has done a way better job than I could have explaining just plain old back to school sales for office supplies, so I am leading you here as well. Stores such as Staples, Office Depot, Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Walgreens, and CVS are included.
Edited (thanks Mike):
So the first person I spoke with left out the nitty gritty details about the Wal-mart discount…You can save 10% by entering the numbers on your receipt after you purchase the items on the website here. Then you must enter the number on your receipt above the bar code at the bottom. They will give you an egift card by email for the 10% you saved. You do not actually get the money back. The discount only applies to stationary and craft department items. There are more details here and here.
In their words: “Visit http://www.walmart.com/teachers by August 15 to register receipts by entering teacher’s school information and receipt transaction code.
Savings on eligible items from select departments* will be delivered on a Walmart eGift card via email within 14 days of submitting the receipt online.”
In case you are a Super Teacher Worksheets fan, you may like to know this little secret. On top of the fact that they have eleventy billion fabulous sheets at your fingertips at the click of a button (no losing your files here), they also have a new site for Smart Board lessons! This new site is called Modern Chalkboard. Their Smart Board lessons also are compatible with Smart TVs. It gets better, their Smart Board lessons are also aligned with Common Core Standards! WOW! Imagine saving yourself so much time throughout the school year to have these lessons readily available to you. Here are some of my favorite samples…
If you are willing to pay $5 for all of these resources per month, which in my opinion is totally worth it, then you could invest $50 for all of their high quality Smart Board lessons for $50 a year. I wouldn’t tell you they were high quality if they weren’t, so you might as well get a head start and buy a membership at the beginning of the year so you can have more time for your family ;)! Here are a few free lessons to sample!
I went to one of the most beneficial decimal and fraction professional developments I have ever been to this summer. I want to share what I learned with you so you can share it with your children.
1. Traditionally adding and subtracting decimals: Just line up the decimals to add or subtract. Then just add and subtract like normal. You may have to add zeros to the end of the decimal number on top if you have additional numbers on the bottom. Why does this work?
Lining up the decimals is like adding like denominators. See:
2. Traditionally multiplying decimals: Multiply the numbers like there is no decimal point. Then count the places behind the decimal. The number of decimal places in the numbers you multiplied is the number of decimal places in the product when you count from the back of the number. Why does this work?
This works because you are counting the powers of ten in the denominator. That is why there are three places behind the decimal! See:
3. Traditionally dividing decimals: If their is a decimal in the divisor, move the decimal to the back of the number. Then move the decimal that many places back in the dividend number. Divide normally. Then place the decimal on top of the “house” above where the decimal is in the dividend. Why does this work?
Well, if you, again, turn the decimals into fractions, you can see what is happening. If you divide straight across the fractions, you get the resulting 25 tenths. Like with multiplication, this works the same. You count the zeros OR powers of ten to know how many decimal places to include in the quotient. See:
This is how my idea all began. My mom had given me some adorable sticky notes in the shape of stars. She is always thinking of me buying me school items (thanks mom!). Also, I had bought this very cute patterned masking tape before school started at Office Depot on clearance. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew it was cute. That was all that mattered!
I found myself wanting a way to attach something meaningful to the award certificates that students were getting for fluency in Reflex Math, and I ran out of Scotch tape. But, I had this cute tape, so my clearance deal found its purpose on students’ reward certificates! Next, I was trying to figure out a way to efficiently hand out cute pencils to students who scored 70% and up on the Reflex wall, but I had no certificate to attach it to since the certificates went on the wall. At first I was using square sticky notes to write children’s names on and attaching them to the pencil, but the pencils would get stuck to one another with the tape, and they didn’t look very attractive to say the least. So, what did I do?Finally, I wised up and used the star sticky notes and attached one piece of cute tape horizontally to the back to hold the pencil on. The star sticky note would have the child’s name and his percentage of fluency. Even though I used this idea for Reflex rewards, it could be done with anything. I think the pencils kind of look like little magic wands! This is so much better than the sticky Scotch tape mess I started with. Here is an example below (but I would have the student’s name on the star also).
I am going to share with you what I did this year to be successful in helping our school be more fluent in math facts than ever before! We have had Reflex Math for about 2 and a half years now. The first year everyone didn’t know much about what to expect. The second year some classes were making progress with it. Now this year being in a new school with new people (we consolidated with another school), we had a slow start but by the end students’ fluency took off. Albeit some of the increase has been due to the increase of available technology and the new Reflex Math app on the iPad, but students this year were more motivated to achieve than ever before. I believe that is due to a few things I added to encourage friendly competition!
1. I added the 70% and up club. What child doesn’t want to be a part of a club?! When children reach the 70% mark, I post their certificate on the wall with their pictures in a central location. I try to take their pictures close to window light so they look nice. If students’ certificates are up too long without their picture they make sure they let me know about this. I print the certificates off weekly. These are available to easily print off from the home dashboard screen underneath the unprinted milestones link. I also have these students names called on the announcements with “Welcome to the 70% and up club…” and then I have their names called out.
2. To encourage students along the way to reach the 70% and up club, I send home their certificates if they are below 70%. Students get certificates for answering facts and they get certificates for answering a certain amount of facts. One of these certificates may say something like Joe Bob solved 2,000 facts. If the certificate is one that is fluency related then I attach a little prize such as a pencil or fake tattoo. These certificates may say something such as Mary Sue learned 25 new fluent facts. All certificates that are 70% and up go on the wall. I replace the 70% with an 80% or 90% certificate so that others walking by can see their achievement.
3. I have a special place to hang students who achieved 100% fluency during the year. These students have their picture retaken again for this spot on the wall. Also, I had a special ceremony for these students at the end of the year in which I invited the principal and guidance counselor to shake the students’ hands and pin them with a special pin I ordered from Jones Awards. I had wanted to order them all trophies, but I didn’t think I would be able to afford enough trophies with the school budget for those kids who had achieved 100%. I also have the 100% fluent students’ names called out on the announcements when they achieve fluency.
4. Each quarter I have parties for all the students who achieved at least 70% fluency. Once students achieve 100% fluency, they are able to go to all parties for each quarter. Most students who achieve 70% fluency go ahead and work towards the 100% fluency spot on the wall even though there isn’t much more reward to achieve 100%.
5. In addition, I have parties for a class winner in 1st-2nd grade and a class winner in 3rd-5th grade. I didn’t do a party for the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter we did a hot chocolate party with toppings, in the 3rd quarter we did an Easter egg hunt, and in the 4th quarter we did a water play party outside with sprinklers and water squirters. The kids anticipate these parties with great excitement!
6. Within each grade level I hand out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons for the highest percentages of fluency achievement. These students pictures are also displayed in a central location for everyone to see. Some students are very competitive about this.
Because of all of these things, more students achieved 100% fluency than ever before. The excitement built around the achievement of math fact fluency built a positive momentum with the children for something to earn. When parents visit the building, they can often be found near the wall looking at all of the children’s pictures on display.
Some teachers became very competitive about their classes beating another class. These teachers built a competition within their own class. Towards the end of school, some teachers were sneaking their children who were still below 70% to the computer lab just so they could reach 70% fluency to attend the party outside. (I know the paper colors don’t exactly match, but I was just working with what I had :/. I will make it look better next year :))
I hope this sparks some ideas within your own building!
There are several places you can find a great deal for Teacher Appreciation Week! One of these places is Teachers Pay Teachers of course. Everything will be on sale on the site. Some sellers have discounted their store additionally for a total 28% discount! My store happens to be one of the places you can find a 28% discount!
You can click here to link to my store.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite things about Family Math Night. So here they are…
I saw this idea on Pinterest, admittedly, but I really wanted a LARGE 100 sign that parents and children had to walk through that had 100 on it. The wonderful art teacher helped me out tremendously by making a huge sign with 100 on it. She made the numbers separately because we obviously didn’t have paper large enough to write the whole 100 on. She made one of the 0’s a bit larger so that people could easily pass through it into the cafeteria and gym where our event was held.
We had a 100th day of school photo booth. One of our teachers had some already made up props with little lips, mustaches, and beards. Our kind art teacher helped me with the signage for the booth. Because we didn’t have the man power to take pictures and distribute them the same night, we just allowed parents or whoever to take pictures with their smart phones as they passed by.
After the fact, I wish I had put some colored paper behind the sign. That way there would have been a prettier background for short children!
The two girls in the picture above were some of the cutest dressed for the 100th day. One had on 100 hearts and the other had 100 kisses neatly done with lipstick!
Next, because Reflex Math is now on computer and iPad, we had a booth to showcase the ease of using this to learn math facts. Anytime we have technology set up, this tends to be a popular table.
This was my favorite game of the evening, the +10, -10, +1, -1 life sized 100’s chart game. Students stand on this and a large foamy die is rolled. Students stand on the numbers and move according to the number which the die lands on. If students bump into each other then the one who is bumped into is out.
The chart is made from duct tape and a large tarp. You can make cards on the computer for the chart, too, that will fit perfectly in the squares. However, we didn’t want children walking on these for the game with their shoes on, so index cards and packing tape were used to attach the cards for this game.
Finally, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this die which I found at Mardel (one of our educational stores). The dice has clear plastic pockets so you could change out whatever you wanted to put on the die. It could be used for literacy, for normal numbers, dots, math facts, you name it!!
You may also like to read about past years’ math nights: