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Feb 24, 2015

Top Teacher Problems!

     While being in the classroom as well as lurking on teacher forums such as “A to Z Teacher Stuff”, I see the same complaints time and time again.
"There's not enough time in my day"
"I work way too much with little appreciation. I'm just over it."
"I have this one parent that makes me want to drive off a cliff!"
"My class is out of control."
     Whether you're a first year teacher or a veteran, you are most likely dealing with at LEAST one of these problems currently in the classroom.
      So I did a little research to figure out not only the biggest issues teachers struggle with, but strategies and tools to help handle them.
There is never enough for the classroom teacher.  We're constantly checking our emails, grading papers, and taking endless piles of work home to finish. We are lucky to have family and friends that support us and understand. Even so, we feel like are brains are elsewhere and not at home.
Here are strategies to free up some valuable time.
      Be Organized. This includes your classroom, your computer, and your desk. Hunting down lost papers or files is one of the biggest time wasters. Have systems set in place that work for you. Something that I do on my computer is organizing files within files. I also categorize documents by date.
      Have routine procedures set in the classroom that students can handle on their own. Recognize what your students can do and then utilize classroom jobs. Students LOVE to help! When students first walk in they can take their own attendance by using magnets on the door. Don't try to do everything on your own when students can benefit from learning how to take charge!
     Lose the mental battle. Let some things go. Recognize when you need a mental break and need to be with your family. 
Just 5 minutes of mindfulness (being present in the moment) and meditation can actually make you MUCH more productive and save you time in the long run.
      Shop TpT when you need to. Even though I have my own store on Teachers Pay Teachers with a ton of resources, I still shop other stores if I need something and I don't have time to make it. Teachers Pay Teachers is a savior in so many ways.  

Teaching is STRESSFUL. There's no doubt about it. Mental fatigue can take over and you feel like you're trapped in a dark hole without a ladder to climb out. If you find yourself anxious, uninterested in things that you normally love doing, antisocial, and mentally exhausted, you may be suffering from Teacher Burnout.
Here are strategies to battle Teacher Burnout.
      Figure out your main source of stress. What is the underlying cause of your stress? What are some things you can do to ease the pressure? Try to strategize ways in which you can tackle the biggest issues in your classroom.
     Exercise. You may be thinking, are you kidding me?! That is the last thing I have time or energy for. But I PROMISE YOU, it will help. You don't have to become a marathon runner, even just walking 25 minutes a day will help with your energy level. I recommend weekly yoga or a workout class at your local gym.
    Sleep. Are you getting enough? I know when I don't sleep, my day is pretty much shot. Everyone is different with how much sleep they can function on. Some need the full 8 hours while others can get away with 5-6. Figure out how much you need and make sure you allow yourself those hours.
I've always struggled with falling asleep (especially when stressed) so I know all the tips and tricks. I use essential oils and aromatherapy - I love lavender and Doterra's blend "Serenity". You can rub them on the back of your neck and wrists as well as on your feet. The smell is calming and it always lulls me into a deep sleep. Vertiver is another oil I use that has a very earthy smell. It is grounding and helps me STAY asleep.
    Eating. Are you eating well? I love Minute Maid's slogan, "Put good in, get good out!" It's so true. If you eat garbage, guess what? You will feel like garbage. On my iPhone I listen to Shawn Stevenson's "The Model Health Show". He's dead on with what you should be eating. His views are a little extreme but when I even do half of what he says, I feel fantastic. Research and discover "clean eating". It will change your life.
I'm sure as your reading this, that parent is materializing in your mind. I've heard quite a few teachers say, "I wish teaching was just that - teaching. My job would be perfect if I didn't have to deal with the parents." Unfortunately this is something that has led to many wonderful teachers leaving the field. How can we change the relationship with our student's parents?
Here are strategies to handling difficult parents.
    Let them know how much you care about their child. Does this parent know that you only want what's best for their child? Remind that parent how much you want their child to succeed in the classroom.
   Make it personal. Parents want to know how you are helping THEIR child. How are you supporting their individual needs? Give them specific details on how you differentiate learning for their child.  
     Have support. If anything is suspicious or concerning, talk to your principal or school administrator. Also parents might come directly to you before checking in with the office. Always redirect them and keep administration informed about the situation.    
     Document Everything. For your peace of mind, make sure to record all interactions with that parent. If something does arise, this could save you your job.

Classroom management is something that first year teachers often struggle with. It takes trial and error as well as figuring out what works best with you and your students.That being said, a teacher who has been in the field for over twenty years can get that one group of kids that makes him/her question everything about teaching.
Here are strategies for handling behavior & classroom management.
     Don’t let them see you sweat.  If students are becoming out of your control, do not let them see they are getting you upset. You don’t want them to see that they have control of your emotions. Take a deep breath and try to think with your logical brain rather than your emotional one. Picture yourself an observer. You walk in the classroom and you see a flustered teacher with screaming students. What advice would you give him or her? What could they do in that moment to correct the situation? Do you have behavior management tools in the classroom? Utilize them.  

     Physical Activities. Physical movement is beneficial for so many reasons. Not only is it good for overall health but it can break up the strenuous mental tasks in the classroom. With YouTube, it makes it so easy to just put on an educational song and do a quick stretch or warm up!
    Rewards and Incentives. What rewards and incentives does your class implement? What do your students get excited about and what would they work hard to earn? Do you use reward bucks, coupons, stickers, marble jar, or maybe a prize box? See what works for you in your classroom!
What are other top problems you've encountered in the classroom? Post Below!                  

Feb 23, 2015

Teachers are Heroes Sale - TpT!

Teacher friends,
Guess what time it is?!?

It is time for another TpT Statewide Sale!! WOOHOO!!

      It's a one day sale beginning on February 25th! Teachers, I hope you're ready! For sellers who participate, stores will be up to 28% off!
The StudentSavvy store will be set to the highest amount of savings!

In celebration, here are Super Hero Teacher FREEBIE posters to give as gifts or to sport in your classroom! Click HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREEBIES!

I've been non-stop creating products for my store! Here are the newly designed resources that will be ON SALE Wednesday!
Happy Shopping!

Feb 15, 2015

Benefits of Music in the Classroom

Why music should be utilized in the classroom!


It’s so much more than just music. It facilities other areas of learning. 
Music actually helps language processing – according to a study conducted at Stanford University, Researchers have demonstrated that people with musical experience found it easier than non-musicians to detect small differences in word syllables.” -Source:

The arts can help students who struggle
Traditional classroom learning can be a struggle for some students.  According to author Beth Olshansky, her daughter while painting was able to “access and express imaginative ideas and descriptive language that were otherwise not available to her.” Olshansky is author of, “The Power of Pictures: Creating Pathways to Literacy Through Art.” – source

Music is a stress reducer
 If your students are struggling through lesson after lesson and need a mental break, why not turn on some music and let them draw how their feeling for five minutes? This is art therapy for students!


Students learn to work together
Music is all about working together to produce beautiful music. Just think about orchestras and bands! They must be listening and paying attention to each other at all times. Bands rely on the drummer to maintain the beat of the music. The bass player produces the low notes and the guitarist plays the main melody. Everyone has a different role that they are held accountable for. Musicians work together to create art!

Students learn about other cultures
Music is everywhere. All different parts of the world have their own unique style of music. Student can learn so much about different cultural traditions and their artistry.

It promotes self-expression
Musicians have their own unique style. They take risks and make their own decisions in their artwork. Students are able to learn that they can leave their mark on the world by exploring their creative process. When exploring music, we don’t want are students to mechanically play “twinkle twinkle little star” on the recorder. Hand them an instrument and let them go, don’t just limit music to lessons and drills.

Teaching to multiple intelligences
According to Howard Gardner in his theory of Multiple Intelligences, some students are categorized as “Musical-linguistic” learners. These students will thrive in these activities!

Can actually improve test scores!
After researching this topic, I found countless articles to back this claim.  According to a study published in the Journal for Research in Music Education, students in music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to schools with deficient music education programs. source credit-

I also have personal experience with this topic. In high school, I attended Natomas Charter, Performing and Fine Arts Academy. All students attending this school were required to maintain a 3.0. Of my four years attending, I only knew of one student who left due to grades.

It promotes creativity.

Students get to explore their creative side while playing music. They are free to make their own artistic choices. It allows for exploration and using other parts of the brain!

There is simply not enough schools supporting music programs and arts education
Support arts in education! Its heartbreaking to hear how it is becoming a thing of the past.


Now you know the benefits of using music in the classroom.
Here are some fun ways to incorporate music into your daily lessons!

Bring in the instruments! – Free play
Allow students to explore different instruments... Let them see how they produce different sounds. Practice rhythm and tempo. Practice playing softly, then loudly. And of course, teach them to respect and appreciate their instruments!

Explore music by Genre!
Explore the history of different genres, discuss famous musicians and bands, and the common elements/instruments that are used in each genre. In this resource you can do it all!  There are even video/sound clips that you and your students can scan right in the printouts! A fun create-your-own band activity is in there too!

BOOMWHACKERS! They are the COOLEST! They are hollow, color-coded, plastic percussion tubes. The different lengths of the tube creates the different pitches. Students produce tones by striking together or on any surface. Best part? They are affordable!

Explore Music from other cultures (music around the world)
#1 best seller in StudentSavvy store and featured in the Teachers Pay Teachers Newsletter 2/1/2015!!
In the "Music around the World" resource  students will learn over 30 different musical instruments from Japan, France, India, Spain, Brazil, Africa, Russia, and Italy! There are video links included to see the instruments in action!
Check out these fantastic youtube videos shared by Responsive Classroom! These music and movement activities are used as energizers! You can use them when your students need a mental break!

Here are some of my favorites:

source credit - Responsive Classroom


Source credit - responsive classroom

Bucket Beats! Easy DIY Drums!! Just use home depot buckets and flip them upside down! You can create small bongo drums by just using felt, rubber bands, and a tin can (formula cans and oatmeal cans work great!) Students can even paint them or decorate with yarn and beads.

Make your own instrument Project! I remember doing this in elementary school. My dad helped me create a guitar using a tissue box and rubber bands. It was so much fun to play! Here's a resource that will helps students to come up with ideas on how to create their very own instrument.

Listen and Create! – Self expression and art! This is so fun for students and incredibly easy to do. All you have to do is turn on some music and let students express their emotions through art. Not only does this improve their artistic skill, but it promotes self expression and creativity. It sounds simple and silly, but I promise you it's not.

Rhythm games – Check out this cool resource to learn rhythm basics! Even includes rhythm haiku and creating your own rhythm poetry!

Make a human rainstorm!

Students work together to make a human rainstorm. Teach students how they can use the body to make cool nature sounds! Watch this shared video on youtube from a summer camp!

Source credit – Dave Meumann

 Thanks for reading! Post ways you include music into your classroom below!

Photo credit - Downloaded and purchased from Dollar Photo Club


Feb 6, 2015

Chinese New Year 2015! Year of the Sheep - Goat - Ram!

Teacher friends,
     2015 is the Year of the Goat according to the Chinese Zodiac! The Year of the Goat starts this February 19th and lasts until February 7th of 2016.
Here's some fun information you and your students can enjoy about the Year of the Goat!


"The sheep (goat, or ram) is among the animals that people enjoy the most. It is gentle and calm. Since ancient times, people have learned to use its fleece to make writing brushes and skin to keep warm. As it is white, people describe delicate and precious white jade to be 'suet jade'. Thus it is close to the meaning of good things."

Personality traits of the goat: tender, polite, clever, calm, thoughtful, creative

Lucky numbers: 2, 7

Best-suited Careers: actor, teacher, interior designer, musician, and pediatrician

Ready to learn more about the year of the goat and other 11 zodiac animals? 
Students are able to design a 15 page booklet where they can celebrate the year of the goat and learn about their own Chinese zodiac!

Feb 5, 2015

Celebratory Freebies, Motivation, and my TpT Journey!

Hey everyone,
     This week was quite the adventure!
 It began Sunday. I didn't get any sleep that night, the reason being my phone was blowing up with email notifications.
                    First at 2am. then 2:04.. 2:10... 2:15...
                               It just kept going, and going.
Even though I didn't figure it out at the time, it was also accompanied by a "cha-ching!!" sound..

Sellers on TpT, you know the glorious sound ;)

     Of course when you're half asleep you don't think to simply turn your phone on silent. And you're way too out of it to check and see what on earth is happening. So I just deal. Then at 5:30 I was finally awake enough to check. They were all from Teachers Pay Teachers, notifying me that my products were selling. Well, mostly one in particular.

    It was my Music Around the World product, the one that I spent weeks creating and revising. I even had my friend and music expert, Kim from MusicTeacherResoures carefully edit the resource unit.
     It didn't sell immediately but once I start promoting on various social medial sites, it quickly picked up speed. It quickly climbed up my product listings to my top selling product.
But selling at 2 in the morning?!? 3am?! And the amount of sales? It was unusual. So I scroll up my email and check the thing I am suspecting.

I held my breath and crossed my fingers.

Sure enough, it was there. After months of submitting my work to the TpT newsletter, my product had been featured!

    My poor fiance. Even though it was 5am on a Sunday, there was no way I could wait until I reasonable hour to tell him He thought something was very wrong. Maybe it was the way I shook him screaming, "Babe! Babe!"

    After I told him, he still didn't seem all that impressed. But by the end of the day and countless cha-chings later, he indeed was.

This year, I have an endless amount of things to be thankful for.
I'm experiencing one of the rare moments in life where everything is falling right into place and I know I'm right where I need to be.

I found the man of my dreams whom I'm marrying this November. :)

I also have my TpT journey.

After I was picked for the newsletter, I somehow wanted to give back. But just another classroom freebie wouldn't be enough. I wanted something that would motivate teachers and students, each and every day.

I've always been a fan of positive affirmations and motivational quotes. I love reading self-improvement books (I guess technically they're called "self-help" but "self improvement" sounds nicer :P)

So I decided to create a product that compiled all my favorite quotes and affirmations. Some are teaching related, some just make me feel inspired.

But I wanted to share them with you. Whether you are a blogger, friend, teacher, entrepreneur, teacherpreneur, or all of the above, these quotes are for you.

Download the 10 motivational quotes by clicking here!

Always stay inspired and follow your dreams!



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