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Mar 31, 2016

The Most Important Lessons to Teach Students


The Best Life Lessons You Can Teach Your Students

Hi teacher friends!
     Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture of what we are teaching our students. We spend so much time in the classroom, preparing materials, planning activities, and covering standards – but are there lessons that we could teach our students that could impact all lessons? It is a tall order but consider it for a moment. What if a simple statement left an enormous impact on just a few of your students? Even if it didn’t reach everyone, wouldn’t you still share it?

In my opinion, these are life lessons that are essential for students to just consider for a moment. Some of these I wish I had known as a young student, I may have heard a few of them as a child, but really didn’t take the time to step back and consider.

1.      The best inventors, philosophers, artists, great thinkers ALL MADE MISTAKES. MANY MANY MISTAKES. Nothing worth learning is easy. It is okay to make mistakes. In fact, it’s great because you’ll learn along the way. If you got everything perfect the first time around, it wouldn’t be as memorable. Do not feel shame in the classroom when you answer incorrectly. You tried, and that is greater than not trying. The journey to discovery makes you appreciate what you’ve learned so much more.

2.      Take ownership of your own learning. No one can do the real work for you. It is so incredibly satisfying when your hard work pays off and you discover you can grow and overcome challenges.                                                                  

3.      Be kind, courteous, and respectful. Did you know being nice actually boosts serotonin levels and changes the brain? Check out this study on  Psychology today -
Attitude is everything. It has an impact on your mood, your interactions with others, and especially your health. Life is much too short to restrict yourself to only negative thinking.

4.      Find the joy in learning because it never stops. Many students have the misconception that the learning stops once they leave the classroom. As adults, we know it’s simply not true. Even when we finish our college degrees, we still learn every single day after the program. Once a student is “done”, they will enter the field in which they studied. They will work alongside colleagues from whom they will learn. In order to advance in their careers, they must continue learning because the world is always changing. This concept might seem overwhelming to your students, but explain that it is important to grow, evolve, and change. There is a reason for the phrase “old and wise”. You will not be the same person in your 20’s and in your 60’s. (Hopefully not!)

5.      Do what you love – find your passion and never look back. It will take time to find your passion and it might end up changing along the way (and that’s okay)! But whatever you like to do today, do it. If it brings you joy, embrace it. Even if you are terrible at it, if it makes you happy, who cares! (you won’t!) You’ll get better over time. If you do not find true joy in it, it’s probably not for you. Try something new. Be inspired and let inspiration take you wherever it wants to go. One of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic – “Your own reasons to make art are reason enough. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

These concepts are not teaching a specific math skill nor are they aligned with the Common Core. They may however, influence the way your students think about thinking, an impact what is known as “metacognition”. They might be too young to appreciate the life lessons now but if they hear them enough, they may practice them later on.

What would you consider as important life lessons to teach your students?

Mar 30, 2016

Ideas for Open House and Meet the Teacher Night!

open house, meet the teacher night, back to school night

We have just a few more months left in the school year and the end of the year Open House night is quickly approaching!
I wanted to revisit a few quick tips I have for hosting a successful Open House, Meet the Teacher, or Back to School Night:

1. If you decide to have a presentation, design an outline of what you want to cover.

Create a brief outline of the evening’s schedule. Estimate how much time you should be presenting. Try to keep it as short and concise. Anything over thirty minutes may not be remembered. Some topics you’ll want to cover are:    

        -A Quick Introduction / Meet the Teacher 

       -Homework / Grading Policies and Expectations

        -Behavior Expectations / Classroom Rules

        -Curriculum / Daily Schedule / Upcoming Events

        -Communication with Parents (parent/teacher conferences, email communication, and phone calls)
       -Parent Questions at the very end of the presentation

2. Create a Warm & Welcoming Environment

Make sure your classroom is organized, neat, and welcoming. Another great tip is to display student art throughout the room. This makes it fun for families to find their child’s work and see how they have progressed over the year! 

open house, meet the teacher night, back to school night

If you are need of some STEM materials for your class or if it's Back to School time and need new supplies, you can set up a designated donation desk! It may feel odd or uncomfortable asking parents for supplies, but it really shouldn't! This is a cute way to ask families to help out and for them to feel like a part of the classroom community!

open house, meet the teacher night, back to school night

3. Keep in mind what parents REALLY want to hear

Above all, you want THEIR child to be successful throughout the school year. In your presentation, show parents the resources you have available to make the year a great one. After your presentation, try to make personal connections with each and every family.
teaching resources open house back to school

4. Keep it simple – don’t try to cover the entire year in one night.

Most likely, the parents do not want to hear the entire curriculum for the year. They want to see that the teacher is caring, welcoming, and organized. They also want the feeling of certainty that their child will have a successful school year.

5. Have a PowerPoint Presentation.

PowerPoint presentations are great for Back to School night! It will help you stay on topic and you’ll be less likely to forget something important you want to cover. You can make it creative and interactive, including pictures and examples of student work.

back to school night

6. Make it memorable.

       Be enthusiastic and positive! This is a great opportunity to get to know your students families and set the tone for a great year to come.
 If you need additional resources for Back to School Night, check out the

In it you'll find:
-Welcome Sign in Sheets
-Info Pamphlet for Parents
-Teacher Information Cards
-Classroom Door Sign
-Reminder Handout for Open House
-Volunteer Sign Up Sheet
-Parent-Teacher Conference Sign Ups
-Reminder Slips for Parent-Teacher Conferences
-How does Your Child Get Home – Transportation Information
-Supplies Wish List Cutouts
-Field Trip Chaperone Signups

Now in two different styles! 

Gold Apple and Glitter Design: 

Watercolor Design:  

Mar 28, 2016

Nautical Teacher Binder - Tips and Freebies!

   Ahoy Mateys! Set sail into the new school year with this nautical binder design!
I have been busy designing more teacher binder resources after receiving great feedback on the first few designs.

This design has aquatic shades of turquoise, dark blue, and sunset pink. You'll find nautical clip art (beautiful clipart designed by MyClipArtStore) embedded into the design, including sail boats, banners, whales, anchors, starfish, and more!

If you would like to read my TOP TEN TIPS for utilizing teacher binders in the classroom (and check out the first binder bundle design), you can read about them here!

Enjoy free nautical teacher binder resources that you can use to start building your own teacher binder! This binder will assist you with your scheduling and lesson planning needs!


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