Friday, November 27, 2015

Freebie Friday: Christmas Edition

We wish you a Merry Christmas! I know we just finished the turkey leftovers, but as teahers we always have to be planning for the next thing.  Today I'm teaming up with other teachers to gift you with some Christmas freebies to jump start you into the holiday season.  My freebie comes straight from my Christmas around the World scrapbooks.  I have really enjoyed creating these.  I learned so much while I made them! While Christmas is celebrated around the world, we all celebrate it a little differently.  Since this is a very common activity in the elementary ages, I took it to a different level and included items not often seen in other units.   I wanted to make sure the activites and facts included were unique and authentic, and of course fun!

Click on the picture below to catch this freebie! If you want more Christmas around the world, come to my TpT store!


Follow my instagram @minutemommytpt for quick ideas and updates! See you around...the world!

The links below are freebies from larger products for sale. If you like these samples check out their stores for more!



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bringing Back the Classics

In the day a time we live in, parents are often asking what we are doing to address technology in the classroom.  This year we were hit hard with the fact that our students may be savvy with techology but they couldn't hold a pencil.  Wow! Our plans came to a screeching halt (as they can in a private setting) and we had to reassess how to meet their needs better. There are many amazing benefits to technology, but don't throw all the old out. Below are some things I use in my classroom for two reasons: 1)because students probably haven't used them before and 2) there are great benefits from these practices below and I don't want them to be lost to future generations.


Chalkboards

With all the chalkboards virtually extinct, we had to get creative and create our own.  I had some old, scratched whiteboards and sprayed them with chalkboar paint.  Chalkboards have something that whiteboards don't offer: the drag of the chalk across the board.  It takes a little more effort to drag the chalk across the board.  It is also a good chance for students to learn pencil grip while holding the chalk.

Felt Boards

When I pull out my felt board to tell a Bible story, some adults may look at me strange and wonder why I use something so ancient.  My students on the other hand are dying to get their hands on it. They have never seen them before! It is a nother sensory object they can hold and manipulate.  It is also very durable.  It allows the students to partake in the song or story as they place the pieces on the board.  You can also probably find a good deal on them online as they are slowly disappearing.

Finger Plays

I remember doing these as a child. They require only your memory as you sing a song or tell a story with your fingers.  They are quick to do when you have a few minutes or want the students to calm down.  Below is a link to Dr. Jean doing some finger plays.  It requires them to use sequencing, rhyme and coordination to complete this task.  At the end of Dr. Jean's videos she explains a little more about the importance of finger plays.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f2d7BW3CzI

These are just few classics I like to keep going in my room.  I only see benefits to them and hope you will pick one or two to keep in your room. I'd love to hear about anything you use in your room that others might think is old and forgotten.  It's time to bring it back!

Minute Mommy

P.S. Come back soon for Christmas treats!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

10 on 10 Fall Fun


First of all a huge thank you to The Classroom Game Nook for hosting this 10 on 10 linky!  A fun way to see some snapshots of whats going on in my world in the fall.  Even though down here in Florida we do not experience fall-like weather until about January, we still like to have some good old-fashioned fall fun.  Check it out!














Thanks for stopping by! May the upcoming weeks be full of family fun, thankfulness and memories that will last a lifetime. Don't forget to capture the special moments! I've also included my Native American Freebie as a Thanksgiving treat for you. Stop by soon for Christmas and Winter Wonderland fun!











Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thinking Thankful




Welcome to my blog relaunch! Take a look around and leave a comment below.  Check out my TpT store and Facebook.  Rather than share some tips and tricks, I thought it fitting to share things I'm thankful for as we approach the Thanksgiving season.  It is an interesting time in education.  It isn't always easy to feel like our efforts are paying off or that we are compensated enough for our investment.  Through tears, exhaustian and frustration, I am amazed to watch fellow educators tough it out and continue to love what they do.  You turn lemons into lemonade on a daily basis, and you don't quit.  This blog is devoted to educators everywhere who don't give up on the precious lives we've decided to touch. You are heroes and this entry is a thank you for everything you do! The following are a few things I'm thankful for each day:

Smiles and Laughter

Inside the four walls of my classroom, the worries that may plague my life or theirs can fade a way, at least for a while as we learn and laugh together.  Through dancing and singing my precious little ones can forget the bad morning they had or that mommy and daddy don't love each other anymore.  Their smiles and giggles give me the boost I need to keep going.

Art

Children's artwork is some of the most beautiful ever created.  Through crayon and stickers, my walls are decorated with works of love.  They find out my favorite color or animal and spend their evening at home creating for me.  It shows such love and thoughtfulness.  I like to lay them out at the end of the year and they choose their favorites for me to save forever.

"I Love You"

Once there was a student I was used to having to talk to frequently. You know the one, you can picture him or her righ now.  He had gotten out of his seat for the 100th time within an hour and I was just about to say "Sit Down".  When I said his name, he said "Mrs. Brooks, I love you."  He instantly turned my frustration into a large smile and an "I love you" back. Hearing this from students throughout the day breaks down barriers of irritation or frustration I may be feeling and lifts my heart. Little do they know that while I'm teaching them, they're also teaching me. 

The Goodies and Link-Up

I've included a Thanksgiving freebie to say thank you.  I'm also having a sale in my store on TpT for three days only! (November 2-4)  Please leave your Thankful For...blog post or a favorite Thanksgiving activity below!

Native American Tribes FREEBIE





Friday, October 2, 2015

5-Minute Science Mondays

There are many things this year that we have implemented into our weekly routine and the following is one of my favorites.  The simplicity of it is very appealing and the results are exciting!  There are so many things we have to fit in our days.  Our scope and sequence are overwhelming, Rti, Common Core, administration, discipline, phone calls, e-mails....the list is never ending and we are overextending ourselves.  These 5-minute science Mondays are a way to fit in so many great ideas and benchmarks you won't ever want to do without them again.

To start, my friend, we'll call her Mrs. Neighbor, pasted a cover to a composition notebook to keep in the room by our science area.  The students can observe throughout the week and write or draw what they find. 

She has found several quick science explorations on Pinterest and lined them up for the year based on the season or other things we are covering in the curriculum.  Both classes come together and she discusses what she's going to be doing and has the students hypothesize about the experiment.  Yes that's what I said, we are going to hypothesize and do an experiment all without creating a packet of worksheets for them to complete. 

http://www.science-sparks.com/2012/03/05/rotting-apples/
Why does food decay? (Click for link)
 
We're TALKING, DISCUSSING, EXPLORING together, for fun... beginning to catch on? Covering benchmarks without needing to prove anything to anyone.  Just having fun with it and it only takes you 5-10 minutes once a week.  But I will tell you this, it is one of the most talked about, poured over and exciting things my kids do all week.  They keep going back to the science window and shout, "It's growing!" or "It's gone!"

http://www.stemmom.org/2013/04/terrarium-building-with-students.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+StemMom+(STEM+Mom)
Classroom Terrarium (Click for Link)

 They can't wait to tell others about it.  They're learning more by that exploration than filling in sentences or making a diagram. It's almost kind of like when we were young...learning for fun...and that is what we remember most. 

This time also provides time to discuss failed experiments with the students.
For example, the gummy bear experiment you see here was supposed to result in the gummy bears getting larger in water. Ours dissolved!  Great chance to discuss unexpected results, failing and trying again.

http://dsagdsfds.blogspot.com/2013/06/gummy-bear-science.html
 
 
We have completed one 5-minute science activity since the last week in August and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this year holds! Now you can look forward to Mondays!
 
 
If you're looking for help with where to start, visit this Pinterest Search where you will find a ton of resources! Happy Sciencing!
 
 
 
I can't wait to see what you're doing! Post your pictures below or on my Facebook page!
 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
~ Minute Mommy
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
In this world of Pinterest, pictures of perfectly cleaned houses, beautiful home-made cakes and children's lunches in the shape of a butterfly near an apple tree, it's easy to feel like you're failing. I'm here to reasure you that...you are. If you hold your standard against everyone who has perfected their art in their particular category, you will never be able to match up to that. So I thought it fitting to set up this post to share one humble mom, teacher and wife's failures in hopes that you may be encouraged by my reality. But also what I hope for you to gain from this is joy back in your life to see what you ARE doing and how you are nailing it! 


WifeMom Failedit #1: What Clothes?


 Here you will see a pile of clean, but unfolded and exposed laundry. I'm sure I do not need to explain what this is because you are currently sitting near a similar pile, maybe less flat and possibly holding up the computer you are using. I know it doesn't help me always to think of what a blessing it is that I have clothes to fold when others don't so I will just say this... My #nailedit is that THEY ARE WASHED! Boom! Yes, they were put in the washer, WITH soap and properly transferred to the dryer...oh yes and I even laid them flat in a nice, neat pile on the couch. I'm blessed to have a husband that will fold these and put them away, but even if you don't, rejoice in the fact that you got this far. You go girl! Your child will not be wearing the same mustard stained shirt tomorrow as they did today. Celebrate!

 WifeMom Failedit #2: What was that?

 I can't tell you the last time I swept and mopped the floor. My baby just ate something off the floor, chewed it a little, then stuck his tongue out. I'm thankful to serve a God I can pray to and ask for His covering over my little one's body since I have no idea what that was....So my #nailedit is simple: I'm thankful there is nothing sticky on my floor. I can run the vacuum along the floor boards and give it what my mom calls "a lick and a promise" by swiping a wet paper towel around and call it a day.




 Failedit #3: No Dust Mites Allowed


 I honestly do not have any idea when I made my bed last. I'm not the last one out and frankly, that's one thing that I really want to do, but never get to and I just have to LET IT GO. (I'm sure you're all singing a familiar tune right now). My #nailedit is this...I've read several articles that say it's healthier for me and I have less dust mites than you in my bed. So there!






Teacher Failedit #4: Piles everywhere! 


I have an amazing assistant but there are some things that only I can go through and organize, like tests and papers. This is the reason for a desk right? So we can have piles? What else is it there to hold? Oh yeah, my coffee too :) My #nailedit is I was able to go through it all in 5 minutes and at least put them in neater piles in various places so it looks nicer. If you ever need justification, I'm your girl.





Teacher/mom Failed it #5: Bags Much?


 Much to my husband's dismay, I am a "bag lady" as he so lovingly refers to me. It's a fact, bags don't lie. It is the only way a mom and teacher can function right? Only when you have 10 bags, it doesn't really save much time or headache. My #nailedit is that I have found hooks for them all. That's right, I'm not getting rid of them, I will just make sure they're off the floor, that's all I can promise.









So there you have it.  One small voice on behalf of millions of hard working moms, wives and carreer women just bringing a little reality into your life.  Here are some resources you may find helpful in your struggle for perfection:




Have a perfectly imperfect day...and LOVE it!


~Minute Mommy







Sunday, August 9, 2015

To Panic or Not to Panic: 5 Tips for a Low Stress BOY

Welcome to our Back to School Blog hop! I'd like to start off by saying a HUGE thank you to our hostess with the most, Tammy from The Owl Teacher.  She has done an amazing job so that you can get the most out of your new school year!
Now I know your time is precious, so thank you for taking  a moment to step away from your family, chores and getting ready for school in hopes of picking up some nuggets.  As we begin each school year, we are filled with joy, excitement, hope and something else...PANIC! No matter what we do it seems that every year we are scrambling at meet the teacher or the morning of the first day wondering where all the copies are and what happened to that cute "First Day of School" frame that you spent hours making.  I know you are all reliving a similar experience right now as you read this.  Take a deep breath (and another sip of coffee) and relax.  It's going to be ok this year.  You're going to be ready for whatever comes your way as you follow a new approach to the beginning of the year.

1. Plan of Action

Decide the top 10 most important things for you to do before the first day of school. Figure out approximately how long it will take you to finish them. Add in time for meetings so you're not overwhelmed.  Then add a few extra hours for the chatting and hanging around with your friends like you know you will. Setting aside time for a little extras will allow you to have a little fun while you work hard.

2. Get the Urge to Purge

Get rid of the old, to make room for the new.  Use this rule of thumb: If you haven't used it in 2-3 years, get rid of it! I'm giving us teachers a little leeway. I know you are keeping it in case you go to another grade or because those empty plastic yogurt containers must have a good use!  Honey, let it go...Pass it on to someone who can use it, if you need it that bad you can borrow it. Or just take it out of your life forever.  Less clutter is the key! You probably got most of it from a garage sale anyway.  Have a large garbage bag ready to fill. If you know you have a hard time throwing things away, grab your life long teaching friend that tells it like it is to help you purge. Just like in your home, bring something in, take something out. If you brought a car load of new materials in, take a car load out.  One tip for new teachers; I know you probably have nothing so you want to collect all you can, but trust me, be somewhat selective in what you get.  If it's junk, you won't ever use it and you'll end up getting rid of it in 3 years.  You can be picky and still get great resources.

3. Organize

When you're in your classroom setting up, use your time wisely. You can't take your classroom home with you.  But you can do computer work on your couch.  Organizing your room will help your days and year flow with little stress when set up in a user-friendly fashion.  Cherish the little time you have in you room to get ready and use it wisely. Welcome friends in to say hello, but continue to work while they are there so they understand you are on a time crunch. While organizing, be realistic about what you can get through in your set amount of time.  Over-organizing, yes, I said over-organizing, can result in more stress and pressure to get things accomplished. Have a plan of action before you begin.  There are several boards on Pinterest related to classroom organization. I have several boards, some organizing, teacher resources and classroom set up.  Follow me on Pinterest to see what great ideas I've found! https://www.pinterest.com/mommybrooks/


4.  Plan, plan, plan!

You are now {somewhat} organized. Enough to where the students can walk into the room without hurting themselves on random teacher resources lying about.  Celebrate! {Give yourself a sticker} O.K., time to move on.  Look at your scope and sequence (or make your own)...what is most important and time consuming to plan? Tackle that one first.  Of course the first few days are crutial in setting the tone in your class, but once you get past that, what's next?  We usually get so caught up in the beginning, that we forget what happens after that.  Be ready to move right in to your first unit.  Don't over plan one subject and then have nothing else planned, this does nothing to help you.  Your days will still be unplanned and stressful.  Get an old fashioned planner (with an actual pencil and paper) and write it down.  I know technology is important and many times mandatory in your school, but I find it helps me to just be able to jot down information quickly without having to worry if the server is up. There are even some free planners on TpT you can print.

5.  Enjoy the fruit of your labor

You have worked really hard to get ready for this fresh new year! Reward yourself. Maybe it's a dip in the pool,a cup of coffee, pat on the back or a new set of stickers from the dollar store.  Most of all, in your planner, write down a list of your accomplishments so far this year.  Start off on the right foot with a positive outlook on what is coming.  I know new years are always full of possibility...and then the first day happens.  Don't let that happen this year. Remember why you do what you do. You love it!

As a thank you for all you do, THIS WEEK ONLY, I am making my behavior clip chart free for you!  Once you download, please leave me some feedback and enjoy your new posters! {Offer ends August 12, 2015}
Click the picture below and check out my store while you are there!



  I can't wait to hear all about your new journey this year! Please comment below and send me a picture! Until next time!

~Minute Mommy

Now for the raffle! Enter below to win an amazing K-2 prize pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway
Saturday, July 25, 2015

Welcome to my first "Mommy" blog post on this teacher/mommy blog.  If you don't have kids, don't tune out just yet.  You may find some tips that will help make cleaning more fun for you! The moto I hold at home and school is, “If it’s not fun for me, it won’t be fun for them.”  Cleaning is most definitely no exception.  Maybe you have kids that love to clean and organize and maybe you don’t.  Either way, these tips will help create a fun environment to teach your little ones how to get started in the cleaning process.  In Kindergarten and preschool, we make learning so fun they want to come back for more.  As each year progresses, there is more sitting, note taking and serious learning going on.  I like this approach to cleaning too.  If they see how fun it can be, then they will grow up to be adults that see the value in a clean environment to live in and continue the process once they leave your nest.  Without further ado, let’s get cleaning!



Get Excited!

PARTY TIME! Get excited and your kids will wonder what the big deal is.  Have a cleaning parade.  Make a grand announcement.  Tell them this is one of the most exciting things they will ever do and one the most important.  Whisper a super-secret that they can’t let anyone know.  You know what makes their hearts beat faster in anticipation of something new.  Do it and you’ll have them in the palm of your hands.







Pick out Supplies

If you’re like me and have had a hard time keeping the home clean, you may have bought several “FUN” cleaning utensils in the past.  Dig them out and make a pile on the floor.  Spray bottles, buckets (even the kind you use at the beach will work), sponges, brooms, vacuum, old toothbrushes, scrub brush and a duster are just an example of some of the things you may have collected over the years.  Let the kids pick their weapon and line up for inspection!  I stick with dish soap for some of my cleaning that they do. It’s safe and disinfects.  There are also natural cleaners you can make with vinegar that they can use. 



Whistle While You Work

Snow White knew what she was doing when she enlisted all her little woodland friends to sing along with her as they worked.  Time always flies by when I have a tune to sing.  Believe it or not there is a station on my favorite internet radio called “Cleaning House Radio”.  Put on a cd, the radio or hum your own tune.  Before they know it they will be asking for the next job to do. 




Age Appropriate

This is probably the most important piece to successfully cleaning long term with your children.  If you give them a job that is too challenging or too long, the will get discouraged and quit.  Little ones can help load and unload the silverware from the dishwasher or take a dust cloth around.  A little bit older can sweep and vacuum; even possibly help load the dishes into the dishwasher.  My kids love to put on their bathing suit and scrub the bathtub and shower.  If you are not sure where to start below you will find cards all ready for you to print and grab when you are cleaning or your kids are looking for something to do.  Put them in a jar and the kids will have a blast while they clean (sometimes with a pair of underwear on their head!)





Praise!


We all love to hear from others what an amazing job we have done.  Chores are a part of being a family and working together. There are many families that expect these of their children for no pay but just because they are a member of the family.  This is a great time to build up more excitement in them to just give them a pat on the back and tell them how much they have helped you.  Maybe stop everyone and make an announcement: “Bob has finished sweeping the kitchen, let’s give him a Hip, Hip, Hooray!” and then go back to work.  It can be as big or small as you desire.  Even off to the side works.  The oldest employee does a better job at work when they get a little appreciation for it. 

Go Play!

Set a time limit and when that time is up, everyone needs to stop.  There is always cleaning to be done, but if you push our limit, it will be harder to get them to help you next time around.  Go and play a game together, run outside, take a walk, do something fun together.  Then be done for the day.  They will see that cleaning does not have to take hours and hours and it might not be so bad.  Slowly increase the time each day that you clean. 










If you stick to these 6 simple steps to cleaning with your children, you will see how much help they can be.  BE PATIENT! I have to remind myself: they are not born with the ability to clean a house, it is my parental roll to teach them slowly as they grow.  If you work outside the home or your job is to raise your children, I hope you see soon that cleaning can be a joy as your children are by your side. 
Have a blessed day! I’d love to see pictures of how your cleaning goes!

~Minute Mommy 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Memory Tees

Happy Summer everyone!  Let me start off by saying I cannot take full credit for this idea, it is something I've adopted as I came to my new school just two years ago. They have done these shirts for quite some time and they have it down to a science. They are so cute and fun, I just had to share!  It's a great time to think about these kinds of activities as you get ready for the fall.

At the beginning of the year, we ask for 3 white shirts.  Hanes or Fruit of the Loom work just great as there are no pockets and the sizes are relatively the same.  When they get shirts from a brand name store, sometimes there are pockets or they are more of a fitted, gender-specific looking style.  You can determine the size your grade level would use and put them on your supply list.  You could also collect a few dollars from each student and buy them yourself so you are sure to get a more unified look.

**Very important: use a piece of construction paper or cardboard in between each shirt so the paint doesn't go through to the back.

We keep them in a waterproof container in our closet until we need them.  Unless the parents put their names on them, we just grab the shirts randomly.

Thanksgiving

Around the end of October, one of us gets fabric dye and stains the shirts over the weekend.  They are then handed over to the art teacher and she uses fabric paint and sponge stamps to decorate t-shirts for our Thanksgiving program and dinner. This is what they look like after being dyed and painted.
It's hard to tell in this picture but there is an orange tint to the shirt.
We then cut slits in the sleeves and bottom front of the shirt.  You may want to use a quilting rotary cutter for quick and clean cuts.  We send home the following to the parents:
*Zip-top bag of pony beads (colored plastic beads)
*Partially bent paper clip (pictured below)-to help in putting the beads on
*T-shirt
The parents are responsible for putting the beads on the shirts and tying a not below each one.  You know your families, if you know a shirt won't return, ask a few parents to come in and help you or see if they will work on them at home.  I can always find someone that is dying to help me. Here are what the beads will look like when done:

That is the most complicated of the three and of course you can make adjustments to fit your needs.

Christmas

Usually before Thanksgiving break (the last couple of days when we aren't doing very much), we begin our Christmas shirts.  When you get a good system down it really doesn't take much time.  I have the students take off one shoe and sock off and I get out the following:
*Package of baby wipes
*Tray of red paint w/brush
*Tray of brown paint w/brush
Once I paint their foot (brown) and stamp it down (make sure the shirt is facing the correct way), I wipe it quickly with a baby wipe and follow with both hands (red).  I send them with a baby wipe to do the rest. Anything left they can wash off in the sink. When dry, we glue on eyes and a pom-pom nose. The colors below are backwards, but you get the idea.  You may of course choose different colors.

End of the Year

The last is done at the end of the year. The students each pick a color of fabric paint and put their handprint on each shirt. We line them up around the room and they just move from shirt to shirt. They then use a permanent marker to write their names.  Each student will go home for summer with a memory of their friends.


I hope this may give you some fun memory ideas to do throughout the year. Here are some other ideas you could use the shirts for:

  • Apple day
  • Halloween
  • Valentine's day
  • Field Trips
  • 100th day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Mothers/Father's Day
  • Presentations
  • Field Day
I've also included the link for my Memory book that will take you through an entire year of memories to send home at the end. Best of all, it's FREE! It is simple and doesn't take much time but the results are very special.


 



Stay cool and enjoy the sunshine!
 
Sincerely,