'Twas The Week Before Break...Videos, Activities, and Reindeer

I'll keep it short: videos, activities, and ideas to keep your kids moving until they walk out the door on Friday afternoon.








If you're looking for some school-work activities check out a couple of my other creations:

SAVE CHRISTMAS:  A Project Based Learning Activity with elements of math social studies, ELA, and technology. This activity is ready to go, just print and begin.  Students have to help Santa find the missing Naughty and Nice List!  Every student packet follows the same story line, but how they solve/answer/create is up to themselves.  This works best with second through fifth graders.  There are plenty of opportunities within this packet to increase rigor, collaborate, and integrate technology.

QReate a STORY:  Build Stories with QR Codes.  Students can pick, roll, scan, organize, and write a holiday story based on elements they scanned.  It's a unique way for students to creatively write.  They might not know which characters, setting, and problems they'll face--but that's where the imagination and creativity comes into play.  Works with 1st through 5th grade with multiple graphic organizers at various levels.  Grab the FREE smaller here.


Snow Puffs. So Easy A Kid Created The Entire Craft

So my two girls and I are on break for the next week.  It's cold in the Chicago area, so we end up staying home and doing a lot of playing.  There ends up being a lot of messes and imagination happening with my girls which is to be expected.

Apparently they've been on Pinterest when I'm not around.  At their creativity table (the dining room table) I find they've created a little something called Snow Puffs.

All you need is a little cardboard paper, markers, cotton balls, and a little bit of glue.  The rest is up to you (or your kids).

My oldest made the tree in a snow storm while the youngest went for a simpler version of snow covering an evergreen.  They're now discussing making more and turning them into Christmas cards for the rest of the family.

Stay Warm.  

Turn Into A Turkey: A Thanks and Giving Poster Set! It's FREE!

November means Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving means turkey.  Normally, turkeys are stuffed and eaten.  I'm trying to change all of this.  

No, I'm not going to pardon a turkey.  I just want my students to start acting like one.  What?  I created a little turkey acronym for giving thanks and giving back to recognize those who have helped them (students/kids) and think of ways they can help each other.

This is the poster set from Turn Into A Turkey.
Sometimes we all get caught up in our lives, jobs, family, school.  It happens.  It's life.  But it is still important to stop and think about what we can do to give back and give thanks.  Sure it's cliched, but it's true.

I had the opportunity to show second graders this acronym, present each letter, and then watch their little minds work when they designed their own letter.  Seeing them realize what others have done, recognizing their own skills (or deficits), and self-reflecting is pretty cool.  Watching this happen is one of the unmeasurable joys of teaching.

Outside my door we're trying to fill up the wall with our giving thanks and giving back ideas.  Check it out...

An excellent book to read with you students is How Full is Your Bucket.  It sets a great example on how our actions and words make a difference.  The ideas portrayed fit the model of giving thanks and giving back. 

Now for the FREE part!  
You can download the POSTER SET at my TPT Store.  

I've also created a full version with worksheets and journal for kids to create that ties it all together. 

Now go out there and be turkeys this season.



Edgar Allan Poe(sters). "Grab This Freebie," Quote the Raven

This blog title is filled with bad puns, but the freebie below isn't.  Just in time for Halloween are a set of Edgar Allan Poe quotes, four to be exact.  Nevermore than four.

Quotes include:
"Never to suffer would never to have been blessed"
"I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat."
"Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words."
"Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear."


You can download them from DRIVE or grab it at my TPT store.  Either way, they're free.

"I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat," is my favorite.  Though, I'd hate to know what my own cats would write due to times they are devils reincarnated.  Thanks for tearing up my carpet on the stair and doing your business right next to the litter box Roscoe and Zeke.

De-escalation Strategy With A Coffee Cup

Call it an old wive's tale or an untested scientific hypothesis, but bringing a coffee cup to situations with upset students can assist in de-escalating situations with students who are upset.  I know, call me crazy, but this is a theory I can get behind because it is all about a student's own perception.

Just a simple coffee cup.  You don't even need coffee in it.

There was a teacher/administrator who always brought an empty cup of coffee whenever they knew they were entering a tense situation involving students.  There didn't have to be anything in the coffee cup either because the cups normally from Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts and covered with a top.  He'd grab the cup before he left his office, just so he could walk into the situation nonchalantly and without escalating the situation.  

Someone drinking a cup of coffee just looks relaxed; enjoying the taste of finely ground beans, all while the aroma awakens the senses and the caffeine grabs hold of your receptors.

The idea behind this involved student perception.  If students see teachers enter situations with a calm approach (and a cup of coffee) it can immediately change the the entire outlook of the situation.  Students pick up on everything.  They see, hear, and watch everything.  They react to how we interact.

I take my coffee with me everywhere in the building all day long.  I've actually used it in situations like this before too.  Now there's no scientific proof it works, but the idea behind it is brilliant.  Change perception to create a more inviting and positive environment.

Many of you might never have to deal with these situations, but for many this is a weekly occurrence.    And one of the most important elements is de-escalating the situation so students can cope and use strategies to be successful.

So have a cup of coffee. It can be good for everyone.

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out this Bright Idea.  There are over 100 other wonderful ideas that you should continue to check out, so make sure you see all the links below.  

If you've enjoyed this post (even a little bit) feel free to follow me on FacebookTPT, or even here.  Here at Digital: Divide & Conquer you'll find a mix of everything educational from tech to SpEd to pop culture and 80's movie references.  It's a little of everything, kind of like me.

Remind Students to Be Something! Positive Posters for the Class

Creative. Self-Confident.  Optimistic.  Courageous.  These are all traits we wish for our students (and even ourselves).  Class posters seem to be the theme for me this year which is why I've just created set of Be Something!  Positive Posters for Student Growth & Awareness.  

We ask students to display and show positive character traits in and out of school settings, but do we specifically tell them what those are?  There are thousands of traits beside "being good".  It's time students start to focus on what those are and why they're so important.

Is positive thinking a cliche?  Possibily--but I don't care.  That's because school (and life) is a little more interesting when the glass is half-full.

You can grab the FREE version with five posters HERE (or click on the image)

The full set has two versions; one full color and the 
other without the background (ink friendly).

Thanks for stopping by and checking this out.  If you've got a trait or something you think a student should BE let me know...maybe I'll add it in.

for more positivity...

Morning Work Without the Paperwork

On Friday morning my "official" Bright Idea post completely changed because I walked into a third grade room and saw the coolest way to complete morning work.  One by one the students were putting away their things and then walking to the front of the class and answering questions on the whiteboard.  It was so calm and cool.

Students answered the questions, which were based on learning targets from previous lessons, then circled and initialed their answers.  I just thought this was such a great way for them to demonstrate knowledge of concepts and also use as a form of assessment.

I spoke with the team for a couple of minutes (and they even offered me a little pizza) and they said it was going great having the students do it this way.  Plus it was a great way to cut down on the craziness of paperwork in the morning.

I mean, look at all the way students came up with how to represent 15.  And it wasn't just the board work..some of the interactions between students looking at each others work was very interesting to see.  And it let's us peek into how each student learns (and/or solves problems).

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out this Bright Idea.  There are over 100 other wonderful ideas that you should continue to check out, so make sure you see all the links below.  

If you've enjoyed this post (even a little bit) feel free to follow me on FacebookTPT, or even here.  Here at Digital: Divide & Conquer you'll find a mix of everything educational from tech to SpEd to pop culture and 80's movie references.  It's a little of everything, kind of like me.

How to RELAX. Coping Strategies for Frustration

Self-regulation rules in elementary-land.  One of the key components to being a successful student is knowing how to RELAX when frustrated and making sound decisions.  This isn't just a special education initiative--this is every student (at just about every level too).  

We work really hard on teaching strategies so students can begin to understand their feelings and emotions...and then make positive choices.  This can be such a difficult skill for students (and teachers--ha!) to master.  These are strategies/skills are always worth reviewing.

Here's a set of posters giving five strategies/coping skills using my RELAX method.  
It's even green, for those of you that teach Zones of Regulation.

I've got them up in my room and now you can too.

This is how I want to relax.

How To Be a FRIEND

More and more I've found myself working with students on social/emotional strategies across all settings.  One of the most important skills is learning how to be a good friend...and this can be a little tough sometimes. Being a good friend is such a crucial life skill that will carry them all of school and into the real-world.

But it's not always easy, which is why I wanted to create visuals for my students. It can be hard to remember how to act, how to respond to peer pressure, and always making the smartest decision.  When we do see kids using those strategies and being successful in their own friendships, it is pretty great.  

I've put together a set of classroom posters on HOW to be a FRIEND.  You can grab yourself a copy at my TPT store, and hopefully it can make a positive impact on you students (or school). The poster set is entirely FREE.

 The free poster set is here:  HOW TO BE A FRIEND

I've also completed a fuller version that is accompanied with worksheets, an interactive  journal/booklet, bookmarks, and class cards.  There includes two versions (primary and intermediate) of each printable version.  Personally, I use each letter as a min-lesson for students.  We give examples, model behaviors, and talk about times when it really matter to be a friend.

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If you're looking for more posters like this, I'd suggest checking out some of my other sets I have in my Social/Emotional section of my TPT Store. Many of these are free as well. Grab the RESPECT set and RELAX set.


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