Thursday, July 5, 2018

Trash Your Troubles-an emotional support system for the classroom

Are you looking for ways to promote a growth mindset in your classroom that will support behavior, promote positive peer relationships, and foster open communication between you and your students? Maybe you need a simple go between for you and your school counselor? Then maybe Trash Your Troubles is for you! 

What is Trash Your Troubles?

Creating a safe environment for kids is so important for todays classroom. We have fabulous school counselors to turn to that do a phenomenal job supporting teachers and kids daily!

What if we also helped in our own classrooms as well?

I saw this little trashcan at the Dollar Tree and the idea just hit me. 

I am sure you have heard of “burn” therapy. You write down your worries etc and then burn the paper essentially releasing it from you. Now I have personally never done that, but this idea is along those same lines.

If a kid is having something that is troubling them they can write it down, wad it up and throw it away in this little trashcan! 

Now this does not at all take the place of a kid seeing the counselor if needed. It would just be an easy way to sort of give them a therapeutic way to deal other than keeping it bottled up. Some troubles may be as small as “_____ took my pencil.” or as big as a true bullying issue that maybe the child is not confident speaking up out loud yet. This also does not take the place of the teacher being an active observer of your kids and open communication.

The kids can write their name if they want to so then the teacher can see who might need to talk or it can be just a quick jot from a child to release their thoughts. The teacher can check the trashcan a few times a week or as often as they want or need to.

Establishing a solid and trusting relationship with your kids is also very helpful and important with this as well. So the kids feel comfortable writing their name so you could help with any problems they may have or need to refer to the counselor.

You would also need to set expectations for when they can use this: not during teaching time, etc. As the teacher you could decide what works for you and your classroom. I would also recommend putting it somewhere they can access it easily but also somewhat private.

Just copy the template onto colored paper, cut and set near the trashcan!

The thought is truly to open communication within your classroom and include an extra option of having kids share their thoughts, worries, struggles in a safe manner. It might also be beneficial in that first step between you and the counselor if needed! 

Sound like something that might be useful to you? Go grab the template HERE:

Have a BLESSED week!
"Jesus never asks us to go where he hasn't been."

Friday, May 4, 2018

How to Survive the End of the Year- A Top 5 List

Is the end of the year a little stressful? The To-Do list just seems to go on forever and it may not seem like it can all get done in time? Well I am here to tell you.....let me know how that works out for you....HAHA! Just kidding! For real, things will get done that are supposed to and maybe some things get put on the next list, but living the last little bit of the school year as a grouchie bug does not help you, the kids, or your coworkers! Here is my top 5 list of things that might take the edge off a little and help to refocus!

Guilty Pleasure:

Whether that is coffee, chocolate, working out, good smelling soap in the adult bathroom(hey it's the little things right?), etc... Find something that puts a smile on your face and gets you going to
"get er done!"

Don't project mood/feelings:

Kids getting a little restless? Coworkers giving you the eye? Are they testing the Jesus in you? 

-take deep breathes

-count to 10 (seriously can help filter)

-prioritize and pick your battles

I really try to live by the "leave it at the door" motto when it comes to going to work. We really are in this together and should support those around us. People deal with their own struggles daily-don't assume the grass is greener. 

 I know we are all human, things can come out accidently, and your tone/delivery can relay certain messages, if that is the case, recognize it and apologize.

We can all offer GRACE at this time of year. 

Truth be told we sometimes need to vent-that is okay...just find someone like a teacher BFF, your dog, or just throw it up to Jesus- but someone "safe" who knows you and understands.

Organize yourself:

-not to miss deadlines
-not to lose things
-quick access to things you might need
-keep focused

Planning with the end in mind has been something I have found to be really helpful. Especially when I was in the classroom it helped to sometimes pre-prepare for the EOY at the BOY. 

Tip: Student permanent record files is always something we have to do at the EOY for each kid. So I put into a place ahead of time a way to filter the paperwork and organize it so when things came rolling in at the EOY I was not scrambling (it also helped a ton in the MOY when I had conferences and meetings on kids). 

Tip: utilize containers and bins 

Tip: set aside a spot in your room for EOY stuff (things you need to turn in, recycle, etc)

Tip: follow and/or make a checklist

Tip: create folders inside email...ummm also CHECK your email

We know there are a ton of EOY emails, some may seem like fluff, but others are crucial. It is your responsibility as a professional to set aside time to read them and decide your priority on them. Try to remember there are always  people on the other side of those emails and sometimes they have a to-do list a mile long too (that is me speaking from both sides of having been in the classroom and now as an Instructional Coach). Creating folders to be able to sort important emails that may be helpful to refer back to is also handy. 

Enjoy time with the kids:

It makes for good memories for both you AND the kids! 
You don't have to throw all your rules out and lower your expectations just because it is "end of the year/full moon/ready for summer" time. You can keep your structure AND still have fun!! 
Here are some examples I have either used or seen teachers use over the years:
-Autograph party
-STEM activities
-Minute to Win It
-Camp Learned A lot
-Memory Book creating
-Jeopardy Review games
-Different theme days (bubbles, board games, favorite book, dance party, etc)
-Celebrate goals met and success from the year. You can read about that HERE with freebie! 

Be strategic packing up your room:

It totally makes unpacking it all for BOY easier. You can find things SO much faster and my favorite....GET RID OF STUFF as you pack it up! 
I am not sure what every schools expectation is leaving for summer, but every school I have worked in we are asked to take things off the walls, furniture goes in the middle of the room, items into cabinets ,etc to help the custodians clean more effectively over the summer. 
One thing that helped me be able to pack up easier was loading my cabinets by content...all math items together, reading items, etc. This made it a ton easier when I had to unpack and set up the next year. It also forced me to see what I had and if I was hoarding and needed an intervention.

Well there you have it! 5 quick tips for helping your end of year shenanigans run a bit smoother!! 

Have a BLESSED weekend!! 

"Fight the good fight of faith." 
1 Timothy 6:12

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sweet and Simple Mother's Day Craft

If you type in Mother's Day crafts on Pinterest you will be flooded with amazing, cute ideas! Well I guess if you don't like this one you can do just that. Hahaha! This is just my little contribution to the world wide web of a little project that developed last minute one year and turned out, well what I thought, pretty cute! Oh and did I mention it was sweet and simple too? 

Materials needed: 
-chalkboard or white board...depending on which "look" you want to achieve
-scrapbook paper/cardstock
-printer with ink 
-App like Pic Collage (optional)
-these FREE printouts from my TPT store (9 different templates)

I think I will let these cuties speak for themselves....pretty self explanatory! 

We also did this one and I created collages out of them to also take home! 

Of course you can get as creative as you'd like with what and how you draw the word mom. It's also important to keep in mind that maybe some kids don't have a "mom" in the sense of a word, but maybe a grandma, aunt, etc that represents a mom to them. So super easy to differentiate to the needs of your classroom! 

Grab them HERE

Have a BLESSED week! 

"Her children rise up and call her blessed." 
Proverbs 31:28