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Sunday, September 29

Teacher Self Care

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Self-care is so important! You can’t help anyone else if you cannot first help yourself. We all know that, why else do they tell you to put the mask on yourself first on airplanes? So, my question is, if we know self-care is so critical, why do we push it off? I don’t have time. I don’t need to. The excuses go on and on. This is the first year I am truly adopting a self-care is alright mindset.

Value Yourself

First things first, I needed to realize it was OK to take care of myself. I feel like as teachers we are so programmed to take care of everyone else before ourselves. Why else do we hold our bladders to the point of bursting instead of just quickly asking another teacher to watch our rooms? Before I could start practicing self-care, I needed to let myself know that it is ok to do. I realized that I cannot burn myself out the way I did at the end of the last school year. Self-care is the change that I needed.

You Don’t Have To Do All the Things

The first thing I needed to do is stop putting so much extra pressure on myself. I always try and do my best especially in my professional life. We have a million and one things we are required to do as teachers. Why add extra stress of getting papers graded like lightning, or having lessons planned a month in advance? I started removing unnecessary stress and allowing myself to breathe. I started saying things like, “it’s ok, I have time, I will do it, just not right now.” It’s crazy how different you feel when you learn that the world will not stop turning if you don’t do everything all the time.

Find a Stress Reliever Every day At Work

What makes you smile at work when you get overwhelmed or have a bad day? Your secret candy stash? You colleagues? A hot cup of tea? Turning the lights off and sitting in silence for five minutes while the kids are at lunch? For me it’s all of the above, plus getting some fresh air. Take your brief lunch break and stop eating in the photocopy while you prep! I was always that teacher, once the day started I did not stop, or sit for that matter. I started leaving school a few days a week at lunch to pick up food at the store around the corner from my school. I can’t even tell you how amazing I felt walking off of campus for a brief moment. Each day I am able to get fresh air and walk outside during the day feels amazing! I now make a point of getting lunch off school ground once a week. I suggest you find your little happy things, do them as much as possible.

Take Back Your Weekends

In previous years, I had a schedule. Friday night was rest and recoup night. Saturday was clean the house from the chaos of the week and try and do something enjoyable. Finally, Sunday was groceries, meal prep, and all things school. Then, bam, back to Monday. Does that sound like a recipe for success? Nope! This year, I made a change. My weekend focus is now on rest, family, friends, and whatever makes me happy. I think as teachers we often forget to have a personal life after the year starts. In all honesty, it is very difficult to have a personal life with how much we have to do all the time. However, this year I rest my priorities. Now, I am recharged mentally and emotionally when Monday comes. This is because I allowed myself time to rest and step out of my teacher shoes.

This year, I challenge you to take time and care for yourself. Care for your soul and well-being. Take time for self-care and have a happy school year!

Sunday, September 22

Classroom Construction Day

“Hard hats on means we are ready to do hard work!” This is what I told my students Friday morning as they walked into our “under construction” themed classroom. I had decorated the room using construction symbols and typical construction themed colors. In addition, each student had a hard hat sitting at their spot. As soon as my students walked in, the excitement was high. This heightened excitement was a key factor I was counting on for the hard work ahead today.
Toy Construction Hard Hats | 20 Pcs. Soft Plastic Yellow Kids Party Hat | Children's Engineer, Building Dress Up Hats | Theme Favor Caps | By Anapoliz
Hats Linked in Picture

The day began with morning meeting. Here I laid out the blue print plan for the day including expectations for how to use their hats and new supplies correctly. I explained that there would be a series of challenges today and our “houses” could earn a “nailed it” point for each challenge. What is a nailed it point? What is that for? Well, because we had a construction theme I thought I would be punny and continue our theme on to the challenge points they could earn by completing each task to the best of their abilities and displaying great teamwork. The kids REALLY wanted to work hard for these points because each nail earned represented an extra topping choice for our sundae party at the end of the day!

Building Better Stories Challenge

Our students switch teachers for reading this year, so our day as a construction crew began when they all returned to me for writing. I told my crew that I was expecting a lot of detailed writing today (our target for the day was writing detailed drafts). In order to do this, I taught students how to use a writing partner to flush out their ideas, as well as add details they had forgotten to include in their brainstorming paper.

Students spent the first fifteen minutes of work time, using their writing partners and filling their draft/ note page with ideas they wanted to include when they do their first draft. After fifteen minutes of collaborative work, I gathered the students together and instructed them to write their first draft, writing as much as they could (using their new note sheet) in twenty minutes. Ready. Set. Go! Guys, you would not believe the increased effort I saw in my writers! Pencils were nonstop for about 17 minutes. In the last three minutes I had two students say they were done. I instructed them to return to their seats, reread, and add more details (our focus point for the day was writing a draft with details). When twenty minutes was up, I had 90% of my students hand in work that was an impressive amount longer than anything they had passed in before! SCORE! After reading the prompts this weekend, I am happy to say not only their writing length increased, but their quality for writing detailed narratives did as well! Insert happy teacher dance here. All teams earned their “nailed it point” for that challenge.

Looking for this Narrative Writing Graphic Organizer Pack? Click the Picture below!

Addition Tower Challenge

After lunch and recess, we had a series of two math challenges. The first math challenge was for each student to solve 16 multi-digit addition with regrouping problems. For each problem answered correctly, they would earn a unifix cube.
Edx Education Math Cubes - Set of 100 - Linking Cubes For Early Math - Connecting Manipulative For Preschoolers Aged 3+ and Elementary Aged Kids
Click the Picture to be taken to

The team with the tallest tower would win! Ready. Set. Go! I had students work independently for the first 8 minutes of our tower race. Then, to make sure all learners felt successful, I had them work as a “house” to help any teammate who needed assistance. Students were NOT allowed to just give answers (if that happened I took a cube away). Instead, this presented them an opportunity to coach and teach the skills they knew to others. When I called time, I had five tall towers, 288 correctly answered math problems and 18(one student was at band lessons) smiling kiddos. We had so much fun drilling our math skills and collaborating together! Every house earned their nailed it point again!

Multi-Digit Addition with Regrouping PowerPoint Bundle 
Grab the Addition Task Cards we used HERE for FREE!

Perimeter Challenge

For our final challenge of the day, students needed to work together to measure the perimeter of the shapes I taped to their desks. I assigned roles of 2 measurers, 1 writes, and 1 adder. The students rotated through their “jobs” at each new station. This challenge focused on practicing perimeter skills and using collaborative efforts to get the job done. My kiddos had so much fun with this challenge I think they actually forgot they were doing math work! No surprise, every house earned their final point.


Wrap Up

At the end of the day, we celebrated with our ice cream party! When we reflected on the day, both the students and myself decided  we cannot wait to have another day like our “under construction” day.

Want to have a construction themed day in your classroom? Yes? Awesome! To help you get started planning, I’m sharing the posters I created for our day with you for FREE! All you need to do to access this awesome resource is subscribe to my email list using the side bar. What are you waiting for! Join and snag your free posters as well as another great freebie every single week!

Sunday, September 15

21 Fantastic Fall Read Alouds

21 Fantastic Fall Read Alouds


Fall is finally here! Hello cozy sweaters and apple cider! Speaking of all the great things that Autumn brings, I have complied a list of my favorite fall read alouds to share with you! Below you can explore 21 fantastic fall read alouds! 

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

The illustrations in this story are simply wonderful! I love reading this story and leading a discussing about the changing of the seasons with my students. I think it helps me come to grips that yes, Summer is really over hahaha.

Johnny Appleseed

I love reading Johnny Appleseed in the fall! Of course it fits in because it is a story about apples. However, I enjoy reading the story to teach citizenship at the start of the new school year. 

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? By Wendell Minor

This is such a fun story for fall! This picture book lists many imaginative things you could do with a ginormous pumpkin. I also love that it references national landmarks that I can point out to my students as we read.

Fall Mixed Up. By Bob Raczka

This is a fun read aloud that is sure to keep your students attention! Each page says or shows something out of place. Kids love sharing what it is when they see it!

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?

This one is one of my absolute favorites! This book is about a little boy named Charlie who feels self-conscious about his size. One day his teacher brings in three different sized pumpkins and asks the class to guess the seeds inside. This is a wonderful story about not judging things by the way they look. It also has some great math extension possibilities! YAY!

Fall Walk

This is a wonderful little story about a small girl exploring nature with her grandmother. I love that it highlights the different types of leaves and what they really look like.

The Leaf Man

This is good one for younger readers. The illustrations are simply wonderful! This story shares the different places leaves blow in the fall.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

All the feels for this one guys. This is a sweet story about a tiny fox named Fletcher who tries to save his favorite tree from the changing of the seasons.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

This story is always a hit with my kids! They love how silly this story is and can’t wait to predict what she will eats next!

Scarecrow By Cynthia Rylant

This is a nice fall read aloud that offers the interesting perspective of seeing the world through a scarecrows eyes.  

The Bad Apple

This is a sweet story about unusual friendships and peer pressure. Mac was always a good apple, doing exactly as he was supposed to. Until, one day he met Will the worm and learned that you can form unexpected but wonderful friendships with anyone!

Apples to Oregon

This is a tale about a little girl and her family who travel to Oregon to plant fruit trees. This is a great fall tale to use if you’re teaching westward expansion.

How to Make Apple Pie and See the World

This is a delightful story about a young girl and the adventure she embarks on collecting ingredients for an apple pie. This book takes readers all over the world as the girl gathers ingredients for her dessert.

Apple Cider Making Days

This is such a neat read aloud! This story takes readers through the steps of making apple cider. Be prepared that your students may want some after reading this story.

Apple Picking Time

This story tells of a young girl and her family during the apple harvest season. This is a great read aloud and will help to bring some cultural diversity to your fall read aloud selections.

The Apple Doll

I really like this fall read aloud for so many reasons. This story is about a girl who is nervous to go to school, so she creates a doll out of an apple to keep her company. This story is wonderful for back to school as well as discussing feelings such as nervousness and worrying.

Apples By Gail Gibbons

This is a great apple unit overview or introduction book. This story offers many interesting tid bits and facts all about apples.

The Apple Orchard Riddle

I love this fall read aloud! This is a story about a shy girl who goes on a field trip with her class to the apple orchard. While there, the teacher gives the class a riddle to solve. I wonder if your students can figure it out before it is revealed.

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie

This is the story of Edna Lewis as a child. I love that this story highlights this amazing woman who went on to become a great chef in a time where the feat this was seldom heard of for women, yet alone an African American woman. I love a good girl power book!

Hibernation Station

This is a good read aloud for younger readers. It reminds me of the Polar Express with the animals climbing aboard the, “train” made of logs in their pajamas. The illustrations in this book are wonderful as well!

The Apple Pie That Papa Baked

This is a classic fall story with wonderful illustrations! Each page adds on to the previous with increased repetition and phrases. By the end your readers will be reciting the story along with you.

I hope you enjoy these fall themed read alouds with your students! 
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