I know I'm not the only one....between being a mommy, wife, teacher, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera... keeping all of the different roles straight is overwhelming and can seem impossible at times. I try my best to keep it together with list after list, sticky note after sticky note and needless to say.... lists get lost and sticky notes lose their "sticky". If you're anything like me, you need to keep track of E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G just to make sure you get it all finished and stay on task. I often make "To Do" lists but keeping up with them is a huge hassle. They get halfway done and then get forgotten, tossed, or used as a coloring sheet by my little one and "the list goes on"...literally! I have also tried store bought planners. You know the kind, with the usual calendars and blank space but I have never found one to suit my specific needs...
There has got to be a better way to keep it all together and I'm determined to make organization and time management work for me in 2021! So what am I going to do about it? Well, I've designed a LIFESTYLE PLANNER that I am using in 2021 to level up my life.
This set of printables was inspired by my own day to day chaos.
This is the first Lifestyle Planner in my new line of printable planners to help you stay organized. And it's FREE! Okay, so maybe that's the best part. LOL
Let's level up and get organized together in 2021!
Click below and enjoy!
Follow BINDERZBYDESIGN on Instagram for New Lifestyle Planner releases!
Games! Games! Games!
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Studies have shown that students who played games as part of their regular curriculum were significantly more engaged, and outperformed their peers on both factual knowledge and depth of knowledge. Learning games happen often in the classroom but let's bring the learning games home. Children learn best when they're having fun. Here are eight fun ideas to keep your kiddos engaged during distance learning or anytime you want to bring learning fun to the house. Put away that paper/pencil activity and let's get engaged!
The "Four Corners" activity is a fun activity that takes very little preparation. Before doing the activity, you will want to create four signs, each with a different response on it, depending on what you want to practice with your child. Post each response sign in one of the four corners in a room of your home. Then pose a question to your child.
For example, let's say you want your child to practice identifying short vowel sounds. I would create 4 signs, each with a different vowel and hang them around the living room. Then I would say a word for them to identify the vowel sound, like "bat". Instead of them just telling me it's a short a word, they would go to the corner that has the sign with "Short A" on it.
Children will love the challenge of seeing how many they can get right and you can use this activity for any subject matter and to practice with any age. Below are some Four Corner ideas I have used with my own children.
short vowels multiplication sight words geography
long vowels division parts of speech historical figures
number recognition subtraction text features historical events
letter recognition addition fractions definitions
All you need is a fly swatter and some flashcards. This is especially fun to practice sight words with younger kids. Tape the words to a wall or lay the words around the floor (if you don't want to put tape on the walls). Call out a sight word and your child has to smack the card with the swatter. Thwack!
real world Monopoly
This idea came from one of my parent colleagues after we all had to transition to distance learning. She used the monopoly money from the game and applied the Monopoly game idea to real life. She gave her children "jobs" (household chores) and they got paid in Monopoly money. They have to deposit their "money" into the pretend Bank of Parents and keep track of their "accounts". Their children can use their "money" to pay for snack items and entertainment (tv time, tablet time, etc). The kids love it and are preparing for real world skills that they will use when they get older.
I hope some of these ideas help amp up the learning energy while at home. Add a timer or keep score during the learning games to keep them motivated. Anything can be turned into a game, so let the games begin!
Guest Blog By: ChildrenLearningReading.com
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Before a child learns to read, he or she must first learn the spoken language, and this is one of the first instances where family members such as dad, mom, older siblings, and grandparents play an important role in "teaching" the child the spoken English language. Whether young children realize it or not, they gain very early exposure to the alphabet when parents sing the alphabet song to them. They begin to develop language skills by being read to and spoken to. One of the keys to teaching children reading early on is by exposing them to alphabet letters, books, and reading to them often.
Reading nursery rhymes and children's books are an important part of getting children to understand printed text. Talk to your children, and talk to them often, whether they understand or not is not important when they're just babies. The more you talk and interact with your little ones, the better they will develop. The key is exposure, and repeated exposure. Once your child learns to speak, you can begin teaching them reading at home.
I often hear parents say that they don't want to "push" their child too hard. How can teaching your child to read at a young age be considered "pushing" them too hard? If you as a parent already have the mentality that reading is a chore, and teaching them to read is pushing "too hard", you certainly can't expect your children to be excited about learning reading. On the contrary, learning to read offers a young child an opportunity for a lifetime to learn, discover, and enjoy the wonders of reading. Parents (including myself) will often underestimate the abilities and learning capabilities of young children. When we first began our teaching reading program with our first child when she was 2 years and 8 months, little did we expect that in just a few short weeks, she would be reading not just words, but sentences and story books. After about 3 months, by the time she was 2 years 11 months old, our daughter could read "Step in to Reading - Step 2 (pre-school-grade 1 level)" books with some guidance. The benefits of learning to read were apparent - improved speech clarity, and better reading ability and reading comprehension.
There are no shortage of studies which find many benefits in teaching children reading at an early age. For example, one study administered a Stanford achievement test at the start of kindergarten and then again at the end of grade one found that early language based skills were highly associated with later academic performance in school aged children. Similar studies also found that a high level of letter knowledge in kindergarten can reliably predict better later literacy skills. Having a home environment that's conducive to literacy growth is critical in a child's development, and directly affects a child's language and literacy development. Studies have found that responsiveness and support of the home environment is the strongest predictor of children's language and early literacy skills. My point here is to help make parents aware that children who enter kindergarten with highly developed early reading skills will achieve greater success with systematic reading education.
It's never too late to start home lessons and programs to teach your children to read. Regardless how old your child is, starting a reading program at a young age will have ample benefits. Start with lots of talking, singing, and reading to your child right from birth, and once your child is able to speak, you can start a simple reading program.
Begin with teaching your child some basic letters and their sounds, and even as soon your child learn just a few letters and their sounds, you can begin teaching them simple blends using the letter knowledge that they have acquired. Work on ear training with your child on oral blending and word segmentation. One of the keys to teaching children read is developing phonemic awareness. Studies have shown that phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of reading success in children.
>> Click here to learn about a simple, yet effective step-by-step teaching Children reading program.
Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication while teaching your students remotely. Most likely you have had to learn to use some type of new communication platform to stay connected with your students. If you're like me, maybe you have become a ZOOMER! Here are some FUN, FREE, VIRTUAL Games to keep students engaged while honing your ZOOMING skills!
Charades is a games that translates easily to Zoom. You can play as a whole class activity or split the class into teams. The student, or teacher, who's acting out the charade can use the Zoom "spotlight" feature. The class/team has one minute (or whatever time limit you want to use) to figure out the charade.
You can use this free Charades Idea Generator to choose your words and phrases or come up with them on your own.
2. Name, Place, Animal, Thing
This is one of my Zoom favorites and great fun for older kiddos. To play, pick a letter. Each student has to list a famous person's name, a place, an animal, and a thing that begins with that letter. The first person to type them into the Zoom Chat wins!
4. Taboo (Fantabulous)
Scattergories is a fun game to play while Zooming with your students. To play, use this Free Game Generator and send each person a link to the game. The rules are simple: there is one letter and five categories (things like "school supplies," "book title," and "boy's name"). You have one minute to come up with a word that fits in each category and starts with the chosen letter.
Happy ZOOMING Teachers!
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DISTANCE LEARNING IS NOT GOING AWAY ANYTIME SOON - HERE ARE SIX TIPS TO HELP YOU CREATE A "NEW NORMAL" FOR YOUR FAMILY:
#1 - Communication
Staying connected with your child's teacher is necessary to keep your child's learning on track. Use the phone, email, text, Zoom and any other communication tools the teacher provided. Be sure to keep Live Chat appointments and be on time for them. Be considerate of the teacher's time and remember he/she is also juggling their family and trying to find their own "new normal".
#2 - Get Organized
You are going to wade through a lot of unknowns during this time and that is to be expected, so be flexible and patient as new routines take shape. Checklists are your friend. Writing down what need to be done each day will help you figure out how best to manage your time as you begin to prioritize your daily activities. Using Chore Charts and creating schedules will also help manage day to day operations for your "new normal".
#3 - gO Outside
#4 - get to know your child
Our days are often filled with work, school, activities, devices, etc, etc, etc. - leaving little time for family quality time. Use this time to talk and play. Before you know it, they'll be all grown up. Now is the perfect time to make lasting memories and build bonds with your family.
#5 - Goals
Sit down with your family and create some goals to accomplish when this crazy situation subsides. Maybe its to be more intentional about spending quality time together... Listen to the input from each family member and put a plan in place to meet these goals. Children appreciate being heard and will know that you value their input. Be sure to follow through.
#6 - SElf Care
Self Care is different for everyone. Do what self care means for you - whatever that may be. We all need to "take a moment". You deserve it. You are persevering through this unpredictable life which is not easy. You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. I know it's easier said than done but intentional about it. We often get lost in all of the things we try to fit in during the day. Sometime enough, just needs to be enough.
Check out this Self Care Mini Bundle.
You will get through this season of uncertainty. And while it is difficult, there are silver linings if you choose to look for them.
Many of us recently moved to virtual teaching for the first time. Teaching in a classroom is very different from teaching online. We are used to engaging students in person, but can we still be engaging through a laptop screen? Some of the ideas I will share to accomplish this come from my 15 years teaching experience in the classroom and the online platform, VipKid.
(Click here for more information about VipKid- a web based platform for teaching English to Chinese children)
Here are 2 things you must do to be a successful online teacher.
#1: BE PROFESSIONAL
#2: BE ENGAGING
Let's dissect those two tips to understand what I'm talking about...
#1 - Professionalism
#2 - Engagement
I hope these tips help make your transition into the virtual teaching world a little easier. To my fellow Educators, thank you for continuing to empower our children. Your dedication is MAGNIFICENT. Happy Teaching!
(even during a pandemic...)
Clearly the world is changing and recent events have many of us looking for work. I pray everyone is staying hopeful and safe as many of us are practicing social distancing. Maybe you were fortunate and didn’t have to leave work due to the number of employees, maybe you were forced to stay home, maybe you were laid off, or maybe you’ve become a home schooling family overnight. Whatever the case, below you’ll find six ways to help relieve cash flow woes during these times of uncertainty.
Now Let's get some money back in your wallet!
With Inbox Dollars there are a variety of ways to earn money without getting bored. This survey panel pays you money to complete surveys, offers, search the web, play games, watch videos and even clipping free coupons. It’s very easy and adds up fast. In fact, you’ll get $5 just for signing up!
Does earning discounts and cash back just for doing some online shopping sound too good to be true? Well cash back websites such as Rakuten can actually work! Use Rakuten for purchases you need to make anyway and it can be more lucrative than shopping with a rewards credit card.
ReceiptPal you earn gift cards and cash prizes, for simply submitting receipts. Snap pictures of your paper receipts, or connect your email or Amazon account, and you’ll earn points for every receipt. Redeem points for gift cards from awesome retailers. Plus, you’ll automatically be entered into weekly sweepstakes for cash prizes!
Cash App is one of the most popular apps used in the marketplace today. It offers a quick, easy way to send, spend, and save money, and also buy cryptocurrency using your mobile device. Did you know you can earn money when you invite other friends to use it? Invite your friends to join and earn $5 every time you do!
Fiverr is an online, freelance marketplace that started in 2010 with many diverse jobs and services. Simply create a gig and share your services. It’s not just a $5 website; you can earn a lot depending on your skill level. And who doesn’t love being your own boss?!
VIPKid is an online teaching company. The VIPKid platform connects paying students with teachers in the United States and Canada. I love the freedom that comes with working for this online company! You can make your own hours and many people have actually turned this side hustle into a full time job. $22hr is a sweet deal too!
And there you have it… Six, simple, money-making ways to stay afloat during good, bad, and odd times. I hope these are a benefit to you and your pocket!
How are you making extra cash? Share in the comments.
Need more money making ideas? Check out the Pin Board below!
There is one phrase you should never use when speaking to a child and “I said NO.” is not one of them...
Why does what we say even matter? Well, once you’ve said something, there is no turning back. You can try to justify and apologize as much as you want but words cannot be un-said. Before you say something that will stifle a child’s dreams, ideas and aspirations, take your time and say what you mean and how you mean to say it because whatever comes out of your mouth can have lasting effects.
Too often our children’s imagination for their lives are being snuffed out before they even have a chance to take steps to fulfilling their life’s adventure. When a child tells you they want to be an NBA player or an astronaut or the President of the United States…encourage them to do what they need to in order to make those dreams happen.
The two words… YOU CAN'T.
You can squash a child’s dream with those two words in an instant. Their dream becomes a tougher uphill battle from this point because not only are odds against them, but they may feel that their parents are too. Of course we want the best for our children but sometimes our two cents and opinions can do more damage than good. It may not be easy or immediate but your support alone will mean the world to your child growing up in 2019 and beyond where there are endless possibilities for them to have the adventure of their lives.
Inside and outside of the classroom children are always watching and listening. Pay attention, be thoughtful and choose your words carefully. What you say and how you say it matter. Make a positive difference with your words.
They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel. ~Maya Angelou
"Can't Stop! Won't Stop! Don't Stop!" Those were the words my sister used while fussing at me about not taking care of myself. Yeah, I know… I know. The last time I had been to a Doctor of any kind was when I was pregnant....... five years ago. I know I'm not the only one guilty of not taking care of myself. Teachers, while we are superheroes, we are NOT invincible. When you are dedicated, motivated and determined to make a difference as a teacher, you pour all of your time, energy, resources and HEART into what you do.
Last April my husband reminded me of an anecdote I had heard years ago which was, unfortunately, making an unpleasant appearance in my current life. Balls were falling all around me. You may have heard this anecdote before... We are living our lives juggling rubber and glass balls. As jugglers we try to keep all the balls in the air, but there are times when we "drop the ball". The concern comes when we think about the type of ball that falls…is it a rubber one or a glass one? It’s okay to let rubber balls fall because they can bounce back, for example if all the papers don’t get graded it’s not the end of the world. (think…File 13) The glass balls on the other hand are the ones you really want to take care of and pay attention to. Glass balls represent our friends, family, relationships, and you and your health. If a glass ball drops, it doesn’t bounce back. It breaks.
Understandably, our priorities shift during the ebb and flow of our lives but placing too much neglect or giving too much attention in certain aspects of our lives can be detrimental to other balls we’re trying to balance. It’s okay to put the grade book down now and then. Although it’s a pain, make those sub plans so you can "take a day". Make that appointment you’ve been putting off. Take that well deserved and much needed mental break. Attend that get together with friends you haven't had a chance to spend time with. Some days, leave work at work!
I know you’re trying to do it all, but realize if you don’t take care of yourself first you won’t be juggling anything. Make time to rest, refresh, reflect, reignite…and in some cases reconsider.
BALANCING ACTION STEPS...
Prioritize Career & Personal “Non-Negotiables”- Separate your non-negotiables from other tasks that are not as important.
Schedule time for personal “To-Do List”- Schedule 20 minutes per day to knock out small personal tasks. (This includes scheduling personal appointments you keep putting off.)
Set Boundaries- Be intentional about your time. Work productively and don’t over do it. In other words, do fewer things, better. Make time to do things that bring you joy.
Need help conquering your to-do list and reaching your goals? Check out the Ultimate Productivity Bundle and free up more time for yourself!
Before I began teaching 14 years ago I imagined sweet little boys and girls who would hang onto my every word and do everything I asked…was I ever wrong! Student behavior challenges are happening in classrooms across the country. Learning what I like to call the “Three Rs” changed me, my students and the classroom atmosphere.
Number One - Routine
Classroom management begins with routines and procedures. You must have a routine in place from the moment your students walk through the door. But it only works with consistency, consistency, consistency. Just as GPS helps navigate us to our destination, routines help you maintain order and help students navigate through their day. Disruptions are minimized when there is an activity in place for every part of the day. Down-time is wasted learning time and an opportunity for kids to “be kids”.
Number Two - Relationship
Get to know your students. Ask them questions and show interest. Knowing what they care about, what their hobbies are, etc will reveal valuable information that you can use to inspire their learning. It lets your students know that they matter to you. I remember having 60-second conferences with each student, every day. It usually took no more than 20minutes and I allowed the student to share whatever they liked with me. We made a rule that no one could interrupt a conference. The students loved it and will love having you all to themselves. That little bit of undivided attention made all the difference. Students work hard for teachers they love and building a positive teacher-student relationship will make classroom management that much easier.
Number Three - Reward
Recognize and acknowledge good behavior. Praise and rewards keep students alert and looking for your “shout out”. Give it to them and acknowledge positive behavior when it happens. High fives, class chants, and SMILING… yes smiling, make all the difference. I frequently keep a bag of mini marshmallows with me in the classroom. You’d be amazed at how hard a student will work for a marshmallow, seriously. Whenever I pulled the bag out and set it on the front table, chairs pulled up to the desks and backs became a little straighter, and their eyes followed me like a hawk. The delivery of the lesson flowed because I had their undivided attention. The power of a marshmallow, who knew?
The goal is to instill positive behavior and so the reward should not always be tangible. We want students to behave because they are supposed to and not just because they may receive a material (or edible) reward. There are plenty of Non-Tangible rewards to provide students to inspire their best self… extra tablet time for example, eating lunch with the teacher, a homework pass, and more. You'll find twenty-five of my favorite non-tangible rewards to pull from that you can Download Now for your reference. Need a personal behavior chart to help your student set goals and track their progress? Check out these Individual Behavior Charts.
Please comment below to share what has worked for you! I’m always looking for new and fresh ideas to put in my bag of classroom management tricks.