Back to School Procedures: Potty Procedures!

It's that time again! Time to head BACK to SCHOOL!!! I learned very early on in my teaching career how important it is to go over procedures for EVERYTHING at the beginning of the year! If you explicity go over the procedures and expectations for students to complete simple everyday tasks, you will have a MUCH better year, I promise! Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be sharing some of the procedures that I use in my classroom that have worked well for me!

This one is one of the most important procedues because everyone has to go, especially little kids!

I always, always, always go over the bathroom procedures that I have in my classroom on the very first day of school! We always begin by creating an anchor chart and I list every step so that we can always go back and refer to it, if needed!

To me, the most important step is that students know WHEN they can use the restroom. Unless it's a true emergency, students should not be interrupting me when I'm teaching to ask to use the bathroom. Since I teach using the workshop model, my actual teaching time is not very long so students should be able to wait to ask to go to the bathroom. Whenever I am NOT teaching the entire group, they are free to ask to go to the bathroom. 

My favorite part of these procedures is that my students don't have to actually ask to go to the bathroom. All they do is show me the bathroom pass. I have ONE boys pass and ONE girls pass. So only one boy and one girl can be in the bathroom at a time. 

All they have to do is grab the pass and show it to me. This way even if I am working with a small group, all I have to do is shake my head yes or give a thumbs up! I just love non-verbal communication in a classroom!

This part is a little different in my classroom! After students know that it is okay to go to the bathroom, they put the pass ON their desk. They do not put it around their wrist, or around their neck and take it to the nasty, dirty, gross bathroom to get tons and tons of germs all over it. They simply put it on their desk. That way I know where they are and no other students can get the pass because they know someone is already using the bathroom! 

When they return from the bathroom they simply put the pass back and get back to work! Then, somebody else can get the pass and do the same thing! 

Nothing fancy, but this works really well in my classroom! Any tips for how your handle potty procedures in your classroom!?

Want to grab some passes for yourself? Click on the image below to grab this freebie!

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5 Tips for Busy Teacher Moms

I'm not even going to lie y'all. Teachers are busy. Moms are busy. Being a Teacher Mom can be absolutely CRAZY sometimes. I was crazy busy my first few years of teaching. And then I had two kids, and it was a GAME CHANGER. Both jobs are crazy hard, and trying to juggle them both (and actually do a decent job) makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes. I wanted to share some tips that help keep my sanity, and hopefully they can help YOU!

Yep, it's expensive. But worth Every. Single. Penny. in my book! Literally, every penny I spend on getting my house cleaned each month is completely worth it. I have never been a huge fan of cleaning, but I hate having a messy, dirty house even more. In the past, I would spend my weekends cleaning my house and my husband and I would try our best to keep it tidy during the week. Well, then Camden and Cora came a long and all of that went out the window. Kids are MESSY y'all. And I'm already working full time, so I feel like I barely get to see my kids on the weekends. I DID NOT want to spend my weekends cleaning when I could be spending quality time with my kids. So, we hired a house cleaner. She only comes once a month so we aren't spending a crazy amount of money. But, I can't even begin to describe how I feel when I come home after a long day at work to a perfectly clean house. Toilets. Showers, Dishes. EVERYTHING y'all. Totally worth every penny! Of course I still have to keep things picked up, do dishes, laundry, etc. But, hiring some help has really taken my stress level down a notch! 

I've had an Amazon Prime membership for the last 4 or 5 years. And, it's another thing that costs money, but I believe it is worth the $100 yearly fee. I order everything I can off Amazon. Like down to my kids' underwear. Literally. My husband sent me a text message the other day and asked if Camden had anymore underwear, my immediate response was "I'll Amazon it." Amazon has become a verb in our house, just like Google. 

There are some days that I'm so busy that I can't even squeeze in enough time to stop at Target, so Amazon has been a lifesaver. Back to School. Christmas. I Amazon EVERYTHING! I honestly am planning on using it to buy some of our groceries in the near future! 

My planner has become one of my best friends. It truly is my bestie, especially during the school year. I used to use an Erin Condren Teacher Planner but felt like I wasn't using it enough and I needed more room to keep track of our family life, so I switched to the Life Planner. You can read all about my decision here. I use the Life Planner to keep track of school, home, and my business lives. I'm even using it to keep track of our meals each week, and how much water I drink throughout the day. I'm definitely old school, and can't use a digital planner. I've got to write things down and this has really helped me keep track of everything we have planned. No more freaking out about a babysitter because my husband and I both have meetings on Tuesday night. I've got each of our family members color coded. It just makes life MUCH easier! 

If you are interested in the Erin Condren Life Planner (or any other Erin Condren item) click here to save $10 off your first order! 

Oh my goodness, I absolutely LOVE clothes! I love picking out my outfits and jewelly for school, but I definitely CAN NOT do it during the morning. It takes WAY too long. I've learned that I have a lot more time in the mornings if I am prepared the night before, or even the week before. I plan most of my outfits out on Sunday night. I have even began preparing my kids' outfits out for the week. My husband gets my son ready in the morning, but having this shoe organizer hanging in his closet saves so much time in the mornings! I simply just stuff in his clothes for each day and all they have to do is grab and go! 

I also make sure to pack our lunches the night before! That has helped save SO much time. I've made mason jar salads for the week, and LOVED that, too! No matter what, being prepared will really help save you time and energy! And help your stress level! 

And last, but certainly not least, take time for YOU! You are constantly running around crazy for other people, whether it's your kids at school, your spouse or your own children. It's important to spend time, even if it is only an hour on Saturday morning just for YOU! Go get a pedicure, read a book, take a bubble bath, walk around TJMaxx or Target. I love going to Starbucks to catch up on work. It's quiet and I can get so much done! Just relax. Do something that you love to do.  Life gets so busy, and you deserve to relax a little!

I hope these tips help YOU and relieve a little stress in your life. As busy Teacher Moms, we are always going to busy and there really is no cure to that! Just remember everything you are doing is totally worth it!! 

Want to save these tips for later? Just PIN the image below! 

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Easy Back to School Gifts!

It's that time of year again! Back to School! Need an easy gift for a teammate or a teacher? I've got you covered with help from the Target Dollar Spot and some stickers or a sharpie!

I always like starting the year off by giving my team a little gift! It's a positive way to start the year, doesn't cost a lot of money, and makes people happy! This year I grabbed these pencil banners from the Target Dollar Spot and used my Silhouette Cameo to personalize them! Don't have a Silhouette? Dont' worry! Just use a sharpie and write on them OR grab some cute scrapbook stickers to personalize them! I'm also going to make one of these cute little pencil's for son's Kindergarten teacher for a first day of school gift!

Even if you can't find these exact pencils, grab some Ticonderoga's and help start a friend's year off WRITE!  Click on the image  (or here) to download these tags for FREE!

Want to save these cute gift tags for later? Just pin this image! 

Happy Teaching!

The Great Debate: Teacher Planner vs. Life Planner

For the last few years, I've used the Erin Condren Teacher Planner and really really loved it! It's FULL of amazing colors, perfect teacher quotes, and truly everything a teacher needs. So why would I think about ever buying a different planner?

Every single summer, I get crazy excited when my new Teacher Planner arrives and I just know that THIS is going to be the year that I use the whole entire planner like it's meant to be used, but I don't. At the very beginning of the year, I always start out using the amazing lesson planning pages and the perfect checklists, but as the year goes on there are more and more blank pages. It makes me so sad to see all these unused pages in such a pretty planner!

This year I decided to try out the Life Planner instead of the Teacher Planner to see if I liked this version better for MY life. As a wife, mom of two, first grade teacher, teacherprenuer, Stella & Dot stylist, etc. my life is BUSY with a capital B. It never really ends and it's getting harder and harder to keep track of everything going on in our crazy beautiful lives. So I decided that what I really needed is a fancy calendar for LIFE , not a TEACHER planner. I will say that I do have an Organized Teacher Binder that I keep my teacher life in, and I felt like that would truly be enough for my teacher needs!

The Teacher Planner is truly amazing, and I've seen co-workers use it like it should be used and it makes my teacher heart so happy! The pages inside the Teacher Planner are just beautiful! However, these pictures were taken at the END of the school year and most of them are completely blank!

I really loved the monthly calendars and the tabs for each month! I wasn't a HUGE fan of the date dots, though. In previous years you had to write in each number, so having the date dots is a big plus! However, when you mess up on ONE little dot and have to remove them and then fix them, it's not very fun! My monthly calendars definitely got a lot of use each month! These pages got the most action in my planner for sure!

The lesson plan pages really are perfect and everything I would need to plan out my week. However, I have to submit my lesson plans online and although these plans were just a quick sketch of my week, I felt like I was wasting time doing double plans each week. So, you can see all the blank pages  that were never touched! 

So, it just made sense for me to try the Life Planner this year! Of course, I still plan on using my Life Planner to keep track of school events. The great thing about the Life Planner is that I can pack MORE into the weekly calendars. My plan is to have a section dedicated to home, school, and my little side businesses! Now I have to figure out what I want to call each section and order some fun stickers! When my planner arrived, I was happy to see that it had many of the same great features that I LOVED about my Teacher Planner!

I absolutely LOVE the dry erase pages on the front and back covers. Those are PERFECT for to-do lists! The spread at the very front can easily be used as a Year at a Glance, it looks very similar to the Teacher Planner pages! I also love that there are still notes pages. It also has graph paper and plain pages!

With the Life Planner, you are able to choose the layout that you would like throughout your planner- horizontal, vertical, or hourly. I chose vertical so that I could separate the different aspects of my life- home, school, and business! And, do you see the dates are already included! That makes me SO happy!!!

It also includes a monthly calendar view. This was really important to me since I used this so much in my Teacher Planner. I like to see what my month looks like overall. I actually color coded my calendar in my Teacher Planner and plan to continue doing that in my Life Planner!

Whether you choose a Teacher Planner or a Life Planner, both options are fabulous! You can use this link if you want $10 off your first order at Erin Condren! These are pretty pricy planners, so any discount is a good one!  I promise they are worth the money!

Kids Choice Awards

Happy End of the Year!! I shared about my most favorite event of the entire school year over at The Primary Peach! The Kids Choice Awards is so much fun and a great way to celebrate all of the fun things that went on throughout the year! And, the best part the kids completely run the show!

You can read all about how I use this fun event in my classroom at The Primary Peach!

Smiles and Shapes! Hands-On Shape FUN!

One of my goals at the beginning of this year was to make my lessons much more engaging. I really want my kids to love being at school, love being in my class, and have a true love of learning. Even as an adult, learning is so much better when I'm really engaged!

For the last couple of weeks my firsties have been learning about shapes, and to be completely honest, even I was a little bored. The activities that I had planned were good, but it was too many worksheets and not enough FUN! I knew we needed something more engaging and wanted to see those precious smiles!!

We started by going on a Shape Safari to search for shapes! We made super easy binoculars out of construction paper and yarn. I literally just rolled the paper and taped the two pieces together to form binoculars! If I had thought of this early enough, I probably would have had parents send it toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls but there's always next year, right!?This was SO much more fun than just going on a shape hunt around our classroom!

I LOVED having my firsties become builders and build Shape Structures! I ordered the cutest little construction hats from Amazon to really set the mood! They were given marshmallows and toothpicks and I just let them explore. We discussed what exactly the toothpicks and marshmallows represented in regards to 2-D and 3-D shapes, but I wanted them to really investigate and explore building shapes on their own. I loved watching their little smiles light up while they were building!

The next activity was SUPER Shapes Snacks! I mean anything with food involved has to be amazing, right!? I had my parents donate different 3-D snacks- bugles, cereal, nutty bars, Hershey kisses, marshmallows, cheese cubes, cheese balls, and pretzel sticks!

My students were given a plate full of random snacks and had to sort them by their shape. Then, after they were finished sorting they had to graph their snacks. So fun!

Another favorite is {Shape Suspects}!!!! Students can become police officers- badge and all! This activity can be completed whole group OR as an Around the Room activity! 

Meet Shape Smiley! How cute is this adorable little shape with a big smile on his face!? I LOVE giving my students an opportunity to be creative and these little craft-tivities are the perfect way!
I copied each shape on different colored paper, but you could easily copy it all on white paper and have them color and decorate their Shape Smiley!!

You can find all of these fun activities in my Smiles and Shapes Unit!

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