Saturday, October 29, 2022

Products I've Tried

Hey everyone!  It's been a while since I've blogged.  The start of the school year consumes all of my energy.  Heading into conference weeks, and hopefully things will settle down after that.  I wanted to share a few favorite products that I've recently tried.

First up: shoes!  I got a chance to try the KURU "Glide" sandals and I am LOVING them for work and weekends.  They are so comfy and provide good support.  They have pigskin lining which helps reduce air and moisture, thus reducing irritation and rubbing.  I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Plantar Fasciitis and am very particular about my footwear.  The "Glide" are a great transition shoe for summer into fall.  I don't know about you, but I wear sandals until it snows here in Ohio!  I chose the walnut brown/blood orange combo.

Kuru comes in whole sizes.  They recommend sizing up if you are in between sizes. Bonus: Kuru provides free shipping and free returns!  Click here to shop!

Next up: a new lady product!  Over the last six months or so, I've been transitioning to all natural, non-toxic products.  This has included household products and personal products.  Being someone who suffers from severe menstrual cramps, I'm always on the hunt for a solution.  For most of my life, I've used 800 mg Ibuprofen to help manage the pain.  Without it, I would be unable to work and complete daily tasks.  In my quest for a non-toxic lifestyle, I discovered Jovi, a drug-free patch to help with cramps and back pain. Jovi helps intercept the initial message of discomfort before it reaches your brain.

I had the opportunity to try Jovi recently.  The setup was super easy.  Just peel the clear adhesive patch and place onto the Jovi patch.  Then peel the remaining half of the adhesive patch and stick.  I chose to place my patch below my belly button.  I wore the patch to work for two days and was able to go my entire cycle with NO MEDICINE!!  Unbelievable.  I will absolutely continue to use this product as a natural way to combat cramps and low back pain associated with my cycle.  If you'd like to check out Jovi for yourself and read more about how the science behind it works, click here.  Now through Halloween, they are offering $20 off Jovi patch purchases.  



*I was sent these products in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions in this post are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Adopt a Cow 2022-2023

Hey everyone!  I hope your year is off to a great start!  If you haven't started, enjoy your remaining days of summer.  As you begin to transition back, here's an exciting opportunity to keep in mind!

You may remember that last year, about this same time, I shared about a great program called "Adopt a Cow."  This program by Discovery Dairy is a super fun and highly engaging year-long program that gives students a peek inside dairy farming.  It's a great way to expose children to agriculture.  Here's how it works:

Students and teachers "adopt" a dairy cow for their classroom and receive updates on the cow's growth through photos and live virtual chats with farmers.  Farm tours are also available!  Activity sheets and suggest lessons that are Common Core aligned will be sent to you as well.  Students will also have an opportunity to write friendly letters to their fun!  

Last year, more than 30,000 elementary and middle school classrooms, home school families, scout troops, library groups, and other organizations participated in the program.

Adopt-a-Cow was designed for students in grades 3-5, but all grades can benefit from the program as well.  The Adopt a Cow program is FREE for teachers!  It's available to teachers everywhere!  Homeschool teachers, after-school care program teachers, as well as those managing a library or agriculture program can also sign up.  

In Ohio and West Virginia, classrooms will be virtually paired with a calf from an Ohio dairy farm.  Students will find out what her name is, when her birthday is, where she lives, and how the farmer takes care of her. 

Here's a quick video highlighting the Adopt a Cow program.


Check out this timeline of what you can expect from the program:  

  • October-host farm and calf announcement is emailed and posted to your Adopt-a-Cow portal. 
  • November-introductory email kit sent with details about the host farm and calf.  The first 5,000 registrants will receive the mailer; everyone else receives this in digital form (Note: The mailed kit is only available for registrants in the United States).  
  • December-Update #1 will be emailed and posted to your portal.  
  • February-Update #2 will be emailed and posted to your portal.  
  • April-Update #3 will be emailed and posted to your portal.  
  • April/May-The opportunity to live chat your calf and host farm via YouTube.

Ready to sign up and provide your students with a unique opportunity?  Click here to register!  Please note that no information will be sent out until registration closes and the calves are born.  Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox!  

The Adopt a Cow program is a national program made possible in Ohio and West Virginia by the American Dairy Association Mideast through a partnership with the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania, who developed and manages the program as part of their Discover Dairy education series.



Sunday, August 21, 2022

Magic Playdough

Magic Play Doh is a fun first day/first week activity to do with your students.  You can either make homemade doh (more time consuming, obviously!) or purchase pre-made doh (see affiliate link HERE).  *You want your dough to be white/cream.  Roll balls with the dough.  Add a few drops of food coloring inside (see affiliate link HERE).  Place the balls inside of individual baggies.  Staple copies of my free poem to the bags.  Read the poem together as a class.  *There is a large size of the poem included in my download.  Pass out the bags of dough and have your students squish the balls.  I recommend having them squish the balls inside of the bag until the food coloring mixes into the dough.  The kids love the element of surprise with the colors that appear in their dough!  So much fun!  Grab the free printable by clicking the cover image below!

Have a colorful year!

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Pencil Management System

For my whole teaching career, I've used the "sharp/dull" pencil system.  Each student is given one pencil.  They use it as needed, and once it goes dull, they put it into the dull cup and grab one from the sharp cup.  It's honestly never been a problem.  The kids were very responsible for the pencils they were using.  There would be an occasional "chewing" situation, but other than that no major issues.

This method worked fine, up until about two years ago.  I kept finding rogue pencils on the floor.  For some reason there were pencils everywhere!!!  It used to be no big deal to pick them up, but as I get older, and my joint pain gets worse, I just can't bend over all day to pick pencils up.  I decided that for the 22-23 school year, I was going to change my system.  

I decided to put the students in charge of their own pencils.  I grabbed some toothbrush holders, fresh pencils from my never-ending stash at school, dot labels, a black Sharpie, and packaging tape.  I labeled two of each toothbrush holder with a number.  I did 1-24, because I think I'll most likely have no more than 24 students this year.  Here comes the semi-tedious part: I labeled 10 pencils with student numbers and placed 5 in each toothbrush holder.  

Here's my plan:

Students each get one toothbrush holder, containing five pencils with their number on it.  One pencil stays on top of their desk for quick access; the others stay in the holder inside of their desk.  If they lose the pencil on top, break it, or it goes dull, they simply put it into their container and get a fresh one out.  This continues all week.

Each Friday, students will bring me their toothbrush holder.  I will swap it out with the "extra--" remember I mentioned that I made two holders?  I'll quickly look through the holders and note who has all five of their pencils (broken or not, it doesn't matter).  If a student has all five, they earn a sticker on the pencil chart.  Once they get a certain number of stickers (undecided as of now), they can choose from the treasure or candy box.  

Some weeks students will earn stickers and others will not.  I'm sure there will be some students who earn stickers every week.  The goal is to teach students to be responsible for their things.  This system is not set up to punish students.  If a student finds a pencil on the floor, he/she will be encouraged to look at the number chart and return it to the person it belongs to. 

I am super excited to try this system.  What do you use for your pencil management?  Let me know in the comments below!

PS: Invest in a GOOD pencil sharpener!  I love this one!!!


Sunday, August 14, 2022

Interrupting Chicken

 If you've been around for awhile, you know I love using picture books to kick of the school year, particularly to teach procedures and routines.  One of my favorite books is Interrupting Chicken.  Grab the book HERE (affiliate link).  It's a great book for teaching listening skills.  

Many years ago, I created activities to go with the book.  Included is a class goal poster, individual goal strips for student desks, written responses, and a sort.  Grab my best-selling pack by clicking the cover below.  

*NOTE: These activities are also included in my "Back to School Printables" pack, which is loaded with activities intended to be used the first few weeks/month of school.  The activities included incorporate picture books. I'll link that below, as well!

The chicken craft shown in the picture above is from Crafty Bee Creations.  It's a fun extension to do after using my activity pack!


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Shoe-Tying Club

Up until a few years ago, I tied kids' shoes all the time.  They asked, I tied.  Touched laces that were soaking wet with who knows what.  Touched the shoes that were covered in mud.  I am almost 42 years old with a lot of orthopedic issues.  Bending down is NOT easy!  A few years ago, I vowed to stop tying shoes.  GASP.  My orthopedic issues were the straw that broke the camel's back.  No more tying and you know what?  It's been fantastic!  Let me tell you why.

Kids WANT to learn to tie.  Research shows that children are developmentally ready to tie shoes by age 5.  That's kindergarten.  For years, I'd witnessed students attempting to tie with no avail.  I knew I had to do something to help, and doing the work for them wasn't the help my students needed.  

Let me introduce you to "THE SHOE-TYING CLUB!"  The STC (as we'll call it) is a little area in my room where students can find visual and hands-on resources to help them learn to tie..  Also included is signage showing who can tie shoes.  The signage is helpful for two reasons:

1.  It shows all children who can tie, thus who they could ask if they need their shoe(s) tied.

2.  It encourages students to learn so they can get a shoe cutout added to the wall. 

Click HERE to grab this wooden practice shoe (affiliate link)

Click HERE to grab these wooden lacing boards (affiliate link).

The STC set comes with posters, printables, certificates, cutouts, a parent letter, and more.  Grab one by clicking HERE or the cover below, and plan on setting up a STC in your classroom for the upcoming school year!  It's a game-changer!