Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Present Ideas for the Classroom - and $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway

'Tis the season for gift giving, and the classroom is often no exception.  With everything you have to worry about this time of year, I have taken the worry out of coming up with ideas for gifts for parents, students, and teachers!

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase using one of my links, which helps to support the blog.  All opinions are my own and I only promote brands and products that I have used myself and truly love.

1. Scholastic $1 Books - I love everything about Scholastic including the fact that they have got you covered when it comes to gift giving!  They always have a variety of $1 books which make the perfect (and affordable) gift for your students.  This year I purchased these books for my students:

2. You're Worth a Million (or hundred in this case) Bucks! What kid doesn't love getting money?  The best part about this idea is that they will love it even more with their own face on it!  You will love it because it won't cost you a ton of money!

Created at

You can upload your students' pictures to this website to create $100 bills just like the one pictured above.  I am printing mine out in the size of bookmarks to go along with their books.  I can't wait to see their faces when they see them!

You can create other pictures/posters on the site using their pictures and print them at Wal-Mart or Walgreens for another inexpensive idea.

3. Take Home Science - I also love this idea from Rachael Parlett of the Classroom Game Nook of sending home a science experiment as a Christmas Present as well!

The perfect holiday, birthday, or end-of-the-school-year gift to give your students! Take-Home science experiments that your students can take home and use with their families!:

I always like to have my students create presents to give to their families.  I think it helps them to see that Christmas is as much about giving as it is receiving, and parents LOVE getting presents made by their children.

1. Create photo greeting cards.  One present that we always give out is a class picture photo greeting card.  I send home one to every family (all of the students sign the backs of every picture), and we hand deliver them to the special people in our school (specials teachers, principal, janitors, etc.).  Here is this year's class pic.  It is darn near impossible to get a perfect picture of everybody, so sometimes you just have to go with the one that is closest - even if it includes bunny ears!

2. Put a Kid in a Snow globe  - This year we are making these.

I will be having the students write about how they got trapped in the snow globe using this freebie from my TpT store.

If I Was In A Snowglobe Writing Prompt and Graphic Organizers
3. Stained Glass Art - We have made these in the past, and both parents and students loved them!  You can find the complete directions here.

If you are a parent as well as a teacher, you may want a few ideas for showing your child's teacher your appreciation.  Or maybe, you might want to share a gift or two with your favorite colleague or team member.  If you are stuck, you may want to check my Pinterest board below for TONS of ideas!
Follow An Apple for the Teacher's board Teacher Appreciation on Pinterest.

This Giveaway is Over!  Please visit our Giveaway page to enter our current giveaway.

And, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you!  Be sure to enter my giveaway to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card so you can gift yourself with something special too!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Increasing Positive Student Participation Are You a Hog, a Log, or a Frog? Morning Meeting Lesson

Do you have students who sit around like logs, rarely ever participating in class discussions or activities?

What about those students who act like hogs, blurting out answers, not letting their peers have a chance to speak up let alone think about the question you just asked?

If you answered, "YES!" to either of these questions, you will love this morning meeting idea!

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase using one of my links, which helps to support the blog.  All opinions are my own and I only promote brands and products that I have used myself and truly love. 

I got this lesson idea from my friend, Jessica from The Whimsical Teacher.  If you are not following her on Periscope, well, you should be!

The first thing you need to do is print out the different masks.  I laminated mine for extra durability because I attached them to our wall as a reminder after the activity.

 I have a pdf file with all three of the masks here.

Hog, Log, and Frog Masks

Next, you gather your students around for your normal morning meeting.  If you don't use a morning meeting in your classroom, you can just use this as a lesson during the day.  Show the students the log and ask them what they think of when they think of a log.  What might a person who acts like a log in the classroom be like?  The students will volunteer ideas such as:

"They just sit there."
"They don't do their work."
"They don't help out."
"They don't participate."

Then, show them the hog mask. Ask them to tell you what they think of when they think of a hog.  Again, ask them how this might relate to the classroom.  Students might say:

"They blurt."
"They answer all of the questions."
"They raise their hands like crazy all the time."
"They interrupt."

Last, show them the frog and ask them what frogs always turn into in fairy tales.  They should answer, "Princes."  You then say, "That's right, they always turn into princes and princesses, because they do the right thing. What might the right thing be in the classroom?"  Answers could include:

"Taking turns."
"Participating in lessons."
"Always doing their best."

End the lesson by asking students what they would like to be, a log, a hog or a frog?  The answer should be simple - they want to be frogs.

Throughout the year, when your students aren't making the best choices, you can remind them, "Didn't you say you wanted to be a frog?

My students LOVED this lesson, and it has been a great reminder for increasing positive student participation.

If you decide to do this project, I would love to see pictures!  Please email me at or tag me on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter!

Before you go, head on over to our giveaway page to enter our current giveaway!  Every week one lucky winner gets a $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card!

 I would love to hear from you! ❤️

Have a question? Idea for a resource you might find helpful?

Be so kind and leave a comment below.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thanksgiving Blog Hop

Thanksgiving is coming up so soon! I love the idea of a holiday that is 100% centered around getting together with friends and family to reflect on all of the things we are thankful for each year.  I have partnered up with a few of my FAVORITE blogging friends to participate in a Thanksgiving Hop to reflect on the things that we are thankful for, and to share a few traditions, recipes and FREEBIES with you!  

There are so many things I am thankful for that it would be impossible to pick just one!  Here are a few things I am thankful for this year:

My Family

An oldie but goodie of the whole family from our trip to Disneyland a few years ago.  All 6 of our boys lived at home then, now we are down to 3!

A more current picture of our third son with his girlfriend.

One of my favorite pictures of my husband with my youngest two.

My Students & Their Families

My students become like family to me and their families do too!

My Blogging and TpT Friends

As I've said before, my blogging friends really help me to become a better teacher, through innovative ideas, brainstorming, and collaboration.  I couldn't do it without you!  Here are just a few of my favorites:

Chandra from PowerPoint Gaming

Kathleen from A+ Kids

Our Thanksgiving family traditions include a big family dinner at our home.  Since we had so many kids (6 boys) it was always easier to invite people here than to lug them all out.  Now that 3 of our older boys are fully grown, life is less complicated, but we still host Thanksgiving dinner.

One of our favorite dishes is the infamous green bean casserole.  Here is the recipe:

Green Bean Casserole

1 can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 dash black pepper
4 cans cooked green beans (I prefer French style)
1 1/3 cups French Fried Onions

1. Stir all of the ingredients together in a casserole dish (leaving out about 2/3 of the French Onions).
2. Sprinkle remaining French Onions on top.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

    I have made a special Thanksgiving freebie just for you!  Just click on the link to download these Thanksgiving themed equivalent fraction task cards.  I am so thankful for your readership and support!  

    Don't forget to hop through and collect all of the tips and freebies!

    Saturday, November 7, 2015

    Energy Balls and Enter to Win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

    One of the things I learned about at the NSTA (National Science Teachers' Association) were these amazing energy balls (you can buy them here).  I purchased a few for my classroom and decided to use them as an Engagement activity to introduce our FOSS energy unit.  I am so glad that I did, as my students were absolutely enthralled and engaged!

    I handed out the energy balls to my students and let them try them out a bit (without telling them to much).  "What are these?" They wondered.

    At first, nothing seemed to be happening.

    But eventually, group by group, they discovered the magic and were able to light them up.

    Then my little scientists started testing out theories about how to make it work.

    If we touch hands it turns on, but if we let go...

    the ball turns off.

    At first they thought it only worked with their hands, but then a few tried some other places...

    like their faces! LOL!

    We discovered it even worked with more than two people.

    They work with other items too!  Of course we had to test EVERYTHING!

    Impromptu science "notebooks" even appeared on their desks without any teacher input!  I LOVE when they pay attention and transfer what they have learned!

    This was hands down one of my best science lessons so far, and I can't wait to delve into the ideas I learned even more!  

    Now the moment you have been waiting for.... my monthly TpT gift certificate giveaway!  Enter below!

    Time to enter my monthly $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card giveaway!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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