Sunday, November 30, 2014

More Insomnia Tips

Here are more insomnia tips from my friends at again, sweet dreams!
My favorite counting song is this one--Counting Backward.  It has a soft plucked guitar and new-age sound with a calming voice counting backward.  It's more soothing than sheep.
I get up out of bed, drink some water , and I go sit in the living room. I turn the TV on and usually within 20 minutes, I start feeling sleepy.  Silvia 

-Turn off electronics an hour before bed if possible,
-Drink a small glass of milk - if it's cold out, warm milk does double duty by warming you from the inside as well as relaxing you,
-Rub nice smelling lotion or moisturizer on your hands.  I usually curl up as I drift off to sleep, and a nice scent helps me relax,
-Purposefully choose to think of something happy; when you find yourself thinking of your worries or non-relaxing things, tell yourself to stop, and go back to your happy thoughts.  Remind yourself that you need to rest so that you can deal with whatever it is in the morning. 

I try to picture myself asleep.  I lay with my eyes closed and visualize what I would look like if I were standing next to the bed watching myself sleep.  For some reason, this relaxes me. 

If my mind is running a million miles a minute:  I have a really boring word game on my phone.  If my mind won't shut off I play this game for a little while.  It usually clears my mind enough to start to fall asleep.  The trick is to find something that is boring for you.

Exercise really does help.  I sleep so much better on the days that I exercise.  I know we're all busy, but it's worth it for your health to carve out some time everyday. 
Mrs. E Teaches Math

Teacher Insomnia

Now that we know healthy sleep prevents stress, obesity, Alzheimer’s etc. etc....

Can we talk about teacher insomnia?  Planning lessons, behavior management, organizing paperwork, testing, admin protocols, parent concerns…they stir up a chatter that’s hard to turn off.

There’s no cure-all for insomnia.  But I’m posting some of my best all-natural tips.  

1)      Have a pad, pen and flashlight at your bedside.  If a school idea pops into your head, write it down, so it doesn’t keep you up.

2)      Breathe deeply and slowly.  Keep focused on your breaths.

3)      Be aware of body tension.  Briefly rub your shoulders, twist your ankles, or pull your jaw gently down and side to side.

4)      Lay a soft sock across your eyes.  Even better, fill it with a small bag of uncooked lentils or rice.  The weight relaxes the eye muscles and face.

5)      Listen to relaxing music.  Loop it softly on your MP3 player.  It helps shut off the teacher voice.  My favorite: guitar music or hypnotic counting songs.

6)      Repeat a phrase (silently), like “Sleep” or “Go away…”

7)      Massage your face.

8)      Open and close your eyes slowly, every few seconds.  Increase the intervals till you fall asleep.

9)      Stop drinking 2 hours before sleep.  A full bladder will keep you awake.

10)   Meditate during the day, even if it’s only for a minute at a time.  Less stress during the day will help you sleep at night.

 …and have sweet dreams!

Here's what I call my Teacher Insomnia Pack.  It has 5 counting songs with a soothing voice that counts over relaxing music.  It's my go-to pack for a 5-minute meditation at lunch time, too!   

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Keepsake Book

Kids of any age can create this Thanksgiving Keepsake Book.  Across 10 pages, it follows the Pilgrims' Journey, step-by-step, and allows kids to imagine their own ideal "trip!"

Creative, divergent thinking pops off the page, as well as daydreams and wishes.  A lovely keepsake!  And grown-ups, you'll find yourself filling in the answers, too.  Thanksgiving starts here!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Needs vs. Wants

It's Thanksgiving!  Let's be thankful for the things we need, and also the things we want...

...and for the line that's sometimes blurred.  What a great way to get kids talking.  Do you always get what you need?  Are some "wants" really must-have "needs?"  

Don't kids need toys?  How many, and what kind?  Don't you think we should teach shopping in kindergarten?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Teachers Pay Teachers Store is a beautiful place!

It’s where teachers share their wonderful creations—for free, or a fair price—thousands of carefully crafted, classroom-tested gems. 

Now that I’ve set up a shop, I’ve got tips for others who are thinking of starting a store. 

1)      Choose your store name carefully.  Use either your own name or a name that brands your products (e.g., Kindergarten Fun).

2)      Create your products in PowerPoint, not Word.  You’ll see why…

3)      Comb TPT for all available tips for newbies.

4)      Expect hard work.  Only well-thought out, unique, well-executed products with eye-catching visuals on the covers, and good social marketing will succeed.

5)      It’s a long haul.  “Once you get over 20 products, daily sales increase.  Over 50 then they really start to churn.”  (To quote Two-Boys-And-A-Dad-Productions from the forum.  Thanks, Two-Boys!) 

So…(I keep telling myself) slow down, breathe deeply & smell the roses (ie, your fully-rounded life)!  Look at the learning curve as your type of crossword puzzle—it’s good for your brain.

That’s the “Starter Kit.”  After you join TPT, you can dive into the seller’s forum for more.  It's not easy (that's an understatement), but it is rewarding.  You have my best wishes if you decide to jump in.

BTW, If you'd like to visit my store, it's right here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween Bat Craft

This Halloween Bat Craft uses geometrical shapes and free-form wings.  Kids get a bat that “flies!”

Each kid gets a 9 X 12” black craft paper.  They each trace a circle (I use a container lid).  They cut it out, and cut 2 triangles. 

Then they fold the leftover paper in half, draw a bat wing free-style, and cut 2 wings together.  They glue the parts and draw a face with white crayon.  Each bat looks a little different, and that's the way I like it.

When the glue dries, they hold the bat by the head and bounce it slowly up and down for a graceful flight, to the tune of our favorite Halloween songs.

Halloween Jack-o’-lantern Mask

A Halloween Jack-o’-lantern Mask is fun and easy:

Kids choose a colored 9 X 12” craft paper.  Then they draw a large pumpkin, face, “ridges,” decorations, hair, etc.

They cut the pumpkin shape.  Then they fold the pumpkin down at the eye-line, and cut 2 semi-circles which open into eye-holes.

Two kids walk around and glue a pop-stick to the back.  If you’re feeling ambitious, glue a 1” paper strip that will fit like a head-band around the top of their ears. 

Voila!  A silly, scary, cute holiday costume.

Halloween Candy Count Buffet

You can’t fight the candy on Halloween! Here’s how I join it:

I create a Halloween Candy Count Buffet. Kids travel from left to right and count the right amount from each tray to stuff their baggies. Kids who can’t count objects get a buddy to help.

While kids wait their turn, they do an art project at their seats (and munch on a couple of M&Ms). They’re like kids in a candy shop—or is it heaven?