Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Tie a Shoe

How to tie a shoe?  Even a demanding double knot?
How to tie a shoe - Teacher ink
It's easy, when you use a step-by-step tutorial.  And I don't mean a "3 easy steps."  I mean a 21-step photo tutorial with easy-to-read captions. 
Admit it, much as you love showing kindness by bending over and performing this time-honored ritual on your babies, you look forward to the day when your services are no longer needed--for several reasons.

First, tying shoes over and over loses it's charm--you know it does.  Not tying shoes is dangerous.  But most important, the look on your baby's face when she's mastered tying shoes is priceless.

So let the shoe tie tutorial begin.  Bring it on--especially the dreaded double knot. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Kids' Favorite School Memory

School's out for summer!  My home is filled with dozens of flowers and lovely, heart-warming cards.
I love those cards--the genuine thanks for a year of fabulous growth.

The surprise this year was on the last day of school, when I asked the kids about their favorite school memory.  One kid said it was dancing with the Chinese New Year Dragons.  Another said it was the Irish jig.  One kid loved learning about jazz during Black History Month.

But the most popular activity, hands down was...


One kid remembered the first book he read.  Another loved the phonics songs we sang and danced to.  Another said she loved that she can read Pinkalicious books by herself--and amazingly for a 5-year-old, she can!

It's something to think about.  Kids love fun stuff, and one of the most fun things of all is reading.

I hope you get to enjoy a good book this summer!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

End of the School Year Stress-Busters

The end of the school year can bring unexpected stress to kids.  Just when their teacher is feeling as comfortable as an old shoe, kids must prepare for a new one.

We dissolve their stress over a period of weeks.  We review memories of the year.  We look at old calendar pages, and remember special events.  We look at a photo gallery of pictures from the year.   We play favorite songs and dance to them.

I reassure the kids they will always have a place right here—I point to my heart.  We’ve been part of a club, a team, and we always will be.  When we see each other, we’ll smile and know all the adventures we’ve shared.

Then we list all the next grade teachers, and I tell the kids that it’ll be fun to meet a new teacher, with a different character, and a fresh perspective on life.

I read The Teacher from the Black Lagoon, which makes them laugh at their anxieties about next year.

And I remind them, if stress creeps up, to do our old standby: deep breathing. 

Life after kindergarten’s gonna be great! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wildlife on the School Grounds

Wildlife on the school grounds is the ultimate in a teachable moment.
This pheasant appeared out of nowhere, hung around for two hours, and then was gone.

It may not look like much to you, but it’s like an alien ship landing in New York City; four times bigger than our ho-hum ubiquitous pigeons.

The children’s jaws dropped, they were respectfully quiet, and simply observed.  It was like a field trip, or a zoo trip, steps from our room.

Afterwards, we googled images of pheasants, compared and contrasted with our all-too-familiar pigeons, and told which animals we’d like to see up close in the wild, and which we wouldn’t—like tigers.

We first spotted the bird camouflaged high up in a tree.  It’s a great lesson in observation, and seeing deeply, things that are right in front of our eyes.  That’s something to try any time, and any place.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

TPT Teacher Store - My Summer Checklist

The school year's ending, and I'm almost a year old--my teacher store, that is.
Time to spruce it up!
Here's my summer checklist:

1)             Create new products

a.  Work at a stately pace, don’t rush!
b. Work at the beach or the park

2)             Revise old products

a.  Start with my best-sellers and work down

b.  Create newer, nicer thumbnail covers: with big, catchy titles, copyright, link to store, eye-catching visuals

c.   Polish up my terms of use

d.  Add more links to similar products

e.  Add fancier borders, fonts and clip art

f.     Add pages

g.  Revisit pricing

h.  Bundle products

3)             TpT Store:

a.  Create several banners

b.  Create a gif for my quote area

c.   Group products with more custom categories

d.  Hyperlink more products to each other

4)             Social Media

a.  Write blog posts and schedule publication for the future

b.  Connect more with other blog writers

c.   Put add-ons on my blog (like a fancy signature?)

d.  Create great pins for Pinterest: photos of my products and classroom in action

e.  Clean up my Pinterest boards and create new ones that specialize

f.   Explore fb, Instagram...

5)             Top priority: have a glorious summer!  Go back to school totally refreshed!  Isn't that every teacher's dream--with or without a store?
Remember, there's only one summer of 2015, so the must-do is to make great memories.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Father’s Day Cards for Kids

What can a kid say to Dad on Father’s Day?

Gestures say a lot.  A home-made card says that Dad is special enough to take creative thought, time and effort.

Every dad likes to hear “You’re the best dad in the universe!” --though it might conjure up images of odd dads on other worlds.

You might go for a traditional, “I’m a chip off the old block, and I love it.”  You might--unless the word old makes Dad feel old.

“My love is tailor-made for you!” goes perfectly with this Father's Day shirt card. 

“I just want to say, 'I love you so much'!”  You can never say that too often.

Whether you say it to Dad or a father-like figure in your life, I hope you and your family have a marvelous Father’s Day.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

5 Tips for Calm Kids at the End of the Year
1)        Use calming, hypnotic music during transitions, after lunch, and at the end of the day.  It sets a tone, and helps kids to focus and relax.

 Counting Songs for Behavior Management

2)      Chat like a human.  Don’t scold; tell the kids that you know it’s natural to get a little antsy at the end of the year, and that they can control it by telling themselves:  “Self—calm down!  Breathe deeply, count to 5.”
Catch kids doing something good, and note it with an enthusiastic flourish...and maybe a prize (like jumping up and down with silly faces).  Behavior Management Charts can be your best co-teacher.
 Behavior Management Callbacks get kids' instant attention, and cheerful response.

3)      Let kids release their energy: jump, dance, or stretch to music.
Sign up for GoNoodle and let the best-behaved kids choose which movement or mindfulness activity to do at select intervals during the day.

4)      Do high-interest activities:  Reading?  Read about bugs, super-heroes, or dinosaurs.  Math?  Don’t talk about 3D shapes, create a 3D shape!

 End of the Year Craft Box

5)      Remind kids: there are only [so few] days left, so let’s end on a good note!  Let’s share some of our best days ever, our hopes, and daydreams; and create some of our best new memories.

It’s almost over.  Make it as pleasant as possible!  

Above all, dramatically read but do not become...