What Rights Do You Have?

In the United States, citizens are guaranteed certain rights many people in other countries dream of having. What better way to show mastery of these basic rights than with a fun, engaging, hands-on activity! The Bill of Rights Match-Up is just the right center activity to add to your treasure chest of resources. 

The Bill of Rights Match-Up is a great resource to use when teaching a unit on government. This resource contains ten badges with the amendment numbers, ten badges with what each amendment states, a recording sheet, and a handout for the students to illustrate the meaning of one amendment. 

Students will match the amendment number card with the card containing what the amendment states. Once the students have sorted and matched the cards, they record their answers on the recording sheet. In addition to the recording sheet and center cards, there is a printable for the students to choose one amendment and illustrate it so that others will be able to understand its meaning. 

How do I set up centers in the social studies classroom? 

Incorporating center activities in the social studies classroom is really not a hard task. Here are some helpful tips to get you started on setting up centers in your classroom. 
  • Designate a specific place in your classroom that will work for your center activities. I always found my centers worked better on a table in the back of the room. It allowed the students an opportunity to transition to the center, work independently, have enough space to spread the activity out on the table, and it was free of other distractions. 
  • Choose a hands-on activity that goes along with the unit of study you are going to teach. 
  • Print the needed activity pages. If the activity requires pieces that will be used over and over by students, I recommend laminating the pieces for durability. 
  • Place everything for the particular activity in one spot, such as an envelop, an accordion file, or a tupperware container. 
  • If you have more than one center activity per unit, make sure you label the center pieces so students know which pieces go with each center activity.

What are the benefits of using centers in my social studies class? 

  • Students are able to be independent learners. 
  • Students are able to explore and learn at their own pace. 
  • Students are able to take risks without the fear of failure or not having the correct answer. 
  • Students become confident in their learning. 
  • Students can express themselves freely in the center. 

What do I do when the students complete their center activity? 

Because students are able to work independently and at their own pace, students will complete the center activity at different times. Always have enrichment work or assignments handy for those early finishers. When all students have rotated through the center, take an inventory of the center activity and make sure you still have all of the parts of the center activity. If you are missing a piece of the center activity, make a note of it so you can replace the missing piece before filing the center activity away to use the next time you teach the unit. This will help you be organized and prepared for the next time you pull out the center activity. Clean the center area. Next, get ready for your next center activity. 

If you teach social studies and do not use center activities on a regular basis, I hope you will consider giving centers in the social studies classroom a try! You will not be sorry you tried!

If you teach social studies, check out the Bill of Rights Match-Up. You students are sure to love it!

Happy Teaching! 

Scotch Thermal Laminator...A Teacher's Best Friend

On the top of every teacher's must-have list is a laminator. I have been through several in my years of teaching, but I will tell you the one I have now is my all-time favorite. It is easy to use, affordable, and so far after two years is still working like a charm!

I laminate everything...literally everything! Even though sometimes I know I may not use it again, it is getting laminating because I love using my laminator. Prior to purchasing my own laminator, I would have to plan ahead- way ahead- to have my items printed, pre-cut, labeled, put in a file, and sent to the media center to wait their turn to be laminated. This could sometimes take a little while depending on how many teachers needed laminating, how many lessons were going on in the media center, if we were out of laminating film, if the laminator was jammed, etc. I think you get the idea.

Anyway, one day I decided it was time to finally just purchase my own. My first one was not a very good one; it was cheap and did not hold up very well. I got exactly what I paid for with that one. Lesson learned!

I did a little research, and read online reviews. After the research was complete, I decided to purchase the Scotch Thermal Laminator 2 Roller System and Scotch Thermal Laminating Pouches. (Links to both of these are at the end of this post.)

So now it is your turn. If you do not own a laminator of your own, there are five reasons, your deserve a laminator. 

1. No More Wait Time! - Your time is precious! Do not spend it waiting around wondering when you are going to get to laminate your items; or if you are in a school where you have to drop your items off to have laminated, you do not need to spend time wondering when they will be finished. If you have your own laminator, your wait time is when you want it to be. 

2. Prep When You Need and Want to Prep! - It's your call. Your laminator gives you the flexibility to be able to prep whenever you are ready. You are not waiting on anyone, and you do not have to prep so far ahead to have it laminated for you. 

3. Prep at Home or at School...It's Your Time! - Do you want to prep at school? Great! Would you prefer to prep at home in your pjs? Awesome! It's your call! You can do that with your own laminator because it is portable and light. I carry mine back and forth all of the time in my bag when I choose to prep in a different location. It's easy and allows me to focus on the things I need to focus on at the time. 

4. All Pieces Stay Together! - I am not sure about you, but I have lost task cards here and there and parts of my bulletin boards over the years to and from the media center as my laminating has journeyed to and from my classroom. Once I purchased the laminator, this no longer happened. Win-win! 

5. Tax write-off! - I am not an accountant, nor can I give tax advice, but I know in my state teachers are able to write off certain educational expenses. Keep your receipts from your educational expenses throughout the year, and make sure your ask your accountant about this. 

If you are a teacher and do not have a laminator, I promise this will be one purchase will not regret! I know this is one of my favorite purchases I have ever made...okay, besides colorful pens and Sharpie markers! 

Happy Day, Everyone!                                                                        Graphics provided by Ashley Hughes.

Stitch Fix- Summer Lovin'

Sweet, sweet summertime...well, almost! But, school is out so technically it is summer if you ask anyone who lives close to me. We have managed to get one trip in the books (the daughter snuck in a trip without us, so she has gone on two trips). When we arrived home from our trip, I had a familiar little box waiting for me. Yep, it was my Fix!

Since it was time for summer, they sent some fun clothes. They were so cute! They even threw in an adorable purse in a neutral color that can go with anything. 

I was headed out tonight and had one of the shirts on, so I asked the hubby to take a pic (okay, he had to take a couple until he got the final approval that I was satisfied) so I could share). This shirt is one of the pieces that came with this month's Fix. Isn't cute and fun? It goes great with jeans, capris, and shorts. It has a relaxed look that is fabulous for the summer. 

Have you tried Stitch Fix? If so, how was your Fix this month? If you have not tried Stitch Fix yet, CLICK HERE to sign up to try it. I promise it is super easy. If you don't like it, you can send everything back in the prepaid postage envelope they send you with your Fix. 

Teachers Pay Teachers Headquarters is...Amazing!

Exactly one week ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Teachers Pay Teachers Headquarters. All I can say is...Ah-Mazing! 

I am not really sure what I envisioned it would look like, but it was booming place. I guess I thought it would be more like sectioned off offices where people tended to their own business and did their own work. It was anything but this. The room was very open. There weren't cubicles or anything like that either. The best way to describe it is long table-like desks with computers in rows, almost like a computer lab. It is a very open working environment. There were several conference rooms available if groups needed to meet. There were actually several meetings being held while we were there.

Samantha and Jillian were fabulous hostesses who answered my initial questions and were super nice. I was able to talk to Adam and many others at lunch. The entire staff was friendly. It was a wonderful experience!

If you are a buyer or a seller on TpT, please know, there is a team of fantastic, hardworking people who are doing phenomenal work behind the scenes trying to make your work as a teacher as smooth as possible. Thank you for all your hard work! 

One of our favorite things we did while in New York was walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked into Brooklyn, had ice cream from the Ice Cream Factory, rode the carousel at Jane's Carousel, and walked along the waterfront. 

As we were walking across the bridge, we took in all of the sites. My daughter has this love of water towers; she finds them absolutely fascinating! Where we live, water towers are all on the ground and there may be only one to three water towers per town. She had already conducted her research to know water towers in New York were much different than in South Georgia. She loved looking at all of the water towers on the buildings. Before we left TpT Headquarters, Sam showed pointed out on her phone there were two water towers we would want to look for our little adventure. One was a stained glass water tower, and the other was a red and white striped water tower. (The pictures below definitely do not do the beauty of the water towers justice.) 

We opted for the subway back to Manhattan so we could make it back in time for some more activities, but it was well worth the walk across the bridge. If you ever have the opportunity to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, I highly recommend it. 

Prior to leaving for the trip, I asked my daughter what was the one thing she wanted to do while in NYC. She said she "had" to go to the Statue of Liberty. We went and were able to go as far up as the pedestal; the crown tickets had been sold out for the date we wanted to go for a couple of months, but the pedestal was good. If you are going to the Statue of Liberty, my advice of to get there early to be on the first or second wave of ferries; otherwise, your wait could be a long one. We were lucky to get there early, but when we returned, we saw long, long lines. 

The last night we were in NYC, we went to see Matilda. It was fabulous, and it was a wonderful show for my 8-year old daughter to see. The singing, dancing, and acting were all phenomenal! The adults and kids in the show were spectacular. It had my daughter sitting on the edge of her seat! The show was a wonderful way to end a great couple of day in NYC. 

NYC, it was great! TpT, thank you for a memorable time! We hope to see you all again soon!

Unlocking the Secrets of Interactive Notebooks

Interactive Notebooks seem to be the rage in classrooms across America right now. In fact, there are resources for them for all subject areas, grade levels, and they are in designed for differentiation. Every teacher I speak to who uses them absolutely loves them! But there may be someone out there who is still on the fence, so why would I choose to use it in my classroom?

Here are some reasons every teacher would want to use Interactive Notebooks.

1. Student-Centered

The focus of using Interactive Notebooks in a classroom is because it is student-centered. Interactive Notebooks do not take the place of teaching, but rather they reinforce the skills and content taught by providing students an opportunity to record information learned and research additional content to include. The student decides what information is recorded in the notebooks.

2. Hands-on Learning

How many students do you know who need movement incorporated into their classroom schedule? For this reason, Interactive Notebooks provide a good balance of hands-on learning as they allow for movement instead of just sitting and listening to a lecture. Students actually enjoy cutting and assembling the notebooks.

A few years ago, I shared one of my Interactive Notebooks I created with a co-worker. At first, the co-worker was unsure if the students were going to be receptive to the idea because they were 8th graders. The students loved it so much, she decided to use Interactive Notebooks with every content area she taught.

3. Provide a Working Product

An Interactive Notebook is not completed in one day; it is a work in progress. The students can add to it daily or once a week. They are designed to meet the needs of your classroom and can be tailored to meet the needs of your students. By providing a means to look at work from the beginning of the year to the end of the year in a single notebook, the teacher and students are able to look at student growth. It is amazing how differently a student responds to some questions at the beginning of the year compared to similar questions at the end of the year.

4. Built-in Study Guide

One of my favorite reasons for using Interactive Notebooks is because it provides a built-in student guide for the students. This study guide is ready for test prep at any time of the year for quizzes, chapter tests, unit tests, and even standardized tests. I always have the students leave the first several pages in the notebook blank to use as an on-going 'Table of Contents' to help make it easier to find certain topics when students are reviewing or studying.

5. Ownership

Students are proud of their Interactive Notebooks. They spend a tremendous amount of time working on them, and I have found that even students who have a hard time staying organized are able to keep an Interactive Notebook. I believe this is because it is THEIR personal INB. I always smile when I see students paying close attention to detail in their drawings and illustrations, because I know this is when it has clicked with them the notebooks is theirs.

If you are looking for Interactive Notebook Resources click HERE!


Thank you to Graphics from the Pond and KG Fonts for the use of their talents in the title image!

Easy Resolutions for Your Child's Education

It's a new year! Every year, I usually vow to make some health change that sticks around for a few months. This year, I have decided to take a completely different approach. My word for 2016 is "LIVE"...This year I am going to live life to its fullest. I don't want one single day to go by without me giving the day my best, giving my family my best, and leaving a little bit of time to give myself my best. Now, I know this is going to be a big undertaking because life just gets hectic, but I am going to make it my goal.
Speaking of my resolution, have you made any in regards to your child's learning?

Easy Resolutions for your child's education

Wouldn’t it be great for your kids to learn to play a musical instrument, speak a new language, or pick up some computer skills? Educents has the tools to help your kiddos achieve GREATNESS in 2016!

Resolution #1: Learn a new language

Children learning a new language Children learning a new language will spark interest in geography and culture!

Maybe you don't speak a second language, but your kids still can using this online language program. With this award-winning package, there's no need to memorize lists of words or listen to boring adult conversations. Kids learn by watching kids like them in real-life, humorous situations!

Resolution #2: Create healthy habits

Yoga promotes healthy habits in a fun and active way. Pop in this Yoga DVD and reap benefits like balance, focus, flexibility, self-control, improved posture, and so many more healthy habits.

Practice yoga with your child inside or outside! Practice yoga with your child inside or outside!

The Family Fitness program includes hundreds of physical education lessons for ages 5 to 18. The 1-year program includes warm ups, cool downs, outdoor exercises, and nutritional lessons. The lessons will guide you and your family through a 20-40 minute physical education session. You can do as much or little as you like depending on how much time you have.

Resolution #3: Keep the house clean

Enough said.

Educents Blog

"I cannot imagine a more well spent $20! I am not even kidding--my house looks stellar and my kids have that feeling of accomplishment, knowing they've worked hard and done an amazing job. I've tried chore charts and reward systems but this is by far the easiest and the most all-encompassing." - Celena, The Traveling Sisterhood

Resolution #4: Be more creative

Kids gotta have time to be creative. With all the social stresses and studying, leave room for FUN. Whether it be learn a new skill, journaling, or start playing an instrument - encourage creativity!

Help your kiddo learn the basic skills of photography this year! Help your kiddo learn the basic skills of photography this year!

This has probably been included in ONE of your New Year's Resolution lists: Learn to play piano. Well, time to live vicariously through your children! Maybe your child will learn, and then turn around and teach you piano! This kit has everything you need to get started tickling those ivories.

Does your little one want to learn how to play a musical instrument this year? Does your little one want to learn how to play a musical instrument this year?

Playing the violin is not only a way for children to be creative, but it also develops motor skills, sharpens memory, teaches perseverance and increases focus.

Resolution #5: Get hands-on

Lessons are more fun when you get your hands a little dirty. Take reading lessons outside, do a weekly science experiment, or try these STEM kits that arrive to you once a month (totally ready to go!!).

Add science fun to your weekend projects! These science experiments are delivered to your door and ready to go. Kids will learn about magnets, fungus, space, volcanos, and more!

take science lessons outside Take lessons outside with science experiments!

Resolution #6: Learn new tech skills

Your kids might already spend a lot of time in front of a screen, but is that screen time educational? Use those hours to learn new tech skills! If your kiddo is already a Minecrafter, consider using this program to build skills and add layers to the game!

Educents Blog (1)

What are your resolutions this year? Have your children set resolutions for themselves? Share in the comments!

Top Picks for January Bundle

Are your students back at school yet? Do you have the after-break blues? Now is the time to smile with this awesome bundle being offered through Educents. It is full of resources to use throughout the entire month of January. Get it this week to make your planning a breeze! 

Lesson PlansDONE!

Whether you are a classroom teacher or a homeschool teacher, I'm sure that as December winds down you are already thinking about lesson plans for January. Although I'm hoping you didn't, chances are you've been thinking about them for a while, even through the holiday season. Well today, I would like to help you get those lesson plans done!

top pics covers

Top Picks for January is bundle of 28 amazing educational resources all perfect for January! Each of these resources was hand-picked to help you teach language arts, math, science and social studiesÊin a fun and meaningful way. Your learners will focus on key skills while connecting to the fun and engaging themes that January has to offer. What makes Top Picks for January even better - the price! You could spend hours searching for just the right January resources like the folks at Educents did, and when all was said and done you'd have over $120 of educational resources in your shopping cart. Or, you can take advantage of this limited time bundle that is 75% off. For only $29.99, almost a $100 savings, you get 28 top quality resources that ready to use. I know what my choice is!

So what exactly is in this amazing bundle? Here's what you will receive in the Top Picks for January Bundle divided by subject area. You will also find the recommended grade levels for each resource, however, many of them can be used with additional grade levels by providing a little more support or slightly modifying the final product. Some of these resources will also help you in multiple content areas. For example, work on reading skills while doing science or work on writing skills in social studies.

This is an AMAZING bundle of educational resources for January. I am so excited to not only be part of it, but to be able to share it with you. I have no doubt that you can finish those lesson plans up quick with the amazing resources in this bundle AND that this will be a January full of fun, engaging activities that your students won't soon forget! You can't find this bundle anywhere else, and, it won't be there long! Grab it while you can, because this bundle is only available through January 10. But why wait, don't waste 10 days of January when you could be using these awesome resources today!Buy Now