Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Here's How to Get a Free Star Wars Activity Pack!

Looking for some fun activities to give your kids this summer? Disney has your back with a great Star Wars activity pack! Best of all, it's free!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Here's a Great Tutorial for Using Microsoft OneDrive! (VIDEO)

With so many digital services out there, it's hard for many teachers to realize which ones could actually make their work easier. So let's talk about OneDrive.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Here Are The Best Distance Learning Resources During The Coronavirus Pandemic

With the coronavirus epidemic testing our educational system, everyone is looking for effective resources.

Thankfully, there are websites out there that can help. We've assembled links to some of the best, listed below.

Established by the nonprofit organization Common Sense, this site has combined the best of a lot of great companies into one online resource. It includes content from the American Federation of Teachers, Amplify, Head Start, Khan Academy, National Geographic, Noggin, PBS, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, and YouTube.

Actress and radio talk show host Sam Sorbo, wife of "Hercules" actor Kevin Sorbo, has been active in the homeschool movement even before the outbreak. Her new website is filled with tips, ideas, and resources she's learned along her journey that can help parents doing this for the first time. You can sign up for a free email to get tips and lesson plans.

Here's a great Check out the "Try This" section for fun projects, and the video section highlighting female engineers.

Lots of fun projects and crafts for elementary students.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Simple K12 Offers Free Online Training for Teachers During Coronavirus Shutdown

With schools across the country closing due to the COVID-19 (or coronavirus) outbreak, SimpleK12 is stepping up to help some schools and teachers facing uncertainty and extended time out of their classroom.

The online educational development company is making their webinars available for free to schools who haven't signed up for their services. That includes training for teachers facing the prospect of having to teach virtually over the web.

The webinars will be available for live or on-demand viewing.

SimpleK12 released this announcement after school districts began announcing mass closures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

SimpleK12 is helping organizations and academic institutions who are preparing for prolonged campus closures due to COVID-19. We are offering schools and districts free access to our premium eLearning professional development so that teachers and staff can remain productive during their time away from campus. 

In addition, SimpleK12 is putting together a brand new webinar series designed specifically for teachers covering topics that help educators prepare to teach virtually.  

The virtual training webinars will begin this week, and the free access will be available for 30 days.

For more information on the program, click here to visit the SimpleK12 website.

Monday, February 3, 2020

These People Should Be Included in Your Black History Month Lessons (Printables)

As part of our Black History Month efforts, we've worked to include individuals who often don't get the attention they deserve. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Arts and Crafts: Make Your Own Watercolors with this Recipe!

If you want to add a fun element to your art time, have your students make their own watercolor paint! Yes, it can be messy if you aren't careful, but for the right students, it can be a unique learning experience.

This watercolor paint recipe is pretty simple, but it is better suited for older children.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Yield: about 1/4 cup

*1 tablespoon white vinegar
*1 tablespoon baking soda
*1 tablespoon Argo® Corn Starch
*1/2 teaspoon Karo® Light Corn Syrup
*Food colors of your choice
*Styrofoam egg container

*Combine vinegar and baking soda in a small bowl
*When the mixture stops fizzing, add corn starch and corn syrup. Blend together; the mixture will have a thick syrup-like consistency.
*Divide the mixture among 3 small bowls.
*For each color, blend in a few drops food color. Mix with a paintbrush. Note: The more food color you use, the more intense the colors will be.
*Use the colors immediately, stirring frequently. Note: If paints dry up, simply swirl a paintbrush moistened with water and start painting. Finished painting should dry in 5 to 10 minutes.

For extra easy clean up, use a styrofoam egg container to mix the paints. Children will also enjoy experimenting with mixing food colors to create different colors.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

How to Get Started in Google Classroom

Google Classroom has become a popular way to enhance the learning experience for students, but it also provides tools to make a teacher's life easier.

Since its launch in 2014, Google Classroom has been used by over 30 million students worldwide and hosted over a billion online assignments.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Liven Up Your Art Class With This Bouncy Ball Recipe!

These "bouncy balls" are a simple but fun project that you can do in class, with a handful of easy-to-get materials! We suggest this project for older elementary students, because of the mess and the ingredients involved.

Bouncy Ball Project
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 bouncy ball


  • 1 tablespoon Borax® Detergent Booster
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons white school glue OR clear school glue*
  • 1 tablespoon Argo® Corn Starch
  • Food Coloring - Various Colors, as desired


  • Note:  This is enough to make one bouncy ball.
  • Add Borax® to the warm water and stir well.
  • In a separate container, mix corn starch with glue.  Add food coloring.  (Use as much as needed to get the desired shade).
  • Scoop the colored glue mix into the Borax® mix and stir well for about a minute, for the glue mixture to absorb some of the water.  There will still be water remaining.
  • Using a spoon, scoop the glue mix out and start to form it into a ball with your hands.  It will feel messy and sticky at first, but will slowly start to come together and firm up as you keep rolling it.  The more you roll the ball, the firmer it becomes.  It should have the consistency of thick silly putty.  Bounce away!
  • Store the ball(s) in a resealable plastic bag so it doesn't dry out.  The balls can lose their shape, but can be easily reformed.
  • *You can also use glitter glue, but it makes a more textured ball.

H/T: ChicagoParent.com

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Fire Prevention Week Classroom Resources Available Online

It's Fire Prevention Week, and there are a number of resources online for teachers with some important lessons to students.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has partnered with Disney to create resources featuring Timon and Pumbaa of The Lion King. They offer a 30 page teacher activity kit with lessons, worksheets, classroom activities, and games, all with a "Safety Smart" theme. It's geared for students between four and eight years of age.

The activity kit, as well as guides for parents and ambassadors (fire safety program coordinators) are also offered. They can be downloaded by clicking right here.

This YouTube video featuring Timon and Pumbaa includes important lessons for young students.

UL also promotes the "Close Your Door" campaign. Open doors are one of the main reasons fire spread through a house quickly (especially at night). Closed doors can buy a family time to escape when seconds count. Teachers can find "Close Your Door" resources by clicking right here.

A "Home Escape Plan" is essential in any fire safety program. The National Fire Protection Association has printable resources for families to devise a plan that can avoid tragedy. They can be found by clicking right here.

The Hartford's Junior Marshall Program includes downloadable activities, coloring sheets, and teacher guides. You can see all the resources by clicking right here.

The Safe Kids campaign offers a fire safety program for teachers and schools, as this video details.

We'll add more resources as to this guide as they become available.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Here's How To Make Slime From Corn Starch!

Making slime is a popular classroom project, and here's a simple recipe to make the gooey stuff, using corn starch!

  • 1/2 cup Argo Corn Starch (any brand can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Optional: food coloring 

  • Disposable Bowls (or bowls that won't stain with coloring)
  • Placemats or plastic tablecovers (to protect work surfaces or tables)
  • Optional: Disposable latex gloves, aprons (to protect student's clothes), and cleaning supplies.

  • Stir corn starch and water together in a small bowl. Add a drop of food coloring if desired.
  • When it's wet and smooth, pick it up and play!  The slime can be rolled into a ball and should ooze through fingers when held. More corn starch can be added to change the consistency based on preference.
  • The slime can be refrigerated in a sealed container to be used for later play!
  • IMPORTANT! This mixture can clog drains. Please dispose of carefully. Let the mixture settle, then pour off excess water. Dispose of slime in a plastic bag and place in trash.

You can order Argo Corn Starch from Amazon by clicking right here.

You can order Argo Corn Starch from Walmart by clicking right here.

Let us know of other recipes for slime or similar projects we can feature on the site!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Puck Lights Make a Great Classroom Management Tool!

If you have a rowdy class, puck lights can be a great tool to help establish order in your classroom!

Educator Dan Mault posted this great idea on his website (and we recommend you check him out) that uses the lights as a way to establish authority. The lights (which are available on Amazon by clicking here) can alternate colors thanks to a remote, allowing a teacher to use a particular color to set the level of student activity.

Mault revealed how he uses the colors.

I am using a color coding system to let students know what the color means when it is on:
Red- No talking.
Blue- Low talking with 1 partner.
Green- Low talking with your group.
White- Low indoor voices.

Mault has also made the signs seen in the photo available for free download through his Teachers Pay Teachers store (click here to get them).

The lights are available to order from Amazon by clicking right here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Sesame Street Postage Stamps Now Available!

In honor of Sesame Street's 50th anniversary this year, the United States Postal Service has issued a set of 16 Forever stamps featuring the Muppet characters from the show.

Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Rosita, The Count, Oscar the Grouch, Abby Cadabby, Herry Monster, Julia, Guy Smiley, Snuffleupagus, Elmo, Terry, Grover, and Zoe are all featured on the stamps.

First airing on November 10, 1969, the educational program has entertained and inspired millions of schoolchildren. Its innovative approach to learning has certainly helped teachers for over a generation.

The Sesame Street stamps are just now hitting post offices, and they can also be ordered from the U.S. Postal Service website by clicking right here.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Dirt Cheap Stores Offer Big Discounts on Classroom Supplies

You might be familiar with Dirt Cheap stores, the chain of discount/closeout stores with locations throughout the South.

The chain recently posted on Facebook that they have received huge shipments of classroom supplies, with most priced at $2 or less. In response, some teachers reported finding lots of useful supplies for themselves, from notepads to grading pens, all at great prices.

If you have parents who need to find discounted supplies, be sure to let them know about Dirt Cheap, and if you need to fill out your own supply closet, be sure to check them out yourself.

You can click here to find a Dirt Cheap location near you. Be sure to let us know in the comments section below or on social media of any bargains you may find!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Amazon's STEM Discovery Boxes Now Available for Ordering

Amazon is now offering an exciting subscription box: STEM Discovery Boxes!

STEM Discovery Boxes are exciting science kits for boys and girls ages 7 to teen. Sent out monthly to subscribers, each STEM Discovery Box is filled with hands-on activities and experiments that are fun and educational. These boxes could serve as a resource for the classroom when you need it, or as a recommendation to parents to extend student learning to the home.

Each box is geared to challenge young minds though Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, so despite the name, it actually follows the STEAM approach. Age-appropriate astronomy, robotics, motors, hydraulics, aerospace, physics, and chemistry are among the subjects covered in each box. For example, the whale model in the picture above is powered by a small motor the child can build, which moves it on land and water!

Every box, delivered by mail each month, will include three exciting STEM projects. Children will learn how things work, why they work and how to create them. According to Amazon, the boxes won a Parent's Choice Award for their ingenuity.

STEM Discovery Boxes list these experiments and projects that they have featured in their boxes:

  • Robotic bug, electronic dough, working carnival game, hologram, solar system model
  • Fizzing science, hydraulic claw, laser mirror maze, crystals, Water-powered clock
  • Gooey Experiments, remote control elevator, Drawbot, sun art, fiber optics, digital microscope
  • Walking robot, neon lamp, germ experiments, terrarium, structure design, geodes
  • Jelly marbles, amphibious vehicle, propeller-powered car, fossil, bubble science
  • Color science, instant snow, balloon helicopter, seltzer rocket, periscope, build a generator

Boxes are automatically billed each month at $30, with the first box discounted to $25. You can place an order to try out a box by clicking right here.

We have yet to try out these boxes ourselves, so if you do, let us know in the comments section below what you think!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Barnes & Noble Offers Discounts to Educators

Barnes & Noble Booksellers has a discount program for teachers, even if you homeschool!

The Barnes & Noble Educator program offers a 20% discount on most purchases of books, music, toys, games, movies, and more that are made for classroom use.

Best of all, April is Educator Appreciation Month, with extra discounts and freebies. Every Saturday and Sunday, you can get a 25% discount, and treat yourself to a free Tall Starbucks Fresh-Brewed Hot or Iced Coffee when you present your educator card. You can also get 10% off all cafe treats. If you sign up for an educator card in store, you'll get a free tote.

You can click here to sign up on the Barnes & Noble website. If you're a homeschool educator, you'll need to sign up in store.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Turn Your Classroom Into Dr. Seuss Central With These Great Products

With Dr. Seuss' birthday coming up March 2, here are some great items available from Amazon that can give your classroom a Seussian feel and compliment his books. With Prime shipping, you can get these items in just two days, if not sooner!

Dr. Seuss Bulletin Board Calendar Kit

Dr. Seuss Quotes Bulletin Board Kit

Dr. Seuss Reusable Letters

Dr. Seuss School Selfies Kit

 Dr. Seuss Hat

"Cat in the Hat" Pencils

Dr. Seuss Double-Sided Scented Mini Stampers

Celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday With These Fun Crafts!

Celebrate Dr. Seuss's Birthday on March 2 with these fun crafts in your classroom!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Tips to Set Up a STEAM Lab in Your Classroom

Setting up a proper STEAM lab for your elementary classroom involves getting the right equipment and supplies, and Sarah Lalonde of StemActivitiesForKids.com has written a nice starter guide for teachers who need advice and tips.

One of Lalonde's best bits of advice to educators is to not go it alone. Teachers can often fill their list of needs from other teachers or from their school's storage room, who may be able to provide the materials for a lab. "In many districts, science is getting squeezed due to the emphasis on ELA and math test scores," she said. "Teachers often have equipment that they are willing to donate!  Many of the materials that are used in a STEM lab are things that are readily brought in by fellow teachers and students."

Tables may seem like a simple selection for a lab, but SchoolSpeciality.com recommends that they allow for a different way of teaching. They think "student stations (should be) modular, allowing for the project-based, multimodal learning outcomes that STEAM requires. Student spaces can be grouped or spread out in the event of a large-scale demonstration."

As far as equipment, here is a list of items Lalonde recommends to get your STEAM lab started.

Here is a list of supplies that teachers can have donated to the lab.

Click the links below to get more recommendations for STEAM lab setups.

Sources: Stem Activities for Kids, SchoolSpecialty.com

Friday, January 4, 2019

Website Offers Tools to Use 'Star Wars' in the Classroom

A website is offering videos and resources to use the Star Wars films as a tool to teach classroom lessons.

StarWarsInTheClassroom.com is a website and YouTube channel that seems geared towards older students, as it explores themes in the films and their relation to themes in literature. However, there are lessons suitable for some upper elementary classes, including creative writing prompts and social studies lessons.

The site includes both original content and links to other resources, including Star Wars-themed educational projects like "Star Wars: Science, Myth, and Imagination" and "Star Wars Reads Day."

Click here to visit StarWarsInTheClassroom.com.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Key to Successful Schools: Let Teachers Innovate!

A column by John Spencer is saying what most of us have been saying for years - the best prospects for innovation in the classroom will come from the teachers inside of it.

Spencer, a college professor who blogs about education and discusses ways to turn classrooms into "bastions of creativity and wonder."

"The future of education can’t be found in a gadget or an app or a program or a product," he says in the column. "It doesn’t require a think tank full of pundits. No, the future of education can be found in the classroom. Every classroom is packed with creative potential and teachers have the power to make it happen."

Spencer advocates for an educational system defined locally, rather than one dictated by a bureaucracy that stifles creativity. "If we want to see innovation happening in our schools, we need to trust, encourage, and empower teachers to transform their practice," he said. "Too often, teachers are forced to teach inside the box and it can feel frustrating."

This video was posted by Spencer with his column.

You can read Spencer's entire column by clicking here.

Post your thoughts on the column in the comments section below.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Here Are Two Free Worksheets Featuring Christmas Writing Prompts!

If you're looking for some last-minute writing activities for students that are already in a "Christmas vacation" mindset, here's a nice solution: holiday-themed writing prompts!

Below are links to two writing prompt worksheets at Education.com, each with a Christmas theme that might inspire your students!

The first Christmas writing prompt worksheet (shown on the left in the picture above) asks students to define what the "holiday spirit" means to them. Click here to download it from Education.com.

The second worksheet (shown on the right in the picture above) can be particularly effective if your students are already experiencing winter weather or taking part in Christmas traditions. Click here to download it from Education.com.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Todd Bol, founder of the Little Free Library, has passed away

Todd Bol, the man who founded the Little Free Library and created a global movement, has died after a brief battle with cancer. He was 62.

Bol died October 18, weeks after learning he had pancreatic and peritoneal cancer and entered hospice care.

It should be no surprise that the Little Free Library was inspired by a teacher - Bol's mother. When she died, he honored her memory by taking wood from his old garage door and building a little schoolhouse. He placed it on a post in front of his house, and inside, he placed a handful of books which anyone could borrow on an honor system. Many even left their own books to share with others, and more Little Free Libraries began popping up around his home in Hudson, Wisconsin.

After word of his libraries hit the internet, the movement went viral. Nine years later, there are 75,000 Little Free Libraries in 88 countries around the world.

Shortly before he died, Bol gave one of his final interviews to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in which he reflected on his legacy and the Little Free Library's impact on the world.

“If I may be so bold, I’m the most successful person I know,” Bol told the Star Tribune. “I stimulate 54 million books to be read and neighbors to talk to each other. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the very definition of success. I wouldn’t switch my existence for Jeff Bezos or any of it.”

Even though Bol suffered from dyslexia, and had difficulty reading, his love for books has become a way for neighbors to bond in communities worldwide. The movement has even expanded, with some law enforcement using police cars as "bookmobiles," and service projects inspired by causes featured in some books.

Even as he faced his own mortality, he was looking to expand the movement's impact for years to come. “Wouldn’t it be cool if every Little Free Library could connect you with tutoring?” Bol said. “There are so many different ways of using Little Free Libraries as a spark within the community.”

The mission of the Little Free Library will continue despite Bol's death. Thirteen employees now work for the non-profit that runs the Little Free Library and connects with volunteer "stewards" who run libraries around the world. Todd's brother Tony is taking over as the "face" of the organization, and the chairwoman of the board is taking over day-to-day operations.

Our condolences go out to Bol's family, friends, and colleagues at The Little Free Library.

You can learn more about the Little Free Library organization by visiting their website at LittleFreeLibrary.org

Monday, September 24, 2018

On the Road to Recovery!

To All My Faithful Followers:
In February of 2018, I was diagnosed with an early stage of uterine cancer. At the time, the doctor was hopeful that surgery would resolve the issue without chemo. It turned out to be much more challenging than that. The surgery would reveal that I had a form of cancer called Synchronous Primary, which meant I had a second cancer growing. The cancer was ovarian, which did require chemo. The journey has been a battle, but with the Lord’s help I am finally on the road to recovery!
As I began to restore my health, I started looking for ways to live healthier and limit the toxins that enter my home. A friend told me about an online wellness shopping club. They sell over 400 products such as household cleaners, home fragrances, beauty care, food and beverages, and of course, vitamins & supplements. I have been so pleased with everything I have purchased from them.
As a preferred customer, not only do I get discounted rates but they also have a program in which I am also able to supplement my income. Which is definitely something all teachers could use, am I right?
If you are like me and are trying to recover from a health crisis or if you just want to make your life healthier, send me a message. I can send you the link, or just give you more information on it. Remember, this is a wellness shopping club, so there is no selling, start up costs or gimmicks. It’s just a great way to start buying healthier household products and rid your home and body of toxins. ~Lena   
Some of my favorite products!

Gets rid of those aches and pains.
Great for a midmorning snack!
Avoids harmful toxins on my face.
The best Kona coffee!
Keeps my feet silky smooth!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Tips for Parents: Bedtime Stories

Bedtime stories play an important role in a child’s development. Not only do bedtime stories create an opportunity for parents to bond with their children, having a reading routine at the same time every night can help them establish healthy sleep. Children with great sleep habits are more likely to retain what they’ve learned in school, grasp new material quickly, and think through problems creatively.
Researchers have found that children who were raised with a regular routine of listening to and reading bedtime stories have a higher-than-average rate of childhood literacy.

Monday, August 20, 2018

When students use their bodies in the learning process, it can have a big effect, even if it seems silly or unconnected to the learning goal at hand. Researchers have found that when students use their bodies while doing mathematical storytelling (like with word problems, for example), it changes the way they think about math. “We understand language in a richer, fuller way if we can connect it to the actions we perform,” said Sian Beilock, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago.
“Encouraging kids to use their hands brings out unsaid, and often correct ideas, which then makes them more open to instruction and more likely to learn.”
To read the complete article click the link below.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Differentiation is a method of teaching that recognizes that students learn in different ways. Carol Ann Tomlinson believes differentiation means giving students multiple options for taking in information. Author Laura Robb said "differentiating instruction means that you observe and understand the differences and similarities among students and use this information to plan instruction."

Here, we focus on a particular differentiated instructional strategy: Museum!

Students display (on the wall or on a table) their finished product, poster, project, etc. Half of the class stays with their work, ready to answer questions and share information. The other half of the class wanders around (as if in a museum) looking at the projects, asking questions, and listening to the information.
 Once adequate time is given, the two groups trade places and repeat the process.

Click here to purchase our Differentiated Instructional Strategies Posters and Reference Cards.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

STEM Lessons You Can Learn From Iconic Robots!

STEM lessons are more fun with famous robots from movies and pop culture!
Website: We Are Teachers
Article Posted by Stacy Tornio

6. C-3PO
What do these robots have in common?
Besides the big screen, they make great STEM lessons for your students! This article has gathered seven amazing robots from books, movies, and television that offer unique and creative teachable moments for your students.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Best Part of Me!

The Body of Christ
Display Created By: Cheryl Kulp
We currently live in a world of "selfies." Our children are raised with an "all about me" focus. If not careful, this type of thinking can quickly develop into self-centeredness.
This beautiful activity shifts the focus from ourselves to honoring God!
Students select their favorite body part (or the teacher can select one for them) and write a passage on how they can honor the Lord with that part of their body.
Recommended scriptures to use with this activity:  
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
  • Romans 12:4-5
  • Colossians14-18
  • Ephesians 1:20-23
1. Take an individual picture of one part of each student.
2. On a sheet of paper have each student write a passage on how they can honor the Lord with the selected body part.
3. Attach two sheets of construction paper lengthwise, then mount picture and written passage. 
4. Display on bulletin board.    

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