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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Monday, October 28, 2019

Good Bye Wish Bracelet / Hello 20% OFF SALE

Back in July of 2018, I attended the Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) conference in Nashville. While there, my friend Kathy Simpson of Sunshine and Lollipops gave me a "wish bracelet."

#TpT, #TeachersPayTeachers, #iteach
Although I must admit, when I got it, the star was not tarnished and worn.

I made a wish that I would hit a monthly sales goal for my Teachers Pay Teachers store. With an overabundance of confidence, I figured I'd be meeting that goal come September or October, 2018. Little did I know, I'd be wearing a tacky piece of string with a tarnished star for 15 months straight! The goal was a bit unrealistic in the short run, but I am happy to say I made goal, today!

The bracelet is supposed to fall off and then the wish comes true. Not exactly how it went. First, I reached my goal, and then I cut it off.

#teachers, #education, #wish

Notice the "Daily Goals" book? That is from another friend named Cindy Martin who has a wonderful store called Teacher's Brain. She's given me the motivation to keep working on my store to achieve my goals with her Confidence Tool Box.
                                                                                                                             The bottom line: 

#iteachgifted #iteach345, #edu
Now, this bracelet is gone!

To celebrate, my entire store is 20% off for, today only. Be sure to check your wishlists to see if there is anything you want at a reduced price.

Woo hoo! I feel like I've waited forever for this day, so please stop by Catch My Products to help me celebrate.

TpT store, #sale

Sunday, October 27, 2019


I love Halloween. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my love, so my advice for this time of year is to proceed with caution. Early in my teaching career, I got into trouble. My first grade class and I made a witch's brew. It contained a lot of spicy good ingredients like cranberry juice and cinnamon sticks, but I went too far with my class.

     For example, I said, "Here is cranberry juice . . . or is it blood?"
     The kids all giggled.
     Then I said, "Here are cinnamon sticks . . . or are they bones?"
     Once again, the room echoed with the giggles of small children.

However, when the kids got home, their parents weren't laughing, and I was called under the carpet! This was over thirty years ago, at a time when few thought to question the fun of Halloween. Today, making a Witch's Brew would only be worse. So before celebrating witches and goblins in your classroom, you must make sure the principal and school supports this. Many Halloween parties have been replaced with Harvest parties, which could also spell a good time.

Halloween has certainly changed in other ways, too. Years ago, our doorbell used to ring nonstop with trick-or-treaters from the wee little ones to the teenagers. We'd make sure to buy lots of candy so that we wouldn't run out. In fact, once my brother ran out of candy, so he gave each trick or treater a can of Coke. This was a big hit because the same kids kept coming back.

Last year, we only had one trick-or-treater, so I didn't buy as much candy, this year. I hope we don't run out. I bought a six pack of small Cokes in case we do.

If you're looking for classroom fun, I have Halloween resources and Fall Resources. Here are a few possible buys for your kid's. They will love these!

#iteach123 #iteach345, #teach

Halloween Activities for Primary Students

#kids, #teacherspayteachers #edu

Halloween Logic Puzzles and Brain Teasers
#TpT, #iteach, #education

Autumn Logic Puzzles

I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

Now, since it's time for Musical Monday Moves Me, here are some fun Halloween tunes.

Here's a fun song from a fun movie! GhostBusters

I love the spooky music that goes with this video. HA! HA! I recently watched Halloween, with a young Jamie Lee Curtis, for the first time. This is a hoot.

For this last song, I figured I needed to post the entire sketch in order for you to appreciate the song. Plus, this was my son's, daughter-in-law's, and grand dog's Halloween costumes. Any questions?

Halloween Lessons and music


And finally, here is my very own Halloween commercial, designed by my son. You'll be sure to get a chuckle.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Red Ribbon Week

A red ribbon to encourage kids to remain drug free
Ribbon by, Kate Hadfield Designs
Red Ribbon Week falls during the last full week of October and has been a tradition since 1988 to teach students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. This annual tradition is marked by school assemblies, 5K races, bracelets, and other trinkets to remind students about the dangers of using drugs. Most importantly is a pledge which students sign to agree to be drug free!

I was once a sponsor of the Pride Team at our K-8 school. Upper grade Pride students were typically the middle school leaders. They were the kind of kids who could step into an elevator, face the back wall, and have all the other kids follow their stance. They would sing and put on skits to remind all to be drug free. Also, several of these kids attended national Pride meetings.

I used to commemorate Red Ribbon Week with a door design. I would post pictures of witches and ghosts at the top and drugs on the bottom, "Witches and ghosts give me a chill, but DRUGS are really scary!" I would also have my kids sign pledges promising to remain drug free and hang these on the wall. Did this work? With some, maybe even most, but not all, for sadly, I do have a few former students who have died from drug overdose.

To help you teach drug awareness, here is a free product from my store that I hope you will download and leave feedback!

#TpT product for anti-drug #iteach

Click HERE for FREE Red Ribbon Week Reading Passage.

And now, since it's Monday, here are my Monday Music Moves Me songs.
They are all about anti-drug topics, so have a listen to:

Neil Young, "The Needle and The Damage Done"

Next up, Lynyrd Skynyrd, "That Smell"

And finally, here is Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Under the Bridge," about Heroin addiction.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

October Research

When a new month arrived, I'd find a lot of tidbits about the month through research. Why not have your kids research people born in October? They may choose a celebrity or famous person and write a report about him or her.

In searching October birthdays, I found the following people:
  • Buster Keaton
  • John Lennon
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Molly Pitcher
  • Bela Lugosi
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Mahalia Jackson
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Emily Post

Perhaps your kids don't want to research these "old" people, even though it might be a great challenge for them. If that's the case how about researching the current celebrities listed below? If you're over 30, you've most likely never heard of most of these kids, but your students probably know them. Most are Gen Z stars through youtube or young pop culture.
  • Brie Larson
  • Alex Guzman
  • PewDiePie
  • Cardi B
  • SSSniperWolf
  • Queen Naija

Famous people born in October are not the only research possibilities. How about looking into famous historical events? Your kids could research the following:
  • 1636 - Harvard was founded
  • 1793 - Queen Marie Antoinette was beheaded
  • 1871 - The Great Fire of Chicago started
  • 1881 - shoot-out at the O.K. Corral
  • 1884 - Greenwich began universal standard time zones
  • 1908 - Henry Ford's Model T first went on sale
  • 1927 - First full length "talkie" film, The Jazz Singer, opened
  • 1929 - stock market crashed starting the Great Depression
  • 1946 - Twelve Nazi leaders sentenced to death in Nuremberg, Germany
  • 1957 - Russians launched Sputnik, first Satellite in space
  • 1967 - Thurgood Marshall sworn in as first African American on the Supreme Court
  • 1973 - Yom Kippur War against Israel started when Egypt & Syria attacked

Find products related to October below:

                                          The Great Chicago Fire historical fiction story

Also, find enough Fall Activities to keep your kids engaged and challenged throughout the month of October.

Autumn activities in multiple subjects to engage and challenge kids

I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

Monday, October 7, 2019

October Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is here and definitely a good thing to teach in the classroom. I'll never forget when my son came home from a fire assembly worried about being on the second floor of our house. We bought him a flexible ladder to keep by his window, and that helped him to sleep well. That ladder has never been used in over twenty years, but it still sits below his upstairs window. I'm just thankful he never used it to escape out of the house during his teenage years. At least we think he didn't . . .

My best year in teaching fire prevention was when we entered our city's video contest. My kids had a blast making a movie about fire prevention. It won a prize and was shown to the school, so it may be worthwhile for you to search the local fire department to see if any contests are in place. If they aren't, there is nothing wrong with putting on a skit for another class. The kids will love it and learn about staying safe, too.

Chicago Fire historical fiction story & questions

Also, find enough Fall Activities to keep your kids engaged and challenged throughout the month of October.

I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

Now, for a song!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Varying Sentence Structure

We've all seen our students write stories that begin with the same subject in each sentence.

chocolate bar #writing #teaching

                               He went to the store.
                               He bought a candy bar.
                               He ate it on the way home.


Today's focus is varying sentence structure in writing, which can also be called using syntactic variety.

First off, if the subject is the same, students can combine the sentence into one sentence with series commas.

He went to the store, bought a candy bar, and ate it on the way home.

That fixes the feel of being in a car where the driver constantly slams on the breaks. Of course, this sentence has other problems, but if you've been following my writing articles, you know what to do!

Syntactic variety not only means joining sentences for smoother prose but also sprinkling short sentences along with the long ones to make for a better sounding passage.
writing about a kid in love with chocolate
In Love with Chocolate!

When Malcolm entered the Sweetie Pie candy shop, he spotted his favorite chocolate bar. The dark chocolate Millie bar, complete with marshmallows, almonds, and honey waited for the taking. Yum! Unfortunately, the Millie is the most expensive candy bar in the shop. $3.45 for one delightful taste. It was worth it! He carefully dug a five dollar bill out of his pocket and handed it to the waiting clerk. Before he could step out of the store, Malcolm had already ripped the wrapper. The sweet chocolate sloshed around in his mouth providing ecstasy!

Notice the shorter sentences sandwiched between the longer ones. Also, the sentences do not all start with "he" or use the same structure. That is syntactic variety. To teach this skill, have your students play with simple sentences or ideas. Tell them to include an interjection (Wow! Yay! Yikes!) somewhere between their long sentences. This technique will make their passages shine.

If you are interested in teaching students to vary their sentence structure, below is a link to a PowerPoint lesson that does just that.

lesson on teaching kids to vary sentence structure

I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

I hope you've enjoyed my series on writing skills. Tune in next month where I will provide guidance on things to do in October.

Thanks to Kate Hadfield Designs for the clipart.