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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"

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Teacher Help

Cartoon about social distancing
Ron Leishman's art reminds us
to keep six feet apart!
As COVID 19 sets in, some teachers have been asked to teach remotely. Wow! That sounds like quite a challenge. Furthermore, I was dis-hearted to learn about a Florida teacher who was expected to come in to work, with the entire staff, to train on how to teach from a distance. That sounds about as right as the carpet shower on television.

Another tough situation is the poorer school districts where the kids don't have computers to learn from. In our city, many of the kids receive free breakfast and lunch. Without school, there is fear that some kids could go hungry. Luckily our city is back on track to feed these homebound students. The program was put on jeopardy when a worker tested positive for the new Coronavirus.

free resource to teach kids how to solve logic puzzles
Kids LOVE logic puzzles!
To be helpful, I'm linking to my many free resources HERE. Whether you're a teacher trying to teach remotely or a parent who needs something for your kids to do, hopefully you can find something you need.

If you are looking for paid resources, I have plenty of those, too. My store has resources for everyone K - 12 in multiple subject areas. Recently, I've sold quite a few directed lessons in PowerPoint. With these you don't have to be a teacher to guide your kids. Here is a link to my PowerPoint Lessons. I only have 370, though.

                           Here's an inference lesson for 3rd - 5th graders.

Reading passages for middle school students about youtubers
High Interest Reading for Middle School Kids
Printables have been popular, too, especially my Reading Passages. But mostly, I want to give y'all a virtual (((hug))). One way or another, we will get through this! If there is anything you need for kids, feel free to email me at jlanskyATcomcastDOTcom. I'm ready to help!

Catch My Products
The Gifted Department Store

Monday Music Moves Me is About Walking

Since I live in Memphis, this is where I walk. Here's a song about it.

Here's another song about going for a walk. Ready to go with The Brady kids?

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Giveaway for Teachers and Teacher Sellers!

🍎❤️🍎Teachers, Homeschooling Parents and TpT Authors, we are giving away this BIG Bostitch laminator. It's the perfect time to win this to use for all of your at home teaching or product creation!

This Big Bostitch Laminator is a FABULOUS resource to have at school or at home. It heats up super fast, laminates fast and will handle a lot of big jobs that your small, handy laminator just won’t. And… we are giving it away!

It's EASY to enter, but you must have a Pinterest account to do so.

The winner will receive:
• Big Bostitch Laminator - $100
• 9 X 11 200 Letter Size Laminating Pouches - $18
• 12 X 18 100 Big Laminating Pouches - $38
• KaBoom Colored Card Stock (40) - $9
• Kaboom Colored Paper (100) – $16

Enter the Rafflecopter here:

Our Terms:

You must live within the continental United States.
You must provide your shipping address if chosen as the winner.
We will check to see if you have followed and pinned.
This giveaway is in no way associated with Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Are you Stuck at Home?


This month, I've been blogging about classroom community, but ironically, many of you are not in the classroom due to concerns over the Coronavirus. Some used to say it was overhyped, but not anymore, do they? How else does the world stop the spread of a pandemic if not for social distancing? I believe the entire country needs to shut down, NOW, before this runs rampart in the midwest and other lightly hit areas. On another note, my husband and at least one of my kids is upset with me for giving two ghost tours, over a week ago, before our little adventure shut down for the month. My daughter reminded me that I'm over 55 years of age; however, I've been in great control of my Diabetes, recently by dropping almost twenty pounds and keeping my sugars at ideal levels.

Hand Washing

I thought I knew all about this topic as I sang "Got a fever of 103˚" in my head while washing, but there is a lot that I just learned. I never washed around my thumbs or between the fingers. This is really important, too. If you scrub every area of your hands front and back, it really does take a good twenty seconds. I had just been scrubbing the palms repeatedly rather than the entire area.


One of my favorite things to do at home is to turn on YouTube and dance to Zumba tunes. I'll post my favorite Zumba dances in my Musical Monday Moves Me post, so you can join in. I'm also trying to eat healthy, via Noom. My 19 pound weight loss is due to enrolling in this program and becoming more focused on how I'm eating. My mind has been more at the table as I enjoy each bite and am better able to cue in to signs telling me that I'm full. If you want to join, I'll drop my referral code that gives you a free trial and 20% off. I think I get an Amazon card from it but am not sure.  Join Noom Here.

What to Do with Your Class

If you teach high school, you should take a look at this: High School Reading Passages Bundle. Find SIX highly engaging reading passages with questions to keep your kids learning!

If you're wondering what to do with your class while out on break, I have an idea. I wrote a book called, MRS. ZIMMERMAN'S DONUTS, which is a middle grade novel about bullying. You may purchase or read about it here.

#teacherspayteachers #TpT #iteachLA

I would love for you to read my book, and if you think it would be good for your kids, I'm working on a book study to go along with it! By buying the book study, that will contain the book, you will have permission to send it to your class. That's a phenomenal deal for a class set! If you are like me, you read books before assigning them. If you want to get just the book to do that, you can. If you decide to buy the study, TpT will refund you the cost of the book if you ask. 

Monday Music Moves Me

As promised, here are some of my favorite Zumba dances that I do from the comfort of my bedroom while in my pajamas. The dogs watch but tend to fall asleep rather than join me. 

First up, I love A. Sulu and dance to a lot of his tunes. He always seems to get me to sweat, too. Here he is dancing to Marvin Gaye.

I also love this one! I especially like the smiling lady to the left of the lead dancer. She looks like she's having a blast and as a result motivates me!

With this post, I could go on and on, since I dance to multiple songs on any given day, but I will stop with Mambo Number 5. I've danced to a couple of versions to Lou Bega's song, but this is my favorite! I also think of my sweet Erica who is by my side.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Encourage Kids with Specific Messaging & Animal Music

Specific Praise

We all, most likely, grew up wanting to hear our parents and teachers tell us we were good, but maybe that was not the best thing to hear. What happened when the adults forgot to tell us that we were good? Did we automatically think we were bad? To be honest, I can't remember back that far, can you? Either way, ever wonder what "good" actually means? It's a rather nonspecific term, which means it's much better to zero in on the behavior you like in a kid and want to see, again.

article about how to praise kids in classroom and home
Art by Sarah Pecorino
As a teacher, this is where the specific praise can be helpful. Instead of telling the child, "You're so smart!" focus on the skill completed or the effort involved. "I can tell you worked hard to figure that out!"

Instead of saying, "You were good at recess, today," say, "I like the way you invited Charlotte to play with you. It must be tough for her being the new girl, but you made her feel welcome!"

These sorts of specific praises are great for teaching kids what you want to see them accomplish. And as we know, kids do better with praise than criticism.

But do you need to praise after everything they do? No. After all, if you constantly praise kids, the words lose their meaning. Save the praise for something special. Praise regularly but not the same praise every time they finish. After all, too much of a good thing can be bad.

Monday Music Moves Me is for the Animals!

First up is Maroon 5 with "Animals." I usually like to post the original video, but it was kinda gross, so here's the Saturday Night Live version.

Next up is a song I remember from elementary school, but certainly not this version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

Finally, I know I've posted this one before but it's good enough to post twice. Here is Harry Nilsson with "The Puppy Song." They are so cute!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Stop the Braggart, Win TpT Money, and Monday Music Moves Me

Stop the Braggart!

Although I'm a firm believer in freedom of speech, certain things should not be said in order for a classroom to have positive energy. As the adult in the room, you have the power to curb those words or phrases that may be hurtful to others. The obvious "no nos" are the direct insults given to fellow classmates, but some words can serve as indirect insults that are less recognizable for what they truly are.

Having taught gifted and talented kids for thirty years, I'd often come across that braggadocious child who always wanted to flaunt his or her high IQ. It's great that they see themselves as smart, but do they really if they must constantly remind you of this?

#iteachtoo #teachers, article about bragging
Art by Ron Leishman
mean words are hurtful #teachingtips
Art by Ron Leishman

I never allowed children to shout, "This is easy!" Maybe the work is easy for them, in which case I'd encourage him or her to tell me privately because I can always make things tougher. But what about the kid sitting next to the braggart? Image being the child struggling over the assignment only to hear the bright kid boast about how easy the assignment is for him or her. Although this  comment may seem innocent, it's not. It can be hurtful to several kids!

Furthermore, shouting, "This is easy" in a classroom can also lead to a bit of social suicide. Just watch the other kids roll their eyes at the bright child's announcement and you know he or she won't be the first child picked at recess. It's important that these students understand that not only is their bragging hurtful to others but also harming him or herself.

I've also heard teachers comment about something being easy. My answer to that is "Don't!" You never know who may struggle with the lesson, actually, you probably do. That child feels awful when they can't figure out the lesson that you called "easy." I may sometimes tell kids that what we are doing is tough and good for you for working hard to figure it out, but to label something as easy serves no good purpose.

teachers can make hurtful comments unintentionally
Art by Ron Leishman

See you next week when we'll discuss ways to encourage kids to do well.

$100 TpT Gift Card Giveaway!

Ends 03/13/20!

                  #giveaway Enter to win $100 from TpT

Raffle CLOSES:  03/13/20
Prize: $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card 
You can win a Teachers pay Teachers shopping spree of $100!  

If you'd like to receive freebies along with my posts, sign up for my email list! Although my email posts are similar to my blog posts, people on the email list often receive free resources with my articles. You can, too, simply by signing up to have my emails delivered. Plus, by signing up, you get the free product pictured below. So what have you got to lose? Nothing!

#Free #Teacher #lessons

Want to teach students about kindness? Click HERE to find a helpful bundle on Character Education. Guess what? It costs less than $5 because two of the resources in the bundle are FREE!

I'm also excited to have posted one of my novels on Teachers Pay Teachers. It's a story about bullying. Check out MRS. ZIMMERMAN'S DONUTS, HERE!

Novel or ebook about bullying behaviors

Monday Music Moves Me

Since my post was about the braggart, here is Carly Simon with, You're so Vain!

Next up is Taylor Swift and Brendon Uri from Panic at the Disco with Me.

And finally, here's what happens when the guy is not right. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Want to Win TpT or Amazon Money?

Ready to win?

I am currently involved in a contest giveaways. Share pins to win a choice of $40 to either TpT or Amazon.

Good Luck!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Multiplying Positive and Negative Integers

A Negative Times A Positive is Negative

When it came to deciphering negative and positive integers, the bottom line from my student days was always, "Remember the rule." This can be helpful when problem solving but understanding is always better.

Let's think about a negative number multiplied by a positive number. The rule is that a negative times a positive is negative. Great, but what exactly does this mean? Did anyone watch the Super Bowl? Okay, maybe that's a dumb question, but here is a way to use the Super Bowl as an example of multiplying negative and positive numbers.

Supposed you bet your friend $5 that San Francisco would win the Super Bowl. Guess what? You lost that bet, but since you bet one friend $5, that's all you lost. 

1 X $5 = $5
or since you are losing $5 call it,
1 X (-5) = -5

Had you made this bad bet with three friends, you'd be out three times the amount because . . .

3 X (-5) = -15

A Negative Times a Negative is Positive

But what if you won that bet? In that case, you are taking away the possibility of losing $5, so . . .

(-3) X (-5) = 15

-3 is the amount of times you could have paid a bad bet if you made one, 
while -5 represents the amount you could have lost.

Therefore, congrats! You made $15!
This worksheet is part of my Positive and Negative Integers Bundle. Sorry but, $5 is a little more than you would need to pay to buy this resource. Not a bad price for all that you get!

Next time you want to teach that a negative times a positive is a negative, try explaining this to your kids It's certainly better than telling them to just memorize the rules.

Blog post with Teaching tips for multiplying positive and negative integers #TpT

If you'd like to receive freebies along with my posts, sign up for my email list! Although my email posts are similar to my blog posts, people on the email list often receive free resources with my articles. You can, too, simply by signing up to have my emails delivered. Plus, by signing up, you get the free product pictured below. So what have you got to lose? Nothing!

#Free #Teacher #lessons

See you next week when we look at ways to make the classroom a kinder place.

Monday Music Moves Me

This week's theme is songs with names in the title, so I'm starting with a song by Kiss that is dramatically different from any other song this band has ever written, "Beth."

My next song was sung at the first concert I ever attended at Red Rocks in Colorado. I've always loved, "Amie" by Pure Prairie League!

Finally, this is an old song that we always sang to our daughter, Judy. Plus, it is totally goofy! Please listen to "Judy in Disguise" by John Fred and His Playboy Band.

Free tips for teaching middle school math number operations with integers