Easy School Bus Craft

Such an easy and adorable craft for the beginning of school!

We have been celebrating school buses all week in my preschool class.

That Wheels on the Bus song just never gets old! :-)

This little craft is so fun and easy.  I know your kids will enjoy it.

Supplies:
bus craft 1

Yellow, Black, and Blue construction paper

Glue

Scissors

Black Paint

Toilet Roll Tube

Directions:bus craft 2bus craft 3bus craft 8bus craft 4bus craft 5bus craft 9bus craft 7bus craft 6

That’s it!

I hope y’all are getting back into the Back to School groove without any bumps!

Happy School Bus Craft-ing! :-)

How to Handle Separation Anxiety in the Classroom

how to handle separation anxiety in the classroom (great tips for parents too!)

*Photo by 1313 Photography*

When I started teaching again I landed a position in the preschool department – teaching 2 year olds.

I thought – Hey!  I’m the mom of a 2 year old!  We’ll sing songs, change diapers, get stickers, take a nap…  This will be CAKE.

:-)

Then the first day happened and I had 50% of my little class crying hysterically – completely undone by the fact that they couldn’t be with their mamas (and I seriously could not blame them).

**If you had seen the emotional state of my classroom on the first day last year you would have wanted to be with your mother too.**

Did you know some kids can cry so hard they throw up?

Did you know some kids get aggressive and try to kick you?

Talk about getting thrown in the deep end.

As soon as pick-up time was over (and after I got done crying, myself), I made it my personal mission to be prepared with EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE trick in the book to talk a toddler down off the ledge of an emotional CRISIS.

And I have 8 NEW precious kiddos coming to my room on Tuesday so I need to be prepared for what’s coming.

((Hopefully what’s coming involves smiles and giggles instead of me ending the day with hearing loss and in the fetal position.))

  • PREP the parents in advance.  I send a letter home about separation anxiety before school begins.  You can find it HERE.  Getting parents on board with you is CRITICAL to helping develop a successful classroom routine and atmosphere.
  • Don’t let parents linger.  A quick good-bye is best!
  • Sing a song (start with the Wheels on the Bus and If You’re Happy and You Know It and go from there).
  • Blow bubbles together (it’s hard to cry when also trying to blow into something).
  • Let the child bring in a lovey or photo of their family from home to keep in their cubby.  I like how THIS LADY has a special shelf for framed photos of her students’ families.
  • Acknowledge the child’s feelings.  Say, “You miss your mommy,” then follow up with, “You will see her soon.”
  • Read books like The Kissing Hand or Llama, Lllama Misses Mama or Bye Bye Time that deal with the concept of being away from parents.
  • Hold the child and slowly count to 10 together.
  • Post a visual schedule in your room so the children can see how close they are to being with their mommies (or other caregiver) again.
  • ACT CONFIDENT – stay calm.  Keep your voice happy and upbeat.  If you start to feel otherwise, just imagine me looking you in the eye and saying, “You got this, girl!”
  • Give student a squishy ball or pom pom and let them put it in their pocket and squeeze it whenever they feel anxious.
  • Hang in there – it might take several weeks to build trust and rapport with the children.
  • Put on a fun CD and dance.
  • Make sure parents say goodbye before they leave – sneaking out is not helpful.
  • Don’t spend a lot of emotional energy on the anxious child – be loving and reassuring, but carry out daily plans as usual.  Occasionally give child a gentle pat on the head.  Eventually they should see that everyone else (including you) is having fun and they should too!
  • Give the child a calm down glitter jar.
  • Never send a crying child home – this reinforces the idea that if they cry, they will get their way.
  • With that said, keep in mind that some young children (especially 2-3 year olds) might not be ready for school yet.  Make sure you discuss this possibility with your school’s headmaster and the parents in extreme situations.
  • If other kids complain about the noisy child, encourage classroom unity by saying something like, “So-and-so is missing his mommy.  He needs a little extra time to learn how school works.  Let’s show him how much fun school is!”
  • Bring out a puppet.
  • Go outside and play with chalk or a water table.
  • Make that student a special helper – give him/her a specific task like setting out the puzzles, hanging up name cards, or passing out the crayons.
  • Have an established routine like a special hello song you can sing at the same time each morning – familiarity breeds comfort.
  • Pull out a pinwheel.
  • Have a basket of ‘back-up’ lovies (small stuffed animals, vibrating baby toys, etc.) for the children to hold.
  • Make sure you have a helper in your room the first week (if you do not already).
  • Tell them that you miss your mommy too and follow up with something positive like, “I’m so proud of you for being such a big boy/girl and coming to hang out with me today!”
  • See if Daddy can drop off the child instead of Mommy.
  • Reassure the parent!  Say things like, “This is TOTALLY normal.  Don’t worry about a thing!  We are going to have a great day!”
  • Have a Cuddle Bear Chair – set up a small chair with a stuffed bear.  Allow sad children to sit in the chair with the bear and tell the bear their problems.
  • Try using these cute No Cry GoodBye Punch Cards from HERE.
  • Suggest parents make a Family Photo Book like THIS ONE or a Family Necklace like THIS ONE for their child to bring to class.
  • Have the parent draw a heart on the child’s hand like THIS.
  • Make a Kiss Box.
  • Play with SHAVING CREAM (this is such irresistible fun!).

Even with all the tricks, I still had a student that cried every. single. morning he came to school.

For the entire year.

On the morning of the last day I gripped the steering wheel and prayed in the car, “Lord?  Could I just have one day?  PLEASE?”

And sure enough – on the last day of school this precious little boy did not cry.

So maybe that is our biggest tool when it comes to teaching children who struggle with separation anxiety -

PRAYER.

And possibly a nice glass of Merlot.

:-)

- Julie

Easy Teacher Gift for the First Day of School

easy back to school teacher gift

Eeeeeeek!

I start school tomorrow!

I cannot even believe it.  I will be working full-time, ladies.  Full-time.

I am fairly certain that I will never have time to make dinner, clean the house, or pluck my eyebrows again.

But I am really excited about my new class of 2-year-olds and my new classroom has been coming along nicely (more on that to come!).  I have been praying for my precious students by name for the last 2 weeks.

As the Back to School season fast approaches and your little ones are getting their school supplies, new backpacks, and lunch boxes ready, here’s a little extra something to help you remember the new teacher on the first day.

:-)

easy back to school gift for the teacherPrint the FREE Printable tag (see below) and attach a cute little nail polish bottle with a Glue Dot or double-sided tape.

**I found these adorable little nail polishes by elf at Target.**

Teachers like to have nice nails while they’re grading papers.

((Makes things more interesting!))

Or I suppose if you are a preschool teacher like me, we like to have nice nails while we are playing with Play-Doh and changing dirty diapers.

:-)

CLICK HERE for your FREE Printable Back to School Teacher Gift Tag!

Happy Back to School Teacher Gift-ing!

*You can find more easy Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas HERE.*

13 Ways to Make Spelling Practice Fun

When I taught second grade, one of my students’ homework responsibilities included practicing their spelling words every evening in order to prepare for a test on Friday.

Often times the parents would ask me for ideas on how to make spelling practice more fun.  I mean, a kid can sit and copy words a bazillion times for only so long before they start coming up with other ways to entertain themselves with a paper and pencil. #paperairplanes #origami #tictactoe #doodling #pencilchiselsintothesurfaceofyourbeautifuldiningroomtable

My friend, Bernadette, over at Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, created a list of 75 ways to make spelling practice awesome (you can see the whole amazing article HERE) and I fell in LOVE with every single idea.

She let me choose my favorite 13 so that I could create a fun ‘Pin’-able image for you to refer to when your Happy Buddy is about to pull out his hair you’re in a pinch. :-)

I hope you like it!15 Ways to Make Spelling Homework FUN! Such easy and cute ideas!

And I hope it helps!

Happy Making Spelling Practice Fun-ing! :-)

*Salt tray image is from Nurture Store and their awesome post featuring 10 other creative spelling practice tips!*

10 Ways to Bless Your Child’s Teacher

The Happy Buddy’s classroom is straight across the hall from my classroom.

His teacher lets me pop in and give him a snuggle whenever I need one.

Already we have been so blessed by her faithfulness to provide a loving, nurturing and Christ-centered environment for our boy!

It’s so important to establish a positive relationship with your child’s teacher.  Not just because they invest a whole heaping ton of their lives in our kids, but also because when we are confident in the teacher, our children will be as well.

And that makes for the foundation of a great school year.

Here are some little ways you and your Happy Buddy can bring a little joy into their teacher’s life in the coming months…BLESS THE TEACHER

Happy Blessing Your Teacher-ing! :-)

*Check out all of my other Teacher Appreciation Ideas by scrolling through HERE.*

Back to School Chalkboard Inspirations

back to school chalkboard inspirations

Chalkboards are notorious for being tools of discipline.

Whether you had to write the same sentence 6,000 times or stand in the schoolyard clapping chalkboard erasers, these popular tools of education have gotten a bit of a bad rep.

For me, during Circle Time in second grade I could not resist the girl that sat behind me who wanted to play with my hair.

**This is still a weakness of mine.  In fact, when I was teaching my own 2nd graders, if my students wanted Free Time all they had to do was send a kid to start playing with my hair and BOOM.  Lesson plans out the window.**

Well, on that fateful day when I was 7, the teacher caught us and made us write our names on the chalkboard as a punishment.

I’ll never forget that long, shame-filled walk to the chalkboard.

Thankfully, I found a few bloggers who know how to rock the chalkboard and make it an absolutely essential (and positive) part of the Back to School season.

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Another great teacher gift idea with FREE Printable Chalkboard Tag from The Crafted Sparrow.

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Your Happy Buddy can stay on top of assignments and responsibilities with this amazing Dry Erase School Chore Chart FREE Printable from The 36th Avenue.

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If you are still counting down to the first day (I am a firm believer that school really should’t begin until after Labor Day) then celebrate with this adorable Chalkboard Countdown Chain FREE Printable from Leslie Nash Designs.

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Get ready to rock your Happy Buddy’s lunch box by painting the inside of the lid with chalkboard paint like Me and My Bucket.

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Throw a cute Back to School Breakfast with these FREE Printables from Tater Tots and Jello.

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Capture those First Day of School Photos with these Years of School Chalkboard Signs from That’s What Che Said.

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These Chalkboard S’mores from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons are so easy and sure to score some brownie points with your Happy Buddy’s teacher!

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Transform your plain sandwich boxes like Through the Eyes of the Mrs. with a small bit of chalkboard paint and write a new message on their container everyday!

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Find these sweet FREE Printable Chalkboard Love Notes from Bloom Designs.

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Finally, whip together a couple of these awesome and easy Chalkboard Placemats from Giggles Galore for a little mealtime excitement!

After this post I think my chalkboard wounds have been healed. :-)

Happy Back to School Chalkboard Inspirations-ing!

EASY Back to School Gift Idea – FREE Printable!

super cute and super easy (CHEAP) back to school gift idea for teachers, classmates, administration, etc.There are SO MANY adorable Back to School FREE Printables out there – EXHIBIT A.

But I had to add one of my own to the mix!!

Head on over to the Dollar Tree, my friends, and grab a bag of chocolate Riesen candies.back to school printable2

Then attach my FREE Printable tag and you are good to go.

back to school printableI may or may not have made 50+ of these babies for the first day of school and snuck them into everyone’s mailboxes in the teacher’s lounge. :-)

Get your FREE Printable Back to School Gift Tag HERE.

Happy Back to School Gift Idea-ing! :-)