The Last Month of School

During the last month of school you might experiencing several different feelings, I normally fall somewhere among these four feelings:
-I am SO sad to leave my amazing group of kids.
- I am so exhausted I can barely hold on the last couple of weeks.
- My creative juices are gone.
- I get this random burst of energy to try something new.

I have some tips that will keep your spirits high and make the last couple of weeks a little easier for you.  Get ready, these are RANDOM!

Tip #1- Buy some new fun pens.

For some reason at the end of the year I can't find any of my pens.  I have tons of grading to do, end of the year letters to write, things to organize, lists to make, and all I can find are gross pens that barely have any ink!  Buying a fresh new pack of pens helps that end of the year paperwork look a little more pretty and makes me write with a better attitude.  I know you know what I'm talking about!  Teachers LOVE pens.

Tip #2- Try out a new unit or lesson plan in your classroom.

The end of the year can be so exhausting, tying anything new or pulling out an old idea can seem daunting.  I haven't taught about community helpers in a couple of years and I decided to pull out my Community Helper Pack to do next week.  Doing something I haven't taught in couple years is exciting, energizes me, and gets me excited for the week of fun ahead!

Tip #3- Make your room smell yummy.

Having a happy scent in the room brightens my spirits and makes me happy!  I found some wall plugs at Bath & Body Works that are delightful!  You should check with your school to make sure they are allowed before you use them.  ;)

Tip #4- Get yourself a treat before work.

My Starbucks game is going strong.  I am trying not to go every morning before work, but I definitely go on Monday mornings as a pick me up after having the weekend off, and also on Friday!  It's the little things people! ( This is random, but I found this article on POPSUGAR that shares 8 things you never knew about Starbucks. )

Tip #5- Slowly start packing up your classroom.

I slowly start packing up my classroom over the last month of school.  I start organizing, tossing, packing things that I used in the fall and work my way towards the end of the year.  Every school is different as far as the procedure for packing up at the end of the year.  Most schools I have worked at have made me put everything in the cupboards but nothing can be left out during the summer.  This requires time to organize the cupboards so everything can fit inside once it is time to check out for the end of the year.  I don't put anything away that we use on a daily basis, and the walls stay decorated with student work.  That all comes down the last day.  But behind the scenes I am getting ready for that last day so everything can be put away quickly.  

I try and buy clear storage containers so I can easily see where everything is!  I label the outside, but it goes quicker if I can scan really quick and see what is inside each bin. :)

Good luck with your last few weeks of school!  I have four more left and then I will be hanging with my little man all summer!

May The Fourth Be With You

My husband is a HUGE Star Wars fan.  I have just recently watched all of the movies since we have gotten married (huge wife points?!?)  May 4th is known as Star Wars Day.  I made some pencil buddies to celebrate THE FORCE.  

I found these stackable crayons in the party section at Target.  They are $3 for a pack of 10.  I was originally looking for Star Wars pencils in the dollar section, but the Target close to me was sold out!

I am excited about the stackable crayons because the look like lightsabers! 

I hope you can use these with your students!  Grab this free pencil buddy in my Teachers Pay Teacher's store!

And remember... May the FOURTH be with you.

Mr. Helmet Head

Being a mom is surprisingly difficult.  I always heard people say how challenging motherhood is...they were right.  I want to share a little bit about our experience of deciding to get Harrison a Doc Band (helmet) to correct his flat head.

First of all, I want to start out with saying Harry is perfectly healthy.  We noticed around 2 months that the back of his head was extremely flat.  Long story short, at 6 months we went and saw a specialist and learned that his case was "severe."  The front of his forehead was super wide, and the back of his head was as flat as a board.  Medically, there was no danger in keeping his head the way it was.  Cosmetically, it could be a nuisance if he ever played a sport that needed a helmet, if he goes bald, or ever wants to keep his hair short or shaved.  After many discussions we decided to move forward with getting the helmet.

The helmet works by maintaining the head shape he currently has, and then it guides future growth in certain areas.  (I'm not a doctor, but that is the simplest way to put it.)  The helmet is custom designed for his head and every two weeks they shave down the inside to guide his growth.  Harrison is the most easy going baby and seriously doesn't even know the helmet is there.  I am so thankful that it was a smooth transition of for him.

He has been wearing the helmet for about a month and we are overjoyed with his progress.  We can already see growth in that short amount of time.

It was for me leading up to getting the helmet, and the first week with him in it.  It is kind of embarrassing to share this, but I really want to be open in case there is any parent out there that feels or will feel the same things that I did.  I will start with this:  I am a perfectionist.  I know Harry is healthy and that is all I needed to focus on and be thankful for; that would have been the "perfect" outlook and response.   But I had all of these other "imperfect" feelings that made me feel so guilty and ashamed!

The week leading up to him getting the helmet I was a total mess.  I was crying, mourning, dreading the fact that my little boy would look different and that I couldn't kiss the top of his head any time I wanted to.  We had to shave his head because they needed a perfect mold of his head (they did this by taking 360 photos of his head) and his gorgeous, long hair wouldn't give us an accurate read of his head shape.  That was a really traumatic day.  Everywhere I went people would comment on his hair, every picture I posted was full of comments on his rare full head of hair.  His hair was so much of my outward identity of him, so it was really sad shaving it off!  I know that is so silly, but it was something I had to mourn.  I was sad that from months 6-10 some important memories would be captured with a helmet on.  I didn't want his first crawling and walking photos to be of him in a helmet.

Once we got the helmet I had another adjustment phase I needed to deal with.  The first couple of days, every time I looked at him all I saw was his big white helmet.  When we took him out, people would just stare.  I felt embarrassed because I didn't know how to talk with strangers.  Was I supposed to comment on his helmet?  Was I supposed to ignore the fact people were staring?  I had all of these thoughts while feeling so guilty that I felt any of these superficial things, because at the end of the day he is healthly and that was all I was supposed to focus on.  I also felt guilty because medically he didn't NEED the helmet, so we brought this decision to put him in the helmet upon ourselves, so I wasn't allowed to be upset.

I reached out to a girlfriend from college whose son was also in a helmet.  They used the same company we did and so she was full of information.  They actually live 4 hours north, but she would drive down every other week for his appointment just to use this company.  She was really encouraging, letting me know that she felt all of the same things.  She promised me that it would get easier and that I wouldn't even notice the helmet after a couple of weeks.  She was 100% right.  After about 2 weeks, the helmet just meshed into our routine.  He is allowed one helmet-free hour a day and thats when we have bath time, cuddle time, and I can snap all of the photos my heart desires.

Again, I understand that many moms have serious problems and issues to mourn.  I just wanted to share incase any parents out there ever have the same situation as we do and need some encouragement that it DOES get better and easier.  Now Mr. Man is rocking his R2D2 helmet stickers like he's an official cast member.

Happy 8 months baby boy!  Cheers to sunshine, long naps, and a round head!

To learn more about the treatment we are using on Harry you can visit Cranial Technologies.

Earth Day Ideas for Kindergarten

Earth Day is one of my favorite topics to teach because you can incorporate science into math and language arts!  I want to share with you some of the things that I have done in my Kindergarten classroom to get the students excited about taking care of the Earth!

Here I am on Monday, ready for Earth Week Day.  My favorite part is that my husband didn't even ask any questions when I asked him to take a picture of me with my coffee and a bag of dirt (at 6:30am).  #instagramhusband

You know that yummy treat using pudding, crushed Oreos, and gummy worms?  Well, I found a book that would be ADORABLE with the treat and wanted to add a little tree into our cup of dirt.  Here are all of my supplies.

I came across this book, We  Planted a Tree, and thought it would be perfect for Earth Day because it talks about all of the wonderful things trees give us.  I addition to this adorable book I FOUND CLIP ART THAT MATCHES THE TREE!!!!  They are made by Krista Wallden, you can find them in her Easter Buddies clip art pack. I decided to hunt for brown spoons to match the trunk and found them at Party City.  To be honest, I haven't given my class a sugary treat like this in a long time.  My school doesn't do birthday treats, so this was so exciting for them.  

After reading several Earth Day books, we made this Earth Day flip craft to share one way we can help the earth.  I have it as a FREEBIE for you HERE!  I also included lined paper that doesn't have the sentence stem.

Our next task was to plant sunflower seeds.  I soaked the seeds in water over night to speed up the growing process once they are placed in the dirt.  We put the dirt in a cup and planted 3 seeds each!

Our little garden gnome from Target looks over our seeds while we are at home!  The students got the biggest kick out of him!  I have the cups on their desk for Open House.  We planted them about two weeks before Open House with hopes of them sprouting so the parents can see!

We also planed lima beans using a baggie, wet paper towel, and baggie topper!  (Grab the topper in the Earth Day freebie!)  I stapled the baggie topper to the plastic bag and then taped the bag to my cupboard.

I really wanted to talk about recycling with the kids so over the last couple of months I have been saving colored paper from crafts.  First we talked about the different parts of the flower.

Then I made a giant mess and dumped all of our recycling on the floor!  The students just stared at me as if I had gone crazy! haha!  I let them dig through it for colors to rip and decorate their flower with!

We talked about how we can reuse old things to make something new and beautiful!  The students really grasped the idea of recycling and were so proud of their recycled flowers!  You can get the flower template in my TpT Store!

Happy Earth Week and I hope your have fun with some of these activities!