Hello 2016

Commitments for the new year and a sale!

Hello2016

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a serial New Year’s failure. Every year, I get really excited about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and the potential and renewal it represents. I make all these lofty, ambitious resolutions and I am 100% serious that THIS YEAR they will work. I am gung-ho about my new resolutions for about a week, then I am lukewarm about them for a week. By the third week of January, those once precious resolutions are cast off like the chunks of frozen road slush you kick off the bottom of your car. (For my friends in warmer climates, I really recommend driving in Minnesota in the winter. It’s quite cathartic to kick those suckers off in the parking lot after a rough day.)

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So, this year, I resolve NOT to make far-reaching resolutions. I’ve finally been alive long enough to know that that won’t work for me. This year, my resolutions are going to be a reaffirmation of goals I’m already working on. I know they’re going to continue to be a part of my life after the shiny newness of 2016 has worn off.

Personal Commitment: Not to use my phone while I am with my children.

I realized this summer that I was missing precious moments with my children by looking down at my phone when I should have been playing with them. I made a commitment not to use the phone while I was in their presence. I noticed an immediate improvement in their behavior and my mood. I’ve been slacking a little on this lately and I want to re-dedicate myself to this commitment. Plus, I want my children to know that they are more important to me than my phone.

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These little stinkers = way more important than a silly phone.

Health Commitment: To drink water throughout the day.

Except there are like -ZERO- chances to use the bathroom! That’s my struggle. I like water and I like how I feel when I’m hydrated. But we teachers have very few opportunities to use the bathroom. One year, I told my students to remind me to drink. It worked! Every 20-30 minutes they would blurt out “Drink your water!” I got my hydration and they loved bossing me around. And it helped them see another side of me as a person, not just me the teacher.

Classroom Commitment: To organize my curriculum.

I write brand-new lesson plans every year. Every. Single. Year. It’s exhausting and I’m ready to have some consistency in my lessons. Having an organized, age-appropriate curriculum will give my teaching focus and direction. I’ve started by creating a spreadsheet of curricular goals for each grade level. Kind of like a scope and sequence but a little more detailed. I hope to have that finished by June so I can spend the summer organizing my conceptual and skill goals into sequential units. I would like my 5th graders to know what they’ve learned and why they’ve learned it when they leave me!

Blog/TpT Commitment: To publish some of those products from my long list of ideas!

I have SO many ideas. But getting them out of my head and into reality is where I get stuck. Mostly it’s because I have two kids and a full time job and I just don’t have a lot of time to sit at the computer and create products. My M.O. has always been to publish products that I already use in my classroom. It’s a win-win because my users know I am providing effective, valuable classroom-tested products and I spend my time creating something I’ll actually use. If there is something you’d love to see, email me! I’m definitely interested to know what people want. Custom requests don’t cost you a penny!

Thanks for reading. If you are wondering what you’re going to teach when school goes back in session on Monday, enjoy 20% off my TpT store today and tomorrow. No special codes needed! #TpTMusicNewYearsBash

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Happy 2016!

Seasonal Songs, Games, and Clip Art

It’s time to think about holiday lessons!

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Though it may feel like school only began, it is the time of year when teachers think about holiday songs and activities. October has Halloween, November has Thanksgiving, December and January have all the religious and cultural holidays such as Christmas, Eid, and Hmong New Year, February is Valentine’s Day, then there’s St. Patrick’s Day, spring, Easter, May Day, Flag Day, and summer! Heck, you could do themed lessons all year and not run out of material!

Here are some of my offerings to add a little “seasoning” to your teaching “entree”!

TurkeyFree Turkey Clip Art

There is one full image of a turkey, as well as a blank turkey body and some loose feathers. You also get a black line version of the designs. It’s great for creating your own games, visuals, or worksheets.

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I Have a Little Snowman: Interactive Song Game

I’ve been waiting for years to unveil this activity on TpT and it is finally here. I created this around 2007 as a way to introduce the song “The Snowman” to my Kindergarteners. At that time, I had a projector on a cart, a borrowed laptop, and a plain dry erase board. But the kids still loved it! The addition of a SMART Board has made this activity much smoother and it remains an annual hit with my younger elementary students. Watch a video demonstration here.

What are your favorite seasonal activities? Leave a comment below!

I Have a Little Snowman: an Interactive Song Game

This fun and engaging game helps students learn a song in a new way while practicing the skills of sequencing, memory, and communication.

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It is almost winter! Here in Minnesota, snow is definitely on our minds, although it hasn’t fallen yet. We are used to wearing parkas with our Halloween costumes so now is the time when we buy our winter hats and mittens to prepare for those first few glistening flakes.

Even if snow is a long way off for you, or won’t fall at all where you live, this game is a fun way to celebrate winter and get kids singing and moving.

You begin by singing or playing the song while clicking through the hand-drawn illustrations. You can even use the “Rehearse Timings” feature to get Powerpoint to automatically change slides for you at the right time.

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Then, all of the images pop up, but they are all in the wrong order! A student comes up to the board and taps (or clicks on the computer) the image they think came first.

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When the right answer is chosen, it appears with the word “Yes!” You review that portion of the song with them and teach them how to sing it. Continue this way until all the images have been chosen.

Then, the class knows the song! You show the illustrations again as the students sing along with you. They will beg for this game over and over.

Watch this video for a demonstration:

You may download this product from Mrs. Martin’s Music Room at TeachersPayTeachers.com.