Friday, July 3, 2015

FREE Patriotic Printables and More {Pledge of Allegiance, Constitution Day, Veterans Day, Patriotic Classroom Theme}

Happy 4th of July Friends!

I hope you all have fun plans and will be out and about celebrating summer at its finest.

I wanted to stop in today with a quick teacher tip and freebie for you and since it's the 4th of July it only made sense to give it a bit of Patriotic Flair. 

I have written a few detailed posts about preparing for a substitute teacher. It is especially important to have a good emergency sub plan in place. However, there will be times when you won't be out of the classroom for an entire day, but you may unexpectedly be called out for a short period of time. It's a good idea to have a few activities that can stand alone and easily be executed by anyone who happens to be filling in for you. I recommend a read aloud and a simple follow up activity.

I have a FREE product that can be used for that purpose.

It includes 2 versions of a mini-poster of The Pledge of Allegiance, a list of essential questions about the Pledge and intermediate and primary journaling pages.  Below is a list of suggested books to pair with it. Click on any of the images to read reviews and descriptions on Amazon.

I have two additional PATRIOTIC FREEBIES available as instant downloads:

And you may also be interested in these Patriotic Products:

Did you know that on September 17th ALL teachers in schools that receive government funding are required to teach about the Constitution? 

Here's the thing...I don't typically get into the debates over politics and about how the people making these laws and policies aren't teachers, but this certainly falls into that category. Do I think the Constitution is important? Of course. Should children learn about it? Sure. Do I see why they picked September 17th as the day that we must teach a random lesson? Yes (It's the day the Constitution was signed).

While I do understand the thought behind it, as teachers we know that it is not considered best practice to randomly teach an isolated lesson about a topic that requires a great deal of background (much less attempt such a task only a couple of weeks into the school year). In the past I scrambled to find something to fulfill my obligation as Constitution Day ALWAYS snuck up on me. It seemed the same was true for many of my public school teacher friends so I knew it was time to plan ahead and create something useful for a spectrum of grade levels.

The final result was a 50+ page packet for grades K-5 with a choice of different activities included. There is certainly something for all abilities and levels and can be used year after year (even if you change grade levels).

{Click to access and download the Constitution Day Packet}

And if you teach social studies/American history or are looking to decorate your classroom with a Patriotic Theme...

  • solid color fabric, paper or plastic table cloths in red, white or blue (Target has some really bold, bright wrapping paper in solid colors that would look good too).
  • decorative fabric with stars, stripes or a combo of both
  • you could also incorporate camo print and the military

  • Target often has president flash cards in the dollar section. These would make a cute border on bulletin boards.
  • patriotic ribbons
  • die cut stars
  • photocopied money
  • Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of __ Grade
  • American flag
  • Models of national monuments
  • 5 pointed stars
  • Bald eagle cutout
  • Statue of Liberty cutout
  • Class Newsletter = State of the Union
  • Class Rules = Constitution
  • Use branches of government as names for jobs
  • Take a picture of each student wearing one of those red,white and blue hats you can buy at party stores. Display them on a board titled, "Star Spangled Students."
  • Add the Presidential Seal to the front of your desk
  • Refer to your meeting area as "The Oval Office"
  • Call your reading area the "Library of Congress"
  • Hang a map and have the kids "Read Across America" by counting miles per book.
  • Check out the 4th of July clearance section.
This bundle contains 34 coordinating products that will allow you to design an amazing, personalized beach themed classroom for very little cost. The bundle includes several editable files so you may use your own fonts and colors to customize nameplates, cubby labels, name tags, binder covers, newsletters, dismissal cards, schedule cards and more. You'll receive all of the items shown below:



Click to visit the Classroom Themes Page featuring free ideas for almost 40 of the most popular classroom themes and color schemes.

Follow my Teacher Store so you don't miss
Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

Check out CFC's Helpful Series for Teachers: 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Teacher Recharge Challenge Week 1 {Reduce Stress, Get Organized, Relax, Prepare for the New School Year}

I don't have to tell you how stressful the school year can be. Between meetings, parent conferences, planning lessons, wrestling with photocopiers, high-stakes testing and every thing else in between (notice I didn't even mention actually teaching) it's go-go-go from Day 1 straight through Day 180. 

Luckily there is summer vacation to rest and recharge.

But if you are like most teachers you need to make a conscious effort to turn off your teacher brain, stop your educator gears from spinning and actually make time just for you. That's what this is about.

I've put together a collection of weekly challenges that will help you use some of your time at home this summer doing things that will get you organized at home that will greatly reduce stress during the school year.

Each week I will post a new challenge. Feel free to do one or do them all. No pressure at all. 

You can blog about it...but you don't have to. If you are on Instagram and feel like posting a pic I would love to see it (use #CFCRechargeChallenge), but it's not necessary.

The first challenge is super simple, but is something we often need to be reminded to do...

Go to the beach...get a a book for fun...sleep in...have coffee with a friend...binge watch Netflix...whatever you define as relaxing.

It sounds obvious, but many teachers need reminding. 

What are you planning to do to relax this summer?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

5 Tips for Creating a Classroom Theme on a Budget {Photos and Ideas-Classroom Organization & Decor}

How to Decorate a Classroom on a Budget {5 tips}

Teachers often tell me they would love to incorporate a theme into their classroom decor, but are hesitant because they are on a tight budget. Today I am going to share some classroom theme ideas and photos that will enable you to decorate your classroom without spending a lot of money. 

If you haven’t already downloaded my FREE Classroom Decor Guide I suggest you check that out. It’s filled with tips and images that can be applied to any classroom color scheme or theme. In the meantime, here are some additional tips specific to saving you money while creating an organized and engaging space.

Classroom themes provide a fun environment and give you a focus when putting your classroom together. If you decide that you want to use a theme, my advice it to do so in a way that looks cohesive but not distracting. Incorporate the theme into useful items and resources (calendars, nametags, deskplates, etc) or things you would need to include anyhow (fabrics, trims, containers to house supplies) and avoid adding too much useless decor that doesn’t serve a purpose.

Dollar Stores are wonderful resources for teachers. Browse the aisles and see what you can find to create a theme. Here are a few examples from my local store.
Duck tape comes in so many varieties now that it would be easy to find a style that will complement your theme. Use it in place of bulletin board trim, to outline posters and charts.
I’ve had so many teachers request a Dr. Seuss theme for their classroom.  To avoid infringing on any copyright, I made sure not to include any images or phrases specific to his work, but instead used colors and patterns that provided a “Seussical” feel. Covering your bulletin boards with fabrics or papers that enhance your theme and then adding a few accent objects will create a cohesive look and make your theme obvious without spending too much additional money.  

{Pair these items found at the Target Dollar Spot with red and blue fabrics to create a Dr. Seuss themed classroom}

Lots of black and yellow will give you a bee theme. Black and red will be the perfect backdrop to a ladybug theme or a Hollywood theme. Animal prints make it easy to create a jungle theme. Denim and red gingham are perfect for a western theme or a farm theme.

One of the first themes I did in my own classroom was a camping theme. I brought in camp chairs and coolers from home that would’ve otherwise sat in storage during the school year. The kids used the coolers as seating during group time and I was able to store extra supplies inside. You could repurpose decorations from a 4th of July party to create a patriotic theme. Cleaning out your kitchen might give you artifacts to include in a cooking / baking themed classroom. Bring in your beach chairs to provide thematic seating in an ocean themed classroom.
{Discarded Christmas decor makes a great border for a Camping Theme Classroom Bulletin Board}
You don’t need to be Martha Stewart to quickly and easily make a few items for your classroom that will give it a finished and thoughtful appearance. By pairing bright colors with some common school supplies you can create a look that is not too “themey” and won’t cost much money at all. Simply use a hot glue gun and boxes of crayons, color pencils or markers to create custom pieces. Attach them to cans to make pencil holders, glue them onto frames or solid color bulletin board trims. 

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