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RACK Sacks and December Freebies

RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
Holiday Classroom Tip - RACK Sacks
One super easy thing you can use in your classroom during the month of December is RACK (Random Acts of Classroom Kindness) Sacks. {Focusing on kindness right now is key and I love that RACK rhymes with SACK!}  On the first day back from Thanksgiving Break students each decorate a paper bag (nothing fancy), which serves as their RACK sack for the month.  You then hang (think staple) them to the wall where they act like brown paper stockings. 
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
During centers, writing or as a fast finisher students write compliments to one another that are delivered to RACK sacks and waited for with anticipation.  Students get to read the compliments and take their RACK sacks home on the last day before Winter Break and they also serve as a great place to keep, not only compliments, but other presents/treats/random desk items that need to be taken home before the holidays.  The kids love reading their compliments and it's an easy centers activity ALL MONTH LONG!  Keeping a cup of sticks or paper slips with all students' names to draw from helps to spread out the compliment giving more evenly if one or two RACK sacks start becoming way more full than the others.
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
Word to the wise: I ALWAYS read the compliments before delivering them (or letting a student/parent helper deliver them) to RACK sacks.  Most of them are so sweet and melt your heart (see compliment above), but a small percentage of students think a backhanded compliment counts as a compliment.  As we all know too well - it does not!  You do not want a nasty "compliment" going home and to receive an angry parent e-mail on December 23rd, so just read the compliments!  If you want to use the same compliments I do, you can get them for free with my Simple Student Holiday Gifts.  Easy peasy!
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
Gifts for You!
Working on your December plans?  Here are some freebies from me that will hopefully make life a little easier for the next few weeks.  Four printables are included in the December Holiday Fun Freebie Pack, and I just posted a brand new December Math Challenge that's ready for your 2nd-3rd grade mathematicians.
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!

Happy Holidays!

November Mentor Texts and Read Alouds - Themes of friendship, kindness, loyalty, and family

November is such a lovely month with chillier weather, earlier sunsets, and time for family, but it can also be super stressful with parent teacher conferences, elections, and Halloween hangovers.  All of my favorite November read alouds are feel-good books with themes of friendship, caring, and love (Who doesn't need this right now?!), or texts that make you feel warm and safe, thinking about things and people that are meaningful to you.  If you or your students are feeling stressed, sitting down together and reading one of these amazing books would be time well spent.
Two Bobbies is a perfect book to talk about the importance of setting, as it is set just after hurricane Katrina.  This can be a great book to talk about the themes of friendship, loyalty, and kindness.  I used it to talk about the importance and traits of true friends.  My students loved it. I could tell from the wide eyes, the "ooohhhhh"s and "ahhhhh"s and "yay"s!  After we read it we wrote Thank-you-Grams to all our wonderful friends while sitting happy and complete knowing the Two Bobbies are safe and sound.  :)   
I am a sucker for a good animal story!  Nubs is just that and can be used around Veterans Day since it's all about a dog in Iraq and his journey home with Brian, a brave Marine.  Such a fantastic story of friendship, loss, stick-with-it-ness (is that a word?!) and love.  I'm going to read it to the kids focused on things we're thankful for since it's November, but it's an anytime sort of book.  You can read a little more about Nubs, plus see a video of Nubs and Brian at my blog post here.  Love, love, love Nubs! 
The pictures in All The Places to Love are so, so beautiful!  This is also a great read aloud focusing on similes, and can be an excellent mentor text for a quick write about a favorite place.  You can also use it for a mini-lesson on zooming in to a particular place in your writing.
This is my go-to mentor text when we talk about descriptive writing, word choice, five sense writing, or just need a day when we do a no stress quick write.  The kids can always think of a month that they can describe!

Happy November and happy reading,

Free 2016 Election Math Challenge with Electoral Map - Vote, Vote, Vote

A free 2016 Math Challenge and electoral map perfect for grades 2-4 math groups, homework, fast finisher, or extension.
Get ready for November 8th with this FREE Election Math Challenge!  It includes an electoral map and my Race to 270 Math Challenge which asks students to find two different combinations of states that have a total of 270 electoral votes.  There are also some teacher notes on a simple way to differentiate the project for more advanced students, as well as a link to my favorite site for looking at projected and actual election results with an interactive electoral map.  Just click here or on the picture below to download the freebie from my store!
A free 2016 Math Challenge and electoral map perfect for grades 2-4 math groups, homework, fast finisher, or extension.
If you like the freebie, I have 20 more election based math challenges and brainteasers that were just added to my store!  You can check them out by clicking here or on one of the pictures below.   
A free 2016 Math Challenge and electoral map perfect for grades 2-4 math groups, homework, fast finisher, or extension.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Election-Math-Challenges-Brainteasers-Fast-Finishers-Homework-Extensions-2838880
A free 2016 Math Challenge and electoral map perfect for grades 2-4 math groups, homework, fast finisher, or extension.

Happy Election Day!

5 Last Minute Halloween Costumes for Teachers

Halloween is on a Monday this year.  Gah!  That means if you're a last minute costume person any online shopping (my favorite kind) needs to done by Friday, even if you're Amazon Prime-ing it to your doorstep.
5 quick and easy ideas for Halloween costumes for teachers! Not enough time to do a bunch of shopping?  These costumes can be created with items in your closet!
In panic mode?  Don't be.  Here's some quick and easy last minute teacher costume ideas.

Have an old graduation robe hiding in the back of your closet?  Throw it on, grab a broom, make a name tag if you have time and you're a Quidditch player. A wand can be easily made with rolled up construction paper.
5 quick and easy ideas for Halloween costumes for teachers! Not enough time to do a bunch of shopping?  These costumes can be created with items in your closet!
Have sweatpants, black shirt, and a headband?  Get some yellow construction paper, cut out the letters K-O-O and be Brian or Neil.  If you have a sweet fanny pack or mustache add it in!  (I ordered my shirt online from the Koo Koo Kangaroo website last year out of laziness).
5 quick and easy ideas for Halloween costumes for teachers! Not enough time to do a bunch of shopping?  These costumes can be created with items in your closet!
Have a team jersey or sports shirt?  Throw it on with jeans and you're a sports player/fan.  Simple! (Cubs fans - I know you have something that will do!)
5 quick and easy ideas for Halloween costumes for teachers! Not enough time to do a bunch of shopping?  These costumes can be created with items in your closet!
Do you have sticky label paper and a plain t-shirt?  Print out a free super teacher pattern, cut it out, stick it on and be a Super Teacher.  Mask/tights/headband not necessary but certainly welcome.
5 quick and easy ideas for Halloween costumes for teachers! Not enough time to do a bunch of shopping?  These costumes can be created with items in your closet!
And my favorite . . . Fish that old concert tee out of your closet, put on some comfy pants and Converse.  Then take your teacher badge, cut out a cardstock square that says ROAD CREW and tape it on top.  Got a guitar or a fake microphone (testing, testing, 1,2,3)?  Take those as props and enjoy your day as a ROADIE.  This one can also be recycled for career day.  :)
5 quick and easy ideas for Halloween costumes for teachers! Not enough time to do a bunch of shopping?  These costumes can be created with items in your closet!


Costume done!  Now to make it through a week with Halloween on a Monday.  Blurg!
 
Any other last minute ideas?  Leave them in the comments!  I would love to hear your amazing ideas! 

What Should My Teacher Be For Halloween? Free Editable Art & Writing

What Should my Teacher be for Halloween? - Free art project printables for students.  Perfect for elementary teachers in October!
If you need a quick, fun, activity for the week check out my editable PowerPoint "What Should My Teacher Be For Halloween?" Freebie activity.

It's super easy!

Step 1: Cut your head out of one of those lovely school pictures.
Step 2: Download the freebie from my store and choose which printable you want to use - edit the writing portion to your liking.
Step 3: Glue the head on top of one of the printable bodies (or draw your own body like I did below).
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-Should-my-Teacher-be-for-Halloween-Editable-October-Art-Freebie-2168556
Step 3: Make copies on a photo setting (if your printer has one).  If there's no photo setting, typically a lighter copy setting works best.
Step 4: Use this as a writing center or art activity before Halloween! 

The results are always fantastic!  See my second graders' most recent ideas below.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-Should-my-Teacher-be-for-Halloween-Editable-October-Art-Freebie-2168556

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-Should-my-Teacher-be-for-Halloween-Editable-October-Art-Freebie-2168556
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-Should-my-Teacher-be-for-Halloween-Editable-October-Art-Freebie-2168556
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-Should-my-Teacher-be-for-Halloween-Editable-October-Art-Freebie-2168556
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-Should-my-Teacher-be-for-Halloween-Editable-October-Art-Freebie-2168556
I've been doing this activity forever and have tried a few different clip art bodies to see which one ended up with the best student designs.  All three versions of this activity are in a FREE editable PowerPoint so you can choose which one you like best. (I prefer the draw your own version as you can see in the pics above.)
What Should my Teacher be for Halloween? - Free art project printables for students.  Perfect for elementary teachers in October!

Want more pictures and copious blog posts about this activity?  I write about it pretty much every year.  I just think the kids' ideas are so darn cute!  You can check out the links below:

"Draw it Yourself" version - the original (and my personal fave)
What Should my Teacher be for Halloween? - Free art project printables for students.  Perfect for elementary teachers in October!
"Man Hands" version - this didn't quite work out how I wanted, maybe with a bigger head? (See how I'm being reflective here?)
What Should my Teacher be for Halloween? - Free art project printables for students.  Perfect for elementary teachers in October!
"Stick Figure" version - I think these turned out quite nicely, but the "Draw it Yourself" ones are still my fave.
What Should my Teacher be for Halloween? - Free art project printables for students.  Perfect for elementary teachers in October!


Try it out?  I would love to see your finished art pieces!  Tag me on IG @iwanttobeasuperteacher or e-mail pics to me at iwanttobeasuperteacher@gmail.com so I can share them in an upcoming blog post.  I seriously LOVE to see how these turn out in your classrooms!

Happy October,

The Many Uses of Iron-ons - Freebie Super Teacher Pattern

Free Super Teacher patterns you can use for Halloween or Spirit Days (cute and easy!) plus info on using iron-on paper for all of your crafty projects!
I discovered iron-on paper a few years ago while roaming around Target looking for a crafty activity to do during summer tutoring.  Since this fateful day I've amassed a stack of iron-on paper, an account at an online specialty paper supplier, a lot of colored printer ink, and tons of make-it-yourself t-shirts.
Free Super Teacher patterns you can use for Halloween or Spirit Days (cute and easy!) plus info on using iron-on paper for all of your crafty projects!
 Tips for Using Iron-ons:
1.  I always purchase the paper made for darker fabrics.  Even if you're ironing on to a lighter colored fabric, this paper is more durable and you can usually print on it like you would any other sheet of paper (rather than having to do a "mirror image" print - blech!).  This is the kind I bought the last time I ordered.

2.  Buying online is much more cost effective!  I use coastalbusiness.com where I can buy in bulk.  All the iron-on paper I save from these larger orders has always come in handy.  If you just need a few, try Target or here at Amazon if you have time to wait for shipping.  I order through Amazon Prime and it's to my house in a flash!

3.  Get a cheap iron or two to use in your classroom.  Then you can have classroom volunteers do your ironing for large projects, and for smaller ones (like Super Teacher costumes) you won't be totally annoyed if some of the stickiness stays on the iron. (It's bound to happen!)

4. Instead of getting an ironing board for your classroom, cut up a few squares of cardboard, cover these in foil, and put these on top of classroom tables for all your ironing needs.

5.  Read the directions carefully regarding peeling off the paper backing.  If you don't peel off the backing before ironing you will end up with an iron-on adhered, not to your tee, but to the paper backing.  This is a serious bummer!
Free Super Teacher patterns you can use for Halloween or Spirit Days (cute and easy!) plus info on using iron-on paper for all of your crafty projects!
If you're interested in using the same patterns I used to create our third grade teacher Halloween costumes, I have them available for free here. (Or you can click on the pic above).  They come in the same colors you see in the picture at the top of this post- pink, blue, and green.
 
Need a different color than the pink, blue, and green included in the freebie?  Check out my BRAND NEW Super Teacher Rainbow Pack which includes 24 different colors of super teacher patterns plus 8 different rainbow patterns.
 
I also have separate sets for just staff (secretaries, custodians, specialists, plus Super Teachers),
 
 and just grade level teachers which includes patterns with grade levels preschool through high school. Hooray!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Super-Teacher-Iron-On-PackPatterns-for-Every-Grade-Preschool-to-High-School-924390 
 
If you want super teacher patterns, super staff patterns, plus grade level patterns you can get these in the Super School Iron-on Mega Pack which is a bundle of all the packs listed above and includes EVERY iron-on pattern in my store!
Free Super Teacher patterns you can use for Halloween or Spirit Days (cute and easy!) plus info on using iron-on paper for all of your crafty projects!
Need a skirt, belt or cape to finish off the outfit?  My amazing teammate (see green skirt) found the ones we wore in a thrift store in Boulder, Colorado, but you can get similar ones on Amazon here.

Happy iron-on-ing!