Apple Mason Jars: Perfect for Back-to-School!

Please Note: This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. 

When I saw this adorable Apple Mason Jar Tutorial over at The 36th Avenue, I knew I had to try it right away! Mason jars are pretty darn cute all by themselves, so painted as an apple THEY ARE STINKIN' ADORABLE! I made 20 of these bad boys for the teenage girls at church, and the fact that they are filled with candy is a sweet bonus. They will love these!

To make these cute apple jars, I followed the tutorial {here} and I found my small mason jars at Target. I spray painted the lids with Rust-Oleum Satin (EDEN) and I painted the rest of the jar with Americana Primary Red and Dark Chocolate.  You can buy the wood pegs at any craft store, but they are on Amazon {here}.

I made these cute little tags and draped them over the peg with red twine. (I have a twine obsession... anyone else??) I used my Cameo to cut out the tags, so they are a nearly perfect circle and they look professionally done. The perfectionist in me REALLY loves using my Cameo. I use it to cut out circles all the time, because I am not good at cutting with scissors... apparently I missed that lesson in kindergarten! If you have a Cameo, you can download the tag file {here}, but make sure you download this font and this font. If you don't have a Cameo, you can download the PDF version of this tag {here}. I also cut out the leaves with my Cameo and I bought the leaf shapes {here}.

You really can't mess these jars up! They are so easy to make and they turn out so AWESOME! Like I already mentioned, I will be giving them to the girls at church, but they are also perfect for students, teachers, principals, librarians, custodians, secretaries, student teachers, parent volunteers, etc.

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Easy Tips for Staying Organized at School

One of my favorite things about being a teacher was being extra organized. I am an organized freak, to say the least... Just ask my friends! I love to make things easier by being organized and I love to share these tricks with other teachers.

One of my favorite organizational tools was my Reading Bin. You can read more about it {here}. IT. WILL. CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE. I promise and you will love me for it.

When I was teaching, I was always trying to "get ahead of the game" by preparing my lessons and activities ahead of time. Click {here} to see how I used these files to get organized. 

A must have for all teachers is a dependable, useful Plan Book. I used mine like a bible and I couldn't have survived without it. Reading more about mine {here}.

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Rocks ROCK!!! (Igneous, Metamorphic, & Sedimentary)

I've always loved teaching about rocks to my students. I love my little rock characters (pictured below) and they always make teaching this unit so much fun for my students and me. I've just update THIS. ENTIRE. PACKET! If you own it, you can re-download it from your TpT dashboard. I promise that you will LOVE the new updates and additions! :)

This packet includes: a detailed rock notebook (teacher and student edition), rock anchor charts, rock characters, adorable rock craft, rock hunt activity, rock cycle anchor charts w/ accompanying worksheets, rock sort activity with a parent letter, yummy rock recipes, practice pages, and more!

Besides the rock characters (pictured above) I'd have to say that the rock notebook (pictured below) is the best part of this packet! It includes a cover page, KWL chart, a separate section for igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, a page for their favorite rock, and a rock test. These rock notebooks will become a great resource for your students and they will be SO proud of them when they are finished. This rock notebook also comes in a mini form and it includes a teacher's edition with all of the answers! PHEW!

This adorable rock craft is a new addition to this rock packet. Your students can model their rock craft after an actual rock sample and then personalize it on the back. If you don't have rock samples in class, you can use this website {here} and display it on your overhead projector or interactive white board. This website has great pictures and is also a great resource throughout the entire unit.

How adorable are these Pet Rock Printables from U Create? Seriously! I want to go make that elephant right now! What will my husband think when he comes home to a pet rock? He will officially think that I've gone CRAY CRAY! But I'm okay with that... ;)

I am slightly OBSESSED with children's literature and I will tie books into EVERYTHING (just like a teacher does)! These are some of my favorite books about rocks. You can click on the carousel widget below to check them out on Amazon. 


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Managing Bathroom Breaks at School

I recently uploaded a new packet to TpT called: Classroom Management Made Easy! Ever since I finished this packet, I've had classroom management on my brain. I've really been reflecting on how I've done things for the last four years in my own classroom. One thing, in particular, that I'd like to share with you today is how I managed bathroom breaks at school.

Managing bathroom breaks can be tricky. If you teach younger grades then you know that kids pretty much have to go to the bathroom ALL. THE. TIME. (Maybe this is true for the older grades, too? I wouldn't know...) During the first few weeks of school, I am always reminding my students when they can go to the bathroom. They can go to the bathroom during recess (we have three at my school), lunch, before school, and after school. I am always emphasizing "GO TO THE BATHROOM DURING RECESS!" because it's their break time and they should use that time wisely. However, there are those times during class when they just gotta GO! I get it. It happens. I especially understand at the beginning of the year when a new first grader is trying to get used to being in school all day (in Utah, most Kindergartens are half day, so first grade is a big adjustment from half day to full day).  

When a student has to go to the bathroom during class time, I have a few rules:

1. It has to be an emergency! 
2. If possible, they have to go during a time that I am not giving instructions or teaching a lesson. Independent working time is best.
3. They have to put the bathroom pass on their desk (pictured below). This helps me remember where they are. It also ensures that only one boy and one girl are going to the restroom at a time. Students will most likely play and misbehave in the restrooms if you allow them to go in groups. 
4. They have to give me an emergency bathroom pass with their name on it. (More about this later...)

I purchased my bathroom passes at the dollar store and they have lasted over 4 years! They still have a lot of life in them and they are so cute. This is something you definitely don't need to spend a lot of money on. I love how Erica Bohrer used hand sanitizer (or hanitizer as my firsties called it) as her bathroom passes to make sure that her kids had clean hands after going to the bathroom. GENIUS IDEA! I've seen lots of different bathroom pass ideas on Pinterest.

Since we are on the subject of toilets, I thought I'd share this silly, yet useful, poster from a friend of mine, Brittany @ Underpaid & Over blessed! Click on the picture below to check it out and download it for free in her TpT shop.

Now it's time to tell you about the emergency bathroom passes. I heart these bathroom passes! They take all the guess work out of trying to decide if your students have to go to the restroom or not. Because that's just it-- we (teachers) can't decide when our students need to go to the bathroom, because we aren't them! We don't know! But wouldn't you love to know if your students really have to go to the bathroom or if they are just looking for a break? I have had students ask to go to the bathroom, and when I remind them that they'll need to give me a bathroom pass, they "suddenly" don't need to go anymore. They'd rather keep their passes than spend them! I also stress to my students that it's better to use up an emergency bathroom pass than wet their pants at school... they always agree!

*In my classroom, I don't start using these bathroom passes until we are a few weeks into the school year. I think students need time to adjust!*

How to use emergency bathroom passes in your classroom:

1. Give your students three emergency bathroom passes each Monday Morning (I cut the bathroom pass page into strips of three). These passes will need to last them the entire week. This is where you need to know your students, because you may have some students who truly need to use the restroom frequently and you will need to give them a few more bathroom passes each week. Be sure to be sensitive to your students' needs and make adjustments as necessary.
2. Have your students quickly (QUICKLY) write their names on all three potty passes, cut them apart, and put them away in their desks. (I make my students do this procedure quick, because bathroom passes aren't something we should be spending a lot of time on.)
3. When a student needs to use the restroom during class time, they need to follow the rules listed above and give you a bathroom pass (their name should already be on it).
4. On Fridays, right before school gets out, collect all un-used emergency bathroom passes in a bucket and draw three names, or so, from the bucket. These students will get a prize of some sort (at my school, they get to take a special note to the office and get a prize). Then,throw all the emergency bathroom passes away and start all over again on Monday. :)

At the beginning of each recess, I always stress to my students that they should go to the bathroom first thing! If I know a student is running low on bathroom passes, then I'll send them straight to the bathroom when recess starts. I also taught with a teacher who required her students to give her 2 bathroom passes if her students asked to go to the restroom RIGHT after recess. I wouldn't do this unless something like this becomes a problem. 

What if a student runs out of bathroom passes during the week and they need to use the bathroom? Well, that's up to you. Maybe they need more passes. Are they going to the bathroom at the same time everyday during class? Can you encourage them to go at recess so they won't need to go at that time anymore? Do they have a water bottle at their desk that they keep drinking (and drinking and drinking), because they are using it as a distraction and so they have to go to the bathroom a lot? There are so many things consider when implementing new bathroom procedures. Basically, just do what's best for you and your students and always make the necessary adjustments! 

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Classroom Management Made Easy!

It's time that I shared a secret with you. For a few years I've been using a classroom management strategy that is a piece of cake to manage and super successful for even the most challenging of students. I should also mention that it's easy to implement, as well. :)

My secret is this green behavior book. This specific behavior book has seriously worked wonders in my classroom. It has worked on even my most challenging students and it helped them feel successful in my classroom! I love this behavior book! Note: I don't use the behavior book with all of my students... I only use it with my students who need extra support to help them have appropriate classroom behavior. This book book has a section for students and adults, so at the end of the day you can sit down with your student, discuss their behavior, and you both can determine how their behavior was. This helps your students become more aware and accountable. 

I know that all students don't have the same needs, so I've included different pages for you to choose from (like the one above). I've also made this part of the packet editable, so you can customize it to fit the needs of your students. You can edit it in PowerPoint.

This packet also includes an activity to help you teach your students about your expectations for their behavior in your classroom. The poster (pictured above) makes a super cute chart that you can leave up all year long! It will serve as a great reminder for your students. Your students also get to make their own copy after learning about your classroom expectations.

Classroom rules are a MUST for any classroom and it is so important to have them posted in your classroom.... So why not make them super cute! This activity also includes a student copy (not pictured).

This behavior packet also includes a behavior contract, documentation form, reward tickets, reward ideas, reward notes and sticker charts. Basically, it has everything you need to start the year off right with excellent classroom management. This packet, Behavior Management Made Easy can be found in my TpT shop!


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