Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Lesson Lady and I would like to wish you and your families a very happy holiday season.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or just a few days off, we hope it is filled with peace and joy.  We look forward to 2014 and all it brings, and wish you much happiness in the coming year.  

As we ring in 2014 in with our families, we are taking a short reprieve from blogging, but will resume our regular schedule in January, with more Fabulous Friday Freebies.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fabulous Freebies for the Holidays

Here are a few of my new favorite holiday freebies:

#1: Placemats.  You print them up, laminate them and give them to your kids to use as a template for creating fun holiday shapes out of play dough.  

#2: Color by sight words worksheet.  This is a free printable to use with students who are learning to read.  They color the space according to the color that matches the sight word that is printed there.  The coloring pages are Christmas themed.  This is sure to engage your students.

#3: Make your own ornaments.  This uses three simple ingredients to make the dough.  When students are done you bake the ornaments at 350 degrees for half an hour.  Once they have cooled, students can decorate them.  This is super simple and lots of fun.  Students can do this to decorate a class tree or make gifts for their families.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Remembering Mandela

Madiba.  Rolihlahla.  Nelson Mandela.  His life, legacy and the world wide vigil in his honor has captivated me for the past week.  I’ve paused for a week between teaching Things Fall Apart and Hamlet in British Literature to ensure my students realize how historic these days are for South Africa and the world.  Despite varying degrees of prior knowledge, many of them seem captivated along with me. 

So, what is there to teach?  There is the obvious.  There is the history of apartheid and his own personal biography.  More than that, though, are the lessons that he teaches, even posthumously through his words and example.  Here are a list of the first five that come to mind:

  1.       Don’t ever quite, even when you feel trapped, alone or condemned.  He puts it this way: "Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end."
  2.       Nothing is impossible.  Nothing.  In his own words, “It seems impossible until it’s done.”
  3.        We are all connected and ought to love one another.  If we can be taught to hate each other, we can learn to love each other as well.  He once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
  4.        We were born to reflect greatness and should not shrink from that responsibility.  During his inauguration speech he quoted Return to Love when he said, “We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”
  5.        We are not defined by where we were born or where life takes us, but our ability to keep on standing despite being knocked down at times.  In Madiba’s words: "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

How do we teach this?  Here is a tic tac toe board you can use to teach your students more about him and the principles he stood for.

Read his online biography and create a timeline.

Create a collage about one of his life’s themes.  Include at least two quotes and five images from his life  and/or country’s history that illustrates the theme.

Write a eulogy for him.

Read excerpts from some of  his speeches and write a reflection on which of his messages you believe teaches the most important lesson.

Design a memorial for him.

Read some of his most famous quotes.  Pick your five favorite and write them into a found poem.

Read about his political career 

Read Invictus (his favorite poem) and Return to Love (a passage he read at his inauguration) and put one of them to song.  Perform it.

Write a letter of condolence to his family.

I hope you find this helpful.  If you have any other ideas, please let us know!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Build Your Own Frosty!

We just saw our first real snowfall of the year last night  I'm sure more is on its way in the months to come.  Get prepared with weather relevant activities and check out my Snowman Glyph activity.

Your students will learn what a glyph is, make their own and analyze class data in this fun winter activity. They will begin by learning what a glyph is and how to use one to convey and analyze data. They will create one of their very own. Then they will look at their classmates' glyphs and analyze the data using fractions, percentages, and graphs (bar graphs and pie charts). They will have fun doing it during the cold winter months ahead. And, when they are all done, the materials can be turned into a colorful class bulletin board! 

Note: This is the advanced Snowman Glyph activity for 5-8 graders. (For the 2-4 grade version go to my store and check out the other Snowman Glyph activity without the math.)

This item has 4 out of 4 stars and has received strong reviews.  Here is what one buyer said...

Great seasonal resource that touches on MANY mathematical topics.

Check it out!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fabulous Freebies: Facebook Frenzy December 6-9!

This weekend's freebies are in the form of a Facebook Frenzy. Join me and more than 15 others in my group and get exclusive freebies December 6-9, 2013! Start at my Facebook page.

I have never participated in a Facebook Frenzy before so if you haven't either, I'll explain it. Eage Facebook page has a tab labeled "Facebook Frenzy." Click on the tab and an image similar to the one above instructing you to like the page and receive an educational freebie. After you like the page and download the freebie a link will appear that you can click on to go to the next page and so on.

The freebies are definitely worth while. Some, including mine, are ones that are items that are not normally free and are sold in our TPT store! The only way to get my game for free is through this exclusive Facebook Frenzy.

I am part of the 3rd grade math and science Facebook Frenzy group and I will be offering this exclusive freebie:

My Winter Snowman Math Game! Your students will have fun building a snowman as they practice greater than/less than skills as well as addition, multiplication or subtraction. My Facebook page is the only place to get this for free. It is normally sold in my TPT store and is rated 4/4 stars. Visit my Facebook page between December 6-9 to get this game FREE before clicking off to the other pages to get more freebies!

Here is a list of all the December frenzies you can participate in by subject and grade level, courtesy of Keep Teaching and Planning.

K Math/Science -

K ELA/Social Studies -

1st Math/Science -

1st ELA/Social Studies -

2nd Math/Science -

2nd ELA/Social Studies -

3rd Math/Science -

3rd ELA/Social Studies -

4th -

5th -

6th-12th -

Music -

Clipart -

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday E-Books are Here!

If you haven't noticed by now, I love freebies and great deals. That's one of the reasons we post freebies every Friday and post about great back to school sales in the fall. It makes me feel good to get the most for my money and make my dollars last a long time.

This week I have not just a great deal for you, but a HUGE deal! It's time for the annual TPT Holiday E-Book! There are four holiday e-books that are divided by grade level. Each book has been carefully assembled and contains 50+ pages filled with free teacher resources and holiday tips. Books were created using pages submitted generously by Teachers Pay Teachers sellers.

With just a few short weeks until the winter holiday season & school breaks, I think everyone could use a break with these books.

If you download the grade 3-6 book, check out my freebie offered in the book, my free Christmas Holiday Write & Draw!
2013 Winter Holiday Tips and Freebies for PK-K  

2013 Winter Holiday Tips and Freebies for Grades 1-2

2013 Winter Holiday Tips and Freebies for Grades 3-6

2013 Winter Holiday Tips and Freebies for Grades 7-12

I also want to thank the TPT sellers that took the time to put these books together. Please thank them by leaving feedback for the book you enjoy! 

If you haven't checked out the 2012 books yet, be sure to do so for more holiday freebies!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Join me in a Facebook Frenzy!

Starting Friday, December 6th I'm going to participate in a Facebook Frenzy! Many TPT sellers are participating and each will offer an exclusive freebie that cannot be downloaded anywhere else for free! I won't reveal what item I will be giving away just yet. Like my Facebook page to be alerted when the frenzy starts!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cyber Monday Teachers Pay Teachers Sale! Save 28%!

This Monday and Tuesday, December 2nd and 3rd, 2013 Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site wide sale! Most sellers, including myself and Etc will be listing their stores at 20% off. Using code CYBER, TPT will give you an additional 10% off for a total of 28%! Site wide sales like this are sparse so if you have been thinking about getting something now is the time!

For fun seasonal activities and Spanish and high school English lessons, check out Etc's store.

For fun elementary level seasonal math and literacy activities, games and art lessons check out my (Lesson Lady) store.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lesson Lady and I at One Less Headache want to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving! We will be taking a short break this week from writing our regular posts and will pick up after Thursday with some great deals to offer you!  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Find more Freebies on Facebook!

If you enjoy freebies, you may want to check out my Facebook page. A few times a week I post freebies there that most of the time I don't have time to share here. I also have a special promotion that will be coming up in the next two weeks that will be a great help to those that love teacher freebies.

I am thankful for each 'like'!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fabulous Friday Freebies: 100 Holiday Classroom Ideas Worth Reading

  1. Make bake-less Christmas cookies with your class.  These are simple, yummy and could be adapted to any season.
  2. Buy some pipe cleaners, googley eyes and red pom-pons.  Rent a movie and make some healthy reindeer snacks to munch on.
  3. Is it snowing yet?  Take the kiddies outside and play snow games.  Here are seven great ideas.
  4. Make a candy turkey.  They are super cute and a big hit with all ages.
  5. Martha Stewart has a high quality photo gallery of 32 easy Christmas crafts.
  6. Have students research how Christmas is celebrated around the world.
  7. Encourage your students to commit random acts of kindness.
  8. Have some fun with holiday puns.
  9. Create your own ornaments.  Here are 8 great ornament ideas for older kids.
  10. Who doesn't love to get their hands full of paint once in a while?  You can choose between 15 great ideas and have your students make hand and footprint Christmas crafts.  
  11. Have your students make a piƱata.  That is one of the coolest group projects that I remember doing as a kid and have done since becoming a teacher with my students.
  12. Download boardgames, word searches and 25 other free Christmas activities to build excitement as we count down day to Christmas.
  13. Do your kids like to color?  There are coloring pages galore online and about 50 Christmas coloring pages on this site.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Make it: Easy Baked Banana Oatmeal for Busy Folks

When school started back in session in August, I was overwhelmed as a new mom with everything that had to be done in the morning before leaving the house. Kudos to all the working moms out there! It was much more demanding and hectic than I thought it would be.

One thing that helped me get ready in a timely fashion was having things done the night before. I started packing both breakfast and lunch at least the night before so it was easy to grab. I looked for recipes that would be easy to make on Sunday and able to divide into five parts so I could have breakfast for the whole week ready to go.

Although we normally focus on educational materials, I thought I would share this recipe with you since it helped me have something healthy and tasty to eat each morning and made my school day start a little better.

As a bonus, this recipe would work for all sorts of diets such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free and low sugar!

I adapted this recipe from Sweet Roots.

Easy Baked Banana Oatmeal

3 bananas
2 cups oats
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds (I never left these out but I think the recipe would be fine without them too.)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup liquid sweetener such as maple syrup or even a Da Vinci syrup (I tried one time with sugar free hazelnut and it was good!)
Season to taste with cinnamon and salt
1 can coconut milk - both light and heavy work okay for this

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8x8 inch pan.

2. Slice the bananas and layer them along the bottom of the pan. If you wish, you can also save some bananas for on the top of the oatmeal.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, flax seeds, baking powder, liquid sweetener and vanilla extract. Add salt and/or cinnamon if you would like. I enjoyed this with cinnamon!

4. Press the mixture over the bananas into the pan. If you have more bananas to add to the top of the oatmeal, slice them on top now.

5. Pour the coconut milk over the top of the oatmeal. Don't worry if it doesn't soak in right away.

6. Bake for 40 minutes. I have enjoyed this hot or cold and it's a great amount for the whole week!  Typically I made this on Sunday and divided it into containers for the whole week after it cooled so each morning I could just grab breakfast and go.

Hope this recipe can help make your mornings a little easier.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fabulous Freebies: Share a Seasonal Freebie!

This week I invite you to share your favorite seasonal teacher freebie on my Facebook page! Please 'like' my page if you have not already done so and share your free seasonal item. Share one this week and in the future I would love to invite others to share more!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pros and Cons of 0-4 Grading Scale

Recently, I have had some interesting discussions and read several articles about the 0-100 point grading scale versus the 1-4 point grading scale.  Apparently, it has become a fairly controversial topic with people passionately arguing both sides.  A synopsis of the arguments for and against changing from a 100 point scale to a 4 point scale are below.

Pros of the 1 to 4 point scale:
1) Since the letters basically go in order, making a 4 an A, a 3 a B, a 2 a C and a 1 a D correlates better.  Proponents of the 4 point scale argue that an F should not cover a 60 point spread, as is seen in the 100 point scale.
2) Students feel that it is easier to make up lost ground on a 4 point scale than a 100 point scale.
3) Not giving students a 0 eliminates the use of a grade to punish students.  Instead, students are given incompletes.  That way, students learn that the expectation that they master the objectives is an imperative and they can't just accept the 0 and let it go.
4) The 4 point scale correlates to how most qualitative rubrics are scored.

Cons of the 1-4 point scale:
1) If you have a grading program that automatically calculates percentages, the four point scale will still be converted to a 100 point scale in the end anyway.
2) Teachers who feel that the even increments of the letter grades is not reflected by the 100 point scale can give students number grades instead of letter grades.
3) Giving students zeros for not turning in assignments teaches them that there is a consequence when they do not complete an assignment.  Students need to learn that there is a correlation between their actions and the outcome.  This encourages an internal locus of control.  This also prepares them for the "real world" where they will be expected to meet deadlines, complete assignments, etc.
4) The 100 points scale allows a more accurate assessment of how much of the assignment they did and/or did correctly.

Monday, November 11, 2013

New & Improved Thanksgiving English & Math Packets!

Recently I updated both my Thanksgiving literacy and math packets. If you have already purchased these packets, be sure to visit my store and download the new versions. I reordered things to make it easier to print pages without printing the answer key and added several new activities to each pack.

My Thanksgiving math packet contains 12 worksheets that you can either use independently or a center. Math skills that this packet uses includes multiplication, division, fractions, converting fractions to decimals, pie graphs, and bar graphs. I recommend this packet for students at least in 5th grade but please download the preview if you want to see if this packet is right for your class.

My Thanksgiving English packet contains 12 literacy related Thanksgiving activities. Activities include graphic organizers, poetry writing, prompts and more. Students use their creativity in this packet while they write and do a little drawing as well. Download my preview to see more! I recommend this packet for at least 4th grade level students.

If you enjoy both of these packets you can purchase them as a bundle at a discounted rate for extra savings.

All three of these packets have 4/4 stars from TPT members! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fabulous Freebies: Novel Ideas

After several years of time off from teaching literature (my classes have been writing intensive--and not the creative kind), I have a literature class this semester.  So, I've been searching for some great new ways to introduce students to literature written in a language they don't understand in a country they've never visited.  I enjoy the challenges and am excited by some of the creative lessons I've found for sparking student interest.  Here are a few of the finds that have most inspired me:

#1: I found a Canterbury Tales Speed Dating freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers.  The activity has cards for the numerous pilgrims in the tale, along with prompts for the speed date.  I had my students choose a character and then go on speed dates in front of the class.  They had to read and comprehend the quotes and then synthesize the information into a mini performance.  My students were engaged, and the activity served as a good introduction to the unit.  It could be adapted to any novel with a number of characters, though.  It could also be done at the end of a semester as a review of characters from all the stories read.

#2: Dramatic interpretations or reenactments of stories are always a hit.  There is a dramatic Hamlet lesson I found for free on TpT.  It has guidelines, examples and  a rubric that could be adapted to any novel.  This is great because it has students work on vocabulary, comprehension, writing, identifying and conveying tone, group work, presenting in front of a class, and so much more.  You really can't go wrong with lessons like this.  They'll remember this lesson forever.

#3: Check out this article on 50 Alternatives to Book Reports.  This was my best find.  There are 50 super creative ways to have students interact with the story and its characters.  Some of the ones that stood out to me were found poems, CD collections, character alphabet and social work reports.  If those don't catch your interest, don't worry.  There are 46 more.  The ideas connect to a variety of interests, learning styles and real life applications.  All of them are easy to adapt to any story or update to fit the times.  Just reading these will start to spark ideas of what else you can do, especially with more contemporary media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.).  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Earn Extra Spending Money for the Holidays!

 Every year after opening presents my family says that it is time to cut back the gift giving next year, we gave so many gifts it was too much, next year we will set limits. Then, the next year arrives and even with the new set limits gift giving still is overwhelming. If your family is anything like mine, you may also want some extra cash for the holidays. Even if your family isn't like mine, who wouldn't love some extra cash? Maybe you could use it to go away for the holidays. That's my dream one day!

No matter what you want to use it for, here are some ways to earn some extra money for the holidays.

1. Sell your teaching ideas & lesson plans online.

If you are a teacher this could be the most natural way to earn extra money. I highly recommend signing up as a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you are not sure of how many lessons you will end up posting, you can sign up for a basic seller or if you plan to sell a lot of lesson plans, sign up as a premium seller for $60 ayear. You can sell your lesson plans, worksheets, PowerPoint presentations and more online. Some sellers even sell just Clip Art so there is really a niche for everyone.

Although you may have to make some changes to your lessons to make them sell more online such as adding a title page, copyright sign and table of contents, most likely you will be rewarded for your efforts.

I also like hearing feedback from other teachers which has given me good ideas on new ways to use my lessons or things I could add to them that could help students more.

2. Work as a tutor.

Now this is probably not an option for most since teaching most of the time is really more than a full time job but if you do find you have extra time or will make extra time, tutoring may be the way to go. Students are gearing up for the ACT and there are many companies hiring tutors to help students raise their scores. Students that are starting to struggle may also need tutors in various subjects. You can find many of these ads on Craigslist. I have applied to several of these listings before and was contacted quite quickly by them after responding to their ad.

Tutor Nation is a great place to register as a tutor and advertise your services. Here is a good article about starting your own tutoring business with a lot of tips and things to think about.

3. Teach a class.

Now you may want a break from teaching, but you may enjoy teaching something different of more of a personal interest. Most park districts offer fall and spring classes and I have found that if you call in advance with a new class topic, they are very open to new offerings. This would be a fun opportunity to teach something you don't normally get to teach such as garden tips or crafts and might refresh you.

4. "Earn" money by becoming a super saver.

Start using coupons and looking for sales to save extra money that you can use towards your holidays. There are thousands of coupon blogs out there. I enjoy finding deals and reading Swaggrabber and Money Saving Mom.  In the past couponing would require subscribing to a newspaper but today with so many printable coupons it is easy to start saving right away. I do subscribe to a newspaper for the coupons but more and more am finding that I mainly use printable online coupons.

Are there any creative ways you earn money for the holidays? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments below and I would love to feature you in an article this month.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lesson on Chicen Itza

About five years ago I took a much anticipated vacation to see the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.  I had seen the Aztec center of Tenochtitlan several years before, and this completed my tour of Mexico's most significant ancient American sites.  Despite the heat, it was awesome.

I translated the pictures I took and information I learned into a powerpoint to share with my Spanish class.  I uploaded my lesson to TeachersPayTeachers as two separate files.  I uploaded the ppt as one and another file with the ppt + worksheet.  They are priced at $4 and $5 respectively.

Check it out today!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fabulous Freebies: Freebies for Veterans Day!

Veterans Day is on November 11th this year. I have asked students in the past if they know anyone that has been in the military and most knew a close family member or friend. It meant a lot to those students to do activities that relate to veterans and I found that some students took extra pride in their work because of the subject matter. Here are some Veterans Day freebies you can use to help your students celebrate brave veterans.

I love this Veteran's Day pack and list of four Veterans Day activities. There are some good suggestions and I think they could be adaptable to most age levels even though the worksheets are for elementary students.

Education World has a lesson plan on how to create community service for veterans in a variety of ways. I think there are some great ideas here and writing assignments can vary for different ages so I think this lesson would work for just about all age levels.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a free Teachers Resource Guide for Veterans Day in PDF form. It is a 33 page packet and contains both teacher resources, students resources and a kid's packet.

At Apples for the Teacher you can get a great list of videos with links about veterans you can share with your students. The Gratitude Campaign video, which teaches you how to be thankful for veterans sounds particularly interesting.

If you have a freebie for Veterans Day, please share it with us below!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What To Do with Halloween Candy Besides Eat It

Happy Halloween!  I hope you all are having fun despite the crazy buzz of excitement and sugar rushes that come with this holiday.  Today I'm posting a fun way to use up some of your students candy besides consume it.  CandyExperiments has simple science experiments you can do with some of the excessive treats that kids collect.  Here are five of my favorite experiments...

1) Chocolate Bloom--students expose their chocolate bars to different temperatures and see what happens when the ingredients start to separate.

2) Life Saver Sparks--students eat life savers in the dark in front of a mirror and watch what happens.

3) Candy Bar Bath--students test candy bars to see which sink and which float.  Then they predict why.

4) Harvesting S's and M's--students pull the letters off of Skittles and M&M's.

5) Hidden Sugars--students learn to read labels and, hopefully, rethink some of their food choices.

This could be done in class or sent home as an experiment.  I doubt many parents would mind seeing the candy being used for the sake of education instead of tooth decay!

Have fun.  Be safe.  Let us know if you try it and how it goes.  We'd love to hear your feedback.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fabulous Friday Freebies: More than 150 freebie compilation!

Below is a list of more than 150 free teaching resources! There is plenty for each age level and subject area. Enjoy!

Fall Themed Freebies

 Winter Themed Freebies

Spring Themed Freebies

Summer Themed Freebies

Year Round Freebies

 Free Lesson Related Freebies

 Freebies Just for Teachers

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