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!
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