Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays from One Less Headache!

The two of us at One Less Headache want to wish you happy holidays! We hope you have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family. We are taking a break from the blog and will begin posting freebies for the New Year at the end of the month! Have a great holiday and break.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fabulous Freebies: 100 Holiday Classroom Activities

  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.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Word of Affirmation for Students

Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker and author, says, "Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy."  In other words, what we think will happen too often directs our path and becomes a reality, even if it needn't be.  Tied to the development of beliefs is the act of listening.  What we hear, we tend to believe, particularly if it is coming from someone we consider to be a reliable source.  If someone who knows and is supposed to care about us tells us we are going to go to college, we start to believe it.  If that same person says that we are never going to be anything in life, the same is true.  We start to believe that too.

As teachers who spend a significant amount of time with our students throughout the school year, we have the opportunity to speak life into them.  So, I've written an ABC's of compliments.  I'm sure you can think of your own, but this is a good place to start...

Amiable, amazing, adorable, athletic, artistic, ambitious
Beautiful, bubbly, blossoming
Cool, charming, confident, collegiate, compassionate, charismatic, caring
Diligent, dependable, deep
Excellent, enchanting, energetic, empathetic
Fabulous, fun, funny, fashionable, friendly, faithful, focused
Generous, giving, good, great, gentle
Honest, honorable, hard working
Intelligent, independent
Jolly, jazzy
Keen, kind
Lovable, loyal, likable
Magnificent, marvelous, merry
Neat, nice
Perfect, practical, profound, precious, priceless
Resilient, receptive, respectful
Studious, smart, super
Terrific, talented
Xtra special

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fabulous Freebies for Teaching Writing

There are so many quality sites to that offer assistance and free resources for teaching writing to all ages.  Here are some of the ones I find the most helpful and/or frequent the most...


#1: Rubistar has a ton of pre-made rubrics that you can alter to fit your assignment.  It is quick and easy to use.

#2: 6 + 1 Trait exemplars  allow you to norm your expectations as you work on various objectives from voice to organization to fluency.

#3:   is not a free website, but they have several examples that are posted on line for free.


#4: Life Magazine  has an online archive of photos.  They make great writing prompts.  Students can look at a picture and write a story about what happened before the picture, what is happening when the shot is taken and what is going to happen.  Or, students can look at the subject and write an internal monologue.  So many of the pictures are powerful and provocative.  If you want to connect it to what they're studying in social studies you can search by topic. 

Lessons and Programs:

#5Writing Fix has a bunch of high quality materials and lessons to help with teaching writing.

#6:  6 + 1 Traits is one of the most widely used and highly respected writing programs for teaching the various components of composition and norming language and expectations amongst the staff.


#7 Grammar Bytes   is a website with a plethora of printable exercises for teaching grammar to middle and high school students.


#8: Purdue Writing Owl has instructions for how to use MLA formatting in your research papers.

I hope at least one of these is something you can add to your toolkit.  If you have ones of your own that you like, please post them in the comments section and share them with our readers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Season of Giving

I used to love opening up Advent calendars with my brothers.  My holiday flavored narcissism was thrilled to receive a chocolate goodie for 25 days straight leading up to the big Christmas extravaganza at my house.  Christmas is really about giving, though, as so many of my students whose family's budgets can't afford extravagance this year know better than I did at their tender age.  So, why not create a classroom Advent calendar of giving?  Each day have the students open up an envelope with an idea of how to give that day.  Or, since most of you will only see your students for 12 more days before the break, pick out your favorite and use them in a count down to break.

1) Give a smile--say something nice to someone.  Encourage them.
2) Make a Christmas card for someone in a nursing home.
3) Make a Christmas tree and deliver it to someone who doesn't have one.
4) Make coupons for the students' families that give away special chores, hugs, back rubs, etc to loved ones.
5) Go read books to a younger group of students in the school.
6) Leave a plate of cookies for the janitor when he/she comes in to clean up at night.
7) Write letters to soldier and mail them overseas.
8) Collect canned goods for a food pantry.
9) Have students bring in new stuffed animals.  Write a note that goes with each animal and deliver them to the pediatrics ward of a hospital just before Christmas.
10) Assign students to commit a random act of kindness for someone, journal about it and report back with the class.
11) Go caroling through the school.
12) Create Christmas decorations and decorate the school to spread a little cheer.
13) Make bake-less cookies as a class and deliver goodie bags to the staff.
14) Bring in change and put it in a jar.  Donate it to a local shelter.
15) Have your students make an ornament, wrap it up and bring the ornament home as an early Christmas present for their parents.
16) Take your class outside to clean up the school grounds, weather permitting.
17) Have students create flyers for a local animal shelter and put them up around town to promote animal adoption.
18) Have students organize a special after school activity for students who stay late.
19) Have students sign up to tutor younger students.
20) Have students make friendship bracelets and exchange them.
21) Have students bring in supplies to help stock up for 2013 (tissue, snacks, etc.)
22) Have students write a pledge for how they can help make the school a better place.
23) Collect used but clean scarves, jackets, hats and mittens to donate to a local shelter.
24) Throw a party for the staff in the teacher's lounge.  Have students bring/make sweet treats.

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