2013 | Peace, Love, and First Grade


Disclaimer: This is a post about strengthening your immune system.
I do not profess to be a medical professional.
I am simply sharing teachers' suggestions for living a healthier lifestyle.

I posted this on The Primary Chalkboard
but thought it might be worth a second post here.
Stay with me, friends. There's a freebie at the end!

Over the last two years, I have had the stomach virus twice,
a few sinus infections, Bronchitis two times, and Walking Pneumonia. 
Remember, I'm not a new teacher, either...
Frankly, I'm sick of being sick!
Obviously, my Immune System is shot! 
Well, let me tell you something, I want this year to be different,
and I know it's up to me to boost my system!

SO...I asked some of my blogging pals and teacher friends
what they did to stay healthy in the classroom.
I've compiled their answers right here.
One list is for things you can do at home
and another for things you can do at school.
Hopefully, if you are in the same boat I'm in,
we can toughen up before that boat sinks!

What You Can Do at Home
Let's be honest, we all know we shouldn't smoke.
We should eat our fruits and veggies,
and we should limit alcohol intake, right?

But what else can we do?

1-Take your vitamins
2-Take probiotics
3-Vitamin C every day
4-Get plenty of rest and sleep

5-Drink tons of water
Drink green tea daily, cranberry juice, or vitamin water
7-Eat a clean diet (so hard to do)
8-Exercise regularly (even harder to do)
9-Get about 20 minutes of  fresh air and sunshine daily. You need the Vitamin C.
10-Use saline solution or a saline rinse before you leave your house and before bed.
My doctor recommended Simply Saline.

11-Throw away your tooth brush after you are sick.
Do this with your family members' brushes, too.

12-Change your pillow case every single day when you are sick.
13-When you feel yourself getting sick, take something like Emergen-C or Colloidal Silver.
14-Take Airborne before school. 
15-Take a steam shower at least twice a week. All those flu germs can't survive in really high temps.
16-Cut out the stress from your life. Okay...we teach. At least find the time to relax!

17-Don't always bundle up inside. Bare skin in the elements helps build your immune system.

18-Make time for yourself. Once a week, find time to do something you enjoy.
19-Get organized. If you aren't already. This helps alleviate stress.
20-Learn to say, "No." You don't have to do it all. You don't.
21-Several teachers swear by "juicing," too. Link below.

And this fun one from my friend Stephanie:

22-Make the hubs/spouse sleep in the guest room when he/she is sick. Ha! 

Things You Can do in the Classroom
1-This one is a pet peeve with me.
Teach your students to cough and sneeze into their sleeves, NOT THEIR HANDS.
Makes me cringe when I see teachers coughing into their hands.

2-Don't touch your face and (try to) teach children not to touch their faces.
3-Use hand sanitizer before touching your skin ALL DAY LONG.
4-Use a cup with a lid. Keep it away from kiddos.
5-Use your own pencils, markers, etc. Try not to touch kid pencils, etc. or sanitize right after using.

6-Use your own tissue box, separate from the kiddos.
7-Use anti-bacterial wipes on all surfaces touched by kiddos or spray with Lysol. (keyboards, door handles, light switches).
8-Have students blow their noses by the door. Have them put their tissues in a trash can by the door, then use hand sanitizer.
9-Have students get hand sanitizer before guided reading, reading books in the class library, or using math manipulatives.
10-Wear a small apron filled with YOUR supplies. Don't share those supplies with the kiddos. Here are some super cute ones from my friend Hadar (and her Mom). 

I set up a "Get Well Station" in my classroom.
I keep tissues, hand sanitizer, and a trash bin next to the door.
Students blow their noses, drop tissues in the trash,
get some hand sanitizer, THEN walk to the sink to wash their hands.
Is it overkill?? Maybe, but we need to stay well!

I hope you've found something here to help you stay well this year!
 If you have anything to add, I'd love to hear it and will add it above.
 Thanks so much for stopping by!

Here's a little freebie for you if you decide to set up a "Get Well" Station.
Click the pic to download.

Links to Teacher Recommended Products-these are not affiliate links.


 Over the past year, I've done a lot of cleaning out. All my pre-made holiday decor was given to other teachers. It had not been used in years and was taking up space!
Well, last week, my first graders let me know we needed more Halloween decor in our classroom. I told them we better start creating!

Here's what we made. They love it! I do, too!
BONUS: This project did not cost me one cent!!
Don't celebrate Halloween?? You can still make these.
They are adorable with or without faces!

 You will need:
*construction paper- 
9" x 12" orange 
green and brown pieces large enough to cut handles, leaves, and vines
*black markers or crayons (if you want faces)
*tape or staples

Here are the steps:
Step 1: Draw a jack-o-lantern face in the middle of a 9" x 12" piece of construction paper. If you don't want faces, skip this step. You can see pics of these below.
Step 2: Fold the paper in half lengthwise.
Step 3: Use a ruler and draw a straight line about 1/2" inch from the top of the unfolded edge. Pic below.

Step 4: Cut straight lines from the folded edge to the pencil line on the unfolded edge.

Step 5: Open the paper.  It should look like the pic below. I had kids write their names on it then. 

Step 6: Roll the paper into a tube. Pic below.
Tape or staple the ends. You could glue but taping allows you to keep working. 

Once taped, it will look like this pic.

Step 7: Cut strips of green paper. Curl the paper around a pencil to create vines.

Step 8: Cut green leaves and glue the leaves and vines to the lantern. I love where he glued the leaves below. We glued the vines to the inside of the lanterns.

Step 9: Cut brown (or another color) strips for handles. Staple the handle inside the lanterns. The handles should be stapled at the front and the back if you plan to hang them on a vine.

Step 10: Cut out strips of butcher paper and twist into a vine. Hang the lanterns on the vine for a Fun Fall Display! Enjoy!

 I hope you're having fall weather in your neighborhood!
Love the feeling of fall!
Have a wonderful week, friends!


So last time I blogged about Science Friday. You can read about that here.
We're lovin' it, I tell you!

We spent the last two Fridays doing a little cooking. Well, sort of... 
Have you ever made a pizza with canned biscuits? We love them!

Here are the directions according to first graders.
We did an interactive writing first,
then I sent my little chefs to their tables to write their own directions.
This early in the year, we need that modeling first.
I like to think of the interactive writing as practice for the real thing.
I take the class writing down while they work independently.
The word "oven" is under that blonde chef on the class chart. 
We added it back after the pic was taken.
Sorry about that...
 The precious chefs you see here are from my talented friend, Hadar.
You can find her Cooking Up a Great Year craftivity pack here.
I added a pizza page, and we have cute little pizza makers!

After Pizza week came Apple Week!
These pics are from our apple tasting and applesauce making.

We used Kristen's recipe for crockpot applesauce. You can find it here. The kiddos loved it.

So...I have no pics of the final product or the kiddos eating.
Not sure how that happened. Go figure! It was delicious, though!

It's finally starting to feel like Fall here in the South!
It seems to turn cooler each year when the State Fair comes to town. I love it!
Happy Fall, Friends!


We've been loving some Science this year!
I've been so inspired by my sweet friend, Kristen at A Day in First Grade!
You'll want to get to know her if you don't!
She has some amazing Science packs.
Well, we've been diggin' into those packs, and the results have been incredible!
Excuse my hunchback scientist. We do what we can...

 A few weeks ago, we started Science Fridays.
I wanted the kiddos to look forward to Fridays but in an educational sort of way!
Enter, Science Friday!
I'm happy to say it's a hit so far!

Here are pics from two of our Fridays.
You can find both of these activities (and so much more) in Kristen's Science packs.
She also has great blog posts about them here!

Walking Water
So obviously, we started this experiment on a Friday...
When we came back to school Monday, this is what we saw!
The kiddos were amazed! It was pretty neat!

I love how engaged they are in this pic! They were truly this focused the entire lesson!
Look at all that writing!

The Milk Experiment

I love his face on the right! He was really surprised!
They had no idea what was going to happen! Ha!

We've completed the above "experiments" complete with writing activities,
plus two more cooking activities I'll post about next time.
I'm happy to say we are diggin' Science Friday!
Happy Week, friends! 


Classroom routines are settling a bit,
students are getting into the groove of things,
and we are really starting to dig deeper into our curriculum!  

I use Sound Boxes daily with my students. Sound Boxes help your students build phonological awareness as they blend and segment individual sounds (phonemes), sequence letters in words, match letter sounds to letter symbols, and more! Sound Boxes are perfect for small groups and RTI. Each box represents one phoneme or sound. 

I prefer to introduce sound boxes in small groups.

Here's the process I use:
1) Explain to students you are going to show them a neat way to stretch words. Then display a sample sound box.
2) Discuss how CVC words have 3 sounds or phonemes and display an example picture.
(I use the word "cat.") 

3) Ask students to listen as you say the word “cat.” Have students slowly repeat the word.
4) Place counters or pennies above each sound box. Model how you can use sound boxes to help you write the word “cat.” As you slowly say the word, push a counter into the appropriate box for each sound. Make sure to emphasize the left to right direction. 
5) Then show students how you can “push” an object into each box to help you hear and sequence individual sounds. Students can then write the sounds they hear in each box or place a manipulative letter in each box. 

Here's a look at my kiddos working with sound boxes!

A few pics of my kiddos using the boxes this week.

We use the color boxes, but they also come in black and white.
Sorry about all the shadows...the table really is clean...

The kiddos wanted to "pose" their cards for this one! Ha! 

I have three Sound Box packs that cover short and long vowels!

This shows what you'll see in the pack for EACH vowel.

Happy Day, Friends!!

Comfy and Cute Shoe Search-The List

Hi, friends!
Many of you commented here and on FB about your favorite comfy/cute shoes. 
Many of you are on the search with me! 

 Looking for a casual slip-on?

How about a lace-up?

Are you a boot lover?

 Can't part with your wedges?

Why is it so difficult to find a cute shoe that is comfortable enough to teach in
and doesn't cause leg/foot pain at the end of the day??
Seriously, someone could make a mint if they listened and created.

I've been introduced to several new-to-me brands on this search, so...
I thought it might be a good idea to compile a list of Teacher Recommended Shoes complete with links.

A few observations
1) There is a market for cute and comfortable shoes for teachers.
2) You need to be willing to spend a little $$ for quality shoes.
3) There is no One Great Shoe for all teachers.
4) Some of these companies have brand new looks!
5) Several shoe companies have cute bags, as well! 
6) Shopping for shoes is fun! Okay, we already knew that!

Here you go, my teacher friends! Happy Shopping!
Teacher Recommended Brands 
Click on the brand to shop.
Just FYI: no compensation here!
Tieks (sigh...)
Tennis Shoes

UPDATE: Here's my Pinterest board for more choices!

I will add to this list as brands are shared.
Thanks so much for sharing your favorites!
Have a comfy week!!