Friday Five: Thankful Edition

Friday Five: Thankful Edition

One

My Teacher Friends

How could a teacher start a thankful list without mentioning the people who always support her? Teacher friends are essential. Partially because they get it in a way that no other friend could understand. My teacher friends constantly uplift me and challenge me. We push each other to learn more, to do better, to grow. We also support each other when this challenging profession becomes too much. My teacher friends have supported me through the worst of times and helped me celebrate the best of times. I still remain in contact with my close teacher friends from my past schools. I am extremely grateful to have these wonderful people in my life. 

Two

My Students

…should students have come first? Maybe but I just got done Facetiming one of my teacher friends in the US! Teacher friends were on the brain. I am so thankful for each and every diamond in my class this year. I am also so grateful to have had the opportunity to teach all my friends of years past. How can you not take a moment to appreciate all the smiling faces that you work with each day? 

Three

Juicy Markers

You might think this is a joke but it is not…. if you teach lower elementary you might just understand. This year my class loves to take caps off of markers and lose them! 😂Just kidding! They’re in grade 1 and they can’t help it! We’re working on this clicking of the caps but until then I am eternally grateful when I pick up a whiteboard marker or a chart marker and it actually works. I mean, is there anything better? 

FOur

HandWritten Notes

This week we had indoor recess due to air pollution. After indoor recess, I got so many cards filled with drawings of me and hearts and our classroom. I seriously treasure all of these notes that I have gotten over the year. In the States, I have a box that is full of them. There is nothing better than a note of appreciation from a child. 

Five

You!

If you’re reading this blog then I am so thankful for you. I love sharing my educational expertise with the world. Over my career, I’ve had several blogs but this is the one I’ve kept running the longest. I am so thankful to everyone who takes the time to read my words. Hopefully, I’ve helped you learn something or try something new within your classroom. Let me know what other things you’d like to read about and I would gladly post about them! 

I hope all of my American readers had a wonderful holiday filled with relaxation and rejuvenation. 

Leave a comment and let me know what makes your teacher heart grateful! 

Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom

Happy Polish Independence Day!

Happy Polish Independence Day!

Poland is Honestly Gorgeous!

Before I moved to Poland I didn’t have any real expectations of what I was going to find. This is my third year living in Poland and I can honestly say that it is a gorgeous country. I have tried to travel all over Poland in my time here and I still have more to see. Here are a few photos from around Poland.

It's Always Time for Ice Cream!

When I first moved here I noticed that people were always walking around eating ice cream. Time of day doesn’t matter. People here love to walk around the city and enjoy some ice cream!

Churros!

I know this one is a little confusing because I can guarantee that churros are not native to Poland. BUT They have churros at almost all of their markets and they are so delicious! I just love churros with all my heart. One of my teacher friends follows this churro guy on Facebook so we can always find his churro truck when he is near us! 

I've Never Had A Better Manicure iN My Life

My nails have never looked better! I have always wanted to have great nails but it just hasn’t worked out in my favor. I don’t know what my nail ladies do but it is amazing! I have never walked out unsatisfied. Ever. Even right now I got my nails done three weeks ago and they look like they were just done recently. I am living in a dream world. 

It is So Safe

If you follow me on Insta then you know about the fog situation the other night. Basically, it was so foggy that you couldn’t see across the street. The streetlights also created this eerie orange glow everywhere. This was the first time I was creeped out walking home at night. AND I wasn’t even creeped out because I thought something bad might happened I just thought it felt like I was in some sort of horror movie. There are a lot of scary movies where heavy fog is a sign of something terrible. Plus, this happened right after Halloween when I watched a bit too many scary movies! It was just me being a scaredy cat! 

It is so safe to live here. I have never felt unsafe no matter the time of day or night. There also aren’t really unsafe parts that you need to stay away from like in some other cities. 

Travel is so Easy!

Once you’re in Europe traveling anywhere is so easy. In my time in Poland, I have been to numerous different places all over the world. The most recent places were Finland and Estonia. I love to travel and it is easy to do so here. We also have a great school calendar that allows for many holidays to travel. What more can a girl ask for? 

Purple are countries I have lived in and blue are countries that I have visited. There is still so much to see in Europe! 

I'm Living My Best Life!

Friday Five: The Fastest Week Ever

Friday Five: The Fastest Week Ever

One

Monday Teacher Work Day

On Monday we had the most productive teacher work day I’ve had in a long time. You know how sometimes these can go? There is nothing I hate more in life than unproductive time OR meetings without a purpose. This was not my Monday, oh no! We met and we got stuff done! People collaborated. Thoughts were shared. It was amazing! 

Two

...But How is It ALready Friday

And after Monday came Friday. Seriously! That is how fast this week went by. When I sat down to write my newsletter it took me a minute to realize all the things we had done. And that was the end of this week! 

Three

3 Day Weekend

Poland is celebrating 100 years of independence on Sunday. 100 years! So we have no school on Monday. This came as a surprise… not the independence but the day off school. I will always accept an extra day off! Who wouldn’t? 

FOur

These Kids Stamina!

This week my kids could not be satisfied. When reading ended they were upset and wanted more reading time. When writing ended they were upset and wanted more writing time. When math ended… you guessed it! They wanted more math time. I don’t know what happened over the break but these kids came back with stamina like I have never seen in first graders. One day we wrote for almost 40 minutes and they could have kept going! But we were literally out of time. I hope this trend continues because we are going places. 

Five

Parent Dinner

At our school, it is a tradition that elementary parents take the teacher out to dinner. It is a cute little tradition that honors the family vibe of our school. Tonight is my parent dinner and I could not be more excited. 

How was your week? Did it fly by like mine? 

Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you! 

Shhh!! It’s a Secret! How to Have the Best Class Parties!

Shhh!! It’s a Secret! How to Have the Best Class Parties!

Ugh... Class Parties

I used to despise class parties. When I taught second grade our team would show a movie for each party. We watched Matilda for Halloween. We watched The Polar Express for Christmas and we watched Little Rascals for Valentine’s Day. Our parties were actually pretty boring and usually during them the kids complained that they were bored! When I switched schools and taught third we followed the same plan for parties and the kids complained about it then too! 

When I switched to a new school the room parents were in charge of planning the class parties. Seriously, what a relief! They planned such fun and engaging activities but they were a bit too fun and I ended up with out of control children! Like out of control. This behavior was encouraged by parent volunteers and I ended up with a classroom that was completely trashed after every party. Honestly?

This brings me to last year when I was hoping that there could be a different way to celebrate as a class. A way that not only engaged the kids and was fun but didn’t leave my classroom totally destroyed. Well, my room parents tried out one of the greatest things ever and I could not believe the shift in my class parties. 

Here's The Secret!

Are you ready for it? Are you really ready to switch up your class parties in the simplest of ways? Here’s the secret. I’m willing to share it with you because it took away all the stress of party planning. Here it is….

sandwich making!

Yup. That really is the secret. Those two little words up there were a game changer. Want to know why? Sandwich making is both a snack and an activity in one! Score! Kids love to eat and kids also love to play with their food. Why not let them?

Throwing A Sandwich Making Party

You'll Need:

-Stuff to make sandwiches (bread, cheese, butter, meat, veggies, etc.)

-Themed cookie cutters (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, whatever!) 

-Plates

-Napkins

-Plastic Knives

-Juice

-Cups

-Chips & Cookies

Parents will also love this idea because instead of making some elaborate treat to bring in they can literally just send in a loaf of bread. Or a package of cheese. Seriously, so easy! And… If parents enjoy making Pinterest worthy treats they can bring one in as a dessert. To be honest, the kids are going to be more wrapped up in the sandwiches they make because it will be so fun! 

Step One: Lay it Out

If I really was a good teacher blogger I would have taken photos of all the food nicely arranged on the table. The problem is I never remember that I could blog about things that happen in the classroom and then I never take pictures. Seriously! I need to get better at it but when I live my teacher life I forget about my teacher blog life sometimes! It happens. So imagine…

You arrange a few sandwich making stations. At the stations are cookie cutters and sandwich ingredients. You make sure that all kids wash their hands and know about these things called germs. We can’t have any nose pickers during sandwich making. That is a sure way to ruin the best party ever! 

Step Two: teach the Kids

This might surprise you, this might not but… kids don’t usually know how to make sandwiches. You must show them. Show them by building your own sandwich and laying down clear ground rules. 

“Ok, diamonds! (I call my firsties diamonds but that is a story for another day) I want to make a sandwich. First I get my bread and I put butter on it. Did you notice how after I put butter on my bread I put the knife right back by the butter? That way someone else can use it next. Then I take the ghost cookie cutter and cut it into the shape of a ghost. Next I want cheese so I grab a slice of cheese. Notice how I tried to only touch what I was going to eat?  I turn the cheese into the ghost and put it on top of my ghost bread. Do you see how I am keeping all my sandwich supplies on my plate. That is so important! Now this is the cool part! I am going to actually make two sandwiches at once! Look at this, I can line up the outsides and there is going to be a ghost in the middle of this sandwich! Look!” 

AHHH!!!! They are going to go crazy here! Two sandwiches! What?! This is essential for the success of your sandwich party. This step is optional and I do show my kids that I can either make two sandwiches or eat as I go. No one is allowed to eat their cute sandwich until they have eaten the scraps. You know your kids. Plan for what will work best for them.

After you go through all the steps show them again that they eat the outside before the inside. There should be no scraps if they are eating the middle. This also partially takes care of the my eyes are bigger than my head situation that might occur during a sandwich making party. If you make it, you must eat it. 

Step Three: Let Them Loose

After you have answered all of the questions and reviewed the process several times let them go off to their sandwich making station. Now you get to walk around and monitor. I could not believe how quiet it was while the sandwich making was happening. We put on music and sang. Now, I don’t believe that parties need to be quiet but they were just so focused! 

 

When the party was over the kids helped clean up. They actually ate all the food they took so we didn’t have huge amounts of waste at the end of the party. AND! They said it was the BEST PARTY EVER!!! I mean, what more do you want? 

Special Thanks

Even though I’m acting like I discovered the sandwich making party I have to give a shout out to my two excellent room parents who planned and executed the best class parties I’ve ever had. So thank you Nancy and Steffi. Those parties were amazing!