America, Presidents, and Symbols

We'll be learning all about Washington, Lincoln and Obama, and President Trump!  This is by far one of my favorite thematic units to teach! We will also learn about 10 of the most famous U.S. Symbols and we'll it all while integrating social studies with reading, writing, and math. There are REAL pictures in this unit, as well as clipart pictures. :)

President's Day and U.S. Symbols Unit

*UPDATED January 20th, 2017 

(Now includes President Trump)
This President's Day and U.S. Symbols unit is a great unit to celebrate America {available in color and black/white}!  
This unit includes:

*President Lincoln Poster

*President Washington Poster
*President Obama Poster 
*President Trump Poster
*Tree Map
*Graphic Organizers
*President Application
*President Picture {___ for President}
*If I Were the President Writing
*Dear President Trump
*U.S. Symbols book {includes 10 U.S. Symbols}
*U.S. Symbols Student Book
*Asking/Telling Literacy Center
*Hot Seat Vocabulary Game
*The Presidential Race {Graphing Math Center}
*Count Them Up! {Money Math Center}
*Class President {Tallying Math Center}
*Abe's Hat {Could be used as a writing center or whole group}
*President Washington Craft and Writing Activity
*President Lincoln Craft and Writing Activity
*President's Day Word Search

There's lots in this unit! So click [here] to check it out! 

* * * * *

Do you teach the upper grades and want to make teaching about President's Day more meaningful?

Try using some of the pages in this American History Graphic Organizer.

There are pages that teach about:
American Symbols
The US Constitution
Branches of Government
Recent Presidents
and MORE!

Read more about it: HERE

Dear Infertile Teacher

Dear Infertile Teacher,

I-N-F-E-R-T-I-L-E adjective
1.   not fertile; unproductive; sterile; barren:

Maybe you felt like your doctor needed to spell it out to you, much like you spell out tricky words for your students. You couldn’t be infertile. That’s not you. You’re meant to be a mom. But, yes. Our doctors told us that we have PCOS or Endometriosis or “Unexplained Infertility” or any other name for it. But those names don’t matter… what we heard was “broken.”

a is for alligator
b is for ball
i is for infertile

Maybe you had plans, too. College, career, marriage and then maybe children. But the years passed and the more time that went on, the more we yearned for children of our own. We’ve got kids, sure. We’ve got 26 first graders who accidentally call us mom on the daily and if we’re really lucky they might even call us grandma. We’ve got students who ask us how many kids we have and without hesitation we say “I’ve got all of you, and right now that feels perfect”. What we really want to say is, “We want kids of our own, but we’re broken.” It seems like our students’ parents are so much younger than we are. They have 4 children. We should have at least 2.  We’ll be the parents that teachers think are the grandparents. Time is not our friend.

Maybe you find it painful when the innocent substitute teacher down the hall asks you how long you’ve been married and you cringe because you know what question is coming next. It’s even more painful when they ask us WHEN we plan on having kids. “One day,” we say, or maybe we make up something like, “We just aren’t ready to have kids yet.” Because lying is easier. It saves our pain from flowing out.  What we really want to say, “Well, I’m broken and there’s a lot of money we need to come up with for us to have children…care to pitch in?”

Maybe you find it difficult being on timed medications as a teacher. Oh, inject this shot into my stomach at 9:05am? Sure! That’s right during small group reading instruction so I’ll just leave those 6 year olds to themselves for 10 minutes (it takes us 9 minutes to muster up the courage, 1 minute to actually administer the shot) and they can teach themselves to read. Remember when we thought we had the flu, but it was really the Clomid?  Oh yeah, it was sure a blast to teach double-digit addition while periodically heaving into the garbage can in the hallway. "Keep your lunch down! Keep your lunch down! Keep your lunch down!..." was our new call to attention in room 104. We are hot, then cold, then hot again. Hot flashes in our 30's? Thanks a lot, Clomid... you a**hole.

Maybe you had a hard time managing all of your appointments to get your blood drawn, temperature taken, uterus scanned. The last appointment of the day…3:30pm?!? Really? Guess we’ll be finding someone to take our class for the last 30 minutes, or the first 30 minutes, or maybe we could make my appointment during my lunch break? No? Well, I guess we could get a half-day substitute. We love writing sub plans! Sometimes we wonder why we don’t just have a desk job that allows us to leave for 2 hours during the day without batting an eye.

Maybe you wonder where the money will come from, but you haven’t let that stop you. We as teachers make SOOOO much money and IVF is so affordable (BTW insurance gets a giant middle finger right here). Our sarcasm is at an all-time high on this topic.

Maybe you are still happy for your friends and family having babies, but you can also be completely devastated and confused at the same time.  These happen for us simultaneously, don’t they? Oh, you didn’t have to track you periods and ovulation for 2 years and you just had a baby…by just…wait for it…. "doing it?” It stings a little to think this happens for other people and not us, but you go Glen Cocoa! No period trackers, ovulation trackers, and temperature taking at all? We want to give you an award and snuggle your baby and cry - all at the same time! Let's not even talk about baby showers for our friends and family.

Maybe we've planned out how we will tell our students when we get pregnant. Of course we've planned out how we'll announce it to our spouse and family. our students...that is something very special to teachers. There will be voting on boy or girl and confetti and glitter and balloons. Oh yes- the bar graph...because #standards. We'll make a bar graph of whether they think it's a boy or a girl. We'll look at the data we collected. We'll celebrate. But instead we won't. Because their teacher is broken. 

Maybe we haven’t told anyone about our infertility struggle over these painful years because we don’t want pity or awkwardness or worry. Maybe we are scared to talk about it because we don't want to share bad news, only the good. Maybe 2019 is about telling our truth. What do we want from this? We just want a listening ear and a high-five or a hug.

We are the 1 in 4. When we teach fractions we see the odds of 1/4, but we do not understand it in this capacity. Guess it’s that dang Common Core.

I see you. I am you. Continue to fight, teacher warrior.  


Holidays Around the World Plans 2018

This year is EXCITING because I have added 8 new countries!  I have now created a Holidays Around the World Part 3. I had so many requests for certain countries that were not included in Part 1 or Part 2. Ask and ye shall receive (but I really wanted the variety for my classroom as well)!

This bundle has 20 countries included
Countries and their corresponding holidays included are: 
  • Netherlands- Feast of Sinterklaas (Clog Craft)
  • Israel- Hanukkah (Dreidel Game)
  • Italy- Day of Epiphany (Broom Craft and Poem)
  • Mexico- Las Posadas (Poinsettia Craft)
  • England- Christmas (Stocking Crafts and Card Writing)
  • Germany- Christmas (Gingerbread Man Craft and Writing)
  • Australia- Christmas (Koala Craft and Writing)
  • Sweden- St. Lucia's Day (Candle Craft)
  • America- Kwanzaa (Bead Bracelet)
  • France- Christmas (Game)
  • Greenland- Christmas (Santa Craft and Letter)
  • India- Diwali (Lamp Craft and Writing)
  • Brazil- Christmas (Sandpaper Snowman)
  • South Africa- Christmas (Bead Christmas Tree)
  • China- Chinese New Year (Fireworks Painting)
  • Saudi Arabia- Eid al-Fitr (Lantern)
  • Russia- New Year's (Nesting Doll Craft)
  • Greece- Christmas (Sailboat Craft and Writing) 
  • United Arab Emirates- Ramadan (Moon and Star Craft)
  • America or Canada- Christmas (Christmas Eve Craft, Christmas (Rudolph Craft, Mad Lib, and Writing) *America/Canada is included in each pack

Something else I've wanted to do FOREVER is make informational slides for each countries that I teach about in Holidays Around the World. There is just not much information out there for so many of the countries/holidays. I have taken what I know and what I've researched/read and put the information in slides with graphics.  There are 20 countries included and 4 slides per country (1 slide with the country's flag and 3 slides with information). 

If you buy Holidays Around the World Bundle (1, 2, 3) you get the informational slides FOR FREE as a bonus! (You can also buy it as a stand-alone product)

I know you're spending your own money on this and I want you to make the most informed decision. Because of the updates I've made the past year, I feel like this product has everything we need to teach Holidays Around the World and not get sick of it each year (there are SO many options, guys!).  Want to know more? I've made this video to describe pretty much everything in the pack so you can see exactly what's included. If you purchase the NEW bundle, you get 20 countries instead of 13! 

If you own Holidays Around the World Bundle (Part 1 and 2), but you still want more countries, Part 3 is the stand-alone pack so you can still get 8 more countries!

  • Brazil- Christmas (Sandpaper Snowman)
  • South Africa- Christmas (Bead Christmas Tree)
  • China- Chinese New Year (Fireworks Painting)
  • Saudi Arabia- Eid al-Fitr (Lantern)
  • Russia- New Year's (Nesting Doll Craft)
  • Greece- Christmas (Sailboat Craft and Writing) 
  • United Arab Emirates- Ramadan (Moon and Star Craft)
  • America or Canada- Christmas (Ornament Watercolor) 


3 Reasons You Need Robots in the Classroom

This blog post is in partnership with Wonder Workshop. All opinions are my own. 

1. STEM integration made-easy (coding!)
My students are learning the basics of coding by using the Wonder App on our classroom iPad.  The Dash robot from Wonder Workshop is ideal for K-6 classroom (if you're looking for something 6th-12th, try the Cue). They go through the engineering process when coding as well. The iPad app easily pairs with your robot. We learned how to make the robot talk, move, and light up- all in one day! The great thing about Wonder Workshop is that it has resources for educators (videos, curriculum, accessories, etc). They've really thought of everything!

We love watching YouTube videos to learn more:

There is also coding curriculum for Dash that is available to educators when your school purchases the robtos.

2. They are SO engaging and fun!
My students are obsessed with our "class pet" named Dash. We use him during STEM rotations and my students work together on an ipad to do block coding. They figure it out on their own because the app is so user-friendly. My students set a timer on the iPad and trade off after 4 minutes each. They collaborate and problem solve when Dash isn't doing quite what they coded him to do.

It's funny that I'm writing this post because here's what 2 of my students wrote today!

3. There are a variety of extensions, apps, curriculum and resources!

Don't worry, when you get a Dash or Cue Robot in your classroom you won't be left to figure it out on your own! There are so many things available to your students and one of them we love is the Sketch Kit. The Sketch Kit is a new accessory for Dash and Cue robots that enables kids to visualize the results from their code on a large-scale, dry-erase surface. Sketch Kit helps kids sketch out their programs so they can share their creations with friends, teachers, and parents. Sketch Kit allows kids to express their creativity and exercise their critical thinking and spatial reasoning skills as they draw geometric shapes, abstract patterns, animals, words, and more.

I would HIGHLY recommend getting a Dash for your classroom! This was me a few months ago figuring out:
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