Five for Friday!

I am excited to link up for Five for Friday today.  It has been awhile since I have linked up.

I had a busy week both at home and at school.  Here are five things we did this week.

It was apple week in kindergarten so we of course had to make some homemade applesauce.

We had a half-day of school on Wednesday so I made it our "Apple Fun Day."  Boy, did we have fun and learn a lot!  I am writing a post this weekend to tell you more about it.

We are working on labeling our illustrations in writing.  My students always get a kick out of this activity.

I was able to finally meet my sweet new nephew yesterday.  He is precious and a little wiggle worm, but Aunt Amanda was always able to calm him down.  Being an aunt is so much fun.  I can say that I know without doubt this little guy is going to be spoiled rotten!!

For my daughter's birthday, we got her tickets to the Taylor Swift concert.  It was last night and SO.  MUCH.  FUN!!!!!!  If you haven't seen her in concert, you need to.  It was an amazing show!

 My amazing friend Dana made these shirts for us.  If you need a shirt made for you or someone else, click here and check out her page.  You won't be disappointed.

Now I am off to cuddle under a blanket by the fireplace and catch up on my shows this week.  :)

Have a fabulous weekend!

Bouncy Bands

Do you have students who have trouble keeping still?  I have two in my classroom.  Bless their hearts.  They try to focus on what we are doing, but they just can't.  Their hands and feet need to be busy all the time.

I was looking for ways to help my students with this and came across Bouncy Bands.

Bouncy Bands can be used on either desks or chairs.  Since my students sit at tables, I put the bouncy bands on their chairs.  (NOTE:  I mainly used the bands with two students who have trouble sitting still.  Other students used the bands on rare occasions)

My students were able to bounce their feet while they were sitting at their chair.  I noticed a few things while trying out the bands with my students:

1.  One particular student didn't bounce his feet too much on it, but instead slid the band up and down.  Even though he wasn't using it for it's intended use it was still helping his feet keep busy and his mind stay focused.

2.  Both students who used the bands were able to focus more on their work and were not as distracting to the rest of the class while using the bands.

3.  When my students happened to use the chairs with the bands during center time, at first the other students were amazed by how bouncy the bands were.  But then, they quickly would start bouncing and get to work.  I never had a problem with that student focusing on their center work.

The Bouncy Bands provide a quiet way for my students to keep their feet busy so they are able to focus on what we are doing.  It is not distracting to the others students either.

The bands worked so well that I let one of my students sit at his chair next to the carpet instead of sitting at our carpet.  I have never seen him as focused as he was when he was using the bands.

When I asked my little friends what they thought about the bands, this is what they replied:
"I like bouncing because I am not bothering my friends"
"Bouncing is fun!"

Are you interested in getting some Bouncy Bands for your students?  Head over to and use the code 15OFF for 15% discount on your order.

You can also write a Donor's Choose grant to help get some bands for your students.  For more information on that, click here.

I hope you give them a try.  I am sure you will love them as much as I do!


a few days late, but I haven't linked up with the fabulous Farley in awhile so I did it even if I am late!

Listening - Yep, I'm not proud of it, but I do love me some reality TV.  I record the shows I like throughout the week and then usually catch up on the weekends while blogging and writing lesson plans.  ;)

Loving - Oh my goodness....all of the sudden this week the weather finally decided to act like fall.  At first I wasn't amused, but now I am back to loving fall again.  This also means that I get to break out my boots again.  I big time puffy heart my boots, especially these babies.  LOVE!

Thinking - Only 4 more days until my daughter and I will not only be meeting my sweet baby nephew for the first time, but we will also be having the time of our life at the Taylor Swift concert!!!!

Wanting - I haven't had my hair cut or colored in months.  I need it cut, but want a new hair style.  Unfortunately, I can't decide how I want it.  Hmmm......need to figure that out soon.

Needing - I need some inspiration.  We are trying to finish up the decor of our new living room/kitchen area.  We bought this awesome old door that has chalkboard on it and I need inspiration to strike for a quote or two for the chalkboard part.  I have created a pinterest board for it, but just can't decide.  You can check out that board here.

Boo-tiful - I love the colors of fall.  It is just such a pretty time of year.  Hoping to talk the hubby into some family pictures once more of the leaves start turning colors.  It's been a couple years since we have done family pictures and what better backdrop than the colors of fall.

Now I am off to finish up my lesson plans and watch some more reality TV.....yep that's my exciting Saturday night.  ;)

Positional Words Fun!

I love teaching about positional words during my Farm Unit with the book Rosie's Walk.  See how I created easy to make manipulatives to do this fun activity.  Click on the picture to check out my post on the Ellison Education Blog!

Halloween Costume DIY

Want to check out how I turned these

Into this?

Head on over to the Ellison blog to check out my idea for a fun and easy Halloween costume that also doubles as an ugly Christmas sweater for your holiday parties.  You can also check out other fun costume ideas for you and your family!

Bright Idea for Morning Procedures

I am a big, huge, ginormous proponent for teaching kids procedures.  Every single year we work extremely hard on our morning procedures because I feel that it just helps us get our day off on the right foot.

By October (if not sooner), my students have mastered our morning procedures and could pretty much come in and get the day started without any help from me.  It is amazing to watch their independence and it's great for when I have a sub.

First things first, I am sure you are wondering how I get this independence to happen.  LOTS of practice.  We practice our procedures multiple times throughout the day the first couple weeks of school.  I know it may seem like I am taking valuable time away from our day to practice these procedures, but the pay off in the long run is well worth it.

Then I create a flowchart with each step of our morning procedures.  This way I can easily reference to it when a student is unsure of what to do.  This is always a great visual for a substitute.

Lastly, I make sure to stand where the students are moving their lunch name and grabbing their morning work to monitor and make sure they are following the procedures.  Once they are independent in this I am busy doing other things during this time.

This year my morning procedures are especially important as we come in from the playground at 7:50 and have to be at a specialist some days at 8:05.  That doesn't give us much time to hang up coats and backpacks, do lunch count, attendance, and put away our lunch boxes.

What do you do for morning procedures?  Do you practice them and use visuals?  I would love to hear how you handle it in the comments below.

If you liked this idea, you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see more ideas.  To see other bright ideas, check out the other posts on the link-up below!

Saying NO to Whole Group Bathroom Breaks!

Before I even start this blog post I should state that I do not have a bathroom in my classroom.  Most schools in my district do not have a bathroom in the classrooms.

Now, let's talk about bathroom breaks and why I refuse to take my whole class to the bathroom for a "bathroom break."
 It wastes A LOT of instructional time.  When I used to take my whole class on a bathroom break, it would take between 10 to 15 minutes.  We would take two bathroom breaks a day.  That is a loss of almost 30 minutes of instructional time a day!
 Less behavior problems.  Ninety-nine percent of my behavior problems came from either the playground or the BATHROOM!  When there is a group of children in the bathroom it is inevitable, there will be problems.
Students don't have to go to the bathroom "on demand."  When you take your whole class to the bathroom, you are basically expecting them to go "on demand" but our bodies don't work like that.

Now that you know why I no longer take my students to the bathroom as a group you may be wondering what I do instead.

We have hand signals for a tissue, bathroom, and drink of water.  My students know to put up the amount of fingers for what they need.  I just shake my head yes or no depending on what we are doing and if it is a good time for the student to leave the classroom.

One question I always get from other teachers is "Aren't your students always asking to go?"  My answer is NO!  Because no one hears another student asking to go to the bathroom it reduces that domino effect you normally have.  All my students see is me nodding my head yes or no.  Many times the other students don't even notice me nodding.

Want my hand signal posters for free?  Just click on the image below and grab them for yourself!

How do you handle bathroom breaks with your students?  Let me know in the comments below!