Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Teaching Children to Be Kind People


The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandness intention.  -Oscar Wilde

Caring, gentleness, compassion, generosity, and patience may be some words that come to mind when thinking about kindness.  Kindness may seem like such a simple and straight-forward concept, yet it may not always be an easy act.   It is my belief that most people have good intentions and kind hearts.  However, misunderstandings, anger, and hurt feelings may be some reasons that interfere with one's ability to act in a kind manner.   Learning calming down techniques, empathy, and seeing another person's point of view are some ways that encourage and lead to kind acts.   In addition to one's temperament, another factor contributing to kindness, may be one's natural personality type.  For example, some people are introverts and shy by nature.  They may appear quiet and standoffish, when in reality, they just need a little more time to feel comfortable.  They may be kind people, who are misunderstood.

Why is it important to teach kindness to children?   I believe the key to success in life is rooted in living a happy and fulfilled life.  We are all aware of social problems in school, such as bullying, and disrespect.  If childhood problems like those, are not properly dealt with, there is a risk children may grown up to be unhappy people, and cause unneeded stress or pain to others.    It's therefore important to model kind acts to children at a young age.  For example, a parent may teach their child the importance of charity work by helping others in need.  This may be modeled and done with the child through toy and clothing donations.   The possibilities are endless when it comes to acts of kindness that children may participate in.  Here are a few to get you started...

  • Do a chore for someone without them knowing.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line.
  • Tell someone why they are special.
  • Bring flowers to your teacher.
  • Donate a book to a doctor's office.
  • Bring cookies to the custodian.
  • Invite someone new to play at recess.
  • Put change in a vending machine.
  • Make a homemade gift for someone.
  • Hold the door open for someone.

Those and many other ideas are available in my Kindness Packet.   The packet may be used by teachers, parents, school counselors, social workers, speech therapists, special education teachers, and other specialists.  Included in this packet are activities, printables, posters and awards.  To see full details, click here.


What is your favorite act of kindness?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cheers to a Year Giveaway!

Congratulations Princess Netherly to one year on Teachers Pay Teachers!  Woohoo!  To celebrate Princess Netherly's success, some amazing Teacher-Authors and myself, are participating in a giveaway.  Gift cards, ($25 TpT, and $50 Target), and TpT resources/store credit may be won.


See full giveaway details here!

Good luck!

Monday, October 19, 2015

7 Super Easy Halloween Ideas!


Hooray!  Halloween is almost here!  Over the years, I have decorated, participated in, and enjoyed many Halloween activities.  Because time is of value, and because I work from home and take care of the needs of three little ones, my ideas and activities tend to be easy DIY.   If you are anything like me, and looking for some easy Halloween tips, give these a try...

1.  Cute Costume

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Halloween-Reward-Coupons-2149216Looking for an easy and fun costume idea?  How about Cookie Monster?  I purchased this cookie monster costume for my daughter one year, and paired it with cookie monster slippers.  When Halloween was over, she wore her slippers throughout winter.  I love making things easy and practical.  Score!  To compliment her, I purchased an inexpensive Cookie Monster adult t-shirt at a department store.  Practical, and in case you were wondering...YES, I did wear this shirt on a regular basis!  A blue wig, some inexpensive blue mittens, (which were worn again), added to the look and the costumes are good to go.  To complete my daughter's look, I bought an extra cookie monster shirt and hot glued it to a plastic pumpkin treat holder.  After all, every kid needs a Halloween trick or treat pail to hold all their goodies in.  That completed this fun and easy look!

2.  Freaky Food


Going to a Halloween Party?  Need a quick and easy festive treat to share?  Check out these spooky eyeballs!  These were so easy to make.  Purchase doughnut holes, chocolate chips, red icing, and white chocolate at your supermarket.  Simply melt the white chocolate in a microwave and submerge one of the doughnut holes in it.  Secure a skewer/food dowel of some sort into the doughnut hole, and push the other end into Styrofoam to hold in place.  Push in one chocolate chip to make the pupil.   After the chocolate has cooled down and become hard, draw red squiggly lines to resemble blood, and place in a spooky container.  Store in a refrigerator until serving.  Easy, yummy and fun!

 3.  Dreadful Decor

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Halloween-Reward-Coupons-2149216I recently helped a friend get ready for her annual Halloween party.  Each year, this friend of mine, throws the best party!  This year, my friend put me in charge of decorating her mantle.   The black star is my favorite.  I think it adds a little something extra.  My easy decorating tip is to use lots of pumpkins when decorating.  My friend just returned from the pumpkin patch and had lots of pumpkins on hand, so I decided to incorporate them into the design.  This picture shows the completed look.

Speaking of tips, here is a great party activity that takes place each year at her party.   The children at her party trick-or-treat the rooms inside of her house.  The adults and candy get distributed among various rooms/spaces throughout her house.  First the kids decorate treat bags, and then tick-or-treat each space/room throughout her house.  It's a lot of fun for both the kids and adults!

 4.  Pumpkin Patch Photos & Painting


What Halloween season is complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch?  If you have little kids to take with you, even better!  There is something about little kids and pumpkins that simply go together.  They make the cutest pics!


After you are done with the patch, why not let the kids paint their pumpkin?  Don't get me wrong, carving a pumpkin, roasting seeds, and expressing your creativity, are always encouraged, but sometimes painting a pumpkin is a little more kid friendly.  Just set the kids up with some paint, and let them get to work!

 5.  Fun and Frightful Face Painting


Little kids LOVE to have their faces painted, and truly, one doesn't need to be a terrible talented artist to do it!  My kids and their cousins recently participated in having their faces painted at a pumpkin patch.  The face painting artists were children themselves, and I think they did a wonderful job.  Feel free to get inspired by these pictures and paint your child's face in a similar style.

 6.  Pretend Potion


Looking to to add something spooky and unique to your party or Halloween decor?  Remember my friend who hosted the Halloween party from idea #3?  Well, this is another one of her brilliant concoctions.   She fills various sized bottles with water and dyes the water with food coloring.  Then, she adds pretend bugs and other creepy creatures to the bottles.  She makes sure the bottle lids are painted to look appropriate, and attaches a spooky label to the front.   She displays them on platters for the final effect.  They are super interesting to look at, and fun for many ages.

 7.  Mysterious Materials


Halloween Reward Coupons are here!  I recently made these reward coupons "Halloween Style".  They are great for rewarding positive behavior during the month of October.  Children and students will love receiving them.  The best part is that all you need to do is print, and pass out the coupons as you see fit.  So easy!  To see a list of all 36 rewards and a full product description, click here.

 What are some easy Halloween ideas that have worked for you?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Five for Friday: October 9, 2015


This is my third time linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!   I am enjoying this linky party A LOT!

I have had a fun last few weeks.  Here are five highlights...

My youngest (age 2) is finally old enough to start participating in some activities that her older sis is involved in.  I was lucky enough to find a dance class recently that allowed my youngest to join her older sister's dance class.  It's really sweet and cute to watch both of my girls dancing together!


I made another packet focusing on virtues!  Hip hip hooray!  That makes my fifth complete packet focusing on a virtue.  My goal is to make 40 more packets.  I am genuinely loving creating teaching materials focusing on character education.  I recently wrote a blog post titled, "Teaching Children to Be Fair People".  It takes a more in-depth look at fairness and can be read here.


This was a busy day!  It started out with a first haircut for my 2 year old on a weekday.  (We are on a modified year round schedule.  This means it is our Fall Break right now, and we have 2 weeks off from school).  My little one did great getting her first haircut!  After that adventure, we met up with some friends and family at a local indoor bounce house facility.  The kids has a blast playing and sliding down that super big slide!


I recently made these Reward Coupons.  This was one of the most fun products I have made so far!  I thoroughly enjoyed coming up with the positive behavior reward ideas, and designing these coupons.  In addition to character education, I also love classroom management, and these spoke to me in a fun and creative way.  See more details here.


My mother's neighborhood garage sale just took place, and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get involved.  My kids LOVE participating in garage sales because they LOVE setting up a "lemonade" type of stand and selling goodies.  The day before the event, we baked lots of cookies and cupcakes.  The kids made the baked goods independently, (under my supervision).  I was a proud mama!  In addition to making the baked goods, this opportunity provided a great opportunity for them to learn about money, politeness, and customer service.  It was a great experience!

And that was my Five for Friday!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Teaching Children to Be Fair People


My mother raised her children with a strong sense of fairness and just.  As adults, my siblings and I have remarked that things don't sit right with us if an unbalance, or an injustice is felt.  Many people can relate, and yet others have a different perspective on fairness.  A close friend of mine, is at peace with life being unbalanced at times.  The need to keep things fair isn't what drives this friend of mine.  And then...there is my kid's perspective on fairness.  This child of mine has a strong desire to make things fair as much as humanly possible pretty much all of the time!  As a mother, this can be a challenging task, because life simply isn't fair all the time.   Learning to accept that not everything in life is fair, is a lesson in itself!

http://bitsofpositivity.com/2014/07/16/fairness-word-art-freebie/When thinking about fairness, such terms as equality, justice, balance, and equitableness come to mind.  Perhaps a key to being at peace with fairness as a child, is to distinguish between keeping things fair, and keeping them equal.  We all know there is a difference between the two, and once we accept that difference, understanding fairness comes more naturally.

I believe children and students benefit from establishing a proper sense of fairness.  In order to do this, there needs to be an understanding that things do not need to be equal, in order to be fair.  Fairness speaks to meeting the needs of others in a way that suits their needs, and is neither biased in a good or bad way.  Making the distinction between things that are equal, and things that are fair is important.   Providing examples of this distinction may be helpful when teaching this concept.  For example, it would not be fair for a second grade student to be expected to complete the same type and amount of homework as a fifth grade student.  Both children are elementary aged students, but they have different academic needs.  Therefore, providing an equal amount and type of homework to both students, would result in an unfairness.   To further the understanding of fairness, here are a few suggestions...

  • Role play situations regarding fairness and equality with children.  
  • Research or interview people with occupations that involve fairness.  Examples include: judge, counselor, police officer, coach, teacher, etc.
  • Observe fair and unfair behavior in books and movies.  Discuss possible solutions to unfair behaviors.
  • Play card, board, or physical activity games involving fairness.  Model good choices, sportsmanship, and how to handle unfair situations.
  • Discuss class or house rules.  Are the rules the same for everyone?  Why or why not?  Should they be the same?  How does the concept of fairness relate to rules?
  • Model fairness.

In addition to the above suggestions, I created a fun and educational Fairness Packet that may be used by teachers, parents, school counselors, social workers, special education teachers, speech therapists, and other specialists.  Included in this packet are activities, printables, posters, awards and more.


What ways do you keep things fair in your classroom, home, or place of work?