Category Archives: Early Childhood Education

1000 Books Before Kindergarten


I learned about this prchool reading program called 1000 Books Before Kindergarten from a friend who lived in another state. Her library had a program in place to track and provide incentives for children to read 1000 books before entering Kindergarten. Our local library had not yet started a program so my son (who was an infant at the time) and I logged the books we read with the phone app. The phone app. can be downloaded and used on your smart phone.

Program Mission for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten 

The 1000 Books Foundation is operated exclusively for charitable, literary, and educational purposes.

The objectives of this organization are:

  • to promote reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers
  • to encourage parent and child bonding through reading

Certificate:  After each milestone, 100, 200, 300 etc. books read, I printed from the website a certificate showing how many books had been read. The website provides certificates that can be printed out if you want to follow along at home. Click the link here to find the printable certificates

This program is perfect for homeschooled preschoolers, as a summer reading incentive program and preschools can adopt this program as well!

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Teacher Hack-Water Bottle Holder

I had the opportunity to visit a wonderful 3rd grade classroom in a rural part of Oregon. The Rock Star teacher Arlee Hall has created a well run, organized and inclusive classroom. He has a 3-d printer, is raising salmon in his class, and incorporates technology to allow his students access to the wider world beyond their small town. His passion and innovation for education exudes out of every corner of his classroom. Many of his supplies in class have been donated thanks to his hard work with

Teacher Hack-Water Bottle Holder: One idea that stood out and made me think “why didn’t I think of that?” was the way he uses bike water bottle holders on table legs to provide a water bottle access for each student. Most teachers keep the water bottles in bins, rolling carts or by the sink. His simple teacher hack of providing a holder for each student creates less clutter, confusion and minimizes the out of seat time going to and from the sink to get water.

Inclusive: For kids with autism, having access to their water, and taking periodic drinks of it can become a calming and self-soothing activity. Knowing the water is within arm’s reach can cause less stress and anxiety for the child. When a child’s basic needs are met, there is something reassuring and calming that can happen instantly. For kids with limited mobility, having easy access to a water bottle helps minimize the physical need to access a water bottle or drinking fountain across the room.  Continue reading

5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout

As teachers, we may start the school year full of enthusiasm, excitement and a positive outlook, but as the year goes on, we may start to feel teacher burnout. Over years of teaching this burnout may intensify and become obvious to colleagues, parents and your students.  Here are some signs of burnout and a 5 ways to avoid teacher burnout.

 Signs of teacher burnout:

  • Feeling hopeless and overwhelmed by the paperwork and workload of teaching
  • Feeling as if nothing you do will help your students
  • Not wanting to go to work
  • Withdrawing from your work colleagues
  • Catching yourself always speaking negatively about your colleagues or students
  • Mental, physical or emotional exhaustion that persists over time

Five ways to avoid teacher burnout
1.) Send out an SOS

Reach out to your support network. Tap in to the supports you have in your life including friends, family and trusted colleagues. If your mental health is suffering, set up a time to talk to a mental health counselor. If you teach at a public school, the school counselor may be able to give you a referral for a professional to talk to.

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The Power Of A Thank-You Note

I risk coming across like your grandma here but bear with me for a minute…The thank you note (or email) is one of the most powerful and effective ways to make you stand out. This “tool” is simple but has almost been forgotten recently. I want to see it come back because EVERYONE loves receiving a hand written thank you note. Nobody will balk at receiving a genuine “thank you” note. At this point, the rarity of receiving one will make you stand out among your peers in the job interview process as well.

When to write one:

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Invite Your Principal To Observe You Teach A Lesson: Student Teachers

This may be a nerve-wracking and intimidating notion but around the beginning of the new year, I urge student teachers (not practicum students) to invite your administrator (principal) to observe them teach a lesson.

Here are some of the reasons this observation is important: 

  • As part of the interview process for teachers, school districts are asking teachers to do a “practical interview.” A practical interview allows you to teach a short lesson while the administrator observes you.
  • The school you are teaching in may be a place you want to apply for a teaching job. If the administrator has had a chance to watch you teach while you are student teaching, they will be able to be knowledgeable about your style of teaching, ability to manage a classroom and conduct an engaging lesson.
  • Inviting an administrator to observe you teach reminds them you are at the school: School administrators are busy and unless you go out of your way to ask, they may not go out of their way to come observe you.
  • Express to the principal that you would like the opportunity to also get their feedback after the observation. This may lead to a follow-up meeting where you can debrief and reflect on your teaching.

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Classroom Slogan to Promote Inclusion

“We are all alike…We are all different”

Why Create a classroom Slogan for Inclusion?: Our classrooms are increasingly diverse in their makeup. We have students who have special needs, who are at-risk, experiencing poverty and English Language Learners (ELL). As teachers it is valuable to create a slogan or mantra that can be used to promote inclusion within the classroom. Continue reading

Visual Support : Picture Schedule For Students With Autism


Pic Schedule

An example of a picture schedule for a Kindergarten student 


An example of a visual schedule for a 5th grade student 

What is a picture schedule? A picture schedule is a visual representation of what the student will encounter through the day or within a specific task. Continue reading