Category Archives: Early Childhood Education

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.

Continue reading

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:

If anyone goes out of their way to help you with anything, this is a perfect opportunity to write a thank you note. Here are some examples of when to write a thank-you note:

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Thanks for Thanksgiving Book by Julie Markes

Thanks for thanksgiving

Thanks for Thanksgiving is a sweet book where every page says something the child is thankful for. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can help us attract more of the same in our lives. The end of the book has a place to write what you are thankful for year after year.


Morning Greetings: Meet and Greet Students At The Door

A free and easy way to start building relationships with students is by meeting and greeting them at the classroom door every morning. Head Start has foverever had this as a policy so they can do health checks and check in with the student emotionally before school starts. Here are some reasons every teacher should meet and greet students every morning:

relationship Continue reading