Saturday, November 17, 2012


Last week I got to visit OZ (Wichita, KS - you know, "click your heels") and Oklahoma.  Honestly, every time I think I have heard all the great ideas that teachers can possibly come up with, I always learn something new.  That's what makes my job so much FUN!  My sister used to have a sign on her refrigerator that said, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  Well, if you're not happy, then it's doubtful if your children will be happy either.  It's my pleasure to share these ideas that I gathered (aka borrowed/harvested) on my travels last week.  I bet you'll find at least one or two things to make you happy in the weeks ahead.

Note!  The Charleston Airport was shut down Thursday evening due to weather and radar issues.  I ended up home Friday morning, but my luggage (with ideas from OK) is still en route.  Today I'll post ideas from Kansas, and tomorrow when my luggage (hopefully!) gets here I'll share ideas from Oklahoma.

Reward Cards  (Susan Galvan)
Save hotel room keys and used gift cards and cover them with colored card stock.  Write a “reward” that can be redeemed when a credit card is presented.  Here are a few ideas for rewards:
-eat lunch in the room
-free stick of sugar-free gum
-sit where you want
-no homework
-take off your shoes
Mystery Walkers  (Elizabeth Swingle)
Write each student’s name on a stick and put them by the door.  Every time you walk to PE, music, etc. pick two sticks and keep them a “mystery.”   If the mystery students walk to and from in the hall using good behavior they get their name written in the window with a Sharpie.  Each additional time they get picked they get a check mark.  At the end of the month they earn a treat for the number of checks they receive in the window.

Hankies  (Velvet Adrian)
At the beginning of the school year take a picture of each child with their family.  Using iron on transfers put a picture of the child, their family, the school mascot, etc. on the hankie.  Let the children write their name and trace around their hand and foot on the hankie.  Keep the hankies in a zip bag in their desks and let the children take them out and hug and kiss them when they miss their families. 
Children proudly showing me their hankies!

Pony Express – Turn a brown grocery bag into a “pony express” satchel.  Use it to send notes to the office, take exceptional work to show the principal, or deliver other papers throughout the school.

Christmas Is a Coming!   (Adena Connelly)

Send Christmas cards to students at home before they get out of school.  They will be thrilled to get mail.
*You can also have them write letters to each other and mail them.

Tickets to Skittles (Sandy Keopke)

Each student has a clear cup attached to their desk with Velcro.  For all sorts of good reasons they earn tickets.  They can also lose tickets for undesired behavior.  Every day at math they count their tickets and then go to the rug for calendar time.   (1 to 1 correspondence)  On Friday you can turn their tickets into Skittles (or another treat) and graph the results.

If there’s no snow, the toes must show!  (Jamie Welch)

Isn’t this a great motto?  It never ceases to amaze me that teachers all over the US wear flip flops when the weather turns cold.  I’m a flip flop girl myself, but South Carolina is a whole lot warmer than some states.  Keep those toes painted and wear flip flops as long as you can!

There’s No Place Like Cooper Elementary 
Dorothy thought there was no place like home, but I think there’s no place like Cooper Elementary in Derby, Kansas!  Thanks to my friend Velvet Adrian for inviting me to sing!  What a beautiful group of children – and behind all those wonderful students are GREAT teachers – and a GREAT principal!