Monday, October 12, 2015

New Product and New Look

A big thank you goes out to Danielle at Crayonbox Learning for our new blog design! Love it! She's such a hard worker. Check out her blog!

Along with our new look, we also (finally) have a new product listed.

Multiplication can be challenging for our students. Why not make it fun? This set gives teachers and students lots of different options for multiplication fact practice.


Here's a little freebie from the set-- our Multiplication Progress Tracker (or, as our kids called it, their Multiplication Sticker Charts). For some of my students, we filled in the squares when they mastered a fact. For others, we put stickers over the squares. It was so motivating! It also worked as a great assessment tool for me, a good self-assessment for students, and parents appreciated being able to see which facts they could help their child study at home.

Download the freebie here.


The whole set contains 160+ pages of practice for facts 0x-12x. Here's what you can find in the whole set--

Set includes the following:
Multiplication set includes the following:
Multiplication Study Guides
Multiplication Practice Circles
Multiplication Matching
Horizontal Multiplication Practice
Vertical Multiplication Practice
Multiplication Facts
Hands-on cut and glue multiplication flaps
Multiplication Mastered/Need to Study Self-assessments
Multiplication club motivation system
Multiplication prize ribbons for fact mastery

Check it out here:

I love to teach this along with skip counting songs from Have Fun Teaching! The "Counting by Threes" video is my favorite. I can even rap it solo now. My class laughs at me. #nerdyteacher

Have fun!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Did you hear TPT is having a one-day sale? We're participating. Stock up on some back-to-school resources, or yourself to something from your wish list!
Visit our store here!
A Peach for the Teach: Behavior Support & Multi-Age Classrooms's photo.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Motivate Me Monday Hop

My positive, inspirational friend Mel over at From the Pond is hosting a blog hop to spread some positivity and motivation. She's made a printable, motivational board for sticky notes to help remember the things that inspire us.

Here are this week's prompts:
Here's mine with my sticky notes:

First, I love this guy's last name. Second, this quote is amazing. I've been trying to rewire my brain to go from panic mode to excitement mode when faced with a new challenge.

My grandfather has always been a great inspiration to me and my teaching, as well as to my life in general. He was an educator until he retired. Sadly, he passed away at age 69 (five years ago) during the week that I got furloughed from my dream teaching job, my first year teaching. I was devastated, and it took me a *long* time to get back into the swing. I dedicated my profession to his memory, and I've tried to bring his sense of humor to my classroom (except he was actually funny, and my humor is more of the dork-blend lol). This year I was offered a fifth grade resource room position, and I'm still inspired by him. He always said fifth was his favorite! I go out to dinner with my grandmother at least once a week, and she has just started telling me fun stories from his fifth grade days. I just learned he spent 5 minutes every day telling jokes while he sat on his desk.

Inspirational Colleague
My colleague Jess is a hard worker, and her classroom decor is a Pinterest paradise. She is so positive toward our kiddos-- and our staff. When someone gets negative, she shares a positive story or changes the subject. She recommended the book Unshakeable by Angela Watson, which really put the wind back in my sails.

Those lyrics are from Alanis Morissette-- simple but true. Problems seem so big when they happen, but whether it's five hours, five days, five months, or five years later, we're okay. That entire glass container of red juice that I dropped on my floor last week really didn't affect me at all today, you know?

I am so happy to say there are so many things that make me smile.

Looking Forward To
We just got back from our honeymoon, the big thing I was looking forward to. It was awesome. Now that it's over (wahhh lol), I'm excited for a bunch of fun things to come!
Want this motivational board for your own space? Grab it from Google Drive HERE.

After you add your sticky notes, feel free to snap a picture, join us, and link up! Find the beginning over at From the Pond:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Curbing Anxiety with Validation, Humor, and a Plan

Have you ever woken up with that feeling that you're falling? Ever fall down the stairs, fall off your bike, or slip on the ice? Have you ever heard a fire alarm when it wasn't scheduled, smelled smoke, or had someone pop out and scare you? Has a car ever pulled out in front of you, cut you off, or ran a stop sign? Have you ever been really anxious, nervous, or scared about a big presentation coming up? That feeling in the pit of your stomach, it usually subsides after a while. But imagine living with that feeling on a regular basis or 24/7, or being a child who has not yet developed the coping skills to deal with it.

Imagine for a moment that you are woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of the glass breaking on your front door. You hear footsteps, breathing, and stumbles from downstairs. You hear things being thrown about, like someone is looking for something or someone. You are almost certain that someone has broken into your home. You begin to feel an adrenaline rush, and you are upset-- anxious, scared, angry, sad, etc.

Which response would you prefer to hear?

A. "It's not a big deal. Calm down."
B. "I know this is terrifying. I have a plan to get us out of here safely. Let's figure out how we're going to make this better."

Me, I'd rather hear Option B. Feelings were acknowledged or validated, and a plan was made. Option A might make me want to smack someone upside the head. [angelic smile]

It's easy to use validation in a situation where everyone believes the problem truly is a big deal-- but what about when someone doesn't agree with the other person's feelings? Can validation still be utilized?

Validation and agreement are not synonymous terms. 

I repeat: Validation and agreement are not synonymous terms. Didja get that? Validation and agreement are not synonymous terms.

We've all seen the three-year-old screaming over a dropped cookie. The thing we have to remember is, the feeling of grief and disappointment are completely new feelings for this little guy-- or maybe it's a familiar feeling with which he has never learned to cope. Should we tell him not to worry about it, that it's no biggie, or that he's making a big deal out of nothing-- when to him in that moment it is devastating?

The other problem is that we don't want him to have a meltdown every time things don't go his way. We don't want to reinforce a "dramatic" response. This is why people will tell him to stop, ignore him, or try to comfort him by telling him it's not a big deal. But to him, it is a HUGE deal.

Let's try to help the little guy cope. Let's try validation and a plan. I don't agree with him that dropping a cookie is the end of the world, but I need to teach him how to cope with this. So I say, "It sounds like you're really mad and sad, because you dropped your cookie. Am I right?" He may yell or cry, "Yeah!" So I can say, "It's okay to feel like that. It can feel sad to drop a cookie. But here's what we can do when that happens." Then, give him a plan. Teach him what he should do instead of having a meltdown.

Validation in Action

Last week, I witnessed a girl-- let's call her Sally-- having a meltdown. Her friend-- let's call him Johnny-- was not feeling well, so he put his head on his desk until his parents came to pick him up from school. Sally had developed a little crush on Johnny, and he was her closest friend in school. When Johnny put his head down and did not answer her, she felt like he stopped liking her. In her mind, she had lost a friend. She would have to sit alone at lunch, and nobody would ever like her again. She was doomed-- sentenced to a life of loneliness and despair. She would never have any friends, and... You get the idea.

As adults, we've all been there, done that, and we're thinking, "You're gonna be over this by tomorrow, and the two of you will be besties again in no time." So, in an attempt to calm her, we tried telling her not to worry about it, or we try to soothe her with, "He still likes you. He's just sick."

But that's the same thing as telling someone that there isn't a burglar in their house. They believe there is a burglar in the house, and someone saying there isn't... is not helping.

So I thought about validation and acknowledgement, and I gave it a go.

I said, "It sounds like you're really upset that Johnny didn't answer you." (Note, I never said, "I agree you should be upset that Johnny didn't answer you." I didn't agree; I acknowledged.)
Crying, she said, "Yes!"
I continued, "And you're probably feeling left out, alone, or rejected. Did I get that right?"
She stopped, looked at me, and said, "Yeah! I feel so alone!"
"I hear you," I said. "I want you to know that I'm here with you while you are going through this." (Again, I didn't agree; I validated.)
"Okay," she said, wiping her eyes.
"When you're ready, I have a couple ideas for how we can make this better," I told her. "But first, let's get our brains in a better place."
Then, I made a funny face, and I told her there's no laughing in school. We giggled for a minute or two, and then I talked to her about a fun breathing exercise I like to do, and I had her help me with it.
I said, "You look like you're doing a great job taking control of your emotions. You've calmed your body and voice. Nice work." (Let's help her feel good for a second.)
She half-smiled, and I said, "When you're ready, maybe we can try figuring out a plan together."
"I'm ready," she said.

That's when I was able to help her come up with a better plan for addressing these feelings. I was able to teach her how to cope, how to recall other times she coped, etc. I also explained that it's okay to feel angry and upset, but it's not okay to hit/throw things to express that. A better way to express it is by... Yadda yadda yadda. But, hey, part of being a kid is making mistakes and learning from them. Now we're prepared. Next time this happens, we know that we'll be okay, because we were okay last time. We also have a plan for improvement. We talked about how sometimes people need their space. We used empathy and imagined the situation through Johnny's eyes. We came up with some times that we felt sick and wanted to be left alone. We discussed what we could do for the rest of the day.

Use Validation, Humor, and a Plan.

Kids who have anxiety disorders, reactive attachment disorders, or kids who simply have not yet learned appropriate coping skills, need tools to help them-- not another person telling them to calm down. If telling them to calm down worked, they would have calmed down already. Plus, we don't want them to feel like, "I'm completely out of control, which feels bad. Now I'm in trouble for being out of control, which feels bad. AND I am not doing a good job calming down, which feels bad."

Ever notice how something seems like a huge deal at night but doesn't seem so bad in the morning? We can bring kids to the same place by distracting them for a minute, laughing, engaging them intellectually, etc.-- finding some way to get their brain to take a quick vacation, release a feel-good hormone, and then go back to the problem in a more rational way.

My husband is a police officer, and he used this strategy to de-escalate two angry drivers at an intersection. I told him he should try it on me the next time I feel like I'm the only one who does any chores around here, lol. ;)

So, next time you're faced with a situation like this, try these steps:
1. Acknowledge/validate the child's feelings.
2. Get some feel-good hormones pumping-- laugh, distract, etc.
3. Come up with a plan to make the situation better.

Do you have any similar experiences? Would you prefer to have your feelings validated? Share in the comments!