Teacher Ideas

Teacher Ideas
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Classroom Ideas

Big changes in the New Year!


We hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season!  What a wonderful time of year to celebrate and enjoy family and friends, and that's just what we're doing!  As we all clean up our homes, organize the toys and clutter, and make way for a new year of resolutions, we'll be doing the same here at Simply Sprout.  We're excited to be working on some new things around here and can't wait to see you in the new year!




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Month of Joy: A Child's Tree


There is a two year old in our house that is jumping with joy about Christmas!  He loves searching for his Elf on the Shelf, singing carols, helping to wrap presents, telling everyone it's "Jesus' birthday!", and having his own little Christmas tree.

I decorated a mini tree just for him on our screened porch this year.  He spends so much time out there, I thought this would be the perfect place for a special tree.  I rounded up things he loves like Matchbox cars, flags, and shiny ornaments from around the house.  We headed out back to cut some greenery for the boots, and he helped me make what he calls a triangle banner.  It's the perfect festive touch to his little play area. 


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Month of JOY: Christmas Pancakes



Who doesn't love fresh homemade pancakes? They are a staple in our house especially on weekends, so why not try to spice things up a bit and make some Christmas pancakes. Just add a few red and green m+m's to your pancake batter and VIOLA an instant Christmas favorite. We just love enjoying our Christmas pancakes while singing our favorite Christmas tunes!


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Month of JOY: Snowman on a stick



What brings more JOY to a child's face than doughnuts. These yummy snowmen are easy to create and oh so yummy to eat!
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Month of JOY: The Magic of a letter from Santa



Nothing brings more JOY than the Magic of the Christmas season. As a parent it makes my heart smile when I watch my little ones take in every moment and get so excited. As the big day quickly approaches we thought your little ones might want to hear from the jolly ol guy himself. Send them their very own letter from the North Pole and watch their faces light up with JOY.

Want to take it a step further visit
Portable North Pole and send them their very own personalized message from Santa complete with pictures of themselves inside his book.
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Month of Joy: Giving Hearts


For a goat, he's pretty cute isn't he?  I find great joy today in knowing that my students came together to learn, celebrate diversity, and give a goat!  For the past several years I have challenged my students to purchase an animal through organizations like Heifer International, Mercy Corps, and Samaritan's Purse to be given to a stranger far away.  A gift that they would not see delivered, one that did not come with a gift in return, and certainly no follow up thank you note.  However, they were still eager to provide this gift of nourishment, income, and independence to complete strangers.  


This year they researched several animals and decided that they wanted to purchase a goat.  Although we are not positive of where our goat is going, we also decided that we would study the African country of Malawi.  Malawi is one of the countries that the organization we chose delivers goats to.  My students studied the traditions, languages, religions, economy, sports, and geography of this far off country.  They also learned about the benefits the goat would bring to a village in Malawi.  

What a great lesson for children at this time of year and always, the joy of giving. Teach your children that it truly is better to give than receive whether it be in your home, in your community, or across the globe.




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Simply Teach from the heart not from the book


As our friends and colleagues prepare to walk back into the classroom tomorrow and greet those innocent smiling faces we realize that this will be a most difficult day. We struggle with our own fears and emotions trying to grasp onto a concept that still feels so foreign and unimaginable. 

How can we possibly go about our day to day routine when something so tragic grabs hold of us.....
I have just one answer......it's quite simple we Teach.

We teach our Children to...

Respect each other
To listen when someone else is sharing
To value the opinions of their peers
To honor beliefs different from their own

and above all
We teach children to believe in themselves and others, to have Faith and to show Grace.

We teach through our actions not always our words. Your actions will show your students and your children how to navigate this world and how to make sense of it. As the bell rings and the morning starts you will teach. You will not need any special lesson plans or standards posted. You will do what you are born to do. You will do what you have been called to do. You will do what students need you to do more than anything else. You will teach. You change lives and touch hearts everyday, tomorrow will be no different. So as you rush in to your classroom tomorrow morning know that YOU make a difference, YOU are important and YOU are needed now more than ever.

In light of recent events we wanted to make our resource kit on Emotions available to any teacher or parent who has children who are struggling with emotions and feelings that they can't control or verbalize. We hope that this kit can be used to give children's emotions a voice and start a conversation that will lead down a path of success not violence.

To view our original post on how to implement this kit please visit here.

  The sheet below help younger children to express their emotions through their drawing. Just right click and save the image below to print for your class or little ones at home.



Helping your children to see that they have the power within themselves to change the way they feel will give them encouragement to discover and work through their emotions.

 Click in the image below to visit our shop where you can get our entire kit for free.


Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our hearts are saddened, but our faith is ignited by your strong spirit.



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Month of JOY: Christmas Countdown

Christmas time brings so much JOY to little children, they are oblivious to the hustle and bustle of the season and simply marvel in its magic....ahhh to be young again!
To harness some of that excitement and wonder we created a Christmas countdown picture frame. Before  bed each night we remove one of the clips...counting down to the big day!
We found a wooden frame at our local Hobby Lobby and painted it blue. We used a branch from our Christmas tree dipped into some white paint to add some snowflakes to her frame. I spray painted the small clips I found at Hobby lobby with some glitter spray paint....I had no idea they even made that what a great invention....I see lots of glitter in my crafting future :) Kaitlyn decorated her frame with Santa stickers she picked out and viola we were done....each day she removes a clip as we get closer and closer to December 25th!


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Month of Joy: A Southern Snow Day



Paper plate snowmen are about as close as we get to Frosty down in the deep south.  We dodge hurricanes and tropical storms, but the chances of relishing in a day off from school due to snow is unfathomable.  So each year it brings me joy to host a "Snow Day" in my classroom.  This year, I ventured to my son's class for a wintery day of fun!  I always ask the students to wear their pjs to school, and the fun begins from there!


Some snow fun activities:

* Pin the nose on the snowman.
* Make snowflake ornaments.
* Make jingle bell necklaces.
* Compare and contrast snow and sand (since we have plenty of that in Florida).  I let the children feel sand and then feel some Insta-Snow.
* Collect mittens and socks for our local homeless shelter.
* Snowman art work (the paper plate creation above was a perfect place for some finger painting fun for toddlers).
* Snowman snacks
* Research snowy habitats.
* Find a city that has snowy weather on a day that we have mild and sunny weather.











Foam snowflake cutouts from the dollar section at Target were a perfect place for a tiny hand print.  This child decided he didn't want to put his pinky finger down!















Turning a plain white gift bag into a snowman sack is a great way to transport a child's Snow Day creations home.

















Snowman pancakes with gumdrop buttons, chocolate chips, candy corn, and a little powdered sugar makes for a yummy treat!


















Another easy snowman treat can be created with powdered doughnuts, mini chocolate chips, and candy corn.  Let the kids enjoy some hot chocolate and marshmallows too!



Whether a white Christmas is in the forecast for your area or not, you still can have tons of snowy fun with children!






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Month of JOY: 12/12/12

Nothing brings me more JOY than some math fun!

Today is 12/12/12 it is officially the last time we will ever see a repeating date again. So why not take a little break from all of the holiday fun to celebrate numbers, specifically the number 12.
Here area  few fun activities you can do to celebrate:



Make a dozen cupcakes or cookies, when decorating them add 12 pieces of candy to the top of each one.
For your little ones Draw a large number 12 and have them add 12 colorful stickers to their number. Practice saying each number as they apply the sticker.
Using an cupcake tray ( most are divided into 12 little cups) have your little one go on a scavenger hunt finding 12 of each item (small beans, pennies, cotton balls, small toys, crayons, candy etc)
Introduce counting by 2's to 12, count backwards and forwards
Make a paper chain with a countdown to Christmas Eve (just 12 days away)

Enjoy Celebrating 12/12/12 with a FREEBIE from Simply Sprout
Introduce the number 12 using the sheet below. To see the entire kit visit our Simply Sprout Store




Image credit:  http://www.scrapbookladypages.com/2012/01/12-of-12-in-12.html

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Month of JOY: Christmas Card Giveaway!


Whether the site of Christmas cards brings you instant panic or JOY we have a deal for you!
Simply sprout is partnering with Magic by Marcy and MPIX for a fabulous giveaway.

Magic by Marcy is offering a 10% discount on all orders for Simply Sprout Fans 
Magic by Marcy offers a variety of custom Christmas cards that are uniquely designed to compliment MPIX printing services. Your custom creation will be sure to be a favorite amongst your family & friends. Designs are being created within 48 hours, combine that with MPIX's fast shipping (Via FEDEX) and you could be addressing and mailing those cards early next week, still in plenty of time for a Christmas delivery.

Use coupon code: SIMPLYSPROUT10
coupon code valid till Friday, December 14th at midnight 

MPIX will be giving away a FREE set of 25 cards with envelopes
They offer doublesided printing onto cardstock
their cardstock comes in a variety of different types:  
Signature, 100% Recycled, Stock, Linen paper and my personal favorite Pearl paper

MPIX is also offering FedEx shipping (for only $5 more than USPS) you will receive your card/holiday orders  the day after they ship rather than waiting 3-5 days for USPS to deliver.

To enter our giveaway please enter below, remember you can enter again each day till Friday!
Winners will be announced Saturday on Facebook!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 So enter today to win and send a little JOY to your family & friends this Christmas!


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Month of Joy: Reindeer Wanted


Joy comes in a lot of forms, especially during this time of year.  As a teacher there is nothing that brings me more joy than being able to combine teaching standards and concepts with creativity.  Teaching children to write with detail and explanation is sometimes difficult, and it doesn't help that they have Sugar Plum Fairies dancing through their heads right now!  Recently I have seen some great teachers make a fun lesson from having students fill out a reindeer application.  Right click on this one and paste into a Word document.  Tomorrow we will be featuring some reindeer crafts to go along with this application to make a cute bulletin board!


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday





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Month of Joy: Christmas Card Geography


Who doesn't love receiving Christmas cards in the mail at this time of year?  In an age of email, blogs, and Facebook it is refreshing to have a small little glimpse (on paper) into the life of a family or friend that lives miles away.  Use your Christmas cards as a teachable moment.  I like to have my students bring in a Christmas Card of their choosing and research where that person or family is from.  Students have made brochures about the city, written a letter to the family to compare and contrast our cities, given a short presentation about the chosen location (it's always fun to have them dress like they're visiting there too!), or simply marked the location on a classroom map. 

After the holidays I ask for families to send in any unwanted cards and we cut them up to use as mosaic tiles to frame our work.  Makes for a fun and festive board well into the new year! 


To make this snowman Christmas card holder I just tied three grapevine wreaths together (one in the garage happened to be a little bit smaller so I used it as the head) with grosgrain ribbon.  I added a remnant of black and white gingham fabric as the snowman's scarf.  Finally, I cut a nose and hat out of construction paper and added them onto the wreath with a dot of hot glue.  A cute space to hang our class collection of cards!


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Month of JOY: Snowman Print Glasses



Tis the season for gift giving. It is sometime hard to come up with one more thing for the Grandparents or family member seems to have everything. So give these a try, these simple snowman print glasses are the perfect conversation piece for holiday get togethers. Personalize them by adding some vinyl letters to the back.

Grab some inexpensive bar glasses at Dollar tree or TJ Max. Using white acrylic paint dip your child's hand in, blot to remove excess paint before applying to the glass. align fingers along the bottom of the glass and press firmly. Allow to dry and then use some black, orange and red paint and a fine paintbrush to add some embellishments.

These precious keepsakes will bring lots of JOY for years to come!
You could even start the tradition of making one glass each year, watching how those snowmen grow year after year!

Thanks Amy and little Miss Katie for the creative idea and beautiful glasses!




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Month of Joy: Handprint Wreath


How simple, how sweet, how memorable!  This hand print wreath is a treasured Christmas decoration of mine.  My son made it last year for me at the ripe old age of one, and I hope to display it every year until he is old and gray.  His teacher used a thin canvas, green and red paint, and a pre-made red velvet bow.  This is a perfect gift to send home to families with students young and old.  This year I think we might make one with the all the grand children's hand prints for gifts to my parents as well.


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Month of Joy: Santa Spotting


Oh Santa baby you are so cute!  I spotted this bulletin board just down the hall from my own classroom in Mrs. Selfe's first grade.  I couldn't get over the students' adorable Santa Claus cutouts.  They used patterns to cut out the shapes, and each one has its own unique seasonal spirit!  After completing their Santa, students can write a letter to the man with a bowl full of jelly, write a story about the his nighttime journey, or write a poem describing him.  This creativity and Christmas fun brings me much joy!  



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