The REAL Teacher Gift Guide

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Happy Holidays! We are officially in the gift buying zone. With all the hustle and bustle, please remember to think of your child's teacher. He or she works constantly to provide an education for your child. While teachers don't expect to get anything from their students for the holidays, it is a nice gesture. 

Just as education has changed over the years, so have teachers. Our styles have moved away from the scenic sweater vests and jumpers from the 80's to a more trendy look and feel. With all the new trends in education, our personal preferences have changed as well. So to get your child's teacher something they really would love to have, keep on reading.

The ideas in this post are a guide for gift giving. Individual preferences will vary. The point of this post is not to promote specific brands or products, but to provide ways for showing appreciation. It is the spirit of the gift that counts, not the actual brand or product. 

1. Rae Dunn coffe mugs

Most teachers have excessive amounts of coffee mugs, many of which we politely thank the giver for then shove in the back of the cabinet. If you really want to give your child's teacher a coffee mug, get a Rae Dunn one.

2. Flair Pens

Teachers love pens. We can never have too many pens or too many color choices. They are cheap, pretty, and always a hit. Go for the Flair pens!

3. A Manicure or Pedicure

Teachers work hard. Sometimes we like to be pampered. I, myself, am not one to pay for manicures or pedicures for me because I usually end up spending my money on my own children and supplies for the children in my classroom. I know I am not alone in this and many teachers just want an excuse to pamper themselves. On the same lines, a spa treatment isn't a bad option either.

4. Bath and Body Works 

Anything that smells like home or from the Aromatherapy line is a great choice. Teachers are stressed. And after a long, busy day, a little comfort and joy goes a long way.

5. Alex and Ani, Nickel and Suede, or any other jewelry to let her know she's special

Teachers give so much of themselves. Let her know she's special by sending her a little love that's just for her. Alex and Ani has many bracelet and necklace options for all kinds of personalities. Nickel and Suede has amazing earrings and bracelets that are inexpensive but sophisticated.

And for male and female teachers…

6. Gift cards

Because, let's face it, teachers need caffeine. You can't go wrong with a Starbucks gift card. Even if he or she isn't a coffee drinker, they can find something they like at Starbucks.

Gamestop, Chili's, Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, Chick-fil-a, Target, Walmart, grocery stores, local eateries or shops…teachers never balk at gift cards to their favorite places. Even the smallest gestures are very much appreciated.

I hope you gained some ideas for you child's teacher. Save yourself time and stress and forget the crayon wreath from Pinterest. Use these ideas to really make your child's teacher feel special. She or he will really thank you for it.

Have a sweet holiday.


Winter STEAM Centers

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Hey y'all! I don't know about you, but my students are LOVING science centers. They get to be independent and I have almost NO students off task during stations. It's a teacher's dream.

I know many school districts don't allow holiday celebrations in December, so I put together a little non-holiday winter fun. This can also be used in January when we head back to school after winter break.

We start off on Monday making winter scene artwork. Tuesday through Thursday, students go to different centers to explore all things winter.

Students build an igloo out of marshmallows and read all about winter.

They learn about opacity by making a sun catcher and symmetry by making a snowflake.

They also learn about keeping warm in winter by examining the effects of warm clothing like mittens and animals' blubber (not pictured).

On Friday, we come together for a whole class science experiment on the effects of different substances in melting ice. Which will melt it the quickest, salt, sugar, or baking soda?

For more information, you can check out the whole unit here. Thank you for stopping by and be sure to follow me for the latest resources and freebies.


Holiday STEAM Centers (and a FREEBIE)!

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Hey y'all! The countdown to Christmas is ON! I'm so excited. I had my first peppermint mocha of the season not long ago and it was every bit as magical as I remember.

Over here at SSP headquarters, I've been working hard on getting things ready for the holidays. My class is so ready for the Gingerbread, Christmas, and Winter STEAM centers that are coming up.

If you're not sure how science centers could work in your classroom, check out how I set them up in mine here.

One of my favorite experiments this time of year is making Borax crystal ornaments with my students. The beauty of this is that it doesn't have to be just Christmas ornaments. Students can make just about anything with the pipe cleaners, no matter what holiday they do or don't celebrate.

It also works great in January when the snow is falling. Or even in February when you're finally caught up from all the holiday/testing/report card chaos from December and January. The kids love making heart shaped crystals for Valentines.

Grab the FREE instructions and recording sheets here

To get some exclusive freebies in addition to the one above, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. I like to share some SWEET freebies with you as often as I can. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy. Stay tuned for more science centers soon and have a wonderful weekend.

Gingerbread STEAM Centers

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Hey y'all! Halloween is officially over and the holiday season has begun! Cue the jingle bells! I love this time of year so much that I put together a little Gingerbread STEAM unit

If you're not familiar with these how science centers are set up, you can check out the original post here

We start off on Monday by reading The Gingerbread Man and finding out which liquid dissolves a gingerbread cookie the fastest.

Tuesday through Thursday, we go to six different science stations. 

Students explore gingerbread with their five senses and measure things in the room using non-standard measurement.

They build a hideout for the gingerbread man, a raft to get him across the river, and a catapult to sail him flying over the river.

On Friday, we make gingerbread play dough and decorate our gingerbread people. 

It's a simple and fun way to keep the kids learning and engaged during the craziness of the holidays. You can check out the whole unit here.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more science units coming soon. Have a wonderful day!

Christmas STEAM Centers!

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Hey y'all! We've made it through the first quarter of school! The rest is all downhill. 

With the holidays coming up, it's more important than ever to keep our littles engaged. Otherwise we start looking like this lovely teacher here: :) 

Our favorite part of the whole school day is science centers, so of course we need some for Christmas!

On Monday, we read "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell" and experiment with candy canes.

Tuesday through Thursday, we visit different centers exploring science with Christmas items.

Students build a trap to catch and elf, learn physics by shooting marshmallows into their hot chocolate cups, and test which holiday items are heavier.

They also graph gift bows by color, test which holiday items sink and which float, and build bunk beds for elves.

On Friday, we build gingerbread houses with graham crackers and learn about building materials for different purposes.

I love bringing the seasons into the classroom and celebrating holidays with my students. I hope this gives you some ideas for keeping your students actively learning during this holiday season. :) Check out the whole unit here.

Thanks for stopping by and keep an eye out for another holiday resource coming soon! Have a wonderful day.


Christmas Math Centers for Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade

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Hey y'all! Can you believe it's almost the end of the year?! I just saw an ad for Christmas the other day and while that makes me panic a bit, I also know that it's time to start prepping centers. The dollar spot at Target is already starting to fill up with those adorable mini erasers and I have just the games to go with them!

The first grade Christmas centers were the first math centers I ever made and the kindergarten and second grade ones are very similar, just different levels of difficulty. 

Kindergarten math centers focus on counting, one-to-one correspondence, adding numbers to 10, and missing numbers to 20. 

First grade centers include adding coins, adding and subtracting numbers to 20, missing numbers, graphing, and more. 

If you can find those little gift bags at the Target dollar spot, they make perfect sized holders for game pieces and they're so much more fun than clear plastic baggies. 

Second grade centers look and feel like the kinder and 1st grade ones, but with bigger numbers.

These centers focus on adding and subtracting within 100, number order within 1,000, telling time, expanded form, missing addends, graphing, and more.

Each set has at least 10 centers. You can check out all of the December centers here

If you haven't signed up for the newsletter yet, you should do it soon. Freebies will be coming out any day now and you don't want to miss it! And stay tuned for Christmas STEAM Centers. They're going to be magical! Have a wonderful weekend!

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