My name is Crystal and I live in Texas. I write the blog Kreative in Life. As a teacher, my focus was the whole child. Loving, caring, teaching and preparing children for life. I have worked in education for over ten years as a teacher, teacher’s aide, assistant Montessori teacher and substitute teacher. I have spent the last seven years teaching kindergarten.
paints(we used acrylic, but tempura is easier to get off)
paint smock(if you are using acrylic these come in handy)
palette or dish for paint puddles
Have paper down and ready. Put paint smocks on(if using).
Let children choose their colours of paint to have them out in the palette to avoid more mess than necessary.
Paint the palm and fingers of one hand, leaving the thumb unpainted.
Press painted palm onto paper, separating the middle and ring fingers to make the bunny’s ears apart. It works easiest if the adult is holding the fingers in the placement you want them in (index and middle together, ring and pinky fingers together). Now carefully lift the painted hand off the paper.
Quickly give the painted hand a wipe with a damp cloth to avoid spreading the leftover paint everywhere.
Now you can paint the facial features and middle of ears. We like to give them a variety of smiles and eye shapes to keep it fun. You can have the adult do this step if you are making these with toddlers or younger children. Don’t forget the whiskers and tiny heart shaped nose!
I’m super excited to finally finish my center tubs for MARCH. I uploaded my Literacy Centers last week and tonight I finally posted my Math Centers. I have tons of thematic units already created but since my class this year has different needs, I wanted to create new ones. Instead of sticking with one theme, I went with several to cover the month. My literacy centers are on a ten day rotation and my math centers are on an eight day rotation. Half have recording sheets, the other have are strictly hands on activities. Here is a peek at what you will find in my tubs this month. Click any picture to see more!
Standardized testing has drawn its share of criticism from teachers, students and parents. One of the most common complaints is the stress that all three groups feel – from preparation through performance.
From a young age, students take these timed tests that measure academic competency and, ultimately, whether they’re college material. Countless articles on standardized testing in the U.S. point out the pressure on students to score well; that teachers are often evaluated by how their students fare on the tests;
and that parents get anxiety hoping their children score high.
Amid all this stress comes the basic but difficult-to-answer question: How to deal with it?
“There is a tremendous amount of controversy about standardized testing, and no matter which side of the argument you are on, teachers have no choice,” says Dr. Raj Gupta (www.drrajgupta.com), founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center and author of Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income and Their Lives.
“So teachers, students and parents must deal with it the best way they can. And finding consistently healthy habits to counter these stress inducers is so important. In fact, taking the stress out of the test process can carry over to every aspect of their life. The scores aren’t as important as the quality of life they give themselves in what is a results-oriented world, often to a fault.”
Gupta offers four tips that teachers, students and parents can use to better deal with test-related stress:
Diet. Poor eating habits contribute to stress. “I see this every day with my three girls,” Gupta says. “Grandma will feed them tons of sugar, and then I come home to find the girls either bouncing off the walls or miserably cranky after crashing from their sugar high. Good wholesome foods that are not processed or refined and are free from trans fats prevent our energy levels from peaking and crashing throughout the day.”
Rest. Getting enough sleep helps keep your body and mind in top shape, making you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors. “Most of your healing and repair takes place when you are sleeping,” Dr. Gupta says. “This is when the body recharges the battery. If you continue to deprive your body of sleep, your immune system breaks down and you get sick.”
Exercise. A study conducted by California State University found that a 10-minute walk is enough to increase energy, alter mood, and provide a positive outlook for up to two hours. Exercise also assists in quality sleep. “Exercise is the greatest stress buster,” Gupta says. “Regular exercise can change your life.”
Mental attitude. “Stress is like a snowball: If you let it roll, it will gain speed, momentum and weight, and you are over-reacting, making even small difficulties seem like major crises,” Gupta says. He suggests countering a stressful situation with a calming action. Example: when rush-hour traffic is irritating, listen to a self-improvement audio. “Some things we can’t control, but we can control our response to them,” Gupta says.
“Stress can cause all sorts of health problems,” Gupta says. “It affects all ages, as seen with the implementation of standardized testing. But it can be dealt with on a daily basis, and by doing so consistently, it can help us pass any and all stress tests in the future..”
About Dr. Raj Gupta
Dr. Raj Gupta (www.drrajgupta.com), who has more than 20 years experience as a chiropractor, is the founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center. He also is author of Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income and Their Lives. He has been featured in US News and World Report Health, Woman’s World Magazine and New York Daily News. He has a doctorate in chiropractic from Life University.
If you have kids, you know how difficult parenting can be. When you have your first, you must quickly navigate the world of diapers and no sleep. As your child gets older and as you add to your family, you must learn how to handle tantrums, fighting, and the dreaded word “NO” coming from your child. Although parenting will never be easy, structure and consistency are important to making things easier, for both you and your kids.
Keeping a regular schedule will help make your life easier. When both you and your kids know what to expect, then the day will run smoother. For example, if your regular schedule includes making beds after breakfast, then your kids will automatically know they need to do it. It won’t come as a surprise when you tell them it’s time to go upstairs and complete the task. Children thrive in a structured environment. They may think they want to make all of the choices, but their young brains just aren’t capable yet.
Sleep is one of the most important things your kids need. Although they might beg to stay up, stay strong when it comes to an early bedtime. You can’t control what time your kids wake up, so sending them to bed early will ensure they get enough sleep so that you don’t have a tire and grumpy kid on your hands. It will also give you some time to relax and catch up with your partner before you go to bed. Check out more great tips on sleep here.
Although there is nothing wrong with the occasional cookie or treat, your meals should follow healthy habits. If your kids have ever had too much sugar or unhealthy foods, I’m sure you’ve noticed that they throw fits more often and tend to be more difficult. Sugar can overstimulate kids and through their whole body chemistry off. A healthy diet will help their bodies get the nutrients they need for a healthy body and a healthy mind.
If you tell your kids to do something, then you need to be prepared to follow through. For example, if you tell them that they will be grounded from TV if they don’t pick up the Legos from the floor, then be prepared for that consequence to happen. When your kids know what to expect from you, then they’ll know you’re serious about consequences. They will be more likely to listen the first time you say something so that they can avoid that negative consequence. Be consistent. Sometimes it’s easier to let things go but that only creates future problems.
Love & Attention
In addition to the structure and consistency you give your kids regarding schedules and consequences, it’s important to also be consistent with your love and attention. Make it a habit to touch your children throughout the day, from a quick hug when they wake up to cuddling on the couch reading a book at the end of the day. Not only will this help strengthen the bond between you and your kids, it will also help your kids with their emotional development. Talk to them about thier feelings and model the type of person you want them to be. They are little sponges and soak up everything you do.
Structure and consistency are important for your kids’ physical and emotional well-being. How do you create structure and consistency in your daily schedule?
Making a New Year goal is easy, but keeping it can be a little more difficult. It’s now February and the excitement has faded. At first, you’re so excited to get started with your goal. Whether it’s losing weight, saving money, or being more productive, you look forward to getting your life in order. Unfortunately, that initial eagerness quickly fades away as your everyday life bogs you down. Work keeps you busy, you feel tired from taking care of your family’s needs, there’s too much to do… these are all reasons that can make you ditch your New Year goal within a few weeks. Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry; there’s hope! Despite a busy schedule and life getting in the way, these tips will help you keep your goals.
Setting a Schedule
One simple tip will help you succeed if your goal is to be more productive this year. In order to be more productive, identify the tasks you would like to do and then set a schedule. Whether it’s to keep the bathroom clean, to go through your junk drawer or even to get laundry done, set a schedule and stick to it! Keep a calendar and a to do list. Remember you can only do what you can do. If you plan to leave work at 5:00, then leave at 5:00. There will always be more you can do but your mental health is important.
Eating healthy is important, so if you chose this as your New Year goal, then there are some easy things you can do to stick with it. One of the reasons junk food is so popular is because it’s convenient. If you’re feeling hungry, it’s easier to grab a handful of chips to munch on than it is to cut up veggies for a healthy snack. Meal prepping is an easy way you can make eating healthy a priority. Simply plan your meals and snacks for the week and then prepare the food. When you feel like a snack, you can grab a baggie of precut veggies. When it’s time to cook dinner, you simply need to warm up the meal you’ve already prepared. The convenience of meal prepping will make you excited to eat your healthy food. My husband would grill several meats on Sunday evening. I would put them in containers and purchase steamer bags of veggies and salad bags at the store. When we stick to this plan, dinners are simple and healthy AND we save a LOT of money!
Get a Workout Partner
If your New Year goal is to go to the gym more often, then a little bit of accountability will go a long way in helping you stick to it. It can be so difficulty to go to the gym after a long day at work, but if you have someone expecting you at the gym, then it’s a lot easier to get there. Your workout partner could be a friend who also wants to get fit or it can be a personal trainer. When you find a workout partner, you’ll be more motivated to go to the gym and keep your New Years goal. Honestly, the only time I have been successful is when I have to be accountable to someone. I hate that about myself. My husband is so disciplined. I wish I could be more like that!
Keeping a Spreadsheet
Saving money is a great goal to have this New Year. If you want to add to your savings, then the first thing you need to do is identify how much you’d like to save. Start a spreadsheet with how much you already have in your savings. Then, create a column for each week or month, depending on your savings goal. You can then set a goal for each time period and then track how much you actually save. You’ll love watching your savings account grow as you work towards your end of year goal. Dave Ramsey also has a great envelope system that is awesome for budgeting. Check it out!
What goals are you working towards? No one is perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You don’t have to wait until Monday to make a life change. If you have goals, get after them. When you fall short, start again tomorrow. Remember comparison is the thief of joy. Worry about yourself and give yourself grace when you need it. Progress is progress. You’ve got this!
Spring break is a time to relax with your family. It’s a time to reconnect with your loved ones, spending quality time with each other. One of the best (and most fun) ways to do this is to take a family trip. When you take a family trip over spring break, you’re guaranteed to have fun! Here are a few fun family trips you should consider taking this spring break. For years, I taught in a different district than where my children attended school and we didn’t have the same Spring Break. My husband and I used this to our advantage to take a trip by ourselves but I always wished the kids and I had the same Spring Break so we could go on an adventure. The last two years, they have done local mission trips which was awesome. If you are looking for a fun getaway, here are my favorites (plus one wish list place too).
Disney World is a magical place to visit, which is why this destination should be on the top of your list! There’s something for everyone in the family when you visit Disney World, from the Animal Kingdom to Epcot! If you do decide to visit Disney World, you should consider purchasing the fast pass so that you and your family can make the most of your time there. I’ve been eight times and even as an adult, it is my favorite place to visit. Check out my Disney tab in our travel section for more tips!
If you want to have some fun this spring break, you should consider visiting Legoland. This is the perfect destination if one of your kids (or yourself) love Legos. When planning your Legoland trip, you have a few options. If you want to go all out, you can get tickets for the Legoland Theme Park. If you’d like to stay closer to home, you can look for a Legoland Discover Center near you. Regardless of what you decide to do, your family will quickly fall in love with all things Legoland. I took my youngest son and nephew to Legoland in CA four years ago. My son is on the spectrum and is a genius when it comes to legos. I hope he works for them one day. We had the BEST time!
Great Wolf Lodge
You’ve dealt with the snow and cold all winter, so for your spring break trip, it’s time to have some water fun. Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect place for this. Usually, you have to travel south to for some fun in the water, but with Great Wolf Lodge, you can enjoy water slides, pools, and the lazy river in any climate. You can usually find a Great Wolf Lodge close by, so you’ll know you’ll have a ton of fun without having to travel far away. We have only been to the Dallas, TX location but my kids LOVED it. There is more than just swimming too. They also run specials all the time.
Take A Cruise
Do you want the ultimate getaway this spring break? Take your family on a cruise! There are many family-friendly cruise ships out there, giving you and your kids plenty of time to relax and have fun. You’ll also enjoy the warmer weather as you cruise around tropical waters. My kids favorite part of a cruise: unlimited room service! They loved the kid activities, swimming and the food. This picture is from our excursion in Cozumel. My sister and I and our husbands were ready to get back on the ship. My mom offered to take the kids to walk around to look in the stores and would be not far behind us. We waited with our dad on their balcony and you could imagine our reaction when our mom walks up with our six children and they ALL have a guitar. My sister and I looked at each other and mumbled, “What the hell?” under our breath. Ha! Yup, toting them all home and through customs was awesome (insert eye roll). This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. Great memory.
Rent a Cabin
Does your family love the outdoors? This spring break you should experience the great outdoors by renting a cabin. This is on our bucket list. We would love to rent one of these cabins in Tennessee. There’s so much to do, from hiking up and down mountainous peaks to having fun in Gatlinburg. You’ll quickly fill up your entire week with fun activities the whole family will enjoy. Maybe this is where we will head this year!
What are your plans this spring break? I’d love to hear where you plan to travel!
Growing up, our parents were never right. Or at least that’s what I thought. Depending on whatever age you were, you always knew more than them…or they didn’t have a “clue” about anything going on in your life. People always say that there is a cycle in life. From birth-age 5, your parents are gold. Everything they do and say is gospel. Then age 6-9, you start to question a little more about what they tell you…still believing them but not 100%. Age 10-13, your judgement on their info is split about 80/20, where you think that you are right 80% of the time, and them only 20%. Age 14 and above? Forget about it. Parents have no clue. Then, comes time to enter into adulthood. Age 19ish-24, you realize that your parents had a pretty good grasp on all those lessons that they taught you in life, and age 25 and above, you are calling your parents on the daily for their words of wisdom. Oh, how the tables have turned.
We’ve all questioned things that our parents have said. It’s human nature to do that. However, throughout the course of life, there are times when it becomes very evident that parents did know what they were talking about because they had lived through it. All this time, they had been trying to prepare us to not make the same mistakes or choices as them, but we couldn’t see it. We had to walk that walk on our own. While many of us did create our own journeys, there are a few times in life, 5 to be exact, that I realized that my parents were right.
Always stand up for yourself. Parents are children’s biggest supporters in life. From a young age, they are shaping and molding children to be the best person that they can possibly be. Throughout life, we get challenged…a lot. A lesson that many parents spend many years trying to teach their children is that it is okay to stand up for yourself in a respectable manner. This knowledge is golden. Think about life. The friends, the jobs, the career advances or changes…all affect each person differently, and some don’t end so positively. The lesson learned from parents? Speak your mind when you are correct. You deserve to be treated fair and deserve a chance to voice that.
Eat your veggies. Growing up, what was with all the pushing of eating our veggies? Seriously. It was like our parents owned a stock in the veggie companies of the world. Each night, we had to be forced to eat carrots and broccoli and peas….torture. AH…I get it now. Veggies fuel our body. Sugar is bad, veggies are good. Thanks to our parents for forcing those veggies on us, because our bodies, minds and teeth are healthier. Our vision and skin is better, and our taste buds are trained now to actually eat an entire plate of broccoli without batting an eye.
Believe in yourself. When we are little, parents are our #1 cheerleaders. They know we can’t actually play basketball, but yet they will attend each and every one of our games, screaming their heads off like a lunatic fan…because they believe in us. Let me be the first to tell you..that’s contagious. In a good way. Because our parents taught us throughout life to believe in ourselves, we have that mentality that we can tackle anything. It gives us hope and positivity for our future to think that we have no boundaries in what we can accomplish in life.
Get some rest to do your best. Bedtime as a child was the worst. What purpose did it serve but to end playtime and be forced to wake up to go to school the next day? Oh, how naive we were. Sleeping now, as an adult, is amazing. Naps are like gold. We know this now, we respect this. If we could have grasped this piece of advice earlier in life, just think about how much more rested we could be??
There’s always tomorrow. As a youngster, when something rotten happened, it did feel like the end of the world…but our parents taught us that it wasn’t, and there is always tomorrow to start over on a new journey. Those words of wisdom and advice couldn’t be more true. Each and every day, we all have the chance to start over, brand new. Best words of wisdom, ever.
While those are only 5 times listed about realizing our parents were right, I’m sure many of you have your own memories and thoughts to add. Bottom line is, we learned a lot from our parents that we use each and every day. They molded us, shaped us and guided us through our lives to help us become the best possible. Sounds like a perfect time to thank them, right? Do it, I’m sure they’d love a phone call from you thanking them for their support and guidance!
CELEBRATING DIVERSITY IN THE CLASSROOM IS IMPORTANT
When I was in the 1st grade, I was the only Caucasian female in my class. All the other girls were African American. I honestly never thought this was a big deal. People were people and I loved my classmates and I definitely loved school. My best friend was not the same color as me, neither was the first boy I had a crush on. At the time, my dad played drums and sang in a blues band and two of the band members were married, one black and one white. I don’t ever remember questioning that or thinking it was weird. I just loved those people!
We moved two years later and I attended a school where more children looked like me. As a child, this didn’t matter to me. I never felt out of place at the previous school. I think that is the beauty of young children, they do not live in a cultural box. They have the ability to see people for people and nothing more.
As I got older, I really didn’t understand why people even spoke of skin color or cultural difference. Goodness, I was born into Catholicism and when I was in the 2nd grade, I came home and asked my parents if I could be a Baptist. They let me go wherever the wind blew me so I decided to convert and I did. Ha.
Now that I am grown, I am so thankful for the experiences I had in my childhood. I am thankful that I didn’t live in a cultural box. For much of my childhood, we were poor. I don’t really remember that either though. I just remember the people and the memories with my family. All of them. Now, I did get teased but not because of my skin color, wealth or ever changing religion. Let’s just say, I was born a plus size model. Ha.
Fast forward to adulthood and now I am a wife, mother of three young adults and a growing passion for education. I would love to say that the climate of the world has changed for the better, but I don’t believe that is the case. We live in a world consumed with comparison, which definitely is the thief of joy. People have lost their ability to be kind and love one another. It’s disheartening. I do believe that we are all capable though. It has to start somewhere. For me, it started in my home and always overflowed into my classroom.
Teachers spend more time with children than anyone else and have the opportunity to really make a difference in our cultural climate. A student’s success is highly impacted and affected by school culture, which is why it is important that the celebration of diversity in the classroom is made a priority. Though the subject of diversity may not be included (as it should be) in a teacher’s daily objectives, it is necessary in creating a classroom climate of family and a celebration of what makes each person unique.
Being aware of their cultures, their ethnicity, their language, their color and their physical ability can affect student’s performance in a negative or positive way, depending on how they are received in in the classroom. Teachers have the ability to teach children the importance of self-worth and the importance of celebrating their individual differences. Why is this so important?
DIVERSITY IS BROAD: Diversity is not straight forward and direct. It can be broad and confusing. Schools are advised to encourage the celebration of diversity for this main reason. There are so many differences between ethnic groups and racial groups but also many similarities if we take the time to really learn about one another. Different cultural characteristics may be shared by students from very different families and backgrounds but are unknown unless the uniqueness of each child recognized and embraced.
CULTURAL AWARENESES: Each culture is so unique. When children understand and share how that they speak different languages, have different beliefs and come from various backgrounds, it helps other children embrace the beauty of what makes them unique. Instead of setting themselves apart, we celebrate how we are a different but together we share the same love language and that is what makes a family, even a classroom family. Allow students to bring clothing, food, and mementos that reflect their culture to create a greater understanding is important.
STEREOTYPES: Celebrating diversity will open a whole new door to a different kind of thinking and understanding for each student. They need to understand that it is totally okay that we are all from different families and backgrounds. Together we can still learn and grow. Teach students the importance of knowing each person is an individual and it’s important that we don’t categorize people.
LEARNING CAN BE IMPROVED: By laying a knowledgeable foundation for diversity, we have the ability to enhance students’ social expectations, habits and ability to work together without preconceived impairments. Children are born with the ability to unconditionally love all people. We need to foster and grow that to create a climate of love as they grow into adults.
Here are a few book suggestions.
How are you promoting and celebrating diversity in your classroom? Did you find new ways to do this successfully and achieve greater results? Share your experiences below with us.
You may share my frustration with today’s cultural climate (and intolerance) but just being frustrated is not enough. Change starts with one person and it can start with you. This is not a political post so please do not interpret it to be. This is about our ability to be a living example of a loving person. If anything, we can always be kind.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and it’s the perfect opportunity to do some crafting! Whether at home or in the classroom, making crafts is an excellent way for kids to get creative! Nothing beats a craft homemade with love, and it’s the perfect gift for a relative or a new art piece that can be framed for all to see. Help your little one create a masterpiece this February, by simply follow Personal Creations’ templates below for handprint crafts that are quick and cute!
You are Flamazing!
A flamingo handprint craft is perfect for a little one who loves pink. Gift the completed craft to a flamazing person!
Of All The Fish In The Sea, You’re The One For Me!
With an under-the-sea theme, your child can create an adorable fish using a single handprint. Attach eyes and a fin after the handprint is dried.
Hogs and Kisses!
For a cute Valentine’s Day art craft the kids will love, try this handprint pig craft. Help the little ones cut out and glue the hooves and have them choose their favorite piggie face.
I Turtle’y Love You!
A handprint turtle craft makes for a Valentine too cute for words! Try dipping your child’s hand in a vibrant color to make the turtle stand out.
Owl Always Love You
This little owl will steal the heart of your future Valentine! Whooo would you gift this adorable craft to?
I Love Hanging With You!
Take your Valentine to the jungle with this monkey handprint printable. Have them color once dry to make it their own.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, handmade Valentines are such a sweet way to show someone how much you care. From an adorable monkey swinging from the branches, to a little turtle under the sea, these crafts are a fun and easy way to make a DIY Valentine this year. These Valentine crafts take minimal effort and will make sweet keepsakes for years to come.