December Teacher Care Crate Unboxing



Watch the video to see all the items that comes in this month's Teacher Care Crate, and read below for more details on each item!

Art Print: This month's 5 x 7 art print was designed by Jess Golz of Teacher Golz and Ink Chicago{Retail Value: $8}

Knitted Headband: Use this maroon headband to keep your ears warm all winter long! {Retail Value: $12}

Mint to Be Balm: Handcrafted by Me Time Botanicals, this balm is perfect for dry hands and feet. {Retail Value: $12}

TEACH ornament: Your handmade ornament from Cabin20 Creations can be displayed on a Christmas tree if you celebrate, or up in your classroom all year long! {Retail Value: $10}

Peppermint Cocoa Lip Balm: This delicious smelling lip balm from Shade Tree Naturals is perfect for swiping on between classes. {Retail Value: $4.50}

Christmas to Color: This activity book includes holiday postcards, gift tags, and ornaments you can color as you relax over break. {Retail Value: $9.99}


The December crate is all sold out, but head to teachercarecrate.com on December 26 at 8 pm EST to subscribe starting with the January crate! 


5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues as a Teacher

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

You get up and go to school and it's dark and freezing. When you leave school, it's also dark and freezing. Then you repeat, only seeing the sunlight on the weekends, and even then, it's still freezing. Sound familiar? If you find yourself suffering from the winter blues, try these tips:

1. Invest in warm clothes & outerwear. If you live somewhere freezing like me (Chicago!) go ahead and get the warmest of everything you can find. When I first moved here and bought $200 snow boots from L.L. Bean, it was the most expensive clothing purchase I had ever made. But this is my fifth winter wearing them every day, and L.L. Bean even fixed them for free for me when the back seam busted (I walked a mile plus to and from public transit every day). #worthit #notsponsored

2. Plan a trip or staycation. If it's in the budget, plan a quick trip somewhere warm over a long weekend. If it's not (and realistically for most teachers, it's not), try a "staycation" somewhere warm close by. My new favorite thing is to spend the day at the Korean spa. It's $35 for a day pass ($24 if you get your pass at the Asian grocery store next store, which obviously I do) and it's full of hot baths and saunas. No affordable spas near by? Try indoor botanical gardens or a conservatory. 

3. Exercise. Getting up and moving might be the last thing you feel like doing, but we all know it can energize you and boost your mood. If you hate the gym like me, try a yoga class or even a fitness video on YouTube. I find it especially effective to schedule that ish! I go to yoga twice a week on the same nights, which keeps me from having to re-motivate myself to go each time because it's already on the schedule.

4. Get a SAD lamp. While light therapy lamps are technically for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, they can help the rest of us soak up a little faux sunlight too. I would put mine on as I was getting ready in the morning and eating my breakfast before going to school.

5. Stay social. Chicago winters make me want to curl up in a blanket and leave my apartment never. BUT ultimately this isn't going to help your mood, though of course you should rest when you need to! Try organizing a staff happy hour or attending a weekly club or class.

While hopefully these tips will help you get out of a winter funk, if you find you are suffering from depression during the winter months, be sure to talk to your doctor or psychiatrist. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing! 

November Teacher Care Crate Unboxing



Watch my unboxing video above to see what comes in the November Teacher Care Crate, and read the descriptions below for more details.

Art Print Ashley of Teacher Dress Code wrote and designed this beautiful letter to teachers. {Retail Value: $8}

Coloring Book Thankfulness to Color by Zoe Ingram is a 96-page adult coloring book filled with beautiful illustrations and thoughtful quotes. {Retail Value: $15.99}

TEACH necklace This beautiful bar necklace is an elegant reminder that you're thankful to be a teacher. {Retail Value: $12}

Thankful Essential Oil Roller Blend This blend of bergamot, clove, orange, cinnamon, and coconut oils is perfect for rolling on to inspire gratitude. {Retail Value: $10}

Gingerbread Salt Scrub Handmade by Me Time Botanicals, this scrub exfoliates and softens your skin. {Retail Value: $12}

Magnets Designed by me, these two magnets can be used on your whiteboard at school or fridge at home. {Retail Value: $4}

Ginger Honey Chocolate Patty This delicious chocolate from Heavenly Organics is just the right amount of sweet. {Retail Value: $1}

The November Teacher Care Crate is sold out, but you can head to teachercarecrate.com on 11/25 at 8 PM EST to sign up for a subscription starting with the December Crate.


5 Ways to Differentiate in the Classroom



This post is brought to you by Study.com.

Whether you're a special education or general education teacher, differentiation has come to be expected in just about every classroom. According to Study.com, with differentiated instruction "teachers proactively create options to accommodate a diverse range of learners while keeping the whole class on track". Here a few ways I differentiate in an inclusion setting:

1. Small group instruction. While simply assisting struggling students isn't truly differentiation, building in leveled instruction for all students is. For example, when co-teaching in a general education math class, my co-teacher and I taught the mini-lesson to the whole class, and then provided leveled instruction to three different groups afterward. I differentiated for the below-level students by re-teaching the lesson and working on basic skills as needed. My co-teacher would work with the on-level students to address any misconceptions and provide additional guided practice. Above-level students would work on a leveled computer program. The next day, a different group would work on the computer program and the above-level group would have a chance to work on enrichment activities or more challenging problems. We adjusted these groups based on assessment.

2. Independent work. Sometimes differentiating independent work can be as simple as changing the length requirement. The standard requirement for a writing assignment might be one paragraph, but you can quietly let some students know that they will be writing three sentences and other students know that you will be expecting two paragraphs. At times, you may need to provide a different practice sheet or assignment altogether.

3. Visual cues. Providing visual cues is a great way to differentiate for students that are below-level or are simply visual learners. You can do this by making sure anchor charts are visible to them, or by providing personal references for those students, like an alphabet sound cue guide that provides a picture reminder of what sound each letter makes (apple/a, b/bat, etc.)

4. Different products of learning. For cumulative projects, allow students to choose how they display their knowledge. For example, if students are learning about life cycles in science, they could display their knowledge through an essay, a poster, a video, or a presentation. A student who struggles to write an essay may be more accurately able to display her knowledge through one of the other options. You can also do this using the "tic tac toe" method, where you provide a grid of options and students choose three they feel prepared to tackle.

5. Flexible environment. Students have different sensory and physical needs in addition to academic needs. Even if you aren't ready to go full on flexible seating, you can still provide a flexible environment that differentiates to student needs. For example, students who are uncomfortable sitting on the rug can be allowed to bring over a chair during a mini lesson. Wiggle seat cushions can work wonders for fidgety students.You can even provide a cool down corner for students who get overwhelmed.

If you're interested in learning more about differentiated instruction, Study.com has an entire course on this topic called Using Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom. And as a little giveaway to our readers, if you like their resources you can use the promo code StudyComTeacherDiffPromo to get 20% off the first three months of their teacher plan!

October Teacher Care Crate Unboxing



Find out exactly what comes in the October Teacher Care Crate in my unboxing video, and read below for more details on each item.

Autumn Bucket List: Designed by Jillian Starr of the The Starr Spangled Planner, this 5 x 7 bucket list is full of ways to take care of yourself and enjoy the season. {Retail Value: $8}

Fall Stickers: These stickers are a collaboration with Amanda Newsome of A Perfect Blend. The stickers are perfect for your planner or journal. {Retail Value: $4}

Knotted Headband: This knotted headband from Shabby Flowers is perfect for wearing to school! {Retail Value: $10}

Teach Candle: Made especially for Teacher Care Crate by Guideless Candle Company, this mini candle smells like coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla-- pure fall! {Retail Value: $5}

Vegan Leather Earrings: Handmade by me, these vegan leather earrings are super light and made with stainless steel findings. {Retail Value: $15}

Pumpkin Spice Latte Bath Bomb: This bath bomb from Plainly Simply looks just like a tiny pumpkin spice latte! {Retail Value: $6}

Pumpkin Pie Tea: This loose leaf tea from The Country Muffin is perfect for fall. I've included three tea bags for you to use to brew your tea, or you can use a tea strainer. {Retail Value: $4}

The October Teacher Care Crate is sold out! You can head to teachercarecrate.com on 10/15 to subscribe starting with the November Crate.


September Favorites


I'm starting a new series of monthly favorites! Here's what I'm loving this month:
This post contains affiliate links.

1. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson I had multiple people list this book as one that changed their lives on this Instagram post, so I decided to read it! Not a light read, but so, so important. The author shares stories of his work with prisoners on death row and the racism that is so embedded in the criminal justice system. There are some truly shocking statistics in the book, but it's mostly personal stories of actual cases. Be prepared to cry and shake your fist at society.

2. Naranjas Puzzle I just completed this puzzle and it's one of my favorites! It's a 1000 pieces and on the challenging side, but not crazy hard like some of the puzzles of paintings I've done.

3. Daily Harvest Smoothies These smoothies come frozen to your door, and you just add liquid and blend! They're a little pricey, but they've been working out really well for me since I'm kind of bad about keeping food in the house or eating at all when I'm home by myself. I get 6 every two weeks and they're great to have on hand for breakfast or as a snack. I try not to eat added sugar, so it's great that there are plenty of options without it. My favorite flavors are Acai + Cherry and Cold Brew + Almond. You can try it out and get three free cups with this link!

4. To All the Boys I've Loved Before This Netflix original movie is the cutest! Tons of you recommended it to me on Instagram so I watched it one night when my husband wasn't home so he wouldn't ruin it. 

5. Veggie Grain Bowls This is one of my favorite recipes to meal prep ahead and eat for lunch all week. I've only ever had the first one (there's two listed in this recipe), but it's SO good. I'm not sure in what world sweet potato takes the same amount of time to cook as all the other veggies though, so pop those sweet potatoes in first.

6. Neko Case's Hell-On This album is a couple months old but I'm just getting into it now. I'm a sucker for songs with my name, so Halls of Sarah is my personal favorite from the album.

7. Paper Mate Fine Gel Pens I know everyone has strong feelings about their flairs and Inkjoys, but these are my go-to pens! Ever since I started bullet journaling, I've been on the hunt for the perfect pen for me, and I think these are it!

What are your favorites this month?

September Teacher Care Crate Unboxing




Teach Mug I know it's a cliche that teachers get tons of mugs as gifts, but I, for one, have never once received a teacher mug! Regardless, this campfire style ceramic mug is perfect for your morning coffee or for keeping at school! {Retail Value: $15}

Face Mask This Charcoal Detox Sea & White Clay Mask from True Beauty Organics soothes skin and removes dirt and impurities. {Retail Value: $2.75}

Art Print Naturally the queen of teacher farmhouse style, Jessica of The Magnolia Teacher, designed this month's 5" x 7" art print! {Retail Value: $8}

Oatmeal Soap This gentle oatmeal soap from Serenity + Blossom is perfect for sensitive skin. {Retail Value: $4}

Matcha Chai Latte Mix Chai is the perfect fall drink, and this special mix from Teapigs combines it with healthful matcha! {Retail Value: $2.25}

Wooden Sign I polled the Teacher Care Crate Instagram audience about whether they would like a sign for your classroom or home-- and you choose classroom! These beautiful wooden signs were handmade by Cabin20 Creations. {Retail Value: $11}

{Total Retail Value: $43}

While the September crate is sold out, you can visit teachercarecrate.com on September 15 to sign up to receive the October Teacher Care Crate!



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