11 Magical Harry Potter Ideas for the Classroom

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1. Read from the illustrated versions of the books. Even if students are reading the original version on their own, it's great to have an illustrated copy on hand.

2. Give out personalized Hogwarts acceptance letters when Harry finally gets his from Hagrid.

3. Play magical bingo during a classroom party or as a classwide reward. If you want to get really crazy, use Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans as bingo chips.

4. Make a Hedwig costume out of fleece and ribbon. Wear it for Halloween or just use the cape as a classroom prop!

5. Integrate magic into other subject areas. Magical alphabetical order, anyone?

6. Make golden snitches and give them out as holiday gifts for your students. Or have the kids make snitches themselves if you don't mind glitter everywhere! You'll need small styrofoam balls, toothpicks, and glitter.

7. Give out Hedwig Homework Hero brag tags. Students can earn them by turning in their homework every day for a month.

8. Make and give out chocolate frogs as valentines. You'll need chocolate frog molds, melting chocolate, and this printable template.

9. Or, if you're not up for using chocolate molds, print these free valentines. 

10. Draw a friendly reminder from Dumbledore on the whiteboard when it comes time for standardized testing. 

11. Give out Harry Potter-themed awards at the end of the year.

Mischief managed!

9 Gifts for the Trendy Teacher

You can spot the trendy teacher by her teacher tee collection, constant scouting of the Target Dollar Spot, and her Pinterest-worthy classroom filled with bright colors. If you need a gift for your trendy teacher friend, I'm here to help!
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1. Rainbow Tassel Garland This festive banner will look great hanging in her classroom!
2. Pencil Pillow Save her a trip to IKEA by gifting her this adorable pencil pillow that's all over instagram.
3. Mug with a Quote You would think that teachers get enough mugs, but you would be wrong. 
4. Felt Letter Board She can spell out inspirational quotes in her apartment or classroom with this trendy letter board.
5. Mr. Sketch Scented Markers Your trendy teacher friend definitely already has these, but she ALWAYS needs more.
6. Emoji Pillow She might NEED this emoji pillow for her classroom library.
7. Cactus Pens Some of these pens might go in the prize box, but she's keeping the rest for herself.
8. Lightbox A trendy teacher stable-- make sure she doesn't already have one!
9. Tropical Flair Pens See number five. She can't have too many! 

Need more gift ideas? Check out my Self Care Gift Guide and my Paraprofessional Gift Guide!

Teaching Past & Present Verbs with -ING & -ED

Just stick -ing on a verb to make it present tense, and -ed to make it past tense, right? While the rules aren't quite that simple, luckily adding the affixes -ing and -ed is pretty straightforward for students that understand basic phonics. 

Double Consonants + -ING
This is the first rule I teach my students when it comes to tenses. For words with a short vowel and one final consonant, double the final consonant before adding -ing, such as running, tapping, and cutting. While it might seem more intuitive to teach this rule after teaching when just to add -ing, many students are most familiar and confident with short vowel words, so I find it helpful to begin here. 
CVCe Words + -ING
For words that follow the CVCe pattern (consonant-vowel-consonant-e), such as drive and tape, drop the e before adding -ing. I find it helpful to compare words with and without an e here, such as tap and tape. Students should learn that the double consonant in tapping indicates that the a will be short, whereas the single consonant in taping indicates the the a will be long.
Adding -ING
After teaching the previous two rules, I teach students that we can simply add -ing to some words. These words are words that end in two or more consonants (melt, kick), have a vowel team (pay, sleep), or an r-controlled vowel (bark, turn). 

Double Consonants + -ED
The rule for when to double the consonant before adding -ed is just the same as for when to add -ing. For this reason, I sometimes teach these rules together, depending on the students. When the base word has a short vowel and one final consonant, double the final consonant before adding -ed, as in hopped and jogged. 
CVCe + -ED
Again, this rule is just the same as for when adding -ing. For words that end in a consonant and e, drop the e before adding -ed, as in voted and taped. 
Adding + -ED
When a word has a vowel team, r-controlled vowel, or two or more final consonants, we simply add -ed. Words such as dreamed, barked, and melted follow this rule.
A Note on Teaching -ED
 The affix -ED can be pronounced three different ways: /d/ (as in turned), /t/ (as in kicked), and /id/ (as in painted). I do teach this to students when we begin to learn about -ED, but I don't spend a ton of time having them differentiate between the sounds in an isolated way. Most students already know how to pronounce the past tense verbs correctly when speaking, so I work towards having them recognize the base word and then pronounced the past tense word accordingly. For example, most students know walked is pronounced "walked," not "walk-id." However, ELL students may struggle with this. I recommend just taking more time with this as needed, and perhaps teaching he /d/, /t/, /id/ pronunciations more explicitly. 

Irregular Past Tense Verbs
After teaching the rules for regular past tense verbs, I teach common irregular verbs. Most of these verbs just involve a simple vowel change, such as win/won, run/ran, and drive/drove. However, they do not follow any generalized rules and still need to be memorized. 
You can get everything you need to teach -ING & -ED, including all the resources shown above, in my Phonics by Design Past & Present Tense Bundle.

5 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Teachers on the Go

I've been following Cole of Cookbookish on Instagram for a while, and I am always so amazed by the delicious dishes she manages to whip up before and even during school! She's agreed to share 5 of her best breakfast ideas for teachers with us-- I'll let you take it from here, Cole!
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Teaching is such a giving profession. As teachers we give so much time and energy and brainpower and love to our students every day. And we get so much in return, yes, of course, but we also need to be super mindful of the way we take care of ourselves while we’re taking care of others. We can’t do well by our students if we don’t do well by ourselves. For me, a huge part of ‘doing well’ is feeding ourselves with foods that give us energy.

Everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and say what you will, but it’s kinda true! Especially if you’re trying to fuel your body for a day full of teaching kids! I wanted to share five of my go-to quick and easy breakfasts for the school week – post photos of your #schoolbreakfast and tag me @cookbookish_ so I can see your creations! 

Happy eating!

1. Yogurt Bowl

  • 1 small container of yogurt of choice (I love siggis whole milk yogurt – so creamy)
  • 1 handful fresh berries of choice
  • 1 tsp nut butter of choice (I love any nut butter with no added sugars)
  • a sprinkle chia, hemp, and/or flax seeds
  • add everything to your yogurt, mix, and enjoy!
  • I suggest keeping a jar of your favorite nut butter in school along with seeds (chia, hemp, and/or flax) so all you have to bring in day of is your yogurt.

2. Smoothie Bowl

  • 1 ½ cup frozen cauliflower (or 1 banana if you feel weird about cauli in your smoothies, but it’s good I promise! Don’t knock it 'til you try it!)
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp nut butter of choice
  • ½ cup milk of choice
  • ½ cup water
  • a few shakes of cinnamon
  • optional toppings: fresh fruit, nuts, coconut flakes, seeds
  • if it’s the night before, blend all ingredients and put in temp controlled container/water bottle (I invested in a hydro flask and love it/use it everyday for hot and cold drinks)
  • if it’s the morning of, blend all ingredients and put in any bottle
  • if making smoothie bowl, pour into bowl, and top with things you love like fresh fruit, coconut flakes, nuts, and seeds

3. Egg and Avocado Toast

  • 1 egg
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 piece toast (I love Ezekiel’s – stays well in the school freezer and has more protein than most bread)
  • salt, pepper, and seeds
  • prepare egg night before (see my post here for ways to cook your eggs – hard, medium, or soft boiled)
  • lightly toast bread
  • mash avocado onto toasted bread, top with salt, pepper, and seeds
  • add (mashed) egg on top of toast

4. Adult PB&J

  • 1-2 pieces bread (Ezekiel’s!)- can be open toast or a sandwich
  • nut butter of choice
  • fresh raspberries
  • seeds
  • lightly toast bread
  • spread nut butter on toast
  • mash raspberries on top until jelly-like
  • top with seeds
5. Blueberry Honey Cinnamon Overnight Oats

  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1-2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries
  • a few sprinkles of seeds
  • combine milk, oats, seeds, honey, and cinnamon in a jar (mason jars work well) with a lid and shake
  • add blueberries to jar and cover again
  • refrigerate overnight and take to school in the morning

Thank you SO much for sharing these awesome recipes with us, Cole! If you're looking for more healthy ideas, be sure to check out her blog.

You can also download these breakfasts as free recipe cards over on Teachers Pay Teachers!

3 Subscription Services Reviewed By A Teacher

I don't know about you, but I'm a huge sucker for subscription services! Stitch Fix, Blue Apron, and Daily Harvest are three of my favorites-- and I've tried a lot!

1. Stitch Fix
The best part of Stitch Fix is that it's so FUN to get your "fix" in the mail! I seriously get so excited. So, the concept behind Stitch Fix is that you have a stylist that selects 5 articles of clothing for you according to the preferences you've expressed in the quiz on the site and any notes you leave for your stylist. When the fix arrives in the mail, you decide which ones you want to keep and mail back any you don't want (in a pre-paid envelope). If you keep all 5 pieces, you get 25% off, so often it's less expensive to keep all 5 rather than say, 4. You do pay a $20 styling fee up front, but that $20 is subtracted from your order. So basically, if you buy any item from your fix that's at least $20, the styling is free. AND if you use my referral code, you get $25 off your first fix, so it's basically zero risk. You can set it up to get a fix every month, but I certainly don't do that. I do it more like once a season. I think Stitch Fix can be especially great for teachers, because you can indicate to your stylist what style of dress is expected at your school and she'll deliver! 

Here's a fix I got late last winter and loved! From left to right, it included a long-sleeve navy boho dress, olive skinny jeans (which I definitely wore to work despite technically being jeans!), a quarter sleeve patterned blouse, a quarter sleeve striped top, and a olive green anorak style jacket. 

2. Blue Apron
I've been subscribed to Blue Apron for a few years now, and I love it! Each week (or whichever weeks you choose), they send you the recipes and ingredients for the number of meals you choose. I do the "family" plan every other week, so that we get two different meals that feed four people each. Even though my family is just my husband and I (and our pug!), the four meals allow us to eat the meal two nights in a row or bring the leftovers for lunch the next day. We do every other week so that we don't get burnt out on cooking. The meals aren't meant to be super quick-- some of them take up to an hour-- but they are a fun way to learn how to cook and motivate you to stop ordering takeout. The meals come out to around $8 a meal (as in, per person). So, while I wouldn't want to be paying that much per meal, every meal, it works out well for us for a couple of dinners a week. You can get your first delivery free if you leave your full name and email in the comments-- unfortunately I don't have a link for the free delivery, so I'll need to invite you manually from the Blue Apron site. You can also email me at sarahbforst@gmail.com if you prefer.

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3. Daily Harvest
Yes, this is the smoothie subscription service you've been seeing on your Facebook sidebar. I originally signed up with someone else's referral code to get three free smoothies, thinking I would just do it once. But they're so good I've become a semi-regular subscriber! The smoothies are NOT cheap, but as a special treat to keep in my freezer, they're great! I also get random sugar cravings, so these are a great substitute for a milkshake or ice cream. My favorite is the almond +  cold brew! The ingredients come in the cute little cups (I'm a sucker for nice packaging) and then you just pour the liquid of your choice in (I do milk because that's what we always have in the fridge, but you could do a milk substitute or coconut water), and then blend everything up for 30 seconds! You can get three free smoothies with your first order with my referral link here

Have you tried any of these subscription services? Please note that I'm not sponsored by any of these companies! I get the same thing you get if you order through one of my links-- $25 to Stitch Fix and three free smoothies from Daily Harvest when/if you order a full-priced box. 

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my very own subscription service! I run a self care subscription box for teachers called Teacher Care Crate. You can learn all about it here
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