March Teacher Care Crate Unboxing


 
Watch the video to see what comes in the March Teacher Care Crate, and read below for more details. The March Teacher Care Crate shown here is available at teachercarecrate.com until March 14th! 

Whipped Soap This whipped soap scrub from Soak + Unwind both looks and smells AMAZING. {Retail Value: $6}

Self Care Bingo Inspired by my friend Sarah Plumitallo, I designed this self care bingo as a way to make sure you're practicing self care every week! There are 25 sheets, so try to complete five in a row each week for the rest of the school year! {Retail Value: $5}

Gummy Bears These gummy bears from YumEarth are made with organic ingredients and are a delicious sweet treat. {Retail Value: $1}

Art Print This month's adorable 5 x 7 art print was designed by Michaela of Especially Education. {Retail Value: $8}

Mini Candle This candle from Guideless Candle Company was made just for Teacher Crate, and has a refreshing scent of citrus, strawberry, black current, and vanilla. {Retail Value: $5}

Shower Steamers Made especially for Teacher Care Crate, this set of three citrus shower steamers from Blue Oak Farm will create an aromatherapy experience in your shower. {Retail Value: $5}

Bracelet This delicate bracelet from Dots and Dashes spells out "teach" in morse code! {Retail Value: $7}

Washi Tape Use your ten skinny washi tapes to decorate your planner or hang up your art print. {Retail Value: $7}

Subscribe at teachercarecrate.com!



Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter


As a HUGE Harry Potter fan, I'm not sure how it's taken me this long to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I know many of you are hoping to visit too, so I thought I'd share my experience and a few tips!

We went on a Tuesday in February and got there before the park opened, and it was still pretty crowded! I honestly would NOT want to go back in the summer, but I also have a pretty low tolerance for crowds and heat.

There are two parts of the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWHOP) in Orlando, so you have to buy a park hopper ticket if you'd like to visit both. I think it's definitely worth doing, because having a park hopper ticket is also the only way you can go on the Hogwarts Express, which is pretty neat unto itself!


We started in Hogsmeade, which is in the Islands of Adventure part of Universal Studios. Following the internet's advice, we headed straight to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and got in line. Even though we got there before the park opened, there was still about a 45 minute wait because those with express passes get to skip the line and go first. The line is actually part of the experience, as you start by waiting in the "greenhouses" outside and then wind throughout Hogwarts, where there's tons to see, from a holographic Dumbledore to talking portraits. That being said, if I were to go again or had kids I would definitely get the express passes! The ride itself was pretty neat! You got into a seat like it was a traditional roller coast, but it was sort of a hybrid-- there was a lot of VR stuff going on too. It was actually kind of scary, but I was smiling the whole time despite being very prone to motion sickness. For some reason I missed, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are sneaking you out of Hogwarts. It was great!


After a quick stop for coffee and our first butterbeers of the day, we headed to the Hogwarts Express, again per the internet's advice. There was barely any line (this is NOT the case later in the day) and we got to hop on the train pretty quickly. The train looks JUST like the movie, and it's really cool getting to sit in one the train carriages. The window of your carriage is actually a screen, and you get to see what Harry would see. There's also some other effects going on, and you get to hear Harry, Ron, and Hermione out in the corridor. When you get off the train, you arrive at King's Cross Station and go out into the muggle world-- I was pretty impressed that they recreated that part! You'll see the Knight Bus and a telephone booth, among other things. Then, you enter Diagon Alley! It's really, really amazing, but we saved the shopping for later and went right to the Escape from Gringotts ride. The line for this ride wasn't quite as entertaining, but it was still neat to see the Gringotts goblins! The ride itself is similar to the Forbidden Journey in that it's a mix of motion and a 3D experience-- you actually wear 3D glasses for this one.


After the ride, we explored Diagon Alley! This area is way bigger than Hogsmeade and is filled with shops straight from the books and movies. We had lunch at The Leaky Cauldron after waiting in a not-too-terrible line. I had the fish and chips and a cold butterbeer with a shot of fire whiskey (recommended to me on Instagram!). I'm pescatarian and that was about the only option available. They do have a veggie platter, which my friend got, but it didn't look great. If you're full vegetarian or have other dietary restrictions, you might want to do some more research beforehand. You can easily leave the WWOHP portion of the park and head somewhere else in the park for lunch if you like. 


The main thing to do in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley is browse the shops! They did a pretty good job of recreating aspects of the shops from the series while still filling them with purchasable merchandise. For example, Madam Malkin's has dress forms with robes, while also having actual clothing you can buy. I wasn't tempted by too much, except a Hedwig plush backpack, which I didn't buy, and a Weasley sweater with the letter F (my last name is Forst), which I did buy! After exploring Diagon Alley-- don't forget to check out Knockturn Alley too!-- we took the train back to Hogsmeade to peruse the shops there, since we didn't earlier in the day. The line to get back on the Hogwarts Express was SO long, so keep that in mind before you head back! We actually ended up heading back to Diagon Alley a second time later because my sister and I wanted those Weasley sweaters! 


It was a super fun day and definitely lived up to my expectations! A few random notes for you:

*You can't bring a bag or purse onto the rides. They have free lockers for you to use, but it ends up slowing you down because it's another line to wait in. I wore my fanny pack and kept everyone's phones and cards in it, which allowed us to skip the locker line. 

*Everyone told us to buy an interactive wand, but we didn't end up doing it. The wands are about $50 and you can use them at magic spots throughout the park. At first we didn't want to get one just because the line at Ollivander's was so long, but then we saw people using them and just didn't really feel the need to get one. All the spots end up with a line of like 10 ten kids waiting their turn and I was just kind of sick of lines! 

*You would think all the merchandise is the same in both parts of the park, but it's actually not! Don't make my Weasley sweater mistake and end up having to take the train back just to get the souvenir you want.

*The dragon on top of Gringotts breathes fire every ten minutes on the zero (10:30, 10:40, etc.), if you want to time it to get a photo! 

If you're a Potterhead like me, check out these 11 Magical Harry Potter Ideas for the Classroom!

5 Tips for Anxious Flyers

This post contains affiliate links.

In the past I've shared with you that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder as well as panic attacks, and many of you have shared with me that you experience the same thing! For me, and for many of you, flying can be a trigger. One of the great things about being a teacher is having breaks that are perfect for traveling, but if your anxiety is keeping you from flying, you may not be taking the best advantage of your time to travel.

I used to fly without any problem up until Thanksgiving 2016. On the way home from Richmond, Virginia, I had a terrible panic attack while on the plane. I was hysterically crying and trying to get my husband to let me go talk to the pilot to try to get them to land the plane. Part of the vicious cycle of panic attacks is that the fear of having a panic attack can actually make you have one. Thus, I was afraid to fly again, knowing I might have that experience again. I knew never flying again wasn't an option for me, as both my own family and my in-laws live many states away. I fly up to 10 times a year, and even took a 24-hour flight to Indonesia in 2017, and have had to develop few strategies for dealing with my flight anxiety:

1. Wear noise canceling headphones. My therapist recommended these to me because I live across the street from a park and the sound of the creaky swing puts me over the edge sometimes. I quickly discovered they are the BEST on planes. You actually don't realize how great they are until you take them off for a second on the plane and are like, wow, this is hellish. In addition to dampening the roaring airplane noise, I think they also make you a bit more unapproachable, which is a pro in my book when on a plane.

2. Sign up for TSA precheck. I seriously cannot imagine flying without precheck. Even if you only fly a few times a year, it's soooo worth it. Since I have overall heightened anxiety before flying, the idea of having to wait in line and potentially miss my flight is the worst. With precheck, you can get to the airport an hour before, hop right in line, and usually be through security in 20 minutes or less. The interview was super simple and I haven't personally heard of anyone being denied.

3. Take your meds. First of all, I'm not a doctor and this is just my personal experience. That being said, all the others things on this list help, but to be honest, Xanax is the key for me. If you have a serious fear of flying, talk to your doctor. I used to have some level of pride about not taking meds, which in hindsight is absurd. Why suffer needlessly? I know my fear is irrational and unhelpful, and I would much rather be a little out of it for a few hours than have a panic attack on a plane.

4. Have a routine. Streamline your experience as much as possible to reduce unneeded uncertainties. I take the same carry-on suitcase and book bag every time. I have a toiletries case that stays permanently packed. When I get through security, the first thing I do is find my gate, and then go get a small iced coffee to keep the Xanax from making me fall asleep before it's time to board. Doing the same things, even if it's in a different airport, can make you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

5. Bring something you enjoy to do on the plane. I've started bringing my bullet journal, stickers, and highlighters on the plane and drawing out my monthly and weekly spreads every time I fly. It's something I really enjoy and I can do it on the plane without distractions. A light book, a podcast, or knitting are other great options!

What other things have worked for you? 

February Teacher Care Crate Unboxing



Watch my unboxing to find out exactly what comes in the February Teacher Care Crate, and read below for more details!

Self Love Stickers Designed by me, this pack of 15 stickers is perfect for decorating your teacher planner or bullet journal. {Retail Value: $2}

Art Print This month's 5" x 7" art print was designed by Lindsey Paull of Miss Johnston's Journey. {Retail Value: $8}

Bath Bomb Your pink and gold bath bomb from The Sugar Shak Collection features a refreshing blend of fresh strawberries with a hint of warm vanilla, infused with skin loving butters & oils. {Retail Value: $3.50}

TEACH Keychain This handmade keychain features silicone and wooden beads, plus a cute little charm with TEACH engraved on it. {Retail Value: $12}

Rose & Frankincense Sheet Mask This organic cotton sheet mask from Flawless Professional Vegan Beauty is infused with soothing aloe vera and jojoba oil to instantly rehydrate the skin. {Retail Value: $4.75}

Striped Socks Your coral and charcoal striped socks will add a little pep to your step! {Retail Value: $6}

Self Care Index This zine from Free Period Press features an A-Z list of self care ideas with plenty of room for you to fill in your own favorites! {Retail Value: $6}

Sprinkle Dreams Chocolate Bar This delicious mini chocolate bar from Chuao Chocolatier has sprinkles and waffle cone bits inside! {Retail Value: $1.50}

You can still subscribe in time to receive the February Teacher Care Crate! Head to teachercarecrate.com and subscribe before February 14th! 

5 Resources for Black History Month from Black Authors


While we should be including and highlighting people of color throughout the year, Black History Month is a great time to put a special focus on the specific contributions of Black people. When possible, I think it is important to try to use resources authored by Black people when teaching about Black history and culture. I recently searched Teachers Pay Teachers for Black History Month resources, and did not see anything by Black authors on the first page! I gathered five resources perfect for Black History Month from Black authors for a variety of grade levels:

1. Black History Month in Kindergarten by Lanesha Tabb from Education with an Apron From Lanesha: "I tried to design [this resource] in such a way that students could have an introduction to the history of the black American in this country. From there, we celebrate lesser celebrated people in the areas of the arts, science, and inventors."

2. Influential Leaders in Black History from It's MoNique's World From MoNique: "I basically just wanted to insure that I was spending time highlighting Black Leaders and not just focusing on the struggles. I do mention different obstacles that each leader faced but my hope was that my kiddos would not just see Black people as poor, less than, and see us as people who are inventors, writers, actors, teachers... leaders." 

3. Black History Month Studies by Tamara Russell From Tamara's description: "This is probably my favorite topic to teach on all year! :) The bundle represents resources that I've been using and reworking for the last several years. It just gets to be more fun every time I share my love of this with my students! Included in this pack are my MLK Literacy Unit, my Underground Railroad Unit, and my MLK Sentence Scramble Freebie. There are also two packs of fluency passages. One is for high first grade the other is for high second."

4. Black History Month Research Passages by Princess Netherly From Princess's description: "Help your students go beyond learning about MLK and Rosa Parks for black history month. The passages are designed to give teachers flexibility in assigning students research."

5. Letter from Birmingham Jail & Call for Unity from Tanesha B Foreman From Tanesha's description: "In 1963, eight white clergymen wrote a letter condemning nonviolent protests happening in Alabama. From a jail cell, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr wrote a response to each argument presented by the clergymen. This letter contains some of Dr. King’s most recognized quotes such as, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” This unit focuses on analyzing arguments presented in the two letters, responding to various text dependent questions, and participating in a Socratic seminar." {for 8th-10th grade students}

Whether you use these specific resources or not, I hope you make an effort to seek out Black authors and creators when teaching Black history this month and throughout the year. 

January 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: Designed by me, this 5" x 7" professionally printed art print is perfect for displaying on your desk or in the teacher's lounge. {Retail Value: $8}

Joy Journal: Record what makes you happy in this Joy Journal from Personal Pep Talk. {Retail Value: $5}

Bath Bomb: This Mystic Mermaid bath bomb from Fifi and Kiki's Bath Company will add some sparkly vibes to your bath. {Retail Value: $3}

Washi Tape: Use this gold glitter to decorate your planner or hang your art print. {Retail Value: $2}

Sleep Meditation: This month's crate includes a card from Yoga for You which links to a guided sleep meditation. 

Earrings: These faux druzy earrings from MG Designs will add some sparkle to your day! {Retail Value: $8}

Granola Bar: Stash your Chocolate Almond Sea Salt granola bar from Kashi in your desk for when you need a healthy snack. {Retail Value: $1}

Vapor Rub: This all natural vapor rub from Blue Oak Farm is wonderful for soothing congestion and smells great too! {Retail Value: $10}

Sleep Mask: Use your adorable sleep mask to get to sleep faster. {Retail Value: $9}

The January crate is all sold out, but head to teachercarecrate.com on January 25 at 8 pm EST to subscribe starting with the February crate! 

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