Friday, October 3, 2014

Tricks and Treats for Teachers Blog Hop

Hi Everyone!
Thanks for stopping by my blog for this fun blog hop!  I hope you are finding lots of great "tricks" and "treats" along the way.  :)

 You know those kiddos in your room who just can't sit still or focus?  The ones who haven't been diagnosed with anything (or are too young) or just that's who they are?  You know, the wiggle worms!  Well, over my 15 years of teaching I developed a few tricks that really seem to work.  Some of these may be familiar to you, but I'm hoping that some aren't.  :)

1.  Sometimes these kiddos need sensory input.  One way to do that in the classroom is to let them use a smelly pencil, eraser, or marker.  Remember the Mr. Sketch scented markers from our childhoods?  They still make them and they are still fabulous!  The smelly pencils or "smencils" are all the rage now.  All my second graders had them the last few years I was in the classroom.  They even still make smelly erasers.  By giving them something scented, you have given them something fun to do their work with and it gives them the sensory input they need and you should see them refocus.

2.  Give them a recess "to-do list".  Yup!  You read that right.  Give a kid or a few kids what I call Recess To-Do Lists.  This is a list of activities they have to do on the playground that will give them the most amount of activity and input for their bodies so they are ready to focus and learn when they come back in.  If a child can't wait til recess and needs more frequent breaks, you can send the child out with a parent helper or other adult with the list.  When they come back in, they're ready to learn!  I've created some examples for you.  Every playground is different though so I've also created a blank one for you to fill in the activities.  I think if you read the others, you'll understand how to create one for your student or students.  Click the picture below to download the lists.

3.  Do your kids drink water from water bottles during the day?  Consider letting them drink through a straw.  Sucking provides a lot of input that helps children refocus their attention.  Have the parents send in water bottles where the child has to suck the water through a straw if possible.  If not, head to the dollar store and buy a pack of straws or some smaller straw cups for those couple of kiddos who need one. 

4.  Use your headphones.  Do you have headphones for your computers in your classroom?  I used to hand out the headphones for kids to put on during work time.  It blocks out some noise and my kids loved it!  Certain students needed to wear the headphones but then I'd rotate the other pairs so everyone got a chance to try them out.

5.  Here's one that most teachers know but it's so good I'm just going to share it anyways... play classical music.  We all know the research on how classical music helps the brain.  Some days I would look around my room and think "What is going on?"  "Why aren't they focused and working?"  Over half the time I would realize that I forgot to put on the music.  It really makes a difference.

Of course I have tons more ideas but I don't want to write for pages and pages.  Email me if you want to chat about more ideas.  I'd love to hear from you!  On to....
My treat for all you fabulous teachers out there is my newest product... Short and Long Vowel Pumpkin SPLAT games!  They are free for this weekend only!  After that it will be a bundle for $8 in my TpT store.  My Short Vowel Apple SPLAT game has been very popular.  The Short A version of my Apple SPLAT is a freebie in my TpT store.  You can check it out here.  SPLAT is played similarly to slap jack.  Students slap words that rhyme instead of the Jacks found in a deck of playing cards.  My friend Lindsey Sanchez from 2Literacy Teachers tried it out with her second graders.  She said they were having so much fun they didn't want to clean-up when it was time for lunch.  Guess it is good if they didn't want to clean up for lunch!  :)  Here's some cute pics of the kiddos playing Apple SPLAT!
Someone is about to add a LOT of cards to his pile!
Getting ready to SPLAT!

They rhyme!  SPLAT!
Taking turns
The great thing about this game is that it is very flexible.  You can mix and match the short and long vowels, do just short vowels, or do just long vowels.  It's so easy to differentiate for all levels of learners!  I hope your kiddos have just as much fun playing SPLAT as her kiddos did.  My daughter is a second grader this year and LOVES playing SPLAT too!  Click the picture below to download your "treat"!

I am also throwing a sale this weekend and everything in my store will be 20% off.  Stop by and download some freebies and hopefully find some products you need for your classroom!  Click the TpT header at the top of my page to head on over.
Thanks again for stopping by!  I hope you've learned some new "tricks" and downloaded your "treats".




  1. Great tips!! This is such a cute blog hop!

  2. Mr. Sketch? I will need to Google that one!

  3. OMG recess to do lists? Brilliant! Love your Splat Games too!

    Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

  4. I grabbed your Pumpkin Splat for my daughter's first grade classroom. She will love it! Thanks for sharing it and your recess list. I grabbed that for her too! This is her first year teaching and I collect resources for her a lot! Fun Blog Hop!
    Teachers Are Terrific!

  5. Wow! I'm very, very impressed. Some of these ideas seem so simple! I'm definitely trying some of these out because this year I have kids this year that are all over the place and low sweethearts. I LOVE the vowel thing too because my assessments have demonstrated that somehow many of them missed their short and long vowels! Thank you!

    1. Hi Tammy,
      I've had those years. Hang in there and hopefully some of these tricks will help. If you need more ideas, like I said I have a ton more, so get in touch with me.
      -Joya :)

  6. Love your SPLAT game! I love playing games with my kids. It's the best way to keep them engaged!
    Friendly Froggies

  7. Loved your splat game. Your tips were great too!
    Burke's Special Kids

  8. Really great tips and ideas! I love the straw idea and the headphones too. Must remember! Thanks!

  9. Great post! I've enjoyed reading your blog!

    I've nominated you for the Liebster award!! Click the link below to see how to accept on my blog post.




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