Tuesday, June 30, 2020

5 Ways to use Mini Erasers in the Middle School Classroom

If you've been a teacher in the last three years, especially if you are on Instagram, you've probably seen images of these adorable little things.

Target Mini Erasers!

I love them with all of my teacher heart, and I've used them for so many activities as an elementary teacher. When I accepted a position teaching middle school for this fall, I was worried that my beloved collection wouldn't be as loved in upper grades. So I did what any self-respecting millennial teacher would do... I asked my Instagram audience for advice!

And my goodness, I'm so glad I did!

I had over fifty amazing educators reach out with some of the greatest ideas for ways I could incorporate my collection into my new grade level.  Everything from rewards to writing prompts! I've rounded up my top five ideas to share with you here.

1. Teaching Probability
Since I'm used to teaching math with mini erasers for counting, it is a pretty easy jump to make to use them to teach math at a higher grade level. Several teachers suggested this idea, and I'm loving it! To teach probability using mini erasers, you will need several mini erasers in varying themes. Students will determine the probability of choosing one type of eraser over another.

2.  Talking Chips
And I don't mean potatoes. The teacher who suggested this one says, "I like to use 'talking chips' where, in groups, each student has three erasers and needs to contribute ideas or ask questions three times. Once the entire group has put down all the erasers, they can pick theirs back up and start again." I like this idea because it encourages reluctant contributors to add to conversations and limits some of the excess talking from some of the chattier kiddos. This would also be a great way to encourage greater paragraph length. Give students five mini erasers to help them remember to write at least five sentences to expand their paragraphs and include more information on a topic. Or if they're writing a paper, one mini eraser per paragraph! Mini erasers as visuals are always a hit!

3. Classroom Currency
Amid the ideas sent to me was a whole slew of messages from teachers telling me to USE THEM AS REWARDS! I didn't necessarily think 6th graders would be thrilled with small rewards like that, but the vast majority of veteran middle school teachers told me otherwise. One idea which I LOVED was to use them as classroom currency! When students are exhibiting on task behavior... when students go above and beyond... when students need a little boost... they can get an eraser. A certain number of erasers can be turned in (like currency) in exchange for different rewards: a homework pass, bonus points, free time on the computer... whatever you think will motivate your students.

4. Teaching Variables
I remember being in grade school and finding out that our teacher was going to start putting LETTERS in our MATH PROBLEMS! What the WHAT, y'all?? Instant panic. And I'm sure students likely still feel that way. A teacher sent me a message suggesting that mini erasers take the place of variables in the problems. Imagine instead of a giant letter X staring you in the face, you get a cute, unassuming, non-threatening pizza shaped mini eraser. Pizza makes everything better, right? Plus, combine the mini erasers with some base ten blocks, and you've got a GREAT hands-on math problem to reinforce the idea.

5. Creative Writing
When I read this idea, I instantly got excited. The message read, "Honestly, my favorite usage is for writing. I put 3-5 in a mystery bag. Students choose a bag and incorporate what they got into their writing." Ummm, that is mind blowing and seriously one of the most fun uses for these erasers that I have ever come across. The story possibilities are endless, and with holiday-themed erasers, this would be fun for a seasonal writing activity, too! It would be easy to differentiate: similar erasers (all food, all summer-themed, etc) for less of a challenge or really mix and match them (an avocado, a santa, and a star) for some out-of-the-box story ideas. Their imaginations will run wild!

I'm thrilled to be in this new position, and equally as thrilled that I get to keep using my mini eraser collection in my middle school classroom. Any other ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Homemade Educational Crafts with Cricut

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut for Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.
I have been head over heels for the Cricut machine family ever since I became a teacher. I've used it for tons of classroom decor and bulletin board sets. But did you know you can use it for even MORE?
Click here to find this door decoration in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
My students LOVE playing games in the classroom. And I love letting them *think* they're just playing, but really, they are learning so much. Games are great engagement boosters, so they actually ask to practice the skills they've been learning.
During the summer and since we've been out for Covid-19, I've been thinking up new games for my kiddos. Trying to find things they love and combining them with skills they'll need during the year. I've been teaching students in grades kindergarten through 4th grade, so trying to find something that appeals to all of them can be tricky.
But do you know what kids of any age usually go for? PIZZA!
So I had the idea to create a pizza game that can have interchangeable parts that can be used for any age group. The game I'm going to show you here is for sight words, but the same steps can be easily adapted for any other skills.
Materials you'll need:
Cardstock in yellow, orange, green, and red
Cricut Explore Air 2 or Maker
Light or Standard Grip Mat
Cricut 0.4 tip pen
Cutting blade
Glue stick
Start with a blank project and upload this Pizza image available in Cricut Design.

Make the pizza the size you want it to be. Because my paper was 8.5x11, I made my pizza 8". Now, this image is in four layers. You won't need the pepperoni (red) layer yet, so while the pizza is selected, click "Ungroup" on the right side of your screen. Select the red layer, and delete it. For now!

Now you're ready to create your pizza base. Click "Make It" in Cricut Design and follow the steps provided. Make as many pizza bases as you want by repeating the steps.
Once your base is complete, you are ready to customize your toppings! Remember the red layer? You need it now! Back in Cricut Design, click "undo" and your red layer should pop back up. Delete the layers underneath it until only the red layer remains.

Duplicate this layer and move it around to make and cut more pieces at a time. Then, insert text and select a writing font. Add anything you want to the pepperoni pieces. For this version, I used Dolch pre-primer level sight words. Once you have added your text on top of your pepperoni pieces, select EVERYTHING and click "Attach" at the bottom left of the screen. That is a very important step; it ensures that the words stay on top of the pepperoni shapes while they are being written and cut out. Then, click "Make It" and follow the prompts. The result will be something like this...

Collect all of your pizza pieces, and you're ready to start assembling!

Glue the green sheet under the yellow sheet. Then, glue both pieces onto the orange "crust." Do NOT glue the pepperonis. You are now ready to play!

There can be many different ways to play: students can pick up a word, read the word, and put it on their pizzas. Students can "fill orders" by finding specific words from the pile. They can work in teams or by themselves. And this is only ONE game idea. You can make math problems, work on phonics skills, or even simply put letters and numbers on them and let the kiddos identify what they found! And once you have the pizza bases, all you have to do is make the different pepperonis, and you have unlimited games for unlimited skills! What skills would you work on? Let me know in the comments.
I cannot wait to get back into my classroom. Let the games begin!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Educational TV Shows You'll WANT Your Kids to Binge

Oh, screen time. It can be a parent's (and a teacher's) best friend or mortal enemy.

The Battle of the Binge is something I have to fight in my house. We have always tried to limit screen time, but trust me when I say that my seven year old would JUMP at the chance to watch My Little Pony for 12 hours without blinking.

Sometimes, as a working mama, especially now working from home, I have to give a little. Some compromises have to be made. Screen time has increased somewhat, but I have found some GREAT educational programming that, well, I actually don't mind if she binges a little bit! Check out my list of six great educational shows for students!

1. Ask the Storybots

Oh my word, you guys. These little storybot characters are funny and fun and FILLED with super cool information about so many topics! From "how do airplanes fly" to "how do people catch a cold" to "where does chocolate come from," the storybots provide scientific explanations in easy to understand terms. Celebrity guests and amazing musical numbers make this show one for the whole family! Available on Netflix.

2. The "Who Was?" Show

Based on the best-selling book series, The Who Was? Show highlights different historical figures and presents their stories in fun, age-appropriate ways to a young audience. Kids will learn about American icons like Benjamin Franklin and Amelia Earhart. They will also learn about international figures including Gandhi and Frida Kahlo. This show does a great job of bringing history to life and making the past relatable to today's kids. Streaming now on Netflix.

3. Cyberchase

Don't let the fact that this show came out almost two decades ago dissuade you; this show rocks! It is a fun adventure show set in Cyber Space and features three kiddos and their strange birdy sidekick. They apply math skills to "real-world" situations to defeat the show's antagonist, The Hacker. The end of every episode features math problems and puzzles being solved by real live kids! Yes, they are wearing the finest fashions the early 2000s had to offer, but that just adds to the charm! This show is perfect for ages 7-10 and airs on PBS Kids and PBSkids.org. 

If your kiddos aren't quite old enough to enjoy running around in Cyber Space, I guarantee you,
they'll LOVE Peg + Cat, also from PBS Kids. An adorable little girl, Peg, and her pet cat teach your kids early math skills, such as shapes, patterns, and counting. And don't just take my word for it. This simple cartoon is the winner of SEVEN Emmy awards! Be sure to also check out the games section available on PBSkids.org for your kids to practice the skills they learned on the show!

5. Leap Frog

And while we are talking about our youngest learners, let's switch gears into READING! Netflix has several episodes from Leap Frog that dive deep into letters, sounds, and phonics. Letter Factory, Phonics Farm, and Sing-a-long Read-a-long are fun, musical shows that teach letter identification, letter sounds, and phonics skills like blending to read CVC words. These shows are perfect for preschool and kindergarten. They also make great added practice for your firsties who need a refresher.

6. Word Girl

For your readers, how about a show that expands their vocabulary? I'm not gonna lie- Word Girl is one of my all-time favorites. This show is able to introduce and reinforce complex vocabulary words without making it feel like a "language lesson." It's perfect to help bridge the gap between conversational and academic vocabulary that will often show up on standardized tests, thereby exposing kiddos to unfamiliar words in a fun way. And I promise, the first time you hear your young child or student tell you they are "flattered" when you compliment their latest assignment will make your day! And just like the other PBS Kids shows, this show comes complete with its own academic games to help your kids and students practice their new vocabulary skills and teaches skills like making inferences. 10/10 would DEFINITELY recommend.

So there you have it! My list of binge-worthy shows that will not only keep your kiddos entertained, but also academically engaged. Assign an episode or two for your students via distance learning or share the list with your students' parents so they have an educational alternative to traditional screen time. Did I leave any shows out? Let me know your favorites in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

What to do with PEEPS marshmallows (besides eat them)

Welcome to Week 4 of Quaranteaching! We are getting ready to celebrate Easter on Sunday. We should have been making plans to leave our town right after Sunday's service to head to my dad and step-mom's house for an Easter meal. But Covid-19 had other plans, so we are staying home. But that didn't stop them from sending my daughter an Easter basket filled with goodies- including PEEPS.

I need to know: are you team PEEP or not? Apparently, these sweet treats are very divisive; you love them or you hate them. Parker loves them, but they are super sugary, so we don't let her eat many. What to do with the left overs?

Well, since we are learning at home, I decided to turn them into a science experiment. I'd heard of "marshmallow dough" before, but I'd never tried making it. However, what are peeps other than marshmallows coated in sugar?

We began our experiment by examining the peeps "before." What did they feel like? Taste like? We squished those little chicks and got sticky marshmallow all over our hands. We tasted them (basically straight up sugar). What did we think would happen when we heated them up to start making our dough? We documented everything and wrote out our hypothesis on our investigation report.  Then it was time to experiment.

We heated the marshmallows, added the other ingredients, and combined everything to make a dough that was a consistency somewhere between slime and play dough. We examined the dough again to check out the changes. How did it feel now? How did it TASTE now? We wrote down our new findings and compared the two states of the peeps.

You can download the forms we used from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here!

My daughter loved stretching out the dough and putting it inside the plastic eggs to shape. If it got a little sticky, we just dusted it with a little extra cornstarch. Helpful hint: your hands need to be COMPLETELY DRY to play with this dough. After she was done playing with it, I wasn't sure how well it would keep. But like the good scientists we now are, we experimented! We put it in a zipper-seal bag in the fridge. The next day, it was very hard, but the more we worked with it and the warmer it got, the more malleable it became. For our next batch, I think we'll leave the bag on the counter. Since it's made from marshmallows, it won't last for very long. But with it being Easter season, especially this close to the end of the season, they are easy to find to make more (especially after Sunday when they go on sale)!

 Save the image below for the recipe!

We had the best time experimenting and playing with our food! It's been so much fun coming up with academic, engaging activities with things we already have at home. And I'm definitely saving this idea to do in the classroom next year! Until then, I'll soak up every extra moment at home.

Stay safe!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

5 Hands-On Math Activities Kids Actually WANT to Do

Congratulations on your new title of Distance Learning Instructor!

Not thrilled? Yeah, me, neither.

I had really been praying that we were going to be able to get back into the classroom this year and be with the students again, but with the way things are right now due to Covid-19, that's just not going to be possible. The safety of the students comes first!

However, that has put me at a little bit of a loss when it comes to how to reach and teach my students without being with them in the classroom.

My school district is not 1:1 with devices, and several locations do not even have internet access. However, I also don't want to send home a giant packet of worksheets. Keeping long-distance engagement high is going to be tricky, but the trick is to create highly engaging activities.

I drew from my experiences with my students and teaching my own daughter and came up with this list of hands-on, exciting activities that are educational, but also engaging.

The Stay-at-Home Chef
There are SO MANY ways to turn cooking into learning! And what is better at bringing people together than food? I found an amazing, simple brownie recipe from The Stay-at-Home Chef.  The recipe is easy to follow and perfect for a math lesson, not to mention sequencing! I included the recipe and math questions for both upper and lower grades here as an exclusive freebie just for my blog audience. They can easily be shared by printing or email. You can even take a screen shot and send it directly to your students' parents' phones! And when class is over, they'll have delicious brownies to enjoy. No better incentive than that!

Where I live in Alabama, we have been blessed with beautiful weather the last few weeks. It has been so nice to get outdoors with my family going on walks and playing games. One game you probably remember from your own childhood is hopscotch. Y'all, there are SO MANY WAYS to make this an academic activity that you can share with parents. Students can compare numbers, add and subtract, multiply... I even had my daughter working on missing addends! I would give her a number from 2-20 as an "answer" and tell her one number that HAD to be used. She then had to figure out what number was missing to make the answer true. And older students can use four bean bags to make two two-digit numbers to work with. It's a great way to get kids moving and thinking! No sidewalk chalk or dealing with poor weather? No problem! Make an indoor hopscotch with masking tape or painters tape.

I don't know about your kiddos, but my daughter LOVES playing with my tape measure. It's never left where I put it, because she's carried it around the house to see how tall her bed is or how long her shoes are. And if she wants to play with it anyway, we might as well make it a teaching moment. Send your students a list of objects around the house to measure and compare lengths. Have your older students figure out the perimeter or area of their bedroom or kitchen. Speaking of area, I need to figure out the area of my living room. Mama's been wanting some new flooring! 😆 Who says you'll never use math?

Social distancing means plenty of time for family game night. A simple deck of cards can be used for so many different games, and the possibilities for math games you can send to your students are virtually endless. The youngest students can match cards based on number, color, or symbol. They can put the cards in numerical order, forwards or backwards. Older students can play by flipping two cards over. They can compare them, add or subtract, multiply... Flipping four cards makes two two-digit numbers that can be used for students ready for a greater challenge. I usually take the face cards out, but you do you! And leave some fresh ideas for them in the comments!

Not gonna lie; this might be my favorite of all the ideas 😆 Because who doesn't love candy? Before
Covid-19 came in and derailed our Easter plans, I had purchased an unnecessarily large bag of jelly beans to put inside eggs for the egg hunt. They have since turned into quarantine snacks, but they also make perfect math manipulatives. One of my favorite ways to use them is to work on graphing.  Students can grab a handful (after washing their hands, of course!) and graph how many are each color and then answer questions about the data they collected. Which color has the greatest number? Which color has the least? How many more pink jelly beans than yellow? Older students can work on ratios or fractions. And if they don't have jelly beans, they can use any other kind of candy, marshmallow cereal, or even trail mix, just as long as they have several different pieces of several different kinds.

There are so many ways to make distance learning accessible for students without relying heavily on technology or printing page after page of worksheets. From brownies and candy to tape measures and sidewalk chalk, lets give our students the opportunity to dive into distance learning in a fun, hands-on, unforgettable way!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Creating Your Classroom: Where to Splurge and When to Save

I remember last summer when I was preparing for my first year teaching in my first ever classroom and being so excited. I had taken over the classroom of a retired teacher, so by the time I had cleared away the old, worn out, and out-of-date items, I was left with basically a blank slate.  I looked at Pinterest for hours scoping out exactly the theme I was going to use to decorate and what resources I just HAD to have. Honestly, it was overwhelming. And being a first-year teacher, I had no idea what I was actually going to need.

Throughout the year, I realized what was totally worth the money, where I could have saved a few extra bucks, and what I could have done without. Hopefully, I can share a little bit from my experience and help you know where to splurge and when to save.

1. Classroom Library- SAVE

Mrs. Cessac fills her shelves with second-hand books.
I know, I know. You walk into Barnes & Noble, and all the pretty books are looking at you with their shiny covers, and you can't help yourself. I know this because I'm the same way. I have the hardest time going to a book store and leaving empty handed. But trust me when I say that a classroom library is one of the best areas in which you can SAVE your money. There are a few different ways to do this. Kelli Cessac (@mrscessac5th) fills her classroom library with books purchased from second-hand stores like Goodwill.  She states, "[Books from Goodwill] are usually a dollar each! And with the teacher discount, they're even cheaper." Other locations to score deals on books are Craigslist and yard sales.

Another option is reaching out to your friends and family and asking if anyone has any old books they'd mind to donate to your classroom. When I was stocking mine, I posted a status on Facebook asking folks, and within an hour, I had soooo many offers from people. I got laundry baskets and cardboard boxes full of chapter and picture books. Most everyone was excited to give their old books new life and let other children fall in love with them all over again. Some were just excited to clear off a shelf in their house 😆 Either way, I had dozens of books to choose from without having to spend a dime. Erin Castillo (@makingastatementinsped) did the same thing for her high school classroom library. She says, "My classroom library pretty much got 75% built from members of my church!"

Mrs. Castillo's classroom library is mostly made up from donations from members of her church.
So if you're able to save money on your classroom library, where should you spend it?

2. A Personal Laminator -SPLURGE

I originally considered not getting a personal laminator. My school library has a big one that is free to use (thanks to our amazing librarian), so I figured that would be good enough.

I cannot begin to tell you how wrong I was.

Aside from oxygen, my personal laminator is the thing I used most in my classroom last year. I use it for flash cards, worksheets (so I can use them with dry erase markers), and classroom decor that I don't want ruined from it falling off the walls.

I used my classroom laminator nearly every day last year. Literally. Nearly every day. Since I'm a special education resource teacher teaching across four grade levels, I had a ton of material to prep. And since the students' needs changed quickly as they would gain new knowledge and need to increase the complexity of what they were working on, the ability to create and prepare my own resources was a life saver! And I'm not alone in my thinking.  I took a poll on Instagram, and 75% of teachers who responded said that they have a personal laminator either at home or in their classrooms.  I actually have one for both places because I got tired of carrying it back and forth to work on things at home. This is the one I have. You can click my affiliate link below to find it on Amazon. It has worked perfectly for me, and it even comes with a starter pack of laminating pouches included.

So like I said, I used my laminator all the time last year, and it was definitely worth splurging on. Something else worth the splurge? High-quality school supplies.

3. School Supplies- SPLURGE

Teaching resource, I don't get to send home a school supply list. That falls to the classroom teachers. That also means I get stuck buying the crayons, pencils, markers, glue, etc. that my students will use in my classroom. On top of that, I have to buy my daughter's school supplies that she needs for her class. It can be so tempting to go to a dollar store or bargain store and buy the packs of off-brand everything for a dollar each. But y'all... you get what you pay for. I might only pay a dollar for those crayons, markers, and pencils, but I'll be paying another dollar when they break, another dollar when they dry out super quickly, and another dollar when the lead only sharpens on one side. Not only is that more money, but it's also more time spent going to the store or waiting on the mail to arrive. Trust me, you (and your child's teacher if you have one) will be so much happier if you pay the dollar or so extra and get the good stuff. The colors are brighter, the ink lasts longer, the lead is thicker, and the real wood won't clog and break your pencil sharpener the way the plastic-coated ones can.

Alisha Peare, @bubblyblondeteacher, stocks up on Crayola brand markers and crayons for her classroom.

4. Centers/Stations- SAVE

Last summer, while on vacation in Tampa, my husband accidentally drove passed a very popular teacher supply store. In the midst of my shrieking for him to TURN AROUND, he safely backtracked and soon I had entered what I can only imagine "Teacher Heaven" must look like.  Anything and everything you could ever want for your classroom was contained within those four walls. I stuck to my budget (which we'd agreed upon in the car before I had even gone inside), but it was SO HARD. I could easily have dropped hundreds of dollars in there buying ELA activities and games for math centers. However, I am glad I didn't. While their products are amazing, I was able to save a ton of money by making my own centers, games, task cards, and other resources. A used (and washed out) Parmesan cheese container and some pipe cleaners became a great activity for building motor skills. Old Mega Blocks and a sharpie became my students' favorite way to practice "building" sight words. Mini erasers from Target became... well anything and everything: math manipulatives, sorting activities, game pieces, Bingo markers... The point is, I was able to have a FULLY STOCKED classroom full of activities that my kids LOVE without having to blow my entire paycheck to do so. Look at Pinterest for even more low cost activities!

By writing words and letters on my daughter's old Mega Blocks, I was able to create this sight word center for free!
Speaking of Pinterest, that leaves me to my final area of the classroom...

5. Classroom Decor- SAVE

My blank slate
I inherited my classroom from the most kind teacher in the world. He was retiring, and I was thrilled to have the chance to talk with him before he left, and he even went so far as to leave behind many things I would need for my classroom. A few things I wanted to do, however, was clean it out, reorganize it, and decorate it!  A blank slate can be so refreshing, but also overwhelming when trying to figure out how to set it up and make it work for you and your students. I had so many Pinterest boards dedicated to different themes I was considering. I finally decided on the theme "Learning in a Journey." Globes, paper airplanes, maps... The ideas kept on coming! But I had to figure out a way to make my grand ideas work on a next-to-nothing budget. I asked friends to keep an eye out for old globes and ended up having several donated to my classroom. I drew decorations and designed some on PicMonkey.com. I looked at Teachers Pay Teachers for other decor I wanted but didn't have time to make. I got bins and organizational items from bargain stores like Five Below and The Dollar Tree. Probably my favorite things from my classroom were the decorations I made from maps I picked up from rest areas on the way to and from vacation destinations. With those maps, I folded paper airplanes to hang from the ceiling (thank you YouTube for the tutorials!). I cut them down to 8.5x11 and printed letters on them in an outline font to make bulletin board letters. I used them as matting to display student work and my number line around the classroom. And they were free! I have more plans for them this summer as I'm updating my classroom decor. I've been slowly redoing bits and pieces and uploading them to my own Teachers Pay Teachers store. If you like to craft and design, creating your own classroom decor can be a great way to save.

Bulletin board letters, name tags, posters, and an alphabet line are only a few of the products I've made this summer to decorate my classroom. Click here to check them out!

So as you're preparing your classroom this year, if you are a new teacher or changing rooms/grades/schools, remember that while some classroom items are definitely worth the splurge, there are several more areas where you can save! How do you save on items for the classroom? Any other splurges you think I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Self-Care Myths and How to Beat Them- Part Three

This is it, y'all! We have made it to part three- the final part in this three part series about Self-Care myths and how to beat them. If you missed the first two you can find them here and here

Before we get to the third part of this series. I have two things to say. First is THANK YOU for the support I have received about my blog so far. Second is that I am PROUD of you for realizing that your mental health and practicing self-care is so important. Today's post is all about the third myth that many people have about self-care: that somehow self-care is selfISH. 

The first two myths were all about establishing self-care routines when you have a tight budget or a tight schedule. I provided three options to combat each myth, but for this post, I'm taking a slightly different approach. I'm not going to tell you HOW to beat this myth, but WHY you should. 

I know we have all heard this quote before. But have you really listened to it? 

Imagine with me if you will... you are given a plastic cup with many holes poked in the bottom. You are to use this cup to transfer water from one bowl on one side of a room to another bowl on the other side of the room. Your goal is to fill the second bowl with water. 

So you are filling your holey cup and frantically maneuvering back and forth from bowl to bowl- water spilling and dripping everywhere. The little water you are managing to carry to the second bowl is minimal, and you grow increasingly frustrated, trying to go faster and faster, trying to beat the water dripping from the holes. 

Are you able to fill the bowl? Or is there more water on the floor?

Now imagine you are given something that blocks those holes. You place a bit of something in each hole. It still leaks a little, but not as much. You are able to carry significantly more water to the bowl, filling it much more quickly and with much less mess.

In this exercise, the holes in the cup are everything that drains you- these are not necessarily bad things, just things that require you to put yourself on a back burner while you tend to them- responsibilities, volunteer opportunities, family obligations, your job, even going to a party... not bad things, just.... things. 

What blocks the holes are the things that you do for yourself: reading for pleasure, getting a pedicure, going window shopping, laughing with your family or friends, watching a movie, drinking a hot cup of coffee. They are the things you do just for you. These are the things that allow you to carry on, accomplish your goals, fulfill your obligations, and meet your responsibilities. You would never expect a hole-filled cup to hold water; how can you expect yourself to serve your purpose without being filled, yourself?

Self-care is not selfish. It is the thing by which we can ensure we are able to meet our fullest potential. 

So no, you cannot pour from an empty cup. You cannot pour from a hole-riddled cup. But you can fill the holes and fill yourself and see exactly how much you can do and accomplish. You are your biggest investment in your future. So take care of yourself! You deserve it.

5 Ways to use Mini Erasers in the Middle School Classroom

If you've been a teacher in the last three years, especially if you are on Instagram, you've probably seen images of these adorable ...