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Character Education

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Digital Learning


This month's Teacher Talk Featured Authors are three amigas! Deann Marin of Socrates Lantern and Retta London of Rainbow City Learning, both organizers of TBOTEMC's monthly Teacher Talk blog link up and Tracy Willis of Wild Child Designs, Teacher Talk's Featured Author Editor. They secretly wish they could've taught together but are separated by geography. Here they are, united in spirit!

Read about this creative threesome, their products (shhhh...there's a secret sale going on!), and their freebies below. 

Hi, I'm Deann from Socrates Lantern. I taught SPED for many years and for most of that time I taught emotionally handicapped middle schoolers. My heart went out to them, mostly because of their tough and unfair homelives. Eventually, this took it's toll on me and burnout was inevitable. Since I have double certification, I can teach both SPED and Regular Ed. My dream job opened up when I was offered a 6th grade ELA/Social Studies position and got to co-teach with my best friend. Creating exciting lessons that would turn kids on to ancient history and make it come alive was my new challenge. I so loved seeing the excitement on their faces when they wrote and acted in plays, held debates, trials, and brought in mud bricks to school to make a class ziggurat. 

Now I'm retired and a full time teacherpreneur. I just had my new website built and am so excited to share my knowledge and products with everyone. I'll be starting an email series soon and would love to have you sign up. You'll receive entrance to my FREE resource gem library!

I'm Tracy from Wild Child Designs. My 24 year teaching career has been varied and fun. I've taught k-8 music, directed choirs, taught grades 2-6 and newcomers, and I've been a literacy coach. Currently I teach in a self-contained fifth grade classroom. Jon Muir taught us that all things in nature are connected. If you tease out one thread of a web, all organisms feel that vibration. I believe the nature of learning is like that, too. Deep down, we're all wild children. My passion is connecting core subjects and the arts into rigorous and fun projects. At my blog, Wild Child's Mossy Oak Musings, I write about project-based learning and math, reading and writing workshops. Currently, implementing Visible Thinking Routines and reading about creativity research make my little teacher heart beat faster. 

My subscribers enjoy a monthly freebie for their upper elementary and middle school classrooms!

Hi friends! It's Retta. Forever a teacher, I am enjoying retirement here in Michigan. My blog and TpT shop are both named for Rainbow City, the classroom I shared with my third, fourth, and fifth graders for many magical years.

During my classroom years, I loved really getting to know my kids as people and learners. I found that the empowerment of my students was the key to reaching and teaching them. Project-based learning and authentic assessment are my passions in the classroom. Out of the classroom now, I love volunteering in the schools and staying in touch with what's important to teachers and to kids. I enjoy sharing the lessons and units that made a difference for m own upper elementary students, as well as developing new ones that make a difference for yours! Grounded in research and kid-approved, resources from Rainbow City Learning offer creativity and fun, served with rigor and attention to learning standards.

As a Teacher Talk blogger, I get to peek into classrooms across the country and explore new ideas in education. Collaborating with other teachers is inspiring. I look forward to talking with more of you on social media sites!

Best-Seller Resources

Some of our best-selling resources are pretty perfect for April's Poetry Month. Even better, we've put them on sale this week,  just for you!

This resource is a gorgeous art project, poetry writing, descriptive language and biography poppy-licious project. I've used it to counteract the Standard Testing Blues. It kicks off our Poetry Month festivities. Click picture to view!

My Poetry Portfolio contains 11 of my favorite poetry forms with templates and examples to get your kids excited about creating poetry of their own. It's perfect for use as a 4-6 week unit, or use it at intervals throughout the year! Click the picture to view. 

Don't you just love the smell of spring in the air? When I think of spring, I think of poetry. What better way is there to teach this genre than to take a group of kids outside, have them lie under a tree and write a poem. This resource will inspire your students, just as it did mine!

Our Favorites

We know, we know. Teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but we couldn't help ourselves. These faves are also on sale for this week!

I love Storybook STEAM because it is rigorous and fun. The mini-poster prompts invite students to think outside the box and to plan a project as an individual or a group. It uses classic tales and adds problem solving and critical thinking to the mix. Teachers say,  "Incredible resource!" Click picture to view!

Have you ever gone to sleep and dreamed about lesson plans? This resource is dream-created. Students learn about Piet Mondrian & plasticism, view Mondrian-inspired examples and explore the fractional amounts in each painting. Decimals and percentages make an appearance, too. Using fractional parameters, students create their own Mondrian-inspired artwork. Students love this and teachers say, "We used this PBL unit in math, and it's the kids' favorite project all year (and mine!)." Click the picture to view!

This is what you've been looking for because it's the end of the year, and you've run out of steam. You're ready for summer, but you want to reward your students with something meaningful and special. This is a unique resource offers awards with thought-provoking growth mindset statements from various philosophers, artists, scientists, historians, psychologists, writers, and more. There's an award to fit every student!

Last, But Not Least...FREEBIES!

We love our students and our resources, but we love teachers, too. These are our favorite freebies...because we love you!

Looking to settle your ELA classes down as they come into the room? Do you want to reinforce concepts taught in class? These FREE 5 Minute English Warm-ups that come with complete lesson plans, as well as worksheets and a writing prompt will be your new best friend!

This product sample, Raise Your Hand Poster with friendly Dot Dudes will encourage your students to find their own special voices and the confidence to speak out.

Small-group instruction is a powerful teaching tool. It's also a challenging tool to implement. This freebie will help you plan and organize your small group teaching. Click picture to download!

Before we say, "Adios, amigos," we hope you'll visit with us again. You can find us lurking at Starbucks, face-timing in the pedicure chair, and hatching plans to take over the world... or, you could just check out our social media links below. 

Deann of Socrates Lantern

Tracy of Wild Child Designs


TpT Sale and a Giveaway

TpT loves teachers! We are having a site wide sale beginning at midnight tonight ET. Wild Child Designs and Rainbow City Learning are sending you a little extra love with a chance to win one of two $10.00 TpT gift cards! The rules are simple! It's easier than kissing a frog, we promise! You can earn two valid entries to the giveaway by:
1. Visiting each of our stores and commenting with a link for one item from EACH STORE that you would like to receive.
2. Then, leave your email address. 
3. We will announce gift card winners after 6:00 on February 15  
    and will also choose a few winners to receive some awesome 
    resources from our stores!  

Entries are accepted until 6:00 p.m., February 15th.
No slime, no muck...that easy! Good luck!


Navigating Life as a Single Dad

Celebrating holidays or preparing for conferences and performances at school can be stressful for some of the students in your class.Not all families come in the same shape or size, and some of our typical projects don't match the needs of everyone in our classroom communities. To provide some insight into the life of one uniquely shaped family, I welcome a guest blogger today.

Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.

Single parents have a difficult job, and even in the best of circumstances, it can be a struggle. Moms have it tough, but so do dads. Things aren’t better or worse for moms or dads, they’re just different. There’s still a stereotype of bumbling dads who have no idea what they’re doing. Perhaps it’s because girls are raised to expect to be moms, with hands-on parenting duties, while boys are overlooked when it comes to caring for children. Luckily, that’s changing.
Being a parent means you want the same things as all parents: for your kids to grow up to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted adults. But keeping yourself happy, healthy, and well-adjusted can be a challenge, especially when you’re a single father.
As a single dad, it’s crucial that you don’t neglect your own mental health. As explains, “The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing.” Keeping your own mental health on track will not only help you, but it will make your kids’ lives better. If you’re feeling down or overly stressed, seek help from a professional.

Here are some more tips for navigating single fatherhood:

    Build a network of support -- Having other single fathers in your life will do wonders for your ability to cope. Even if their situations are different from yours, they have the same wants and needs as you. Being able to talk about your challenges will help you get through the day. Work on building up your family support, too. Parents and siblings can help you when things get tough, so having as many people as possible to lean on will help.

      Focus on your kids -- There are tons of things to get done, like laundry, dishes, career obligations, and more. But remember to take a step back and focus on the kids for a while. Spending time with them is important for all of you. Reading to your kids or playing a game with them will calm your stress and remind you why you’re working so hard. You’re also creating a lifetime of memories for you and your children, which is important and will help you get through tough times.

        Don’t disparage others -- If you have an ex in the picture, don’t ever say anything negative about him or her in front of the children. They might seem mature enough to understand, but they aren’t. Children see their parents as part of themselves, so when you talk bad about their other parent, you’re hurting them. If the ex is saying things about you, stay above it. Don’t engage and stick to the facts. Not every battle is worth fighting. Your children will understand when they get older, and they’ll appreciate your restraint. 

          Don’t forget to exercise -- Try to carve out some time for fitness, and yes, we know it’s difficult! If you incorporate your children into fitness, you’re more likely to make it happen. Watch YouTube fitness videos for kids to get the kids moving. You can just turn up some kid-friendly music and have a dance party. Or take the kids and the dog out for a walk or take them to a trampoline park, laser tag, or something similar. 

          You will make mistakes, but life will go on. Your kids will grow up, and they’ll know that you loved and were there for them. Later in life, you’ll look back on this time as the happiest of your life and so will your children. Enjoy all the good times and let go of the bad times. Your kids are worth it.

          As another holiday approaches, you may enjoy using this Pop Art Family Portrait with your class. Easy to print and customizable by each of your students to fit their own unique family!

          Join the conversation for other great February ideas when you visit our Teacher Talk bloggers!