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10 Teacher Approved Tips for Elementary Teachers That We Think You’ll Love [episode 52]


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Overview of episode 52:

Today is such a special episode because we are celebrating one year of the podcast! This is something we always dreamed about doing, but never thought it was possible. We love helping and supporting teachers with our effective teaching tips and strategies each week. To celebrate, we’re revisiting our top 10 teacher approved tips with you!

Towards the end of each episode, we end with a teacher approved tip. The purpose is to provide teaching tips that are simple, yet effective for success in the classroom. We’ve each picked our favorite teacher approved tips, and separated them into 5 categories: management, organization, planning, simplifying, and wildcard. 

Helping teachers and expanding resources for educators is the reason why we continue doing what we do. We love sharing teacher approved teaching tips, strategies, and resources with you for a year and can’t wait to connect with you for many more to come!

Share what teacher approved tips have been your favorites with us in our Teacher Approved Facebook group or email us at [email protected].

Highlights from the episode:

[00:53] Today’s morning message: what is your favorite attention signal?

[4:15] Podcast review from a listener

[8:09] Teacher Approved Tip Category: Management

[13:58] Teacher Approved Tip Category: Organization

[18:38] Teacher Approved Tip Category: Planning

[23:10] Teacher Approved Tip Category: Simplifying

[29:36] Teacher Approved Tip Category: Wildcards


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Read the transcript for episode 52, 10 Teacher Approved Tips for Elementary Teachers That We Think You'll Love:

Hey, there. Thanks for joining us today as we celebrate the one year anniversary of the Teacher Approved podcast. Yay!

We start our episodes with a morning message just like we used to do at morning meeting in our classrooms. This week's morning message is what is your favorite attention signal? Emily, what are some good ideas?

Well, my daughter's teacher uses 123 Eyes on me one, two eyes on you. My son's teacher does class class and they respond, Yes, yes. I'm always listening out for a new and interesting attention signal when I'm visiting their classes.

And you know, we love all hands on deck. And then the kids salute with an aye aye captain. And I just frequently defaulted to the class that give me five. And then the kids were supposed to put their hands in the air while I counted down. And by the time I got to one, they were supposed to be paying attention. That's a classic.

We have some responses from our community to share as well. Shannon said I say flat tire and the kids say shhhh. I thought that was a good one.

Erin said my favorite attention signal is our doorbell which is set to two different tones. One for meet me on the carpet and the other is used for a transition after each of our mini lessons or after a morning meeting or quick check in. You'd be amazed at the response. No, I want to check out the doorbell. I know that's a good idea.

Janelle said my favorite attention signal is a call and response to the tune of shave and a haircut two bits. I say. Everybody listen and the kids respond, right now. They stop look and listen as they sing. My second favorite transition signal comes from our music teacher. She says waterfall and the kids respond, Shhhh. I know I've heard my kids say they've done that one too.

I didn't know that one, but I'm really liking these ones that lead into a shhh, yes. A teacher just loves a shhhh.

Kelsey from Wife, Teacher, Mommy, one of our friends said a current favorite I recently heard is we don't talk about Bruno, no, no, no, but I think then you're just like asking for that to be stuck. Oh, no. Yeah. But she also shared one that I liked. That was Red Robin and they say yummm.

I liked that one. Bill said very common responses bacon and eggs, peanut butter and jelly. You could tie it to academic content state names and capitals, country continent, math facts, etc. He's getting wild was Yeah, keep them on their toes.

Maura said hands on top. That means stop. And Christie seconded that saying I love this one because I have my students put their hands on their heads so they can't continue playing with anything while I give directions, which is always a win. It's always good when it incorporates their hands.

Amelia said my first graders love mac and cheese everybody freeze. Or Sharkbait hula Hall. from Finding Nemo. Masha said Tootsie Roll lollipop, we were talking now we stop.

And Lori suggested using a rainstick. Well, that's very soothing. Yes. And Jennifer said, Stop, collaborate and listen.

And that's not even all of the awesome suggestions we got. So come join the conversation about attention signals over in our teacher approved Facebook group.

In honor of our one year podcast anniversary, should I get my air horn? Robot over there. We wanted to share a recent podcast review we received from a listener. Heidi, will you read it for us? Sure.

Patrick said, “Hi Emily and Heidi. I am a new follower of Teacher Approved. I absolutely appreciate the advice because I'm currently completing my internship in early childhood education at Auburn Uni. When I found out that second grade is the grade you two are most excited about. I let out a huge sigh of relief because the university plays me with an awesome second grade class.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed or frustrated or procrastinate with anything teaching related I listened to Teacher Approved. You two have a way of expressing so much joy, excitement and passion and that you both remind me I'm doing great things and finding out what works for others might not work for me.”

Which Heidi saying here that is like the golden rule of teaching. Yep. Back to Patrick.

“That is okay. I rely a lot on your show and I am filled with so much happiness and gratitude. Thank you.” Oh, I love that. Thank you, Patrick.

It would mean the world to us. If you took a few minutes for our podcast birthday, to leave us a five star rating and review in Apple podcasts, even if that's not where you normally listen to podcasts, which I don't I listen to an overcast but you got to review them in Apple.

If we share your review on the podcast, send us an email for a little surprise. So Patrick, if you're listening, thank you for the thoughtful review and please send us an email at [email protected].

We are so excited to celebrate the one year anniversary of our podcast. Starting a podcast is something we wanted to do for literally years. Like literally that's not hyperbole literally years, but always just felt too intimidated to do it.

I'm so glad that we finally committed and launched the Teacher Approved podcast in the spring of 2022. I can't believe it has been a year it feels so brand new. And it's just crazy to think it has been 52 weeks of episodes. Yes.

What is your favorite part of having a podcast, Heidi? So I have really enjoyed getting to work with teachers in so many different corners of the country. And even in the world.

When I started teaching, right, as a teacher, your access to support was more or less limited to what teachers in your district were doing. Or any book you were lucky enough to find or could afford, right. But now we have such an extensive web of experience to draw on.

If something worked for a teacher in Arkansas, a teacher in Ontario can try it and pass it on to a teacher in South Africa. In a lot of ways, I think we're really just kind of at the beginning of the golden age of education. And I just get so excited and humbled to think that maybe we are part of that in our own small way. Yeah.

What have you enjoyed most about having a podcast, Emily? For me, it's been connecting with more teachers as they become listeners here. I never get tired of hearing what you enjoyed about our episodes, or your amazing ideas that are working in your own classroom. It has just been an absolute treat to get to know you all better, and some of you have become friends.

I'm excited to keep connecting with you in all of our future episodes. And we love when you come join our Teacher Approved Facebook group. So we can connect with you even more, and you can all connect with each other.

Which is such a win the way that we can just have this amazing network of incredible ideas that we can take back to our own classes. Yeah. So to celebrate our one year anniversary, we decided to do a recap of some of our favorite teacher approved tips that we have shared so far on the podcast,

I'm so excited to revisit some of the awesome tips we've shared so far. So we picked a few categories. And then we're each going to share our favorite tip from that category. And we didn't talk about this beforehand. So it's gonna be a little bit of a surprise.

So the first category is management. And Heidi, do you want to go first on that one? Yes, I'll go first. So my tip for management is from Episode 32. And it is rate your procedures each quarter. So let's hear that tip from Episode 32.

This week's teacher approved tip is rate your procedures. Heidi will you tell us about that?

If you want to do a brush up on your procedures now that we're coming up to the end of term one, make your students part of the process. So to do this, you'll need a list of your most important procedures, you probably don't need to do all of them, unless I guess maybe you're struggling with all of them.

Make sure that your list is big enough for the kids to see easily. And then have your students rate how well they're doing. You could just do like a checklist like Yep, we've got it down. Or you could do something like a star rating. Maybe five stars means we do it perfectly without needing reminders, four stars means we need some reminders all the way down to maybe one star means we don't do it at all.

And then you can have the kids rate how many stars they think the class gets for walking quietly in the halls are packing up at the end of the day, or whatever your most important procedures are. And then after rating, you can have a class discussion about what can be done to get all of the procedures a higher rating.

This will help your class keep your expectations in their minds as you move farther into the year. You could even make this something you do at the end of every term and the kids can compare how well they're doing and identify areas for improvement. So add that to your schedule now. Yeah, that's a great idea.

That is such a good tip. So the reason why you picked that is because as a teacher, I always felt like I'm supposed to be reviewing like procedures and like I know I should be revisiting this, but I never really had a plan in place.

So I think like this would have been so helpful to be able to be like, Okay, it's just part of like, what we do the first week of each term, we review procedures, I have the certain way, we're going to look over the list, we're going to rate one to five stars, revisit any trouble spots, and just make it like a focus for that first week back, or after any break.

So having like, a set time, and a set format, will make such a difference in actually getting that accomplished. Yeah, because once you have a system in place, it's so much easier to actually get these goals done.

And Emily, what is your favorite management tip? So mine is the tip to teach games to your kids that they can play at recess. So let's listen to that tip from Episode 19.

Teach games for your kids to play at recess. Heidi, tell us about this. So I imagine every teacher hates having to deal with problems that arise during recess, it's just such a time suck. The best way to avoid that hassle is to prevent problems from happening in the first place. Right.

Most of the recess issues arise from two areas, either kids don't know what to do, so they default to tag or goofing around. And that quickly escalates into causing problems, or they do know what they want to do, but not everyone agrees on the rules, so that escalates into a fight.

The best way to address both of these problems is to teach your class a few games. By teaching the game to everyone you're adding to the menu of choices available to kids during recess. Plus, you're setting up a clear set of rules. Maybe Tanner learned to play Foursquare differently. But here we are all agreeing to follow this particular set of rules.

I always made sure to include a couple of tag games when I taught my class because second graders love tag. And it always ends badly not so true. This is where the common rules come in handy. If someone says they tagged you, you're tagged, even if you didn't feel it. That rule right there probably saves us from dealing with 75% of recess problems.

You can do this with just your own class or you can get your team involved. Each teacher could choose a recess game or activity to teach. And then you could spend a week rotating through classes to teach each game.

And we actually did this whole school. Each grade level chose a certain number of activities to teach the lower grades made sure to cover things like Foursquare and jump rope and tag. And then the upper grades took actual sports like soccer and kickball and basketball. And then we compiled our versions of the games so that our school had an unofficial rulebook.

You don't have to go to that scale, especially if your school isn't on board. But if you are tired of wasting time solving recess problems, definitely prevent those problems from starting by teaching recess rules, just like you do any other part of the day.

And I love how it helps kids who may be struggling to think of what to do at recess, when they have a bank of ideas that can pick from and they know that everybody else already knows how to play those games, too.

And it also makes it easy for anyone to join in. If if they're playing a game, they already know, there's less of an issue of I don't know how to play that game, so I can't play with them. Yes, I love that solve all the problems by teaching recess.

I think that is such a powerful tip. Because preventing problems before they start is the best way to approach management. And that really heads off so many problems. And if you can get your school on board, you have just made everyone's jobs easier.

Yeah. And that's exactly why I picked this tip is that I feel like it's such a good hack to just head off these problems in advance that you know, you've seen a million times with recess by getting everybody on board, teaching them the games, making sure we're all on the same page about what the rules are.

I've heard my own kids be talking about how they were playing some game at school, but then someone wanted to play it a different way. So then they just all quit playing and things like that like that can be prevented with a little bit of upfront work. And I think this is such a good tip. And definitely do it at the start of the school year if you get a chance.

Our next category of tip is organization. Emily, what is your favorite teacher approved tip for organization? Well, I chose turning students desks backwards. Yeah. And that is from Episode 26. Let's give that a listen.

Turn students desks backwards. This is something that we feel strongly about. To say the least. When we taught second grade we kept our students desks turned backwards so that they couldn't store anything inside of them. It's just another way to prevent problems before they can happen.

On top of their desk, each student had a pencil box with crayons, pencils and glue. They were supposed to keep it at the top of their desks so we really didn't have any problem with kids playing around with them. If they ever became an issue, they can easily be moved to the floor or to a counter.

And then for any folders or workbooks that kids might need, we kept those in plastic drawers. I even experimented with like milk crates at each table for storage. But I ended up going back to the drawer system because it was so easy to manage.

Each table had a stack of Sterilite plastic drawers, the individual drawer came to the table when needed, and then everything was packed inside. And it was all put away. If we had to rearrange desks, so the kids weren't in tables anymore, I still assigned kids a table number. So it would be something like all the kids in this row are table one, that sort of thing. And because by then the kids were so used to the drawer system, they really adapted without any issues.

And another added benefit of doing this is you never have to take time out of your busy days, to have your students clean out your desk, when they've just gotten to be unmanageable, you know how that goes. You don't have to worry about that at all if your kids don't store anything inside of them. So it's a win win win here.

And nothing is getting lost in there not having any mystery items, it's perfect. So we highly recommend that you turn your desks around. It is an easy way to prevent a lot of headaches.

So the reason that I picked this tip is because of all of the things that I've ever tried myself in the classroom, I think this is the one that maybe had the biggest payoff, because it prevented so many issues. We never had to spend time cleaning out their desks, we never had things lost in there. And it just made my life so much more simple and organized by not having them store anything in their desks.

I love I love this tip. It also works on a management level because they're not playing around on their desk, because they can't get their hands in there. So it's a win on multiple levels. Yes, and it might be a little tricky, depending on your situation to make this work. But if you can manage it, we highly recommend it.

And what was your tip for organization, Heidi? So my favorite tip for organization is maybe a little out of left field, but it is from Episode 18. And it is put a mirror near the tissue box. So to refresh your memories, let's listen to how that goes.

Put a small mirror near the tissue box. Heidi tell us more about this. This is a tip I picked up as a preschool teacher. But if I were back in an elementary classroom, I would 100% use it. So often, a student will blow their nose and then they turn around and there's that gunk all over their faces.

But if you put a small mirror by the tissue box, the little darlings can check their faces to make sure they've taken care of everything. And then you can take this one step further and set up a whole nose blowing station, which is what we have in our preschool.

So I used a folding TV tray that I think I got it, maybe Amazon, but it's just a little one little folding TV tray and it holds a tissue box and hand sanitizer. And then I used command strips to hang a little mirror at kid high on the wall behind the tray. And then I tucked a little garbage can under the tray because you know those dirty tissues will not make it into the trash if the kids have to walk to throw them away. So true.

And this has helped even our littlest preschoolers manage to wipe their noses much more thoroughly than before. And if it means I have to wipe one less nose, it is a win for me. Absolutely success.

So this is one of the few things from teaching preschool that I would take back into an elementary classroom just it just makes life so much easier. Even as an adult. It's nice to be able to be like okay, I'm all good after you know, wiping your nose. And I hate wiping noses so much or kids who think they have wiped their nose well. This is helps everyone. I agree this is such a good tip.

Our next category is planning. So Heidi, why don't you go first on this one. What did you choose for your tip? So I chose the tip from Episode 24, which is teach fire drill procedures right away. And let's listen to that one.

Teach your fire drill procedures right away. Yes, the best time to teach a fire drill is before there's a fire drill. A lot of times we forget about things like fire drills because they're not part of our daily routine. But the kids need to know those expectations and be able to meet them in a chaotic moment.

So we do need to teach fire drill procedures before the kids need to use them. Especially because once that alarm goes off, it's really hard to shout instructions. So true. Fire drills are maybe the most dramatic example of this. But the same idea applies not just to fire drills, but assemblies, how to rotate to different classrooms, what to do when there's a sub in any other infrequent but routine activities.

When you're making your first week of school plans, try to identify any events that require some advanced explanation, then make sure to teach them before your students need to use them.

So I love this tip, because it's not necessarily even about the fire drill, although obviously you do need to teach fire drills. But it was just such a freeing mindset for me. It kind of opened me up to the possibilities of really like how effective management could be if that makes any sense.

Just to think ahead of the problems that you're going to face, and then address them early before the problems arise. Like, it was such a huge mind shift for me. The best time to teach these things is before they have to use them. And that made such a huge difference in how I approached my classroom.

And I love how it, it helps students know what needs to be done well before they need to do it. And so it makes everybody feel more calm when they know exactly what's going to be expected of them. So I really like it from that perspective, too. Absolutely.

Emily, what is your top planning tip? So my planning tip comes from Episode 36. And that is to plan daily independent work on short weeks, so you can prep for regular week. So let's take a listen to that.

Plan student independent work time, so the teacher can have some independent work time too. Heidi, tell us about this. So as you are planning your short weeks, do yourself a huge favor, and schedule in independent work time for your students every day, you can really pack a lot of prep into 30 minute time slots.

And this gives you a chance to get prepared to return to your regular routine. Maybe you want to start taking down some holiday decorations on the sly or start planning your lessons for next week. Intentionally creating a buffer of work time means that you get to enjoy your weekend or holiday break without having to stress about getting ready for next Monday.

Now, the challenging part is keeping the kids occupied, you need something they can do independently for at least 30 minutes once or twice a day. I know we've already mentioned it, but a theme work packet can be a real friend here.

You can even get stuff done while kids are rotating through math games, or doing 30 minutes of silent reading. Don't feel like you need to be working with small groups on a short week. Use this time to prepare for next week, small groups.

And I picked this tip because I think it is just such a gift to yourself to plan your schedule in a way that gives you a boost for the week after a break where you have so much going on. Just plan a little time for the kids to work on their own, so that you can get some planning done for next week.

So that one was also on my list of favorite planning tips. Because sometimes as teachers, we just need permission to do what is good for us, instead of what is maybe perfect. But yeah, that makes sense. Because the kids aren't being harmed by it. The kids are totally independent work. They're learning, they're practicing their skills that retrieval practice of working on review is so valuable if that's what you're doing with your independent time.

Yes, you can even games or whatever you can find activities that are meaningful that for them to do and also independent and don't require you. But like, Yeah, we don't have to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of like, every second of class, I have to be doing some where you can be working ahead.

Yes, instead of spending your break, getting ready to come back from break. That's not what we need. We need that time off. 100% love that tip.

Okay, our next category is simplifying. Emily, what is your top tip for simplifying? Well, on this one, I'm not even sure if this is the perfect category for this tip. But it's such a good tip. And I think it really simplifies things. And that is to start the first day of school with pattern blocks. And that is from Episode 22. Let's give that a listen.

Start the first day of school with pattern blocks. We love this one. Heidi, tell us about this. So as kids arrive on the first day, you know, I help them make their lunch choice, I point out the coat hooks, and I direct them to their desks. But then what do they do when they're at their desks?

My first year of teaching I put out a cute all about me paper I'd copied from a mailbox teacher magazine. Maybe you're too young to know what that was. But that was our version of TPT at the time. And I had students in tears because they were so nervous that being expected to come into this brand new classroom and write was just way too overwhelming.

So lesson learned, nothing academic to start with. And after that I just kept it simple with crayons and coloring. But when they learned about Guided Discovery, I decided I didn't want to give them access to crayons before discussing our classroom procedures. And that is when I switch to pattern blocks.

And true I haven't established procedures for pattern blocks yet but those are less important than crayon rules because we will use crayons every day. And also there's not too much they can do wrong with a pattern block. Plus pattern blocks have the added bonus of being open ended.

Students tend to show up really early on the first day. You know the moms want to get pictures and kids that ride the bus are getting dropped off before someone has to go to work. It's it's a lot of time to fill. But I am busy greeting parents and showing kids where to put their stuff have been calming nerves, there's no time to explain an activity.

And you have to explain it over and over and over as the children arrive. Right, because I haven't done any of them any of this yet. So pattern blocks don't require any direction. Kids just do, and they don't need any help getting started. There's no need for a fast finisher, because the kids stay engaged until the bell rings.

And I feel like all the tips we've ever shared. This is maybe the one we've heard the most feedback on, not just since the podcast because we shared it years and years ago in other places on on our blog and on Facebook and things. And people come back and see how it revolutionized that first day of school morning, that could be so stressful and chaotic for kids. Now suddenly, it was just calm and peaceful and inviting. I think it is such a good tip.

Plus, it's so easy to do. Pattern blocks can stretch as long as you need them to stretch. So it just really makes that morning so much more gentle.

Okay, Heidi, what was your tip for simplifying? So my favorite simplifying tip comes from our very first episode, when we were brand new baby podcaster. Yeah, now we're toddler podcasters. Yeah, we'll start counting in months. 13 months. My tip is from episode one, and it is stop saving things for a special day. So let's listen to that one. I love that tip.

Stop saving for a special day. So Heidi, tell us more about this tip. So often as teachers, we find ourselves holding on to something special, until just the right moment, just the perfect lesson. I think you know what I'm talking about, right? We all have cupboards and drawers full of that stuff. Because you never know what you might need. Right?

So for example, I got some like, cool, snazzy, like glittery stickers for my highlights magazine is like a thank you. And they were just really nice stickers. I don't know why it was all the fancy, but they've just felt so precious. And so it was like, Well, I can't stick them on any assignment, they need to have a special assignment to go on. And I still have the stickers.

I thought you're gonna say that when you cleaned out your classroom, you're like, I can't believe I kept. But no, you still. They're right there in the next room.

Well, and the thing is, this definitely does not only apply to the classroom, we've all done this in our regular lives. I was just cleaning and organizing my bathroom cupboards. And I came across these really fancy like eye gel patches, that I use one time for a special event. And then I was like, I gotta save the rest of these. Yeah, for something special. They're probably expired now.

Becomes worthless. Yes. But studies showed that like, if you have something, then you're like, Oh, well, this moment isn't special enough to use it, that anytime you go to use it in the future, you will be weighing it against the specialness of the other times. And so it's never going to rise to that moment of being appropriately special.

Because every time you decide not to use it, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger in your brain, it becomes more impossible to use it cluttering your clutter in your mind. Yes. So today's special, it deserves whatever item you've been saving, so us the special item.

So I don't know if this tip has helped a single other person on the planet. But I have found it useful. Something about having like said this tip out loud and had to like reflect on it is helped me not get trapped in those specialness, spirals of like, oh, this is so good. If I use it now and maneuver later.

Weirdly, I found this coming into play at Christmas time. I have the set movies they want to watch at Christmas time. You know, The Holiday, Elf, the classics. Yes. And in past years, I would find like, oh, you know, I've got a free night. I could watch a movie. Oh, but if I watch it, you know on December 5th, maybe I would rather watch it on December 20. And then I will already watched it.

So you know just caught in this loop. Well, then it's you know, two days before Christmas. I've watched maybe one movie and I don't have time to watch any of them. Yep, that's so true. So true. So I really like made a proactive choice to be like, Okay, no, if I think I'm gonna watch a movie, I'm just gonna watch it. Because if I save it, it's gonna start getting more special, more special, and then I'll never enjoy it.

Well, I have this tendency as well. So it's something I'm constantly fighting against, like, no, like, why don't I just enjoy it now? Because I can't tell you the number of times that I saved something and then it never got used. Yes. So that I think it's such a good tip and one that was very worth reminding us. So thank you for that tip. My pleasure.

And our last category of tips is the wildcards. So Heidi, what did you pick for the wildcard? So this is maybe a bit of a cheat because this is not from the teacher approved tip at the end of the episode. It is at the middle of an episode. This is from Episode 15 when we interviewed Kelsey from Wife, Teacher, Mommy and she had this tip about keeping a list of your wins. So we'll listen to that.

Before going to bed, I write down three wins that I'm going to have the next day. Now the key to this is you're not stretching yourself with these three wins, okay? You might be like, oh, I want to get more than that done, that's fine. But you are picking the very top three that you know, you are going to be able to accomplish that day. That is the key to this.

So for example, it could be like organizing one drawer in your desk if you're working on organization, or planning one specific engaging lesson, or a closing your exercise ring on your Apple Watch. And for me, it's three for work and life, like literally only three. That sounds very doable. Yes, so three.

And like for me, sometimes it varies sometimes like two are work, and one is personal, sometimes two are personal one is work related. It just depends on kind of the priorities that day. Then the next day, I open up that same journal, and I get to confirm that I did, in fact, hit those wins. And then I usually get to then write a few more that I did beyond those three.

So I'm like, Wow, look how much I'm doing. And then I come up with the three for the next day. So then when you keep this going, every day, you'll see it really builds momentum, and you'll be able to constantly see all the ways that you are winning.

So I love this tip, because I have found it really helpful in my own life. So Kelsey uses it a little bit as a to do list, like, I'm gonna get these three wins out of the way, and make my day better without focusing on everything else.

But I do is more of a reflection at the end of the day. So I look back and I just make a list of what I call my wins for the day, anything I managed to get done, whether that's the dishes, or recording a podcast episode, or picking up groceries, all of that. And it has just been so helpful as someone who's really productivity driven.

Some days, you get to the end of the day, like I got nothing done today, zero things happened. But if I can start being like, oh, yeah, I took this to the post office, and I dropped something off to this neighbor, and I answered all these emails or whatever. It just helps me have a better attitude toward myself and what I'm able to get done.

Oh, I totally agree. And I was doing this for quite a while and then kind of at the holidays, I think got off track on it. And I was just this week thinking I need to start doing that again, because it really helped. And I was feeling that same thing, like the end of the day, like, what did I even do today? I know, I was busy all day, and needing to kind of be able to give myself a gold star.

So I need to know what I did. So I can be like, Yeah, I got a lot done today. It really does help. And like you I got off at the holidays. And knowing this episode was coming up. I was like, oh, I need to really get back in that, it helped me this week, I'd be like, oh, yeah, and I did that. And I did that. And so yes, so definitely get back into that. And if you haven't done it before, little tip to start. Yes.

Okay, Emily, what is your wildcard favorite tip? This was a little hard. I had a few different ones I really liked. But I think I'm because it goes so well with the one you just did. I'm going to do the tip from episode eight, which is to give yourself a permission slip. Yes. So let's listen to that.

Give yourself a permission slip. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes you need to give yourself a permission slip, to let go of something or to feel whatever it is that you're feeling. Give yourself permission to feel that.

We want to challenge you to give yourself a permission slip to not thrive at the end of the school year, if that's how you're feeling. Sometimes you just have to make it through. And that is okay. If that is where you are right now, we just want to challenge you to give yourself a permission slip to just survive.

And if you don't feel like you can give yourself the permission slip, we're giving it to you for you, you have a permission slip to just make it to the end of the year this year. And that is enough for now.

The reason I love that tip so much is because as you can tell by listening to us, we are people who are naturally hard on ourselves. And we hold ourselves to a high standard all the time. And sometimes I need to be able to give myself a break and not hold myself to a certain standard or to do something I had planned to do.

And it's hard for me mentally to do that until I can stop and just say you know what, I am giving myself permission to no longer whatever the thing is, you know. Somebody else doing that for you would feel amazing, right? If they're like, You know what you don't you don't have to do this. But nobody else in your life knows what you're usually what you are holding yourself to.

And so being able to just pause and give yourself a permission slip to not do the thing that you don't want to do or to do the thing you need to do for yourself that maybe doesn't feel like it's important enough to just stop and be like, You know what, I'm giving myself a permission slip today that for the rest of today, I'm not going to do anything productive. I just need to rest so I'm giving myself a permission slip for rest today or whatever else.

I could probably use that permission today. I'll write you one today for you. Okay Em, we're having so much fun with these wildcard tips, do you have another one? Yes, I really quick want to do episode seven. Let's, let's hear that tip about printing pages at 50%.

Print pages at 50% to save copies. We love this tip, especially if you're printing out packets for theme day, for example. It's perfect to print out your pages at 50%. And then we were just old school cut and paste them with literal scissors and glue to assemble a new master with two half size worksheets per pages, but your copy machine might be fancy enough that they can achieve this without the cutting and pasting.

Then we've copied those back to back. So we're getting four pages worth of activities on a single sheet of paper. And we know you just got to save those copies at the end of the year. So this is a very handy tip. Absolutely. I use this all year long. And I've even just at the end of the year.

I think this is such a good hack. Now it depends on the age of your students for sure. If they are writing really big still like kindergarten first grade, they probably are not going to be able to handle this. But for sure, we saw that by second grade students could do this. And it's such a good way to save paper, get four pages on one page at one double sided page. I just think it's such a good hack.

Yeah, it really does maximize your copies. And what's your wildcard Heidi, your other wildcard? My second wildcard is from Episode 34. And it is have a parent photographer at your class party. Oh, that was a good one. Wasn't that one,

Assign photography as one of your class party jobs. Heidi, will you tell us about this? Sure. So if you are at a school that lets you take photos of the kids, and you're going to want something for like a slideshow at the end of the year, have one of your parent volunteer tasks be to come be the party photographer.

I think for a lot of parents who maybe don't want to help run an activity like this would be ideal. And if you don't have enough volunteers that you can have someone do that, or you need something to do during the party, you can make yourself the class photographer.

I love this idea so much because I think a lot of times you have more parent volunteers that want to help, then you have the need for in some places, or you have parents who just want some other something else to do that isn't just the typical activity. So I love this idea of giving a different sort of job that they can help with and still come be in the classroom.

And also, you'll have all those great pictures that you want and that you may intend to take. And sometimes you get distracted while you're helping with things and you don't get a chance to take any pictures. So it'd be nice to know that a parent helper is helping get all those pictures taken. So that is such a great tip.

I just thought that was just such a clever idea. I didn't come up with the idea. It was something I read somewhere. Yeah. But it was just like, oh, yeah, parents would A love to do that, B are capable of doing that, and C it's one less thing for the teacher to have to focus on us. And you get some really great pictures. So for your end of your slideshow or whatever,

I'm helping with a class party on Tuesday, and now I'm really wishing that I would have volunteered to be the class photographer instead. I totally forgot about our own tip. That's such a good tip. But we'll have to make a note of it for a Halloween. Yes, that would be the next one. Yes.

We'd love to hear which teacher approved tips have been your favorites. Please come join the conversation in our Teacher Approved Facebook group, or send us an email at [email protected].

To wrap up the show we're sharing what we're giving extra credit to this week. Heidi, tell us what's this week next credit? I am giving extra extra credit to Sara and everyone on her amazing team at Podcasting for Educators.

Like Emily mentioned at the start of the episode, we have wanted to start a podcast for literal years. But it was just way too overwhelming. So overwhelming. There's the technical side and the content side and the marketing side and the management side all of that, we just couldn't find a way in and then we found Sara and it suddenly felt it would be possible for us to do this every week.

Yes, she's the only way we've been able to do it. So Sara and her team have been so great to work with. They have made this process not only possible, but seamless and enjoyable too. We owe them all of the gold stars. They have really saved us. So thank you team Podcasting for Educators. Thank you.

And Emily, what are you giving extra credit to? I'm giving extra credit to you, our incredible listeners. We feel so lucky to get to share a part of your week. Thank you for the kind messages and for sharing our podcast with your teacher friends. We've really enjoyed getting to connect with so many amazing teachers and we hope you're in it with us for the next 12 months of morning messages and tips and deep dives into all the random corners of education. Please come along for that ride.

That is it for today's episode. Thank you for celebrating with us. We hope one of these tips will help you this week. And did you know that recommendations from friends are the way most people find new podcasts? If you enjoyed this episode, we would love if you shared it with a teacher friend who might enjoy it as well, who doesn't love teacher approved tips? And be sure to check out our show notes for links to anything we mentioned in this episode.

More About Teacher Approved:

Do you ever feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to be the kind of teacher you really want to be? The Teacher Approved podcast is here to help you learn how to elevate what matters and simplify the rest. Join co-hosts Emily and Heidi of Second Story Window each week as they share research-based and teacher-approved strategies you can count on to make your teaching more efficient and effective than ever