Looking for the perfect gifts for the teacher in your life? Or maybe you're just looking for some ideas! Here are 10 fun teacher gift ideas for that lovely teacher that you, or maybe your child, holds close to their heart!

As a busy teacher and mom of active children, we always are looking for ways to save time when prepping or cooking dinner! These Instant Pots are great!!! And do you need some recipes to go with them?!? Check out these recipes I found on Pinterest for Instant Pots! I'm sure your beloved teacher would appreciate you saving them time in their meal prep and planning.

Along the same lines of saving time during meal prep and planning--your teacher would love these Air Fryers! Essentially everything and anything can be fried in this! AND it saves time!! Also, here are some recipes for the Air Fryer that I found on Pinterest for Air Fryers. 

Switching gears to what a teacher could use in their classroom--a wireless doorbell. Now to a normal non-teacher human, this may seem silly, but BELIEVE YOU ME, grabbing the kiddos attention or switching it up for using during transition times--it has worked wonders in my classroom! This doorbell has 50 different sounds/chimes and is currently on sale for less than $20!! Save your teachers sanity with this great gift!

All teachers use pens, and some teachers love these PaperMate Flair Pens and some teachers prefer other pens like PaperMate Ink Joy. Teachers can always use pens!!

Echo Dot smart speaker with Alexa is perfect for any classroom! Your teacher or their students can ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, and more! And it's currently on sale for less than $25! 

These super cute earrings are from Scarlett & Jade Designs on Etsy. She has all kinds of designs from holiday inspired to sports inspired to floral to glitter! I love them all! Check her out on Etsy

Every teacher can find something they can use on Teachers Pay Teachers! Teachers pay teachers is an online resource bank where teachers can find curriculum for their grade level. They have lessons, activities, games, and anything a teacher could need. 

There isn't 1 teacher that I know that doesn't love a good teacher tee! And Missy LuLu's Custom Apparel has the CUTEST teacher tees around!! 

Teachers love books! Anytime I can, I try to add to my classroom library to support my students love for reading. I also do what I can do get those students hooked that aren't yet lovers of books. Captain Underpants have won some of my hardest kids over to loving to read. So whether you are purchasing for the teacher in your life, or maybe a reluctant reader, try adding Captain Underpants to their book shelf! 

When all else fails, grab an amazon gift card! Amazon has so many great things, and everything a teacher could ever want or wish for! Amazon is my go to to order math manipulatives, book for read alouds, prizes for my prize box, and classroom supplies!

If you have any great teacher gift ideas, please leave them in the comments below!!

**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn small fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.**

So I have been blessed with being able to have the experience of teaching first grade for 4 years and am in my 3rd year in 2nd grade. The progression and the growth in conceptual understanding with number sense and being able to start to add and subtract is a beautiful thing to watch unfold! When students have grasped the value of digits and have a solid number sense, you can then move onto introducing some addition strategies! Or maybe you need some subtraction strategies to help your students, don't miss that post here ----> Subtraction Strategies for building conceptual understanding.

A great kickoff to introducing any skill, is a great read aloud. The Good Neighbors Store an Award by Strategic Educational Tools. Another great read aloud is The Mission of Addition by Lerner Publications. My students really enjoyed The Good Neighbors Store and Award though!

I generally spend 1-2 days on each strategy. I model the strategy, then we do some work together, then they independently practice the strategy, leading to me quickly assessing them to make sure they got the concept. Many students will find a strategy that makes sense to them, however, I encourage them during these strategy learning days to use the strategy that we are practicing on that day, and then after I introduce each strategy, they can choose how they problem solve from there on out.

So the first strategy we use in adding is using our base ten blocks. Literally everything hands on. We don't even write. I write the equation, and then I have them focus strictly on building using their manipulatives (base ten blocks) and then counting their tens and counting their ones ones, and putting it together. This is more of a concrete way for the students to solve, so many of them can pick up on this almost immediately. When I feel that they are ready, I then have them use their whiteboards and I have them draw sticks and dots (tens and ones) to take the place of the base ten blocks. We then spend the next day talking about what to do when we add our ones and they make more than 10 (regrouping).

The next strategy, because frankly to me they are doing this strategy with adding with base ten blocks, is expanded form. I follow the same kind of direct instruction, I model, we do some together, with them working on their whiteboard, and also some shared solving (on the front whiteboard, a student comes up and solves), and then I have them independently solve some. This strategy also makes sense to them if they have grasped adding with base ten blocks. If they haven't grasped place value and don't have a strong number sense, they will struggle with expanded form. I suggest still introducing this strategy to them, but encourage them to build with base ten blocks and writing the value underneath---also pulling them into small groups to reteach place value and value of digits within numbers. After they've grasped adding with expanded form without regrouping, we then do some work with regrouping as well.

I use number bonds from the beginning of the year. The thought behind using number bonds, supports many of the math practices--such MP2--thinking about numbers in multiple ways. From the beginning of the school year, I try to teach my students to think of numbers flexibly. Using this strategy of adding with number bonds is very abstract, even to many of my students who have used number bonds from the beginning of the school year. The purpose of using the number bonds is to think flexibly, so it's easier to add. Getting to that 'friendly' number (30 or 60 or 80) and then just adding the leftovers. Out of my two classes of 47 students, about 5-6 prefer this method of solving. I see it as my job to introduce the students to all these strategies and then choose what works best for them, so if just 1 students prefers this strategy and it makes sense to them, then my job is done.


 So out of the 4 strategies I introduce, the open number line is the most abstract. The student has to be able to visually see numbers in sequential order on a number line. The student has to have a strong number sense, as well as understand greater than and less than and where numbers would go on a number line. They start with the first addend, and then add in chunks--if that works for them adding in 10s, or adding to get to a friendly number--whatever works for them.

I do not spend much time at all on teaching the standard algorithm. In fact, I just show the students how to solve and I say, "This is probably the way your parents, and most old people, solve addition and subtraction problems." The kids always find that hilarious and laugh about it--I tell them I'm old too and that's how I learned to add and subtract by solving algorithms, but I also tell them I didn't understand and have a good number sense. I again hit the point that numbers are flexible and if you can see numbers flexibly you can solve any problems! 

Interested in the posters from this blogpost and the practice pages, exit tickets, and assessments? Click HERE to snatch these up!

If you have any different ideas for teaching addition, leave in the comments below! 

**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn small fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.**
The days seem to get shorter. The temperatures start to drop. Or maybe it's a day that the rain just don't stop. (ohhh I rhymed lol). But you get my drift...you start to fell that pit in your stomach. You're a teacher and....it's an indoor recess kind of day :( UGHHHHHH

Believe me I've been there. But check out my tips and tricks that have helped this Maryland teacher survive indoor recess in 2nd and 1st grades! We alternate our indoor recess schedule from Games (that's listed below), to a Gonoodle indoor recess activity (my kids love to do the guided dances), and then movie day. We have 30 minutes for recess daily.

The games I've listed below I have either purchased myself, or items were donated from parents into my classroom. Gonoodle is a fantastic website that is great for not only indoor recess, but also for transitions or brain breaks! I use my Amazon to watch our 'movie days', when you sign up for amazon prime it comes with the benefit of videos. My students have fallen in love with their sitcom Annedroids! But they also have a wide range of options like Insectibles, Pete the Cat, Lost in Oz, and many more!

This is a non-gender specific toy, that you can request parents to send in at any time throughout the year! And as a parent, I appreciate the opportunity to purge some of my own children's things! My students, love to get their engineering on with building different lego items! Especially since Minecraft became a big sensation, they say, "We're building in real life, like we do on Minecraft!" Whatever gets them excited right?!?

Play-doh is another highly popular indoor recess activity in my room. I allow students to use only 2 colors at a time, being careful not to mix them! This is also an item you could ask for donations from parents (although I'd be hesitant to take used play-doh because it may be dried out). Play-doh also works great for students to create characters or plan out their writing in a narrative writing--helps get their creative juices flowing!

I have a pretty consistent group of kids that want to get the K'nex out every indoor recess day and play with them. K'nex is another activity that encourages their imaginations and engineering! And I was able to pick up this set from a yard sale a few years ago! Nothing like saving money!!

These little hashtags are super cute and connect together to build! These have been a hot commodity in my room since I first introduced them! I found them in the Target dollar spot, but I have also seen them at Hobby Lobby.

These gears were a favorite of my students last year. They would build different creations, and then they'd have competitions to see who could make a longer line with the gears.

There's nothing better than helping kids, and they don't even realize you are helping them! This game, Tricky Fingers, comes with 2 game squares, so 2 students can play. They manipulate the balls inside, using their fingers, working and beefing up their fine motor skills!

Another great fine motor activity that is a hit are these Mushroom Nail art building kit. Kids can build pictures like the images in the book, or just build from their own imaginations! 

Another arts-infused option for indoor recess are these magnetic shapes. When I taught first grade, I put these out as a center, but now in 2nd grade, I utilize these during our indoor recess time! The kids just love to build with these Magnetic Shapes

Suspend is one of our new options that I just recently purchased. It helps students build their problem solving skills. They have to get the metal bars to stack on top of each other. There is a cube they roll and have to stack that particular bar. My students have been really excited about this! 

Kanoodle is another great game that builds problem solving. It only comes with one 'board' which is also the container that stores the circular objects. So I wish I would have ordered more than 1. It's a puzzle game, that you have to figure out how to put the circular objects together. You can try 2-d or 3-d challenges. And because I only got one, I had 2 students share it, but it was also highly sought after, so I may have to be ordering another couple sets!

Floam, like the play-doh, is a loved activity in my room! Students can easily move and create with it, and the texture is super fun. I ordered the Fun Floam modeling beads this past summer and introduced it to my students this year during our indoor recess time. 

Then there's always the great "Heads Up, 7 Up" game. Where 7 students are the pickers, while everyone else puts their head down. The 7 pickers walk around the room, while all others have heads down and eyes shut. If a 'picker' taps you, you put your hand up, with your eyes still shut. The pickers then return to the front of the room. The students who were tapped then stand up, when all pickers are back to the front of the room, and then the students tapped guess which 'picker' picked them. 

So indoor recess doesn't have to be a pain! It can be fun! Also in years past, I've offered coloring books or blank sheets of paper for them to draw. Some students prefer to read as well during indoor recess time. Hope this helps ease your indoor recess days!!

**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn small fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.**

PHHHEWWWW! What an exhausting week! Spirit week, or maybe you have a Red Ribbon Week, is so much fun, wouldn't you agree? But man o day, anything outta the normal routine is just cray cray for my kiddos! Let's be real--for all kiddos!!

The week started off in proper crazy fashion, Mismatch day. I attempted to mis-match everything from my black and yellow striped Irma to my red apple leggings. I had different socks on, which happened to be my 10 year old daughters 😜 , I wore two different kinds of earrings, and different Toms. It's so funny, because as silly as I thought I looked, my kiddos didn't bat an eye at my outfit! That's a great perk to teaching--as crazy or awful or silly as you think you may look, the kids never notice!

Tuesday was crazy hair day. In years past, this was MY day. I went all out. I would tease my hair, put that color hairspray in it, deck it out with spiders, and sometimes string some garland through it. This year I downplayed the crazy. I put my hair in a bun, and put some white colored yarn to look like a web. I then hot glued some spiders to bobby pins, and just bobby pinned them in. My teacher bestie and I also wore our matching SPOOKtacular Teacher from Missy LuLus

Wednesday was dress like a book character. My bestie and one of my teammates and I weren't sure what to dress up like, but when she text me "What about Piggie & Elephant?" I was all for it! She wore all pink and I wore all gray. I had purchased some elephant gear, but when it arrived it didn't exactly look as I had envisioned, so I just ended up using gray cardstock for the nose and ears. The kiddos went bananas over our costumes! They recognized right away who we were, and giggled at our signs. Piggies said, "We are at a school?" and Elephants said, "Yes, Piggie, we are at a school."

So our idea of our onesie jammies was semi-inspired from my 10 year old daughters trick-or-treat costume, and also a student whom loves unicorns. The fact that these unicorn onesies were fairly inexpensive, there were a variety of colors, and we got them in 2 days, also helped! The kids, as well as our co-workers, thought we were super cute 😍 We have had an unseasonable warm week though, so it was a bit toasty. Luckily I had on a shirt underneath and was able to rock that during class time.

For the past 2 years (this year being year 3), our school has done a fundraiser called the "Turkey Trot". Students and staff are encouraged to wear their best turkey costumes. And our fifth grade teachers always dress in camouflage and hunting attire :) I normally wear my turkey leggings, and this year my fabulous teammate made me this beautiful tulle skirt.  When I arrived at school, it was pouring, but luckily the weather cleared up and we were able to have our turkey trot outside. The kids just had to stay on the sidewalks, but it was fun!

I am so blessed to work with such a great staff and wonderful students and families! Let me know what your school does for Red Ribbon or Spirit week!

**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn small fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.**
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